Elemental Magic

My understandin of where we are now, errata-wise, is that this idea won't survive the errata, and elementalists won't be able to design such "flexible spells", as this understanding may be the result of faulty writing which will be fixed while also rebalancing the virtue.

I'm trying to sum up the reactions to this specific question:

Ezzelino: 100% gain to the three other arts, with the restriction the virtue is incompatible to other virtue and flaws that would apply to only some of the elements.
Ouroboros: Seems say to 50% towards the other three as an option.
Darkwing: 50% to the three other arts seems reasonable - but some concern over stacking with book learner and free study.
Lee: Seemed in favor of option 2 with option 3,4 on top. Did not reply on ammounts of xp
Loke: Unsure without playtesting
Myself: 50% to the other three arts sounds fine
Syrus: 33% to the other three arts

Any other reaction to this specific question?

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If the only change is the amount of xp gained, then 50% to each of the other three Forms sounds reasonable. It is quite a bit of extra xp, but it is a Major Virtue we are talking about.

Personally I would prefer a bit less bonus xp, and instead get some other kind of bonus from the virtue.
I had one suggestion earlier in the thread (mix and match elemental form vis.)

I'm having a crisis of faith a bit here. I understand that both of your answers are fine. Good, relatively elegant. Fix the problem with minimal changes. And neither feels lol me a bad Virtue.
Both are good. (I prefer the minor virtue option)

I don't like either answer, for selfish reasons.
Elemental Magic is a great thematic play space. I want it to be a cool Major hermetic that give unique ability that rivals Mercurian Magic and Flexible Formulaic Magic for fun factor. And that's probably too much for this current design goal. So I think I'd prefer Elemental Magic to be a Minor Virtue and open up space for a big Major Hermetic Virtue to be added later - though I haven't seen evidence of Atlas planning for more books.


I would also prefer the entire Virtue rewritten to be more exciting. I feel like it and Secondary Insight are suffering from a certain "Lack of Imagination" so to speak. The idea behind them is intriguing, but the benefit they give is somewhat lackluster, and not very interesting, and I think they could, and should be more meaningful than just an xp bonus.

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How about this:

Major, Hermetic

You view all there is as a combination of one or more of the four elements: Aquam, Auram, Ignem, and Terram. This includes not only physical matter, but the human mind, species, and magical energies too.

You can recreate any Hermetic effect at the same level as other magi, but based solely on one of the elemental Forms, typically with one or more of the others as requisites (for example most living beings incorporate all four elements) as negotiated with the troupe. These effects cannot be understood or reproduced by magi who are not Elementalists, just as you cannot learn or use other Forms, or benefit from any lab text or vis involving them.

Effectively, this cuts down the number of Forms from 10 to 4, which is a great boon. However, most of what you do will be requisite-heavy, forcing you to spread your xp thinner than the typical Hermetic specialist. The fact that you cannot benefit from a lot of the large Hermetic body of knowledge is another serious limitation. Ultimately, I think it's balanced as a Major Hermetic Virtue. It certainly leads to characters who focus entirely on the four elements, probably with some breadth across them.

How about something really, really simple that comes close to matching in style what it currently does?

When using any of the elemental Forms (Aquam, Auram, Ignem, Terram), use the highest score of those elemental Forms as the score for all of them.

"Using," as per Puissant, does not apply to learning nor to teaching. This would handle the current Requisite part even better than it currently does. It would work well outside Muto, which is uncommon with the current Requisite part. It's also somewhat like boosting all the other elemental Forms with experience, though it's much better for the lower ones while not doing anything for the highest. This might require forbidding Puissant/Affinity for those elemental Forms, too.

Of course, I do worry any major change to the style of this may indicate similar changes should be made to all those similar Virtues.

This seems more powerful than my original proposal (100% bonus to every other Elemental form, but you cannot take V&Fs that do not encompass all the four elements), because now you can be as powerful in all elements, as an single element specialist is in his specialty. Essentially, you should take only one Form, and apply Puissant, Affinity and ... anything else that boosts its score :slight_smile: to it, and forget the other three.

It's not as powerful as that, but it is powerful. Probably too powerful. I was trying to find something really simple and thought of the replacements Summoning, Ablating, Binding, and Commanding use.

That's why I suggested forbidding Puissant/Affinity.

