Makarion's Magus / Maga discussion thread

Well, I tend to pick background options for my characters for flavour and story potential, trusting the storyteller to make things interesting and balanced between the characters and the challenges. I'm not interested in powergaming - not only is it essentially pointless (the storyteller always wins if s/he wants to), it's also inelegant. Some of the sagas on the forums here have characters with multiple magical puissances / affinities stacked with Int 5. Bleh.

Secondary Insight was chosen to represent the idea that he's intelligent, a good student - but not focused. He's essentially seeing magic as a fairly uniform thing instead of a collection of seperate schools; spells are the re-weaving (re-sculpting) of Creation, which is also why he has the glaring weakness at Perdo - he can't bring himself to directly unravel Creation. I admit that it looked weak - I'll have to think on what to replace it with. I don't want to be the Tribunal's smartest man, so Int 5 isn't really an option. A Puissance for Magic Theory seems powerful but boring (and it doesn't fit all that well with his paradigm, which is slightly off for an Hermetic mage). Maybe some kind of Relic (likely a book or collection of scrolls)? Not sure yet.

The idea behind Tethered Magic is that he makes items that are essentially vessels for spells, prepared in advance in his workshop (lab) but applied in situ. With Tethered Magic he can create a variety of protection- and boost-items, hand them to others, and have them maintain the spells - saves a lot on Concentration, I figured. Imagine half a dozen grogs with Wizard's Sidestep available without a need for a Mage to babysit them. Of course, it would only work with people he could train in the use of them. Still, it seems suitable and useful.
Note, that really nasty things could be done with a strong Guile / Charm score and Tethered Magic. Just got to be real careful about that arcane connection that could be traced back, should people investigate. This isn't my plan for Carduelis, but I noticed the potential for more than a little mischief or mayhem.

As far as the Ward goes - I assume his ReVi total will go up soon enough, so that shouldn't be all that much of a problem Then again, there's a lot of interesting spells that could protect a campsite - I'll pick another. Maybe I should device an alarm spell. InVi would detect demons and mages, I assume, but what would detect a fairie or divine creature?

InVi might detect demons - if they want to be detected. Intellego is really wonky (intentionally so) when it comes to Demons. There may be InVi spells that allow you to detect magi, but they're pretty much illegal, as they are practically by definition "scrying" upon members of the order, and the Q may or may not by an explanation that it only detects non-hermetic magi.

InVi to detect faeries and divine (if it's God's will) would simply be the same spell attuned to the appropriate Realm.

I didn't think I was indicating that you were powergaming. I was just suggesting that Secondary Insight is a pretty weak virtue, and a lot of disussion has been had of it and the similar Elementalist.

Your alarm spell will fail to work on a demon. Demons lie, and Intellego magics fail to work on them, the only way to know if it is a demon is with DEO, or possibly a Ward. And with any creature of might you still have the problem of penetration, in that your spell must exceed their might to have an effect on them: a 20th level spell needs a casting total of 41. And detecting a Hermetic magus will get you in trouble with scrying...potentially. Instead of trying to protect your magus, or design spells that do so, it could be that your magus is joining Insula Canaria precisely because he can't protect himself. The demons in the area, while they had taken an interest in Insula Canaria directly have lately taken an interest in you, simply because your magus is unprotected. He's forced to join a covenant or flee his home...?

I seem to remember having a big discussion about this spell over in Bibracte with The Fixer's character, but I think he wanted to do something funky like treat objects he tethered spells to as having a watching ward-type effect, where he could prep the spell, tether it to an object, and then it would go off when whoever had the object wanted to (basically, a de facto one-use magic item), which doesn't look like the way the spell works, to me.

Basically, as I understand it (never having seen it in play) the way it works is, you cast the spell (which, for hopefully obvious reasons, can't have a Momentary duration). Then, you have several options (and let's use Endurance of the Berserkers for the example, and just pretend that the magus will make all his concentration rolls):

  • He keeps control of the spell himself, and as long as he maintains concentration, he's unaffected by any lost fatigue levels.
  • He casts the spell and gives control to a grog. For as long as the grog maintains concentration, the magus is unaffected, as above.
  • He tethers the spell to, say, a sharp pointy stick, with the condition that the spell transfers to the first unGifted individual to pick it up. I'm not sure if, in this case, the spell works while it's in the stick, but once it's picked up, then the magus doesn't feel the effects of lost Fatigue for as long as the mortal maintains concentration.

My main concern with this Virtue is that I'm a little fuzzy on the mechanics, especially when items are involved. Does the spell not go off until the item is transferred to someone else? Does it work, and continue working until the duration expires or whoever picks it up ends it? I'm not entirely sure that I can honestly give consistent rulings on that aspect, at least not until it's been used and we've tinkered with it enough to get a firmer grasp on it.

Re-reading what Makarion wanted to do with Tethered Magic, I honestly don't believe it works like that. You can't cast, say, BoAF, tether it to an item and hand it to a grog. Doing that would require Watching Ward, which is a Ritual spell. You can only hand off spells that you're already cast, and it would have no effect on the duration (a Momentary spell wouldn't work real well Tethered, a Diameter or Concentration or Sun or what have you duration would still last just as long). I'm really not liking the application of this as a short-cut vis-free alternative to enchanted items.

That being said, I don't have a problem with Tethered Magic per se, I just feel like there's a lot of potential for abuse, even unintentional.

The Fixer wanted to do something quite similar, yes. I was going to let you comment before jumping in.

The problem I have with the language on tethering:

So, to me, that sounds like it gives the object a free Intellego effect, too. I'm fine with tethering a spell to a person, the object stuff is a pandora's box of problems.

First of all, I wasn't complaining that you were accusing me of powergaming. My excuses if I gave that impression! I blame a minor language barrier. Even at rank 5, English is still a foreign tongue to me at times, and transmitting thoughts purely on paper or electronically does take away the emotional content and body language that can clarify so much.

As to the Tethered Magic, is it one of those options that should be avoided just because it's so unclear what the limits to it are? I don't mind experimenting with the rules in good faith, if everyone is inclined to, but I am not comfortable with starting a mess of rule conflicts and introducing potentially abusive virtues and flaws.

Now, in my mind the options that Tethered Magic gives (or rather, what I believed it allowed for) is an inherent part of how his Craft Magic works. Crafting is a service to the community (see also his Generous flaw), and the work of your hands should be shared in so far as it is practical. If we rule against Tethered Magic, I would be inclined to replace Craft Magic as well. Note, that I do not begrudge this outcome at all! The concept would not change, just the mechanics of it - I am sure I could find a way to make it work. Maybe he's just a capable enchanter (he'd never be a Verditius though), or maybe he'll take pains to accompany grogs and other mundanes into the field - there's options. He could make a fine Jerbiton, in fact. Won't stop the people in Rome from sniffing disdainfully when someone brings up his name, mind :slight_smile: .

One point I have been mulling over, and I cannot seem to come to a solid conclusion on my own. His paradigm clearly involves re-scultping the Mystery of Creation, as I have mentioned in his biographical background. This seems fairly similar to some of the tenets of the Criamon. Would it be far-fetched to envisage him trying to learn Enigmatic Wisdom in the future? The Path of Walking Backwards seems eminently suitable. Note, that I don't feel he would make a good Criamon right now, but the house does invite magi and magae into their fold if they are genuinely interested in learning the mysteries - there's examples in the books. Likewise, would it be absurd to be Puissant (or similar) in an ability that you cannot have yet?

As always thank you for your patience with my rambling and verbosity.

Definitely agree with that. And if you want to take Secondary Insight, that's certainly not a problem, I'm just throwing it out there it is a pretty poor Major Hermetic Virtue, and there has been a lot of discussion on the forum that it shouldn't be major as it is written or needs something else to make it better.

I think you're confusing Craft Magic with Tethering. I'm pretty sure that Craft Magic allows you to do what you want, without Tethering.

I think this is more Peregrine's call. I think they can initiate magi into the House, though. And if you want to fill a virtue slot up maybe Latent Magical ability would be a good thing to call it for now?

I don't have a problem with Tethered Magic with regards to handing off a spell to another person. My only concern is that of tethering a spell to an item. I think that the important part, for me, is that you can hand control of a spell to another person, or give control to an item to give to a person under whatever conditions. To me, that indicates that the spell must be already cast before you hand it off. Which nullifies the concept of enchanting a spell into an item in one round and with no vis. To me, that would be like going up to your shield grog and saying "Okay, you now have the ability to cast BoAF whenever you want. Once."

Craft Magic, on the other hand, has its own problems: namely, that the ease factors to make anything with it are so obscenely high that it (to me) makes it not worth the effort. For example, when we were working on Talia, JL and I had several discussions about it (I think we were talking about her having CM to go with her ships focus), and we decided that to make a cog (with a generous Ease Factor of 9 for a skilled craftsman to make), would have Craft Magic Ease Factor of 21: base 9, +3 because Craft Magic always adds 3 to the ease factor, and +9 for how long it would take to make mundanely (it would take longer than a season). She actually has a Ritual CrHe spell that makes the [strike]boat[/strike] ship now.

Basically, the only reason to do Craft Magic is if you don't think you'll have any vis available to create an item, or you don't want to take time to invent spells to make what you want to make. Your decision, of course, just pointing that out.

That could be interesting. The covenant founder, who is missing and presumed killed by his diabolist apprentice, was a Criamon on the verge of Final Twilight.

Not at all. Good to have long-term goals.

PB, you need to look at the Houses of Hermes: Societas Ex Misc section on Rustic Magi/Craft Magic. Craft Magic is not the same as Rego magic to craft items. Craft magic is akin to Performance magic while making something. And you can imbed a spell into the process and it is cast at the end. An example used is a blacksmith putting a shoe on a horse and the spell is cast when the shoe is attached.

