Finding the Gifted in a crowd

I may have asked this before, but my Search-fu is not up to finding it.

A group of Gentle Gifted Jerbiton take a visiting Magus (who does not have the Gentle Gift) to the local market.
They are travelling in a group (possibly along with Companions and guards). Can any of ther mundanes they meet and interact with, tell which is the Magus with the Gift penalty? Or is the entire group tarred with the Gift penalty?

It is mentioned on page 75 of the core rulebook that a group does not entirely suffer the Gift penalty if the Gifted keeps to himself, does not appear to be the leader, does not talk, does not draw attention to himself.

From this, I assume that recognising who is the one with The Gift requires the Gifted to somehow reveal himself (not necessarily reveal himself as having The Gift, but draw attention to himself somehow), activating the penalty.

For example, if he were to speak out drawing attention to himself, this much would probably be enough for a proficient Gift-hunter.

Lastly, remember two things:

  • Parma Magica completely negates the Gift penalty of people you interact with, thus you'd need to deactivate it in order to experience the feeling of The Gift.
  • Getting used to, or rather, learning to recognise the effects of The Gift requires extensive time spent with multiple Gifted individuals. Redcaps are trained for this purpose, and a guardsman with a job to greet magi will get it over a decade or so.

You are talking about how the group is penalised, not how individual members would be penalised. That answers only the last question of OP.

I would rule that a person who consciously interact with each magus individually will experience the discomfort and distrust of which the Gift is famous. It cannot be distinguished (without magic) from other supernatural taints or certain mundane conditions such as `evil eye' or, say, some battle-scarred -5 presence brute. Experienced groupies may possibly say something about the probability of each infliction, but certainty should never be assumed.

I've often seen it mentioned companions do the talking and negotiations because most magi can't. If the whole group is tainted, why bother with a companion who is often a bit more random and just take 10 grogs and be done with it?

I'd say the group is fine until the magi brings attention to himself. If the magi is blatant gift, the magi better stay in the middle with hood up. It's not a -3 flaw for nothing.

When we first played under 3ed, we always sent a grog ahead to talk to the innkeeper, with the magus staying out of sight. Over time that has become my tacit assumption. Having the magus standing silently next to the companion, or three steps behind, or whatever, just makes a huge grey area with no narrative appeal.

Although I now play with people who tends to send their magus in front. Sometimes I let it pass to advance the main story, and sometimes I find I just have to come down hard with a harsh interpretation of the Gift.

There is a bug in 5ed btw, quantifying a -3 penalty from the Gift, which leads certain players to assume that they can cancel it with Aura of Ennobled Presence. But the Gift is supposed to be worse that really bad presence/communication.

Sorry for the digression.


Perhaps I wasn't explaining properly.
I was assuming they all go out together and let the unGifted (penalty-wise) do the talking/interacting.

But what happens if someone tries to interact with the entire group?
eg Dibbler the Pieman, looking for many sales, rudely introduces himself and greets the entire group trying to catch everybody's eye. Say this catches the Gifted member off-guard, and like the rest he meets Dibbler's gaze. So in interacting with the group, Dibbler is accidentally interacting with the Gifted member, Can Dibbler tell who is giving him the heebie-jeebies, or he can't focus on less than the entire group?

Sorry, I sometimes have difficulty handling the social interaction part of the Gift penalty. Yelling at each other from different sides of a chasm, or any other real-time interaction no matter the distance, allows any Gift penalty to occur.
But it seems it is no worry to sit next to a Gifted person in a busy Tavern, so long as you don't bother to interact. But if you do something on par as ask the medieval equivalent of "pass the salt", then the Gift-penalty manifests.

There is a lot to this question- first of all, simply "catching the eye" of a magus would not, IMO, give someone the heebie-jeebies. It requires interaction, not simply meeting their gaze, and if Dibbler is trying to interact with everyone he likely isn't really paying much attention to anyone.
However lets say he draws a mage into actual conversation. First of all it is likely that someone like Dibbler may have unaffected by the Gift because its a natural outgrowth of how they interact with people, but assuming otherwise it would be the individual who gave them the heebie-jeebies, but (assuming typical social rules apply to Dibbler) they would likely view the entire group in a more negative light due to guilt by association.

Exactly how do you imagine this might happen, while still interacting with the group as a group?

I can imagine the Pieman bypassing the spokesperson to deal with any and each member individually, but in that case it is clear. In individual interaction, the Gift makes its problems.

I imagine there are a lot of those instant thoughts of, «oh, that's a creepy guy, I don't want to talk to them». Very few people would even suspect the cause of the thought, and since most people would simply act on the thought, they will learn no more.

On the assumption the gifted magic is not a fool, he ignores Dibbler, and I'd think nothing happens. If Dibbler pressed, it depends on the mage. There's a bunch of spells that are subtle and if the magi knows them well enough, they are easy to cast with no gestures and a whisper.

This all come back to character design. A disad give a character bonus points ( or in the case of the gift, the ability to be a hermetic mage), not the party.

In Champions, If a character chooses enemies, when those enemies show up, they must focus solely on the character, and nearly ignore the rest of the party, except where they must go through a party member to reach the target. Otherwise it's unfair on those who didn't get bonus points, but deal with the enemy the same as the person with bonus points.

The companions, the Grogs, they don't have the gift and therefore shouldn't be penalised. The jerbiton paid +3 not to be affected.

