Ask a simple question, (hopefully) get a simple answer

Hey there, new member posting.

So, a while ago, someone I kinda knew died and left me his RPG collection (sort of, it's complicated) and I've been getting into a few RPGs, among them Ars Magica. Seeing as I was on holiday the last few weeks, I've spent them checking out the books, trying out a few characters, so on, so forth. Anyway, since then, I've come up with a few questions I'd like to ask to clarify certain issues.

  1. Can a lab assistant help you with binding a familiar?

  2. Does a spontaneous spell count as being specifically designed for a subject, or must you actually invent a formulaic spell for it to count?

  3. With regards to Ancient Magic, and the virtue Hermetic Rune Magic, when you cast a rune magic spell on a object that is neither the target or something that touches the target, but rather something that just possesses an Arcane Connection to the target, do you need to cast it at Arcane Connection range?

  4. With regards to the above, when you do so, what gains the Warping Point? The item with an Arcane Connection, or the actual target?

  5. For that matter, I've read references to non-living object gaining Warping Points, how does that work?

  6. Can non-Hermetic magi fix Arcane Connections?

  7. With regards to the above, if so, do they do it the same way as hermetic magi do?

  8. Are they any guidelines for what kind of powers a familiar should possess, by Might or through any other method? For that matter, supernatural creatures in general, in particularly those created with spells, like elementals and animae magic faeries.

That's all I can remember for now, but I'm fairly certain there were a few more.

Oh, and if anyone else ever has any questions to ask, feel free to post it in this thread as well.

Didn't know posts had to get approved by mods. Anyway -

  1. If a person is continuously under multiple low-powered magical effects, how is warping handled? As a single low-powered effect, as a high-powered effect, or is the number of warping points gained multiplied by the number of effects?

Welcome to Ars Magica, sorry to hear you came by your books in such a way, however. My condolences...

  1. According to RAW, a Lab Assistant can help with any Laboratory Activity that uses MT in the formula so I'd have to say "Yes".

  2. I'm going to say 'no' on the basis that spontaneous spells aren't rigorously designed per se though I would not that the rules also seem to imply that the caster is immune from warping by his/her own spells unless especially designed for someone else.

  3. Serf's Parma, but I think so. Certainly that's how the vitkar (HMRE) would have to do it...

  4. The target, just as with vanilla hermetic magic.

  5. As per "Warping & Non-Humans" (page 167), objects exposed to supernatural auras long-term, frequently subject to magic spells, or otherwise accumulating Warping points can develop various quirks.

  6. Most can, yes.

  7. In game-terms, yes.

  8. The "Realms of Power" books are a pretty good resource, but really the player and SG should choose a few powers appropriate to the creature's concept and Might.

  9. "All sources of Warping stack..." page 167.

  1. Yes
  2. I would say yes too
  3. Don't know
  4. Don't know
  5. As your troupe see fit, there is no written rules (at list none that I know of)
  6. Depends of the tradition, see hedge magic
  7. Same answer
  8. Familliars gain powers by the cords being enchanted, for the others, see The Realms of Powers Books

Have fun with Ars MAgica

Only the first one, so they can make sure the new account is not from a spam-bot.

Welcome to Ars Magica!

It specifically must be formulaic as per p 168 "Designing an effect for a particular target requires... a special version of a formulaic spell be invented."

Ah, I see. Thanks for the quick answers everyone!

Right, and another one - can someone break down the original research rules from True Lineages for me? I'm having a hard time understanding them. Also, what is the advantage for seeking Insight into other traditions as opposed to original research?

Studying from hedge traditions is way faster.

It's really situational. It may be that a particular tradition doesn't exist in the saga, based on the decision of the troupe/SG.
Not all Mystery Cults can/should exist in a saga, likewise for hedge traditions. Also, going a step further, studying from a hedge tradition may simply not be possible. You have to have some element of at least cooperation. If the sole practitioner of a hedge tradition tells you go pound sand, then what?
Ultimately, it's a story decision about which method to go through, but I will say that the Original Research method doesn't require the involvement of a third party to study, and while the troupe/SG are still involved in deciding how the process works with respect to the desired breakthrough, it doesn't require any story, and some characters/players might prefer that.
I think there are a couple of threads here that detail original research rather well. When I'm not on a mobile device I'll try searching for them and posting the links to those threads.

