My house rules

This one I use too. The certamen rules are too slow and clunky to use as anything except a dramatic showdown as the centerpiece of a session.


Do you have enough Certamen for this to be a concern?
IIRC, we've had maybe 2(+/- 1) Certamen contests over the last 12 years of fairly regular play. Not really worth worrying about time over.

I can understand the motivation, but this becomes very swing-y.

Being invisible in the presence of other magi opens you to charges of scrying.
Being invisible in the presence of other entities does nothing to reduce the effects of the Gift.

IIRC, the Aegis does not have to penetrate against a magus/maga to affect his/her spells/items, with the possible exception of R: Personal effects. So why would this be a concern in the first place?
Especially given the first bit, above?

That said, we've found that the Aegis having to penetrate can make for a good scene, with all of the magi gathering together to cast it together using Day of Communion (Through the Aegis, p. 137).

But does nothing if I eg. try to affect the buildings?

We've yet to have a single bout of Certamen in my game (only like 6-7 sessions in), I had planned for one to happen, but the player magus backed down before it got to that.

I can understand the motivation, but this becomes very swing-y.

Yep, that's the risk. It also makes sense for people not to enter it too recklessly, because then even an old mage can have a bad roll opposed by an explosion.

Being invisible in the presence of other magi opens you to charges of scrying.
Being invisible in the presence of other entities does nothing to reduce the effects of the Gift.

It was not to mitigate the effect of the gift, it's more that it is quite easy to cast and adds a degree of safety against attacks. Also, if it is very easy to be invisible and most mages spend a lot of time invisible just to not be bothered by people it would normalise being invisible which would make the prosecution less likely etc

For the aegis, the party has yet to cast it in the first place. But since there is a lot of text and some is not so clear we just agreed at the start of the game.

I do not have Through the Aegis, so that's not something I looked into. The need to penetrate parma just reduces the effectiveness of the Aegis, and since we agreed that it does not need to pen creatures it is a logical continuation that it does not need to pen mages. Otherwise, most mages will learn it and master it for resistance (that's a time sink of 2 season) and then most aegis will just bounce off of them (unless you had the whole covenant cast wizard's communion, but then everyone needs that extra spell and more vim etc)

But does nothing if I eg. try to affect the buildings?

Again this has not yet come up, but I would say that any casting without token would incur the penalty of the level. We had discussed with the beta ST how the aegis interacted with the Parma rather than against inanimate objects, RAW should work for that.

How about a house rule that defines the volume effected by a target circle spell? I was thinking of a cylinder of the magus' height rising "above" the surface upon which the circle is inscribed, with additional half spheres connected to the top and bottom of the cylinder, (one of which would, typically, be underground).

I don't like the idea of a sphere because what to my mind are reasonable sized circles (2 paces in diameter) end up not being tall enough to contain a human figure (1 pace tall in the center).

I could go for a cylinder that extends above the circle to a height chosen by the casting magus possibly extending all of the way to the lunar sphere, (in both directions)?

This is the sort of question that seems to need a good answer, but I've been playing for over 30 years now and sort of hand waving whatever feels right at the moment hasn't yet let me down. Perhaps it would do more harm than good to nail it down.

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I would not bother to define it unless I needed a specific ruling for it my game. Until such time handwaving it is fine for me.

However if I were to define a height for a circle, then a sphere would be my only choice, even if it renders a 2-pace diameter circle unable to contain an adult in height. For the simple reason that a sphere is the logical generalization of a circle from 2 to 3 dimensions.

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Here's another - I don't like Aegis of the hearth to be vulnerable to unraveling the fabric of vim.

I've strongly considered messing with the Aegis in the past but for this game perhaps an exceedingly specific rule - Aegis of the hearth requires a ritual Perdo Vim spell if it is to be removed by hermetic magic.

Anyone see a problem with that one?

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Works for me.

I like that unraveling the fabric of vim works on the Aegis. I've had to resort to that on occasions.

It is a very strong act, which would be seen as a crime if there I no good justification (a wizards March). We also played it so that all those involved within were instantly aware of the destruction of their aegis.

Needing a ritual to destroy it would make in unmanageable since the defenders would have an hour or more to interfere with the ritual, where the casting mage would be a punching bag and the aegis protected mages would have a massive advantage compared to the ritual casting mage's friends.

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I like the fact that it is difficult, it makes for a more beleiveable order that forces Magi to use politics to persue vendettas. It also allows for dysfunctional covenants who only hang together for the sake of tehAegis., which I think add colour to the setting.


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Hello all,

Very interesting topic. Thanks for raising so much points. I might pick some ideas.

However, I fail to understand why you don't want moving circles (or tilted circles, which will happen if a circle move) ?

For example, I always imagined small wards against fire around candlesticks in libraries. And that won't work if circles aren't allowed to move (or tilt).

Moreover, I want to stress out the fact that a simple crack in the circle is enough to break it. So if you fly around on a 6 feet large island of earth, it will be hard to avoid breaking a circle drawn in it, simply because packed earth is not resistant enough to remain intact. In fact I'd allow a Finesse roll to keep the earth intact enough to avoid breaking the circle, to be renewed each time the magus changes the stress on its flying island.

What else ? A circle drawn on a round shield to repel arrows is nice, but it won't last once the shield is bashed in combat.