Oh, I had missed that. Still, there are other ways in which "you use one instead of the others" can be tricky. For example, you can take Flaws that affect the other scores, and they will not be a hindrance. Ultimately, I think that 100% bonus across the board, but you cannot take V&Fs unless they apply across the spectrum of the elements is a "safer" wording in terms of interaction with other Virtues.
And again, we played this Virtue for years, and never found it overpowered.

I would lean more towards something that actually benefits from spreading your xp into multiple forms, not something that leans to hyperfocusing. I prefer the 'Elemental Focus' version, where any elemental spell (ie, no forms other than the elements) can add the lowest of the forms in addition to the normal. Don't stack with Focus. Keep everything else currently there.

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Let's vote on the fundamental question.

Major or Minor
  • Keep Elemental Magic Major, and edit it.
  • Make Elemental Magic Minor, and unchanged.

0 voters

I second that. I don't think it is clear what it means.

But I think a good place to start would be to decide what you want this virtue to be able to do:
a) Do you want the elementalist to be equally good in all four forms? Then the exp booster is the essence
b) Do you want the elementalist to more easily perfor magic in the elemental forms he or she is not very adept with? E.g. allow the elementalist to focus on one of the four forms, and for free add the other elements as requisites, so the magus' favourite Rego Terram spell can also manipulate fire, wind, or water as well. Or rule that the elementalist uses the lower of the primary form or twice the requisite form. So to keep all four elemental forms on par, you need to focus on one and keep the other three at least half that.

OK, there is a large majority in favour of keeping the Virtue Major and making changes.

Given that this is supposed to be errata, not a new edition, I am inclined towards boosting the XP to 50% and clarifying the confusing line. @ezzelino assures us that this will not be massively unbalancing, because 100% wasn't in their saga.

It's a bit boring, but errata should not, in general, be exciting.



Should be fine.

Agreed that it is a bit boring with just extra xp, but for a simple errata there shouldn't be major changes unless necessary.

I still feel like what I suggested is much more exciting, but I fully realize that I might not be in the majority, or that every errata decision will be to my taste.

I'd prefer more input than just a single poster. Not that I have any doubts regarding the experiences of @ezzelino and his(?) troupe, but I do know that the value of Virtues (and just about anything else!) can vary a lot depending on context. In this case, the popularity of the elemental Arts.

Other than that, I'm fine.

At 50%, it's somewhat the equivalent to 4x Affinity, but much more restricted than 2x Affinity can be since you can't set up a TeFo combination. Meanwhile, a lack of reduction due to Requisites adds some, but still in conflict (as in, on a relative scale they devalue each other somewhat) with boosting the other elemental Forms; and that mostly only shows up in some Muto and very few other spots. Overall that would seem to put it at a reasonable power level for a Major Hermetic Virtue.

Examined another way, would I consider taking it? If I'm crossing over elemental Forms, definitely. If I'm working with just one element (e.g. stereotypical Ignem Flambeau), definitely not. If I'm doing anything else, definitely not. So that feels right.

Now, as Affinity is limited to two and this acts somewhat like four, it should probably include a note that Affinity with (Art) cannot be taken.

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Please note that it's not +100% in isolation. It's +100% with the additional limitation that you can't apply V&Fs unless they cover the 4 elements equally. That's a crucial difference, because it means you will not match a single-element specialist iin his element, and that you can't "multiply" the benefit of other narrow xp-granting Virtues like Affinity.

For example, with "our" Virtue, it takes slightly more xp to get all 4 elements to 22 than it takes for a Terrram specialist with Puissant and Affinity to take Terram to 30 (=27+3), and there's no way out of that - you just can't privilege one element over the others.
WIth the +50% Elementalist that is compatible with Affinity & Puissant etc. you have less oomph, but you have more flexibility, and it's your best interest to privilege one element over the others (because you can boost it with Affinity, and that boost will automatically "leak" into the other elements). For example, the same experience as in the example above, allows 50%Elementalist+Affinity+Puissant to have Terram 30, all other Elements 15+.

Once again my point was: if you want a Virtue that yields good generalists, you have to be super-generous with xp (because the xp gap between specialists and generalists is vast), but if that's the case you should also be super-careful in terms of capping and avoiding concentration.

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