Finesse for Magnitude?

Jonathan's correct, I did mean eliminating Finesse entirely. I don't like the way it works either for craft magic or as a combat workaround.

To me, that's a positive, not a negative. Magic Resistance should be more effective than it is right now and flaws don't need workarounds.

Like people said, I think there is a big difference between creating something unique and new and basically copying something already in existence. Magic should allow copy of works in a quicker, simpler manner but I do think that the magical nature should come through. Not in any sort of game mechanic as such but maybe its too perfect, the seams are too tight, the text is too exact, with no blemish or issue of the ink being to thick. Basically, while its great for a copy or having a lot of examples of something it won't become famous for being the best written or base drawn image - the mystical perfection of it comes through. Honestly, I would say the same thing would apply to supernatural art of Divine and Faerie (and technically Infernal as well, but that is a different topic) effect. Basically, these things are to much from realms beyond the normal and such qualities come through.

What this does is basically let magic do the work of dozens of low level basic level craftsmen, but it won't replace the need to get that epic artist or sculpter if the covenant really wants to ornately establish some beautiful work of art.

What this allows is the magus who wants to give his covenfolk the best tools and equipment easy and quickly, but doesn't take away from stories where the need for a painter to make a really great work of art comes into play.

Its the same with adding the magnitude of Complexity/Elaborate and other such words to a Finesse roll. Yes, a caster could add +10 magnitudes to the casting total of the spell or ritual, but that would necessitate maybe a spell becomes a ritual or having a lot higher Art totals. Its a trade off.

Maybe the biggest thematic difference is that Finesse lets one make something that looks natural, even if its magical, whole just adding magnitudes lets one create one's vision but there is still an distinctly supernatural element to it.

I don't think Finesse should be removed, I think it has a lot of uses in combat, in spell organization, in certain type of crafting, I just don't think every time I am creating something or making something I should have to roll on it.

Just a thought.

Finesse does do a lot, I've often thought perhaps a bit too much.

  • Determines initiative in certamen, and also whether one can fast cast (defend) at a specific initiative point for combat
  • Used for attack for non penetrating attacks
  • Used for crafting things.

I'm probably missing something, but these are the ones at the top of my head.
These things aren't even closely related to each other. It's interesting to note that the mastery abilities of quick casting and precise casting do actually break these up into separate things, but still derive a significant bonus from finesse.

Eh? I'm not following that. MR is pretty effective, and finesse based spells are designed to bypass its effectiveness. That's not to say it's hard to create characters at gauntlet who can get positive penetration with BoAF or IoL. A magus who pursues finesse based attacks is altogether different than one who pursues magical combat which requires penetration. Why eliminate a whole class of character types from the game?

If by recreates, you mean duplicates, they don't bother me any more than modern replicas of David. The copy will manifest the magus's sigil (or at least, I think, should, using the The Riches That are Rightfully Mine(d) bit about the sigil as a guideline), so it'll never pass close, knowledgeable inspection as the original.

No, not duplicates, original works of art.

I agree with that.

This is a matter of personal taste, however - how do we want the setting to work? I like the idea that mundanes are needed to create beautiful works of art, accurate representations of people, or so on.

I'm with Jabir on this. MR is to easy too bypass, IMO. My problem with the other extreme, however, is that it doesn't work. You can't drop Finesse since it just doesn't make sense that all spells are resisted with MR - if I open the ground beneath you, MR shouldn't prevent you from falling... And if Finesse isn't there to provide at least some balance against the use of such spells, well, then we've just multiplied the problem of bypassing MR.

It's not too easy to bypass MR, it just requires focus (not magical focus, mind you, but that helps!). Just as it's not too easy to brainwash mundanes, it just requires a character with focus. If you spend 7 virtue points on MMF, Affinity Art (Form), Puissant Art (Form) and Affinity Creo and Puissant Creo, yes, you can easily build a character that can overcome a lot of MR. So, what are interesting stories for characters who can cast BoAF or IoL with penetration +30 or better. Obviously not stories where they face off against 30 might creatures...

I understand your argument but I don't think I agree. If we're talking about opening the ground precisely underneath a target, then MR should be able to prevent that level of precise aim. If we're talking about opening up the entire hill that a target is on, how much finesse is really involved in the process? I don't think one needs a skill to aim at a mountain. I'm sure there are lots of grey areas between these two extreme examples but I'm not sure they really present a problem.

Can you demonstrate what it would look like dropping finesse from the game? You've obviously thought about it.

