First Enchantment!

I am not as experienced in the system of Ars and am seeking the counsel of my seniors in the regards to my talisman and imbuing this power.

CrIg Lab Total with Experimentation= 69

Talisman Opened(10/24)
Powers Invested(4/24)
Power: Bolt of Brazen Flame (CrIg)*
•Range: Voice, Duration: Mom, Target: Ind
•Spell Level 25, Effect level 45
•Uses per day: 50
•Penetration: +22
•Restricted Use: Giovanni
•Effect Expiry: 70 years
•Description: A bolt of flame emits from the staff, shooting from the staff and doing +20 damage to the target.

The staff(+4 destroy things at a distance, +3 bolts projected) is made of bloodstone(+4 blood and wounds), and wrapped in rich black leather. A ruby(+3 affect blood) is held atop the staff by silver talons and a sapphire(+3 healing) is situated on the other end.

Attunement: +4 Destroy things at a distance, initial season of attunement granted this bonus.

*This is the only power invested in his talisman. Marconius was detrimental in aquiring some of the components needed for the talismans completion. Does this look appropriate to you?

I'm a bit confused - looks to me like like you putting information on the staff itself and the enchantment together.
But Let's have a look at it.

Looks good so far. :slight_smile:
Many of the components mentioned have more S&M options than those listed though, eg. +6 fire-related effect for the ruby.

You roll forexperimentation after you've fully defined your enchantment, including uses/day etc.

Basic PoF at +1 magnitude for more damage = 25, check.
Penetration, Uses/day and restriction: 11+9 => total effect level 45, great.
Lab total 69 - 45 = 24 'points' to spare, doubled for the expiery, that's good, lucky there with the experimentation, should be done in a single season.

Aside my native curiousity about the components of the lab total, all looks good from here

Effect expiry for a talisman enchantment seems short sighted from a character perspective. If I'm the SG I wouldn't allow the talisman to be sacrificed as part of an Ordeal for a mystery if it's past the halfway point in its useful life.

I'm the SG, and suggested posting because I'm still getting familiar with Talisman creation myself.

I'm running a fairly high fantasy saga, but I've made some mistakes in the past and allowed characters with some overpowered aspects in the saga. In part to correct the problem, Maximus is making a new character (it will also probably be more fun for him to play a character who isn't in costant emminent danger of getting marched).

I want to achieve more balanced characters this go round, but not be so harsh that I rob them of the joy that is the wondorously powerful ArM5 magic system.

He will be 2 years out of gauntlet when he enters the saga, and I've asked him to prepare his next 2 years of proposed activities. Next session I will be guiding them through the playing out of those activities and introducing some story surprises that may disrupt/change their plans.

I did indeed. Simple die roll was a 4. Thanks for the feedback. I need to familiarize myself with S&M a bit more.

So the intended use for this would be situations where casting a similar spell is unwise?

I've had some time to refine my thinking, and am not in a place where a long reply is as difficult. The enchantment is perfectly serviceable and reasonable. I can envision investing such an effect if I foresee the need for casting that spell reliably in other auras. The best effects to go into a talisman are things that augment capabilities. Ranulf from Magi of Hermes, IIRC, uses his talisman to transform flames into different shapes and into stone and also for defense.
Assuming this effect, for this talisman is selected, how does this enhance the magus? That's where I'm coming from in asking the question.
For this character, what does putting the effect into the item gain me? This isn't like Systems that limit number of spells cast per day by man/power points/spells per day. The magus in questiond could cast this spell all day in a mundane area or magic aura all day long and onu worry about a botch. To mitigate that risk, master it, and you're covered for all aura 1 locations and all magic aura locations and non-aligned or mundane areas. Keep in mind mastery also offers some other useful capabilities, such as multiple casting.

For initial effects in a new talisman for a new magus, I would lean towards the defensive, with spells that deflect or detect incoming arrows.

Don't forget a talisman adds attunement bonuses to casting any spell if it the S&M bonus has been attuned. When you attune it as a talisman, attuning the ruby's fire related effects is the one I would choose. That then adds to virtually every offensive ignem spell he casts whenever the talisman is in his possession. If a Repel the Wooden Shafts effect is chosen as the first effect, then I would do the control items at a distance attunement. I think the repel things is redundant for the staff when control is nearly the same thing, but that might have to be the attunement chosen instead of controlling things at a distance (SG call).

I agree that the mechanics have been done correctly. (You didn't list your Magic Theory score specifically, so double-check that it's at least 5, so that you're allowed to use 10 pawns in one season to create the enchantment.) When you say "Powers Invested (4/24)", what do you mean? That your highest Te+Fo combination is 24? Note that the Bolt of Brazen Flame effect you've created will take 5 pawns of vis, not 4, to instill (ArM5 p99, last paragraph, with its "or fraction thereof").

