Multicasting for munchkins

You can use multicasting mastery to increase penetration by casting a spell twice on the same target.

The magus has Sta 2, Re 6, Me 9, and penetration (mentem) 1

Imagine the spell:
Call to slumber ReMe10; Mastery 1: penetration
Call to Slumber ReMe10; Mastery 1: multicasting

Sta 2 + Rego 6 + Me 9 + mastery 1 + penetration 2 = 20 (multiple casting mastery)+1d10
Sta 2 + Rego 6 + Me 9 + mastery 1 + penetration mastery 1 + penetration 2 = 21 (penetration mastery)+1d10

Imagine a target with a Magic Resistance of 25.

The penetration mastery spell version penetrates if you roll a 5,6,7,8,9, or a 1. That's a 60% chance.
The multiple casting mastery spell version penetrates if you roll an 6,7,8, 9, or a 1 (unless followed by a 2). That's a 49% chance for one roll, but you get to roll twice: 49%+49% of 51% = 73,99%

So in this example, multicasting mastery is better at penetration than penetration mastery. Odd, isn't it?

The penetration ability and the penetration mastery are really only super helpful when you have an arcane connection. The penetration mastery adds to the penetration ability, not penetration. So if you have a *5 multiplier? Penetration mastery is a lot better.

That said, if you have an arcane connection the best way to go about it is by simply spamming a mastered attack spell in non-stressful conditions. It may take thousands of tries, but enough tries and you will almost certainly get an absurd penetration total. At ten thousand tries you have better than even odds of a 80 for your roll. Unless you are trying to shoot down an archangel or Daimon or uber-fae it went through.

I would expect someone taking penetration mastery to have a penetration of at least 4 (3+specialization). Getting arcane and sympathetic connections is also central to exploit this. Multicasting is broken anyway as a mastery option, so no biggie.

IMO, masteries are specialized. Multicast and magic resistance are the "combat" mastery. Penetration is probably a close second. Fast casting is for counters. The still and quite casting are when you want stealth spells. Multicast is gonna cry if it runs into a magic resistance mastery on a similar spell or the appropriate ward.

More to the point I've never spent a noticeable chunk of xp on masteries. Nor do I see other people spending a large chunk of XP on masteries. That seems to point to not being particularly broken. They are a decent option, but not the be all end all. IMO, the botch elimination is one of the best points of them. See: 80 penetration in a day of work.


It's very good for "first to shoot, first to kill" types as well.

My current house-rules also means fast-casting is useful for casting multiple offensive spells in the combat, much like multiple-casting. But that's a house-rules thing.


My PCs do... They're quite min-maxed, and fast-casting or multicasting is a big part of that.

Houserule: A single target (Individual) can't be targeted more than once when multicasting. Fixed. :wink:

P.S.: To say something more on topic: Yes, two rolls are always better than one roll with a +1 - but as has been pointed out, the Penetration mastery works best with an Arcane Connection. Also, it can easily be combined with Multiple Casting, so there's no real balancing issue there.

A better fix is to make multiple casting like other mastery abilities that must be taken multiple times per additional copy. Multiple casting is overpowered. Taking away the ability for the player to choose to hit the same person multiple times is a total nerf. If I want to hit the knight with three Balls of Abysmal Flame, let me; just make me pay for it by making me spend mastery ability XP on multiple casting at least twice.

What, precisely, is the problem these house rules want to solve ?

Toa's rule is appears intended to solve the problem of dishing out too much damage in a single round to a single opponent, making the Big Boss or Tank fall so quickly to the magi's spells that it's anticlimatic. I think it serves this role pretty well, but at the cost of some verisimilitude (really? I can hit two people with two BoAF, but not the same person with two ?), and it leaves the ability to cause damage to lots of targets unchecked (whether you like that or not).

Your suggestion is less clear to me. It appears to balance time (gaining XP in the mastery ability) against combat output, but only really nerfs your power past a mastery score of 1. Do you think the problem with multiple casting is that you can get a mastery ability in penetration (say), and then get another multiple-cast spell for free ? I agree that's a problem, but I think even with your fix multiple casting can be too powerful - even at a mastery score of 1, but also perhaps at higher ones.

