Hypothetical character questions

OK. Then assuming that one wishes to keep Diedne and Life-Linked in place, to allow mage types that specialize in spont and eschew formulaic and ritual, what kind of built-in Flaws would you suggest to attach to their systems, to balance things in your view ? Poor Formulaic ? Rigid ? Unstructured ? Something else ? I might see that a mild houseruling might be warrnted, but IMO either banning these Virtues (as well as the likely-to-resurface 4th Ed. Faerie-Raised Magus, which reproduced the effects of Diedne, and is likely to reappear in RoP: F) or making Diedne Magic a "kill on sight if discovered" Flaw are wholly unacceptable.

Differing opinions about it. IMO no more unbalancing than Flexible Formulaic Magic, Flawless magic, Life-Linked Spontaneous Magic, Entrancement, Shapeshifter, Major Magical Focus (Damage), Faerie-Raised Merinita (Faeries), Augury and Theurgic Casting (that Theurgic Virtue by which you only need to know a Vim spell for each form, to summon a Magic spirit you can command to produce any magical effect you like) from Mysteries, Cursing, Wonders and Intervention from RoP: Divine, etc.

As I said above, IMO it is no more unbalanced than half the list of Major Hermetic Virtues, or the right combination of 2-4 Minor Hermetic Virtues. Or some Major Supernatural Virtues as well. Be an Ex Miscellanea, pick Entrancement and Shapeshifter: gosh, there's two Forms and a Technique's worth you almost do not need anymore for typical uses.

Pick Flexible Formulaic Magic, and a smattering of basic spells in the most important Techniques and Forms, specialize in 2-3 Techniques. Who needs spontaneous magic then ??

So ?? The Diedne magus that trained the half-trained apprentice that was adopted by another house and trained the master of my master is long dead. I am as legitimate as the Tytalus magus there, whose entire lineage a couple of generations ago was marched as diabolists, and that Ex Miscellanea, whose grand-grand-master was a follower of Daimoh-alladh, and that Flambeau, whose master was Renounced for diabolism as well....

Questionable lineage is not an Hermetic crime. Once you have been sworn in the Order, all that matters are the violations of the Code YOU perform, not your lineage.

Some of the questions I would need books to even attempt to give an answer to...these don't need them.

Outside of combat Formulistic spells are of rarely any use. The chances that a spell does something that you are interested in doing is low so being able to change one catagory or whatever it is again that Flexible allows is hardly going to be worth it. A mage starts with six or so spells they know (assuming 120 spell levels and 6 20th level spells). Learning new ones unless you have access to an instructor is slow going.

Also you seem to assume there are "important Techniques and Forms" which is, well, hard to understand. There is no one Technique or Form that is better than another, they all are equally useful. You can solve a problem one way or in a totally different way generally...unless it is a question of gathering information which requires Intellego the other 4 can be used interchangably.

The formulastic spells are so limited that on an average adventure you might never use them even if you have a good selection which takes time to accumulate.

Combat is the sole situation where Formulistic spells dominate. There is no way around that, and I won't for a second dispute it. It is then a question of how much magical combat there is in your campaign. I don't know the answer to that.

The half trained apprentice would not be able to pass along enough information to his apprentice to allow the virtue to be passed on. Also that is 4 magical generations which is a few too many for only 200 years. Remove at least one.

If that is your character background I would not allow the virtue to be taken. You want it, you were trained by a Diedne mage, or another person who was trained by a Diedne mage (which starts making this whole conspiricy thing look so much more plausable); when you are found out ...well lets see how long you last against the Tremere Archmages and their hopolites who come calling.

You can of course claim that your Hermetic Hertitage is the only thing that matters, that you are not an agent of the despised disgusting demented diedne working to undermine the Order, and so on. I'm sure those Archmages will be willing to listen to you.

smiles thinking of the "burn the witch" session in Catara --- awesome is the only word to describe that bit of online DMing. The team did a wonderful job and our mob was priceless :imp:

I don't want to be too pedantic but I find continual use of the made up word "formulistic" rather than the English word "formulaic" (that is used in the books) to be somewhat disturbing and I personally would be (a tiny bit) happier if you didn't use it any longer.

