Auras and their bonuses

So, I've been thinking about something for a while, and I want the community to poke holes in my ideas, since I am not so good at that.

Should auras represent magnitudes, rather than raw numbers.
This makes +3 auras rather powerful, and also rather attractive. Maybe the magnitude adds to labwork but the total value of a +3 magnitude aura (15) adds to casting totals? One thing that's kinda bothered me is that auras above 5 are supposed to be dangerous. Somewhere I read something about powerful auras overcoming unprepared apprentices, or something like that. Take Durenmar for example, a 7 magnitude aura would add +35 to spell casting totals. Yeah, that's huge.

I dunno, this is thinking outloud. I think this could be interesting to play in, whether or not I actually do anything with this idea besides talk about it...

I'm ready for you to tear this to shreds.

An interesting idea. I wish I had enough xp as a storyguide to really analyze this, but my first ArM campaign is just now getting to magi creation. I look forward to the responses.

Are you thinking of magic auras only, or all types? I think your suggestion would make casting really difficult in a divine aura.

I'm just now digging into RoP:M. If you're using that source, you might consider how aligned auras will be affected. The auras aligned with arts could also be a way to make some or all of the auras in your campaign more powerful, and more likely to cause apprentices to blow themselves up, without reworking the rules.

First thing that comes to mind is that Magic Items will become really important, and spontaneous spell casting much less important. Try to spont with a -40 to your roll! And Aegis of the Hearth will be much higher, so you will want to think about the Magic Might of creatures you hope will challenge the Mages at home......

I was thinking about all types, to be honest, and yes, that makes other auras, especially the divine a pain. I consider this a feature, not a bug.
My concern with RoP:M and the aligned auras is that they are too specific and therefore play to specific characters' strengths. I'd probably never use aligned auras, if I used my idea for auras. If characters want to jack up their lab totals for their specific interest, that's what the rules for lab customization allow. I dislike, as an SG saying this Art is better here, while I recognize that things like this do happen, it's just not somewhere I want to go, it's a game, I have to keep a fairly even playing field, and I like it best when players don't all gravitate towards one Art.

I'm not sure where you get to -40, unless it is from a -8 infernal aura. I can get to -30 and -45 (Divine 2: =-235=-30, Divine 3:=-335=-45), but yes, you make a good point, again I consider it a feature not a bug. One of the interesting things, is spell casting becomes rather difficult in cities, or at least in certain areas of cities. But if the magnitude, say a +3 magnitude Divine aura were applied to lab totals, as I indicated above in my OP, it would be only a -9, not -45. It's certainly not highly desirable, but one could learn to function there, say a Jerbiton. I like that it differentiates more between the study of magic and the use of magic.

As presented by RAW, discussing magic auras specifically, I don't see that they add that much to the magic. A +5 aura adds one level to a spontaneous cast, non fatiguing spell. Your problem with the Aegis is one that isn't a problem, it's typically already solved by Wizard's Communion.

It is likely that all the auras in ME would get a good toning down. I might make the Aura Boon a major boon and it adds +2 instead of +1 to the aura. I don't know, again, this is talking out loud.

And that's because, of course, only unprepared apprentices botch :wink:
That's the real danger of powerful auras.

Anyway, the idea is not without merit, but it is too extreme IMO, especially as it makes spontaneous magic either really easy*, or totally impossible. I'd try with twice the listed bonus.

  • Say, beginner magus, aura 3, die roll of 5. He only needs a 10 in any Sta + Te + Fo to spont any lvl 15 spell. Less if he do it ceremoniously. And with an aura 4, all lvl 20 or less spells are available to a magus with a CT of 15-
    On the reverse, in a weak (lvl 02) infernal aura, you need a CT of 25 to spont a lvl 10 spell, requiring experienced (or specialized) magi. And it gets worse.

We kind of have the same. Only 3 aura levels: +3 +6 and +9. Not as extreme as your case, but still less granular and more extreme than the RAW. +3 auras are common. +6 auras are only in significant places (church altar area, covenant, lair of dragon, fae court...). +9 auras tend to be reserved to regios.

Your system makes positive auras really helpful and negative auras really detrimental. Would explain why magi avoid like hell the places with divine auras better than the rules as written. In a church, magi are useless, basically.


I understand your concern about aligned auras. I plan to use unaligned auras for the more common, known auras in my saga, such as the one around the covenant. Aligned auras would be something to be sought out, and once found, could be contested by others who want them.

