General Table Talk

The only think broken is the time it takes to make them. It is ridiculously easy to get a Workshop total of 9+. It is also pretty easy to get a Craft score of 9 or higher, even according to strict RAW. The standard "professional" score of 6 costs 105xp. With an affinity, that 105 becomes 157ish, a score of 7. Add Puissant and Dwarf blood, and you hit a score of 10 without breaking a sweat.
We are High powered, but not Legendary powered. Yet.
As for the quality of The Woad's spear, it is Standard, unless you paid for it in Vis. I am generous, but I don't give things away free (very often). I do not abide by the rule that an item has to be of Superior Quality for enchantment. I only just read that rule a week ago. It is okay for a book to expand upon RAW, but it is not okay to contradict or invalidate RAW. I am not about to go through the trouble of retconning every single enchanted item ever made in this Saga. The Woad can believe what he wants about the spear. But metagame, unless you paid for it, it is a normal standard item.
11.1% is not as common as dirt (read my numbers breakdown in my reply to Xavi). I estimate 20 million swords in ME, and as many as 50 million spears. There are 100 million people in just Europe (not mythic) at this time. In about 100 years, the plague cuts that in half, and average size fluctuates (at first people average shorter because of poor heath, then they grow taller because of the excess abundance).

Ok. That thing about Colada is my own thing. I have a few of these, you already know about them :stuck_out_tongue: I would raise Colada and the other named swords to a higher category then. No big deal. My confusion arises from the fact that famous named swords are +2. And that the cost of +2 is 12 XP. 12 XP/qp is cheap when you get 20 per year like in this saga.

Keep in mind that I love to debate and that I am never hostile. Just very spirited.
I do notice that some people tend to abuse the increase in xp. The intent was to spread them out and take more abilities rather than stack them in one. The age cap on ability scores still applies (though I never check), In my opinion, Ars Magica suffers from Skill bloat. But I don't think it is a matter of annual xp. I think I maybe set the price too low just to keep the math simple. 12xp may be to low even by RAW xp standards.
By comparison, 20xp per year is an increase of 33% over the RAW 15xp per year. So if I increased the cost of the sword by a like amount (one third), the price would be 16xp.
What if I doubled the price? What costs 1qp for a magus costs 2xp for a mundane. So then the sword that costs 12qp costs 24xp. Because, if you think about it, 12qp is 3 pawns of vis, which is worth 36lbs of silver. Maybe the qp price is set to high?
Whatever system is in place, the primary objective is to be effective and simple. It doesn't have to be realistic. Just effective. Not every NPC will be obtaining the highest quality items. Only PCs and antagonist NPCs.

Simplest system I can think about is making such acquisitions during character creation follow the ability steps. 5 15 30 50 75 XP

If you want to be especially Draconian you can make each characteristic Una sword have a specific "skill" so you can have a +0 +2 +2,+1 sword costing 35 XP (0+15+15+5)

I’m unsure how the rules are for this. I couldn’t seem to find it under house rules.
I’m afraid I just hand waved a superior spear and the vis needed to enchant it. I believed it if little significance for a powerful covenant.
Could you point me to the rules, so I can retcon the Woad?

That spear need not be anything extraordinarily super at all, as long as the Woad believes it.
But seeing as it is invested with vis and enchanted as a talisman it is going to be around for a long time, it would be nice if it was good.

Further Advancement
Mustering Out

I am looking at The Woad, and it appears he only advanced a few years and not a whole cycle. I also see no indication of chronology. Not that this is required, but it is useful.

How old was he when he was Gauntleted? How many years of development? He earned 3 pawns per year on average.

I am not worried about proper ratios of advancement versus lab, since this is such a short period of time. The Cycles system was created to prevent certain abuses that are possible even with strict RAW. I had one pllayer spend 20 years building up just two arts, then at the end spent a year or two making a super talisman and mega familiar. Then, with only two art scores above 0, he thought he could make a challenge for archmagus.

Andorra may be a powerful covenant, but not unlimited power. And The Woad is not from Andorra. Plus, this saga is not at the top power level. It is second from top (Low, Medium, High, Legendary).

In my pov, there are mainly two things that mark this saga as high powered. Mainly it is the advancement HRs, granting 33% more xp and letting characters achieve mysteries and such before play. The other part, probably more significant than we realize, is that I don't dk pllayers over with artificial limits and HRs to stymie you. That seems to be the trend for most others (from what I read in forum discussions).

Looking at this spear though, it does seem very minor. Opened with 4 pawns, invested with 2 pawns. That is only two years salary. Making it a superior spear costs only a half pawn (economics). Though technically you receive your salary at the end of a cycle (or the few years), this is a very small amount and I am willing to hand-wave at it. No Retcon is needed.

I do not want to be draconian. Not my style. I just want my players to collectively feel that things are balanced and fair.
The rule as is uses 2 x pyramid scale for each bonus. I was thinking of increasing it to 4x pyramid. Your suggestion of 5x pyramid seems reasonable.

By "pyramid scale", i refer to the advancemet used for Arts (1 = 1, 2 = 1+2, 3 = 1+2+3, etc) Arts uses 1x pyramid, and abilities use 5x pyramid.

