Another bunch of rules variants

Edit: Hmm. This is not quite doing what I want, and contains vestiges of a previous version. Needs rework.


It's been a while since I've posted alternate rules, which might be why this edition is more extensive than my usual. They are meant to be taken together, due to how they interact.

  • Subtraction and especially division should be avoided.

  • Forms should be considered just as valuable as Techniques, even though there are more of them.

  • I don't like the hard rule of "If it's level 50, it must be a ritual." Isn't the "Oh, no, this spell seems just too epic" rule enough?

  • I'm missing changes to quite a few virtues/flaws that rely on the current fatigue mechanics. But I think I hit the most important ones.

  • Simplification is good.

On to the rules:

Spellcasting: If a spell’s level is less than or equal to your Form, it can be cast without rolling a die and without spending Fatigue. Otherwise, a stress die must be rolled and one Fatigue must be spent. If a Casting Total is insufficient, the spell fails. Yes, spellcasting never involves a simple die. Yes, low level spells can be cast safely in a cathedral, though are more likely to fail (without incident.)

Casting Score vs Casting Total: These are now identical (unless I really missed something.) Any virtue or flaw that adds to or subtracts from a spellcasting roll, score or total now affects the Casting Total. Or Score, if you prefer.

Spontaneous Magic: The only difference between a Formulaic and Spontaneous spell is that the level of a spontaneous spell is doubled after it is calculated. This adjusted spell level is considered the spell’s level for all purposes. Yes, it is possible to cast a spontaneous ritual, though this costs twice as much vis due to the doubled spell level. Yes, it is possible to use ceremonial magic with any Formulaic spell, no Mastery required.

Ritual Magic: Spells of level 50 or higher do not need to be rituals. And yes, if your Form is sufficiently high, it now possible to cast a ritual without rolling a die or risking a botch, just like any other spell.

Spending Vis: Spending vis no longer increases Casting Totals. Instead, the bonuses gained add directly to the Art, after all other considerations. Other uses of spending vis are not changed. Yes, it is now possible to spend Form vis to make magic safer!

Potent Magic: The bonus is always +6, which adds directly to the Art when relevant, similar to Puissant Art, except after requisites have been accounted for. Bonuses for casting items add to the Casting Total.

Major/Minor Magic Focus: Note that these add an Art twice rather than doubling it.

Diedne Magic: When casting Spontaneous magic, double your Form. This is done before considering Magic Focus, Cthonic Magic or spending Form vis. You have Loose Magic and Poor Formulaic Magic but these do not count toward your Flaws and cannot be "bought back." As an exception to the rules that normally limit you to a single Major Hermetic Virtue during character creation, you can take LLSM at the usual cost. Yes, you can take Unstructured Caster as a Major Flaw. Depending on your saga, you might be required to take one or more Flaws (Dark Secret, Hedge Wizard, Pagan, Judged (Un)fairly, Enemies, etc.) which do count toward your Flaws, as usual.

Mythic Blood: You have -3 to aging rolls, and start aging at 50. You are not restricted in how you spend xp on Abilities during character creation. No, you cannot spend xp on a Supernatural Ability you do not have. You get a Minor Hermetic or Supernatural Virtue of your choice associated with your lineage, subject to SG approval. You get a power using the canonical rules for Mythic Blood. If you want Personality or Story Flaws associated with your lineage, take these using the usual rules.


No more division!

No more simple dice for spellcasting. A real time saver. No more stressing about whether the roll is simple or stress. Another time saver.

Casting mechanics are more unified.

Doubling the level of spontaneous spells while using the same diceless/stress rules depending on Form vs Spell Level, provides a similar level of power for spontaneous magic while providing Formulaic Magic with greater safety for easy spells at the cost of more risk for high level spells, which I find a positive change.

Allowing spontaneous rituals does not break anything, especially since the vis cost is doubled.

Allowing formulaic ceremonial magic also breaks nothing. No need for distinct rules.

Spamming easy spells costs nothing; spamming difficult spells is dangerous and tiring. (There’s now a good reason few magi casually teleport across Mythic Europe using ReCo!)