Can you explain what you think is dangerous with moving/tilted circles?

It is a balance question. It becomes too easy to make nearly permanent spells at low magnitudes. At least that is why I am against moving circles.

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If I understand correctly you think thats ring durations are too powerful because it allows low magnitude long lasting spells. That, I concur.

However, I find it a bit annoying to remove cool possibilities to circle targets, for balance reason. I already did nice characters that used those ideas without resorting to long lasting ring spells.

I would rather find a solution to avoid long lasting low magnitude ring spells. Maybe limit effective duration depending on the material the circle is made of? Chalk, salt or earth could be limited to moon duration while metal and glass could last a year?

Spells with duration Year have to be Rituals...

I just don't see lots of cool possibilities in a moving-circle, I guess. Not ones I want to have in-game. Candelstick-circles certainly do exist; but they're around fixed torches, not around movable ever-burning lamps. So creating a magical permanent light is something requiring a mediocrum of investment, not something every apprentice has cast a 100 times. I think that bit of low-magic does well for the setting.

I note also that I don't see circles as very breakable. If you want it to be durable, you just make it from metal. A sturdy metal ring around a shield will NOT so easily be broken, even in combat. Likewise for that heavy high-quality steal ring holding up that flying castle. And so on.

Don't get me wrong - you can do all that stuff with regular non-Ring magic. It's just more expensive, and hence would be more rare and special. As I think it should be.

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I hate invisibility. It's far too easy, and far too effective. I simply made it more difficult:

Difficult Invisibility [p. 146] : The spell Veil of Invisibility is Pe(Re)Im 30 (Base 4, +1 touch, +2 Sun, +1 changing images, +1 Re requisite, +1 change along with object). The core book’s (level 20) version of the spell is called The Living Shadow , and turns the target into a black silhouette. These are the pre-doubling levels.

Similarly, the spell Invisibility of the Standing Wizard is Pe(Re)Im 20 (Base 4, +1 touch, +2 sun, +1 Re requisite), and Chamber of Invisibility is Pe(Re)Im 30 (Base 4, +1 touch, +2 sun, +2 group, +1 Re requisite).

As in our saga the spell levels are doubled, this means that effectively invisibility is out of reach for most magi (it's effectively a level 60 Perdo Imaginem spell with a Rego requisite - not something a lot of magi can pull off).

[quote="Erik_Tyrrell, post:10, topic:168669, full:true"]
your use of the house support looks fair and balanced, but my goals were more about getting the PC into a story so I prioritized the story and intend on handwaving the balance. While you nail down the balance without tying yourself to having to do any story.[/quote]
Wait, you can do stories with this Ars Magica thing? Who knew.

Yeah, we seem to be angling at different goals here. I like house rules :smiley:

One reason I did this was to let my NPCs use their Confidence. I'm talking mainly about the hedge-wizards here. The ones that use Confidence to power their magic.

Well, close. He read the rules and came to me before the character actually was played.

I want to close the "let's arm the grogs with dragon-killing flame-throwing spears and let them take care of things" loophole. It never did really come up in-game, but I don't like the idea of high-penetration magic items. High penetration should be something the magi do with their magic, IMO.

Why not allowing moving circles, and not moving rings? You don't have to fuse the target and the duration as if it was the same thing.

By the way I would never make a flying castle using a ring spell. Remember that you need a concentration check for every round when moving along the ring during casting. Moreover, one would easily destroy your creation by a simple perdo terram spell.

I saw my name above. Here are a few things about the new constant v. the old constant:

  • With the old version there was the problem mentioned above about an item putting a constant effect on someone and item being discarded in essence. That is improved with the item needing to be present to renew the effect.

  • With the new version you can have constant items that don't run continuously. For example, teleporting at the wrong time or walking into an Aegis of the Hearth could mean a "constant" effect like armor that is always hardened ends up losing that effect for a while.

  • Magic things no longer waver with things like Wind of Mundane Silence. They become inactive until sunrise/sunset. Note that this makes troublesome devices trivial to bypass; no Lord of the Rings type quest. This means the disenchanting guideline is mostly (not entirely) worthless, too.

  • Now you need 2/day for a MuVi effect on the "constant" effect rather than the 1/day before.

Personally, I like the new one to handle the first issue, but I would have kept truly constant stuff, restricting it to Personal or something like that. I've always hated the idea that a gorgon walking through an Aegis of the Hearth that is too weak to stop it would lose all its snake hair/eyes. Some author agreed with me, as in one later book there is a note about a power that is inherent and not really active magic to avoid that sort of issue.


Indeed. But the opposite isn’t true, spells lasting years doesn’t always have to be D: Year and so ritual. Like ring spells. Laurent was just proposing a way of limiting them (more or less in the line runes get limited for vikti depending on where are they carved).

I don't have much to say that hasn't been said one way or the other (the positive stuff, not the jerky stuff.)
I really do like the regenerating Confidence points the best! That's the spirit of gaming I prefer.

Does anyone else hate the Activities While Injured rules? What are thoughts on allowing 50% Study Total at any injury level? Allowing 50% Lab Total for Wound Penalty -3 to -5? Is there any spell that would allow more frequent recovery rolls than the Would Recovery table on ArM5 p175 that does not burn through vis? I don't want to discourage my magi from going on adventures.