I did notice the mustering our rules. Although I have not played Traveller, I know it.
The Woad was developed only 1 year post gauntlet, in order to invest the spear, attune as talisman, and add one minor enchantment for durability. It would be a shame for it to break too easily.
I assumed that minor, common weapon enchantment was available on lab text and that he spent his fourth season in service as payment.
If vis is only handed out at the end of a cycle, only the lab projects which don’t require vis can be performed.
Maybe he got a loan or advance payment then? He was trained at one of the most powerful covenants in Hibernia after all. But I didn’t exploit this fact further, the Woad doesn’t even have a suit of armour.

I am suggesting 5x because other methods tend to leave characters with "spare" xp. Only magi use Arts, while companions and grogs use only the Ability scale. It is not a big problem, since you can use the extra XP to just put experience into an ability, but that is at the root of my suggestion: simplicity.

I looked at both the Advancement and Mustering Out pages but couldn’t seem to find the rules for value of superior or excellent items?

I can't find them either, but I know I have read them. They are above, in Marko's message without changes. Ora Fidelium, Mateu's, sword, is an exceptional sword that costed me 12 PX. The cost table:

  • 2xp/qp, or 6 £ silver: Superior (+1)
  • 4xp/qp, or 12£ silver, or a Pawn of Vis: Excellent (+1/+1)
  • 12xp/qp, or 36£ silver, or three Pawns of Vis: Exceptional (+2/+2)
  • 24xp/qp, or 72£ of silver, or six Pawns of Vis: Extraordinary (+3/+3)

There is a link to the Hermetic Economics rules on the wiki.
But you do raise an excellent point. The HRs are in serious need of revision. They are full of patches and tiny glitches. This is something I woud like to work on, with the blessing of the Troupe.

I just noticed some flaws in the design. You have to open the item before you can attune it as a Talisman. For a spear, that takes 8 pawns of vis.
And Lab Texts are no good for Talismans. Or rather, your lab texts from working on this Talisman can be used by you (and only you) and only for anotherTalisman (in case you loose this one).
Now that I see this, I am afraid you need to revise some things. The Woad needs to be three years older. Then, with a total of 4years post gauntlet development, I will let you have 12 pawns, and you can have it up front if it is all devoted to this Talisman. 8 pawns to open, 2 more to enchant.
And now I notice your MuHe lab total is only 11, and the effect level is 14. You can't even use a Lab Text if it applied. And your Art scores are min-maxed. But leave that aside. With the three additional years, devote justtwo of them to study and take an extra 80xp. Spend 30 of them to improve Muto and Herbam to scores of 5 each. Then, with a LT of 21, you can perform the enchantment in just two seasons.
Also, do note that this spear is subject to magic resistance. Aside from being a Talisman, it has a continual magic effect upon it. Without a Penetration score, the spear is automatically deflected by Parma and Might. You may want to reconsider the thing entirely.

I took the idea in Magi of Hermes for Ranulf of Flambeau, where only the haft of the axe is enchanted, so the head is not magic not affected by magic resistance. But you’re right that is 4x2 for just the shaft.

If that doesn’t fly in this saga, I’ll scrap it. It’s not that important - a talisman is just nice for a young magus in order to have something adding to casting total.
It’d be much easier to just grind Arts.
And it’s a lot more efficient to drop both Warrior and the exp in Single to focus on magic.

He could keep the spear, with the ambition of learning to fight with it and enchanting it in time. Just as flavour

I forgot about the head of the spear. That works for me. The metal would greatly increase the expense. The Ranulf idea sounds great. Keep the spear and keep Warrior. Or not. Up to you.

As I understand Talisman procedure, you first open the item for enchantment with pawns of vis appropriate for the item - a single part or as compound device.
A spear shaft is wood (x2) and large (x4), that’s 8 pawns - possible with Magic Theory 4
Second season you attune as Talisman, for no real other benefit.
After that, each time you enchant effects you can attune a bonus.

The Woad would need to have worked 3 years to even begin, to have the vis at hand.
He could have studied Muto and Herbam during some of this time.
Arts are min-maxed? It difficult to do otherwise, when you need a bunch of abilities as well, if you want some moderately strong speciality magic. Spreading out to be grounded in most Arts only allows for low magnitude spells to be known. That’s also a concept I’ve had fun with before, but not the one if looking for here

I’ll keep it then. It’s a nice gag and also a way of not being too efficient.

The Woad just needs to have spent a little more time in Hibernia before setting off with Roberto.
The spear can easily be superior or even better since this costs little compared to the rest
I’ll look into that tonight, right now I need to assemble IKEA furniture and rearrange some kitchen cabinets. And no magic can do that for me, that’s pure Grog work.

Ouch. Be strong, my friend.

No worries, my wife is an expert. She won’t allow me to but I do electrics, plumbing, and use the power tools.
Also, that cabinet system is really well designed, almost idiot proof.

We did the kitchen a few years ago so this is just a small modification.
We’re also doing the bathrooms although only the cabinets. One down one still to go.

Okay, so the Woad has been slightly revised (see his thread).
He has 4 years post-gauntlet before coming to Andorra. This way, he has earned the vis needed to pay for his special spear, and enchant it as a talisman with a single effect in. And he studied some Muto and Herbam first, in order to have earned some vis. Minor changes only, but now his Parma Magica is slightly above 1, which is nice.