Bonisagus Acclaim & Original Spells

Salve Sodales!

I approach you today with a question about Bonisagus Acclaim and how it is gained. Our troupe has two Bonisagi magi and they have now invented their first spells. The first question is about term "Original spell". To put it short: What do you think counts as an Original spell? A newly invented (even if it is experimented) Pilum of Flame isn't probably an 'original spell' and neither is a spell Similar to it. Is there anything "Original" left for Bonisagi to invent as spells? Or am I thinking this too strictly and even newly invented spells count as Originals and are thus worth the Acclaim?

The second question is about how fast Acclaim points are gained. If Bonisagus invents a 6th Magnitude "Original" spell, he gains 6 Acclaim points enough to raise his Aclaim to 1st level, but it takes 6 years for the reputation to spread through the House. If the Bonisagus invents 'just' four more 6th magnitude "Original" spells, he gains 4x6 more Acclaim points to total of 30 points which will earn him level 3 Bonisagus Acclaim given time for the reputation to spread. Level 3 being one less than the maximum Bonisagus Acclaim this sounds little too easy if newly invented spells count as "Originals". The result would be that any Bonisagus has maximum Acclaim in fifty years. Even so, it says in the RAW "This system of rank is called House Acclaim, and each type of laboratory activity is worth certain amount." Thus even inventing already invented spells again (at least if experimenting) should grant some Acclaim. How much?

To me the above system can be "simplified" to the following: Each Bonisagus gains one Bonisagus aclaim point per year, until their 50th year after apprenticeship. I don't like that. What am I doing wrong? What kind of improvements/HR:s do you have about the matter?

Edit: Added some c:s to "Aclaims".

I always thought that spells just outside the stated spells would be originally created, like a pilum of fire at touch range (even though that would be silly).

I think the most fun is in the overt, researching spells wildly different from spells in the book creates a wizard with a definable own style, like having lightning strike someone at arcane connection, this spell would be quite fearsome and creates some unique aspect to your magus. Problem would be sharing it however...

This isn't the first time folks have mentioned the rapid build of acclaim points to swiftly move up through the ranks of House Bonisagus. I think other groups half the amount of gained acclaim points, and enjoy this slower progression. I don't mind the quick accent toward "cannphori", the rank at which a Bonisagus maga must put her name in the random drawing that determines the five Colentes Arcanorum members. As I see it, this generates stories above all else, since a character doesn't really get much from having any particular rank in the House.

I based this on the political practices of the medieval Republic of Florence, in which the ruling council members were selected by lot and served for a limited duration. This theoretically meant that all those who had the chance to serve had to have some knowledge of the political machinations of the city. To me, this means that all Bonisagi need to have some knowledge of the Order, its cares and concerns, which reflects Trianoma's influence on the House. It might seem that House Bonisagus does not have that great a hold on the Order, but I think that is saga specific. They control knowledge, creating it and disseminating it, and this could have a huge impact on what they release and what they don't. I've run more than one conspiracy-flavored saga in which one of the Houses plots against the Order, and making House Bonisagus the "villain" was fairly easy to do. But, I'm rambling . . .

Finally, I would define "original spell" rather loosely. It is not "original research", and is more a creative, fun, or "cool" spell that isn't common in the Order in your saga. But again, I like that acclaim points are pretty easy to get.

Matt Ryan

Ah! As I can expect to be confirmed in-character as a cannophori just as soon as word of my brilliant accomplishments gets round the Order (anyone interested in a spell originally intended to permanently conjure horses that creates cows instead?), this is a topic close to my heart.

I have one question, though. Bonisagus magi get substantially more Acclaim for original spells invented with experimentation, but what about original spells that suddenly pop into their brains as a result of comprehending Twilight?

I think it would be up to the storyguide. We wanted to push experimentation, since the Original Research rules appeared in this section, so a character who experiments gets more acclaim than one who doesn't. To me, Bonisagi are researchers and lab rats, so I wouldn't award extra acclaim to a new spell that pops into a wizard's head because of a Temporary Twilight experience. Then again, in the four 5th ed. sagas I've run, I've yet to had a Bonisagus player character (or Verditius, for that matter) so my interpretation is theoretical rather than experiential.

Matt Ryan

Well, such a spell is probably borderline Hermetic at best - adapting it to normal Hermetic magic and introducing a new guideline should definitely be worth acclaim - though perhaps with the Criamon-alike aspects downplayed. "It was inspiration, Sodales. Nothing more."

In order to get any acclaim at all, the lab notes must be made available for the spell. Thus no acclaim for any spell that hasn't been worked out in a lab.

You can write lab notes from your spells, some 20 per point latin per season, serf'd parma (just read the thing about this term, so I will use it henceforth)

I was pretty much thinking the same thing - that's the way I worked it out.

I think I'll HR Bonisagus Acclaim like this:

Bonisagi will require ten times the usual amount of points for each rank of Acclaim. After publishing their work, they gain a third of the Acclaim granted by their work within the year, the next third at the end of the next Tribunal and the rest during the next seven years. It requires some bookkeeping, but there aren't so many Bonisagus around in these parts. (Two Bonisagi PCs in two Sagas with total of 12 "PC" magi)

Some of the Acclaim point sources for my HR:
Finish Training an apprentice grants 30 Acclaim points
Write an Art Tractatus grants Quality x5 Acclaim points
Write an Art Summa grants Level x5 Acclaim points
Minor Breakthrough grants 150 Acclaim points
Major Breakthrough grants 300 Acclaim points
Hermetic Breakthrough grants 'a lot' of Acclaim points.
Inventing an original spell grants Magnitude Acclaim points
Inventing an original spell through experimentation grants Magnitude x2 Acclaim points

Feel free to use/abuse/ignore/not to use the system. Also your opinions and improvement suggestions about the system are welcomed.

I am not entirely sure about the books, they seem a little odd to me. I mean, writing two tractati of Q8 is quite different from writing a level 16 summa, the first is way easier (anyone could do it, as opposed to needing a score of 32) and faster (the latter probably takes 3 seasons, if you are even able to do it).

I agree. I did't really consider those much, I just multiplied the values they officially granted by ten. Tractati might be better award differently. Perhaps with cumulative multiplier like this:

First tractatus from an art grants Quality x2 points, second x4, third x6, and so on.

The guidelines simply state that one acquires a new spell with a magnitude equal to the number of warping points gained. My assumption is that while the effect might be quite original it still falls within the normal parameters outlined by Hermetic theory.

I agree that most should be, but there's no need for them to be so. It's learning based on direct exposure to the Magical Realm rather than study and it doesn't have to be Hermetic at all. To steal an example from our saga, after a twilight involving the attempted desecration of a tomb of an Egyptian sorcerer-priest in final Twilight (Note to Sodales - casting Intellego spells on the body of a magus in final twilight which has been resting in the centre of a geomantic construction for 2000 years is a poor idea), our Bonisagus learned a spell for transportation in which the magus is turned to a sandstorm which flies unbelievably swiftly to the destination where the magus reforms. Our SG stole it straight from "The Mummy", but it's still a good spell, oozes flavour and is nonHermetic.

Making those spells a little different rewards the character, gives the player a new toy, and opens possibilities for new research and thus allows the shaping and pruning of a saga to a certain extent.

I definitely agree with you there, although I'm pretty sure it would be possible to fit that spell into the normal Hermetic rules (Muto Corpus maybe, with Rego, Auram and Terram requisites? R: Personal, D: Conc., T: Individual?). It seems to me that as long as it doesn't break the laws of magic, just about any spell you could possibly conceive of, no matter how original or unconventional, can be described as "Hermetic."

You could, I suppose, but Hermetic spells normally only do one thing with the secondary effects being minor or cosmetic. Crystal Dart is, of course, the exception and it's really a legacy spell. Doing multiple things tends to make people start handwaving and talking about requisites and extra magnitudes for complexity. (Dealing with a spirit, if you don't have a mystery which simplifies matters, requires seperate spells for warding, summoning, binding and banishing - and arguably also spells for exorcism and the like, depending on context)

Still, spells which use nonStandard ranges, durations or targets are always good fun. A spell gained from an Infernally sparked twilight might grant the target Blood, for instance, which is the same level as voice range but requires the target to be marked with the caster's blood and actually functions so long as the blood is wet, regardless of range. Dangerous for a magus, but potentially fun.

Correct me if I'm wrong but as I understand it, according to the RAW, T:Blood refers to the Target and his/her bloodline, not (as you state) any requisite for applying blood to the target nor its state of wetness.

Quite probably, but that's a different target - I was making something up on the spot to make my point. Call this the Blooded target then. ::shrugs::

True, but in the example you cited it seems to me that the spell does indeed only do one thing, i.e. transport the magus very quickly from one place to the other. The transformation into a sandstorm appears to be a secondary effect to me, although I don't suppose it would be much fun for anyone standing in the way...

This'd probably be a duration, not a target, as "until blood dries" is a good, sort of weird, and very dark measure of time - well suited to the nastier sort of fairy. Yes, I know it's irrelevant to the discussion at hand, but I just thought it was a cool idea.