Do the bonuses from Excellent/Superior items stack with the bonus from an Item of Quality?
Say you have a Verditius making a dress that incorporates violet amethyst within the fabric and then uses Item of Quality. When does the "ascendancy over the masses" bonus apply? Does it apply to a specific instance chosen when the item is made, or does it apply to every instance the DM believes is appropriate for 'ascendancy'; which I'm correct in assuming would at minimum include Etiquette rolls at a party, oration, debates with an audience, and other tasks I'm forgetting?
ADDENDUM: On a related note, can IoQ or Excellent Items give bonuses to something like Parma?
stacking boni - I don't recall if the rules have any general guideline for stacking boni, but I believe in specific rules for other stacking boni only the largest bonus applies.
It would apply whenever it was "used appropriately", which means whenever your storyteller believes it is appropriate. This is a very open ended guideline and therefore open to creative abuse.
They can theoretically give a bonus to Parma, but would likely break the game is you allowed such. For exampe, a red coral IOQ would give +10 to Parma when battling demons, assuming you could find someone with a score high enough to make it. I would suggest not allowing this, or be strict in your application of how use of an object can relate to your Parma.
I would say the bonus from "Items of Quality" would trump. Both bonuses in question are "quality" bonuses. An Item of Quality is not, per say, magic. Magic has been used to make it a completely mundane Platonic Ideal, and that's what Excellent Items are striving for.
ST's call. I would be very generous with this. There is a roll involved, by definition, and it took a season to make. Many will worry about "creative abuse", but really, compare it to other things. I might have made an item that gives me Mind Reading or Mind Control! No roll, not even for spellcasting, because it's an item. The level of magic protection given by the Dominion is dang easy to punch through (My, there has been whining about that!), so that's probably not an issue. Abuse? Please, there's darn few things that Magic will not utterly trump........
Parma? No. "Once finished, the empowered item of quality provides a bonus to the user’s roll when it is used in an appropriate manner.". There is no roll involved in Parma, is there? Got to be a roll, for an Item of Quality to be useful. Now, a Crown of Alabaster to help with Twilight? Sure. Gloves of Gold to help with Finesse? Sure. Lots of things that can help with Magic. Controlled by the fact that you were way behind everyone else because you had to spend so many exps on Craft, Magic Theory and Philo, to make useful Items Of Quality. For all the frothing about "creative abuse", really, it's just another route to where everyone else has gotten to. And one of the reasons I like Verditius. You are an engineer in a world of Art students......
If you're not stacking IoQ w/Excellent Items, can you stack multiples of the same with multiple items? Get yourself an IoQ amulet with angel sigils and an IoQ cross; do you get a +12 to banishing demons (presuming a 7 in Philosophae)?
I'm confused. I specifically said the cross and the amulet had a bonus from Item of Quality, so neither would be a 'Holy' bonus. Or is the fact it's two different items justification for saying they aren't the "same"? Where/what are the guidelines for what stacks and what overlaps as far as bonuses go? Because something like this is important for precedence, especially in more regular situations where you can have a Bjornaer with inherent +Soak in their heartbeast, considering MuAn for +Soak, armor that gives +Soak, well-crafted and/or IoQ for additional +Soak, subsequently enchanted to give even more +Soak...
Wouldn't a Verditius be able to use Verditius Runes on any Item of Quality they make, and thus automatically set the bonus to the maximum allowed (their Philosophae)?
Ah, sorry. Missed the IOQ on the cross. Sure, why not, as long as the bonus is not the same. Tools work together, and all you have made is a "perfect" tool...
Ah, no. The Verditius outer mystery does not change the bonus you get from S&M, it adds a bonus to it. But Items of Quality bring out (To the best of your skill) the formal S&M bonus. No bonus to that bonus allowed. Wait to change it? Hermetic Alchemy time. Ug.........
To the first question in the OP, there seem to me to be two reasons they should stack. First of all, the standard in ArM5 is for bonuses to stack, even if they are quite similar. For example, let's look at a Lab Total. The various parts that provide a bonus for customizing the lab stack. Then that bonus stacks with bonuses such as Inventive Genius. You could have Puissant Art in both the Form and Technique and you'd get both those. Shape & Material bonuses, similar spell bonuses, etc. also stack with these. As long as they're not truly the same (no Puissant Creo + Puissant Creo, or no casting Gift of the Bear's Fortitude ten times on the same target) it seems like stacking is the default. Second, not allowing this particular stacking essentially totally devalues the Items of Quality Virtue. Let's take a sword for example. The IoQ bonus is actually less broad than the Superior bonus. The Excellent bonus is broader than either. Excellent +2 will provide more bonus on average than with an IoQ bonus. Excellent +2 requires an Ability of at least 4 along with a Workshop Total of 18. The Ability is still at apprentice level, so that's a trivial requirement; the Workshop Total is tougher. But that's quite manageable by someone with a score of 6 plus specialty plus 3 from a Characteristic plus assistants/better workshop. Sure, you'd have to pay more for such an item, but not likely nearly what would be charged for a Verditius's season.
As to the second question, does the Material part ever apply via IoQ? I thought it was for Shape only. I'm probably just remembering wrong and will have to look that up.
As for the third question, that seems like a definite "no." IoQ apply to things that are rolled, and I'm not aware of Parma Magica being rolled. I'm also not aware of any mundane tool a magus uses to raise his Parma Magica.
The reason I say the bonuses from IOQ and Excellent shouldn't stack is because in Mythic Europe, there is a maximum to the quality of an item. At some point you have created the Platonic Ideal. You can go no further. I assume, in canon, that's what the S&M bonus are, a numeric representation of what a Platonic Ideal would do in game. Other bonuses, that don't have a "built in" limit? Sure.
I respectfully disagree. An example of a situational bonus is the bonus granted by mounted combat (ArM5 p.174), while an example of Ability bonus is the bonus granted by Puissant (Ability). Neither of those have anything to do with the item itself.
Related question to Items of Quality. The rules say it takes a season to invest the pawn of vis and "succeeds regardless of what his Lab Total might be." Using the core books Multiple Lab Activities rule (p102) and Covenants's non-standard laboratory routines (p108) as precedence, is it possible to make 10 Items of Quality in a season (-90% Lab Total for each); and take twenty days off while we're at it (-30 Lab Total)?
Why would it be an ST call for the time off, when the rules explicitly cite that the quality of your lab total doesn't impair making an item of quality? All time off does is lower the quality of your lab total. Now, the Multiple Lab Activities rules I was citing seems less clear-cut, so I'm not outright disagreeing with you there.
Well, serf's parma, a "third" is the smallest unit of season, under those rules, again, serf's parma. So maybe three, but no more. And I wouldn't allow that, much as I might want to do so myself, because Mysteries are very picky, filled with little things that allow you to "bend" the Hermetic magic rules. Like the many Verditius Mysteries affected by Hubris, for example. There is nothing in the base book about that, but it certainly applies. I would say the same about the "Season" mentioned under Items of Quality. You might be allowed an interruption, but that's the only Magical activity you did that Season. Definitely worth a Breakthrough, mind. Right up there with Opening an Item of Quality the Season you made it.
Twenty days off? Yes. One hour a day? I would say no. Creating a Platonic Ideal is not a casual affair. You are doing what would take Magic a level 50 Creo Terram ritual and doing it with a single pawn of Vis. Just because you make it look easy, doesn't mean it is!
That cuts both ways. There is no lab total, so you have no reason to object if the ST says you didn't put in enough work for it count as a "Season" as far as the Mystery is concerned. "he spends a season in his lab". That's what the Mystery requires, by Canon. It looks to my like you are trying to commingle "Amount of Season needed to get a particular Lab total" with "Season". This seems unwise, and likely to lead to a mugging by the ST. Your mileage may vary, but I don't think the rules, spirit of, and formal, support you at all.
Cuts both ways? How does "regardless of what his Lab Total might be" lead to there being a minimum lab total? Working 1 hour a day over the course of a season still explicitly generates a Lab Total; you can make magic items, invent spells, extract vis, etc. Tell me where the rules say that "a season in the lab" can mean something intrinsically different from "a season in the lab."
If an ST says that taking half days throughout the season isn't enough to make an Item of Quality, then they are explicitly changing the rules to the detriment of the player. That is different from adjudicating areas where the rules are vague and undefined, such as my earlier question regarding Multiple Lab Activities & Items of Quality.