My play experiences line up much much more Wanderer's experiences than they do with Paul.

historically, I'd say about 60% of the spells that I've seen cast were spontaneous instead of formulaic, so I'm not saying that it isn't useful.

saying formulaic spells are worthless is like saying spells above level 10 (fifteen in your specialty) are worthless. It just doesn't reflect how I've ever seen the game played.

My last character was an intellego specialist who used eyes of the eagle, posing the silent question, frosty breath of the spoken lie, lifting the dangling puppet, sight of the tranparent motive, and curse of rotted wood all a great deal. In fact I'd say that this character used his formulaics more frequently than he used spontaineous magic.

Curse of rotted wood he picked up because his perdo herbam was 0 and he would not have been able to spont it in all circumstances.

He could easily have sponted sight of the transparent motive but since he knew it as a formulaic spell he could cast it with no voice or gestures.

The rest he couldn't have easily sponted even with the 19 he had in intellego when the game ended.

Also, the level of spell mastery my character acquired for posing the silent question (quiet casting) was exceedingly useful.

What spells are your players taking Paul that they can't find a use for them? Are you sure that they're making the most out of the system?

Are your groups SG's possibly being exceptionally liberal (when compared to the rest of us) in what they allow a level 10 spell to do?

I didn't say they were worthless. I said that they were useful in specific situations and those specific situtions don't always come up. Frankly if you find ones that are useful then of course you use them. I use my weather ward often...weather being bad often in Wales. When I find myself sponting the same spell continously or wanting to spont a spell and finding I just can't then it is time to look for some lab time invested in spell creation.

If you find yourself using the same spell over and over again to do you also find yourself in the same sort of adventures over and over again as well?

I suspect that this is the main difference. The more variety to the adventures you are on the less likely your few known spells will be useful.

You are asking me what spells other players characters have? Can't say that I know that. I don't see them casting them all that often. The more generic sorts yes...healings, eyes of the cat, demons eternal oblivion but for the most part people are sponting things.

Except in combat. Then you see the non-spont variety.

And no I don't think the SG are being liberal, they could comment all they want on that though. You would be amazed what is allowed with a lvl 10 spell legally under the rules. I can heat someone (or something depending on how you interpret object) to boiling for example (CrIg base 4+1 touch+1 diameter = lvl 10). And all of us can get up to lvl 15 sponts in a narrow band of T&F combos. Our Flambeau might even be able to spont that one soon without fatigue loss. Casting total of 50 is not that excessive, likely he already is close to 35. So he could spont with no fatigue a spell that does +5 damage on touch...as that is a CrIg lvl 5 spell.

Its not hard to make or modify things for example with low level spells if you only want them to be around a day or less, and don't mind them forming near you. And since its only 2 min rest to recover fatigue if you are in no rush, you can do that for quite a while.

What you said was this

You can see where I got the missimpression.

Some spells will be usefull in a wide variety of circumstances, specifically intelego spells (it is an unusual adventure where knowing more won't help you), transportation spells (being where you want to be is an ability of near universal use), and spells that let you reshape your environment. There are plenty of spells that will see use in as many or more stories as they don't (regardless of how varied the stories are).

You don't have to convince me. I wrote the big list of level three spells and I'm slowly working on a list of level ten to fifteen spells (the threads are down a page or two now). We've all seen Badger 101's excellent work in this area.

I was just surprised at how little use your group got out of their formulaics if they only make up 10% of their spells cast.

Switching houses? Hmmm...

The one case where this is clearly stated as a possibility in the rules is for someone to be taken on mid-apprenticeship by a Bonisagus. Wouldn't such an event allow for switching from any House to Bonisagus? This seems to be the way it reads. Of course, I'd still require the character to purchase the Puissant Magic Theory or Intrigue as a virtue, rather than acquiring it for free.

But under what circumstances would it be possible to change to another House? Given that both the Societates and Mystery Cults are joinable from the outside, how would that work in game terms?

Of course that would be a given, ie. only one House Virtue is given for free, the other is bought normally with Flaws. Even if I would have some doubts about which one to make free, either the old House or the new. I had some qualms when the combination causes one to exceed the normal 10 Virtues allottment, ie one switches to/from Ex Miscellanea or a Mystery Cult House. I was tentatively thinking all would be still good if any 11th+ Virtue is balanced by Flaws, since I was noticing that the 5th Ed System is rather liberal with getting extra Virtues, as long as they are got through the Mystery system or similar (ie undergo initiation or quest-like story event, pay with equivalent Flaws: eg House Mysteries, Forest Paths, Ex Miscellanea, etc.). Even if this only really works smoothily when the character is getting one or more extra Virtues that are available through a Mystery-like initiation.

