Creo and Finesse rolls

So, this came up recently. When creating an artificial item using Creo, the core rules say to use Int + Finesse to determine it’s quality. Specifically: “An Int + Finesse roll is made to determine how good the created thing is.”

Does anyone foresee a problem with just replacing Int + Finesse for the Craft Total in the guidelines on page 67 of City & Guild?

I’m inclined to think that without a botch Creo shouldn’t make shoddy items. From ArM5, page 77 “unless the magus botches, magically created cloth will always be a whole piece and keep people warm, but it might not be very attractive if he rolled badly.”

Any thoughts?

Hmmm, interesting question.

After actually referring to the RAW... (always a good plan)...

The book (Techniques, Creo, p 77) says that Creo involves 2 types of effects, and that on 2 different types of objects - it can "both create and heal things" (and that includes "improving" things that already exist), and it can effect "Natural Things", and "Artificial Things."

This would seem to imply that, so long as a mage is "somewhat familiar" with the item, they can produce a respectable example of it with magic, using Finesse. And/or, they can "improve" an existing (mundane) example, improving it to a superlative example of its "type". However, since such "artificial" products are not "Natural", the "ideal" can only be pursued, never attained.

Creo uses (in part) "Platonic forms", the ideal, an image that springs less out of the mundane and more from the mind of the mage. Thus, "Finesse" deals with Magic, and so is unbounded in a way that mere Craft (even for those Gifted) just wouldn't duplicate; however it is limited by the imagination/familiarity of the mage. The one is manipulating tangible mundane tools in a familiar and methodical process, the other the more mysterious and instantaneous interaction of mind and magic.

I'd feel that a mage with an appropriate Craft skill could certainly be expected to produce a better end-product than an otherwise identical mage without, even one "familiar" with the item. And obviously, with complex items, a mundane with Craft, who knows the material in question, would produce a more reliable product than a mage who knows generic "magic" but is ignorant of the subtleties and/or intricacies of the desired item.

Otoh, remember that the method of "production" is not the same. The mundane method will produce a functional result, but the magical would almost always produce an esthetically pleasing result, even if not a functional one.

Take a bowsmith. There are secrets of making a good bow- where to cut the wood, how close to the pith and heartwood to shave it, how to use the heartwood to improve its strength, how to account for irregularities, item-specific knowledge that "Finesse" would not duplicate. Some good (not "great") bows are not smooth and even, and can be crooked if there are small knots in the wood to correct for- but they can be corrected for! However, Creo magic avoids many of the obstacles of mundane imperfections with the raw materials, and skips directly a visually idealized end product, even if not one that is optimal for the desired task. (Not functionally idealized, since it is an "Artificial" thing, not a Natural one.) So, magic would produce an exemplarily beautiful, but perhaps disappointing bow if the mage isn't "somewhat familiar" with bows.

Or, take a shipwright. A boat is obviously far more complex, and one created by a mage who is naive of boat-building techniques* could create a boat that floats, and one esthetically pleasing, but hardly fast (and possibly quite un-seaworthy!) But, depending on the wizard's sigil, it would sure look good!
(*How much familiarity is "somewhat" with such a thing as a large sea-going ship is another question.)

To me, Finesse alone accurately creates the desired end-result, but a generic or visually idealized example. Practically speaking, the better the mage can accurately picture that final result in their mind, and in sufficient technical detail and not just "fake it", the better that result. So, I guess it depends on exactly how well that "end product" can be imagined, and Craft would give concrete images to model the magic upon.

So, yes, I'd say that Finesse could replace the Craft roll, but with many products, having that Craft as well could add something to the roll as well, and perhaps something critical. A Gifted Craftsman who magically creates an item should produce an "ideal" masterwork item, while a mage without the Craft would produce an idealized but otherwise average example, quite possibly less functional (but perhaps "prettier") than that created by an equivalent mundane craftsman.

(I'd consider adding Craft (or "half" the value?) to the sum to determine the end result, but again, Creo'ing a wooden bowl and iron spoon is far different than Creo'ing a Viking longboat.)

I agree. Finesse and magic are at least as good as a Craft skill. Sure, the magus might have no knowledge of mundane boat-building, and may never have set foot on a boat, or even have seen one. But if he has enough Herbam, he has a more complete working and theoretical understanding of the potential of wood than a veteran shipwright, and if he has enough Finesse (or can bypass the need for Finesse with a spell whose effect is to make a boat), that serves at least as well, even--especially!--if the magus has to make an unusual kind of boat.

(Parenthetically, I also suspect that Finesse itself is a vestige of older versions of the game that could (should?) have been removed along with Aimed spells. Some spells that are able to do detailed work have increased magnitude built right in. A similar mechanism could be adopted across all spells. The one I'd favor involves penalties to the casting roll for extra detail.)



In the Covenants book it says when using magic to create something, the Finesses roll is always 3 higher. Just my little contribution.

I would allow a Magus who actually has an applicable Craft skill to (either) reduce the difficulty by 1 per point in Craft, or to simply roll Int+Craft instead of Finesse. One or the other, I haven't tested it yet.

Serf's parma, but I believe the rules in Covenants are for using Rego magic to create something out of raw materials. Creating an object ex nihilo via Creo magic is slightly different.

Um... than what? :confused:

You would allow someone who is only good with their hands and mundane implements to use that skill to manipulate magic? Sounds like two entirely different sets of "tools" to me, but whatever. So long as your players are happy, that's the key. :wink:

I didn't notice that I was going 180 degrees against canon above, when I said that a magically created item with a low roll might still look good, but be only marginally functional. Using Platonic Forms and the concept of a "mental image" as a starting point, I would think that with a poor roll, the aforementioned "piece of cloth" would look right, but would unravel or rip easily or be too loosely woven to keep someone warm, etc. That is, I would think that the appearance would be idealized, but the flaw (from the low roll) would be in the details, the mechanics, the "workings" of the thing, the "complexity" that makes it an artificial object rather than a natural one. The mage pictures the perfect item visually, but just doesn't understand it very well.

If so, with Craft vs Finesse, a low roll with the first would turn out an obviously marginal product, but with the second the flaws would be only practical, not aesthetic.

Meh. Dealer's choice. Not the most radical houserule/interpretation I've ever seen.

A simple solution could be to use the average of the two.

Serf Parma but as it as been said i remember too that the rule in covenant concern Rego instead of Creo. The +3 when using finess is, +3 to the EF of a craft skill to do the same task. So a Dex+craft EF6 become an int+Finesse EF9. I gladly allow the magi in my game to use their craft skill instead of finesse. That give another edge to the veriditus when they craft items in their specialization.

I don't know exactly how to handle Creo. I would be incline to use the same rule (the +3 to finesse or the craft skill) even though i know that Creo isn't Rego...

It's true that it's for Rego, but in this case it would seem to make sense, since it implies that a poor Creo Finesse roll means a poor item. Might as well take adavantage of a similar rule right?

The Finesse roll is 3 higher than the difficulty that a mundane craftsman would have when trying to make it mundanely.

With using the craft, it's basically the extra and intimate knowledge of an item's form, function, and design that allows him to make greater connections with the Platonic ideal. It still would need to be tested. On further reflection that would mean that someone with a 3 Craft, trying to make a Finesse roll would be able to ignore the +3 difficulty, but still he would be rolling Finesse, not Crafts. That keeps it magical, but gives a bonus for knowing a similar skill.

Personally I have always made it so that a crafter gets a penalty of -3 to his/her finesseroll if they do not have the crafting skill.

If they have the skill they use that with a bonus of +1 for every 3 levels of Finesse (rounded up)