# aura math

Some young magi found a covenant in a beautiful valley with a level 3 aura aspected to Herbem, clearly a natural aura. Then they each go out and find a familiar with a might of 10 or higher, adding 1 preternatural tether each, adding in total a preternatural aura score of 5, bringing the total to 8 after the familiars have all been in residence for over a year.
So is the level 8 aura still aspected to herbem? Or are only three levels of it aspected to herbem?

I would start by addressing your premise: Does adding 5 familiars to a covenant necessarily raise the aura by 5? I would say it does not.

RoP:M p. 10 states that: "Some kinds of magical beings, which may be animals, plants, ghosts, elementals, and so on, form tethers. [...] Other kinds of magical beings do not generate an aura, but are often instead dependent on some other Magic aura (such as that arising at a monument) for their abode."

I take from this that binding a familiar, even if it resides on the covenant forever after that, may or may not have any impact on the local aura. I also think it would be a complex Magic Lore check for the magi to have a definite answer.

Secondly, if we go back to the examples on page 9, we find a few things regarding the example preternatural tethers:

• Many of the example preternatural tethers are listed in plurals: water elementals, semi-sentient trees and dryads, fire elementals and fire-breathing dragons, frost giants, air elementals rather than the singular - In fact, the only examples listed in the singular is about a single existing dragon, which is a mythic enough creature;
• The one example covenant site (Durenmar) has a lot of preternatural tethers, but none of them seem to arise from the actual familiars of the magi of the covenant;
• All the examples that pertain to aligned auras have appropriate creatures generating tethers, not random ones.

Now that I've covered that familiars, even plural, don't necessarily generate a preternatural tether for a site, I'll go back to your initial question, which is whether bringing several magical creatures (familiars or not) into an existing aligned aura which subsequently generates preternatural tether, would impact the alignment of the aura. I would globally answer: It depends. Some familiars or magical creatures would be a good fit for increasing the aura and keeping its alignment. Obviously, dryads, treants and other magical plants (in the case of a familiar, this could be a mandrake of virtue) would be a definitively good fit due to the aligned aura for increasing the tether score. A tribe of magical bears or other woodland animals, part of which are wild, part of which are familiars to the covenant, might positively impact the aura and not disrupt the alignment so long as they live in respect with the local plants. A poison-spreading basilisk, however, would probably disrupt the local aura alignment, because at some point, if your plants have trouble growing, it's hardly an herbam aligned aura anymore - and you could decide it does so without raising a preternatural tether. On the other hand, if the basilisk keeps within the wizard's tower, and the plants are unharmed, it's a different story, and he is probably simply not factored into the local aura.

Just my two cents.

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Wow you managed to hit every talking point without adressing the main issue of the question, which is not about whether a familiar has to raise an aura, or about how to destroy the allignment of an aura, but about if the animals are neither sympathetic nor antagonistic to that aura- perhaps they are imagonem alligned- does the aura get a split score (3 herbem 5 regular) or does the unalligned aura simply conform to the herbem allignment it coexists with, or does the herbem allignment get diluted by the greater amount of unalligned tethers...

I admit I have a tendency to get distracted by side points too; I wouldn't let a familiar raise an aura of a covenant myself.

But to your question: I don't think the book explicitly or even implicitly has an answer. It's kind of a judgement call. But given your offered premise, I would say the aura should be treated as 8 (11 herbam), no or 8(16 herbam).

Focused just on your question, the first paragraph in the 'Aligned Auras' section includes an example in which multiple tethers capable of producing an alignment are within an Aura (one an Art and the other an Emotion). It tells us that while both are used in calculating the 'Base Aura Score', only the stronger one is "discernible". Since the same paragraph tells us earlier that "No aura has more than one special aspect", that would imply without specifically stating that only the strongest Alignment causing Tether would determine the Alignment of the aura.

My view is your aura would still be aligned to Herbam as long as the tether for it is the most powerful. Since your example had that one as a 3 and all of the others as a 1, your aura would retain its Herbam alignment.

In 5th edition there are no levels of alignment. That was a feature of 4th edition, where they were called aspects and it was possible to have multiple ones in a single aura. So to answer your second question it would be aligned with Herbam and provide the full bonus. You could include a HR to use the 4th edition style aspects instead of the 5th edition style alignment if you would rather a more nuanced system.

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IMO, for ease of bookkeeping and by extension gameplay, alignment should be all or nothing. Not every tether must be linked to the Art or other alignment for the aura as a whole to have said alignment. Also, presumably, the aura has had that alignment for quite a while so a relatively new tether is unlikely to overpower it unless somehow that single tether is much stronger than the tether(s) that are linked to that alignment in the first place. So whether an alignment is lost would probably be a judgment call on the part of the SG but I’d probably usually say “no, the alignment stays.” And I would probably give natural tethers a bit more weight in that determination than preternatural ones.

