Magical Companions

I have a question about what people do to handle something not explained about magical companions from RoP:Magic.

When making a character, the rules imply the same rules for virtues are applied to magical qualities and inferiorities. Then again it also implies that flaws and inferiorities come from the same pool and flaws like "magical monster" are taken on top of the maximum 10 flaws.

Anyway, what do people do as far as putting a limit on the amount of inferiorities a character can have?

I really feel like I'm taking advantage or doing something wrong if I take 10 points of inferiorities and flaws as a player character. Especially if it's a familiar for my magus.

There are a few cheep things one can do that I don't think are intended... conceivably one could buy infinite lesser powers using points from an inferiority which limits that power to something like singing. By taking the "minor flaw" Inferiority and picking "restricted Power" and/or "deteriorating power". Givin that is an extreme example.

Tldr; what do you use as an upper limit for inferiorities at character generation for magical companions?

My only upper limit is taste - if the SG thinks there's too many or inferiorities are being laid on to buy too many super-powered qualities, they can veto it. I don't think there's a hard limit, most of the magic beast only have susceptible to deprivation and maybe one more; Polymathes, with his 18xreduced might and susceptible to deprivation, is an extreme example. Mount Etna, with 18x reduced abilities, is extreme but all the Genii Loci seem to have lots of levels of reduced abilities ( from 6 to 18)

I was actually afraid of that. I feel embarrassed if I make something too powerful.

I was toying with the idea of making many of the lesser inferiorities major inferiorities if they are going to be used more than once.

For instance I was making a magic cat, black lineage, and had flawed powers so that if his skin got wet or his wards got wet the wards all dispelled immediately. But I quickly realised that could buy a million Wards.

I'm thinking instead to make a major flaw stating "all spells" when "getting wet". Then create a minor virtue to allow a particular power to not be affected by the condition. Or something. Idk.

I'm really just concerned about player characters and devising a way that doesn't play favourites in a troupe. Npcs can be OP :smiling_imp:

That is a glitch in the system. If you take an inferiority that reduces the effectiveness of your power by less than 100%, it can potentially cover 100% of the cost of that power. So in your example, wards that don't work when they're wet might be worth, say 70% of regular wards. You lose 30% of their effectiveness with your inferiority. But if those powers are the equivalent of a minor power (1 quality point, or 25 spell points) then your 1 point of inferiority to make them ineffective when wet covers 100% of the cost of the power. So you effectively get 70% of a power for free. The same is true with Slow Power, which covers 100% of the cost of a 25 point power while retaining a great deal of that power's effectiveness. As you note, every power you get, while diminished in some way, is effectively free, allowing you to potentially buy a huge number of powers.

What's the solution? All I can say is that any character, familiar, or whatever that is made using the magic creatures rules should have to pass the sniff test with the storyguide or troupe. How much is too much? YSMV, but it should be something you discuss (if you're using the magic creatures rules). Having one slow power of one restricted power? That should be fine. Having ten? That's probably too much. The difficulty, of course, is in between the two extremes. Is three "free" powers too much? How about four? Someone playing close to the edge could give a significant advantage to that character.

Trogdor, you saw the character I am talking about. :0)

What I really wanted, but forgot what book the flaw was in, was the equivalent of Vulnerable Magic from RoP:F. It dispels all magic under the condition as a major hermetic flaw.

That particular character could have done that I'm sure.

In other circumstances I'm thinking, so players don't quibble or think I'm playing favourites, I might need to have a house rule in place.

What do you think of this: if the character has 3 of the same, make it a major flaw which covers all powers. At 3 they get no more. They then can buy a minor virtue to over come the limitation for a particular power.

The instance I'm thinking of is for a scenario where the same limitation is applied to each power except one. The limitation is a consequence of their essential nature. As ST I could hand wave it, but I'm pretty sure the players are going to steal eggs and try to raise their own familiars. So I wanted consistency in all familiars.

So my friends don't kill me for allowing one to have something powerful. The other option was to limit inferiorities to some value for playable characters. I also don't want to just say "no, you get a runt that sucks", considering how much time they've put into it.

If that makes sense. I'm basically trying to dig myself out of a hole lol.

I'd been doing a lot of magic creatures lately and I'd never found the picking-too-many-inferiorities a real deck breaker: just limit magic might and frown upon too many powers requiring 0 might points. That will make magic creatures limited in what they can actually do, because they have to spend might, and they don't have really that much, and specially to whom they can do it, because with Penetration of Magic Might - (5 x Might Cost), creatures power get quickly something that only affects mundanes. Put a demon with Might 20 in front of your magic cat of Might around 14, and all its battery of powers will be just beautiful fireworks.

Yah... and because the penetration loss is horrendous, every magic being buys down to zero. I'm thinking it would make more sense if mastery allowed spending more might for more penetration. Like having powers start at a lower cost then buying mastery to allow higher expenditures for more penetration. Gives me some things to think about, thanks guys.