My favorite exploits for spontaneous magic no longer work as well: Faerie Charms and Rusticani Magic Foci still add to Casting Total, but that no longer makes spontaneous casting safer.

Form vis is a lot more valuable now, since it can make magic safer, even for large effects.

Forms are generally more valuable than before, though Techniques do have greater coverage.

Potent Magic is better than it used to be. Magic Focus is still usually better. The former is better for casting magic safely, the latter better for generating the biggest Casting and Lab Totals. Choices, choices.

Diedne Magic is now worth it for an expert in spontaneous magic. Its cost imposes some real hardship, since real power is still all about Mastery, Penetration and big Formulaic spells, but the hardship is consistent across sagas rather than ranging from inconsequential (Diedne are the real heroes) to instantly lethal (Every Diedne starts with DIE.) Note that it is easy for a Diedne to determine what spells he can try to cast without dice: Level = Form (before doubling level). BTW, this is also usually true for magi casting Formulaic spells.

Mythic Blood is changed, loosely based on Strong Faerie Blood, because one of its canonical primary benefits no longer has meaning with these rules. It’s a very good virtue now, even in sagas that enforce starting with no more than one Major Hermetic Virtue.



I haven't fully processed this yet, but there are a couple of things that jump out at me

You seem to have removed Techniques entirely, saying "If a spell’s level is less than or equal to your Form", unless you mean Technique+Form
I like Affinity with [], but removing division seems to nix these virtues.

Possibly an oversimplification, and not necessarily true.

Why bother having Strong Faerie Blood then, and what is the equivalent of plain Faerie Blood?

Oh boy, I love house rules!

I like some, some push me back. Let's see.

The "always spend fatigue" bit troubles me; it makes over-your-form spellcasting quite more hard. Not as hard as the infamous arts-as-abilities rule, so I guess it can work in a setting were magic is just a bit harder. I don't know if leaving that out would make magic just too much powerful, but as these spells you could cast safety without a roll would have some less penetration without the dice roll, maybe that would be ok.

Maybe you should just reorder these two: when I read the Casting Score = Casting Total I thought "but what about spontaneous magic?", so that probably should go first for the sake of clarity.

I love the idea of spontaneous casting being as normal spellcasting doubling the level, instead of dividing by two. There are only two issues I see there; first is that the final level being for all purposes twice the formulaic's version spell level would make spontaneous magic harder to dispel than formulaic magic, which seems odd. Second, non-fatiguing spontaneous magic, what then, multiplying the level by five?

Our glamour Merinita would love that. With a base of 10 for Glamour, whenever he tries to do something fancy, big or intricate he smashes against the 50 level limit.

That one is something I was thinking; Minor Potent Magic granting a +3 bonus, added to the narrower scope of the potency, sounded quite limiting already.

Diedne Magic is my soft spot. Requiring it to make Formulaic Magic harder doesn't seems right to me; Diedne magi were in the order for centuries before the Schism war, so it seems reasonable to me that they learned enough to be able to cast spells as any other magi. For Diedne magi we use the mechanics of House Ex Miscellanea: they are given Diedne Magic for free, but as a Supernatural ability (mainly to allow them to get LLSM), one free Hermetic Virtue that uses to be Faerie Magic (after all they try to disguise as Merinita magi, and the extended ranges & targets are nice for spontaneous magic), and the Dark Secret flaw.


Thanks for reading. Bear in mind that right after posting it, I found myself dissatisfied and put a note to that effect at the top. So there's another (better?) version in the works. Reading your comments, I'll also try to make that version more comprehensible.

Casting and Lab Totals are still calculated including all the usual stuff: TeFoAura(Sta|Int)Etc.

I didn't think about changing Affinity for this, but you raise a good point: Affinity is finicky because of division. Fortunately, that division does not occur during actual play.

A more extensive set of rules would change that too. But then, I'd also think about losing Magic Theory (it adds to everything) and characteristics (nearly every magus takes Int +2 or +3 and deprecates Str if possible)....

