Faerie Magic

Can someone help me understand the magic system from RoP: Faerie? I love the design for the most part, but It seems extremely limited compared to the other method system in the RoP books due to its requirement that the magician have appropriate sympathy traits. Does anyone ever have more than 3 or 4 sympathies at once? Am I missing something? I tried to search the forum but couldn't find anything addressing this (I suspect the info is there, but it is a big forum).

I was looking at the Faerie magic rules last night actually.

I haven't gone through the nitty gritty yet by making a character and pushing them through the system but I suspect that the issue of limited sympathy traits can be resolved by using one's Faerie lore and making temporary sympathy traits with ceremonies (I think that the rules for this are covered by sympathetic influence starting on p101 but I'm guessing from the TOC posted, my book is at home where I was looking at it last night, but I know I saw rules for giving yourself temporary sympathy traits).

Erik is correct about temporary Sympathy Traits.

I still don't especially care for the wizardry the Faerie Realm offers, but that's just because all its effects are either a) very boring, b) very movement-related, or c) very temporary. They make for fun messengers, but not much else, imo.

Faerie magic is the means to live far longer on less Magic Theory. :slight_smile:

I thought that's what infernalism was for.

Well, it has been a while since I last used the rules for Faerie M&P in play so I can't comment on the practicality of it, but characters certainly CAN have a potentially large number of Sympathy Traits since they can be gained not only with the 'Grant' power, but also as the result of Faerie Calling (page 120).

Remember, however, that Sympathy Traits are a double-edged sword...

You are very right in that the fundamental limiting factor of Faerie Wizardry is the need of applicable (and sufficiently high!) sympathy traits. I would not call it "extremely limited" compared to other supernatural traditions, however. A few points worth noting:

  1. Faerie Powers are Minor Virtues - as opposed to Divine and Infernal Powers, which are Major. So the typical tradition package of 1 Method, 2 Powers, 1 other minor Virtue costs, at character creation, only 6 rather than 10 Virtue points.
  2. Divine and Infernal powers come with a lot of other limits attached that Faerie Powers do not sport.
  3. You can, with some time and effort, grant yourself or other targets temporary sympathy in any area towards which you have a strong emotional attachment.
  4. Faerie sympathy need not be about the target, or the magic itself, but can also be about the circumstance - e.g. Dawn, or Melee.
  5. You can "double-up" a focus, by taking a second sympathy trait that encompasses another and is much broader - the canon example, if I remember correctly, is taking Day after taking Dawn.

I think it is a brilliant design, and I've seen it work very well in practice. It does encourage characters painted in a few broad strokes of pure gaudiness, rather than through a subtle palette of complex nuance, but that is the nature of Faerie.

I'm sure that I'm not the only one who has noticed that the Vohlkvy's combination of ceremony + grant + the ability to instil temporary sympathy traits makes them capable of achieving any arbitrary amount of power. Add to that the fact that they live in societies where they can realistically at least attempt to organize everyone to work towards their magical goals and that they don't have the gift and you have the most potentially formidable exotic tradition that has been described in the line

I think most of us are just trying to sweep that under the rug, put a chair on that rug, and forget about it. :slight_smile:
Also, does anyone else remember Lamech's Muspelli virtue-granting? And Muspelli can use Utiseta to get very high totals without ceremony.

Now I have this image of a Muspelli/faerie magic war going on in epic scale yet so well balanced the Order barely ever even notices...

I hadn't seen that. It turns out that Ars Magica can spawn more than one pun pun like loop of game destruction. These things put the sahir who lives forever and the fully gifted magus with a single point of might to shame.

It's not as easy, but you can pretty much do the Vohlkvy-trick with Incantation/Diablerie, since they too can grant virtues (it just says virtue, not any sorts of limits), including Ceremony, Puissant Ceremony, and whatever attribute boosts you like, and there is a Infernal Ceremony virtue/ability.
It's not unique to the Vohlkvy.

As a playtester, I suppose I have to apologise for the Eternal Sahir - I certainly hadn't spotted that, and I suppose I should have :blush:

All this mainly just goes to show that no system is immune to breakage under scrutiny. Some just have cracks that are easier to find than others.

Besides, would you prefer Ceremony or Virtue-granting not be things? They're both very interesting and can fuel very cool stories and characters. They just happen to also be able to spawn infinite power, which sadly is being wielded by Faerie Wizards and Diabolists so the chances of it being used responsibly are probably below 1%. Oh well though, generous applications of handwavium can solve all such problems (and only if you need to solve them! I mean, from what I've heard, the Vohlvky's brokenness in that regard ended up spawning a pretty cool saga where all of the Order except a few Bjornaer were (permanently? Or just long enough to die) turned into worms or slugs or something and the PCs were apprentices who had to learn the rest on their own.).

The Diabolist Cannon can probably have fun things done with it too. Well, fun for the players... Probably not fun for their characters.

(And what's even wrong with immortal people? :/)

I think Erik Tyrrell really brought up the fundamental points here.
Lots of traditions can grant Virtues, and several can use Ceremony. Few can do both.
Among these the Vohlkvy's are probably unique in that gathering dozens or hundreds of mundanes together and coordinating them in massive mystical rites is a fundamental building block of the society they live in.

Incidentally, note that Infernal Ceremony is limited to 13 participants!

Anyway, I think we are derailing the thread somewhat here. The OP asked for help in understanding whether Faerie Magic is as limited as it looks.

My answer is no, it really isn't, but you should not really think of practitioners as generalists - they are strongly themed epic figures. The swordsman no one can defeat in combat. The old crone priestess of Baba Yaga. The blind seer who can walk the dreams of foe and friend. The dwarf who can craft anything in a single night of toil, from a mighty citadel to enchanted swords for an entire army, weaving strands of moonlight. Etc.

Or, as I realized recently, Elsa from Frozen. That would be fun to build.

Evocation and conjure for the method and power (notice how the ships still float and the plants seem healthy at the end of the movie). Faerie sympathy for winter (or perhaps snow/ice) would be appropriate. Some custom flaws for having he power keyed to her fear and we're most of the way there.

Thanks to everyone for clearing up my misconception on limited sympathy traits and showing great ways to use the concept of a faerie magician.

That's the direction I'd take it too. Maybe Beguile as her tradition's second power for some Until duration shenanigans to emulate the ice hit to the heart, with one of those Faerie power cancelers of, I dunno, a hug and saying "I love you."