Leap of Homecoming: How has it changed your game?

Two magi in my game have learned this spell. They are now fond of grabbing small stones while in foreign lands, and then using the spell to travel from Aquitaine to Baghdad in the blink of an eye. While "travelling" with the main group in the far East, they would pop back to their laboratories in France and continue their labwork, only meeting up with the traveling party to make sure they were not needed. When the group was stranded by sandstorms in Baghdad for a season, these two magi were able to return home to relax and use their labs while the others worked in suboptimal conditions. Not a complaint of unfairness but just a note of how the spell is used.

The arcane connections to France they have been collecting will soon stop working due to an interesting story element - the lands of kingless France are changing, and the sudden inability of Leap of Homecoming to return to France highlights a broader metaphysical issue that the group will need to investigate. The France of two years ago is not the France of today.

However, overall, I'm a bit wary of what this might mean to the Order of Hermes as a whole - it feels as if it detracts from the "medievalness" of the setting to have instant and relatively easy transport across such vast differences. I have the same feeling when discussion veers towards magical cell-phones or similar.

Yet, on the other hand, it is definitely magical.

How have others dealt with Leap of Homecoming in their game?
Do you do any house rules or accept it as is? Are there any aspects of the spell I am overlooking?

Thanks in advance! We're in our third year of our Ars Magica saga and we're having a great time!

Vrylakos

It is a powerful spell but then again, I have figured how 7 league stride can moving you anywhere in Europe in an hour as well.

(Sun duration version of rise of feathery body and then with good visibility, jump 21 miles, cast again for another 21 miles and so on. At 4-5 spells a minute, that is 5000+ miles an hour. even at only 1 per minute, that is 1250 miles an hour which should cover most travel.)

The perks of resting up in your lab is good but those that don't know it can study a few seasons and then learn it. It does mean that supplies can be brought so those trapped in the desert can get away.

Keep in mind though. Picking up a stone is not good enough. A stone is not AC to where it was picked up from. They have to split the stone in half (leaving one half behind) or something to make it connected, the connections can expire (unless fixed) and then they have to track which stone is which and where it leads to. A mixup of stones could lead to going where they don't want to go at the wrong time. The rock in question could be moved. (animals kick it to bottom of a valley. Bird or squirrel takes it up into tree that jumping there means you fall out of tree, peasant lad skips it to the bottom of a lake, it gets caught in a horse's hoof and ends up miles away before removed.)

I have a terram expert with this spell. She uses rocks half the size of a fist and drops half in place to get connection to and the other half she etches a roman numeral to so she knows that I leads to Durenmar, II leads to convenant she left (her grandson is now mage and took over the lab), III leads to new covenant, etc.....

Indeed, they have experienced misplaced Arcane Connections sending them to unexpected places. They generally have taken to chipping stones off of city walls, or similarly "guaranteeing" a more solid connection. This still leaves room for change to occur, and to be sent somewhere unintended, but the danger thus far has not been enough to stop them from using Leap of Homecoming.

I've never had a magus progress far enough to learn Leap of Homecoming. We tend to play rather fast Sagas and the groups seem to break up before more than about 10 years of game time have passed...

Anyway, from the sound of this you aren't using companions and grogs in your Saga. They can't travel instantaneously along with the magus, and if the magus were to invent a variant spell with Range Touch or Target Group, it would cause Warping due to its high magnitude: not something you would want to cast every day.

So in my Saga one of two things would happen. The magi could try to complete their missions without the help of companions and grogs. That would not work out too well if I were SG because I do enforce the social penalties of the Gift, and my stories do involve melee combat from time to time.

The other possibility would be that the magi would send the companions and grogs off to the far reaches of Mythic Europe, stay in their labs while the mundanes ride on and on for days and weeks, and then "pop" in to meet them when the mundanes reach the destination. That could actually increase the importance of companions and grogs in the Saga as they would have lots of chances to interact with the world and its characters while the magi are busy ignoring it. The magi will miss out on a lot of story hooks that the grogs and companions find in their travels.