Not so much, really. We never used aimed magic so much, so dropping it doesn't change things too much from my perspective. The big change is craft magic, which would require assigning magnitudes to each level of difficulty from the craft system.

To be honest, I forgot about the use of finesse in certamen. I don't think it would do any harm to just omit finesse and use Quickness plus a stress die for initiative.

Wouldn't allow it in my saga. Craft magic is far too gamebreaking as it is already.

Without Finesse... well, damage is about Base X for +X, +2 Voice range, so you get +30 damage at level 40. Supposedly hitting every time, if you add in the right spell description. Something like this. Why would anyone throw fire, which does about the same damage but needs to penetrate, if he can throw boulders or whatever that don't?

Now, even with Finesse you can plausibly throw boulders or open vast chasms or so on, attacks that are all but certain to hit and do lots of damage; but doing so requires quite a bit of specialization, and often XP in Finesse. It makes sense for people to go for the MR-penetration but sure-to-hit route instead.

Why would MR prevent that chasm from opening up beneath you, where your MR doesn't reach? But even if it would, it wouldn't plausibly protect you from the boulder being thrown at you, or a thousand other contingencies.

Having to aim with Finesse doesn't really make much sense a lot of the time. But it's good enough as an artificial game mechanic to curb the indirect attack spells - you don't need to penetrate, but you need to hit, so there is a trade-off.

I'm in the great situation of currently wrapping up season one of a saga that might run over several seasons, each separated by a bit of a break. And I'm also in the really great situation of wanting my players to do the cool stuff that they want to do and for their characters, ultimately, to win.

So if someone comes along and asks whether they can make the spell harder to create and cast in order to get a reduction in Finesse difficulty..? Sure. Why the hell not, right? Knock yourself out. I'm not even going to make you experiment or any of that. What do you want? A magnitude per point bonus? Sure. Okay, let's do that... Now, on with the stories.

I don't have a lot of gaming time. Heck, the next couple of sessions may be the last I'll play for an absolute age for all I know. So I don't have the time or the appetite to make life hard for any one of the players. I learned that the hard way during character creation and then helping them to learn the new spells they wanted (I ended up house-ruling that if you have a lab text, you automatically learn the spell across the season - everyone was pretty happy with that).

I see MR as being a bit more amorphous and, for want of a better term, magical, than as being a sort of force field protection. If the spell is aimed at the target with MR, then the protection applies, regardless of whether the spell is cast in standard mode or with Finesse.

Yes, one can throw huge area effect spells but if they're aimed - which is how the use of Finesse is described - then the MR applies. If they're just thrown more or less at random, like a hailstorm or a hill dropped on a town, then there's no real use of anything that can be described as "finesse".

I personally like Finesse, because like every skills, it allows magus to differentiate from one another.
It is possible to have the Craft magus with Puissant, Affinity and Finesse score of 7+.
It is possible to have the spell throwing magus who does not need such specialisation, yet a decent score of +4/+5.
And of course, the magus who has no interest whatsoever regarding Finesse, but instead other skills.

Because it is not an Art, a magus cannot simply decide to become a Finesse specialist by putting a few seasons in. It will take a lot of time and dedication. Whereas if it comes to having the right spell, it is much easier.

And regarding Parma or MR being easy to bypass, honestly, I don't mind. There is nothing more boring from a narrative perpective than passive, efficient protection. It only promote arms & armors race. Where as if there is way to circumvent MR with clever strategy, it gives more interesting story, opportunity to clever trap instead of brute force to pierce a very high MR.

I see the problem that high Finesse gives both an edge in Certamen, combat spell and craft magic. And maybe it is too much and too broad of a skill.
One way to possibly reduce the impact would be that either for combat spell or craft magic you need to take a level of Mastery in Finesse to take full benefit of the skills (somehow similar with the Penetration mastery ability, which enhance its effectiveness).
Maybe the initial Finesse skill is useful in non-combat circumstance, when the magus has time to concentrate and focus his will (making realistic Imaginem illusion, fine control of Rego moving spells with Conc. duration). But for instant, quick application like throwing a boulder, he needs a level of mastery.

Instead of enhancing the Finesse ability, it just allows its use for specific application. I dont' have a full ruling to propose with values and such, but I would be reluctant to remove it.

I would rather see Finesse scope being redifinied that purely eliminated, but of course, that my 2 centimes of € (and removing its use in Certamen would not hurt for example).