Two more house rules to consider:

You can treat multicasting as a variant of "Flexible Magic": allow a spell with an Individual target to be cast as a Group target (at +2 magnitudes in the spell's level !). Add +1 size per extra multicasting mastery ability chosen. This effectively means the caster wastes a season mastering the spell instead of learning a Group-version one. You get to keep all your spell masteries, and developing your spell mastery may be faster than actually inventing the new spell. Or it may be slower. I think this option is interesting in that it works rather well with the spell guidelines to create something that probably isn't broken - you are basically just "inventing" a higher level spell.

You can allow multicasting to divide up the Casting Total. If you have enough oomph to cast the spell x-times over, you cast the spell x-times over ! E.g. if your casting total is 50 and the spell level is 25, you can cast it twice at penetration 0 instead of once at penetration 25. This is a fairly big nerf, but it basically means multicasting is there to allow you to mop the floor more quickly with mooks (that will succumb to the lower spell levels and penetration).

I suppose that if the goal is to preserve opponents, then allowing individuals to be targeted only once, as Toa did in his HR, the solution is sufficient. If the goal is to retain some of the power of multiple casting, then my proposal allows it, without the overwhelming power of the RAW. In my HR, multiple copies have a cost, and come at the expense of improving other mastery abilities. Obfuscated, Quick, Magic Resistance and Penetration are all relatively good combat mastery abilities for combat spells. Fast casting is important, too, allowing one to use an offensive spell in a defensive manner. The more a person spends XP on multiple casting, the more expensive the other items get.
So, a player masters PoF 3 times and spends it all on multiple casting, to improve the Penetration score, he needs to spend 20 xp to add the Penetration ability. While it isn't impossible, without Flawless Magic it is a lot of XP and a lot of seasons spent practicing...

I've said it before, but what I did as a HR:

Ars is, in many ways, non-linear and abstract

Lifting a boulder ten times as big is +1 mag, 100 times as big is +2 mag.
If 10 times the weight mean +3 size and +6 str, 100 times the weight doesn't mean +30 and +60, but +6 size and +12 str. Likewise with the wound range: it didn't get multiplied by ten.
More to the point, when a group fights against a single opponent, it only inflicts one wound per turn at best, whatever the group's size: 6 men against one will only inflict one wound, period. However, the severity of that wound increases with the group's size (and boosted attack totals)

So I used that same abstraction to say that the total damage of 4 pilum doesn't mean 4 times the damage, and isn't computed 4 times: You take a PoF's damage, and increase it by 5 per additionnal PoF, so that your 4 pilum are soaked as a single attack of damage +30 (+15+35).
Likewise with Might Strippers (combined with Might Soak): 3 lvl 10 DEO work as a single lvl 20 DEO (10+2

There's at precedent for this, of a sort:

  • The spell "Enemies all aquiver", from Tome p55, flings the wooden contents of a container into a group of enemies. A quiver-full of unfletched arrows does +8 Damage, period, even though one might be hit by multiple arrows.
  • The spell "the Earth's Carbuncle" throws you into the air and hits you with multiple jagged stone fragments. Damage? A single +10, not some thing like "+5 for the fall and 10 times +3 for the fragments"

And if you pile on Call to Slumber? Just as it does now: nothing more.

:frowning: I think it works wonderfully the way it is.

:smiley: +10!

I like doing that as a Flambeau magus, and try to encourage players in games that I run to do likewise.

That's not correct, 6 men against one inflict six wounds.

So, your HR actually makes a magus who can multiple cast against a single opponent weaker than a group. I suppose that's fine, but your original basis for the HR is incorrect.

Why five for each additional? What happens with a BoAF? +10?
If I can multicast 4 PoFs against one individual, I have a better chance of one of those getting through full force, than if I cast a single overpowered PoF, which could botch on damage, or the opponent could stress roll against it. A botch on damage is much less likely to ruin the outcome of a casting the spell, because I have 3 others that could get through, unless they all botch on damage.

That's not multiple casting, that's casting on a T:Group. There are problems with the spell.
Not all of the arrows start at the same spot, it stands to reason they don't all hit the same spot, and the interaction of all of the arrows in flight might change the trajectory of the entire group. As it stands, that's not a really good spell to use as a precedent. I also can't tell if it is a finesse based spell or a non-aimed spell (looks as if it isn't aimed, and automatically hits). +8 damage is equal to the damage of a longbow and a single arrow, so it appears that the spell is no better than a single arrow shot from a longbow, except that it automatically hits. What is the benefit of casting T:Group, unless it's presuming Short bows (+6 Damage), and adding a piddly +2 for every arrow in the quiver?

As to Earth's Carbuncle, it doesn't make sense to multiple cast it at the same 1 pace circle and derive additional benefits, I'll grant you. I wouldn't allow multiple cast version of this spell to affect a single person more than once.

All of your examples and counterexamples presume that someone is multiple casting against one opponent. What happens if someone DEO's 4 different demons, or PoF's 4 different opponents, or wants to make 4 different opponents go to sleep? Can that still be accomplished? If so, why does it work such that 4 PoF's on one person does +30 damage, but against 4 different people it can do +15 damage, each?

My bad. It's been ages since I used the group combat rules :laughing: :blush:

Nope, +5, period. You could do something like (+ magnitude per copy), this would work fine, but it's just easier that way.

And I have trouble understanding you.
You're the one always railing that multicast is overpowered, and here you are complaining about a simple HR that nerfs it and lessens the number of dices you have to throw out, thus making combat faster.

The point is not about multicasting or group target. The point is that someone may be hit by multiple arrows, he doesn't get multiple damage rolls.
If you have your container full of arrows and use it against 2, or even one opponent, would you make multiple rolls? Or do you rule that each opponent is hit by one, and only one arrow, and that the others just… Whatever?

Maybe because each arrow isn't propelled with the same force as with a long, or even a short bow?
But this is not what's being discussed here.
My point is simple, yet you seem to fail to understand it: This spell may hit someone with multiple unfletched arrows. Yet, it does a single damage roll, with a bonus.

Did you even read me? That’s not my point at all.

Lemme try again.
RAW multicast: Multiple Sling of Vilano = Multiple damage sources => multiple damage rolls.
RAW Earth’s Carbuncle = multiple damage sources => one single damage roll.
RAW “Ennemies allquiver” = at least potential multiple damage sources => one single damage roll.

And I can certainly see the Earth’s Carbuncle being multicast, with the earth erupting in rapid succession (not unlike maïzena on a speaker) and sending jagged fragments each time. But that’s not the point.

Against multiple opponents, its works as the raw.

Against a single one: Why doesn’t a giant 10 times bigger do 10 times the damage? Why doesn’t an explosion (like the Earth’s Carbuncle) do damage for all fragments, whatever the RPG? After all, you can lose a leg, have a lung perforated by a fragment, multiple light wounds from other fragments AND lose an eye to yet another one. Instead, in all systems I known, you have a single damage roll, a single wound to heal, and no one is bothered by it.
Ars is non-linear and abstract. I just apply the same logic to multicast.

I have said that multiple casting is overpowered, yes. My contention has always been that additional copies should not be "free" based on the total ability score, but instead require multiple casting to be taken as many times as necessary to create the additional copies. The idea isn't to take away multiple casting but make it cost more than 5 xp for the first one, and free as a magus learns additional mastery abilities beyond the multiple casting one.

I suppose when it comes down to it, your proposal is a fine house rule for a mastery ability, but it's a semantic argument. Your proposal should not rightly be called multiple casting, and should instead be called overloaded or overcharged casting. It may be a suitable replacement for multiple casting in a saga where the troupe doesn't like the idea of multiple versions of the same spell being cast at the same time, with the full effects of the spell. You also have two mechanics working under one ability. If you're multiple casting against an individual you do it this way, if you're multiple casting against multiple targets, with one copy of the spell for each target, you have no penalty. As a player, I'm almost always better off flinging as many copies as I can against different opponents.

Multiple casting is broken, the way it is broken is that it isn't consistent with respect to other mastery abilities like Quiet Casting, Precise Casting, Quick Casting and perhaps some other ones I'm forgetting at the moment.

