Effect expiry is a detrement to the game?

Effect expiry is an option that allows magi to construct invested devices more quickly by creating enchantments that expire after a certain duration has passed.

It seems to me that the magi can several several seasons for the cost of having a device that will still be usable for many years. The characters are getting a benefit far in excess of the price that they pay.

Callen showed pretty clearly on the Magic sword vs. Faerie Might thread that it could be used to pull twinky minmax stunts that really give results in the game inappropriate for telling a good story.

I'm thinking that the game would be better off without it. Charged devices fill a very similar story role.

Anyone have thoughts to offer one way or the other?

I'd be tempted to allow faster item creation for a greater cost (such as the item being an AC to it's creator, infliction of warping points on the creating magus and having the item become disenchanted when the creator dies or goes into twilight). But even this seems to be better fodder for a mystery virtue than an option for the core rules.

I don't think so. It's an option, and while charged items do fill a similar role, they can't give you an effect for seven years, any more then ritual spells do. It's a nice way to make a medium term commitment. A charged item might be useful for a month, a "real" magic item forever, but an item that works for seven years will "keep them coming back for more". Now, in a game that isn't serious about the setting and is more a seasonal "dungeon crawl" that won't mean as much. But those guys are going to min/max whatever you do. If it's a problem for you, well, in most games people who want to make magic items play Verditius. Hubris is your friend here. Force a Hubris roll to make an "inferior" magic item. That will be easy for early players who need the help, but the later ones will find it almost impossible to lower themselves in that way. It would be like murdering one of their children.....

I think that effect expiry should be in the game, I think it represents a desirable outcome for the Order when it comes to selling items and such. But I agree, the large benefits it provides seem to lead to issues, like a Parma bomb. A charged item that last for a short time that has a PeVi effect at insane level and Penetration. Designed to just drop a Parma, and relatively easy to enchant, and once enchanted can be mass produced with lab texts. Certainly other uses can come up as well.

What should be the trade off though? I think expiry should stay, but perhaps limit what can be done if used. Like an effect limit, or vis maximum, or something. Or maybe it can only be a charged item then and make certain item benefits off limits, including added Penetration.

Also, Noble's Parma but IIRC an item is already an AC to its crafter, for a while anyway - invested items more than any others.

I think it rears its ugly head most at the extremes.

For example, most magi don't live to 140 years post-gauntlet. I think there was a quote in another thread saying something like 120 years total, which would be around 95 years post-gauntlet on average. So making an effect that expires in 70 years is close to the same as making one that will last your average lifetime. Even if you have to replace them, you can generally save seasons by doing it twice quickly, plus the later one is better than the earlier one because your Arts and Abilities should improve over 70 years. Or you could do things more efficiently later. (The idea is to delay lab seasons for later so you can use earlier seasons for study since this is more efficient.) So why not make most your stuff with a 70-year expiry?

Another example is on the other side of things. Let's say you have one big-bad enemy. This is what we had. We had a dragon coming after us. Since we were all trying to protect the covenant, there was a reason we might assist each other in the lab. We used a 1-year effect expiry and got ridiculous penetration on a decent level effect, and we weren't even experts in that area. The multiplier is just so huge (x10) that you can take out the Devil with ease with a few magi right out of gauntlet if they can get the drop on him. In the case of the Devil, this shouldn't happen. In the case of most other things, well, they can take it down no matter its power level.

What we did for our house rules was to lower the modifier. That way we could keep expiry without most of the problems. I'm not absolutely sure, but I think we decided on the square root of 2, roughly. So we're using x1.5, x2, and x3 for our modifiers. For charged items we said your lab total must at least be equal to the level to make charges later.


And there is very little reason for a magus with Harnessed Magic NOT to create an item with Effect Expiry.

So qcipher and saxonus like it in the gaem and no one has yet volunteered that they share my inclination to discard it entirely.
callen and qcipher have mentioned that the rules as they stand can at least sometimes be problematic.

What if rather than removing the option we reduce the benefit from taking it. How about rather than allowing an item to be finished more quickly we reduce the vis cost.

Perhaps reduce the vis cost by 1,2, 3, or 4 pawns depending upon how long before the effect expires withthe stipulation that hte vis cost of any enchantment can not be reduced by more than one half of its original cost. That seems like it isn't exploitable but it's still somewhat useful (if a bit dull).

I think one of the problems is that charged items are essentially permanent, as the first use is the last use. Having effect expiry start at item creation rather than first use would solve that.

