House Rules discussion (Unusual HRs and proposals)

I've wanted to mess with Aura's for a long time...
Auras increase in a pyramidal scale as Arts. The magnitude is the score side of the Arts pyramid table, and provides a bonus or penalty to lab totals. The experience point side of the Arts pyramid table represents the bonus to casting scores. Divine auras still triple the penalties, Faerie auras are half the magical bonus and Infernal are like the magical one in reverse. Auras of strength greater than three are relatively uncommon. Durenmar’s 7th magnitude aura is the largest known aura of its magnitude. The Cave of Twisting Shadow’s 10th magnitude aura is also the largest known aura of that magnitude, and it’s a relatively small part of the cave.

An Aura 5 would continue to add 5 points to lab totals, but to casting totals it adds +15. This is somewhat important for our students. Were this rule adopted, an Aura of 3 becomes the effective max for most covenants, as auras of greater strength tend to be smaller. Divine auras in cities are slightly reduced, because an divine aura of 3 results in a -27 to casting totals, most cities will have a divine aura of 2. This makes sense in some respects, a city based magus like a Jerbiton or a Tremere Assessor would be able to maintain a lab, but have difficulty casting a lot of spells.

The school will have an Aura of 4, for a +10 to casting scores under this proposed model.

This is also a place where you can propose any breakthroughs that you would like to have or think should exist in this saga.
There are two Hermetic Breakthroughs known of in this saga, the one regarding the Aegis and social penalties of the Gifted and the ability to teach Arts to more than one person at a time.

One area of Original Research I would like Fiona to have been working (in a grand, Sisyphean endeavor) would be in an attempt to bend or break the Limit of True Nature to allow permanent Muto magic. Of course, it would likely be impossible, but require a crap ton of OR points before she realizes it, but I can see her thinking, "Why can't I...?" and going from there.

Tough one. Is it a desire that could have been suppressed until coming here? The reason I ask is trying to do OR as part of character development is.... challenging.

If we want to say its impossible, I have less of an objection to saying Fiona tried this. If it is possible, then I'd rather do it at saga start.

Would the circle need to only br crossed or actually marred or broken?

The circle thing is one my biggest gripes with Ars Magica. Creating ridiculously large circles and having people traipse all over them just seems wrong, and it should interfere with the mystical energies contained within the circle. I'm not inclined to create a work around for a HR that negates the biggest reason for having a HR. I mean, otherwise, let's not have the HR, so if everyone else agrees with you, it's gone.

If not everyone else shares your view, it could be a goal for a professor to invent such a spell that circumvents the limits of circle spells, it would be a Lesser Limit. The HR is essentially Lesser Limit of the Circle or something like that. But, in the history of the saga, no one else has sought to overcome the limit.

Simply crossing the circle disrupts the magical energies within the circle, breaking the spell.

So, this is a problem. I don't care how it goes. The pink dot works, or doesn't. A spell with a pink dot is magic and bounces off MR if it doesn't penentrate, or only the magical effect is resisted. In the case of the pink dot, if only the effect is resisted, since it doesn't do damage, the sword does any all damage.

A better example is Blade of the Virulent Flame. Does Parma block the entire sword, including the base damage or does it block just the fiery bits of the sword, allowing the base damage of the sword to come through.

This one's up to the troupe, I don't have a preference either way...

I would block the effect. MR would block an enchanted sword in total but a sword with a spell on it would only stop the spell effect.

As always, a tough one.

If it blocks the effect that can work, but begs the question, where does the effect go? If Blade of Virulent Flame fails to penetrate does the flame basically splatter against the parma like a bug in a windshield while the blade passes through?

If the entire item is enchanted (a Fae's sword, a lesser or greater enchanted device or charged item, an item conjured with Creo and a temporary Duration) does it penetrate even if it has no active effect? For example a sword enchanted with a lesser enchantment of Blade of Virulent Flame effect. Could it even touch someone with MR even if the flame was not on?

For me, I tend to go with the Pink Dot working (so the Blae of V. Flame would stop fire and blade); the effect must be active, and if the effect is the item (a conjured sword) then it too does not penetrate. But if the item is magical but has no active effect it can penetrate. An enchanted item then that has a permanent effect (such as one to make it unbreakable) would not penetrate.

From there, when there are inconsistencies I've often hand waved in favor of the Parma bearer, basically saying when this inconsistency was discovered in the past and House Bonisagus made a 'patch' for the parma. The parma should not get you killed or injured, at worst though it might prevent beneficial spells or effects from working.

If a sword is a magical item that triggers on a hit. How does that work. I have already hit you with the sword and now the sword wants to turn you to stone.

Yep, that's tough, I'd err on the side of parma protecting, the sword might strike and do damage, but the triggered effect caused by the hit, gets blocked.

Pink Dot Rule: Without getting into too much 'why?', I think I'm fine with the idea that (if resisted), Parma will stop the magical effect but not the physical sword (assuming the sword was completely mundane).

I'm listing a few House Rules used from my Saga that may be of interest:

Flavoured Vis

Vis may be "coloured" or "flavoured" in addition to, or in place of, standard Arts. For example, what appears to be a pawn of Mentem vis, may function as 3 pawns of vis for the purpose of summoning spirits. Alternatively, it may be a 3 pawn vis source only for summoning spirits, and not work for Frosty Breath of the Spoken Lie. This keeps the mystery in magic.

Flavoured Auras

As with Flavoured Vis, Auras may be aspected to work better, worse, or only for a very specific use. Auras may carry multiple such modifiers. For example: A magical aura in a swamp may rate as Level 2, but add +4 to disease-type spells. A level 1 magical aura near a volcano may add +6 to fire-type spells, but penalize Aquam spells by -6.

Spontaneous Spells and Form & Effect Bonuses

In keeping with the Focus & Effect (F&E) charts printed in the ArM5 main book or any subsequent books, a magus may use items to add a sympathy bonus to spontaneously casted spells, to help them achieve more powerful effects. For example, while casting a spontaneous spell to make oneself invisible, using a quartz will add up to +5 to the spell casting roll (before division). These F&E bonuses are capped by the magus' Magic Theory. (This is something from older editions of Ars Magica, and I like the idea of trying to boost a spell by getting a sympathetic item. Makes it seem more... magic-y.)


A magus may attune an invested device as his talisman in the same season as its creation (or in the last season of creation, for multiple-season projects) without any additional costs. An existing device may be opened for attunement and 2 casting bonuses in a single season.

Changing Specializations

A player may change the specialization of a given skill when enough experience points have been accumulated to increase the skill. This change also has a roleplaying requirement to justify the change.

Language Exposure Rules

Characters can pick up a new type of language exposure experience that stacks regular exposure experience to represent picking up the local language. Characters can pick up a maximum of 1 xp per season in a language spoken by the locals of their area. If there is more than one local language, the character can pick which one to gain the xp in. You cannot learn to speak better than the prevailing average of the area. Unless otherwise indicated, a character may only earn enough experience to gain level 4 in a language.

This language exposure experience is limited by personality traits like xenophobic, proud, prejudice, reclusive, or any other trait that would preclude the character from wanting to pick up another language. For every point in these personality traits, one season of this language exposure experience is lost, starting with the Spring season. It is possible, with enough negative personality traits, to not gain any local language experience.

e.g. A character living in England without any negative personality traits would gain 4 xp in Middle English, at 1 xp per season. The same character with Reclusive +3 would only gain 1 xp in Middle English per year in the Winter season.

Area Exposure Rules

Every year (in the Winter season, but not for the first Winter season), each character earns 2 xp that must be spent (Local) Area Lore, until a score of 2 (15 xp) is reached. This rule encourages some verisimilitude in that characters gain the Abilities to represent basic knowledge of their surroundings. The extra XP are free because forcing characters to invest XP in increasing Area Lore diminishes their already limited Ability lists.

Gifted Children

Rules adapted from Atlas Games forum thread "You're what?" and a Durenmar essay, "Hermetic Babies" by Shannon Appel.

  1. Determine Number of Children
    Roll a stress die:

     * 1: Possible "botch", roll 1 Botch die to confirm (more may be added if circumstances fit)
             [*]0: Botch: Birth results in hermaphrodite, child with animal features, or other unusual features 
  • 1-9: Single birth
  1. 2-9: Single birth.

  2. 10+: Possible "crit", resulting in multiple births

         * 2-10: Single birth, see 2-9 above. 
  • 12-22: Twins

  • 24+: Triplets


  1. Determine Gender of Children
    Roll a simple die for gender:

         * If even, female 
  • If odd, male
  1. Determine Gifted status
    At the time of birth roll a stress die.
    a 15+ the child has a Minor Supernatural Virtue.
    On a 18+ the child has a Major Supernatural Virtue (or multiple Minor Supernatural Virtues)
    On a 21+ the child has The Gift
    + the Aura modifier for the aura in which gestation occurred.
    +2 for each parent with a Minor Supernatural Virtue
    +4 for each parent with a Major Supernatural Virtue
    +6 for each parent with The Gift
    Note that Supernatural Virtues will be influenced by the Aura at the time of conception. Only the highest parental modifier applies; they do not stack for a given parent. (e.g. If a mother has both The Gift and Dowsing, she modifies the roll by +6, the highest of the parental modifiers.)

We need to Housrule if we use the split up of German in High and Low German like GotF 138 says or if we just use German as language.
I looked at 3 other chars here and 2 have used German wile 1 used High German and with my Char also using High German we surly need to rule it.

I'm fine with treating it as all German. It may be anachronistic. I'm not interested in telling stories about learning a different or the local language.

I, personally, am not fond of/tend to not use the optional complex language rules that are out there, mainly because if we dug deeply enough we could make a wall chart showing how closely related any two (or more) given languages are and what kind of bonus/penalty you have for one language when you speak another. I would vote in favour of keeping it simple and just calling it "German". Same with most languages, unless there's a major historical significance to it (like the two brands of French).

Forgot to put my own Vote: I personal don't mind and so I'm fine with "just" German.

Me as well, since it affects me especially.

Aha! My 2 seasons to raise it means I come to the school already sounding erudite and stuff. :wink:

I don't like this at first look, but the excessively high penalties would explain the OoH's isolation at lot more.

As a suggestion of my own:

1.) Improved "vain" Longevity Rituals - so long as the maga/magus does not fail an aging roll, they do not have any apparent aging.

2.) Magi do not lose their fertility unless they're at an apparent age which would have fertility issues anyways.

I'm trying to figure out how I got to -27 for a 3rd magnitude Divine aura. It should be -18, 6 (pyramid score) x 3 magnitude of aura. A 4 would be -40..

The fertility issue can be resolved for nearly any character interested in maintaining fertility. A little bit of work is involved, though.