So, they have a Magical Ability that has practically the same name as another magical ability that does something completely different? What were they smoking?

Okay, looked through it, and it looks okay (except for me not having a copy of City & Guildso I may be needing cites on how long something takes). If I'm reading it right, on the part where you're crafting an item to cast the spell, you don't roll to cast it. So, if your Te + Fo + Sta + Aura is at least as high as the spell level, then you can craft the spell into the item? The other effects kinda make sense.

That's right. The power of Craft Magic (major virtue from Societates) is that if you have the formulaic spell, you can enchant it if your total is high enough, in the time it takes to craft the item with a lower limit of 15 minutes per magnitude. So, if you are a fletcher you can craft many arrows a day. If you have CrIg (with Sta+aura included) in your workshop of 20, you can make one arrow of pilum of fire per hour. It's a one-use charged magic item, so can be subject to the normal triggering effects of charged items. Given a modern style (leisurely to some medieval workers) week of 40 hours, that's 40/week or 420/season. Of course, the more formulaic spells you know, the more variety you can make. Potentially, you can swarm the covenant's grogs with a set of one-use items for every formulaic spell you have. This is where it can get silly.

Regarding Secondary Insight: I have a magus called Darkwing who has it, it's been good at giving me widespread generalisation. While studying Techniques, it gives you 4 bonus xp, with forms 2 bonus xp. With a good library of techniques to study, or plenty of vis, it's a nice boost but as it's spread to 1 xp per art it's only really useful over the long-term, over the course of a few years of saga it will be hard-pushed to make a serious difference. The problem is, having Book Learner and Free Study would give you +3xp a season to the main ways you learn, and directly boost what you're studying, so unless you're a devoted generalist you can get as good a boost for 2 minor virtues instead of 1 major. Elementalist is worse unless the bonus for not using requisites helps you (ie you want to drop boiling water, flaming pitch, molten metal on people).

Darkwing gets round this by having Secondary Insight and Free Study, and chances his luck in the covenant's aura constantly.

In case I forgot to mention it, you also get 75 personal build points (like covenant build points) to bring with you. It can be books, vis stocks, lab texts, etc.

I edited the character sheet I had posted earlier, for approval. Spells have been removed and will be added as soon as possible, but I wanted to get this wrapped up this weekend, if possible.

Please note the Major Magical Focus: it's both broad and quite restrictive. Currently Carduelis' Arts aren't a splendid match for it at all, but it suits him and it'll give him a direction for future growth.

Unlike 4th Edition, Enigmat Wisdom is only available to Criamon, or at least having been initiated into the Mystery...

I know! Note, how it's 0, with a +2 Puissant Ability bonus. I realize it's currently useless, but it's a nice growth-option as well as a potential story hook.

Gotcha. As long as we treat as a lore skill with a score of 0 and not 2, I'm fine with it. The score of 0 in the lore skill means it can't be used to help assist in a Twilight episode...

Yup, that's what I understood the rules to be. I'm not after cheese, just a good story :slight_smile: .

Errr no. Actually, no.

What I wanted was... Well, there is this ReVi guideline about storing spells, used for Watching Ward. And I wanted instead to use it to enchant an item (seasonnal activity) so that it may hold a spell.
The problem was that, as such, given how the rules work, they had numerous implications that I didn't want (such as, in fact, the ability to give one-off spells to grogs).
So I proposed HR designed to make these impossible... And it all went to hell :laughing: I was probably not clear enough, so people focused on the potential problems I had brought forth, thinking I wanted to do the exact things I didn't want to do, which derailled the entire thing.

For the record, here it is

As you can see, the misconception still holds :unamused:

As I recall (which is probably wrong, since I have a tendency sometimes to gloss over discussions about what other characters are doing unless I can see a relevance to mine), the situation was something along the lines of "I have an idea for some cool stuff that my character can do with enchanting items to hold spells. Now, I know that under the rules as written, I would be able to do this, that, and the other with this enchantment, but you have my word that I'm not going to."

Now, if this is correct, my problem with that is, although you've agreed not to abuse the rules to do what you could do with the enchantment, there's nothing preventing someone else down the road from coming in and doing it. That, and I really paid no attention to the Ranulf thread (not having Magi of Hermes, and unlikely to get it any time soon), or the Munchkin from Hell thread for that matter.

But, since I don't have Magi of Hermes (and thus, the rule that invalidates the ""hermetic magic currently lacks a way of binding a watching effect and a spell together without a separate ritual, Watching ward, which requires vis" clause, I'm going to go ahead and say that it would require the ritual Watching Ward, and thus can't be enchanted into an item.

Preparing spells in advanced to be used by someone (or something) else using Tethered Magic, however.

Wrong again :wink:
I proposed to add this HR specifically to adress the problems I described:

Sigh... :laughing:

You've actually got it backwards.
MoH introduced the rule you're quoting, it didn't invalidate it.

Currently listening to Seth - Les Blessures de l'Γ‚me.