creating a talisman

Hey guys, I'm looking ahead a bit to decide what sort of talisman I'd like, but I have a question about the shape and material bonuses- namely, can I combine as many materials and shapes as I'd like to make a final product, and get all of the bonuses of each component?

For example, how about a staff made of two different woods intertwined, inlaid with a precious metal and with a gem at the top, getting the bonus for both woods, the metal, and the gem?

You can include as many components as your Magic Theory score in any magic item. This becomes more important for the talisman which will likely have a number of different useful effects. The first season you attune an item as your talisman, you can choose an attunement (bonus from the S&M table). Every time you add an enchantment you can open up an additional S&M bonus.

Edit to clarify.
When I said attune an item as your talisman, I mean any item that your character has opened for enchantment or a fully invested device with an enchantment in it. You can't take a staff and call it your talisman, it has to be at least prepared for enchantment.

Yes you can, provided that your magic theory is up to the task. In fact Ranulf of Flambeau in Magi of Hermes has exactly this for his talisman

I suspect that you've already seen this, but for the sake of completeness let me clarify that you can get them all for enchanting an effect (limited again by your magic theory score) but you have to open attunements to get their bonus for spell casting (one per effect that you instill in the item , maximum of one per season) and you can only ever use one attunemnt at a time for spell casting. So if you've opened attunements for +6 to fire from a ruby and +5 for dead wood from a wooden staff, you'll still only get +6 to start a fire in a pile of dead wood, not +11.

Ah thank you so much! This is extremely concise and helpful. You guys are the best.

I think I had read somewhere that for a gem, you get a higher bonus depending on the quality. I can't find it though.. am I just imagining it?

Perhaps you aren't imagining it, but it isn't entirely explicit, either. The table suggests differences between semi-precious, precious and priceless gems. Those are generally undefined as to what constitutes a specific gem. Could a diamond with a lot of inclusions that is cloudy be considered semi-precious? Or are all diamonds precious or priceless?

Also, on compound items, read the rules for preparing them for enchantment on page 97. There are two ways you can open an item for enchantment, and for items it is really important to pick how you plan to do it, but for a talisman it is a bit less important as you can surpass the limits after it has been attuned as a talisman.

Yes, I'm trying to envision my future talisman, and don't plan to get this done for a while.. just planning ahead :slight_smile:

btw the table I was talking about is here on page 5: ... vities.pdf

Could someone explain to me the significance of the numbers in the table on the left (Material table)?

Yeah, that table talks about "quality" of the stone being semi-precious, precious and priceless.

So, what you have in the Materials table is the base number of pawns necessary to open the item for enchantment. To determine the total pawns necessary you multiple the base price times the size in the right section of that table.

So, a tiny priceless diamond is 20 pawns of vis to open (20 pawns x 1 size). A large wooden staff is 8 pawns of vis (2 pawns *4 size).
A compound item can be opened by the number of pawns equal to its largest single component or the sum of all components. For a talisman this is less common, as you can easily add vis into the talisman at a later time.

In order to open up a device for enchantment as an invested device (invested devices are the sort of magic item that can be made into a talisman) you must fill either all of the components or the component with the greatest vis capacity with vis (these are the options on p. 97 that Mr. Link was directing you to a few posts back). Once the device is opened (taking a season of labwork) then you can make it your talisman and or put effects in it. The material table and the size table immediately to its left show you how much vis it takes to do this. So your example staff with a gem, precious metal inlays and two entwined pieces of wood. Could be opened in two ways:

Opening the largest capacity piece of the item ( a precious (?) gem material value 15 size tiny *1) for fifteen pawns.

opening all of the pieces
a precious (?) gem material value 15 size tiny *1) for fifteen pawns.
Two staff sized pieces of wood (2) that are large (4) for 8 pawns each.
with inlaid silver (6) patterns that cover the entire exterior but don't have much volume (cal it small for
2) talking twelve pawns

This second option would require 43 pawns and (baring some relevant virtue) a magic theory score of 22 (not happening).

So under what circumstances would opening an item the second way be useful? I suppose if you wanted to invest 43 pawns worth of effects immediately that would make sense.. but can't you open a talisman slowly, over time if you want? So I could open the gem to start and get up to 15 vis worth of effects, but later couldn't I also open the wood to add an effect worth 8 vis? Or is opening it over time also affected by a large magic theory score?

Enchanting something that is not your talisman that will ultimately have multiple functions. For example, in Hermetic Projects, a ship. You can't add vis at a later time and open up an item that isn't your talisman for additional enchantment space without access to a Mystery Cult.

Oh okay, so we're talking about just invested items in general. But when specifically referring to talismans, would my example work?

I kind of answered this earlier, indirectly

You can add Vim vis to your Talisman at any time to provide additional enchantment spaces, the maximum amount you can add in a season is limited to your Magic Theory. The maximum amount your Talisman can hold is limited to your highest TeFo combination.
Adding Vim vis to a talisman is just like preparing it for enchantment, although I would allow a character to add an attunement in that season, too (can't recall if this is implicitly stated in the rules or not).
Now you don't later open the wood for enchantment, it's all one device once you've first prepared it for enchantment. As your talisman you just unlock attunements related to the shape and materials of your talisman.

The distinction between Pecious and Semi-Precious stones is an absolute distinction of ancient classification.

Ah I understand now, thanks for clarifying for me! I've played several other tabletops but Ars is it's own phenomenon.. sometimes I feel lost in the rules. I'm glad there's such a large, helpful community available to help walk us noobs through our misadventures.

As for adding an attunement- according to the book (I'm gonna start saying 'RAW say...' :laughing: ), you can add another attunement only when adding another effect.

Then what defines priceless?

Serf's parma (what one says on the forum if they can't reference the RAW), I am pretty certain think that's not correct. I think you get it for seasons where you add Vim vis (prepare for enchantment) or add an effect. I am going with 95% certainty here.

There is a lot of minutiae in Ars Magica. I think it's great in the downtime between adventures, but it becomes a bit of a hurdle to overcome in the adventures. It leads to discussions about whether one can easily span a 30 pace gap in a 100 pace bridge with a Rego Animal Base 1 effect... Those discussions are great here in the forum, but at the table they can be deadly, and decisions made hastily at the table can absolutely invalidate valid character concepts or at least undermine certain assumptions held when building a character. And those assumptions may have been held by both the player and the SG at the time.

um, that it is super-awesome-cool-fabulous :smiley:
I dunno. But there is no shade of meaning or variation or ambiguity there. A diamond is precious, no matter the size. So I suppose a Priceless diamond is well cut and has a respectable size.

So one could have a priceless semi-precious stone and a priceless precious stone...

Upon further inspection, I see that you may add an attunement "every time you prepare [the talisman] for enchantment or instill an effect", so I suppose simply opening it for enchantment does count.. but the text goes on to describe a theoretical magus attuning his talisman,


I think it would be possible to have a gem that is normally considered semi-precious be considered priceless if it were large enough and cut by expert hands. I imagine that a priceless diamond would have to be fairly large and expertly cut too, in order to not be considered simply 'precious'.

Welcome to the contradictory language of the text. :smiley: You'll find many of those kinds of contradictions in many places.

I would stick to the earlier phrasing rather than the part you quoted that was trying to exemplify the application of the rule, but it wasn't being quite inclusive enough.