Detecting Arcane Connections, and a Lab Helper Virtue?

As a House Rule, I came up with the following guidelines for detecting AC for my future saga.

It is based on the idea that longer-lasting AC being stronger, they are proportionally easier to detect:

  • Level 3: Confirm that a known arcane connection to a touched object has not expired.
  • Level 4: Detect an unknown arcane connection that is currently being used to channel a spell of magical effect to the target. Since the connection is active, the range of this guideline is to the target, not to the arcane connection.
  • Level 5: Detect an unknown permanent arcane connection to the caster himself. The spell provides some indication of the nature of the arcane connection (e.g. a lock of hair). The strongest unknown arcane connection is detected first. If more than one arcane connection of the same strength exists, a random one is detected.
  • Level 10: Detect an unknown arcane connection of Indefinite duration to an object touched by the caster.
  • Level 15: Detect an unknown arcane connection of Decades duration to an object touched by the caster.
  • Level 20: Detect an unknown arcane connection of Years duration to an object touched by the caster.
  • Level 25: Detect an unknown arcane connection of Months duration to an object touched by the caster.

Feel free to adjust/modify/ignore them to fit your saga.

As opposed to the others I find this virtue to be perfectly fine. There are not many INVENTIVE geniouses out there. And frankly, if I was in the lab doing MY original research I would appreciate someone that was extremely versed in being helpful more than a chatty dude that makes me feel inferior to his bright mind. Same bonus, but the first one I would try to keep forever and the second one would might be incinerated in a "lab accident" after a while if I am a specially proud magus (quite a few of them are).

The fact that the virtue is not the most extreme optimization does not make it less interesting or useful for a character. For a benchmark, Leonardo Da Vinci or Archimedes are my idea of an Inventive Genius dude. I doubt that there have been more than 5 of them in the history of the OoH, 2 of them being Bonisagus and Notatus.


Those two you mention are the two you know of. There are countless others who might have been just as inventive, but less famous, or more focused. Who built the Antikythera mechanism? While I don't disagree entirely with your premise behind your understanding of Inventive Genius, I don't see it taken all that often, and it is usually appropriate to the character. I dislike the idea that a lab helper has a bonus, unless there is some character behind it. If it's just a means of adding a number, I'm not in favor of it. If it is a means of telling interesting stories, even vignettes, then all the better. I like the idea of a know-it-all lab assistant who might know more than the magus. I like that he has motivations, and perhaps some power to get the magi to do something for him if they want his favor. Sure they could ReMe him to make him do whatever, but perhaps that destorys his bonus.
It's not that I find the idea behind a bonus overpowering. It's that I find it relatively uninteresting, with the potential to be put on a specialist character that is little more than a number himself.

I must have missed my communications roll.
I thnk a virtue lke this is fine - and unnecessary, as it IMAO already exists.

About Inventive Genius; it's a Hermetic Virtue thus it shouldn't be available to an unGifted character. However, Xavi's idea of a chatty, know-it-all professional lab assistant just brought this character to life in my head. So I'm giving it to him and he's going to be insufferably proud of it.

Now I'm curious as to how long it will be before he suffers an "accident"...


I've been hawking this character around for a bit...but check out Ysebrand in the Canaries are Dying saga here on the Atlas site. It's my take on the failed apprentice concept turned up a notch. He's going to try and become a Venditor for a Verditius. Once his history becomes better known, I can envision some fights over what he's doing. And yes, he will be an insufferable know it all, communicating it effectively and efficiently and with maximum impact.

Too low base for such an incredibly broad and powerful effect. "Arthur" might be going a bit far the other direction at the highest but it´s still a better suggestion i think. Combine his level 10 and 15 to a level 10 and the 20 and 25 for a level 15 base and it´s quite workable.

Not sure if i ever made up something similar. :confused:

The bonus is so narrow so +5 sounds just fine.

I have Minor Virtue "Diligent lab worker" give a bonus to all lab work, with a Major version "Lab rat" giving twice the bonus. (the bonus in my version is +5, which probably translates to +3 to be roughly equal to RAW levels(my Inventive Genius gives +8 to anything new))

My concern was based on the phrasing of the proposed virtue, that it is designed for an assistant character, and while it is narrowly defined, the character possessing the virtue receives no benefit from the virtue. A good teacher can go almost anywhere and teach. What does the lab assistant get? If he's used as a number, without anything story related, well, I can't imagine he's treated well. If he's an actual character that's fleshed out and played by someone in the troupe, and he can barter his lab assistance, because he's brilliant (+5 Int) skilled in MT (5 or higher) and is an excellent assistant (lab helper/lab rat) adding at least 15 to the LT, I think that's worth something, and something more than an apprentice can actually expect, because he is employed in his profession, not just learning it.

Quite true. But unless either players or GM are exploiting it or letting it be exploited, it´s a very good Virtue to have around. Or you could make a general one like what i have, but that messes up the RAW numbers a bit one way or another.
Still, a magi focused on lab stuff taking my Lab rat Virtue or similar is something that tends to work well so personally i think RAW is waaay too stingy with the lab bonus Virtues.

