Faerie sympathy, auras & errata?

I just found in F&F a Virtue called Feminine Sympathy, that is supposed to be a specific Faerie Sympathy as per RoP:F. However, when recapping the effects of Feminine Sympathy, we read:

All rolls using this Trait become uses of a faerie power, affected by auras and realm interaction penalties.

Now, there's no such thing in RoP:F. There are, I believe, three ways to read this.

  1. This is a peculiar characteristic of Feminine Sympathy, not of every Sympathy trait.
  2. This is a retcon of the original RoP:F rules.
  3. This is just a mistake by the author, that should be placed in the errata (by the way, who is in charge of maintaining the errata now that David Chart has left as a line editor?).

Personally, I tend to assume either 1 (this would be the strictest reading) or 3 (this is probably my preference). 2 is ... very problematic. In part because it's not clear how it would work with Faerie Antipathies. In part because combined with Dark Magic, and a second sympathy trait broadening the first (say Dawn to Day) it provides what I consider excessive power: you get your sympathy trait AND a Faerie, Infernal or Magic Aura as a bonus to any non-supernatural ability roll made during the Day, for the cost of three minor Virtues. Any opinions?

This came up not too long ago. Maybe it was on Discord? It was affirmed that this part is correct.

Meanwhile, there isn't really no such thing in RoP:F. You gain Warping Points from botches, just like with Supernatural Abilities. Why would you gain those Warping Points if it remains a normal Ability? In RoP:F Sympathy Traits can also affect realm interaction in at least one place. Why would RoP:F have Sympathy Traits affect the realm interaction if they don't?

So I would take it as a clarification of Sympathy Traits.

Affirmed?

Well, because that's one of the quirky effects of Sympathy. Your argument sounds to me a bit like :"if a fork has four teeth, and an old woman has four teeth, why wouldn't that old woman be a fork?" And I could turn it around: if the idea is that Sympathy turns a normal ability into a supernatural ability aligned with Faerie, why not say so, instead of providing individually some other mechanics that would follow from that?

I am not sure what you mean with "affect realm interaction". They definitely align those who have them closer to the Faerie realm, sure. But that's very different from saying that, when used as a "superspecialty" for a non-supernatural ability, they make that ability supernatural.

Edited after finding it:

Erik Dahl, RoP:F author and the writer of the Feminine Sympathy bit, said this (becoming a Supernatural Ability with realm interaction) "matches [his] memory of it." There are other errors in that book, like the printing of "feminine ceremony" not getting caught.

No, not quite. I'm showing how it's consistent with RoP:F.

It explicitly says something like if you use Faerie Sympathy with your Hermetic magic in the lab, you can used either Faerie or Magic realm alignment. If it can even align Hermetic magic to Faerie, why not something not so tied to a different realm?

I have to admit, I agree with callen's reasoning here.

Though there's also the simpler argument:
It's a faerie power/ability/trick => it's affected by Realm Interaction.

I am not convinced.
Suppose that a Faerie goddess blesses you with ... Puissant Carouse. Does that mean that any use of Carouse is now affected by Auras, including bonuses/penalties, botch dice etc.? Not in my opinion. Similarly, Sympathy per se should be affected by Auras. But not the other mundane stuff it ties to.

Saying that Sympathy makes abilities it ties to supernatural opens huge problems, not only of balance, but also of interpretation. What happens with negative sympathy? What happens when you cast ceremonial magic (including ritual magic), and your Sympathy applies to both Artes Liberales and Philosophiae? How about Sympathy with Penetration? And if sympathy makes a mundane ability Supernatural, then you should be able to use Ceremony with it...

No, no, too many problems. For what it's worth, I'll just ignore the entire Femiine Sympathy insert, which has other serious problems/inconsistencies of its own. Or rather, I'll assume it's restricted to that tiny group of people from F&F, and walled-off the rest of the world.

Agreed. In the example case Puissant Carouse would be a MAJOR Flaw when you try to use it in a town!!! -4*Aura! O_o A city with a weak 2 aura would mean a -6 to your roll (-8 and +2 for Puissant).

