Comments on some F&F new virtues


Dark Magic is an awesome virtue, especially as minor. It belongs with a (happy) few "why am I not taking this" virtues. There is a reason, but small: The magic shows up as unholy to the divine, but only when the virtue is used. This would be great as a major virtue too. Aura can always provide bonuses? Never adds botch dice? Wow. Cast spells in the cathedral; hell, set up your lab there. And think of all that vis...

Then we get Feminine Sympathy, which is well and good... except that it sneaks in a rules change (clarification :slight_smile:) about how faerie sympathy works. Specifically, the entire roll becomes aligned with the Faerie Realm. In even a mild Dominion or Infernal aura, sympathy is now worse than useless. In a magic aura, there's a tradeoff. Sympathy was probably too good before when appropriately used (that is to say, optimized :slight_smile:/2) but is now implicitly nerfed to the point where the original text might as well not have been written. Sometimes takebacks are ok, I guess. This is the modern game design way of doing it without admitting it (D&D has been doing this for a long time).

These 2 virtues were created for a specific character; if you want sympathy to work outside of a Faerie Aura you must take Dark Magic.

Some math got lost on the way to AM5; I may have mentioned this before, but the change to sympathy reminds me: Back in the days of AM2 or AM3, iirc, aura penalties were always -Aura, iirc. We now have -Aura*3 or worse. We got here become varoius troupes did not like the way these penalties had little effect on Hermetic Casting totals (based on TeFo.) But the effect on Supernatural Abilities was ignored (or worse.) Faerie-based Shapeshifting simply doesn't happen in the Dominion, for example; 1 in 25 attempts result in calamity. Faerie-based (or even Magic-based) Second Sight in a cathedral? Best to keep your eyes shut tight, lest the SG ask you to roll to see something. (You have a Per+SS of 8, but are -12 for Aura penalties so... oh dear, a triple-botch... check for Twilight, loss of SAN and no, you don't notice anything wrong here...)

As for Feminine Magic.... it feels weird that it only works on human females. Weird and wrong. The goddess/faerie Hera, say, ought to be included if we're going for truthiness. For example. So should all those Amazon ghosts. If anything male treats your gift as blatant and anything female treats your gift as gentle, that's kind of 50/50, so a minor virtue is not out of place.



Can you please describe for me a situation where you might roll Feminine Sympathy in an infernal aura?

Is it really going to come up that often? If you know your character is going to be spending a lot of time in an infernal aura then perhaps choosing another Vitue might be in order.


Hmm, maybe I wasn't clear: The description of Feminine Sympathy adumbrates the rules for sympathy in general. That is to say, the original rules did not say that the ordinary ability roll became aligned with a realm; these rolls therefore would not receive bonuses or penalties in different Auras or be subject to additional botch dice. The rules simply said that each botch that did occur would inflict a Warping point. The rules for Feminine Sympathy say something quite different. I suppose that could be unique to Feminine Sympathy, but that would also be strange.

So my issue isn't "oh no, Feminine Sympathy is only useful in a Faerie Aura and is otherwise a good way to die fast" but "oh no, the explanation of Feminine Sympathy in F&F indicates that every sympathy is only useful in a Faerie Aura and is otherwise a good way to die fast." Oh, and since I forgot last time: It also leads me to wonder whether negative sympathies also align abilities with the Faerie Realm; if so, there is no such thing as a Minor Sympathy Flaw; you're better off with Twilight Prone.

Now, the author(s) might correct my (mis)understanding.

FWIW, there is one nice side effect to the new ruling: The best way to now use sympathy is for a character who spends a lot of time in Faerie Auras. Since using a sympathy is now aligned with the Faerie Realm, the way to optimize is to:

a) Take a sympathy and bring it to a score of 1, maybe 2. More isn't that useful.
b) Take a second sympathy that encompasses the first as a major, using the usual rules.
c) Since these rolls are now aligned to Faerie, using a Sympathy also nets you +Aura. (Which is why wasting more xps on sympathy is less worthwhile.)
d) Profit.
e) Take Dark Magic and really profit. Note that it allows supernatural powers to be aligned to all realms, so using a sympathy score of 1 aligns an Abilty and then adds a nice Aura bonus anywhere. Of course, this is almost certainly not RAI. And what, using this makes your magic unholy? Queue Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil...."

slow grin

Agreed, it's great. But...

...and get lots of botch dice and warping points because you misread the Virtue you took. Your magic doesn't align with the Divine. If it did that, too, yes, it would probably be worth a Major Virtue. But, fractionally, how often are you casting in a Faerie or Infernal aura, especially one strong enough to offset your Gold Cord and maybe Cautious Sorcerer? And it's less worthwhile if you have Faerie Magic or Chthonic Magic. I think it's best when you have non-Magic Supernatural Abilities as well as your Hermetic Magic so something's always in the wrong place.

Yes. I caught that, too. I'd already wondered before F&F if that were intended, but it was only upon getting F&F that I'd read any strong indicator of it.

Ah, everything except Divine. That's what I get for having many books arrive all at once. This does make more sense, thematically. It is still a great virtue, though not transcendentally awesome.

I am not very fond of Chthonic Magic, as previously discussed; Dark Magic provides just about all of the 'safe' benefits of CM. It also provides most of the benefits of FM, and these benefits are sufficient to be considered a minor virtue in themselves in C&C. So it isn't for everyone and does not break the game.

Most starting characters have to worry about casting in Faerie and Infernal auras due to botch dice; a DM does not. Having Infernal penalties become bonuses is great. Being able to use Infernal vis just as well as an infernalist is fantastic. And yeah, CS with gold cord and maybe mastery removes many botch dice, but often not enough, especially for that huge necessary vis-boosted spell; a starting magus probably lacks a familiar and might well not have CS, which is also a great virtue. I think I'd rather start play FM+DarkM (it occurs to me that DM is also Diedne Magic :slight_smile:) than FM+CS.

I agree that it does work best with Faerie-aligned supernatural abilities, and also works fabulously with Magic-aligned supernatural abilities. (Magic-aligned Second Sight in an Infernal Aura.... not a Virtue.) It works nicely with Hermetic spell casting. (Anyone who takes SFB will have at least one Faerie-aligned ability.)

I also agree that a magus who manages to keep out of Faerie and Infernal places gains little from this Virtue, now that you pointed out my misreading of it. OTOH, so much happens in Faerie and Infernal places, and there's so much wonderful vis.

I do feel better about it now. It is an awesome minor virtue, and there ought to be some of these. Weak as a major.