Simplification is good.

Oversimplification is not so good.

Overcomplication is usually worse than oversimplification.

Since these are my preferences, they are necessarily true! :slight_smile:/23405032

This is a Major Hermetic Virtue. Non-magi cannot take it. I think it is slightly better than SFB, unless you allow Faerie Sympathy. That's fine, I think, because:

a) Getting a level 30 power is worth less to a magus who already has spells than to ordinary folk.
b) This is your One Major Hermetic Virtue, so it deserves to be good. And it is: Being able to lump all your pre-Gauntlet xp together and use it for anything other than Arts, combined with being able to have more of those xp because you don't start aging until 50 is extremely tempting. The free minor virtue and minor power make this a compelling package.
c) MB is not taken very often, for good reason. That's a shame, I think, because this kind of virtue offers great rp potential, really tying a character to the setting. It's a great first virtue to take, and build everything else around it. I like SFB for similar reasons, yet that virtue only works for characters wrapped up in Faerie, which canonically is rather few. OTOH, this virtue can work with just about any magus. Lineage of Flambeau, of Guernicus, of Trianoma, of some hero or villain you made up just because. Dragons are fine too.

Since this is a drop-in replacement for Mythic Blood, and since RoP:M already has a replacement for Faerie Blood that is aligned to Magic, I didn't see a need. (And, come to think of it, this virtue doesn't need any of the other rules here to work just fine.)




Me too! :slight_smile: Bear in mind my comment at the top: These are getting a major revision.

It's not harder, just less safe and less spammable. The Casting Total remains the same as always: TeFoAuraEtc maybe +d10.

Low level spells become spammable. They have high Penetration. They are safe. (My revision also makes spells up to level 15 intrinsically safe, though not automatically successful.) Worth learning. Worth mastering. Save you they can. No dice means that the game just moves on. Simple, easy, no drama.

High level spells are also great. But since the days of AM2, I had noticed a disconnect between the rules and the setting: The rules assume that high level spells can be cast easily under any circumstances. The setting does not. Otherwise, why not just teleport everywhere? Or have someone teleport you (AM5 solves this with Warping, I suppose, but that bothers me a bit too.)

So high level spells lose none of their punch. Worth learning. Definitely worth mastering, because they remain awesome and because they are now not so safe. But a magus has to think before pulling out the big guns. And that Flambeau who starts off with CrIg spells at level 15, 20, 25, 30...? He's now looking forward to ever-increasing Ignem scores! His master has trained him well. Don't challenge a Flambeau Archmage until you can cast BoAF repeatedly without rolling dice!

This change also really encourages specialists. Different magi will have different arrays of high-level spells they can cast easily. A good thing, I think.

As for Penetration, the version I had before the one I posted--and this is undergoing a big revision--based this purely on Form: Final Penetration = Form+(Penetration*AC modifiers). I wanted to get rid of the subtraction! But that had some problems. One small problem involved Diedne Magic. I revised that (this version is too powerful). One big problem involved changing the setting too much, in terms of what MR a magus can reasonably penetrate. I would be breaking things if a magus absolutely required an AC and vis to touch something with Might 40. I would argue that a more thorough revision should support that idea, but taking a hard look at Might and MR, and adjusting lots of critters is a much bigger deal.

Yes. I had thought of this years ago and left it by the wayside, until I saw this and a bunch of other ideas that I've posted over the years show up, reworked and added to in an interesting way, in Arghmark's (sp?) "Fan ArM6" thread. That got me thinking about it again.

It's not so bad that spontaneous magic is harder to dispel than formulaic, because it takes a lot more magic to make this happen. I do think that the entire Vim Form needs to be revisited, independent of these changes. So I'm not so worried about it. Besides, non-Hermetic effects already have this kind of problem: Different guidelines result in different levels...

Ah! I definitely need to be more explicit in the revision about how these rules affect things, because there's a subtlety: Fatigueless sponts similar to canon happen for free! No need for any other multiplication or division, or even any extra rule.