About ceremony, I do not see the same problem though. If you are casting a spell to call a storm ceremonially and you have Sympathy: Storms +4 you can substitute both specializations (Philosophiae and Artes Liberales) for a +8 bonus, right? No aura interaction here, though, even if in this case it seems a less extreme case, so maybe faerie powers are a troupe call for the magic.

Ceremony, and ceremonial magic, are two different points I raise.

I agree: with the rules in RoP:F in your example you would get the +8 bonus from sympathy. No big deal, particularly if Sympathy traits are properly restricted to the "breadth" of a minor focus (e.g. women bodies, rather than women in general). But if you start to assume that using Sympathy makes Artes Liberales and Philosophiae supernatural, and Faerie supernatural, what are exactly the bonuses/penalties/botch dice you apply? The problem here is that it's unclear rather than unbalanced.

Faerie Ceremony is another issue entirely. If Sympathy makes a mundane ability supernatural, then you can use Faerie Ceremony (a minor Virtue, easily gained) to combine together characteristic and ability scores of multiple people for one gigantic roll.

Let me give a simple example.
The Storyguide has decided that to find out the super-secret secret about Trianoma you have to roll Int + Order of Hermes Lore 30+ in Durenmar's Library? That's pretty hard, even if your Bonisagus library rat has Int+5, Puissant Order of Hermes Lore (ancient secrets of the Order) 10+2, and he burns a Confidence point: he must roll 9+ on the stress die to make it.
But... let's use Feminine Sympathy as presented.
The happy-go-lucky Merinita with Int -1, Order of Hermes Lore 1 (carousing) would normally roll stress die -1 +1 = stress die. She has Feminine Sympathy +3 and Ceremony 1, however, and throws a party in the library with a dozen smart covenfolk, (Int+1, Order of Hermes Lore 1 (other covenfolk) each), after giving each of them Feminine Sympathy +3 through sympathetic influence. They carouse and drink and dance and sing and toss flowers around while reading from books at random. This allows the Merinita to attempt that Int + Order of Hermes Lore rolling a stress die plus:
-1 (her Intelligence)
+1+3 (her Order of Hermes Lore, plus the Sympathy bonus as a specialization)
+1-13(Ceremony 1, 13 participants)
+12 x (1+1+3) (convenfolk's Int + Order of Hermes Lore + Sympathy bonus as a specialization)
+3 Durenmar's "half aura".
That's stress die + 54. Yes, 54. Sure, it comes with all the botch dice of Durenmar's magic Aura but ... +54.

I'm not convinced either. But on the balance, I think the argument in favour of callen's conclusion is stronger than the argument against it.
The example with carouse does not convince me differently. I don't see a problem with a faerie's blessing being a hindrance if you (for some reason) carouse in church, being a problem.

It's more of an issue that now the minor Virtue Puissant Concentration stemming from a Divine Source gives you +2 to Concentration outside of Divine auras, and +8 in a Divine Aura +6. I really think that really opens up a whole can of worms.

It's also an issue that if you have Dark Magic, Puissant Charm from a Faery blessing would give you +9 to all Charm rolls when at Durenmar's Grand Tribunal (if I recall correctly, Durenmar's magic Aura is +7). That's totally unbalanced, as far as I see it.

Yes. Granting virtues is generally more problematic than one might think.

There is nothing in any bit of Faerie Sympathy that forces all Virtues gained from Faerie to make the Abilities Supernatural just because Faerie Sympathy does. There is nothing even suggesting it. Arguing this against Faerie Sympathy working this way is a red herring.

Meanwhile, it is written into Faerie Sympathy explicitly in one place, and that explicit statement explains the several mechanics of it originally stated.

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That was just Tellus' argument in your favour I was arguing against :slight_smile:

I find that a bit misleading. It's written explicitly not about Faerie Sympathy in general, but about one Virtue from another sourcebook that mimics Faerie Sympathy in many, but not all, ways (e.g. Feminine Sympathy as described in F&F is too broad to be a "vanilla" Faerie Sympathy as per RoP:F).

