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

Errata about that do not exist - as can be easily verified here: atlas-games.com/arm5/arm5errata.php . Could you give a quote, reference, link about David Chart's statement that you refer to?
I recall the discussions in 2005/2006 following the discovery of the ward snafu differently, as far as the Aegis was concerned - but don't have them archived.

Cheers

It is more that some authors and playtesters did not notice that wards needed to penetrate, and were happy with that. Whereas other authors and playtesters did notice and where likewise happy with that. Because everyone was happy with their interpretation, thought that their interpretation was right, and did not realise that there was an alternative interpretation, nobody initially commented on it. It was only later that it became apparent that there were two interpretations.

AFAIK, the intention when the core ArM5 book was written was always that wards (and the Aegis) need to penetrate. If it was a mistake, there would have been errata.

Huh. Interesting...

Speaking of which, another question - can formulaic and ritual spells be developed with penetration, like with enchanted items? Like, say, a Level 35 Pilum of Fire that's the same as the Level 25 version, only it also gives a bonus +10 Penetration?

Penetration for spells is a function of the casting total exceeding the level. So, I have a magus who has a CrIg CS of 61, he can get, on average a penetration of 47 on a Pilum of Fire (61+6[die]-20) and 32 on Ball of Abysmal Flame. This can be increased with the Penetration skill, and Penetration Mastery for the spell, and also if you have an Arcane Connection or any other items for a sympathetic connection. So, to get through Magic Resistance, you want lower level spells when possible.
Verditius and Bonisagus who can have high Lab Totals, higher than their Casting Totals many times, can make great use of the increases in Penetration in items.

The only difference you'd get is that a munchkin with a Casting Total of 25 vs the Spell Level 35 would get 1 Fatigue but still succeed with 10 Penetration. Abomination, I tell you! :open_mouth:

I have now found half an hour to search the Atlas Games Forum and look up old threads. Here's an interesting one: https://forum.atlas-games.com/t/wards-and-penetration-how-to-make-it-work/237/1 .

To facilitate reading it, I reference a relevant post by John Post from its middle, which summarizes Berklist: https://forum.atlas-games.com/t/wards-and-penetration-how-to-make-it-work/237/76 . There we find

By reading the entire seven page thread, everybody can judge the discussions on the 2005/2006 ward snafu himself, and draw the conclusions for his campaign.

Cheers

The discussion wasn't about drawing conclusions, it was about RAW.

You quoted John Post, but failed to quote the next paragraph that didn't support your original position, kind proving the point I was making when I said I was done. However, I found that to be so egregious that I felt compelled to respond. John post conceded that AoH must penetrate was RAW, and then suggested it was a mistake. Mistakes or ommisions in the rules can always be "fixed" with a House Rule, but that was never my point, and until this last post, wasn't the point you were arguing against. It's the classic move of changing the argument so as not to lose it.

Here is John Post's next and last paragraph in the post.

Locnil, here you see the best and worst of Ars Magica in one go. You need to be prepared to House Rule on things as it fits the overall story. There are very few simple questions and answers, because some very basic assumptions can have some vast effects on what your saga looks like as compared to another saga, and there isn't anything wrong with that. The big thing that you should take away from this is that complex issues need troupe consensus to be resolved, rather than SG fiat. The reason being is that some simple fixes can end up nearing, or at least invalidating the concept for a magus. I've seen it happen.

That is not altogether correct, as you can see when re-reading my initial statement on this thread: https://forum.atlas-games.com/t/ask-a-simple-question-hopefully-get-a-simple-answer/7973/27. In particular (I added two underscores):

So you see here, that I was concerned with the RAW of the rules texts of Aegis of the Hearth and HoH:S p.113, not a clarification about it by the line editor on the Berklist around 2007 - which I still do not have, and did not know of (compare for this also https://forum.atlas-games.com/t/ask-a-simple-question-hopefully-get-a-simple-answer/7973/40 ). In later posts on this thread we discussed an oblique reference in an adventure of Antagonists p.137, which I had to dig up after a passing remark here.

Not quite again, as the very text you quote shows (and in which I added another underscore):

So, if you all the time knew how the line editor explained something on the Berklist, why don't you show it in this thread. We all might learn from it. But for me "the RAW, as explained by the Line Editor," in John Post's post is a very dubious concept, unless I have that explanation. Your quoting it explicitly was already skirting the forum etiquette, as it calls on the line editor to explain himself (and do so about a mailing list discussion from around 2007). So I avoided that, without hiding the post of John Post. And just before you accuse me of hiding other posts of the 2005+ thread: you should read these all, not just John Post's good summary, to understand the subject of penetration of wards and Aegis of the Hearth.

I think that at least on this we both now agree.

Cheers

How do you handle major/minor magical focus and major/minor potent magic for theurgy?
In fluff perspective it's ok to take major focus/potent magic (theurgy), but i think this isn't very balanced option, because you can cast every non-ritual spells with bonuses.

I'm thinking of trying to run Ars myself soon online, given I'm having difficulty finding a game to play in. For anyone that has had experience doing so, what do you believe is the best online platform for running an Ars Magica game?

Are you talking about a chat/irc/real-time session where you have the players all on-line at the same time, sort of like around a global gaming table, or more like a play-by-post/play-by-email setup?

I was thinking the former. I find that people tend to bail on play by posts without warning usually.

That is vexing. I observed a lot of that in games here and elsewhere. A player disappears and everything comes to a halt. So, by and large, with Bibracte the saga I'm the ASG of here on the Atlas forum, I've designed things to that for every story a player's character is the star of the story, and others can come into and out of it as needed. Sometimes it works. Well, usually it works. The biggest issue is players trying to keep track of everything going on, and I'm working on that aspect of things, too.

I've got some friends who live nearby and are now interested/ready to do Ars. I think we're going to blend some elements of PbP and tabletop into a game. I'm involved in a game over Skype that blends activity over Skype with some PbP, too.

The other big thing, is what kind of story are you interested in telling. Certain stories do really well over PbP, and certain stories do better in other formats.

Well, I suppose ultimately it depends on the characters and players I have, as I haven't really recruited anyone yet, just planning to. Though I think I plan to run something that's fairly low on research, closer to more high fantasy adventuring I suppose. I also like to throw in aspects of the wild, unknown or bizarre into games I run. Though I suppose that doesn't narrow it down for you. I've already been considering a few possible plots...given I've bought way too many sourcebooks for someone who hasn't played yet.

I have used Google Docs to play online before, and I can probably use that or a wiki to store player information, but still trying to figure out the best way to run and advertise the game.

So, just like any other RPG, then. :stuck_out_tongue:

Fits with my experience as well. But I'm in no position to cast the first stone.

Anyway, got even more question. From my reread of Mystery Cults (God I love the Merinita Mysteries, even if the mainstream Merinita themselves seem a little off to me).

Does Glamour really let you physically reshape reality? You just make an illusion and it's real? It's just like the planeswalker guy from MtG - he used to be just an illusionist, but then his illusions became real. From some of the posts I read, it seems you can even use it to make bags of holding - Is this true? What about portals? If I make an illusion of a magical portal to Rome, can I then step through it and head off to the Vatican? What if I cast an illusion of healing on a wounded guy? Or an illusion of resurrection on a dead one? For that matter, must the illusions be purely physical? Can I make an illusion of someone being under my mind control, and have him obey all my commands? Or an illusion of a ghost army, then order it to attack London?

Off tangent here, but how to temporary healing spells work? Say a spell to heal all wounds on a grog for Moon duration - after the duration expires, does he get back all the wounds? Or does that fact that enough time has passed to heal them all anyway mean the wounds stay healed? What if he nearly got killed through wounds a whole bunch of times, and the healing spells on them expire all at the same time? Doe she just become heavily wounded, or does all the damage accumulate resulting in his death?

Regarding charms - so a charm that's too broad, like Mythic Europe or Person, offers no bonus. But do they still act as charms, for the purpose of the later Mysteries? Which is to stay, can a magus make a Person, Living, Mythic Europe charm, combine them into a symbol for Symbol Range, and use it as the target alongside an equally broad symbol for Symbol Target to affect everyone living in Europe?

For that matter, how are multi-aspect charms handled? I get that every additional aspect adds +3 to the Ease Factor to make the charm, but does the result count as one charm or as two (or more)? Can a charm with the aspects "magus" and "singing" be used as two charms to gain the bonus for both when used to affect a singing magus? Does it count as 2 when determining the maximum amount of charms you can use? What about for determining if you have enough charms to make a symbol? And on the other hand, can you use just one aspect, i.e. to affect a magus or someone who is singing?

For Hidden duration, what counts as a significant part? I assumed it was the majority of the target's or caster's body, but then I read a review that said it was for duplicating those stories where a wizard's spells last until someone discovers the hand that he cut off in an iron chest. So, does a small piece of the body count? How small? What if you then use magic to regrow it, does it still count as a significant part of you?

And another one - from the Realms of Power books, new magical system are introduce, Methods and Powers. How do they work when used by Hermetic magi, exactly? So the bonus is that they get to use the guidelines, but I don't really see anything regular magic can't do anyway, barring a few things like restore fatigue and transfer decrepitude. You need an appropriate Technique and Form, so you don't get anything there either. For that matter, how do you qualify? Do you just need the appropriate (Realm) Magic virtue, like Holy Magic to use the Holy Methods and Powers, and Chthonic Magic for the Infernal versions? Or do you also need the virtues themselves, like say Meditation and Wonders, before you can use the appropriate guidelines for Meditation/Wonders (thus making some of them the worst virtues ever)?

Last one: Is there any guidelines for what happens at each level of decrepitude? I know that when you get to 5 you die, but before that, are they any mechanical penalties?

Serf's Parma, but here are my answers:

Sort of. Glamour, iirc, creates what are essentially illusions that possess physical substance. The use of glamour to create 'bags of holding' is apparently acceptable as illustrated by a spell in 'Magi of Hermes' as well as the description of 'Conjure' (a related power described in RoP: F). As for your other suggestions:

  • The portal might be possible, but would require a Rome-sized target and would lead to an illusory (but solid) version of the city.
  • I suspect the healing power would work, but would be strictly temporary, easily disrupted, and would prevent the 'real' wound from healing naturally. Still it could be an OK standin for 'Bind Wounds'
  • Resurrection might appear possible, but you'd never know if it worked or simply created a Faerie doppelganger.
  • Mind-Control? No, but you could create illusionary people under your control though I think Anima Magic would be better.
  • See above.

Based upon the precedent set by 'Bind Wounds' and vitkar magic, I believe the wound automatically reopens once the spell expires.

It's certainly debateable, but I'd agree that a hand or indeed any discreet 'Part' of the target (as defined by the Target parameter of the same name) should be applicable.

I'm away from my books ATM, but here's how I recall it working: A magus with both Holy Magic/Chthonic Magic as well as applicable Method & Powers and etc may invent and cast spells making use of the Method/Power guidelines using his/her hermetic Arts scores in the Casting Total provided they pay the usual M&P cost (by enacting the Method). I'm pretty Faerie M&P work differently though...

In our saga we use a wiki to keep track of characters, the covenant, some of the activities of NPCs, etc. This allows each of us to do the downtime stuff independently, and then we meet roughly once a week for a face-to-face session. This seems to work pretty well. Having a wiki page for each year that lists what each important PC (i.e. at least the magi) are doing / planning on doing each season is really helpful. Our magi tend to plan a year or so ahead (with the plans obviously contingent on what happens in play).

You don't need anything very sophisticated for the wiki. The main thing (which practically every wiki code should allow) is that it allows you to create formated documents with hyperlinks between them, and that your troupe agrees to use a common(ish) layout for characters. It is also important that you can print out characters from their wiki pages in a sensible fashion, unless you are planning on using tablets or similar to read the wiki during your face-to-face sessions.

A quick question one of my players has; he's planning on making a Criamon magi, and would like to take the Spell Binding virtue, but would binding spirits like that and coercing them into helping work against the whole thing with Living Aptly?

I think they'd probably be OK with binding a willing spirit into service since they do something similar with their murdered primi. I suspect they wouldn't want to use the variant that tortures thye spirit by eroding its Might score, but then I kinda doubt most spirits would agree to that anyway...

I agree with Gremlin44 that it probably depends on what he actually does with the Virtue. Also, remember that your player does not need to make a good/ethical Criamon (from the standard Criamon perspective).