I do like the effect of magic becoming nigh impossible under a divine aura. It helps explain why magi don't disrupt the fabric of mythic europe and prefer to settle in isolated locales.

Again, my thoughts are entirely theory, as I have little experience as sg, but I think the suggestion to double aura effects is a good one. It would make the effects more pronounced, as you want, without drastically changing the rules. You could say 2x for casting and 1x for study, preserving the diferentiation you desire.

The spontaneous casting in magic aligned auras is significantly easier, yes. However, you can't mitigate the risks of botching, there is always the chance for a botch with spontaneous magic that requires one to fatigue oneself, or you have Difficult Spontaneous Magic flaw. That risk is on average 1 in 100, but it is still a risk. Ars is the game of you can do anything, but forces players and characters to ask themselves, is what they are doing worth the risk?
Your commentary about infernal auras, is something I've already indicated I find to be a feature of the change.

Which is one thing that I though was a really interesting side effect. It answers some of the inconsistencies I've felt with regards to high auras. Why do I want a +6 aura, when the +5 aura won't warp my covenfolk. Because it makes magic much easier to cast, that's why. I find the hurdle of going from +5 to +6 to be really high now, as a player and SG.

Most of my SG experience is under 3rd edition, and running my only 5th Edition saga here on this forum. I don't discount your ideas because of lack of experience, indeed those who lack experience can sometimes have penetrating insight into something a lot of veterans might find axiomatic.

Indeed the theme of power having consequences is one of the things I like. Tangentally, one of my alltime favorite dnd characters was a fighter who retired at 3rd level. He had been through serious, scary stuff, but survived. He had wealth beyond most commoners imagining. He had married, so he settled down in the safety of a town. The benifits of further adventuring (wealth, power) no longer outweighed the risk (death) for him.

I am similarly concerned about the big jump in penalty without much benifit between a +5 and a +6 magic aura. +5, no warping. +6, warping. Perhaps only increase the effect of auras above +5, in the manner you described? Or make all auras generate warping points, just very few for low level auras?

And thanks. I do think I've got something to contribute, with 20+ years experience gaming in a variety of systems. And I have noticed that experience with rules can lead to a "you can't do that in your saga because its not in the rules" or "you can't do that because I don't do that." I just caveat that I haven't used some stuff in play yet. I'm trying to avoid fiddling with things I don't like until I've used the RAW more. For example, I was shocked, as were my players, that you can take unlimited heavy wounds without dying. Once we'd played through a combat, and we'd all seen how wound penalties cause future damage to increase, as well as how you can bleed out after a combat, we all loved this rule.

Ars Magica combat is deadly, and recovering from it is difficult.

Just remember the warping only affects the covenfolk, not the magi, since warping only happens if someone is aligned with the particular realm and magi are aligned with the Magic realm. However, as a player, I don't necessarily want a bunch of warped grogs and companions about. There's nothing wrong with it, and I can see where it could be fun to play in a saga with that, but the benefit is very low.

I tend to proceed with a conservative and restrictive interpretation, but allow players to come together and overrule me. That's the beauty of the troupe mentality, the players are as involved and responsible for the game as much as the SG is.

As a side notion, in our saga the following happens:

All magical things have the same type of might.
All aura's are the same.
Flaws related to specific aura's are removed

You can only cast spells up to 2x the aura in magnitudes, +2 magnitudes per pawn Vis you spend in addition to the usual cost.
Some places have, for instance, a general aura of 4, but an aquam aura of 6, this will mean you can only cast lvl40 spells, except for aquam, where you can cast lvl60 spells (and have 2 better casting total).

Now you can gauge the taste of an aura by the specialization, a 4 general, 8 perdo aura will probably not be a nice place, a 4 general 8 creo might be a lot better. It really helps second guessing the intent of creatures we encounter, not an instant "hey, an infernal aura, whomever we meet is suspicious" but more a "hmm, this has quite a high aura, what we meet might be quite powerful"

We do not like to keep track of warping all around either. In fact, we don't. Makes the bookkeeping experience less extreme.

Still the warping thing is making me think that you might get a warping point for each 5 or 10 XP invested in supernatural abilities. It might make for a more controlled warping environment AND make old magi creepier regardless of their flawless magic. And ot will warp those guys that go around looking through illusions or that can dowse for silver and water. Better atonement to the supernatural makes you less mundane at all levels :slight_smile:


Thought about this last night, and that you might like it. Maybe.

