How to Break the Game - A Storyguide's Innoculation

From my experience, the easiest way to avoid players doing game-breaking things (not just powerful, but grossly overpowered compared to what most player magi are doing) is to be aware of the most broken things. Here are a couple to start:

  1. The single most broken thing I've seen is the Improved Abilities magical quality. That along with the Transformed Being and the transformation rules allows you to pick up 80 experience per year in whatever you want. Throw in the quality so you don't fatigue and Independent Study, and now you can pick up 180 experience per year (could be argued that it is even more) in whatever you want. And this is prior to multiplication via Affinities and the like. We axed Improved Abilities. If a Storyteller wants to give something more points that can just be done without a mechanic, so there's really no need to have Improved Abilities. The funny thing about the situation is that its supposed to be difficult for magical beings to change, yet being a magical being opens the door to the fastest/easiest way to change.

  2. I've seen Charged Items listed many times for good reason. It is so trivial to make something so powerful. Then everything basically devolves to initiative/fast-casting competitions. This makes a focus in item creation basically trump every other kind of focus. Item creation is good enough already.

  3. Effect Expiry, while OK at the lower end, becomes very similar to Charged Items at the higher end and shares the same problem.

Anyone have others they'd like to contribute? Remember, not something like improvement rituals, which take a lot of focus, time, and vis (and perhaps warping) to balance them, especially considering they can be cast on the other magi, too. I wonder about some of the nearly unlimited vis things (holy magi, Imbued with the Spirit of (Form), a couple Verditius things), but they all have limited uses, so I don't think they're truly game-breaking.


I don't see how any of these break the game. For the Transformed Being example, Improved Abilities does not add to the rate of advancement. And Might must be subtracted from all study totals, so it is not a breaker by any means.

Charged Items and Expiry? Never ever had I ever had any problems with those. Those are just the rules, and they seem more than fair to me.

I have been alpha SG for many years in one game or another. None of these, nor anything else I am aware of, "breaks" the game.

MM=0. Subtracting 0 doesn't hurt much. Improved Abilities adds drastically to the rate of advancement. I guarantee you that for any magus a number of years out of guantlet you can build, I can build a drastically superior version of the same magus using Transformed Being and Independent Study. Not only that, my version won't rely on obtaining books or vis for learning.


And I can think of many interesting stories and adventures for that magus. The game would still be fun for all involved. Nothing is broken.

And a MM of 0 leaves you extremely vulnerable. It takes only a PeVi level 1 spell to kill you, and it is silly easy to ward against you. Since the level is so low, penetration of your Parma should not pose much difficulty. And you can never ever cross a foreign Aegis.

And, most importantly, if you have a Might score you are no longer human. You have no soul. That is a very sad situation. But more importantly, it is good cause to declare that you are no longer a magus because you are no longer human. A free and open target to be drained for vis. It is best to save such a transformation for your elder years, when you have the power and influence to defend yourself (you do not have the time to gain such if you start out that way). And you should take your might score up to at least 25 if you want to feel safe at all.

Besides, in order to obtain Transformed Being, you need to spend several seasons adventuring in the Magic Realm. An option such as this is not available for character generation. It can only be gained via advancement and transformation in the Magic Realm.

I agree with all this.

Although I would quibble over whether a non-human character is necessarily no longer a part of the Order. I would think that would be very saga and probably Tribunal dependent. For example, in the Rhine dead magi are still part of the Order (that's where all the extra voting sigils come from).

Even if in your saga, your Tribunal does take this position other people need to know that you are no longer human: it's not like you will have a big "M" for Monster emblazoned on your forehead.

This is true :wink:
I see it as sort of a built-in story flaw, as important or as trivial as a specific troup feels is interesting.

The wards etc. are a big calibrating factor. The magi with a magic might of zero is going to have to be a lab monkey almost by definition. There are some good stories you can get out of that. Could be fun, if you enjoy being the spider at the center of the web.

There was an online game (didn't get very far) where one of the players made a verditious with a 4 in every technique and form and with pussiant, affinity magic theory, affinity with craft and certain other virtues and flaws turned that Te 4 + fo 4 into lab total of 55 in every art for making charged items/uncharged items (and longevity potions).

That basically means you can have a level 25 effect and 60 penetration one charge items. OR if you go with only penetration of 50, you can get 2 charges.

Seems fine to me. Limited resource with a big bang, sounds cool.

If you lose your might you become non-magical, a being based on your own form.

A similar ward with Spell Mastery -> Magic Resistance is highly recommended.

Again, Spell Mastery -> Magic Resistance is highly recommended. We (local players) find most magi are basically blocked by foreign Aegises anyway since we are all highly loathe to leave our familiars behind.

This contradicts RoP:Magic twice. First, when referring to designing, not advancing, magi this way, "It is best to design the magus as a normal character and then allow him to obtain the Transformed Human Virtue after he has completed apprenticeship." Second, the drowned men, burned men, buried men, daimons and heroes, and living ghosts sections do not require you to go through transformation in the Magic Realm.