This doesn't exist in fifth ed as far as I know. You either have an alignment or you don't. You could conceivably make regios, some aligned, some not, as an alternative.

The Muspelli have something similar to it - when they decrease Magic auras, the aura simultaneously gains a point of alignment to Trolldomur magic (Rival Magic pg 92). The same section also states that if an aura is aligned then the first thing it loses is the alignment, though, so there's no possibility of multiple conflicting alignments.

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I would start by pointing out that as I read the rules in RoP:M, the situation you describe cannot occur.

Specifically auras dont increase or decrease in strength within a year. For an aura to increase in strength according to the rules presented in RoP:M takes years, even just for a single point of increase or decrease.

Next there is the question of whether or not tethers stack the way you need them to. Do you 5 creatures with suffcient might to create a tether score of 1 on their own individually, create a tether score of 5 together? IMO no, instead they would at beast create 5 tether scores of 1, none of which stack. Otherwise you could get some pretty strong auras out of relatively weak creatures living together. The point of this system as presented in the book is that creature can not create an aura strong enough to sustain itself (i.e. to prevent losing might from acclimation). If we allow tethers to stack in the way you presume they do in your post this would be easily possible (for creatures of low enough might to subsist on auras of strenght 5 and below).

I know that you are probably tempted to dismiss this as beside the point of your main question but it matters.

First of all it matters how quickly the aura changes, because if the change takes years or decades there is also enough time for the alignment of the aura to slowly fluctuate and change. This makes for a much better aesthetic in terms of how the rules create a game world that makes sense. It allows us to avoid situations where the solstice comes around and suddenly the aura is 5 points stronger but lost its alignment to herbam. Instead all of these changes will have to happen somewhat gradually and there will be signs and portents in relation to such events.

It also matter whether or not tethers stack, because a herbam aligned aura og strength 3 that derives from a tether with strength 3, which then increases to strength 1 from the addition of 5 unstacking preternatural tethers of strength 1, creates an aura of strength 4. In this case it is still majority herbam.

If we allow the tethers to stack but also take into account that the change from strength 3 to strength 8 will take decades and tons of unforseen events from changes in the environment, composition of auras and local variation it is impossible to give a consistent answer to what happens. Auras are not homogenous if they dont get all of their strength from a single tether. To use the scenario you present I would venture that the tethers generated by the 5 individually comparatively weak familiars (weak in the sense that they generate weaker tethers), would create a localized area of stronger magic around the place where the familiars live (probably the covenant), and in this case the most likely scenarios, that I foresee are:

1. The aura strength remains +3 aligned to herbam in the larger valley. The covenant has a local aura strength of (eventually) +8 with no alignment. I say the alignment is lost because locally the aura is not meaningfully dedicated to herbam.

or

1. The covenant is forced into a regio with an (eventual) aura strength of +8 and the wider valley which remains a normal aura (i.e. no regio), with a strength of +3 and an alignment to herbam. In this case the unaligned but stronger aura created by the presence of the familiars was forced into a regio because of the conflict between the herbam alignment and the lack of herbam alignment.

All of this is of course assuming that nothing changes in the likely decades that it will take for the aura to increase in strength. Which is a pretty big assumption.

RoP:M specifically indicates that preternatural contribution to an aura equals the strongest preturnatural tether (which the might from magical beings is considered) plus 1 for each additional preternatural tethers. Your conclusions are directly contradicted by the rules presented in RoP:M.

It comes down to reductio ad absurdum. If Euphemism logical explanation reaches that result, it means familiars are not "Some kinds of magical beings [that] form tethers".

Now, I believe Form Tether should be a Virtue or a Quality, minor or major.

I am curious. What exactly is the point of asking a question, then telling everyone who attempts to answer the question that they are wrong? If you didn’t want contradictory input, why did you ask the question?

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While not fully spelled out, there is an example on page 15:

For this example to work as written, the new Aura would be 7 and would be aligned with Auram.

Meanwhile, there is only one way aligned Art-aligned Auras apply casting, labs, etc.:

So the example Aura would give the additional +7 for a total of +14.

In your case, however, there remain some questions. This is because of the lack of clarity in your second sentence. You said "a familiar with a might of 10 or higher," but you didn't say how much higher. If one of these Familiars has a Might of 31+, it is stronger than the total of the natural tethers for sure. If such a Familiar would provide an alignment, then that would be the new alignment. Meanwhile, we don't know if the whole of the natural 3 is aligned to Herbam, or if maybe there is only a weaker tether aligned to Auram, such as a 2 aligned to Auram and a 1 not so aligned. In such cases a weaker Familiar could still overpower it. And there could be a tie, where the book hasn't made anything clear except that only one can win out.

