Casting Tools and Combat

I have searched the forum for "Casting Tools" and Combat and found nothing useful and a simple search for "Casting Tools" yielded 27 pages of results which i did not read entirely so please forgive me if this has been asked before:

I have found both the core rulebook and Mystery Cults to be lacking concerning the details of Verditius casting tools.
Is it enough to touch these casting tools in any way? Like have them hang on a cord around your neck and touching you skin underneath your robe or armor?
Or do you have to hold them in your hand?

I have a concept for a Verditius magus crafting a magical weapon, shield and armor and going into combat but that concept would be severly hampered if he could not cast any formulaic spells during combat.

Do any other books offer any insight and/or is there a consensus formulated here in the forum?

I'd support having them on your person. Without Deft or Subtle magic you might have other penalties too though. Can't recall an official stance.

I have seen a similar problem - A Merinitas mage who carried around a large amount of charms to use with her formulaic spells.

Our troupe put a limit on the number of charms/casting tools/doohickeys and gewgaws a person could have on them at one time, reasoning that you can only have so many pockets. That being said, at least casting tools have the option to summon them from your laboratory.

I definitely think casting tools and charms need to be in ones hand as the spell is being cast. For a warrior magus I recommend "The Blessing of Starkad" MoH pg 49.

  1. The Legerdemain Ability might be worth acquiring, if you plan on using small casting items. A suitable Item of Quality that provides a decent bonus to Legerdemain rolls could be of additional help. While it wouldn't remove the problem of juggling weapon, shield and casting items, it should give you a way to be skilled at doing it.

  2. Careful/Clever choice of Talisman & Casting Tools. If you can attach the casting tools to your talisman (charms on a bracelet, for an example), you would be considered to be touching them, no?

  3. Is it be possible to use a tattoo as a casting tool?

  4. Skip Formulaic spells and rely on items with effects for most of your combat magics. With the Elder Runes mystery and good MT/Philo scores, you can cram a lot of effects into a couple of items assuming you can get the vis. For those few Formulaic spells you feel you must cast in combat for whatever reason, make the casting tool a ring or something.

Casting tools are arguably the easiest part of the build, as these are defined by the player. As ironboundtome suggests, casting in melee, without Deft/Subtle or still casting is the biggest challenge because of the need to make Hermetic Gestures. In addition, the concentration rolls necessary to cast while in combat are formidable.

I made a Verditius who focused on melee combat for one saga. He turned into Buffy McBuffington. He buffed everyone and everything he could. He would do OK in combat, but he was far outclassed by the companion knight in the ability to deal out damage. His magic was able to keep the knight going longer and was often employed in that regard. He did very little casting in combat, due to the concentration requirements, but he had a few spells he could deploy at the beginning of combat, if appropriate, one of which was Blade of Virulent flame.

Thank you guys for your input. It does indeed seem that Casting Tools are my least worry.

Two followup questions concerning the following scenario i had in mind when asking my first question:
Scenario: My Verditius magus is armed with sword and shield, in combat and about to receive a crushing blow. He wants to fast-cast "The leap of 50 yards" (a variation of "The leap of homecoming" with a shorter range and thanks to having the spell mastery ability fast casting for that spell)

  1. Having a casting tool for this spell as a ring on one of his fingers should do. Since there are not that many spells that need to be cast during combat, up to 10 rings for those spells should do. Casting tools for spells that are cast in a more "relaxed atmosphere" can be in other forms and stored in pockets or something like that.

  2. Concentration: The table on page 82 of the core rulebook does not list that situation, but i would say that an ease factor of 12 akin to "Dodging" should be sufficient. Agreed?

  3. Rules for fast casting spells say that a firm voice and bold gestures are mandatory. So would you say that fast casting while wielding a sword and shield is impossible? What about just a sword and no shield? Not having anything in your hands cannot be a requirement for bold gestures i would say, i never read anywhere that you had to drop your staff to properly cast a spell. What about subtle gestures (which would not enable fast casting)?

If that sword happens to be your talisman, you should even be able to fast cast while holding it.

The ArM5 p.49 Minor Hermetic Virtue Subtle Magic is your friend, if you expect to ask such questions often.


Sure, 12. 12 is "Hard." Putting that in perspective, a lot of magi have a stamina of 2, reasonable to presume a combat magus such as this might have a 3. Concentration skill of 3 would cost 30 XP (or virtue point for Puissant, and 5 xp) would give you a slightly better than 50% chance of being able to cast a spell during combat. 3 is an attainable score for many characters just out of gauntlet, but I would suggest that there are other abilities that cry out for XPs and/or Virtue points more than concentration... You're going to fail to cast spells a lot. Also, if you fail a concentration roll, you automatically fail the spell. Technically, failed spells cost fatigue, and that failed spell must still have a botch check, with an additional botch die added to it. I can see an SG might overlook something like that, but it is RAW, nonetheless.

You can't use subtle gestures while fast casting unless you have taken Subtle Magic virtue or still casting mastery, which makes it moot. Fast casting requires bold gestures, if you can't do it, you can't fast cast. Does that mean you can't cast the spell? I suppose it becomes somewhat important that you define all of your spells' gestures, and how they are made, and with what hand. Trying to design all of one's spells to be cast with sword and shield might lead to situations where the SG slaps down some of your ideas as overly gamist.

Your build is entering into territory that is normally handwavium, because magi have [strike]meat shields[/strike]grogs so the concentration roll is treated as an automatic exercise (I only require concentration rolls when not defended by a grog). Further, I tend not to concern myself when a magus has their staff (or other item that is their talisman) and presume that they can make the necessary gestures with it in hand (they've attuned it, it's reasonable to believe that they've developed a method for incorporating their talisman into the necessary Hermetic gestures for their spells). If it's an item that isn't their talisman, and it occupies both hands, I might enforce a no gestures penalty. As an SG, I'd take it as something of a courtesty if the build took Subtle Magic, which is a great virtue for combat builds.