As far as getting bonuses to the lab total, I think customizing labs is the way to go.

My basic attitude to Virtues is, if there isn´t one for a specific bonus, then there needs to be one made. :wink:

A hardcore lab focused character obviously has both Virtues and a hot rod lab.

That's fair. He should probably have Puissant MT and Affinity with MT.

I don't have a problem with a virtue adding something to Lab Totals, but I can see it being min-maxed by Bonisagus and Verditius players, natural lab rats. The more I play 5th edition the less enamored with the mechanical virtues I become, unless a player takes those as a springboard for making interesting stories. Why does that specialist have the lab rat virtue? Just what is his story? If it's just numbers on a page, providing additional points to the lab total, I'm not excited about that.

On the subject of detecting arcane connections.

Doesn't the AC link go both ways? What about an InIm R:Arcane Connection T:Group? Perceive the nature of all your AC's.

I never understood the arguments that arcane connections only go one way.

The principle of magic involved relates to this:

If you break up object A into two pieces: B and C. B is arcane connection to C and C is arcane connection to B. The relationship should not be different because one is bigger to the other. So hair or blood from your body is arcane connection to you and you are connection to it.

This means you should be able to detect anything arcanely connected to you since the connection is two way. The question is what level.

I would get a PeVi at AC range, with a large group (group+X), momentary could destroy all arcane connections to you except perhaps the fixed ones and InVi should be able to test for those.

If only we knew for sure! It isn't obvious that they do.

That would work, assuming A.) symmetry of ACs and B.) No more than 10 or so ACs.

I'd allow something like this, with the following guidelines: PeVi: Base 30, +4 for Range: Arcane Connection, +4 for a special Target in line with the Symbol Target from HoH:MC. For a nice round level of 70. Of course it'd need to be a Ritual, for the level, and again to be in line with the Symbol Target.

So, IMS, it'd be something that just isn't done very often. It might be something to do if you've been served with a declaration of Wizard's War, or suspect you're about to be served with one. Of course, if an enemy happens to have an AC to you behind their Aegis, you'll have to penetrate that. Good Luck.

Also, if you have any Lesser/Invested items floating around that you haven't yet decayed your Connection to, I hope you don't mind losing them.

For something like lab total, it doesn´t really matter if a character is min-maxed, generally it only means they can make slightly better things or make them slightly faster, so i tend to be generous about it.

All character choices doesnt have to be a story or exciting. :slight_smile:

No, but it should be interesting. You have a lab helper specialist, he has 5 Int and the Lab helper virtue and a MT of 5. He adds 15 to your lab total. You have to feed him a pawn of (some form) vis to keep him healthy. Something like that. Or he's Jewish. Or something. This is Mythic Europe, your lab helper (who is kept holed up in the lab 2 seasons a year, at least) should be suitably warped, in some fashion.

As far as a virtue that just provides a dedicated lab assistant I'm apposed.

IMS lab assistants have to be companion level characters(or better), apprentices, or familiars. There are Virtues & Flaws that provide an NPC loyal to a pc (Ghostly Warder, Dependent, Mentor, True Love, Ect.) I suppose the NPC could be created capable of serving as a lab assistant. I might allow it but those characters will all come with extra baggage that makes them a bit more then just a bonus. (One of the characters in my current saga is actually a spirit of knowledge and magic that serves as a super lab assistant. As I have posted before yes his name is Bob, no he doesn't live in a skull)

Another way to look at it is that an Apprentice's major benefit is as a lab assistant. Apprentices are a fairly significant in game accomplishment. Even then apprentices have some downsides. They (usually) have to be trained to be useful, they suck seasons away from their parent, and they only stick around for 15 years. A dedicated lab assistant seems to be better then an Apprentice. For me a virtue that provides such a resource to a Magus and does nothing else would not be the best addition to the game.

This is not necessarily part of ArM5, however. The Laws of Contact/Association/Similarity is a modern way of looking at magical thinking. For a more medieval concept, try the Secret Book of Albertus Magnus*, where a 'law' is reported as pars pro toto, the part for the whole. "Albertus Magnus" explains that the part represents the whole because it was once part of it. The whole cannot represent the part. So for example, the finger is part of the hand, but the hand was never part of the finger. A second principle from "Albertus Magnus" is affinity, which explains why your clothes become arcane connections to you (but again, you don't become an arcane connection to them) -- you owned the clothes, they didn't own you.

*There were several of these around in the medieval period, not all by the same author and almost certainly none of them penned by Albertus Magnus (thus my use of quotes above). These are later thanthe canonical setting for ArM5, but a darn sight closer to the 13th century than Frazer, Mauss, and Bonewitz.


Edit: Postscript -- The seven principles outlined in the Secret Book form the beginning of the A&A chapter on Experimental Philosophy: if my memory serves me these are contagion, similarity, antipathy, affinity, anthropocentrism, occult virtues and astrology