Ability Block (spell Mastery) Land of Fire and Ice

I'm writing up a character for a new player (I'm the SG) and he's picked House Tremere, Chaotic Magic, and Addicted to Magic as two of his flaws, and Ways of the Land (Ice bound terrian), Fast Caster and Secondary Insight for his virtues. He's asked me to flesh out his character with other virtues and flaws.

The Campaign will be adapting the old Land of Fire and Ice 4th ed book, with web enhancements. The initial MacGuffin to get them there is that they are to assist a very old Jerbiton Maga, who wishes to create her great work in ice and wants some assistants to deal with various issues, but not cause trouble (this is how they'll manage to get past Pan Caudrax). Hence House Tremere sees this as a valuable opportunity to scout out Iceland for long term, coupled with hiding this uncontrollable misfit far away from the rest of the order. It will be good education in wilderness survival for him as well.

Anyway I was wondering if Ability Block (Spell Mastery) is too weak/strong to be a minor flaw. Even if it is am I concentrating his virtues/flaws in too narrow an area?

My other choices for him are
Driven(minor) [Prove himself worthy of House Tremere]

Wilderness Sense

Puissant (Muto)
Affinity with (Muto)

this is my first time as a SG, and only my second ArM campaign and any adice will be gratefully received.


Ability Block (Spell Mastery) (ArM5 p.51) is too strong as a Minor Flaw. Just compare it with Loose Magic (ArM5 p.55).
Such flaws also take most of the benefit out of Fast Caster, especially since he has also Chaotic Magic and hence will rarely, if ever, fast-cast spontaneous spells. Perhaps you better find something completely different for this character.


I would say that Ability Block:Spell Mastery is a major flaw, more than major, even, spell mastery is simply too useful, and I would strongly discourage any player from even attempting to take this flaw.

Are you listing all the virtues and flaws, meaning he isn't going to take 10 points of each? I'd also like to see where he's going with his Arts. Secondary Insight suggests a generalist build. It may be me, but the longer I play Ars, the more I detest generalists, especially in sagas where multiple magi adventure together. If it's just two magi, a generalist can really fill in gaps nicely, three or more, my experience is that they do very little. Couple Magic Addiction with his Chaotic Magic (limiting his ability to cast Spontaneous magic reliably) you have a tendency for a character to keep casting spells until he passes out. If he's a generalist, with many low level spells, this isn't a huge problem, since he can probably keep his addiction under control and cast formulaic spells.

Magic Addiction and Chaotic Magic are on the ban list in House Tremere, i hope you have a good explanation as why you were accepted in the best house ever :slight_smile:.

Ok, so Ability Block(Spell Mastery) is a big no-no.

The Magic Addiction, Chaotic Magic and being of House Tremere were all enthusiastically chosen by the player (who has played ArM before, but not since sometime in the early nineties, so I'm not quite sure what he thinks Tremere means....)

However, since Iceland is fairly cut-off from the main hermetic scene, I figured that a black sheep would be sent away so as not to annoy the rest of the house (but since this won't really come up in play, I didn't think that it was worth him taking Black Sheep).

He is going to have 10/10 virtues and flaws, the ones I listed are just those that I had thought about. I'm still in the market for flaws/ maybe swapping out one of the two Muto virtues; as I said, I'm worried that I've taken his concept and concentrated too much on the chaos aspect, and not thrown in enough other stuff for him to play with.


One thing that makes it troubling to assist is I can't wrap my head around a concept. Knowing virtues and flaws is only a piece of the puzzle. What does the player want to do with this character?

You should give him somethin that justify the fact that the House took him in in spite of his flaws.

Hermetic prestige (a good lineage)
Potent Magic (ghosts)

If he is a 90's player, I think he will have a wrong vision of the >Tremere. The Termere are the house that has changed the most in Ars Magica 5th edition. They have passed from brooding jerks that crave power because they are the bad guys to become a very efficient force that works like a modern day army. One of the best changes in the background ever, really. Now it isa a really attractive house, while before anyone would mostly look above the shoulder to a tremere.

The tremeres are like an army, like I was saying, and so they value standarization in the capabilities of their members. They value specialization, but knowledge and capabilities should be availabke across the board. They also value team work highly. As such, an extremely crippling combo of virtues and flaws like the one described would not fit in the house. You would nbeed a really good story to fit him in, and in any case being so far away he would be ditching most advantages that house membership offers.

I would siuggest a tytalus or flambeau for this characterm concept. Or any other house except tremere, really. It is the house I would chose the least for this combo of flaws. A tytalus truying to overcome his own shortfalls while at the same time forcing them to the extreeme (like rfusing to take Mastery not because he can't, biut because he does not want to) would fit this better IMO.

LoFaI is a great book to exploit. Make sure toi get hold of hedge magic as well, since you can use the whole of it straight away in that setting.


Just ike I said the best house.

I was a big hater of the WoD Tremere, but I do love the fith edition version :wink: