Fixing ACs alone or in enchanted items

Fixing an AC takes a season and vis. I’ve assumed that it is reasonable to also fix an AC as part of an enchantment in a device.

E.g. a wand with an effect which targets a specific person via R:AC has that AC built into the wand. It does not need to be fixed separately (I know this isn’t needed in the device design, but for a simple device it saves a season, but also makes the item unable to be used on others).

If that’s all reasonable (?), then how many ACs are reasonable to fix in a season as part of a magical device?

I ask as I’m pondering a device for very simple communications between six or seven fixed ACs, and spending seven to eight seasons to craft a device and then fix the ACs is too much time.

Unfortunately, I think by RAW you need to fix each arcane connection separately - after all, all lab activities you perform in a season must be of a single type (pg 102).

Hermetic magic is surprisingly bad at fixing arcane connections. Without changing the Rules / making a breakthrough, your options include getting an apprentice to do it and smiling nicely at a leadworker (and then incorporating the resulting koloss into your enchantment).

Note that it's possible to make the device unable to be used by others by restricting the Effect Use (pg 99), although this may not be quite what you want.

If you do want to House Rule to allow multiple arcane connections to be fixed as part of creating a device, I'd recommend also revisiting the number of arcane connections that can be fixed in a free section, as it doesn't make sense to be able to fix more if you're also doing something else. One hard limit on the number is going to be the number of pawns of vis you can use in a season.

Get an apprentice! :wink:

Or make friends with a Sahir.

Find yourself a magic spirit or two with the Material Anchor Power (RoP:M, page 103)?

The Leadworkers of House Tremere can fix an arcane connection in only a few hours, using the same vis cost. For six connections it's probably worth bargaining with your tribunal's lead Tremere who can subcontract out the service. Of course... you run the risk of some wiretapping.

I had thought of the same thing, but that won't work between items.

Folk witches can fix arcane connections in their kitchens.
At a glacial pace, even slower than that of Hermetic magi: they can increase the duration of ONE connection by ONE step in ONE season of work.
But folk witches can be grogs :slight_smile:

Can you quote the relevant passage? Because I read [HoH:TL p.143, emphasis mine]:

"two useful powers remain to the leadworkers. They may create arcane connections to the restless dead, and to those animals and spirits able to recognize their own names. They may also make kolossoi that contain fixed arcane connections, taken from the bodies of their victims, without spending vis or study time. Success in both activities is automatic."

To me that does not seem to say that a leadworker can fix arcane connections without spending vis or study time. It seems to say that, given a fixed arcane connection, the leadworker can create a kolossos (basically, a figurine) incorporating the connection without spending vis or study time. Which is very different from fixing the arcane connection in the first place. Note that leadworkers still have an advantage compared to normal Hermetic magi, who need several hours and a Dex+Craft roll of 9+ to create a symbolic representation of a target good for one use, or a month and Dex + Craft roll of 12+ to create a permanent one; and a kolossos provideds an additional bonus compared to a "standard" representation.

I had a couple of other thoughts...

  1. Could you create a Season/Year Duration variant of The Sorcerer's Fork that works on the AC creation process to split the AC into a set of mutually connected ACs - 1 Ac per magnitude of the spell +1 as a base (and mag (-3/-4) ACs for a (Season/Year) duration Ritual at R:Touch? Fixings ACs is known Hermetic magic, even if its not a "spell", so you might not need a breakthrough to do it in some sagas?

  2. The Minor Supernatural Virtue Homing Instinct (RoP:M, page 44), worked into the item via Craft Magic (by a Rusticani) or via enriched objects of Virtue (perhaps an alternate enrichment of Opals of virtue (since opals have S'M bonuses for travel and memory?)

The reason I asked was to try to create a set of ACs to be shared between magi while they each travel to different locations. Given RAW I think it will be just as useful to take a single stone, break it into pieces, and hold those as ACs to each other until they naturally expire. The shards should hold their AC to each other for a season - which is hopefully long enough for the story.

Not so sure about that. Quoting a little more, what is used to make the kolossoi are "taken from the bodies of their victims" and "constructed with a sympathetic connection
from the body of the victim imbedded in it." Note that they are constructed from a sympathetic connection from the victim with no vis. There is nothing saying they need to be made from a fixed arcane connection. Also, the whole "without spending vis" comment becomes absolutely pointless if there is nothing to avoid spending vis on.

A&A p64 and the requoting in Grogs under "The Corpse-thief" gives rules for mundanely preserving items, and if the item is an Arcane Connection then its duration is extended by a category. Seeing as A&A says "It typically takes a week or more to prepare an ingredient from the initial harvest to the stored product, but this is not usually continuous work" I would say preserving an AC in this manner probably counts as a week's distraction, or maybe as a Labour point if you're using the C&G rules for your apothecary.

I think the crucial point with leadworkers is that they make Kolossoi that contain fixed arcane connections, taken from the bodies of their victims, without spending vis or study time. Therefore it needs something directly gathered from their body like hair or blood or a tooth, and not just gathering their excrement or shed hairs. For someone trying to get an AC to a ghost of a dead person, this is great if you find their corpse, but for someone trying to get an AC advantage on a living target this makes things a little trickier.

Fixed arcane connections taken from the bodies of their victims. This means that the stuff:
a) must be an arcane connection
b) must have been fixed (not necessarily by the leadworker)
c) must be from the body of the victim: you can't use a letter composed written by the victim, for example, even though it's a fine arcane connection. Which makes sense: the kolossos is a figurine of the victim's body, so it must incorporate something that used to be in the victim's body.

I think it take a significant leap of imagination to assume from the text as written that any sympathetic connection taken from the victim's body transforms into a fixed arcane connection just because it is placed inside a kolossos. Ask yourself: suppose you wanted to say
a) that when a leadworker makes a kolossos with an arcane connection from the body of a victim the action fixes the arcane connection.
b) that to make a kolossos (providing the bonuses listed) leadworkers need a fixed arcane connection to the victim, and one taken from the victim's body.
Could you say a) in a significantly clearer, more concise way than saying:
"They may also make kolossoi that contain fixed arcane connections, taken from the bodies of their victims, without spending vis or study time. Penetration bonus table additions: ..."?
Yes, in my opinion. Could you say b)? No, in my opinion. So, between a) and b), the more likely meaning is b).

Read above! The only sentence about making kolossoi, after a brief incidental "kolossoi=figurines", says explicitly: "[leadworkers] make kolossoi that contain fixed arcane connections, taken from the bodies of their victims". The stuff about sympathetic connections is just about how you should integrate the "standard" Penetration bonus table to incorporate kolossoi (figurines) and katadesmoi (curse tablets): essentially, instead of the "standard" *2 sympathetic bonus for a representation (and one that would take time to create) a kolossos gives you both the sympathetic bonus for a representation, and an additional +3 if it ties sympathetically to the victim by incorporating a connection. I would say this part is the one we should be wariest of, because a) it's not very precise about the "Penetration bonus table" and b) can you give me an example of a "sympathetic connection from the body of a person?" (because sympathetic connections are not portions of the victims' body: the listed ones include only the caster being a relative of the victim, having his signature, name(s), horoscope(s), and/or symbolic representation).

But I say: let's ask Timothy Ferguson, who wrote the passage, what he meant! Shall we :smiley: ?

That's a really interesting interpretation Darkwing; I hadn't thought about it that way.

My reading was that leadworkers had a supernatural ability that remains unintegrated into magic theory. If it were integrated, you would mechanically reproduce the effect with a CrCo(Vi) spell that quickly fixed arcane connections for "ring" duration without any vis cost. To my eyes, the salient part of that sentence is "body," which limits the fixing to corporeal arcane connections, and not --for example-- a sword carried for decades.

Darkwing puts the emphasis on the verb --"taken"-- rather than the noun (body), and uses it to distinguish between classes of Co specimens. That doesn't work for me. It seems like a very faerie magic stipulation, placing a requisite on the manner of gaining the specimen rather than the substance itself. I default to a base assumption of MT in the game, which treats ACs more like forensic evidence. Your approach does seem more "mythic," although mechanically less useful. Maybe the leadworker's were connected to chtonic fae so the symbolism of gathering/taking is what endows them with special abilities? Logically, read your way, we should include the necessary condition "victim" as well as the verb "taking." Do you think a leadworker should only be limited to fixing connections to those who die by his own hand? Again--more mythic, less useful.

Curious what Callen thinks about these interpretations.

On the other hand, I could see the idea that, for example, hair that is cut from someone's head before it has "developed" fully and fallen as a loose hair is somehow "fresher" than one taken from a brush that the body essentially discarded. If you take "taken" to mean that it was removed from the body before the body was done with it, then it is less about the method by which it was gained (you can buy t from the barber instead of having to take it yourself) and more about the depth of the connection.

I'm not saying your conclusion is necessarily wrong, which is why I wrote, "Not so sure about that." I am saying your logic is very flawed. Look at many capacities (vehicles, buildings). For example, neglecting the driver, a bus carries passengers. But passengers cannot get on a bus, because the travelers only become passengers once they're on the bus. Or, for another style example, someone might make breakfast, and when it's ready the coffee maker holds coffee and the toaster holds toast. Does that mean the person put coffee in the coffee maker and toast in the toaster? No. They put water and grinds in the coffee maker, and they put un-toasted bread in the toaster. Similarly, your musts do not all follow as musts. It is perfectly possible logically that the act of making the kolossoi fixes the arcane connections.

But if you want to argue clarity of statements, your side is quite weirder than you're letting on here. Why in the world would the rules specify not needing to use vis for something that never requires using vis? That would not just not as clear as it might be, but rather throwing in a pointless statement to confuse people.

Finally, how odd is this interpretation you don't like in light of the other ability? Katadesmos tablet can be lasting arcane connections fashioned without an existing one and without vis. If the ability lets you make lasting arcane connections one way, is it really so questionable that it would allow you to do it another way?

Yes, it would be cool if Timothy Ferguson were to comment.

Yes, I could see that.

Mainly I suspect the comments is based off the idea of not being able to build Kolossoi out of Katadesmos tablets. Similarly, you can create an arcane connection to a demon using CrVi, but that wouldn't work for Kolossoi. And then there are things like a letter a person just wrote not working.

It is not ruled out per se by what is written, but neither does it follow from what is written.
So, since by default generic actions do not fix arcane connections, neither does the act of making a colossos (or a katadesmos tablet).

I find it hard to follow what you are saying. The text talks about making a type of "mystical" object, the kolossos, previously unaddressed by the rules, though in some sense it's a more "potent" version of a standard representation. It clarifies that no vis is needed, just as no time is needed, in case one might wonder given that some "mystical" objects require vis to make.

I thought that even in your interpretation, kolossoi did not allow one to create arcane connections, but only to fix existing ones. So how can there be a parallel even in your interpretation?
Plus, in general, it's a very specious argument to say "if a Virtue allows you to perform an activity that produces one result, and a completely different activity that produces a different result, then the second activity should produce both results".
Incidentally, it's not clear what you mean by "lasting" when you say that making a katadesmos tablet creates a "lasting" connection. We only know that leadworkers can create arcane connections to the restless dead and to those animals capable of understanding their own names, and we can probably infer (though it's not 100% clear from the text) that this activity comes from creating a katadesmos tablet. If we look at the penetration bonus (+2) from katadesmos tablets, they are not connections that last very long, certainly not "indefinitely".

I just sent him a PM. Here's a list of issues that at this point seem at least partially unclear to me.

Do katadesmos tablets create arcane connections to the restless dead and to animals who recognize their own names (rather than just a sympathetic connection)?
If so, how long does the arcane connection last?
Do you get a +2 bonus to penetration, as per table below the text, in addition to the arcane connection bonus, or is it just the normal bonus for an arcane connection lasting "weeks or months"?
Do katadesmos tablets work on other subjects with a name, in particular living people?
What do you need to make a kolossos -- a sympathetic connection to the victim, an arcane connection, a fixed arcane connection?
If you do not need a fixed arcane connection, does incorporating an arcane connection into a kolossos fix it?
What does it mean to "take a sympathetic connection from the body of a victim" (none of the sympathetic connections listed by ArM5 rules are body parts (those are instead arcane connections)?
Do the two bonuses to penetration for kolossoi in the table below the text stack with the fixed arcane connection that a kolossos explicitly contains (regardless of how it's obtained)?

Huge find:

Also, there are a whole bunch of references to Defixio magic and that Leadworker is related. Defixio magic's connections do not provide the same bonus that arcane connections provide while acting as arcane connections. I suspect this is why the bonus for an arcane connection fixed this way is less than the normal bonus for a fixed arcane connection.