Flawless Magic: Is it really so good?


I would like to read your opinion about Flawless Magic compared to a triad of Minor Virtues.

Flawless Magic is good, yes, but if you want to measure how solid it is, you have to calculate that to have the benefits of FM you have spend a season to learn a spell or aquire Mastery XP (ex. Practice).

Most of the Masteries are rather situational - only Multi casting, Still casting, Quiet casting and Penetration (or Resistance) are the "so called" universal Masteries which can be an option for nearly all the spells.

But if you use 3 Minor Virtues, in fact Subtle Magic, 2 x Quiet Magic - you can reap most of the benefits of Flawless Magic and have the option to use other Major Hermetic Virtue.

What do you think? How the FM is compared to the option of 3minor Virtue+OtherMajorHermetic combo?

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The biggest benefit of Spell Mastery - and hence of Flawless Magic, is the reduction of botch dice including the possibility of removing all botch dice which is nearly impossible to achieve otherwise.

You generally don't pick Flawless Magic just to be able to cast spells without words and gestures - there are better options for that.

Being able to multicast a low-level Demon's Eternal Oblivion, or Fast-casting Wizard's Leap - that's where spell-mastery shines.

A major benefit of Flawless Magic is that you save time, compared to mastering spells without it. Lots of time, and time is usually a magus's most valuable commodity.


Flawless Magic is a very good Virtue for anyone who is interested in Spell Mastery.

Erik T got most of the good examples. Another good advantage of it is that Flawless Magi is a very simple virtue that is worth it's points. You don't need to do anything particularly weird (My Focus in bovines means I try to do everything with cows!) and the basic rules are pretty simple. Most spells are advantaged by fast-casting or multicasting pretty effectively. And the botch dice reduction is very nice.


FM is an excellent virtue for the reasons noted above. High level mastery also enhances a spells versatility, and being able to hit that sooner than later is exceptionally useful.

Remember that less botch dice means a lower probability of warping points, which in turns means less instances of Wizard's Twilight, which also adds more warping. Because warping can eventually threaten Final Twilight, this means your magus will live longer, on average with this virtue as well.

And of course, if you just want less botch dice, Careful Sorceror is a better universal purchase. Flawlass Magic simply adds more options, and as others say, value for what you get, and can enhance almost any other type of specaility quite nicely.


There are few ways to be offensively as powerful as getting a spell with a high score in spell mastery with the multi-casting and penetration specialty. Yes, you could scale up your target to group, but that would lower penetration instead of raising it, which might be a deal breaker in some instances.


Others have replied with most of the good things about Flawless Magic.

One thing I haven't seen specified is, that Flawless Magic grants you Mastery 1 in EVERY SPELL you ever develop.

And if you can get access to the Masteries of the Cult of Mercury, like Adaptive Casting, Lab Mastery, and Learn from Mistakes, it opens up a whole new world for you.


Anything that reduces a Magus warping points is extremely important for letting them have an extremely long active lifetime. Flawless Magic not only greatly reduces the amount of warping points gained in the long run, it allows a Magus with a Warping of 10 to still cast spells without risking instantly going into Final Twilight. Having Flawless Magic can often allow one to reduce their warping points per year to 1 (what they get from their LR).

The situational/restricted type Spell Masteries are actually very powerful if picked to match a specific intention. The advantage of having Flawless Magic is that you can gain lots of Mastery with each spell and thus combine many of them.

  • Ceremonial Casting is great for AC range spells that have to penetrate. It is more powerful than Penetration if you have the time. EDIT: It is also really powerful on Wards, letting you get enough penetration on higher level versions to actually affect the target.
  • Fast Casting on spells designed specifically for defense (shielding or short range teleport) can make a Magus very hard to handle in a fight.
  • Quick Casting can give you that little bit of extra speed, especially when combined with Fast Casting. Not normally taken by most, but if you are picking up Masteries cheap it might be worth it.
  • Imperturbable Casting is very useful for Concentration spells you want to keep up while casting other spells.
  • Obfuscated Casting is great for those who engage in Dimicatio or are expecting to fight with other Hermetic Magi.
  • Disguised Casting is almost essential for casting spells you shouldn't be that others have a chance of detecting.
  • Unraveling is a way to greatly boost many Perdo Vim spells.
  • Rebuttal on AotH. So not only can you normally cast it without Botching (since the consensus on the board leans towards Mastered Rituals do not normally Botch) but it is more powerful.

With a combination of Mastery you can make a spell function highly differently from the way it is originally written. While any Magus might do this for one or two spells, one with Flawless Casting can end up doing it for many.


Flawless Magic is worthless, or at least nearly so.

That is, unless you plan on actually, you know, cast spells. Especially out in the field.
Certainly, my Verditius Magus doesn't miss it (much).

However, for any magus/maga that likes to go on stories, the experience on my current troupe, is that it may well be the single most useful/powerful Major Hermetic Virtue available. Mastery can be that useful, especially for any magus/maga planning to get into harm's way.

Now, @Heaven_s_Thunder_Ham mentioned Cautious Sorceror. Which is nice, but cannot remove your last botch die, and doesn't come with a nice perk like Multicasting , Penetration Mastery or Resistance Mastery. And besides, the only thing stopping you from taking both, is the cost.

(PS: @Christian_Andersen: that's the likely design of my next character - unless I just end up playing another labrat.)


The greatest benefit of flawless magic have the combat magi; those who use a small repertoire of spells which cast often under stressful conditions. To this group the benefit is enormous. Multicasting, penetration, and botch reduction.

The problem solver, who needs new spells all the time, to deal with unusual situation have little benefit. They would probably prefer the life-linked magic (?) or Diedne magi to boost their spontaneous magic.

The virtues mentioned by OP, subtle and quiet, are immensely useful for those who need spells in social and mundane settings. If they often cast spells in the dominion, it may be a close call against flawless, which would make it safer. If they often need to improvise, flawless is little use since it does not help with spontaneous magic.

In short, discreet casting is not the reason to take flawless. There is a different group of magi who needs that.


Back in 4th Ed, which was the first edition I really played, and I played it a lot - I considered Flawless Magic a waste. I mean, mastery was binary, either a spell was mastered or it wasn’t. Plus the cost to master was determined by the magnitude. And the benefit was not too great.

In 5th Ed it’s my favourite virtue, because mastery can so much now . I tend to play magi with many spells who go around casting themselves lot.
But frankly I like the quick mastery effects of Flawless Magic a lot more that the automatic mastery lvl one. Often I have many spells where I would never bother to master them and have no easy choice for a useful mastery.


I see Flawless as being very good for people who want to do spell mastery with many different spells, and that is more in line of being a more versatile caster if you will but that focuses on specific effects.

If you have only a handful of spells you really want to excel at, and get more mileage out of them, then in the long term you arguably have a case for Flexible Formulaic. If you want to be an astounding Pilum master for example, but that is the main thing you have your mind on, then Flawless is going to give you your early returns and then be doing nothing with it later. Flexible Formulaic however is going to be letting you more flexibly and widely use that mastered spell, even if it takes you a little bit longer to get that mastery score.

The big three that tend to be compared in this way in my experience are Flawless, Flexible, and a Major Focus.

The Major Focus I'd tend to say is better for themed magic casters that have a specialty, want that specialty to be "big and bad", and these are Magi who are powerful more along the lines of because they can do bigger and more impressive things. They will have to work harder on mastery etc. if they also want to engage in direct spell battle etc. But they can do bigger magic more easily than others.

These are all real and significant tradeoffs.

Flawless I think has two main selling points going for it that makes it one of the more common choices. One is the free level one, and the other is that ... it is often much simpler to apply and get real mileage out of for many people as they initially grasp the rules. But that doesn't mean it is the objectively most beneficial choice for all builds or concepts!



When AM5 first came out, I thought FFM > FM. I soon changed my mind. RAW, FFM does not allow some desirable changes, such as Ind to Group, and only some of the legal changes are useful for most spells. It's a very good virtue, for sure, effectively providing a bunch of free spells known.

A magus with FM knows fewer spells, and effective use of FM requires some optimization and thoughtfulness, especially for new magi. But possibly reducing the last botch die on all spells and tailoring the right mastery benefits to each spell known (no words or gestures for a social spell, greater penetration for a multi-cast combat spell) reaps dividends down the road. FM provides fewer but better tools.

Another way to look at it is that both virtues provide free seasons. FFM provides free seasons learning spells, many of which will never be cast, and FM provides fewer free seasons toward mastery, which helps only if the right mastery abilities are chosen or if an affected spell is cast under stress.

Major Magical Focus is a fine virtue, but a well-developed minor focus is often a better value for the cost.

I think all of these are good virtues.




FFM definitely takes a lot more effort to get full mileage out of. FM is much easier to take and use with conventional character builds and spell designs, with little extra effort involved in doing so. FFM as designed requires carefully (re)designing every spell you take with it in mind, and means you are practicing very different magic from most other people. Which also further isolates you from having valid sources to learn spell mastery from at a normal rate.

It is definitely much higher investment (beyond virtue points) than FM is.



Absolutely! Optimizing FFM requires inventing new spells and a correspondingly high investment in lab totals. FM magi who use popular spells benefit from existing lab texts and books on mastery for those spells. For example, PoF has been a Flambeau favorite for almost half a millennium, and ought to have a wealth of mastery tractati available for it.



Flexible Formulaic Magic is an entirely different beast. Yeah, you're right, for magi who love to play with lab texts and the spells everyone in the order knows, FM is probably better, but damn, you can get a huge mileage out of FFM + Inventive Genius. Also, "high investment in lab total" is relative, considering you can often use FFM to just research the spell you want a magnitude under if you're tight on lab totals. Why settle for seeing the entry into a regio with a lab total of 20 and a relevant lab text, when you can research a spell to see it, hear it, smell it, or let a grog hear it, or hear it for the entire moon on an extended trip, with a lab total of 30 and no need to spend your covenant's wealth on acquiring the text you don't have.



FFM is a fine virtue!

Another great way to optimize it is to also acquire virtues that grant extra RTDs. The more RTDs you can play with, the better FFM becomes. You can even acquire new RTDs during play, and immediately use them with your existing, vanilla (or bespoke but still ordinary) Hermetic spells.

(High investment in lab total is to gain flexible casting; I know about and approve of using FFM to circumstantially lower the level of difficult spell in the lab, but then you don't really get the full benefit of flexible casting, but get a different benefit instead. I note that reducing the level of a spell you need to invent from scratch in this way almost always requires a higher lab total than just learning a normal spell from a text.)



Yes, definitely extra RDT is awesome with FFM. Also, bear in mind that dependency on lab texts has costs for your covenant. Unless it is extremely vis rich, you're likely to have to invent part of your spell repertoire without them anyway, even if you stick to published spells. YSMV.

FFM, even with published spells can do great things.

Many Magi have wizards sidestep as an easy to learn and cast defence, Now it can help the Grogs as well.
Pilum at sight range gives you a lot more time time to deal with any foe.
Most group spells, sometimes you'd prefer room and most room spells, sometimes you'd like group.
A spell that was just within the limits of the magi's ability, when the magi gets better, making the duration moon instead of sun, is strong.

FFM is incredibly useful.



All sorts of great stuff for FFM.

Arc of Fiery Ribbons out to Sight? :slight_smile:

Bump up the target by +1 so you can affect the giant or a larger group?

Increase Mom to Conc or Diam, and turn your PoF into a Pilum of Clinging Greek Fire that inflicts damage every round?



Is this in the errata?