Can a botch during Certamen trigger Twilight?

When generating an attack or defense total during Certamen, you roll a stress die. If you roll a 0, I assume you have to roll one or more botch dice. If you botch, what happens? Is Certamen spell-casting, and thus does it risk Twilight?


  1. Does he gain Warping points equivalent to the number of zeros on the botch dice (e.g. is he at a risk of entering Twilight)?
  2. If he botches but does not enter Twilight, does he have to make a Concentration check to maintain his phantasm in the Certamen conflict?

(ref p's 89-91)

Altho' Certamen is a "magical duel" (very 1st sentence), it does not appear to be "spell casting" per se. The duel consists of "shaping (the magical forces surrounding the magi) into phantasms" - but with whatever Te/Fo is chosen, so that's not using a standard Hermetic Imagonem effect. It goes on to say that these phantasms represent "the more subtle magical battle which affects the minds of the combatants", who are in trances at the time.

So, no - it does not seem to be "spell casting" in any traditional, standard Hermetic Tech/Form sense.

What, exactly, all that means re Twilight is not specifically defined. On one hand, any magical pursuits should have a risk - that's why magi get the big bucks. "Botching a mystical ability" is one of the listed sources of Gaining WP (p 167). Otoh, entering Twilight during Certamen is a double whammy - not only do you suffer the Twilight, you lose the Certamen. So, more dramatic, but more painful if/when. SG's may want to think the two sides through, maybe talk it over with their Troupe, and decide for yourself.

So, what does a Botch imply? Again, not defined. Since the mechanics use an "attack/defense/damage/soak" system, I'd apply the same effects as a botch during mundane combat. Concentration might well be affected by such a mistake.

As for warping points? Btr (p 168, col ii, bottom) it is indeed 1 WP per "0" on the dice for botching while invoking a mystical effect.

Yes, it can lead to twilight. As the hound says, mystical ability botches can lead to twilight. There are lots of mystical abilities in certamen, and vis use too.

I have been using the assumption that Certamen is a mystical manipulation of magical energies capable of causing Twilight.

I have an NPC Bjornaer Great Beast who underwent Final Twilight during Certamen a century or two previously. I say the NPC was originally Twilight Prone, and botched using Corpus Vis in a Creo Corpus Certamen. Now the Great Beast can assume human form - specifically the original person's form just prior to the Ritual of 12 years when they found their HeartBeast. The PC with Supernatural Nuisance is never quite certain what to do when she turns up, frustrated with her conflicting human/animal feelings (that'll learn the character to take Side Effect - "Gift is very appealling/attractive to nearby magical creatures" and hope to get a Vis factory from it).

In fact, I have been toying with the idea that, because the Certamen sort of entangles the two Magi (remember that the winning Magus can bypass the loser's Parma Magica with one "free spell", even if the other magus is unconcious), that the other Magus is at risk of being pulled into Twilight by the surging magical energies if they botch a Concentration roll. Well, sympathetic Twilight or some other mystical effect - say sudden initiation into HeartBeast or Daerie Magic or some such.
Hasn't come up yet, but I am keeping it in reserve.

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I've actually been toying with (but not yet trying out) a similar idea. Rather than the winner casting a free spell on the loser, I've considered having the loser automatically taking two warping points and having to roll for Twilight. It would make Certamen more of a serious contest and would make elder magi think twice about beating up on juniors. Sure, the elder would almost always win, but if he lost he could be in really serious trouble.

That is a really nice idea! Having to roll for twilight because the other magus makes the magic surge through you sounds epic enough :slight_smile: We can even have some weirdo Criamons challenging everybody to certamen right and left because they want to lose (and they can force some political agendas if they don't lose).


Though Certamen is visualised as phantasms battling, I tend to think of it as the magical equivalent of a WWI aerial dogfight instead of a chess game.

The two combatants are ducking and weaving, using the flow of the wind, shooting at each other and dodging the other's bullets, locked in a dance of aerial ballet. Once in a blue moon there might be a tornado that one combatant might accidentally fly into (ie suffer Twilight episode), and unless the other combatant pulls out of the duelling dance in time they too might fly too close to the tornado and suffer its effects.

At least that is my analogous interpretation.

Oh, come on! We all know what certamen is really like!...

Thanks! I hadn't thought of the Criamon angle but I like that idea. Mostly I'd like to make Certamen have the risky thrill of historical honor duels, rather than feeling like magical arm wrestling. If Twilight is a risk even the most experienced Magus will think twice before calling someone out to Certamen.

Yes, but why? Simply cast lots of spells in foreign auras, and be sure to be a real Criamon with Twillight Prone, then it'll happen all by itself with no need to involve others.
Heck, just cast CrVi R:Per for 1 Warping Point on yourself!