Thematically, it does seem strange to use effect expiry with a talisman. (Of course I find effect expiry a bit too much in general, at least the way the numbers work in practice.) It would only take you one extra season to put this power in there permanently.

Similarly, experimenting on a talisman is a pretty big risk! Your talisman is essentially a part of you, so this is like experimenting on your own leg rather than the leg of a random peasant. :imp: I know the rules allow for destroying a talisman and making a new one - just don't consider it lightly.

Anyway, for someone claiming to be inexperienced, you're done a nice job with the build. Enjoy the carnage :exclamation:

Aha. This is why I defer to my superiors in this regard. Tis true the useage of talismans should not necessarily duplicate something so simple as what I can already do with a spell. I will go back and rethink the enchantment in my talisman. I am playing a bonisagus and my Magic Theory is 7+2(9). I know puissant doesn't always count in your totals but it does for enchantment. I chose to expirement because I thought he might do so at every opportunity. Wanting to push the limits of Hermetic Magic and all. I see that my inexperience with the system led me to choose to do something no sane magi otherwise would. Well I will revisit the thinking table and definitely attune that +6 fire effects from the ruby. Defensive abilities? Examples maybe?

Spells to deflect attacks or Wizard's Leap?
Is the saga going to have a lot of combat and is your character going to be involved a lot? Bonisagus are uniquely suited to creating effects in their talismans that they probably can't easily cast if it is far outside their specialty. The +5 for the talisman and the high MT make this possible. The Leap of Homecoming?

I too get confused sometimes as to when Puissant does/doesn't count. The Virtue says "all totals", so I have to look carefully at the rules for whether the particular activity uses a Lab Total/Casting Total/etc. (good) or Magic Theory score (ungood).

This is a splendid time for one of my favorite lines from the core rulebook:

So feel free to keep experimenting on your talisman - but consider taking some Flaw that reflects why he would do such a crazy thing!
Speaking of character design, Inventive Genius is a wonderful Virtue for someone who wants to experiment all the time in the lab.

Puissant is limited to cases where the Art or Ability is used. To my understanding the ability isn't used for teaching/training and writing. If something calls for an ability test of the Magic Theory score it is used. I'd even go so far to include the +3 Art bonus for Resistances since it is being used, albeit passively.

Aha, the errata come to our rescue again. (A little bit, at least ... I still wouldn't call the updated wording utterly definite.) The key word is now indeed "used", not "total".

[Cough] house acclaim [cough] folios of the Colentes Arcanorum [cough]

Personally, I enjoy when my players experiment. Brings back the "good old days" of rolling up Cyberpunk 2020 lifepaths, DnD Wild Mages wielding Wands of Wonder (you knew you had a D100 for some reason), and best of all, that night our drunk PC's played poker with the original "Deck of Many Things."

IMO, he is experimenting to instill a pedestrian effect. He is not experimenting in an effort to create a new and noteworthy item, such as a spell, base guideline, mastery, etc. i know that later on that same page it says something about experimentation, but i believe that imeans experimentation within the context of Original Research Stating it another way, he is taking shortcuts to enchant his talisman with a pretty regular effect in a season when he could do it safely and easily in two... This is interesting to other Bonisagus exactly why and how?
If it isn't new, noteworthy or novel in application, I think it is easily skipped for adding it to the folio. Now if the experimentation resulted in a major side benefit that stretched the limits of Hermetic Magic Theory... Well, that's completely different.

Let us assume that the creator's goals include rapidly developing his house acclaim. As such, if possible, he will choose to undertake activities is such a way as to maximixe the possible acclaim points.

The table on p21 notes that inventing an original spell accumulates 1 AP/magnitude of spell, 2 per if invented through experimentation. I can see reasonable disagreement over what that means, but I will largely interpret that to mean that there is acclaim in being a risk-taker. Of course, if the experiment is a failure or produces a spell with unpleasant side effects, it probably won't generate much if any acclaim.

As for what might get selected for the folio, sure, the magus' earliest efforts out of gauntlet are unlikely to be selected. Such a decision would be made by the SG. Given that some benificial side effects are the result of random luck, and that the player cannot guess what might suit the SG's whim and fancy, the more he experiments, the more chances he has.

So unless there is a mechanical reason he can't experiment, or a setting reason that it would be a bad idea, let's just take it as given that the magus in question does want to experiment while crafting his talisman, and not get too far off on a tangent.

