Idea for a new virtue: Flawless Art

In our saga we had been discussing a new character, which is pretty focused into Mentem. He have all kind of virtues to make him an specialist over that art: Puissant Mentem, Affinity with Mentem, Deft Mentem, a nice focus regarding mentem, and the character have quite a lot of Mentem spells. Then I suggested to the player that the virtue Flawless Magic would make him even better with these spells. The player agreed with that, but argued that that virtue would also make his character better with other spells that weren't fitting the concept (also he wanted to keep the Major Hermetic Virtue open for other use). So I thought: why there isn't a minor version of Flawless Magic, covering one single Art? And I started thinking about houseruling exactly that: an Hermetic Minor Virtue, Flawless Art, which gains the benefit of Flawless Magic just for that Art.

The more I think of it the more I like it, to the point that I just can't imagine why that virtue wasn't existing by default in the corebook. So what are your thoughts about that virtue, would you allow it in your sagas?

I've previously used the scope of a major or minor focus or potency with the effects of flawless formulaic magic, flexible formulaic magic or tamed magic as minor virtues. Using an entire art rather than a focus is a bit more powerful but I think it wouldn't be overwhelming. (When I offered the above virtues I included the +3/+6 to effects within the focus that you get with the major or minor potency so they actually come out pretty close, in terms of utility).

Why not an Essential virtue "flawless usage of Mentem spells" ? (Essential Virtue comes from RoP: Magic and can be either Minor or Major).

This Virtue would make the character reduce his botch pool for Mentem spells in a very similar way, making it a permanent and essential nature. This means even naughty spells or powers couldn't add additionnal botch dices for these Mentem spells. Immunity card : ahah !

Brace yourselves, Unbreakable Mind-control Machine is coming.

Ooh I’ve never thought of that. I’ve always been hesitant to allow something like Flexible Formulaic as a minor for an entire Art. The scope of a focus would be pretty cool, flavourful too. Especially if acquired through mysteries that require the original focus as a precursor. A mystery cult revolving around necromancy, healing, or fertility etc. Sorry, I digress.

To the OP: I think it’s commendable your player would say the virtue is too powerful for his character concept. I’m usually more lenient with those kinda players.

At first I thought about limiting it to Forms, but then I thought that even allowing Arts you would need to pick the minor virtue 5 times to get the full scope of the original Flawless Magic. So I thought that it wasn't this new virtue overpowered, it is the original one!

My character is looking more at the automatic mastered spells and easier mastery advancement than to botch reduction, hmmm. The Essential virtue could work, but well, they are so open ended in the definition that I tend to avoid that. I like to keep RoP:M for my little monsters, not PCs.

About the mind-controller machine, thanks god I don't have a mind! I traded it for an onion long ago.

Please, do digress. Digressing is always interesting.

I buy the focus scoping. About limiting the virtue to Forms, I guess I didn't pay much attention to that because this player is going to use it for a Form, anyway, so it is kind of pointless thinking so far.

About my players, they are nice, but I think I phrased it nobler than it actually was. Being a so focused magus, it's almost Flawless Magic anyway. And he wanted the Major Hermetic Virtue to pick another big virtue anyway.

Would it?

I get that someone might not be able to use magic to add botch dice, as that might fall under "magical effects that would force a character to act against its Essential Traits always mysteriously fail." However, it could be argued that that isn't forcing the character to act against its Essential Trait, just trying to disrupt its action. For example, if we give a character Essential Virtue (major): Good Aim (Dexterity), the character would get to replace Dexterity (assuming not negative) with +6 for shots with a bow and arrow. Does that mean no one could use magic to break the bow, deflect the arrow, displace the target's image from its location, etc.? Also, we know magic can work against Essential Traits in a non-permanent way. For example, a familiar with the Essential Trait Owl* +3 could still have a power invested in the bond to shape change. This is just like shape changing a human into an animal, and the human can still be affected by Corpus because the essential nature is human.

Even if that last part is accepted, why would the number of botch dice generally be reduced?

Also, in which way would you categorize "flawless usage of Mentem spells"? Is that a Personality Trait? It doesn't seem so. So wouldn't that let you replace Stamina with +3 or +6 (or add if Stamina had been negative) when rolling to cast Mentem spells?

As you can tell, I really can't follow from what is written in the description of Essential Virtue how you got from there to your statements about botches, and I've gone back and reread both Essential Virtue and the block on Essential Traits twice now while writing this.

Well, we could look a similar example. Deft Form gives you Quiet Magic x2 and Subtle Magic (3 points of Virtues, so the same number as a Major Virtue) for a single Form. Sure, overall the breadth is 1/10 of what it had been, but a character designed this way knows they'll take advantage of that. So it won't end up with the value of 0.3 points of Virtues because the player is expected to take full advantage of it. The book makes it 1 point of Virtues. Similarly, 1/10 of Flawless Magic might theoretically come out to 0.3 points of Virtues, but the player will take full advantage of it. At 1 point of Virtues, we're making the same adjustment as for Deft Form.

If the Essential virtue grants a Personality trait, this could be "Particularly careful Mentem spellcaster", allowing the character to avoid botch dice (at the storyguide's discretion) and arguably becoming immune to magic effects adding botch dice.

Note the (Essential) Personality trait could be "Incredibly cool Mentem caster" making the character never being stressed when casting Mentem spells, hence avoiding stress dice and botches, which is both good and bad.


I don't think there's a right answer to this. (So do what work for you!)

On the one hand, Flawless Art (or Focus) is less than 1/3 of Flawless Magic.

OTOH, sometimes getting a bonus to a subset isn't practically that much more limiting than getting a bonus to the subsuming set.