The more I think about it, the more it seems to me the magi would get out of touch with the world outside their labs. I kind of like this since it explains how senior magi seem to get reclusive and preoccupied. Who cares what is happening in the next town over: they'll never have to see it when they can teleport right past it to Rome or Constantinople or wherever.

Back in my old, old 4th ed saga we didn't really use teleportation, but rathjer a lot of flight spells. What bothered me then was that people did not nother inventing or learning them, they just made a bunch of copies of the text and Cast from Text. It even meant that you cold compensate for shortcomings of casting total vs. level with extra fatigue. And since it was for travel, they'd just stop when they needed to rest and to the thing again. In fact they did this with a lot of spells. We even had a 'first aid bag' with a healing spell on text and enough vis to cast it as Instant (as per 4th rules) and more vis to boost casting total. And the same with a bag of DEO and vim vis to ensure that anyone of the magi could dispel a rather nasty demon. I thoght this undermined the whole deal with inveting spells and studying arts to be able to use it. The travel bit weren't a problem back then. In fact, we playes Companions and Grogs quite a bit, since stories tended to take time away from the lab. Lost of time lost in Regions back then...
Towards the end our Verditius made a huge flying carpet to take lots of grogs and people along on travels, although we had to fly at night and keep out of sight.

Now, in the 5th ed sagas I play in, the one set in Thebes Tribunal feature absolutely no teleportation whatsoever. Maybe one magus knows the spell, and some others would like to. But I don't hink it will become abusive. One Verditius want to make some travel device, but it is still some time away. The goose-Bjornaer and the hermetic shapeshifter just fly as birds. But most of the time we go with pack animals or on ships, bevause we tend to play almost solely as magi. Eventually the magi will travbel easy, so I'm hoping to up the use of COmpanions and Grogs. Also, many stories seem to bore some of the magi, so they should just stay home and the player can be a supporting cast character this time.
The other saga is in Denmark and originally features a Gifted Mercere with a speciality in Teleportation. That player left now. But he did not contribute with any Group spells for this, only writing lab texts both the line-of-sight max 500 paces teleportation as well as Leap of Homecoming. Most of the magi know the smaller one, and 2 know the full version (1 can barely cast it). We've started to make a few devices for teleportation since we now occupy a ruined covenant in Sweden where our Bjornaer has moved his Sanctum to.

Now to adress the original points: I certainly see some possible abuse with the magi staying at home to max their studies while the rest toil on the roads and seas, and just pop up for the fun part. But after all these magi have worked hard for learning the arts and spell, collecting the ACs plus they live with the risk of something untoward happening. If I were the SG I'd focus on some stories on the road, where the teleporting magi aren't along. If they want to takepart, join the caravan! If on the other hand they go all the way and invent spells like Haunt of the Living Ghost to communicate with the caravan, well they worked for it and still risk casting the spell at an awkward time for the caravan, like at a toll booth or in a city.
If the magi staying in their labs expect to always be able to drop their projects and opo off for a short adventure, they'll have another thiong coming to them if I'm running things. I'd perhaps rule that sure you can miss 10 days and still make it. But if you've wasted 10 days from the start of the season (say for one story) you can't take time off for the rest - the penalties are hefty. Or rule that they can't really leave the lab at this curcial time. If they are simply reading they have an easier time taking a break, but the story in the middle can take more than 10 days. I'll make them decide what they want. And enforce the RAW about either story exp or study/project - we've house ruled against this.
Back in 4th ed we made a system where lab projects were a little more random than usual. You had to draw from a regular deck of cards, and various cards had various meanings. Sometimes your project was easier, sometimes you learnt something nice. Sometimes it was harder and you needed help of just couldn't cope with interruptions. Not as mean as Experimentation, but just for the same of fun and differences in projects. The same way we ruked thay you had to draw cards when wanting to take off on an adventure mid season. The cards indicated how long it took you to set yur project on stand-by (if you could at all) and how long a break you could take wthout penalty. Now if I could only find those files...

Been there, seen it. Been one of the magi using the teleport spells. Discuseed how this would make the redcap network unnecessary and detract from our suspension of disbleief (this is NOT star trek!). PC magi cannot teleport in 5th. Not because the spell does not esxist (we have a pair of NPCs that do teleport around) but because we as a troupe do not like the consequences of it. Same for flight spells and other "fast transport spells. In the case of flying spells we determined that you lose 2 fatigue levels per hour while flying. It puts a cap at how far you can fly. Not much, but enough for us to use it only sparsely.

Xavi

Yes, the necessety of the Redcaps is sort of ruined with abuse of teleport. I don't think it is a problem in our saga. My magus spent the time necessary to invent teleportation from a lab text because our teleportation specialist - who was also Mercere- was unreliable and corrupt. I stead of letting him keep us in a stranglehold my Tremere sacrficed his time and effort to remedy this. It cost him a bunch of Warping when botching, until the spell was mastered. But by now our covenant has a second location, so we sort of need this type of effect for coherency.

No problem for me, because never we had taken that ReCo levels.
All depends about the social and official paper of the Redcaps, that must / can walk across and to Dominions areas and greats Aegis, that are problems for a teleporting magus or items.
The Redcap importance are again: The Tradition, the Political influence, the reclusion tendency of magi and the magical difficulties and that a Arcane connection to other covenant could be a charge for Scrying.
I don't see problems, and again, the teleporter and quick vollage effects are the all day way to the Mercere payments and Redcap repertory.

You do not need to teleportr inside a covenant. You teleport 500 paces out of it in a more or less secluded glade (so as not to spook a lot of people) and there you go.

My older necromancer PC had motion sickness + no sense of direction. Thus, he arrived in game with the teleport spell. I intented to act as suggested in the first post: send the other magi (who wanted to go, as i provided free teleport service!) and grogs with an arcane connection, and joined with them each evening. I had the "opening the intangible tunnel" at level 40 so i was able to teleport from and to an arcane connection, meaning I wanted to avoid the "traveling dangers".

The alphastory guide didn't like it, and put many problems on it, the main was the dictator (the big older magus of our covenant), kicking the ass of my magus when i did it.

Still, I can't understand why magi, who can learn teleportation, and have huge social problems (the gift), had to move by mundane means. It totally is unrealistic.

And the alphastoryguide used the "we always move by flying invisible" trick when he plays my adventures (i was also betaSG), without noticing it brought the same solution (but a bit worst than the teleportation trick IMO) and the - in his opinion - same "magi won't interact any more and thus avoid the penalty of the gift".

(Besides, he suppressed the "level 30 spells or more bring warping" rules...)

I tend to like magi being smart. And smart people find solution to their problems.
Some examples:

  • Letters don't bring the Gift social penalties => why magi would want to meet other non magi in face when they can send a letter by messenger (redcap or not)?
  • Travels mean troubles and dangers => why not send some experienced travellers grogs with arcane connection you can check by using spells each night (InMe/Imaginem... there are many spells!) and use to teleport yourself.
  • Why send a magus to negociate [the alphastoryguide LOVED to do that...] with mundanes, when companions are hired for that purpose in the covenant.

In our new saga, he forbid me to have the leap of homecoming at gauntlet (I had it ^^), so I only have the Auram flying spell (as my Bonisagus lab rat magus is an Auram specialist and an elementalist ).

As a betastoryguide, I intend to have the senior magi in our covenant ask more the companion to have the social role, and the young magi are free to join them. So the main adventure axis will be - in my adventure at least - emphased on companion and not on magi, and magi will have to decide to take part (troubles and story opportunities to enhance mysteries, acquire special books or trasures) or stay at the covenant (lab work or study, but with "normal" books).

Using again (happily) the "level 30 spells warp" rules, I think that will avoid the "we travel by flying" problem. And since I was the only one interested in teleportation, I just intend to take part in adventures only when my goals (flaw ambitious) can be reassured, using my companion the other times. (Because i do think that a +5 int magus is smart, not stupid and don't want to take unnecessary risks).

Ugh, why would the SG do that, it totally undermined the need and desire for COmpanions??!??!

IIRC, their non-requirement of casting requisites is often overlooked, due to legacy having the spells being written without them. There are some topic about it, as there's a divide between those who use them and those who don't.

To be coherent with other RAW and not be an exception, they should need some.
So, if your teleporting Magus must also use Terram and, say, Animal to teleport (unless he wants to travel naked), this'll hinder him somewhat and make teleport spells harder.

There are, of course, some ways around this. For exemple, Iolar, andrew's character in Novus Mane, just travels around naked, "clothed" in illusions and using Ignem spells to keep her warm.

My maga in Mad Max's Theban tribunal is a shape shifter. She flies places as eagle or swims them as Dolphin and then uses a CrAn spell to summon wool/leather clothing.

the trick to needing redcaps is that they can make sure your messages, books and such are delivered without needing to spend time traveling there to get arcane connections to areas just outside Aegis. They can deliver to multiple people who are even your enemy safely (like your declaration of wizard war).

Using redcaps, you don't have to worry about arcane connection

  1. being moved
  2. Expiring
  3. being negated by touch of divine or PeVi spell
  4. being attacked at your arrival point
  5. bounced by Aegis of Hearth

I look on arcane connections and such spells as most useful for travel to tribunal (A fixed connection near Durenmar since tribunal is always there), Travel home and even then be careful or you piss off your coven mates. In the example in the first post, after the first time the mages got stranded for a time and 2 went home to study the season, there would be some very harsh words and threats about reoccurance. By running home, they 1) deprived the others of magical resources that might have helped survival, 2) Angered those that had to stay behind.

The second time it happened, if I was left behind, I would have taken the arcane connection that was supposed to get them back into the adventure and tossed/traded it away to someone traveling a long distance (or destroyed it entirely).

We use casting requisites in our saga, but if you have the travelling spell as a Formulaic it doesn't make that big a deal.

With a Formulaic spell, near enough is usually good enough for the Casting Total.

I don't mandate the casting requisites, because IMO, a maga stripping naked so she can teleport is very un mythic (yes, I had a character start stripping for a teleport, I told her to not do that and just cast the spell).
Teleporting has had no negative impact on my storytelling, nor has it affected my suspension of disbelief. Indeed, I wish players would make more use of teleporting!
As for Redcaps, they are the ones doing it the most. A common lesser devide IMS is a pair of Seven League Stride boots, whic pretty much every redcap gets a pair of.

You will have quite a lot of really high warping redcaps then :slight_smile:

Cheers,
Xavi

Well, I do tend to handwave away warping, since I find it to be too excessive.
But anyway, if a pair of boots is specifically designed for a person (and it would have to be, since each pair of boots needs to be tailor fitted anyway, so it isn't like you can crank out a hundred of these and wharehouse them), then there is no warping in the first place.

Only if they don't use the casting requisites. If they use the casting requsites they can keep their pants.

Anyway, having to strip-off, paint yourself blue, and chant backwards the hidden-names of God while, walking anti-clockwise around the perimeter of a pentagram before the spell will work properly, sounds plenty Mythic to me!

In our sagas magi teleport around a lot, if they want to move. Most do not, and send out grogs (to whom they keep arcane connections, scrying and opening intangible tunnels and such).

The Redcap network is still extremely valuable, in that it provides not just communication, but also intelligence, trade etc. And it provides them so cheaply that most magi just do not bother setting up an alternative. I mean, you and I could grow our own food quite easily compared to a prehistoric man, with all the agricultural technology we have. But why bother when you can buy all the food you need at the local market for a fraction of the effort?

I don't manadate requirements for clothing and things the magus can comfortable carry, for the simple reason that I don't mandate them for a spell which levitates the magus and the things he can comfortably carry. Teleportation is just, to me, Rego movement on a shorter timescale; the clothing gets dragged with you, door you were hanging onto does not.