So, assuming none of these Familiars win out, you've got an Aura of 8 aligned with Herbam. But further information is needed to know if any Familiars win out.

Because I was looking for an actual answer, such as what Troy wrote, not what somebody simply decided is how they think the game should be go in complete contradiction to RAW.

Which would also mean, in theory, if the two sets of tethers do not cover the same area, that the same covenant could have one alignment through most of the covenant but a smaller area with a raised aura of a different alignment... though that would be odd in terms of boons and hooks for the covenant.

That would depend on if you read the smaller and slightly higher area as a separate Aura or not.

If you consider them the same Aura with the area slightly higher as just a "Patch of stronger aura" (like result 13 on the Strengthening table) then they should share the same Alignment since "No aura has more than one special aspect".

If you consider them two different Aura that are impinging upon each other, then yes they could each have a different Alignment. From the way you wrote your post, that they are two different sets of tethers that do not cover the same area, I am leaning towards this. You are correct that it would be odd in terms of boons and hooks for the Covenant, most likely relying on an SG decision into how much it would cost.

I guess it depends how tighly built the covenant is. In a home game, the main covenant site, located in a mountain valley pass, has an aura of 5, with an "infertile" or sterile alignment. An adjacent regio, within the actual mountain, was later discovered to be aspected to Terram, and the covenant expanded. In practice, it required a second aegis, since it had separate boundaries. I suppose that logic could apply to neighboring auras acquiring different alignments due to residing creatures, over time

There doesn't seem to be a lot of information about overlapping auras of the same type and how their tethers might interact... I mean there is the impinging aura modifier towards aura growth, and whether (and how) two separate co-habitating auras would interact, since either of them strengthening will tend to stimulate the other one to grow as well, versus their merging to create a higher base aura.

Okay, to think this through- start with a basic uninhabited valley in equilibrium- two natural tethers of base 1 and 2, base 2 is herbem aligned. As such it has a level 3 herbem aura. A might 20 magical creature moves in, builds a nest, and within a year establishes a strength 2 animal based tether.
now: quantum 1 the tethers simply add- this has an aura of 3 but a base aura of 5, meaning a +6 to fluctuation upwards. stress die rolled, a result of 9 means the aura increases by 1, otherwise an exploding die is required, for a final result of 9-14: roughly a 13% chance of increasing, so in 7 or 8 years it should reach an aura of 4, and eventually a level of 5 with a +3 aura modifier, or a regio splits off (do regios take tethers with them? I don't see anything about this)

quantum 2: the tethers align to separate auras which overlap. This puts a balanced aura 3 and a new aura 0 with a base aura of 2 and an overlapping stronger aura, giving it a +8 to increase, but presumably the increase will only be apparent in areas outside the main (stronger) aura. As it increases the upwards mobility drops to +5 and +2, and it won't likely increase to become more powerful than the level 4 aura- unless the magical creature has children whose might eventually add to its nest tethers, in which case the situation could eventually be reversed, but the total aura would never get higher than the highest base tether (barring outside intervention such as someone establishing a covenant...)
It is also unclear if a 13 on the table then counts the wider aura or the higher aura as the number to compare the base aura strength to- given that this is a stable condition in covenants to have such an established area of increased aura I have to assume the effect is permenant.

To answer your last part, the line you are looking for is the second one of the opening paragraph of both the Strengthening and Weakening Tables. "Unless otherwise stated each outcome is temporary, and lasts for at most one year."

Between "Quantum 1" and "Quantum 2", 1 seems far more likely. I am not even sure 2 is possible, since you are adding tethers within an already existing aura. The way two Magic Aura would impinge is that they started as separate aura with space between them and eventually over time one or both grew in size (result 14 on Strengthening) until their edges meet. At that point you would have an area of overlap between them, where the stronger would be dominate and the weaker would gain a bonus to its strengthening rolls because it could pull some of the fluid vis from the stronger.

EDIT: This came up in the thread about creating a floating island refuge. Originally to get an aura the OP wanted to create four "Great Towers" spread around the island, then use Hermetic Architecture to grow the Auras in size. The problem was that it would be four separate Auras. The solution was to instead use a more powerful spell capable of creating a Preternatural Tether when Creoing the island into existence.

For an Aura Alignment it is not clear whether the strongest Tether which could cause an Alignment is what determines the Alignment or the strongest Tether of all of them (which would result in no Alignment if it was not one which would cause an Alignment). Looking over the section again and thinking about it, I am leaning towards it being possible for an Aura to have an Alignment based on the strongest Tether that could cause an Alignment, even if that Tether is not the strongest Tether of the Aura (i.e. any stronger ones would not cause an Alignment).

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