Here's how it works: Figure out your spell level. Double it. Then compare it to your Form. Less than or equal? No fatigue, no die. Behold, a fatigueless, diceless spont whose level is not far from the current rules. (If Technique and Form are equal, and the net modifiers for Stamina, Aura, etc come out to 0, then Fatigueless sponts are Score/4 rather than Score/5. Close enough.)

lol I ain't gonna talk about Glamour. Just ain't gonna.

Potent Magic becomes quite intriguing. It adds a reasonable bonus, it makes magic safer, it is no longer just a poor man's Focus. I do think Focus remains better, overall, but not crazy better.

Ah. There's history here. When Diedne Magic was first introduced in the Way Back When, it included a very hard nerf to Formulaic Magic. Like, totally nasty. Mercurian Magic included a hard nerf to Spontaneous Magic. MM still includes a nerf to Sponts, although not as bad. Your argument could apply for MM too: Why do they have any problems at all, after all these years?

Now, I'm ok with both of them having no problems. I'm also ok with both of them having problems. Both virtues represent extreme deviations from normal Hermetic Magic. If Verditii still need casting tools, these guys can have problems too. If any magi should get a different style of Hermetic magic, Diedne are the poster children for this. They are the archetypal Hermetic Other.

FWIW, the canonical DM isn't a very good virtue, and has no need for any balancing Flaw. But if it does include a Flaw, it should not be a Dark Secret, because that doesn't work in many sagas. It should not be something related to Merinita, because that's not necessarily where they hid out, if they hid out at all. It should not be Pagan, because maybe in your saga they are no more pagan than ordinary magi who have no problem being in an Order that acknowledges the False God Hermes in any way at all. Maybe take a Major Delusion, because the real Diedne were well and truly wiped out, and magi with this virtue are Diedne in the same way that modern druids inherited the real druidic tradition, and House Tremere utterly ignores these posers, keeping an eye out for the real threat. Maybe the Flaw should involve demons, or angels...

The real problem with this DM virtue is that it is far too powerful, allowing safe sponts at the same level as safe formulaics, made worse because a Diedne is likely to have higher Arts. Another real problem is that it doesn't do what I want it to do at low levels.

My revision fixes both problems, but you might not like it because I have also tentatively doubled down: I created two new major virtues, Strong Spontaneous Magic and Master of Rites: Any magus can take these virtues, which include no penalties. Then Diedne Magic becomes a Major Virtue that provides not only these two virtues, but also Mythic Blood: Diedne... at the cost of utterly losing the ability to learn or cast Formulaic Magic. This package might be going overboard though, being too large. So we'll see.

WIP, and thanks for the comments.



What subtle difference does this make? (apart from telling people who hate multiplication they can do addition instead)


None. This is a reminder of the existing rules, as published in the AM5 errata: Add lower Art a second time.

The ramifications under these rules are less subtle than canonical: By doubling the Form, you also double the safe casting limits. By adding the Form twice, you do not. That's a big difference, very powerful, creating a weird distortion where magi would always strive to keep Form <= Technique.




In any case, these are not quite doing what I want them to do, and not worth the cost of making a change. What I get for posting while tired.

The sort of thing I consider high priority:

  • Remove division to the extent possible, especially during play. It's not for everyone.
  • Where possible, compare against a constant rather than a total.
  • Remove simple die rolls, and adjust target numbers accordingly.
  • If a stress die (or replacement mechanic) is rolled, it should usually do nothing. Its purpose is to represent more extreme success or failure under pressure.

Taken together, less time is spent rolling dice and doing math during play.

  • More spellcasting should involve no dice especially during combat. That's the time when being fast makes the most difference!

Remove generic magic skills that magi have to take just because:

  • Remove Finesse. If this is baked into the spell, starting with a default, and adding improvements if magnitudes are added for complexity or if a good Casting Total indicates improved success, our world simplifies and we need less clutter on our character sheets.

  • Remove Penetration. Likewise.