That said, I think Flawless Form is totally fine as a minor virtue, and probably even Technique. Certainly Focus.

So you could have limited LLSM, Flawless, Flexible, Deft, Puissant, Affinity... am I missing anything? That's 6vp for true mastery of a Form. Offhand, this does not look like a problem.



Christian, do you have any opinions on this matter?

So the character cannot act otherwise and can't be forced to act otherwise. So the character will only case spells particularly carefully: non-stressed situation in a safe environment. But everyone gets the same botch dice reduction for that: no roll for /5 sponts and simple die for non-stressed formulaic spells. Meanwhile, no magic can force the character to cast a spell in a situation that isn't non-stressed in a safe location, which is the point of the Personality Trait version of the Virtue.

I get that you could agree to interpret it different ways. I'm just pointing out that following the description of the Virtue and of Essential Traits doesn't lead to what you're saying unless you choose to make it so. So I wouldn't make the general assumption this would work.

Seeing as you're free to make up your own Virtues, which is what this thread is about in a particular case, it might just be easier to make your own clearly stated Virtue that does what you intend with this.

Yes. I like it - having Flawless Art as a minor virtue. Are we talking Forms or also Techniques then?

I love Spell Mastery, and consequently I love Flawless Magic, because it makes things so much easier. That being said, I often find difficulty in choosing Mastery for specific spells for my Flawless Magus . All spells are mastered, but low magnitude helper or booster spells which aren't cast during stress don't really need any Masteries. The spells I may have to assist a magus during travel (e.g. ward against rain). The more action-oriented spells need a Mastery, often more the one, and that's where the strength lies.

So what I'm saying is that I like Flawless Magic's component of "quick mastery" more then the "automatic Mastery level 1". If the virtue was split into those two parts I'd only take the first. I've been toying with the idea of changing Flawless Magic, but each component is so much more valuable then a Minor Virtue.
Maybe the "quick mastery" could be limited to value it as Minor, if it didn't use a x2 modifier but rather a x1,5 like Affinities?
Maybe the "automatic Mastery" could require the magus to expend his 2 Exposure Exp to get that level 1 Mastery? And if inventing more than one spell during a season, either Master only one, or divide 5 Mastery exp among them. That is a limitation, perhaps valuing it as Minor.

But for a specialized magus to have the advantages of Flawless Magic in his field, while not taking up his Major Hermetic slot would be nice.

Another idea: What if Flawless wasn't by an Art but rather divided up as Foci and Potent Magic are? That would limit it, and put it in line with the other two Virtues.

Maybe like this:

Minor/Major Flawless Magic (Minor/Major Hermetic) : Within a limited field of magic, with a scope like Minor/Major Focus, you excel at mastering spells. All spells invented are automatically Mastered at level 1, and all exp put into spells are doubled.

In order to not nerf the original Virtue, it shouldn't split the two components. Since even the Major version does not cover all the original Virtue does, the multiplier should not be lowered.

In conclusion, as I think while writing:
The original idea of not changing Flawless Magic but simply adding a Minor version is an easy solution.
Having the minor version covering a limited scope rather than a full Art gives more flexibility but also adds complexity in defining it. Especially if it does not use the Minor/Major Focus definitions.
IMHO a Flawless Technique is more valuable than a Flawless Form, so perhaps the Flawless Art could cover either a Technique or two Forms?

Summing things up we took Ken's idea...

...and allowed the conversion of the major virtues into minor, restricted to Forms.

At least for Flawless Magic, I think there wouldn't be no need of restricting it just to Forms and still keep the power scale (you would still need to take it 5 times to cover the original Major virtue), but my troupe and me saw it, uglier. If there is no Deft Creo, then I think it can be argued that there shouldn't be no Flawless Creo. Also I think it's not so underpowered if restricted to forms: it fits specialists so well that they may result like having the major virtue for the price of a minor one (think of a Flambeau Hoplite, with Flawless Ignem, and of another with Flawless Magic). And also minor hermetic virtues have another implicit benefit that should be considered: they still leave room for taking another Major hermetic virtue (think back about our hoplites, and pack the one with Flawless Ignem with another good Major Hermetic Virtue. Who would be underpowered then is hard to tell). And finally, raising its power to allow it to cover, for example, two forms, would make any magi at my table with Deft form start screaming that he also wants his deftishness extended to another form. So only one form.

As for extending its limits to those of Foci, it raises the problem than Foci can be either major or minor, but this virtue's major version still covers everything (we want to keep it, as some magi use it, or may use it), so either it should cover all the range of a Major focus, which seems strange for a minor virtue, or just have the scope of a minor focus, which makes its power dim too much. Also a character started arguing that if it reflected magi's ability to be specially good in a certain scope of magic, as his magic focus already does, then maybe it should be given for free with magic focus. So to keep consistency with foci and potencies, we stuck to Forms. And now we have Life-linked Spontaneous Form, Flawless Form and Flexible Form.

What I did adjust for this was use the +3 or +6 bonus within the "focus" in the same way that magical potency does.

Forms only I'd say - in parallel to Deft Form.

Oh, I know!

Yep, that would be the easiest fix. And also quite fair.

But the next question is then: How to incorporate this in Metacreator?

Well, how do you fix Affinity with (Art) in Metacreator? Approximately the same method should work with this. But if you cannot fix Affinity with (Art) in Metacreator, then you might be stuck.

Imo Fixing Affinity isn’t too harsh in MC during creation, instead of adding the normal virtue, you add a generic virtue and rename it. That way the xp spend calc during generation will total correctly.

In play it’s borked.