I might be biased. I interpret the experimentation as pushing limits of hermetic theory rather than pushing the limits of the individual. There isn't a mechanical reason he can't derive benefit from experimenting. I don't think he should derive story benefit in this instance, though. Also I think it is necessary to characterize your Order and saga a bit? The canonical Ars
Setting has no extensions of Hermetic theory happening since founding and the generation following. Is your Order like that or have their been discoveries over the last 400+ years. And if so what? If the Order is stagnant I can see some of this "research" getting passed around and even making it into a folio.
A few months ago I had a prospective player looking to join Bibracte. He took the position that he wrote extremely well so that satisfied his demands for extending the Orders knowledge and being of note to the Colentes Arcanorum.

Someone suggested a few days ago that trhe core book is what everybody could knows in terms of magical possibilities usable by everybody at the start of the saga. Then, new guidelines are introduced as discoveries that get circulated across the order, pushing the limits of hermetic magic and improving it. I find that to be very appealing. Maybe have some of the supplement guidelines be already available, but some of the funkier ones might be recent discoveries introduced via redcaps and at tribunal symposiums for everybody to enjoy. And that earn a reputation for the discoverer.


Definately have the ideas in mind that Xavi and Jonathan mentioned. I'm currently writing some better guidelines for my players as to which parts of which books can be considered canon for character creation, which are available for development in play, which are reserved for potential SG introduction, and which won't be part of this saga.

I am presenting an Order that has improved magic over 400 years. Exactly which things have been around since the founders and which were invented 200 years ago are relatively unimportant and thus undefined at present.

But the purpose of the OP was not to help me develop my setting. To bring us back to the purpose of the OP, helping Max craft his first talisman, I think the open questions were:

  1. Is it a good idea to put an attack spell he could already cast reliably into his talisman? One reason might be to avoid dice rolling. But as Max knows, I'm not overly fond of PC's avoiding dice rolling...

  2. Is there a better effect he could put into his talisman? Suggestions of defensive spells have been made.

I'm running a high fantasy saga where anything could happen, but to a large degree, things are currently being driven by player story flaws, character interests, and known covenant hooks. So developing defensive spells probably makes such combats more likely in the saga; if players develop it, I'll give them uses. If they go in other directions than combat and neglect mundane defenses, I'm not just going to slay them with armies of welsh longbowmen, although that weakness might be exploited in a story-appropriate way.

Knowing that the player is interested in discovering Arma Magica, I think the "defensive enchantment" idea is a good one. This would allow him to conduct original research if he wanted, and if not, would still be in keeping with one of the character's themes.

  1. Max: The Lab total doesn't seem impossible, but it is pretty high. Would you mind posting the numbers used to develop that total?

  2. Effect expiry and a Talisman? I'm not sure if its RAW or not, but if it is, I can see the logic of including it. A magus fresh out of gauntlet knows that his first Talisman will probably not be his last.

(I've been toying with the idea of having the default be expiry around 70 years or so for all enchantments, as a house rule for a future saga. But that's a conversation for another day, another thread. For this saga, its all RAW.)

Anything else?

Ok, so I think you can then imagine what the Colens Arcanorum might think of this effect... Maybe it's something is simple as...keep your eyes on this one, he's a real comer.

OF course, but one question opens dozens more. The how is pretty easy, nailing down the why and wherefore is where it is really interesting.

The reason I would put something I can do in the talisman is if the talisman gives me a better result. For example, Ra'am, my Bonisagus from a closed saga put The Incantation of Lightning into a staff, mainly so he could get some penetration on the spell. Not much, but some. If a magus is going to be going into foreign auras, it might be very useful, but again, I'd really think hard about mastering my bread and butter combat spells. Ra'am was not created with an eye towards combat, not even a little bit. But I could turn him into one... Get a mastery score of 3 for only 30 xp, and I can cast the spell safely in a foreign aura of 3 or less. Mastery is incredibly useful...multiple casting, penetration and maybe magic resistance.

It's not so much defensive as much as it is spells that I'd like to be able to cast easily and perhaps often, but for some reason my magus can't cast them easily. A Bonisagus can get pretty ridiculously high lab totals later in his career with a highly customized lab available from Magic Theory and the covenant refinement/improvement rules and the magic theory itself. That creates opportunities, and indeed he already has them with an effective MT of 9 where he can get to effects that are within the realm of his magic theory that he can put into a talisman. Going beyond his favored Arts is where I would look...

And that's why I suggested that if it is after 35 years and he needed to sacrifice his talisman for an Ordeal in advancing in a mystery cult that I'd be disinclined to allow it be available as a sacrifice if most of/many of the effects on their back side of their useful life.

Do you hate or love House Verditius? I can see this going either way, but as far as a hubris issue, it's a serious hit to pride that their earlier enchantments suddenly stop working...