You can also run into some Magi who, even with the penalty from the Gift, are better at social interactions than the Grogs. While not common this combination of Attributes and Abilities can be found in some Magi who spend a great deal of time in social interactions with other Magi (such as ones who serve as their Covenants primary Tribunal representative).

Think of a charismatic but smarmy salesmen. You have a feeling he is out to screw you and some of the things he says come across as insincere but even so he seems kinda likeable. The Gift has an effect like that. Only most Magi are anything but charismatic so it almost always ends bad. Even ones with high social Abilities who might be fine as long as they are talking will leave the person with a bad taste in their mouth after. "Man that guy was kinda nice, but I think he was trying to Xvaries bad thingX".


only with respect to die rolls

From core:75

If the maga manages to convince or coerce someone into interacting with her, she suffers the –3 penalty

That if is important. Most people will try to avoid the Gifted character in ways not seen with mundane characters, that is, before the die roll comes up. The effect is supernatural and not like any mundane effect. It should be a qualitative effect that cannot be reduced to a quantifiable penalty which is too easily offset by magic.

So in some ways the magus could have good social abilities, but they would never be strictly better than an average grog.

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Some people just look at the -3. It has to be worse than that to make sense in the game universe. As mentioned above a basic spell, a level 10 muto imaginem gives a +3.

Imagine everyone you deal with being difficult. That would be draining. It would take the average Magi at worst 2 season to learn a spell that makes every interaction the same as not having the gift (if we just look at -3). I can't imagine anybody but a complete hermit not putting in those 1 or 2 seasons. The history of the order, with the distrust, etc, doesn't justify that easy a way to dodge the gift penalty.

Look at page 76 in RAW.
I consider these examples are written as the ease factor 0 effect. The inn example - A gifted magi, after rolling 3, getting the result of 0 after the -3 was applied, is treated coldy. The blatantly gifted mage on a roll of 6 then modified to 0, is refused admittance. The blatantly gifted magi needs a roll of 12 (prior to the -6) to be treated like a "normal person". The gifted individual needs a 6 (prior to the -3).

I did say that even if they are better at the rolls, there will still be that ick factor. Specifically while they are "talking" (meaning actively using an Ability) they can overcome it if they are skilled enough but after that the subject will be left with a feeling that the Magi was out to get them or screw them over. In fact that feeling is there the whole time they are talking but if they are good they can distract you from it.

That is why I used the example of a smarmy salesman. You just know they are trying to take advantage of you. They might be skilled enough a talker to mostly overcome that while they are actively talking to you, but that feeling never goes away. After they stop talking (or sometimes even while if they get a bad "roll") that mistrust that they were working to take advantage of you comes back to the front.

Now that same smarmy salesman if you met them somewhere away from the car lot you might never know what they do for a living. Magi however are always that smarmy salesman at the car lot every time you interact with them. They always give people that creepy feeling, that they are out to take advantage of you, to cause you harm (though this would be more you and less your wallet).

So while a skilled Magi can actually be better during the social interactions than a Grog, you have the after-effects of that interaction with Magi which you do not have with mundanes. People will almost always feel like the Magi "took advantage of them" after the Ability roll. For someone your group only have to deal with once it might be fine. For people they have to deal with more than once or for a longer period of time it can lead to trouble. Heck even a single interaction can lead to trouble if you have a merchant complaining that he was "stolen from" or something to that effect.

And please, I want everyone to notice that I am not talking about the die penalty in those effects. I am talking about the social effects which are not related to the penalty but rather the feelings the Gift generates. Something that a Magi should be dealing with even if they have a high enough Ability or use magic to overcome the mechanical penalty to the dice roll.


About the numerical penalty, as noted by Troy, it comes after and above the gift's effect.
That is, people first distrust you, and on top of that, you get a -3.

I'm thinking of my president. I'm sure he can be very charismatic, and he sure seems to have his devoted followers. BUt just the sound of his voice irks me, and so, he'd have difficulty to even get me to engage with him, before it even gets to convince me that he's right. That's the gift, kinda :smiley:

While that may be true for the effect of the gift (How can you tell if someone rubs you the wrong way because there's something icky about them or because it's the gift?), I seem to remember that you never can get used "globally" to the gift's effect. You can only be used to one individual at a time.
Which make redcap all the more impressive.

That is a good point; one important aspect of the effect. I would add to that, the before-effect. Lots of people will simply refuse to interact.

I have always seen that as the regular conflict between reason and emotion. The effect of the Gift is an emotion (supernaturally caused). If you know the cause, you can rationally choose to ignore the emotion, given enough confidence and will-power. The emotion never goes away, but for some people, reason is stronger.

Grogs getting used to «their» magi is similar. «I really feel off in the wizard's company, but has always rewarded me well and given me a good life when he is out of sight, so I can put up with it.» It is a conscious choice.

Now, this leaves me thinking that accustomisation is not the same for all people. It should depend on stats, maube Int, maybe Sta, maybe magic lore, maybe personality traits. Not sure what. Maybe it is so complicated that hand-waving works best after all.


BTW One of the beta SGs in our saga told the story really well, describing how the abbot immediately relaxed when the magus departed. He had been the perfect host, civil and welcoming, but really tense in face of the magus. What prior experience he had with Gifted people is not known, but he evidently had enough experience to control his emotions. Even so, it was not easy, let alone automatic.


Or he simply had enough experience controlling his emotions around other "undesirable" people in his line of work... whether that meant blatantly sinful nobles, or cut-throats seeking sanctuary, or whatever.