Yes, I think I get it now. Again, thanks to all who responded.

But I still got one more - flipping through Hedge Magic again, I noticed quite a few traditions have the ability to grant general or supernatural virtues. Is this something limited to hedge magicians, or are there guidelines for hermetic magic to do the same?

Yes, it's outlined in Apprentices.

Looking through the books - nope, looks like he didn't own that book. Ah, well. Time to buy my very first AM book then. It certainly seems worth the investment.

Kinda depends on what you mean :slight_smile:
Casting a spell to grant someone the virtue/flaw of your choice - like eg the Gruagachan do? No.

Apprentices has (IIRC) a system for teaching your apprentice certain virtues, but specifically only works for apprentices/children, as I recall (Serf's Parma).
Alternatively you might want to look into the initiation system in Mysteries (The Mysteries Revised Edition, TMRE) or Houses of Hermes Mystery Cults (HoH: MC) - also used by many hedge traditions as I recall.

Yup, that was what I actually meant. Still a good read though.

And now, since I've just read through Apprentices, I have new questions. Please bear with me...

How are multiple magi in a lab handled? Is that even possible, or must every magi have his own lab?

Do hedge wizards need labs? I know Folk Witches have Kitchens, but that's as far as I could tell from looking through HMRE.

How are covenant build point costs for labs handled? The way I read it, every magus gets a standard, size +0 one for free. They then have the option to pay 20 points per extra point of Size they want, with each point of size giving them a point to spend on Virtues. Alternatively they can just pay for the virtues, at 20 points for a Major and 10 for a Minor. In addition, if they want an extra lab, they have to pay 50 points for it. Only Hermetic magi get free labs, if there are hedge wizard companions at the covenant they have to pay 50 points for an extra lab. Free Virtues/Flaws don't cost anything, however they can be taken away easily, in less than a season without having to be reimbursed either. As such they can be assigned by either the player or the SG, but the SG has final control over whether or not they stay.

Yes, it is. Let's not necessarily pigeonhole them as being just magi. As you note they can be apprentices, and not yet magi, failed apprentices, your familiar, other familiars and other magi. The limit to assitance in the lab is Leadership score +1, and always your familiar. House Bonisagus (from HoH:TL) can handle Leadership +2 in the lab, and their familiar.

As I understand it, yes.

Build points only matter from a building a lab/covenant at a saga start, as a way to balance what is available to the magi in the saga.

Where does it say that Bonisagi can handle a bonus laboratory assistant? I haven't seen that.

Multiple magi in a lab can not be doing multiple things. Jane of Flambeau can't be bonding a familiar in the same lab that Larry of Merinita is inventing a spell in at the same time.

It varies by tradition.

Erik, I'm assuming you're asking this, and it got caught in some quoting issues.

Kinda depends on what you mean by your question :slight_smile:

  1. Magi can assist eachother in a lab - this is in the core book (Serf's Parma on page numbers right now).
  2. Multiple magi can use the same lab at different times, for whatever projects. One of my current sagas have 6 magi and only one lab. As long as we're not using it at the same time, there's no problem (because we haven't personalised it).
  3. Multiple magi can perform seperate lab-projects in a given lab at the same time, though I think the rules for this is in Apprentices (something about an apprentice trying to invent a few low-level spells while his/her master is inventing another spell in the same lab). Again, Serf's Parma on the page though - can try and find it later.

Depends by tradition, as already mentioned. I'll try to remember to make a list tonight.

Is it possible for a mage with Faerie Magic to use Creo Vim or something to turn regular vis into faerie vis? Likewise for those with Holy Magic and divine vis, and Chthonic Magic and infernal vis.

Do you need to be Gifted in order to initiate virtues through a mystery cult? What if you're initiating?

Are there any ways to gain virtues or lose flaws other than storyteller fiat or mystery cult initiation?