The second problem is that effect expiry modifiers are excessive. Frankly, I would simplify Effect Expiry to give +5, +10, +15 level per season. Add up the once-per-year free +8 from Covenant (using nocturnal and double overtime) and you get about the same bonus as the sample magi below.

For a magus with TeFo = 40 for casting and Lab = +20 for 60 lab total, we get {TeFo/5 = 8} == {Lab - 12 = 8}. A season in the lab will teach him a level 30 spell which he'll cast with 10-20 penetration. Taking the same time to make a 7 years lesser item, he can get 15 levels of penetration, 24 uses per day. That's 30 penetration at the 2:1 RAW ratio.

For comparison, here are the item level he can reach in a season:

  • permanent = level 30 item (1/2)
  • 70 years = level 40 item (2/3)
  • 7 years = level 50 item (5/6)
  • 1 year = level 55 item (10/11) {well, he'd need 61 for that}

I think the problem is not effect expiry, it's pumping the penetration, from what I'm reading here. Wouldn't the cleanest solution be to leave the effect expiry rules alone, but cap the amount of bonus to penetration based on the multiplier? That gives younger Covenants access to powerful items when needed, but stops the unstoppable wand of kaboom that seems to be the real problem here. Something like no expiry, as much as you can get away with, seventy years 30 penetration max, seven years 15 max, one year zero penetration.

I don't like Effect expiry either. I wonder if it would be a good idea to allow the expiry to only impact the amount of vis needed for an enchantment, without influencing the lab total required and hence the time.

The problem might be in the use of the 01 Year option , Excess Modifier is x10. (Page 99 , ArM 05)

For any House on a war-footing , a lot more magi can spend lab time creating 01 year expiry items.

With the event expiry and/or charged items maybe limit the special effects that can be built into the item? Like for example 1/5th of the total effect desired in special effects (times per day, triggers, penetration, etc), a level 25 magical effect could only add +5 extra levels in magic item effects then. That way the rules aren't changing much, and while the item is still cheap, it also has the downside of that cheapness.

I like event expiry and charged items, but they can go overboard too easy.

I... think I kinda like effect expiry, if nothing else then for trading with the Mundanes.

Infact I don't think the problem is really with effect expiry, but:

This is what I read as well

Probably not what I would do, but that's one model.

Have to say , that i don't have a problem with Effect Expiry , or Penetration for items as per RAW.
Sure , there are some rorts that can be pulled , but troupes can hopefully sort out game balance.

I think a much better way to limit items is to limit vis resources.

without vis there is no items ( except charged)

the other issue i agree with is make the expiration effect timer start on item creation instead of first use, that makes it much harder for magi to plan to take out that dragon if they only have a few seasons to make that item. oh and personality flaws are a big limiter too, is every magi really going to OK with working with the others in a lab for a full season or more?

I don't know if an item, by canon, now is still an arcane connection to creator after effects expire but i would change it so it always is regardless if effects have expired or not.

oh and are we sure the problem is effect expiration devices or is the greater problem the 2 for 1 penetration that items receive?

and if thats the case having spirit masters with theurgy might be the same kind of problem since they can make spell spirits in the same way ... especially with a spirits MMF.

I find that (outside of charged devices, where it's ludicrously powerful) the 2 to 1 penetration that items receive isn't a problem except in the case of effect expiry.

Good point.

For charged devices it's a major problem. For other devices... less so
I'll have to go do some math now.

I think it is very much a matter of the speed of your saga relative to the lifetime of the effect.

If your saga is slow, then Effect Expiry is effectively no cost. On the other hand if your saga is fast, then Effect Expiry is a real pain.

Having said that, if your saga is slow, then Effect Expiry is a real boon, because it allows the player characters to get stuff done that would otherwise take too long --- because the players get bored, waiting for months of real time for a project to finish. Whereas, if your saga is fast, there is often no real penalty for waiting another season or two to get something done; waiting another season might not even take another minute of real time.

Ultimately, I like Effect Expiry, because it is another decision for the player characters to make. You are right that Charged Devices are similar, but they are subtly different, and to me it seems better for the player characters to have some subtle choices to make --- especially choices around magic stuff.

Reduce the excess modifier for 1 and 7 years and ill be just fine with it. For simplicity just make them *3 and *4 or thereabouts? Or as also suggested change the whole series to *1.5, *2, *3.

And as already mentioned several times, expiry should always be counted from creation. Otherwise charged items becomes ridiculously advantageous.

That feels like an interesting idea.

I think that could be a good separate option.