I will check this at home, but i think you are incorrect.

Wards don't need to Penetrate. Well, in RAW the do, ut i do believe that it is a 50/50 split on who houserules this way.

The Aegis totally does not need to penetrate. Again, by RAW yes, but in this case I suspect it is a 90% frequency of a HR that states thus.

Those are all different. Do it that way if you want :wink:
They have their own drawbacks.

Yup. 11 more charges per season afterward, too. And it gets even better with a little lab assistance.

I just find this a problem in that starting magi building charged items can within a few seasons be able to take on the most powerful beings. I thought the point of the new Parma Magica / Magic Resistance was that you needed to use small effects with high penetration. But the fastest route to success is to just make some items to handle those situations and then do the simple stuff with your magic. With all the complaints about charged items I thought I wasn't alone in this sentiment.


Right, using lab text next season gets a +11 bonus to lab total or what was 1 charge at level 25 effect with 60 penetration, it is 4 charges. Add in a good lab assistant and a specialized lab and you can get 6-7 charges. This isn't adding in experimentation either.

That is also very high penetration. Try a level 35 effect with 40 penetration and 4-7 charges after first season.

And if you don't need penetration for use on mundanes: level 20 spell (spasms of the uncontroled hand, diameter rather than conc, group +1 so 100 people) with 7/potions in the first season. 10-16 second season. Two seasons and you have 17-23 charges and a group of grogs could walk into an army and start lobbing spasm grenades d incapiciating them 600 at a time. two actions of throwing and then 18 rounds slitting throats.

Better yet, level 15 for trap of the entwining vines. 8 the first season, 14 second season. THat is 22. 7 grogs each tossing 1 a round for 3 rounds and you have immobilized a horde that you start firing arrows into the trapped victims.

It is not jus that these can take out single high might creatures but also take out lots of individuals since charged items can be used any one and is legal to sell. Just remember to kill all the witnesses.

I think using a lab text for a charged item gets you one charge for every five points of lab total, regardless of anything else (like the level of the actual effect).

Also, I think you're miscalculating the original (no lab text) charges. For a level 55 effect you get one charge for a lab total 55-60. You get two for 61-65. Etc.


It is lab total vs level of the effect. Penetration is part of the level of the effect so i am calculating it correctly from that point of view. One less charge doesn't impact things much.

55 lab total means +11 to the lab total when you use the text. so a 66. So 55 is 1 charge. I did make mistake that second season 66 is 3 charges rather than 4.

You really need to look at ArM5 p.102. Pay particular attention to the 1st and 3rd paragraph.


Other grossness:

Learn Vim

Make a spell store: Touch, Moon, Ind

It's no longer a ritual, so cast it on a pebble with the condition for a personal creo ignem spell to go off if the pebble is drenched in water.

Do this many many times and place all the rocks in a bag, tie shut. Cast spell store on the bag to cast a personal creo aquam spell, preferably torrent of water for maximum dispersion, have that go off when the bag touches the ground, put the bag in a second bag.

Throw the enchanted bag at someone's feet, duck and cover, instant steamed crab.

opps i shouldnt have posted this before asking for that vim spell.

personel range spells can be cast on you, and your talisman - nothing else... Which means - this only works if you are the pebble...

I have never complained. And I have never encountered this problem. So I think it is exaggerated. Why do you need 11 more charges? You already zapped it. The next obsticle is sure to fall under a different Tech Form combo :wink:

I found it…

Now, it does allow for alternatives to death. A Transformed Human may be “destroyed” by being rendered mundane again. That means you loose it all, loss of a huge investment.

As a Transformed human, you may start at a Might Score of zero, but to leave yourself at 0 leaves you dangerously vulnerable. You still have Parma Magica for resistance, this is true. And mastering spells that strip might or ward against you does allow you to double the effect of your Resistance. Very shrewd of you to notice that.

And, though I have a HR that says wards don’t have to Penetrate, that HR does not apply to Parma. I caught myself contradicting myself :smiley:. My HR applies only to beings that use Might for Resistance. Specifically, my rule is that Wards Form and Realm do not subtract Level from Casting Total versus the Might Score Resistance of beings that match the Form and Realm of that being (e.g. Mentem versus Magic Ghosts, Herbam versus Faeries of the Woods, Vim against Infernal Spirits). Blanket Wards (such as Vim versus all Magic beings) do subtract Level from Casting Total (normal Penetration). However, Parma Magica circumvents the entire matter. No matter the effect, it still needs to Penetrate Parma Magica according to normal Parma rules, and Mastery of a similar spell does indeed double your shield strength. The Aegis is still an exception though. It supersedes Parma Magica, and covers all Realms and Forms.

I mention my HR because the character in question is one he is proposing for a game of mine. I apologize for the lengthy expository. :smiley:

Still, a Might of 0 leaves you very open and vulnerable in many ways, so you best hope know one knows your secret weakness. Penetration is made easy when all you need is a Level 1 spell, a much lower level than is normally needed to do nasty things to you. How high is your Parma anyway?