Building Finesse in to spells/devices

OK, so Kevin's character makes a wand that chucks pebbles. That's cool, it's a ReTe effect. Then he adds in extra Finesse to the LED (apparently you can do this?) to get a+24 to aiming rolls. One assumes the carry over from an aiming roll adds to damage as with weapons? As a result the +5 damage stone becomes a lethal weapon, for very low level enchanted device. So a couple of questions really -- can you build Finesse in to a spell or device, as I don't recall it anywhere in the rules, and does carry over from aiming rolls count for damage totals?

cj x

I don't remember any rules for adding finesse to magic items either. the closest I can think of is magic Items of Quality seem to add their bonus to the roll (That's in Mages of Hermes, mentioned as flavor but not hard rules under the section on one of the Verditius mages).

Not that i can recall.

There is , afaik , no way to include any Ability in an enchanted device.
Can't give you a definite core rules answer as to where , atm.
If it is not listed as an option in enchanting a device , then you can't randomly add Finesse (the ability) to it.

There is probably a spell that includes a +01/+02/+? Finesse increase in magnitude ,
but that is not a bonus to a Finesse roll for the actual spell.

Amazon Sorceresses can build Finesse itto their enchanted items in much the same way that Hermetic Magi add Penetration. Perhaps, he could integrate it as a Minor Breakthrough?

I certainly doubt it. There's nothing about carry-over amounts in the Aiming section. Mundane combat has Attack Totals, not Aiming Rolls.

Cheers chaps. :slight_smile: I thought something was wrong here...

cj x

I thought the Aiming Roll was the Attack Total/Roll, or substituted for it if you prefer. Do you allow Defense Totals/Rolls against it? If so, it would seem to follow the Attack/Defense thing an carry-over would occur. If not, it would seem you have an automatic hit (with high enough Finesse) that cannot be resisted.


Sounds like a potential idea...

ArM5 p86 under Aiming notes that the aiming total is treated as an Attack Total as per combat rules p171. Nothing here specifically says that the Defence Total is subtracted and the remainder is an Attack Advantage which is added to damage to be soaked. Though it can be interpreted this way, since the event is described to be like Attack Totals. The text on p86 just says that if the "attack" hits, the spell affects the right place. Nothing here about degree of succes...

OTOH non-resisted ReTe spells which chucks rocks at a target are described the same way damage.wise as normally resisted missile spells lile BoAF, as a "+x damage". And the rules for non-combat damage says you add a stresd die to the damage and it is soaked by a stress+Soak.

I'd play ReTe spells in the latter way, like all spell damage. The Aiming part of the magic just lets you avoid Resistance, it does not hit harder/better IMHO. But I gotta admit I hadn't really thought about this before.

And if there were rules allowing Finesse to be added into an item, I suspect it would be found in HoH:Soc under Flambeau, since they have some option for fast Trigger effects. Or perhaps HoH:MC, Verditius, but that chapter seems to be more concerned with their mysteries rather than universally known options. And personally I'd prefer to be without this option, but Integrating it from Amazon Magic would be difficult enough to merit it.

I don't believe adding finesse into spells has been stated as raw, though it has been used. Conjuring the Mystic Tower, and Silvery Scales of the Knight, both use an inceased level for a lower finesse roll, or no roll at all. But they are both crafting magic. I can't think of any examples of using it to increase the accuracy.
Adding the excess from the attack roll to damage seems right to me. It's never come up, but that's the way i always assumed it would work.

After thinking about it, i'd probably allow an incease in level to give an increase in accuracy, maybe +2 per magnitude. Comparing a guaranteed hit (like Wielding the Invisible Sling) or take your chances (Invisible Sling of Vilano) with an accuracy bonus, i don't think it would get more extreme than other spells of a similar level.

To me this makes no sense. If you treat it like an Attack Total, then you should apply it against a Defense total and figure out the Attack Advantage. If not, you're not treating it as an Attack Total, but just as a regular Finesse roll. But if that's the case, why would the rules say anything about an Attack Total in the first place?


My read is that the rules say to treat it as an "attack total" so that they don't have to repeat the formula for a person's Defense Total when describing the required Ease Factor.

Note that the quotes around the phrase "attack total" are actually in the rules. What could that possibly mean, except that they don't mean for the Aiming Roll to be interpreted literally as an Attack Total? I agree that the rules could be interpreted that way, because they're sort of vague, but to me the intent is clearly for an Aiming Roll to be success or failure. As was noted above, the damage is still rolled against a Soak roll if it hits, so the defender will have her chance to avoid injury.

How does this make any sense? There is only one thing an Attack Total is used for: determining Attack Advantage. If you don't do that, then you aren't using the Aiming Roll as an Attack Total. Or, if I rewrite the interpretation being suggested, the rules essentially say something to the effect of "the aiming total is treated as an Attack Total Attack Total as per combat rules p171, but completely ignore the previous half of this sentence." If so, why even write the sentence at all?

So, no I really don't see the use of quotes there indicating the statement should be ignored. I don't know why quotes were used. I suspect the though was that you don't use the normal values that show up in an Attack Total but use the values of the Aiming Roll instead. I still wouldn't have used the quotes, but that make some sense while also not entirely negating the sentence.

Edit: They could have written that the target number for the roll is the Defense Total of the target, but they didn't. Also, the extra die for +damage is supposed to be rolled when you don't have an attack (as per 171), but we have an Attack Total here so there's not supposed to be another die for damage. (Also, in a metagame sense, that would be rolling two dice for both the offense and the defense. Ars Magica is trying to avoid such multiple die rolls to streamline combat.)


I agree. The intent seems to be that the Aiming 'attack' just gets you a binary result. Either you hit or you didn't. If you hit the spell has its effect. You discard the 'Attack Advantage'.

Don't forget that what a 'hit' actually means depends on the spell --- some Aimed spells cause direct damage but others cause other problems. Opening a pit up under somebody doesn't directly cause damage, for example (although subsequent falling might).

Having said that, there might be a few occasions where it is a good idea to keep the 'Attack Advantage'. For example, if the spell effect you are Aiming is a ReTe "sword fighting" effect used to animate a sword --- then it seems reasonable to carry the Attack Advantage from the 'Aimed' attack over into normal sword damage resolution.

This is also true for weapons, so I don't see how this should imply a treatment other than the normal treatment of an Attack Total.

It would then be reasonable to have it carry over for an archery effect, too, right? And then if for archery, also to a sling effect, right?


No it isn't. With a weapon the Attack Advantage means "how good a hit you got". It's hard to see, if the spell effect is "open a pit under the target", how the hit can be more or less 'good'. Either the pit is under them or it isn't.

Could be. It depends on the context of the specific effect and your troupe's definition of "reasonable". If the effect literally uses 'Aiming' to fire a bow at a target, sure. If the effect is just dropping elephants on the target, I'd be less convinced.

ArM5 p 171: "Damage Total = Strength + Weapon Damage Modifier + Attack Advantage"

ArM5 p 181 "Non-Combat Damage Total = Damage Bonus + Stress Die"
also: "These rules are also used for calculating damage inflicted by spells."

Attack Advantage has no impact for spells.

Let's take that first sentence: Don't forget that what a 'hit' actually means depends on the [spell/weapon] --- some [Aimed spells/weapons] cause direct damage but others cause other problems.

Yes, that would make it explicitly true according to ArM5.

As for the second sentence, what if your pit is a large hemisphere? How far the person falls depends on how well centered the pit is, not just whether or not you placed the pit under the person. Even with a cubic pit, you might not want the person right by the edge because it may give them cover you don't want them to have. No, I don't find it hard to see more or less good when opening pits.


So LoM explicitly covers situations where there is just success or failure, too, via Attack Advantage.

Thus my statement "this is also true for weapons" is 100% correct.


Your conclusion does not follow logically from what you quoted. More properly, you should have written "If the spell is not combat, Attack Advantage has no impact for spells." Attack Advantage is explicitly "combat" while things like BoAF are not. Look at the two statements together: 1) you use the 181 rules when not using the 171 rules, and 2) this includes using it for spells. Using Attack Advantage for spells does not violate a single statement there. But if you use Aiming rolls as an Attack Total, you have gone to the 171 rules (combat), and then you are not supposed to use the 181 rules. Using the 181 rules would then violate the first of the two statements. If you use a non-aimed spell, then you don't use the 171 rules, and everything tells you to use the 181 rules.