Another way you could do this is to have Aura effects scale like Arts.
That is:
Aura 1: +1
Aura 2: +3
Aura 3: +6
Aura 4: +10
Aura 5: +15
Aura 6: +21
Aura 7: +28
Aura 8: +36
Aura 9: +45
Aura 10: +55

This makes minor change for the more common auras (meaning that magi should still be able to cast spells in a lvl 3 divine aura, whereas, with your previous idea, they would be quite crippled), but means that the rare, most powerful auras are really, really precious or dreadful. Now, there's a real interest in competing for that lvl 6 aura instead of settling in the lvl 3 one.
This also makes that famous Aura Major Boon more desireable for players, and all the more so (there's an increasing incentive to by a high aura, but there's te warping!).

Of course, there's the problem of multipliers.
Either you make them 1*, either you keep their *3 multiplier (but this makes them dreadful), or you adapt another solution.

The easy one might be to pick the worse modifier. This means that divine auras are -3*Aura to magic up to Aura 5, and follow the table from there.

Another possibility might be to use each multiplier above one as a "+1" to the aura strenght from these purposes.

  • That is, a lvl 3 aura that penalises you by2*level under the current rules would penalize you like a lvl 4 aura (-10 to CT).
  • A lvl 3 aura that penalizes by 3*lvl would impede you like a lvl 5 aura (-15 to CT).
    Minus Half the aura would lower it by one level.
  • Thus, a faerie 5 aura would work as a lvl 4 magic aura (+10 to CT)

I'm not sure I would like it, but I sure find it more interesting that simply increasing the normal modifiers.
Hoping this'll interest you...

That's really interesting. Now the Aura at 10 is bigger than I imagined. I kind alike this idea.

To be honest, I was going to tone down the divine auras a bit, too. Not make them quite as large, or tone down their rating a bit. Aura 3 for an entire city seems...excessive, even when factoring in the pockets of lacunae. I'm more inclined to treat it as an Aura 2, with an area such as a church district in a major city pushing it up to Aura 6, but a block away it dissipates back down to the standard Aura 2.

I would make it dissipate at the end of the doorsteps. Makes making a speech from the top of the stairs of the church much more important, and makes the word "threshold" have a real impact in the saga. Our auras work like that in the area they cover. The aura 2 is generated as a whole by the churches of the area, but you cannot pinpoint its exact origin because there is none.

I like the aura bonuses working in an XP scale. However, going to a powerful aura makes success in almost any area easy. Aura 10 (project in the magic realm) equals inventing a powerful spell or creating an item easy. You could make the item auto-warped as a counterpart, but it works. Still, botch and throw 55 botch dice and well, I guess twilight is the most gentle thing that might happen to you.


Glad you like it, JL :smiley:

I figured that, the more powerful an aura, the scarcer anyway, such that even Aura 3 are the "middle ground", rare enough to be prized by magi, yet common enough that most covenants can find one (This explains why it's the "standard") aura for Ars Covenants), whereas Aura 8 is almost unheard of.

In Jonathan's original vision, lab work only benefited from the "normal" number, not from the enhanced one, which solves the problem.

I think this makes sense, in that creating something is an academic process that can be helped somewhat by a better aura, but comes foremost from your abilities.

For bothches, I don't think I'd change them (although, now that I think of it, I'm tempted to say that botching in hell sure warrants these 55 botch dices!).

My premise for this was that auras should be a bit more powerful than they are. I honestly don't see a significant difference between a +5 and +6 magic aura, or really any aura, under the RAW. RAW also indicates that +6 auras cause warping. OK, fine. For a 10% increment in power you get warping? Doesn't seem reasonable. Also, there are the stories of apprentices in powerful auras letting their magic get away from them.

In the revision that I originally proposed and The Fixer modified some interesting things occur. Apprentices who have just had their Arts opened have a very decent shot at casting some spells. In a +5 Aura they can cast any 3rd level spell, without fatigue. I think this makes some thematic sense. In a place where magic is strong they should be able to create spells and study how their Arts work. Same goes for the master. In the magic aura he can do things that he can't do in other places. He can reliably cast a spell and begin modeling its effects, creating a formulaic spell. Because it is easier to do magic, he can study the subtle nuances necessary to invent the spell so it works every time. More powerful auras make that process slightly easier.

Just thinking out loud.

Play with D6 instead of D10. Suddenly auras are important. Not for lab work, but that is because lab work is already massive with the ammount of multipliers working around.


I know you play with D6, but I don't particularly care to overhaul all of the mechanics.