Well, in 3th and 4th Ed. all you had to do was to met whatever standards the House leadership set for belonging, and getting OK from the Primi. 5th strongly indicates that magi switching House and joining a Societas or a Mystery Cult is not a too uncommon occurrence. I'd think that for a Mystery Cult, you must petition for undergoing, and be successfully at, the initiation ordeal or quest for learning the Mystery. If you do, you are automatically in. For a Societas, I'd say you must fulfill whatever trial the Leadership of the House has set up for joining. For militant Houses (Flambeau, Tytalus), I'd say you must best a House representative in a contest of fighting prowess (or related abilities, such as tactical acumen, survival, chess, puzzles, etc.), for Jerbiton a trial of artistic ability, etc. Somehow fulfill a trial similar to the Apprentice's Gauntlet for that House (modified for an established mage's power level, of course). Plus, you must somehow be resembling the ideal type for that House (nothing too strict: I'm sure there's plenty of Merinita that are focused at elemental Forms, not Imaginem, or Flambeau Auram or Terram specialists). Divulging mystae secrets to non-members would be heavily discouraged, of course (the Code does not fobid it, but you would get a lot of Wizard Wars), but as long as you keep them to yourself, you should be fine.

Switching to a Mystery Cult after character generation is a breeze to deal with: you fulfill the initiation ordeal or quest, you access the Outer Mystery and you are a member. What is unaccounted for, is how to get the Societas Virtue if you join after character creation. Either you don't get it, and you are a "bastard" second-rate member. Or there is some kind of training or initiation process that mechanically works like a Mystery, and lets you pick it.

I'm going to have to disagree, it is very unlikely that almost 100+ years after the skism war someone would recognize Diedne magic just by observing. Plus the charicter being Ex, where there are hundreds of traditions to say that all people that cast spont. magic with relitive ease are Diedne would cause a huge uprising against Ex to begin with. Also how is someone going to tell the diference when someone is screaming and hurling random magic at you. One doesn't realy have time to analize in that situation. Run for cover maybe. And since the only effect that is noticeable is that they are not getting fatuiged as quickly, which could just be chaulked up to luck. Also seeing as magic is an art and doesn't have many set priciples one can't realy simply glance at someones art form ands say to comes from this teacher in this place from 100+ years ago without research. Which would be Diedne Lore. The idea of the dark secret would fall into someone seeing hime do something then reseaching it and testing his theory followed by conducting a investigation on the magus. Which gives a great storyline for the charicter trying to stay one step ahead of the questitor in charge and convince him his acusations are ungrounded.

Now as to overpowered, not at all. Life Linked Spont. Magic is far more powerful and dangerous. Given a magus with 10 in both art and tech. spending a fatuige level can cast a level 15 spell on average. Which means you could cast a level 30 spell with penitration 0 and only loose 4 fauige levels. Where the Diedne Mage can cast a spell at level 15 without loosing a fatiuge level. That is a huge diferance in power Not to mention of the Life linked Mage burns some health levels he can pust level 45, Pe/Co instant death spell anyone. Or inslave the mortal mind for a day duration. Mind you the Mage will be 4 fatuige down and 3 injury levels down and hurting, but now he owns a noble for a day. So Diedne magic is far less destrustive if you think about it.

Please excuse my horible spelling.

The main problem is when your Campaign is happening.I happen to know that the Campaign Paul plays is in the 1080´s which means that the Schism War is just around eighty years over.
Eighty Years is around one Generation for adult Mages and if your hypothetical Character is not very cautious he will rise some suspiction.
-For example where was he trained before he joins your Covenant ?
-If your Covenant is very young he is very likely to be asked in which way
he can be beneficial for the Covenant (this can include Questions about Spells your Character knows).

In the 1220 ´s things might be more relaxed,but even then those Questions can arise.

For example suffered our old Covenant several Infiltrations (Diabolists,Clergy etc.).So new members had to answer a lot of personal
Questions to join ( and our benefits were very good so you usually wanted to join)(that was way back in the third Ed.).

Mages tend to become quite a paranoid lot with Time. :blush: