The Question: Does the spontaneous total get halved before or after you add the additional fatigue levels? In reading it, I think that it is meant to be as follows:
Decide the level you want to cast. Say you want a level 40 effect, so you need a total of 80 before halving. If your total roll is a 64 before halving, you then half it to figure out your spontaneous casting total, which in this case is 32. At that point you spend 2 levels of fatigue to bring it up to lvl 40.
The alternate is that with a total of 64 you have to spend 4 additional fatigue levels to get the total up to 80 before halving.
I have maga with the virtue in my saga - we cetainly run it with adding it before halving, as all other virtues are. It is a mighty virtue and it makes good use - and it should be potential dangerous.
Just do the math if you added it after the division: to fill out all your fatigue levels would require 25 levels and adding another 20 lvl would still leave you within an inch of you life. In total that would give the magus, albeit very painful and dangerous, a possible bonus of 45 magnitudes on top of his regular Casting Score and might still live to tell the story....
That I find to be a very strong argument against doing it that way!
"Decide the level you want to cast. Say you want a level 40 effect, so you need a total of 80 before halving. If your total roll is a 64 before halving, you then half it to figure out your spontaneous casting total, which in this case is 32. At that point you spend 2 levels of fatigue to bring it up to lvl 40. "
That's my interpretation. It only kicks in if the Casting Total falls short, and then you add to the Total. (The Total is what you get by dividing the Casting Score.)
Well - I see the room for this interpretation since the flaw of the virtue is that it only speaks of the "level" (declared) and doesn't specify whether it is the level before or after the dividing involved in spontaneous magic. Your definition of Casting Total and Casting Score isn't exactly right - the Casting Total is what you get by dividing the Casting Score plus the die!
Since the virtue isn't completely explicit on whether you calculate the Fatigue loss before or after the dividing, I guess that the choice is your own (untill the ambiguety might be solved in the Errata....). But - I'll strongly recommend you to do the loss of fatigue before dividing!!! Why? :
*First of all - practically all virtues that enhances your magic explicitly is added before dividing - even the Diedne have to do that and they are the ones who brought spontaneous magic to the Order.
*Secondly, the use of vis boost your magic before dividing.
*Thirdly, Words & Gestures add and subtract before the dividing.
*Fourthly, aura modifies before dividing.
*Last but not least - if you do it after the dividing, you'll make this virtue extremely powerful! Not only because it's among the very few modifiers that are added after dividing but because it'll make you able to do very powerfull magic! Please just take another look at my calculations from above:
To give a specific example: a maga with Creo 5 and Ignem 5 (which is okay but not great at all!!) and Stamina +0 doing magic in a place without a magic aura decides to cast a spontaneous Ball of Abysmal Flame (lvl 35) with a surplus Penetration of 15 (equals a Casting Total of 50). You decide upon you level (including possible penetration) before rolling the die. She then rolls the stress die and adds the Casting Score getting a level before dividing somewhere between 6 and 9, provided that she doesn't botch or roll a 1. Taking the worst result (next of botching) which is rolling 2 and adding 10 (CrIg) ending with the divided result of 6. This is short of the target level of 50 by 44. Provided she's unfatigued, the first 25 levels short will throw her unconscious - that leaves the remaining 19 as raw damage. This gives the maga an incapacitating wound and she might soon be struggling to survive...
Nevertheless this has just allowed a rather inexperienced maga (in the field og CrIg) pull of a Ball of Abysmal Flame with a Penetration of at least 15 (but then comes the Penetration ability etc...) And remember that with just a bit more in her Arts, being in a an aura or using enhanced gestures and/or voice or even spending vis or rolling more than 2 (which was the conservative low of my example) - then the maga would be taking a less severe wound or might even have set the initial chosen degree of penetration even higher....
All in all that would make this virtue extremely popular - combine it with other spellcasting/spontaneous-enhancing virtues and your all-powerfull and will never have an inclination to ever learn a formulaic spell.
Because of the ambiguous text on the virtue there's room for interpretation (and even if there weren't many of us makes house rules nonetheless). But think of what this would mean to the balance of your game...
Personally I'm in no doubt - I'd never allow it to be calculated after dividing!!
Yes, it's really powerful. It's also a major Virtue, it should be powerful. It lets a mage get off one really powerful spell, at the cost of cripping them in proportion to the power. Vs. Secondary Insight's xp boost all around, or Flexible Formulaic being better than a massive investment in Muto Vim metamagic, or Mercurian's half-vis rituals. And you keep saying "short of botching" but botching a powerful attempt could kill the mage outright. Oops.
You want really powerful: if I ever run a game with Diedne, I'm tempted to have Diedne magic actually be Life-Linked plus being able to drain other people's fatigue levels. (Probably specially prepared victims, with Arcane Connection, rather than just anyone.)
Furion - I think you are inventing ambiguities here... the process is fairly clear.
for a normal Spont
determine Casting Score (Te+Fo+Sta+Aura) - this is fixed
"before casting the spell, the maga must decide on the effect she if trying to create ... may be open ended... if rolls well may increase RDT but may not change the base effect. May choose to cast the spell at a lower level to increase it's Penetration"
choose whether to divide or not, then
3A) fatiguing /2: Casting Total = (Casting Score+SD)/2
3B) non-fatiguing /5: Casting Total = (Casting Score/5)
(unlike a Formulaic spell, levels are not static) compare Casting Total to Level desired and tweak: Spont Level may not exceed CT, but may be less
Pen = CT-Level + (Pen Ability*Modifiers)
with Life-Linked Sponts we can amend this. Note since it specifies "rolling" it only applies to the Fatiguing /2 kind of Spont.
2B) "declare the level ... before rolling"
step 2B replaces step 4.
we also add step 6
6) if CT is higher than declared level, lose 1 Fat, if result is less than declared level, expend 1 additional Fat per 5 points or fraction by which you missed the spell level.
Do note the embarassement of Botching, where the CT is arbitrarily reduced to ZERO. This may well kill your magus!
The Virtue does not need to say when you calculate Fat, because the Magic chapter does that - it explains that CT determines Spell Level. So for LLSM you choose level, roll, calculate Casting Total and compare.
You never compare Casting Score (the thing before division) with Spell Level. You only get a Spont Casting Total after you have rolled-and-divided. Those are the 2 formulae we are given to work with (CS & CT)
Yes, LLSM is quite powerful!
LLSM does not ADD anything. Instead it tells you to choose a fixed level that you will aim for regardless of achieved roll.
I can only imagine that
a) you don't like the Virtue, and b) choose to interpret the phrase "If your result is higher than the level", and interpret "result" in the most ambiguous way - rather than meaning "the Casting Total".
If it said CT it would be as clear as I have listed it.
In fact, I'd go a bit further, and say that since LLSM has been around since 3e, that it probably fell short in the editing to make 5e.
It probably should say:
before rolling the die, declare the Casting Total you desire
compare ther CT rolled with the CT chosen, and pay Fat if you fall short
use the CT you chose regardless of what you rolled.
Specifically, if you roll very high, you still get the CT you chose, as well as if you fall short.
Actually no - I'm not "inventing" ambiguities here. You yourself later in your post agrees that, and how, the the text should have been clearer.
So far no objections at all. Except a minor one on 5): Pen being equal CT minus the level of the spell (Pen Ability*Modifiers).
Except that using the term CT in this context is an interpretation of the text of the virtue - you might interpret it like this, but that's you interpretation, and you might as well interpret it as I did. That makes it right for you but it's still open for people interpret it otherwise if they prefer.
Surely - I wasn't neglecting that fact, but that's a case for all fatiguing spontaneous magic. And my example might not be something a magus might chose to do readily - my example was only to show the possible powerlevel as a consequence of one of the interpretations of this virtue. I'd reckon that said magus would more often use less powerfull magic with less danger - but the virtue would still be quite powerful.
That's still no conclusive final argument - this virtue is a very special application of the magic rules - and as well as you might interpret it your way, nor does the rules clearly says it otherwise. The rules for calculation fatigue loss du to life-linked magic are different from the regular rules on lossing fatigue.
Normally no - there's no need - but this is virtue might, if you interpret it one way, make a need for doing exactly that.
You're right - it doesn't add anything, but that's just a matter of semantics, my point being that no other virtue (that I could find) influences/modifiers/comes into play after the dividing.
You couldn't be more dead wrong! I really like the Virtue - I've used it for NPC and recommended or given it to PCs! And my interpretation isn't as ambiguous as you would make it! Not more than yours at least. I've never claimed it the be the only possible interpretation - we were asked our take on the virtue - and I claim that both interpretations are equal possible based on the current Virtue-phrasing. I would welcome a more clear wording of it, but so far I'm intitled to argue for the what I find to be the most reasonable interpreation of two equal meritted possible interprations.
I agree that the text could be clarified - but it doesn't necessary have to be with the term CT, it might as well be with the other interpretation... I know it's been around since 3rd ed (I'm an old geezer as well ), and it's true that former ed. specified that this virtue should be calculated after dividing - but for two reasons that really isn't a conclusive argument on the ambiguety: A) then why didn't the editors keep the perfectly well and clear text from before? B) in former ed. the amount you fell short were taken directly from your Body Levels and not using Fatigue as a "buffer" making it much more deadly to use!
Finally to ChatWithaNinja I say you can interpret this virtue in both ways - the text is so far ambigious enough to equally allow both, and you've now gotten plenty of arguments on both ways to use the virtue. It's my view that both are reasonable within the present wording of the virtue - so what you chose, and its influence on the power of the virtue, is simply what would fit you the best. This is of course a moot point being a fact of all role playing - my point just being that we can't clearly say which is the definite intention of the developers.
... unless they give their thoughts for a penny...