For what it's worth, I just looked at Learned magician's powers that grant bonuses/rerolls etc. to mundane abilities, in particular the Tueor and Succurro Fortunam guidelines. If the beneficiary of the bonus interacts with someone protected by magic resistance, the Learned Magician's power must penetrate that magic resistance, or the power has no effect. What implications this might have (if any) for abilities boosted by Faerie Sympathy is not entirely clear to me, but it may be food for thought.

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That's fair.

No, that's not fair. It is a Sympathy Trait, and it's a Sympathy Trait that showed up in another book, though named differently, using a noun instead of an adjective.

Well, shoot, this is an interesting problem. I wrote both bits of the rules, and I thought that I was summarizing RoP:F correctly when I referenced them in F&F. Of course, looking at it now, I see that I didn't actually specify that the Ability enhanced by the Sympathy Trait becomes a faerie power when used in this way. I did note that it must use a stress die and that botches give faerie Warping points.

My intention was that the use of the mundane Ability becomes a supernatural effect when enhanced with a Sympathy Trait. I don't think this changes anything if you treat it that way when you use it, except that auras should affect it as a faerie effect. Sympathy Traits explicitly cannot be used with Supernatural Abilities, and I would suggest that it also shouldn't work with mundane Abilities that are somehow incorporated into a supernatural effect, like Artes Liberales in ritual Hermetic magic.

Maybe @Justin_Alexander is handling errata now? I know Cam Banks was managing it several years ago before Justin came on board.

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I think anyone arguing with Erik Dahl's clarifications should have to challenge him to certamen. >.>

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Thank you for chiming in!
Just wondering how you see it on these issues, if we are to assume that Sympathy-Enhanced (hereafter, for brevity, SE) abilities become faerie powers:

  1. Just to be perfectly clear, your intention is that a SE-mundane ability used at, say, Durenmar (Magic Aura 7) should get +4 to all rolls (and 7 extra botch dice) from the Aura, in addition to the sympathy bonus? And +7 to all rolls (and no botch dice) if combined with Dark Magic?

  2. How does a SE-ability interact with MR? E.g. what happens if SE-Folk Ken is used to gauge whether a magus is telling the truth? What happens if SE-Single weapon is used to swing a (perfectly mundane) sword at him? Is the entire action "resisted"? Is only the sympathy bonus "resisted" (as it happens for bonuses granted by Learned Magicians)? Or is no resistance involved, since the Sympathy affects the character with it, as it happens with Faerie Pretenses?
    On a related note, how do SE-abilities interact with an "hostile" Aegis?

  3. How does a SE-ability interact with Ceremony? In theory, if you have a faerie supernatural ability, you can boost it with Ceremony. This can result in really high totals (see the example above about searching the great library at Durenmar).

  4. Faerie Antipathy is explicitly mentioned as a "negative" Faerie Sympathy, but its effects are slightly different. One crucial difference is that it's "always on", at least to give you extra botch dice, even if the Antipathy is not relevant to the situation at hand (basically, the botch dice come from the fact that the Antipathy "tries" to make itself relevant!). Should we assume that someone with any Faerie Antipathy should get all the Aura Interaction bonuses and/or penalties to all his mundane actions (just as he adds botch dice from the antipathy to all his mundane actions)?

  5. You say that it's your intention that SE-abilities should not be able to enhance in supernatural totals. Do you mean that you think the following should be corrected:
    a) use of SE-MT in the lab?
    b) use of SE-Leadership for Sympathetic Influence?
    c) use of SE-Concentration when tinting an Aura?
    d) use of Faerie Lore for Folk Charms?
    Or maybe it should not be usable except when otherwise stated? So, it should be usable in the above, but not to enhance the mundane rolls when using Faerie Enhancement?