That doesn't work, Twilight Prone explicitly makes you check for Wizard's Twilight on one magical botch. Otherwise it'd be horrendously under-priced, as you'd be checking for Twilight every year you had a Longevity Ritual active.

Because he might want to send people to experiment the glory of the Enigma and find enlightment in twilight as well. :mrgreen: Altruistic motivation! Share the light! (Note that having an old school view" on criamons also helps in that line of reasoning)


It works just fine. Cr Vi The Enigma's Gift (ArM5 page 157) specifically says you need to check for Twillight. Although the spell as written gives 4 Warping points a lower level spell can give the 2 normally necessary or the single point for the Twillight Prone. it is easy enough to force upon others, altough it is a Hermetic crime!

Rules for Twillight (ArM5 page 88) also rules that Twillight is checked for whenever 2+ warping is gained from any single event rather than prolonged exposure. So lab accidents, yes! Longevity or using a shapeshift spell all year, no.

PS These days "Twillight Prone" sounds like a common affliction among teenage girls...

No it doesn't. Twilight Prone does not lower the threshold of warping points required to check for Twilight, it specifically lowers the amount of botches you need to achieve to check for Twilight. I made no mention of it being impossible to forcefully Twilight people, as you pointed out it is valid as long as you give the target 2 or more warping points. I specifically stated that having Twilight Prone and giving yourself 1 Warping point via a spell, does not require you to check for Twilight.

My bad, I did not actually read about the flaw only the Twillight rules and CrVi spell.

But. The wording about twillight Prone is odd compared to the more specific rules for Twillight. Page 88 states that gaining 2+ Warping from a single event triggers Twillight. The flaw speaks in terms of # Botches. Each Botch always equals 1 Warping. While only Warping gained from single events trigger Twillight, hence only normally Botches. And the flaw states that magi normally risk Twillight from 2 Botches, so it is not an unreasonable reading of the rules. Especially when the CrVi spell specifically states that Warping gained by a spell also risks Twillight.
IMHO the flaw Twillight Prone is poorly worded in comparison with the rest of the sources for rules regarding this.

BTW it might be a good idea - balance wise - to not use the interpretation that a single Warping causes you to enetr twillight. The CrVi for a single point is easy. And a Twillight prone magus is screwed if anybody casts a 6th magnitude spell or higher on him (BoaF or teleportation anyone?). Those are instances of a single event giving warping...

You forgot Longevity Ritual, being under the effect of a single magical effect for an entire year also causes Warping.

I don't see an interpretation problems, it specifically mentions botches because the designers intentionally (presumably, but also highly likely IMO) wanted to avoid making Twilight Prone broken, because if it mentioned Warping it would be more akin to 2 Major Flaws. I mean, can you imagine having to check for Twilight every year because you underwent the Longevity Ritual? You're in trouble either way, because either you don't undergo the the LR and therefore die faster (worse than Difficult Longevity Ritual by miles) or you'd be taking your chances with the Final Twilight (Meaning that comparatively you'd be putting yourself between Age Quickly and Baneful Circumstances from from Realm of Power: Magic depending on the luck of your dice rolls).

I don't agree that Longevity would trigger Twillight in my reading. I don't see it as a single, sudden event of Warping - like Botches or high level spells - but ongoing effects over an entire year, like living ina high, foreign aura.

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The Twilight rules do mention sudden warping, so I concede that long-term effects would not cause the Wizard in question to check for Twilight. But it's a hypothetical situation and really quite irrelevant.

The rules are pretty damn clear: Twilight Prone does not care about Warping, it simply lowers the number of botches required to check for Wizard's Twilight, even if the only thing botches on spells do is grant Warping, which can then trigger the 2+ Warping clause.

2+ Warping Points = Check for Wizard's Twilight.
1 Spell Botch = 1 Warping Point
1 Warping Point =/= 1 Spell Botch

As an extension thereof 2 Spell Botches = 2 Warping Points
Therefore 2 Spell Botches = Check for Wizard's Twilight
Twilight Prone reduces the amount of spell botches required to trigger the Wizard's Twilight Clause by 1.
Therefore (2-1) 1 Spell Botch = Check for Wizard's Twilight.

While I can see that it can be interpreted as:

1 Spell Botch = 1 Warping
Therefore 1 Warping = 1 Spell Botch
With Twilight Prone 1 Spell Botches = Check for Wizard's Twilight
Therefore 1 Warping = Check for Wizard's Twilight.

I think it's bad logic, in the same sense that you can't say a Rectangle is always a Square, because a Square is always a Rectangle. They're not mutually interchangeable.