House Mercere on Speed…

So, how come that House Mercere (i.e redcaps) isn't bouncing around doing Leap of Homecomings in every tribunal? I should be in every tribunals interest to have two or three redcaps with a personalized Leap artefact, transporting messages in hilarious speed. Sure - some messages or artefacts needs transportation by wagon or boat, but most of the parchments would not.

I would like to read your meta discussions and in game solutions.

First, there is the requisite argument. One canonical spell suggests that all ReCo spells which instantly transport someone have casting requisites: Wizard's Leap, from Houses of Hermes:Societates. Creating an item with Leap of Homecoming requires a lesser enchanted lab total of 70, without requisites. Of course, the item, once used gets left behind and the user appears where he wishes to be naked. Alternatively, it could be a true magic item, made for the user, but would be the result of several seasons of work (at least two, and probably more given the lab total needed for a wide variety of requisites). So, one doubts that there would be 2 or 3 per tribunal (that's 2 or 3 x13 or 26 or 39 redcaps with devices customized to them).

Also, there is the lack of need to transport messages to a tribunal. Everyone important is already at tribunal. And if they aren't, they can likely transport themselves...

This is already canon. It's done through Mercere's Portals rather than Leap of Homecoming artifacts. If a covenant wants easy access to the local Mercer House, all they have to do is pay the vis and a magus or communion of magi Mercere will come and set up a portal.

To the extent that it's not done, it's because of the Schism War. A lot of covenants do not want to be quite so accessible in the event of someone trying to push a Wizard's War or an illegal attack through the portals, and House Mercere understands this. While a lot of Redcaps do have Leap of Homecoming items, a big cache of Arcane Connections is a pain in the ass to lug around.

@Jonathan.Link: I'm not seeing the spell you're looking at in HoH:S?

@Ramidel. wizard's Leap is on page 36 of HoH:Societates.

They can do this, but most messages are not that urgent, and Redcaps spend much of their time walking the roads and gathering news and keeping an eye out. This very useful secondary function would be destroyed if they blipped from covenant to covenant all the time.

There is not necessary a correlation between delivering messages and gathering news. Why not having one or two redcaps that quickly jumps between covenants, staying one day at each covenant and a few redcap "minstrels". The order would surely benefit of this. Imagine the plentiful uses to house bonisagus, or tremere, or guernicus.

Level 80 lab total? pfft. Piece of cake for a verditius with the right set of skills and virtues, a familiar and an apprentice.

Yes. It's canon, but it doesn't answer the question. (Read: just because it is vaguely adressed in one book, it doesn't mean it's the most logic solution). Portal's have their use, sure. But the order has been around for hundreds of years, and have probably known of "teleportation" for the last 100. It's like we would invent the internet and go: "Nope. Snail mail it is. Because… that's not the most effective means of transportation we have right now. And another 100 years of snail mail will do us good." Or invent the mobile phone and say "Well, that is highly effective and convenient… but you can only use it on fridays between five and six, because… something"

My initial response here confused the tribunal with the Tribunal gathering. Long day.

Perhaps. But IMO, this is a LT of 8o in ReCo[An,He,Te,Vi and maybe Aq] to account for the necessary requisites to transport things. You can probably leave Aquam off the list, but everything else is important. Animal, Herbam and Terram are key to clothes/armor and weapons. Vim is necessary to transport Vis (I'd require Vim as the requisite for Vis instead of whatever container the vis is in).

But you have to factor this among say the 39 or so Redcaps that you suggest having these. These are also custom pieces, as you indicated, so that they require at least [strike]78[/strike]39[sup]1[/sup] seasons of time to make, all told. While commissions like this wouldn't be unheard of, I'd have to say that they are relatively uncommon. I'd say that there are no more than 5-10 Redcaps in the Order that have customized devices. There would be some who have devices made for another Redcap, and only use it in case of emergency (to avoid the warping).

[sup]1[/sup]I had originally said 78, but this presumed that a Verditius was making these items as full magic items, in my head, anyway.

Also this (sorry for spamming). Not urgent? That is not how advances in communication works:

Tremere: So how long time do think this delivery will take?
Redcap: Oh, you know. The usual. Five weeks.
Tremere: Five weeks! are you insane? My friend Matt over there can leap to your covenant and be back right after we finishes this conversation.
Matt: [disappears in a cool fashion]
Redcap: Well. Sure. That is impressive and all. But I'd figured your messages aren't that urgent.
Tremere: Not that urgent!?
Redcap: Well. I figured since you didn't give your message to Matt, it wasn't that important.
Tremere: Not important? ALL my messages are important. Hrrr… so when will you be back?
Redcap: Three months… [walks out of the covenant]
Tremere: [To himself] Three months? I will be able to learn the Leap of Homecoming in that time…
Matt: [reappears in equally cool fashion] So, who was that new redcap guy? [points]
Tremere: Don't bother. He won't be visiting us anymore. Dude, can I borrow your copy of that leap thingy…

The thing is. Technology (magic in this setting) to communicate faster will create an increased sense of emergency. In war, both logistics and speed are important. And a military and extremely organised house as Tremere, would immediately have created the most optimal network within years after being involved in some skirmishes here and there. Why? Because why wait for days, weeks, or even months, when you within minutes can go to a secure place, collect the correct arcane connection and then be a minute's walk to the covenant of your choosing.

I you have the possibility to choose between sending a message in a week (very cheap) or an hour (more expensive), most rich companies (here: covenants) will choose one hour, because rivalry and greater pay off. That will create incentives to further expand and cheapen the faster technology (magic), because, why would others wanna wait? Fast forward a few years, suddenly an hours delivery is "not urgent" it's "normal". In a more "logical" setting, house Mercere would be gone, or going at great lengths (pun intended) to secure their roles as a competent deliverer of information.

You still missing my point. You don't need all those requisites. You need one: animal. You also don't need the "jumpers" to carry vis or weapons. They are speed carriers that land in the vincinty of grogs and the covenant. Weapons and vis are for minstrels or special deliveries (who by the way would be much more efficient if the covenants gave heads up in advance… by frequent pergaments).

You need two per tribunal (one in service every two seasons). Let's surmise they are active for 50 years. That means two new artifacts every 50 years. Or circa one new somewhere (in the whole order) in every two years.

Once every day they jump to a small guarded cottage in voice range from the aegis of every covenant. Let's call that cottage "the post box".

Jump to post box. Grab scroll of parchments. Jump back to base.
Repeat if necessary.

Change arcane connection. Repeat procedure.

Sort incoming mail. Put long distance thingies through portals.

Jump to postbox. Leave parchments. Jump back.
Change arcane connection. Repeat procedure.

Cost: 10 vis and 2 seasons of service to the Tribunal/every 50 years…
Effects: A message delivery system a thousand times faster. And a reason to still hire red caps.

Redcaps apparently do provide fast message services for a fee, and it is true that some magi consider everything they do urgent. House Mercere has an organized mail service at all - that alone is remarkable in 1220. They can have blazing fast (modern) speeds, but cultural attitudes to make this standard are lacking.

Tremere has its own messengers for genuinely urgent matters, as I recall. They don't outsource for that.

Lindenius, sure, you can do it, if you think your saga's version of the Order is like this.
10 pawns is the raw vis cost of the item. Contracting it out will probably push the cost closer to 30 pawns (the House Verditius price). 30 pawns is a fairly large amount in the vis account for a Redcap. 30 pawns represents at least 30 seasons of acquiring at least 10 pawns of vis from trades... If a Redcap is fully employed, that's 15 years. There is also the longevity ritual to acquire, which probably costs a fair bit...

Huh, my Find function on Acrobat appears busted.

Anyway, I would personally rule that this is an "air-breathing mermaid," as Exalted fandom has put it - that is, it adds implied requirements that contradict the rest of canon. Leap of Homecoming, for example, does not mention this requirement, it doesn't seem to mesh with any other Rego Corpus guidelines and would make Rego Corpus in general significantly less useful, so my best reconciliation of this is that the writer of Wizard's Leap got the rule wrong.

@Lindenius: HoH:TL 80 does provide an answer to your question. Leap of Homecoming was known at the founding of the Order, but the advantages for mass transit and trade meant that Mercere's Portals became the standard method of moving Redcaps long distances, especially to fixed locations like...well, covenants. In short, Mercere's Portals are more broadly useful.

Anyway, there's problems with your assumptions for Leap of Homecoming. A Verditius with "the right set of skills and virtues" is not something House Mercere can guarantee to have on hand as needed - how many Verditii who specialize in magical transportation items are there, anyway, and how many other demands on their time do they have? The default assumption for the Order is that even vital groups like House Guernicus and House Mercere have to bargain and trade with everyone else to get what they need; they don't usually have the required Verditii on staff. (Also, the assumption for a Verditius of master rank is that he probably has an oversized ego and will not be staff to anyone.)

Also, it's kind of a pain in the rear to have Arcane Connections for every Covenant and carry them around. Furthermore, they'd have to land outside the Aegis.

Now, with all this said, I imagine that senior Redcaps do have Leap of Homecoming items, because they're very useful for Redcap stuff (Leap of Homecoming is a serious enough enchantment that Redcaps at Gauntlet will not have it unless they want to spend the majority of their allowance), but the cheaper method is to use the portal network where possible and use one's legs where not. And Leap of Homecoming still requires the Redcap in question to have an AC; this in particular increases the likelihood of the covenant getting a portal instead of a jumper.

Also, remember that Redcaps still have to do two seasons of work a year, and get supported on the basis of arriving, delivering the mail and staying for a few days, then hoofing it off to the next post. A Redcap with a Leap of Homecoming item doesn't get to do eight covenants in one season instead of four a season for two seasons, so the Redcap has little real incentive to take a "labor-saving device" as one of his personal items. (A Redcap who lives at a covenant might think differently, of course.)

Finally, don't knock tradition, it's done a wonderful job at dragging the Order down into a swamp so far :smiling_imp:

Yeah, I've noticed that before when searching for the spell in that book.

Well, YSMV. Casting requisites are a part of canon and they aren't expressly stated as part of the spells. I've been in sagas that enforce the requisites and ones that do not. Wizard's Leap is low enough level to make it castable with requisites. Other spells are much harder, true. But it's far from being an air-breathing mermaid. The implied requirements is that Rego Corpus moves bodies. If they are transport effects such as Wizard's Leap, Seven League Stride or Leap of Homecoming the body is affected. If they are spells like Lifting the Dangling puppet, everything is carried along as an indirect effect of the body moving the clothes.

This is a good point. Redcaps with fast-delivery duty may be expected to deliver to all covenants of the Tribunal in a season, possibly more often. While this seems a fine idea to many magi, the Redcaps may consider that they will initially get their payment each visit, but of course this will rapidly decrease to one payment per season. More effort, effectively the same reward - the Redcaps know a bad deal when they see one. They're the first Luddites.

Wow. I really don't seem get my point across here, do I? My point is the polar opposite. My point is that the Canon is somewhat sloppy in world building and (in game) logic. I'm pointing at (in my opinion) an obvious flaw regarding the consequences of the existence om Leap of Homecoming.

You sure have an odd way of argumenting by focusing on the examples rather than the main question. Ok. Fine. Coeris, Durenmar and Thebes pays for all the vis. Verdi promises that house Verditius will deliver artefacts at minimum price, because they know that speed means that drunken mail orders from house Flambeau will sky rocket.

So there, will you please start addressing the logical error in why house Mercere is not using the s**t out of Leap of Homecoming?

Look. I'll make this really easy and rephrase the problem: Let's say a Lord (Mercere) is going to war. He knows about war machines (leap of…). He has the blueprints (order form to verditius) in his dungeon. He has the funding (vis) to build (order) them. How come he is only attacking (traveling) his enemy's castle (covenant) with spears (by foot) and slings (horse)? Well sure, he has an elephant (portal) that is effective against foot soldiers (traveling inter-tribunal in group) but not agains castle walls (it doesn't help traveling intra tribunal)

Now. If someone starts to argue about elephants and war machines…

Yes. But that is because the consequences of Leap of… in the order are flawed from the beginning. It is flawed because fast travel would lead to high demand. High demand would lead to more artefact makers specialized in traveling, don't you think?

No. They store them att their Local Mercere house and changes one. Yes. So? Every covenant has a guarded house. It is still more safe than traveling several days by land and sea.

That is an argument that is based on that taking the "post-office-route" (as described above) is not a more logical evolution after 100 years of Leap of homecomings. It's like arguing for the best room to install your 20th century telephone when all people have wireless smartphones.
(My point is: another payment method would have developed alongside the changing delivery system. You can not say "well the smartphone can not exist today because of [insert payment method of the 19t century here]")

You see, this is in my opinion the big error with the description of House Mercere. It is structured after an illogical tradition. All argumentation I've seen so far is based on the circular notion that "Well house Mercere does this because tradition says so." Imagine this instead: Tremeres invention of certamen led to magi still beating each other to death with sticks over silly matters. Why? Because they beat each other to death with sticks before certamen was invented. Thats why. Nothing changed." (see, that did of course not happen with Certamen, because society changes along with of inovations. that goes for cars, planes, boats, computers, smartphones, but also parma magica (decreased deaths, demoic posessions etc), talismans (more power artefact), familiars (the cords). But for some reason NOT the ability to move across europe in a blink of an eye)

Instant transportation should have lead to some redcaps specialising i fast delivery. Fast delivery should have lead to more magi wanting fast redcaps. That would have lead to verditius magi constucting cheaper and better artefacts. Covenants would start to require fast traveling redcaps. Slow redcaps go out of business.

World building is the responsibility of the troupe/SG. There are tools available within the Ars Magica 5th Edition sourcebooks. Some of them are not so great. Some are contradictory, some don't mesh well with others. The game logic is there, even if the world building is "sloppy", to use your term.

What is the main question? This is definitely a YSMV issue. I've been demonstrating that. HoH:MC indicates the cost magi (Verditius) will charge someone for a magic item (basically 3x the vis cost of the item). HoH:TL spells out how much a Redcap earns in vis (10% of whatever he manages in trades). Coeris, Durenmar and the entire Thebes Tribunal have different goals, none of which have to have anything to do with the Redcaps. Indeed, Coeris and Durenmar (I think) have Mercere portals in canon. I don't understand your drunken mail orders from House Flambeau, point. Vis, not time to request services is going to remain the primary control on what is purchased from a Verditius.

I don't find this analogy particularly apt.

In "Heirs to Merlin", they do this. In Transylvania they do something a bit like this too, if I recall correctly.

As to why they don't do it more...when the telephone was first introduced, the guy in charge of the British Post Office said that Americans might need the telephone, but British people did not need it because they had enough messenger boys. Disruptive technologies are not embraced by those who control the status quo, and only unfold if there is someone who clearly benefits and pays for that benefit (hence the Tremere quietly working on breaking the local Mercere away from Harco's control with family recognition.)

I think this is also covered in Transforming Mythic Europe. I know it's sort of covered in Anceint Magics among the results for intergrating safer magical travel/spirit projection.

I think it's also important to remember that the 1220 canon setting is a snapshot in time.

We're still on the tail end of the post-Schism-War paranoia. The Order is in a state of flux; the encroachments of mundanes, the threats of other areas of magic - many of which are threats that have arisen or become noted only recently. Certainly recently by the skewed view of time that many Hermetic magi have.

Older and established covenants are going to be slow to embrace teleportation precisely because they remember how that leads to armies showing up on your doorstep with no notice. Younger covenants aren't going to care because they have no reason to fear it.

Certainly seeing an evolving communications system growing over the next few decades is a real possibility. Someone will try it because it is in the nature of magi to try. Others will oppose it. Either way, it's going to generate stories. The real question is are those the stories you want to tell?

It opens up interesting discussions about immigration, global markets, work visas and the overall impact that will have on society. Because once the Order start doing it, they're not going to be able to insulate the rest of the world from it no matter how hard they try. This is a reason why magi might resist it. It starts to look like an interference-related Code violation faster than you can say teleport.