  6. Much more specifically, isn't feminine Sympathy too broad? A sympathy is supposed to be about the breadth of a minor focus. Women is a minor focus, but only women as part of Corpus (so rolling to see if you hear one, or if you catch her lying to you, or if you resist her magic, should not be included). Or perhaps we should read feminine sympathy as only applying to women bodies?

Thank you for chiming in!
Just wondering how you see it on these issues, if we are to assume that Sympathy-Enhanced (hereafter, for brevity, SE) abilities become faerie powers:

  1. Just to be perfectly clear, your intention is that a SE-mundane ability used at, say, Durenmar (Magic Aura 7) should get in addition to the sympathy bonus +4 to all rolls (and 7 extra botch dice)? And +7 to all rolls (and no botch dice) if combined with Dark Magic?

Yes. If a faerie-enhanced character with a Shoes +3 Sympathy Trait crafts shoes within Durenmar's aura, I think that adding the bonus from the aura, and the botch dice, is reasonable. I might argue that Dark Magic should only apply to spells and spell-like effects, since it's intended for "casters," but I don't think it abuses the rules to let this very specialized character treat the effect as magical, especially since it infernally taints it.

  1. How does a SE-ability interact with MR? E.g. what happens if SE-Folk Ken is used to gauge whether a magus is telling the truth? What happens if SE-Single weapon is used to swing a (perfectly mundane) sword at him? Is the entire action "resisted"? Is only the sympathy bonus "resisted" (as it happens for bonuses granted by Learned Magicians)? Or is no resistance involved, since the Sympathy affects the character with it, as it happens with Faerie Pretenses?
    On a related note, how do SE-abilities interact with an "hostile" Aegis?

I mean, it's a faerie effect, but it only affects the person with the Trait so like Personal spells it shouldn't run afoul of resistance or aegis problems.

  1. How does a SE-ability interact with Ceremony? In theory, if you have a faerie supernatural ability, you can boost it with Ceremony. This can result in really high totals (see the example above about searching the great library at Durenmar).

Sympathy Traits cannot be used with Supernatual Abilities, and Ceremony is a Supernatural Ability.

  1. Faerie Antipathy is explicitly mentioned as a "negative" Faerie Sympathy, but its effects are slightly different. One crucial difference is that it's "always on", at least to give you extra botch dice, even if the Antipathy is not relevant to the situation at hand (basically, the botch dice come from the fact that the Antipathy "tries" to make itself relevant!). Should we assume that someone with any Faerie Antipathy should get all the Aura Interaction bonuses and/or penalties to all his mundane actions (just as he adds botch dice from the antipathy to all his mundane actions)?

I wouldn't assume that, no. The penalty is pretty bad already!

  1. You say that it's your intention that SE-abilities should not be able to enhance in supernatural totals. Do you mean that you think the following should be corrected:
    a) use of SE-MT in the lab?
    b) use of SE-Leadership for Sympathetic Influence?
    c) use of SE-Concentration when tinting an Aura?
    d) use of Faerie Lore for Folk Charms?
    Or maybe it should not be usable except when otherwise stated? So, it should be usable in the above, but not to enhance the mundane rolls when using Faerie Enhancement?

In my games, I think I'd rule that using Magic Theory in the lab is part of another supernatural activity (Hermetic magic), and thus can't be enhanced with Faerie Sympathy. I think I wrote in RoP:F that Sympathy can be used with sympathetic influence. Tinting an aura is an odd case; I'd say that since you have to have a Sympathy Trait to do it, it is a supernatural effect and so you can't enhance it. I think the same logic would apply to folk charms (and Hermetic charms, obviously).

  1. Much more specifically, isn't feminine Sympathy too broad? A sympathy is supposed to be about the breadth of a minor focus. Women is a minor focus, but only women as part of Corpus (so rolling to see if you hear one, or if you catch her lying to you, or if you resist her magic, should not be included). Or perhaps we should read feminine sympathy as only applying to women bodies?

I'd say that Feminine Sympathy gives the character who takes it a Sympathy Trait that is a bit more broad than the typical trait. This is because of the great historical and mystical influence wielded by the Matres & Matrones in the region. :slight_smile:

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