How I stopped worrying about Botchs

We had a thread with much frothing about using Supernatural Immunity to stop botches. Answer? Probably not. But it fired my neuron, and getting rid of botches is easy. You just need to get a Learned Magician. Page 89, Hedge Magic. "Level 10 : Allow a player to treat a stress roll of 0 as a 10 for a single ability, eliminating the possibility of a botch.". Wow, sexy. And he can give you up to a +10 to your living conditions. I want this guy as a lab assistant! One question. Some of the stuff I might want him to do could be higher level then he can easily do. Could I, a fully trained and gauntleted mage of the Order of Hermes, help him in the lab? What would be required? Int + Magic Theory?

As people have already told you you are taking an immunity to a game mechanic, not something that exists in the real world, so the virtue is a "no" in the first place. The rest just falls appart when you remove it as a possibility. It is a pure gamist mechanism that bears no relation whatsoever with reality in the Ars universe.


Yes, yes, I got that. It was just a means to an end, and I have found the mechanic to do what I want. Please read the actual question. It's in there, and I would love to hear your thoughts.

What Ability is being used when your magus casts a spell? The casting score is Technique (Art) + Form (Art) + Stamina (Characteristic). No Ability involved.

I didn't read the earlier thread; why do you want to eliminate the risk of botches? It's part of the game and part of the fun.


Matt Ryan

Not with spellcasting. Enigmatic Wisdom when trying to comprehend Twilight. Part of a thought experiment. How long can you keep the fun going when you are close to Final Twilight? Just trying to figure out how older mages could do Original Research. I mean, Warping is built into OR. Twilights are going to happen. What will you, a mage with a Warping score of 8 do to deal with these guaranteed episodes? Or are you ok with a botch taking you out of the game half way there?

So I've found a way to help. Now, any thoughts about my actual question?

I don't have the rules for Learned magicians to hand but IMO you would need to use the skill they use in the laboratory which is not magic theory (IIRC) which is HERMETIC magic theory and does not include the skills of the learned magician. It may be that the Hermetic mage would need to study the none hermetic magic for a while first anyway but that is really an SG call for each saga.
As a note any hermetic mage in a saga I was runnign who was found to be acting as an assitant to a hedge mage would acquire a reputation as a hedge mage , be mocked soundly by any other magi and treated as a disgrace. If he was a Bonisagius , Tremere , Verditius of Flambeau I would expect consequences from his house mates .

And I would not let the effect you quoted achieve the effect you want but that is not an answer to your question.

Right. I just couldn't figure out what that skill was. I am well aware of the status issues (Thus the fully trained, etc stuff). But some might be willing to crawl though some mud if it made a Major Breakthrough possible.

If you don't think it's a skill roll, the Level 5 effect allows a reroll for any effect of ease factor 15-.

I don't know what you want to do in the lab, but a Learned Magician charm isn't going to do it. The description of Fortunam states, "Fortunam spells affect rolls on Abilities, not all stress die or botch rolls. They have no affect on rolls for learning from vis, experimentation, or Twilight related botch dice, for example."

An assistant to a Learned Magician uses Artes Liberales and Int to assist.

Now we're getting somewhere. I understand that it won't help with "Twilight related botch dice", but I'm not sure if that includes the roll to avoid Twilight (Int + Concentration - EW + Warping score, etc). Botch Dice has a particular meaning in Ars Magica. If the phrasing was "Twilight related dice" I would understand it to mean all things related to Twilight. "Twilight related botch dice" implies the botch dice rolled to see if you botch if you rolled a zero on your roll to comprehend Twilight, if that makes sense.

As to the Assistant to a Learned Mage, would the assistant require the Gift? Second, my reading doesn't show any ban on using assistants when making Chartas. Did I miss it? Could be very helpful "on the road", Vis free "healing", for the cost of several hours.

A Twilight avoidance check is not an Ability roll. An Ability roll is Characteristic + Ability.

I don't really know what you want to do, but Learned Magicians can't do vis free healing. Learned Magicians and their assistants do not require The Gift.

Actually, I'm not sure that is true?

I agree.

Twilight Avoidance looks like a Concentration Ability roll to me. The form is Stamina + Concentration [+Bonus] + Stress die.

Twilight Comprehension likewise looks like an Ability roll. The form is Intelligence + Enigmatic Wisdom + Stress die.

The Ease Factor is a bit messy in both cases, but they both still look like Ability rolls to me.

Thanks for your replies! Yes, Twilight has a couple of things that fit the format of an Ability Roll. Thus my wonder about how "broad" "Twilight related Botch Dice" is. As to "Vis free healing", The example I'm thinking of is on page 94, Hedge Magic. Charta for Healing a Broken Limb : "Once the character is healed, the charta may be removed with no adverse consequences.". CreCo spells that are not cast as a Ritual do nothing for the "wound" while the spell's duration continues, yes? I can't find anything that says that Charta require Vis, have I missed it? Otherwise, looks like "Vis free healing" to me. Thanks again for your time!


Twilight avoidance is an Ability roll: Concentration.

Twilight comprehension is an Ability roll: Enigmatic Wisdom.

Ceremonial Magic is also an Ability roll! Cautious with Artes Liberales or with Philosophiae is not just for theologians who want to avoid charges of heresy on a botch! Here is a virtue that puts Mercurian and Diedne Magi on the same side. Spontaneous Magic doesn't benefit much from ceremonial casting, since the bonus applies to the casting score, not the total. A massive investment of experience points yields itty bitty results, and only when casting slooowly. On the other hand, ceremonial magic becomes a lot more interesting for a magus who is Cautious with one of the two Abilities! Then, taking it nice and slow usually removes all botch dice. This won't help a fast cast during combat, but is useful during downtime. Ritual magicians literally live or die by managing botch dice, so it's great for them too. Cautious with LA is better for magi who are thinking of initiating either astrological or numerical magics.

Experimenting in the lab is not an Ability roll, since the stress die is not modified by Magic Theory. Cautious Sorcerer does apply.



I agree.

I don't think that it is. Ceremonial Magic is a just a bonus added to a Total that is generated with Art Scores (i.e. the Casting Total).

Totals generated with Arts are not Ability rolls.

A bonus is not an Ability roll, even if it happens (as in this case) to be a number based on Ability Scores.


It is an ability roll. Two Ability scores are added to other stuff and a d10. It is no more a "bonus" than any other Ability that gets added to other stuff and a d10, such as using a weapon in combat. The Casting Total is derived from this, but the ability score is not tacked on to the Total.

No, but the Totals generated with Arts can be derived from Ability rolls. If it's a roll, and it includes an Ability, it is an Ability roll. English being what it is, that's RAW. Some Ability rolls represent things that are given names, such as an initiative roll.

By this reasoning, there are no Ability rolls, because they all gain a bonus that just happens to equal the Ability score.



I think this is like the Target/target argument. I think, in canon, ability roll means ability(characteristic) roll. Have to go with Richard Love on this one.


I rest my case! :slight_smile:/4




By the way, I reread Cautious with Ability, and it works on any rolls in which the ability is used. Philosophiae and Artes Liberales are definitely being used in Ceremonial Magic.

Of course, it is easy enough to house rule that it doesn't apply, but RAW it does.



Salvete, Sodales!

This is a bit beside the main topic of this thread, but while I was reading it, I stumbeled over this information:

John, I know that you are the authority on the subject, and I like the idea of having a lab assistant, but:

Is there any mentioning of this in the RAW? I know that you wrote something about lab assistants for Mythic Alchemists and Cunning Folk, including the requirements for them, but I couldn't find any rules for Learned Magicians. So I assumed that this tradition couldn't make use of assistants. But the quoted statement implicates that the appropriate passage was just forgotten. So would it be ok to say that Learned Magicians can use lab assistants, who have to know at least one Technique and one Form of their tradition and grant a bonus of Int+Artes Liberales (analogous to the rules for Cunning Folk)?

Alexios ex Miscellanea

I can see your point, but I think you are wrong about the RAW.

Ceremonial Magic is a bonus (it even says so in the rules), not a roll. There is no roll in Ceremonial Magic. Ceremonial Magic is just the sum of the Philosophiae and Artes Liberales Ability Scores.

However, it is not necessarily limited to just that. It is conceivable that another supplement could introduce a new way of generating a Ceremonial Magic bonus.

The Casting Score is a roll, but it is not an Ability Roll (as it is Characteristic + Art + Art). The Casting Score does not change into an Ability Roll when you add the Ceremonial Magic bonus to it. The Ceremonial Magic bonus is not a Ability Score, it is a bonus. It does happen (for now, and in the core rulebook, at least) to be a bonus derived from some Ability Scores, but it is not in and of itself an Ability Score.

It is easier to think of all these totals and bonuses as separate things (like you are some damnable computer program). For example:

  1. I calculate a Ceremonial Magic Bonus (no roll, so Cautious with [Ability], does not apply)
  2. I calculate the Aura bonus
  3. I generate the Casting Score (Stamina + Art + Art + die)
  4. I add the Ceremonial Magic and Aura bonuses to the Casting Score

The difficulty comes when (admittedly for convenience) we string all these totals and bonuses together to create a bastard formula like:
Stamina + Art + Art + Aura + Philosophiae + Artes Liberales + die

When you string everything together it does look like it might be a Ability roll, but this is just an artifact of the players stringing several distinct totals and bonuses together.

The RAW is not wonderfully clear about this, and usually it doesn't really matter. But it does in this case make a small difference.