House rule: spend 1 Confidence point to avoid 1 Warping point

As I mentioned elsewhere, warping in ArM5 feels to my troupe a little too much like Chaos of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: an insidious force constantly out there to corrupt you whenever you accept some powerful magic (instant transportation, healing etc.) or slightly push yourself (e.g. performing fatiguing spontaneous magic). What feels really bad to players is that it's irreversible, so that whenever a character incurs it, that character is very measurably, forever worse off than before (unlike what happens with wounds, reputation losses, property losses etc.)

This is not so much of a problem for side characters like grogs. First, individually they tend to appear less often in stories, and thus are subjected to less warping (which occurs mainly in stories, in my experience). Second, well, they're expendable anyways ... though I feel strangely bad about saying it!

So, I am thinking about introducing a simple house rule: whenever you would accrue a Warping point, you can spend a Confidence point to negate it. I am tempted to exclude from this "long-term" warping, but I like my house rules as simple as I can make them. Any serious drawback? Remember, seeing magic used a bit more freely during stories would be for us a feature, not a bug.

That's an easy enough rule to roll back if it doesn't work out well. I'd give it a whirl.

Yes, the more you play your character, the more likely you're to take twilight if you use your spontaneous magic, or to warp the people arround you with careless teleports, etc. I could see using a confidence point to stop a warping point. But I would be careful, because while I think spending a confidence point can be a balancing element, I wouldn't allow it on a roll that would force a magi to check for twilight. I also think the warping point from long-term activites, such as longevity rituals and other constant effects, are needed balance checks on the game that should remain in place.


If you are not using any Confidence related HR, then this seems balanced in most cases. Including possible exemptions such as "Not when enough Warping is gained that it causes Twilight" or "Not for yearly Warping" are not needed if you want the cleanest and simplest HR possible. I would still recommend considering them, even if not included. At some point in the future you might feel that the HR is to powerful and needs to be toned down slightly. Having already worked out possible restrictions on it and mentioning them to your players before use would make things easier if you decide to use them.

If you are using any Confidence related HR, then you have to figure out if this is unbalancing. In my Saga it would be, since we have a HR that allows us to fairly rapidly recover Confidence Points with rest. Of course if we really disliked Warping then even with the rapid Confidence Point recovery we might play with it.

Another possible HR would be to limit the Warping gained from a given spell to "Once per year" to bring it closer inline with how Aura Warping is handled. The "same" spell cast by two different Magi is actually two different spells. Also spells using the CrVi guidelines would still inflict their full Warping Point total, since the description of the spells do not include the additional Warping Point from being a powerful effect (see The Enigma's Gift, AM5 p.157).

  1. I would exclude long-term warping from this, thematically it is one of the two 'hard limits' (along with aging) on magi without breaking one of those Hermetic Limits.
  2. Make sure to exclude Ablating from this; and even so, be wary of any character with Ablating, as it allows them more methods of access to Confidence points. (it allows for, with access to appropriate spiritual entities, infinite loops - Ablate to gain 3 confidence points, spend 1 confidence to mitigate Warping, get 2 uses of Ablating 'free', repeat)

This possibly makes Twilight Prone a much less severe flaw than it is.

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Yes, though that is not necessarily a bad thing.

I like the Warping rules since it ultimately shows how dangerous and ultimately not controlled magic really is. And the magic user isn't really a "master" of it. Though it would be an interesting Bonisagus research project to protect against warping, or to reverse it.

If I wanted to allow players to avoid warping, I'd make the costs accumulate for doing so. The first warping point might be easy, but avoiding your third, might require more sacrifice that becomes more and more like warping, and eventually it would destroy the Gift if avoided too much. But that's me. :slight_smile: