How the Hell does this work: p97 Material and Size Bonus

I am coming to believe that ARS MAGICA has one of the most obscure rules sets in all role-playing.

Sorry, but that's the way it looks. Perhaps it's my tiny brain.

I'm reading the enchantment rules in the basic book.

I look at the table on p97. Material and Size bonus.

I note what it says and I note that I am enjoined to make a note what it says.

But damned if I can find where I apply it in the sequence of making magical items.

I know how the other table works, the one on p110 that adds to the Lab Total when enchanting. But p97 seems just to hang there connected to nothing.

This isn't the only stupid question I'm going to ask.

It is about how much magical power an item can store.

This manifests in two ways:

  1. can the material store your enchantmet, or is it too "flimsy"
    b) Is your skill mighty enough to force the object to accept the enchantment

Let's take a desired item: A ring of teleportation. This will be at least a magnitude 7 effect. A Glass ring has a material base point of one, and a ring is tiny so that gets multiplied by one.

This means that a glass ring can only store a magnitude one effect. No glass teleoprtation ring for you!

However a gold ring has a base point of 10, so can easliy accept up to 10 magnitudes of spells.

Let's go the other way. I want a super-duper magic Carriage of awesomeness that will fly accros the sky and keep me warm, and,... (lots of other effects)

This is a Huge object (x5) multiplier and I want it made of diamond (base 20) so can accept 100 magnitudes of spells.

But can you open it?

To open the device you need ti instill 100 pawns of Vim Vis if you want it as a compound device, which requires a Magic theory score of 50.... Unlikely

Does that help?


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I think so but... where do the rules say this? Because my scan of the corebook did not bring anything like that to my eye.

As I say it could be my tiny brain. I am getting old.

First read the "preparation for enchanment" on page 97 then read Invested items/Lesser encahanments on page 96


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Having done that I am still more confused.

P96 says: "The total amount of vis needed is just the one pawn per ten levels or part required to instill the effect. The amount of vis that a magus can expend on a lesser enchantment is limited by the material and size of the object being enchanted (see page 97), just as for an invested device."

But I can't find on either page where it says: the limit provided by the table on p97 is in magnitudes. And p97 only goes on about how many pawns of vim vis is needed to set up an invested device.

That is because I am wrong
wrong wrong wrong

I should have said not magnitudes but every ten levels



And where does it say that the table on p97 provides a limit to the number of levels you may invest in an item?

In the box on page 96 part 3

"uses a number of pawns of vis matching Technique or form of the effet equal to the level divided by ten (rounded up)"

Then in invested items (page 96 third paragraph) "The total numnber of pawns of vis expended when instilling effects may not exceed the nuber of pawns of vis spent to prepare the item for enchantment"

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But that doesn't say anything about a limit which is what the Material and Size Table is supposed to be about.

Ah, wait. By searching for the word Size I found the paragraph that applies. It's on p91! That's half a dozen pages from where the Table is and from where you are meant to apply it to Enchantment. There's no mention in the Enchantment section of this limit and no reference to the earlier rule. It appears under 'Vis Transfer' which is not obviously part of the enchantment rules and how in hell do the developers expect people to make sense of their system?

Thank you for your help. I shall now go and seeth on my own. I was trying to work out how to make a set of magical lights for my new game's covenant and now I'm all of a fluster.

It is also there in part 2 of the box on page 96:

Open item for enchantment (Invested Items
only). Uses a number of pawns of Vim
vis equal to the product of the material
base and the size multiplier, from the
Size and Material bonuses. A magus
cannot use more than 2 x Magic
Theory pawns of vis in a single season.

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Yes, but again it's not mentioned there as a limit.

Late to the party, but...
My page 91 is clearly different than yours, (or you typo'd which page). Mine has the certamen example fight.
ArM core p96, under "Lesser Enchantments"

The total amount of
vis needed is just the one pawn per ten levels or
part required to instill the effect. The amount of
vis that a magus can expend on a lesser enchant-
ment is limited by the material and size of the
object being enchanted (see page 97), just as for
an invested device.

It does fail to tell you to look at the table, but... gives the right page.

For thoroughness, then p97, under "Preparing an item for enchantment" (re invested items)

Once you have the physical item to
enchant, you must spend a season preparing it.
To do this, you must simply expend the time
and a number of pawns of raw Vim vis equal to
the number derived from the Material and Size
table for the form you have selected

My mistake: the Vis Transfer rules are on p 94 not 91: I blame the fancy medieval font.

And what they say is: "The maximum amount of vis that an item can contain is determined from the Material and Size tables on page 97."

Which I think you will agree is the applicable rule we are all looking for and which is not to be found anywhere near the actual enchantment rules nor anywhere near the table on p97. Nor is it, I repeat, mentioned where it is needed.

You may find the fuss I'm making excessive but I haven't internalised the rules yet and I sometimes doubt if I ever shall given the way they are laid out.


I certainly understand how a complex system like this takes some time to internalize and figure out how it jives. I think p96, p97, and p94 all say roughly the same thing, and reference the table on p97. The first time the table is referenced is p94. Then p 96 tells you it's used to determine the maximum for Lesser Enchanted Devices. Finally, p97 has the actual table, and tells you it's also used for the pawns of vis in opening invested items for enchanting.

Edit add:
p96 has a table with references that also tells you about opening invested items.

I feel you.

Only today I learned that lesser enchanted devices require vis to make.

Before I started playing my wife and I had to take a whole weekend where we tried to make characters just to get the hang of how the character creation system work, so we could teach the rest of the group how to.

There are endless examples of rules that are just too damn complicated. I love it but man is the system an investment to learn.

Probably a wise decision with any game really though.
And to be honest, character creation is ... kinda clunky.

It is, yeah.
The returns are good though, I think.

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seriously, this limit is not really useful for lesser enchantment, spending 3 vis for a lesser enchantment is a highest reachable limit for most campaign.... reaching 4 would be just incredible.
and 4 is usable for a small piece of wood or leather.

you won't reach the limit unless trying to push a surprisingly complex lesser enchantment inside a tiny shard of glass.

vis limit is mainly useful for invested items.

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I think that is the biggest problem with ArM. It is incredibly front loaded. We just started a Rhine Gorge campaign with friends. Helping the one who is new to the system make a character took a while.

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In the much-prophesied 6th Edition, I hope there's a design philosophy of Start Here. Pretend the player is an apprentice working through training.

Except for the ones who aren't going to be wizards, of course.

Me, I hope if there is a sixth edition the character and covenant management software is part of the project from the start and better documented than Metacreator.