Building Magical Human as Companion (Help)


In the Saga I am running, I intend to give one of my players a magical human as a companion.
Specifically, it's idea is based off the Stoneskinned (RoP:Magic p.95).

However, I am having some difficulty using the book to build the character:

  1. It is not mentioned in the RoP:Magic instructions of how to build a magical character how to assign virtues and flaws?
  • Do you do it as normal, on top of the Qualities and Infiriorities?
  • You do it instead, using the same points?
  1. The idea of sapping the advancement totals but then using xp to buy qualities sounds over-complicated and stupid:
  • You need 10 "generic" xp to buy a minor quality, you can buy a minor quality that gives you 50xp to spend on abilities.
  • What is the real reason for sapping the advancement totals of magic characters?

I would very much appriciate a response from someone who has read RoP:Magic. and especially of those who actually put those rules into play...

1: I believe it is mentioned in the section on character creation. I'm pretty sure it's the same as for a normal character and completely separate from Qualities and Inferiorities. I'd have to double-check the books when I get home tonight to verify this, though.

2: There are several threads about this, including a very recent one. I pointed out that 10xp for 50xp abuse a long time ago. We just never allow that Quality to be picked. The idea behind the deduction is explained in the book. Magical creatures are inherently static, meaning it is hard for them to change at all. This unchanging idea is echoed in TMRE.

Both, really.
Magical beings can have ordinary virtue and flaws, via the normal system.
they can also take virtues as qualities and flaws as inferiorities :slight_smile:

Please note that every time a magical being recieves XPs, it subtracts it's Might score from the source Quality.
This means that (if your companion have an even half-decent might score) it'll take either a pile of XPs or a pile of Vis for said companion to actually acheive those 10 XPs

Only the developers would know, but I suspect balance purposes

The idea is that only mortals can easily change and grow.

Given what a multi-millennial critter could develop with unrestricted learning, that's probably a good idea.


First of all, Thanks alot to all who replied!

So basically by making a companion who has magic might of 10 I am creating an upgraded mythic companion?

  • 10 points of virtues for 10 points of flaws
  • 10 points of magical qualities
  • the ability to get more qualities for infiriorities
    On the other hand - such a character would be hard pressed to advance (thou rich chars can actually advance fester I think)

About the unchanging flavor: You got me thinking now thou... The way I wanted to design that race of stone-people is that they do age, change and grow (Thou instead of dying they end up a statue).
In that sense they are a kind of mortal people, just magical in nature (Some more, some less. some are "touched" by regular stone, and some by semi-precious gems. This one is a very young "precious" one).
Now I'm thinking weather I want the character to actually use the rules for magical character advancement...
I dunno - even thou such a char would start somewhat over-powered his advancement would be lame which would make for a rather static char (which I am not sure a wise thing for a PC)

Do you have any suggestions for me?

  • Running the char according to the book rules
  • Make the char take the Magical qualities with the same pool as Virtues, but remove the xp. sap (Aligning it's power with other companion level chars)

RoP:M isn't really made to construct characters who are both magical and at the same time have worldly ties, like riches, or worldly concerns, like advancements in worldly knowledges and skills. Have a look at p. 51f for that.

HMRE or RM are - troupe allowing - a far better base for such companions, and do not need as much tinkering with the rules for them.


Hi! Glad to help. That sounds fun. The Stoneskinned make me think of the trolls in The Hobbit. :slight_smile:

You do it as normal. Magic characters are built just like regular characters, except that they take a Special Virtue to give them their Might Score. (You probably want Magic Human.) You get as many points of Virtues as you take Flaws, and remember that you have to take a Social Status. Part of taking the special Virtue is that instead of getting a pool of experience points based on the character's starting age, it gets Magic Qualities and a more limited pool of experience points based on its season, because magic characters generally don't get as much experience as other characters. You can gain more Qualities during character creation by taking Inferiorities, and that's the only way to increase (or reduce) the character's Might Score once your starting level has been assigned.

Magic Qualities are like Virtues, in that during character creation you only get a limited number of them, and you can't buy more with the pool of experience points you get from your season. During play you can exchange experience points for more Qualities, but getting those experience points is much more difficult, and you should probably have some sort of story justification for how the new Quality matches the character's essential nature.

I'm not sure what you mean by "real reason." Do you mean the story reason? Like, why it works that way in Mythic Europe? Well, magical creatures are developing towards perfection, in a sense, becoming more and more the essential thing that they are. This tends to make them timeless and ageless. If a dragon is a collection of dragonlike qualities, a Might 50 dragon is much closer to the perfect dragon than a Might 10 dragon. If we imagine there exists an absolute ideal, a perfect dragon, any further transformation would only alter that perfection, and that can't be done without losing some of that draconic magic that makes it perfect. Such a character would never grow or change at all, and has nothing left to learn. As magic characters become more magical, they move closer to this state.

Or do you mean the design reason? Basically, it is to balance them against other characters. I wanted to make it possible for all of the players of an Ars Magica game to play any of the magical characters in the book, but the tradeoff for having shield grogs made of living stone is that they don't tend to learn new tricks and get better at fighting over time. They are kind of front-loaded with cool powers, but as the story unfolds they usually fall behind as the focus shifts to the characters that can grow and change. I often recommend playing magic characters as companions in very high-magic sagas where the players are more interested in their magi, and they tend to work well when played by players who have very socially-oriented magi (the Gentle Gift), since they will usually want to play their magi around mundane people, and their companions will take center stage in more Mythic situations.

That's right. Though the Wealthy Virtue wouldn't really help a magic character, because generally speaking their problem isn't free time. :slight_smile:

It sounds like you want a magic character that doesn't have very much Might, so that it isn't penalized as much. You can always take Reduced Might a few times to drop it down to around 3, say, which also gives the character a few more Magic Qualities to better define its magical nature. Then just have it proceed as a typical character, accepting the penalty to study totals and making sure you avoid Acclimation.

If you wanted to try and balance the character against other characters without a penalty to experience, you might be able to do it with Virtues and Flaws. Perhaps Magic Human gives it a Might Score of 0, and each additional point of Virtues you spend gives it one more? That doesn't give it any powers, though, and I worry the character would be kind of boring to play.

This is relatively easy to model to do, even without giving them Magic Might to begin with. Assuming you want to design a grog template to represent any member of this Stoneskinned Tribe, then you need to do this within grog constraints. All the members of the Stoneskinned Tribe will have these VFs and skills, so it is important to leave room for individuality.

Example 1: Grog Template:
Personal Power (for a Doublet-like ability plus an Invisible Sling of Vilano affect)
Variable Power (or the Flaw Deteriorating Power)

Monstrous Blood: Thing (possibly some sort of Muto X (Terram) power that turns everything it touches into stone)

Significant Skills: (Available to these characters at birth) Local Area Lore (Stoneskin Tribe History), Finesse

Other Virtues you might choose:
Magical Blood: Human
Magical Blood:Thing
Voice of the Mountains

Other Flaws you might choose:
Anchored to the Mountains
Baneful Circumstances
Environmental Sensitivity
(Form) Terram Monstrosity
Servant of the Mountains (it's the Mountain Spirit that turns them to stone for failing to do perform)

(And that's just using RoP:M)

You can use Magical Inferiority: Reduced Might to the point that you only have a single point of Might, and thus only have a single point removed from your XP total per season. So long as you can find a wizard to keep casting spells on you to avoid acclimation, you avoid aging like normal humans and still advance pretty much like a normal human.

Seems like a pretty munchkin thing to do though.

This makes the character an egg-shell, as he is super-vulnerable to Magic Realm equivalents of Demon's Eternal Oblivion.

I think Amul's idea, having some Magic Realm sourced Virtues and Flaws, but not actually having Magic Might makes for a more reasonable and easier to play character.

A 1 Might Magic creature does not seem any more vulnerable than a companion level character with no magic resistance at all. Sure, there is a particularly effective spell that can splat them, one that practically any Hermetic Magus can spont. But practically any Hermetic Magus has a spell to deal with a human with no magic resistance, and most companions don't have any Magic Resistance.

No argument there. It was just that people were talking about Magic Might as if it was an insurmountable barrier with regards to XP growth, and there is a fairly obvious way to overcome it.