I told you and now I do frown upon that. Think that even dragons, which can afford a big deal of Increased Powers qualities, always have a cost on their fiery breath. Not that they are concerned about penetration anyway, but the point is that powers with 0 cost should better be powers either harmless or constant.

Just always keep in mind the purpose of the creature. If it's going to fit the role of a companion, it just doesn't need to penetrate the big bad bosses: that would just steal magi's role in the story. They are supposed to be helpful side characters, not deciding protagonists. And if any player in my saga would just insist in having a munchkin magical companion they would just face bigger enemies, either armed with the same rules exploiting or fine tuned against them (darwinism comes in strange places!). There must be balance in any saga, and if players focus on the big numbers instead of roleplaying less power side characters, well, I'd find a way to get them even bigger numbers to make them roleplay around them anyway.

This is where I have serious disagreements with the resistance system. A dragon's fiery breath and its claws shouldn't be subject to needing to penetrate. That a dragon is magica is undeniable, but what is magical is a beast which breaths real fire.

The fire breath on dragons is usually written up with voice range with no limitation. Which means a dragon doesn't need to breath fore, just boom a voice and have fire spontaneously appear at the target. That would require penetration. But that is not what is being modeled by the magic system.

The fiery breath, the molten or poisonous blood are essential qualities. Take Polymaths poison blood. It's written up as a continuous effect. Does that mean his blood is constantly mutated into Poison? Or is the effect something that watches if he takes damage and then spontaneously creates poison? Both of those would be a magical effect causing the event. NOT that he simply has poison blood and this is a way to build creatures within constraints.

For clarity here, in canon its claws do not need to penetrate.

I know, I think they should have the same behavior.

Well, in the case of faerie dragons, they can. Just buy the breath as a Ritual Power and drop the Might Cost to 0. Now you have real fire with no need to penetrate. You can't quite get so far with magic dragons, but you can get close. Again, use Ritual Power. The problem with magic dragons is you can't reduce Ritual Power to 0 cost to avoid dragging down Might, which just seems wrong for a breath. So a small tweaking of the rules would work: allow mastery points to reduce the cost the same way as intricacy points, which means just dropping that lower limit for Ritual Power. You probably wouldn't want to broadly allow that limit change (just look at this thread to start seeing how powers can be abused), but its useful in situations such as this.

I've been using Greater Power and then adding a restriction inferiority. For blood, restriction has to bleed. Etc.

Fire breath design is arbitrary targeting. Making molten lava blood is the same as molten lava skin, etc without the restriction.

Then applying that to reduce cost. I think I'd rather not reduce cost, but instead assume it's a fire breath of quality. Ala the busted items of quality that shouldn't be in game. Irony is they are in the game because magic weapons make weapons worse for fighting magic creatures.

I think Magic resistance being all or nothing is what leads to the munchkinism. You can't partially damage a creature. And shouldn't spending more might make the darn Power more powerful?

To respond to someone mentioning "companion characters should be ignored" no, they shouldn't. That is boring. Always win if number bigger is lame. That's how you get munchkins and lose new players.

I come from a history of playing Role Master, where a level 1 scrub can get lucky. He won't kill you. He'll stun you. Then you're dead flat footed unable to cast no matter how powerful you are. You could be maxed combat monster, a demigod or a hero of legend like Aias, but if you charge into a bunch of level 1 scrubs, you're risking death.

While Ars Magica has the mechanic to get lucky in combat, magic resistance is all or nothing. Powers ruled by might don't get partially resisted. So you just never fight unless you can flat out win. There isn't a gradation of partial success or a challenge. So people just munchkin and win.

Take the spell Ward Against Heat and Flame. It does nothing fighting dragons or drakes, unless you penetrate. If you can penetrate with a lvl 25 spell, you don't cast that spell.

Then you're in a position of seeming arbitrary with saying no, which means you lose the players that don't munchkin and the players that do.

I think the play by post campaigns here are the only games in the world being played.

Anyway, the point of the thread isn't to QQ, it's to get help solving a problem with the game.

I don't know what or whom are you answering to there, but considering that I'm the only one here besides you that ever mentioned companions I'm going to guess its me, even though I never said that they should be ignored nor anything close to that. Unless you ignore everything below magi power level characters, which I really hope is not the case.

I didn't mean to imply that, my bad. It's just that with magic resist as is it's all or nothing. If a companion doesn't need to penetrate... then he doesn't need to affect the antagonist.

I know that isn't exactly what you said, I didn't mean to imply you said it. From my perspective though that is the end result.

If I knew how to fix it I'd totally be posting a solution. An ablative Parma Magica or Magic Might gets into a realm of math that I think even the most hard core accountant player would hate. :0P

actually I think it sounds like a pretty decent idea, or would could use a system of cumulative penalties to the parma similar to the way wounding works in AM combat...

Ablative Parma was in 4th