  • Remove Magic Theory. It adds to everything done in the lab, and magi spend lots of time in the lab. If we really need a skill for being a generalist, why not apply it to spellcasting too? Or have a skill for all spellcasting? I think it's better to remove this, and apply those xp to Arts.

  • Remove Parma Magica. This should be vastly improved as a baseline, and then not require a skill. The canonical situation is that it isn't very useful until many xps have been dumped into it, and all magi start with Parma 1 on their character sheets.

  • Characters who need to be better or worse at any of these can take virtues and flaws accordingly.

  • Reconsider Vim: This might be the least-used, -understood, and -appreciated Form, especially when it comes to dealing with magic. Even after all these years. I don't have a specific answer for this.

  • Reconsider MR: I suspect that the balance between offense and defense isn't quite what it should be. I also suspect that it's all-or-nothing nature gets in the way. I could be wrong about this!

  • Reconsider Might: The way Might Points are spent is kind of finicky, and maybe not useful. Most Mighty Things are encountered once or twice; these might do better with a more modern "encounter style" set of powers. Most of the rest are longer term associates, friends and enemies; is tracking temporary and not-quite-so-permanent Might the best way to handle these? Might levels might also deserve reconsideration, especially if MR is revisited.



If you're removing Parma Magica, you can easily add it as a concept into form bonuses for MR. Either; Parma is a Virtue you gain when 'taught' it; Having Parma Magica virtue grants you Magic Resistance equal to your Vim score.

Magic resistance in general is a funny thing, and one which caused the Line Editor no end of headaches. It was absent in 1st edition until Parma Magica was added in a supplement, and handled very differently between 4th and 5th editions.

Removing penetration - as you multiply arcane connection multipliers by your penetration skill, removing the penetration skill means you have to decide on a skill equivalent ie does an AC lasting days add +10 to your penetration and one lasting decades +20.

Magic theory - acts as a bonus to labwork, a general knowledge skill for hermetic magic, and a limit on how much vis you spend in a season (limiting what you can enchant). First one is easily replaceable by a virtue, and make sure that Bonisagus get it. Second one - replace it with a low difficulty Int roll? Roll this aspect of magic theory in together with Code of Hermes and Organisation Lore: Order of Hermes into one "Hermetic Lore" skill which covers every bit of general knowledge a magus of the order may have? Third one - never comes into play in a low vis saga, in a high vis saga you might get a young wizard enchanting a talisman with as many gems as he can get the vis for, just because, or making a tower in his covenant a Talisman so he can wrap his Magic Resistance round it.


I mean removing the Ability of PM, with advancement by xp (unless PM does other things too). I'd still want magi to have MR by default, even improved on canon.

IIRC, AM1 had parma based on Vim.




And other editions, yeah.

Or something. If I were revisiting even more, I'd want to change ACs too: I don't want characters to fear leaving a strand of hair, or to account for all their poo (Sherwood Smith's Waste Spell!).

A good AC should definitely have a major effect. A great AC should have an even better effect. A marginal AC shouldn't be allowed as an AC.

(A hair taken with permission to act as an AC is a very good AC, because the magus and target have proclaimed it as an AC! The hair is no longer a randomly shed waste product.)

Like Inventive Genius!

I think more the latter, or even just use Form Bonus (or the same for Techniques) where possible! Hermetic Magic is fragmented into Forms and Techniques. If we really want to support awesome generalists, then Casting Scores should include the generic "Magic" ability. But there are many good reasons not to do this. So just like you need more specific Arts to work magics associated with those Arts, so too Hermetic Magic requires more specific knowledge - of Arts - rather than a more general knowledge.

Or even Philosophiae (Hermetic). I'd even advocate a Mythic Europe in which magi considered Bonisagus' theory an alternative to Aristotelian or Platonic philosophies. At a meta-level, it frees us to have Hermetic effects that don't fit: Hermetic Magic doesn't always conform because Bonisagus has an alternate theory!

If the current Initiation rules are retained pretty much in full, there should be:

  • Code of Hermes: An Academic Ability, in parallel with other legal systems.
  • Hermetic Lore: Similar to the Lore of any cult, covering pertinent technical and social issues.

Both of which are cool, and might be worth encouraging. Or just use the Art to limit the amount of vis used, of that kind.



For removing Finesse, maybe use something like

"Creo & Rego 'craft' magic still requires the caster to utilise the corresponding ability (even if they lack it). For each additional magnitude added, again +3 on the craft roll."

Not sure what you do about Aimed spells or fast casting though...

No dice rolling at all. Instead, there is a base complexity of say six, and magnitudes add three per magnitude. This works fine for crafts, also for aiming and anything else that would otherwise require finesse

As for things like Fast casting and multi casting, I think these rules deserve revisiting in any case. The issues with multi casting are well-known. But I think there are also issues with fast casting.

I think the game would be just fine with Spell Mastery removed entirely.

I really like the FEEL of Spell Mastery, but the execution seems to waver between overpowered and overly expensive in xp. Multicasting is the one that, to me, seems ridiculously good.

I do like the idea of just having added magnitudes for craft level difficulty with Rego crafting. Makes things a lot simpler mechanically.


I love spell mastery.

It's very expensive if you want it for all spells, but for one or two signature spells it is so very awesome. It removes botch dice, adds to casting score, can improve penetration, initiative, aiming or other finesse, reduce casting penalties, obscure sigil and more... If you want everyone to think your IoL really is a bolt from heaven when you cast it safely in a church, accept no substitute! Great even without multi- and fast- casting.

I have issues with some of the implementation:

  • Multicasting should go. If you wanted a few of these, you should have a Group or a bigger Ind or something.

  • Fast Casting should go. It gums up initiative, adding a whole other mechanic. It adds lots of extra die rolling. If we want general reactions in AM, we need a different combat system. I would rather revert to Fast Casting being a general spontaneous defense that can always be done, as in the early days, but it's not strong and comes with both costs and risks.

  • All mastery options should be available to all magi. I really dislike the stealth virtues being given to some houses or traditions. Sorry, if you have access to unique masteries, TDRs, spell guidelines, etc, that doesn't come for free. (And yeah, if a Tremere PC wants to play up his relationship with the House, in terms of benefits and drawbacks, isn't that a Patron or Favors or similar? Or some House Virtue other than the oft-maligned Focus with Certamen?)

  • Reduce some of the power of various options, but improve flexibility. I like the idea of allowing masteries to be applied per-casting, rather than per-spell. Less clutter on the character sheet, for one thing. Does not work with a few of the masteries (lab bonus for similar effects, combine masteries for "the same" general spell once you get everyone to agree just what that means...), but these are easily dispensed with anyway.

  • Heck, removing the masteries for things like quiet casting in favor of a single mastery "reduce casting penalties by your Mastery Ability; you can use this more than once" is very much the sort of thing I'd like. Useful vs adverse auras, other issues too. Less clutter in rules. Yeah, at Mastery 5 you could reduce penalties by 25.



I like a lot of what you say.

Especially Formulaic Spells can go over 50.

I like the removal of simple die and the more simplistic nature of die rolls.

I can see removing the stat Parma Magica and rolling it into the art scores. It will also explain why people can't steal it, you need access to the Hermetic Arts.

I like Magic theory as a skill so I wouldn't remove it.

I really like spell mastery and think it's very useful.

I heart using Complexity levels instead of Finesse. Love it!

I like the idea of taking base rating and anything under it is free and can be related at will. Anything above it to a certain lebel requires fatigue. And anything even more than that requires die roll.

But yeah good stuff. :slight_smile:


Thanks. :slight_smile:

So can spontaneous.

I'm still trying not to make changes that are too huge, and I'm seeing some useful facets of Hermetic Magic that might be well-expressed by PM, so for my next version I'll be leaving that in. But yeah.

