Finesse rolls and Potions

OK, so I was talking with a fellow player regarding the love potions he is trying to build to marry one of the covenfolk into the royal family. (Yes, it seems seriously against the code, even in the Normandy Tribunal, and my character would never help. My discussing how the rules work is something else entirely) I suggested inventing a ritual or non ritual spell, or creating a lesser enchanted item which tied her to him, but he wanted to do a love potion. So he spent a season inventing a moon duration effect. He mentioned that he thought there should be a Finesse roll to determine who the imbiber would fall in love with.

Now, I would think there would be three ways to do this effect. First, the potion could be designed to specially cause love with that individual, (which would make the lab text pretty limited) or the potion could be designed with the classic "you fall in love with the first person of age of the opposite sex that you happen to see” or the potion contains an arcane connection to the person who is supposed to fall in love (in which case, once the arcane connection fades, the potion becomes useless). I mentioned that I did not think that was how Finesse rolls with items worked, and the other player referenced p 100 of the core rule book.

So I look on page 100 and it says ”All Targeting rolls demanded by a device’s effects are made by the wielder of the device, using the wielder’s Finesse score.” To me, that is talking about aiming, that, for instance, if someone had a wand that cast Pit of Gaping Earth, they would have to make a Perception+ Finesse die roll to open the hole underneath them, just as they would have to do if they were casting the spell. Does anyone else read that differently?

I read it the same as you.

As a side note, love potions are one of the specialties of witches (from Hedge Magic). An interesting hook would be for the magus not to do the dirty deed himself, but instead seek out a witch from outside the Order, who's therefore not bound by the code. Since witches are considerably weaker than Hermetic Magi, he could either use his magic to compel her to brew the potion for the would-be-lover, or perhaps trade favours, offering to accomplish some mission that is within the Code but beyond the abilities of the witch - either way adventure is guaranteed!

I'd probably say some sort of sympathetic connection would be enough.

Hmm - make the potion a two part one. One part determines the target (of the love) and the other determines who will fall in love.

Can't see any cause for a finesse check, but you are likely to need guile or similar to get the potion in the royal cup without it being wasted on the taster...

How does the sympathetic connection distinguish between all the people who share the same connection? For instance, if Melisandra the nobles daughter happens to share the same birthday as Olive, the carpenters wife, and the horiscope provides the connection, how will the potion know which one the prince is to be in love with. Whereas blood or hair or whatever can uniquely identify the person. Though maybe the effect is defined when the potion is created and doesn't expire when the connection ends.

That could make it interesting if other nearby people share the connection. Maybe the drinker is attached to the first person who has the right horoscope, or hears a nickname over and over in his head until he sees the girl that matches.

I do see your point but a full working arcane connection just to inform the "target" where to direct his affections seems too much. It's not like we're actually "targeting" the object of affections. Maybe an expired arcane connection is a good soluton too.

I think it is common in fiction for love potions to need a drop of blood or a strand of hair (as do transformation potions).

Why does this need Finesse?

I don't think your players mean to bypass magic resistance by using Finesse, and that's what Aiming rolls are for. You should read ArM5 p 86 to determine if the device's effect demands an Aiming roll first, only then do you apply what you quoted above.

No finesse. What he needs is penetration. The high nobility tends to have some form of supernatural magic resistance, be it because of relics or because they are "The Rulers" and God gave them magic resistance. You will need to overcome that resistance with your potion

Finesse is only needed for aimed spells. A potion is not aimed, so you do not need finesse :slight_smile: Getting an arcane connection would certainly help here. All methods you described (arcane connection, first guy in sight, first guy wearing a red ribbon in his left shoulder...) work.

BTW, cool project. Mad and with elan. I love it :slight_smile:


A potion might be aimed if it had some sort of directed effect,

However, in this case I agree - as the potion is designed to affect the imbiber, clearly no targeting should be needed,

To be clear, I am just a fellow player, just one who is more interested in the mechanics than most of the rest of the group.

As for magic resistance, I think we have established in game that the target doesn’t have any, otherwise he would be dead. In the first session that I was there, I was playing the grogs, and one of the companion characters that the Alpha Storyguide had written up. The group wanted to evaluate my playing style to make sure I would be a good fit. The companion character participated in a tournament. Instead of using the scuffling rules, we just rolled attacks and defense and if you were significantly higher, you knocked them off the horse. The companion character was holding his own until the cadet branch of the royal family was paired with him, someone with a reputation as a skilled jouster. Then I rolled first a 1, then another 1, then a 10. So, the Storyguide rulled that I had given him an incapacitating wound (see why I would have preferred the scuffling rules! ) and I had the companion quit the tourney to stand vigil outside his tent, praying for his recovery. The magus who wants to slip him a love potion sponted a Creo Corpus spell of Sun duration that improved his recovery chances. It has been stated that only that spell saved his life. Thus, to introduce Magic Resistance now would be problematic.