Enchanted Items and Penetration: Ok with it or House Ruled?

I'm curious how people are dealing with item penetration in-play.

I'm a bit concerned with the doubling of points of lab total when applied to Penetration, especially when applied to charged items.
In my mind, I see it potentially fostering situations where an enchanted item tweaked for Penetration, and in the hands of a Grog is better than a Magus. Part of this concern was spurred by a thread here about a Saga set in Spain featuring the Shadow Flambeau using a one-charge item to basically nuke a Tribunal meeting.

So, given Magi can team up in the lab, and otherwise come out of Gauntlet with impressive lab totals further increased if using Covenants custom lab rules, has anyone else had to take a second look at Item Penetration?


We use the RAW in our saga and it hasn't been an issue.

We can see that there is a theoretical capability for abuse, but the player characters just don't seem to have the motive, or opportunity.

So are we. It's rather less of a problem for Lesser devices and we see very few Greater devices but for charged items it's almost certainly a problem.

Certainly. Though much less flexible. This isn't really what have worried us

This is however.
IMS we've had some trouble with a dragon. Nasty bugger. Might around 50 or so. Size +9 I think it was. Had an annoying immunity to might strippers and a tendency not to leave ACs around. Most vexing.
Until the Verditius cooked up a hell-device based on CrIg that is. Burned it neatly to a crisp. And he still has the lab-text.

Yes. We never did get around to houseruling it though, so it's currently on the honor system with the Verditius not abusing it too badly. :-/

Theoretically, you can get obscene totals for one shot in one season, and then once you have the lab text produce (lab total/5) charges per season. In practice, most players can't be bothered wasting a season for a single shot of anything unless they can't think of another way of achieving their ambitions. You can achieve ve fairly good results by keeping spare space in your talisman and then enchanting in something with "expires in 1 year" as it is one year FROM FIRST USE - so if you have the vis to spare you can get a shot a day this way.

For example - I have a CrIg lab total of 50. I could enchant a charged item (1 shot, level 50, no vis) or put 1 shot/day into a talisman slightly lower (+5 talisman bonus takes my lab total to 55, do level 49, multiply my excess of 6 by 10 for expires in one year, costs 5 vis).

In my current saga, my magus spent 1 season creating a couple of charges of leap of homecoming, touch range and then spent a season creating a pile so when we went on adventure everyone could have an emergency trip home.

Of course, the Periapt mystery makes charged items a lot more effective in terms of time spent, but only if you have a great Artes Liberales score. Someone with a lab total of 50 and AL 10 can create 10 charged items that are all of the same form/technique and level 50. The same magus with AL 3 could make 10 charged items but limited to level 15.

Nuke a tribunal meeting? Not likely to happen in my saga so I never had problems with the penetration.

(But I'm curious how can the magi present be nuked. don't they have a decent aegis? don't their quaesitor have any reputation of severity for such actions?
Even if no to both questions, that "shadow magus" (is he a published character? do we talk about Tolides?) is likely to kill the weak magi; then he will face the archmagi (whom IMS parma are around 10 average with an average 10 in all forms) and death is coming for him.

And, finally, losing one tribunal is not that bad, the Order wants to progress, nothing like a big crisis to improve the rules)

IMS charged items are penetration 0. If you want penentration, you create a minor or major item. Besides that, no change. items are the usual way to deal with big stuff. That, or you sling a mountain at them.


I think that on MoH i saw some Charged Items with penetration, they are the others Modifications Effects that don't work on them.

Reduces casting total - for an item, that's penetration, no? So we're still just talking about penetration.

Shadow Flambeau means Diabolist, about to be cast from the Order, or already cast out. Who cares about Guernici?

So that's a resistence of about 60? Maybe 70? The verditius mentioned above gather a labtotal close to 100, taking 40 levels off for penetration is entirely plausible.

That's harsh man! Especially if the PCs are in the room...

I think old magi learn magic resistance mastery to double their MR at least against fire, lightning, mind control and some other common threats.
But this is not a final solution because there always will be a method they didn't master.

Charged item penetration is clearly overpowered.
I would have started taking advantage of it when the SG announced shifting to another system. :slight_smile:

I guess my issue is that doubling lab total for penetration ends up giving you performance far better on average than a magus + die roll, and without the possibility of botching if the magical effect is not pushing the limits of the magus' lab total.

The charged item issue is just one part of it.

I didn't realize, until your post, that you can mix expiring effects and permanent effects in the same enchanted item (yup, I see it says so explicitly in ArM5). Gotta say I don't like that rule :angry:

Watch out with your talisman, though. What is not stated is whether the space is still used up or not when the effect expires. You wouldn't want all the space in your talisman occupied by used up effects if the storyguide interprets things that way.


I think it should be used up, even after the effect expires. An invested item, including Talisman, can fit a certain number of pawns of vis worth of enchantments. Even if an effect expires, you have still used pawns of vis to enchant the effect into the item. You don't get the vis back when the effect expires, so I don't see why you would get the capacity back either.

Although, you can expand the capacity of a Talisman, so it may not be such a problem, if you can increase the capacity at a sufficient rate.

I agree. Using a 1 for 1 cost to penetration seems much better to me. Maybe if one were to omit the Covenants rules for labs from their game the RAW would be alright, but not with the various bonuses to lab totals in that book and others.

I like your thinking but it's a little harsh. How about a limit of MT on penetration for charged items, as someone suggested here on another occasion?

I must admit, if the bonii you collect from your lab are significant compared to the rest of your lab total, then you spend more time squeeshing your lab than I do. :smiley:

Mostly more or less by RAW.
Charged items getting 1 for 1 instead or even as i see Xavi has also used, simply zero, are probably the most common mods added.
Charged items are broken in this, but for the rest, i dont really think i´ve seen any serious issues.

The Vis is used up by the effect. Which is why the space in the item should be freed up..