The way I see it, almost everything interesting that is learned in ME is a kind of initiation script. Seven years of apprenticeship, in which you learn a mishmash of technical skills and organization lore and mumbo jumbo: Becoming a blacksmith is a lot more than just putting a bunch of xp into Craft: Blacksmith! So too Hermetic Magic. There's even an Ordeal involved, taking Major Flaw: Oath. The script is laden with all kinds of requirements too! Master must teach 1 season per year, must have Arts at 5, 15 years, etc. So I don't think PM can be acquired all that easily. (And if it could, the secret would already be out. It just takes one Jerbiton or Tytalus or Diedne or Holy Magus...)

What do you like about it?

It has been with us since at least AM2, and the AM5 version is the most flavorful of all. For me, it really reinforces the setting, instantly explaining (for example) why a single spell can be the signature of not just a magus, but of an entire House: House Flambeau has spent centuries writing about PoF. Sure you can learn a different CrIg spell, but can you then spend the next 100 seasons reading excellent books about its Mastery?

Thanks! This removes even more die rolls, gets rid of some of the strangeness that occurs when comparing Finesse to rolls to craft totals, and removes a skill.

I've made a few changes here, but the idea is pretty similar:

Automatic Casting: Spell level of Form or below is autosuccess, though not necessarily autopenetrate. No d10. No botch. May spend 1 fatigue for +10 to casting total (which only helps penetration, since casting is autosuccess.)

Journeyman Casting: Spell level of 15 or below might not succeed, depending on casting total. No d10. No botch. May spend 1 fatigue for +10 to casting total.

Strenuous Casting: Must roll stress die, which is included in casting total. Must spend 1 fatigue for +10 to casting total. Can botch, though botch dice can be reduced by virtues, masteries, etc. Success depends on casting total.

This version has the math I want for spellcasting; the other did not.

The choice of whether to spend fatigue is given purely to the player, and player empowerment is good. The +10 for spending fatigue replaces the rule for Formulaic Spells succeeding when the roll falls short by 10 or less, preserving expected casting totals. Sponts do get a slight boost here: For example, right out of Gauntlet, spend 1 fatigue to cast a spell whose original level was 5? Works for me.

Journeyman casting is critical, because it preserves the ability to learn and cast Formulaic Spells despite having low Art scores; it only applies to spontaneous magic whose original level is 5 or less (before doubling.) I wanted these Formulaic spells to be easy to cast, not inherently stressful, but not automatically successful. A character who starts play with a slew of formulaic spells at levels 5-15 and none higher is not necessarily making a mistake!

I think this will stay when I eventually repost, after much thinking, revision and expansion.

Thanks. I'm looking at masteries, fast casting and some other aspects of casting.

I also considered a comment about Affinities earlier in this thread: If I want rid of division, what about Affinities? My first response was that it might be too difficult and not worth it. But I was wrong....

Affinity with Art or Ability (Minor)
Choose an Art or Ability you have. During character creation, you get 50 extra xp in that Art or Ability, and are not capped. After character creation, you gain 1xp/season in that Art or Ability, regardless and independent of what you do during a season. A character turned to stone, undergoing Twilight, emerging from Arcadia, in a coma or similarly incapacitated for an entire season should not get the 1xp for that season. You can take this virtue more than once, applying its full benefit either to the same or to a different Art or Ability.

This works. For practical purposes, anyone who optimizes around an Affinity wants to do at least as well as just taking a virtue that provides 50xp. So might as well just provide 50xp. Later in life, a favorite optimization is to assign 1xp from Exposure or Adventure (or correspondence, if you allow that) to gain 1xp from the Affinity. Might as well just provide 1xp every season. Getting to do this regardless of how you spend other xp is fair compensation for losing the ability to get even more xp from tractatuseses, teachers and similar. This version is probably slightly weaker, but is definitely easier to use well, even for non-optimizers. Because of the way it is structured, taking this two or three times for the same Art or Ability seems ok, though taking it 10 times (500xp in Ignem! 10xp more every season!) is probably a problem.

So, no more division and no more distorting character creation to make an Affinity worthwhile: If you expect the saga to last a while, Affinities remain good. (Ten years post Gauntlet, an Affinity catches up to Gild Training or Baccalaureate, fwiw.)