I understand your point, I think you don't understand mine.

My problem is that it's a mechanic created out of whole cloth. Ars doesn't use this particular mechanic anywhere else. It's been 4.5 years, and no other spells like it have been made (that I can recall). I've heard authors of this very line say that they just make stuff up and make it try to be reasonable. So while the result of the spell of +8 damage from a 10th level spell isn't, at all, unreasonable, I would say that using the T:Group to get to that +8 damage is most decidedly not reasonable. I would have preferred a new guideline introduced that was like Base 5: Hurl an object made of wood with enough force to cause +8 damage, than a new mechanic of using T:Group to inflict damage[1]. What happens if someone wants to throw a T:Group bunch of rocks? I participated in that discussion in another saga, and honestly don't believe Using T:Group to send a spell to a recipient is a reasonable Ars mechanic, even with the example you provided from TOME.

I would like to put forth this idea again...
There is nothing wrong with Multicasting as it is. Not from my perspective as a player or an SG. All these ideas seem to complicate something that doesn't need to be complex. Now if it doesn't fit your aesthetic taste, that is another issue. JL's solution seems simple (though I would say two copies per level of devoted mastery). I myself would suggest the old roll-it-out formula (EF of 9 + number of spells, rolling a SD + Int + Finesse; though I suggest using Mastery in place of Finesse).

Yeah, agreed: too complicated. Much easier to just remove it from the game. :wink: My sagas and Marko's clearly sdiffer, since in my troupe we have had LOTS of complaints about multicasting. And penetration for the matter. In general we believe that Mastery should disappear form the game never to return, but we play the game differently from other troupes. We just do not use this anymore. If you want to cause more damage to a creature, cast a bigger spell. If you also need to penetrate with the bigger spell, invest in ACTUAL penetration boosters like sympathetic and Arcane connections. If you still need more penetration, get hold of ritual communion. If you cannot do that still, well, tough luck: Try a different approach.


Certainly don't agree with that. :stuck_out_tongue: If anything, I think there need to be more mastery options.
What becomes of Flawless Magic, then?
What happens to characters who want to cast Quietly and Subtly without a penalty and without taking the corresponding virtues? One of the things I really like about Spell Mastery is that these capabilities are within the realm of any character who wants to spend the time learning them for specific spells.

I agree with Marko. Its a solid mastery for a lot of spells. But its not the be all end all of something to spend time on. I also note once game has started a mastery is suddenly a lot more than 5 xp. Its suddenly a season. You can invent a spell in a season. You can study a decent book and get 15 xp in something else. You can enchant an item. Masteries are a lot more attractive when they have the same cost as a level 5 spell. If you start getting multiple levels of mastery its three seasons. You can enchant a really cool item. Or three items. Initiate a cool new virtue. Learn a bunch of spells. Write a series of tracti to buff the covenant library.

Arcane connections really need some sort of limit. Right now they act as a death sentence. If you have an arcane connection its just a matter of getting your friends together, firing up the communion, and blasting away. Or maybe learning a mastery and rolling until you get a big explosion. You don't even need a big spell at that point, just use an arcane ranged connection might stripper. Fire until its dead.

Unless you think arcane connections should be a death sentence. Then fire away!

That's kind of the idea, it becomes a trade-off or cost benefit exercise for the player to determine whether it is worth spending XP more on multiple casting or on something else. Under the RAW, whenever one spends XP on mastery, multiple casting is automatically improved. It doesn't work that way for Quiet casting, Quick Casting and Precise casting.

Arthur's treatment on how many books of what quality is a useful guide here. I think there should be a lot of books on spell mastery, especially for all of the common spells which come from the main rule book, or one of the HoH:Societates books.

Spending Adventure XP on mastery abilities is also useful, and is only limited by the 5 points for any single item.

Boost you casting total and take the penalty for no words and gestures. Flawless magic does not exist because Magic is an art, and art cannot be perfect every single time. We find that much more interesting than perfect, assembly-line magic. YMDoesV. No biggie at all :slight_smile:

Agreed on the cap on ACs, but a relevant AC is an adventure, so we find not much problem there either. Different troupes, different approaches :slight_smile: