Xavi, I have to respectfully disagree with you. I think the rules make complete sense, and honestly, to ignore them really takes the bite out of the social disadvantages of The Gift, which are supposed to be an issue. And I would expect that animals would be even more affected by The Gift than humans, because they can't eventually come to rationalize the feelings they're having the way a human (or sentient being) can.
As for familiars, as you said, Magi only choose familiars with "inherent magic" and as you said, generally have a magic might score, and thus wouldn't be affected by The Gift. As for Folk Witches, I honestly don't have an opinion since I play Ars Magica to play a Magus and haven't really read much about them.
But there are absolutely ways that a Gifted person can have an animal companion. Gentle Gift and Inoffensive to Animals come to mind immediately. And of course there are magical means like Animal magic to make animals more amenable. And maybe you can share your Parma with an animal to make it immune to your Gift?
I create a blatant gift Magus. I assign him an animal companion. He has incompatible animal everything.
Suddenly this supplement comes out and he is illegal?
Second case: Finding a mundane animal and binding with him as a familiar is a single season lab activity for a blatant gifted witch or magus. I suppose it is a traumatic experience for the animal and that he is tied with ropes during the whole season. And as a consequence he develops the True Friend virtue after being bound to the witch or Magus.
Making it very hard to train an animal is not a problem. I actually would like that a lot more than the binding a familiar easily as it happens in the previous paragraph. The problem is tha the rules say that is is just not possible. At all. Ever.
I hadn't thought of that. Then again, the Virtues are for all sorts of characters, Gifted and non-Gifted. It may be possible that some combinations of character and virtue are not possible. After all, non-Gifted people can't take Hermetic virtues, grogs can't take Story flaws, and it would be extremely difficult for certain character types to take certain social virtues that their race or gender might make implausible.
A non-Gifted grog or companion could certainly have an animal companion. Perhaps if a magus wants to have one for story reasons they can have one who has Unaffected by the Gift. That could explain how they befriended the animal and doesn't do injustice to a back story. .
I can't say for certain that it's categorically untrue. It would certainly make it harder to approach an animal to make it your familiar. It certainly wouldn't be impossible. The rules basically say that without magic, you can never really get an animal to like you. But it's clear that you can have some sort of transactional interface with them at a -3.
You can thus use various skills (at -3) to convince an animal to become your familiar. And once it's bound, magic keeps it from minding your Gift. I certainly think that means it would not make familiars an impossibility.
I don't necessarily see it as removing story potential. It certainly limits some story possibilities. But it opens others, albeit ones based on a deficiency rather than an advantage. And really any character concept you choose will close a few story possibilities and open others.
And I agree with PoB that taking away the social disadvantage of the Gift really takes a bite out of what is supposed to be a major concept in the game. And it makes those who spent Virtue points to get Gentle Gift or Inoffensive to Animals feel a little less special.
Frankly, most sagas I've seen don't impose nearly enough of a penalty for the Gift. Often it seems that storytellers remember to impose a -3 penalty to rolls, but otherwise have non-Gifted people treat magi just fine.
FWIW, this is not from a supplement that suddenly came out. It is from the core rule book at the very beginning of the description of how the Gift works. It's one of the first things you see in the rules when you start to learn about how magic works. It shouldn't be surprising to anyone.
We have to be careful about what the rules do and do not say. They say, by way of example, that a Gifted person can never ride a horse without magical assistance and can never make a dog his friend. I think that's perfectly reasonable.
The rules do not say that you can't train a dog to perform a task. You'll be at -3 to do so. And when you're working with the dog it'll probably growl at you and nip at you the whole time. But you can get the dog to do the task if you're good enough at Animal Handling.
The rules do not say that you can't bind an animal as your familiar. Presumably this would involve some sort of negotiation process (easier for an intelligent animal - I'm not really certain how an unintelligent animal gives consent). Again, this would be transactional and would likely involve some rolls at -3 (or -6 for Blatant Gift). Hard? Yes. Impossible? No.
But if you want to befriend a dog such that it will sit at your feet while you read and jump on your bed to sleep with you, I do think that according to the rules such an outcome is (and should be) impossible without magic. At all. Ever.
In a world with magic, in general I prefer absolutes to be absent.
Regarding the effects of the gift, in my troupe we changed into -5 and -10 for normal and blatant Gift. If you had Gentle Gift you have -10 to your magic, since you just have a weaker Gift. So, we tend to agree that effects of the Gift tend to be downplayed. I just cannot see how removing any option to accomplish something is positive to the game or mythic universe.
That must be tough for the people who spent three virtue points and forewent a different major Hermetic virtue to get the Gentle Gift.
I have two thoughts on that.
First, this is Ars Magica. Everything is possible with magic (well, almost everything). Many of the challenges faced by a Gifted character can be, if not overcome, at least addressed with magic.
Second, we limit our characters all the time in the choices we make at character creation. If we have a character who is missing a leg or is blind or is mute they will have certain options removed from what their character can accomplish. If a companion is a Moor, he may have certain options forever blocked off. A female companion can never become a Christian priest. A Jewish companion would also suffer certain absolute restrictions within the historical setting. It's the same with Hermetic flaws. Some of those will absolutely restrict a magus from taking certain actions. Character flaws are meant to restrict us, and we think they're a good thing.
The Gift is sort of like a four-point virtue and a one-point flaw all rolled up into one. Yes, you get really cool abilities for being Gifted. But you suffer a flaw, just like any other flaw. And that flaw will limit you.
In the end we build a character with a set of benefits and restrictions because we think it will be fun to see how we can use the benefits to our advantage and succeed despite the restrictions.
So, I don't see it as a bad thing to say that some character concepts take certain options off the table. Not everyone can do everything. Character design, much like life, is about making decisions and prioritizing what you want.
oh geeze, where to start.
I believe in the sanctity of Virtues. Meaning that, if you take the Animal Companion Virtue as a magus, that specific animal is unaffected by specifically your gift. No extra is needed. As for Hedge Wizards, it is rude to say I am unconcerned. But I really am not that concerned. Folk Witches and Grugachan are kinda cool though. Sometimes it is best to make case-by-case exceptions.
Maybe the gifted folk witch met a cat that shares the same birthday,
I also do not think in absolutes. It is a game, and the subject is magic. Games are games. They are fiction. Magic doesn't have to be fully rationalized. It is fiction.
There are as many ways to rationalize things as your imagination permits. Even going "by the rules".
As for "Animal Training" and "Ride", I am of the opinion that, if your Ability total is high enough to overcome the penalty, you can still use the ability at a penalty. Same for social abilities like Charm. Cosmetic negative effects are always present. But cosmetics are not absolutes.
PoP: Magic Might does not render the animal immune to the Gift. And you cannot share Parma without the consent of the target. Finding the right Familiar is a matter of hand-waved kismet. Even under the best circumstances. You can't just make any magic animal a familiar. Metagame OOC you do, but in game it should be a spiritual discovery. You were meant to be together.
On a side note, have any of you seen that recent episode of Rick & Morty where Morty gets a dragon? Priceless
As for the Gift HR Xavi uses in his games, not my cup of tea, but if it works for him then fantastic. I would suggest a slight revision. Gentle Gift is a Minor Virtue and carries a -3 Penalty to casting (not lab). Blatant Gift would be a Minor Flaw, and grants a +3 casting bonus. Normal Gift unchanged. Keep all the social penalty stuff. OR, reduce the social effect to -1 Normal and -3 Blatant, Gentle/Blatant are again Minor.
Maybe that animal the magus feels a connection to and eventually bonds with as a Familiar has something like Unaffected by the Gift?
If a magus, even one with Blatant Gift, has Animal Companion - it works. The magus’ backstory should explain why, or decide it is a mystery, or that it doesn’t matter to you. Just make a choice. I don’t see why a magus shouldn’t be able to have a non Familiar animal companion, but if your Troupe doesn’t want him to, then define why.
I think the social effects of the Gift should be remembered but not exaggerated. The -3 can be mitigated by high social ability scores but the feelings of suspicion and envy prevails.
People can over time get used to the Gift of specific people but not in general. IMHO it should be the same for animals.
And as for certain hedge wizards, a peculiarity of their Gift, after being opened to their relevant Traditions may be that certain animals aren’t bothered by their Gift.
That is a perfectly valid explanation to me which serves a purpose of not ruining the mythic feeling of some hedgies befriending animals without them being Familiars per se, while still retaining social effects of being Gifted, which IMHO is important to keep wizards and mundanes separated.
I have a vague idea for something. I am referencing the Armaments HR, which is based off of Lords of Men, both of which differ from C&G.
My idea is to add twice the bonuses provided by the weapon to the divider. And round down instead of up.
Items Produced = Craft score divided by 5 + (twice the bonus(es) provided), multiplied by two for Longswords. Donna, at a score of 15, can produce in a Season...
(15/5) x2 = 6 Standard Longswords
(15/7) x2 = 4 Superior Longswords (+1 Attack)
(15/9) x2 = 3 Supreme Longswords (+1 Attack, +1 Damage)
(15/13) x2 = 2 Excellent Longswords (+2 Attack, +2 Damage)
(15/17) x2 = 1 Exceptional Longswords (+3 Attack, +3 Damage)
(15/21) x2 = 1 Extraordinary Longswords (+4 Attack, +4 Damage)
15/25) x2 = 1 Exquisite Longswords (+5 Attack, +5 Damage)
Lords of men is extremely lenient in how good weapons can get.
So, Donna can produce +1 +2 and +5 sword (no reason to go for `3 and +4 swords. Unless there is a materials cost. Excalibur is not just a blade, it is decorated with exceptional craftsmanship in gold silver and precious stones.
Not relevant for this saga since Andorra is wealthy at Amazon or Microsoft levels but it would be something.
Keep thinking that way and we will go broke in no time. Carmen tends to be tight with the purse strings. But you have a point. Material cost should be a factor. As long as she is not cranking out Excalibur every season, it isn't a big concern. Donna is a Dwarf blooded blacksmith. She is perhaps one in only a dozen people in Mythic Europe at this skill level. There are rumors of a magus in Denmark who is even better.
C'mon man. Don't break the system when I am trying to compromise. Anything better than Supreme (+1/+1, the Toledo Longsword) has to be custom made for the individual. The Excalibur (+5/+5) you make for one guy is Supreme (+1/+1) in the hands of another.
We may have conflicting visions of what sort of "business" Donna is maintaining. I see her as working exclusively for a single client, Andorra Covenant. Even if not exclusive, I cannot imagine where her other clients would come from.
really? what market could their possibly be for high quality weapons in late Reconquista Spain as it enters into the period of the Iberian crusades?
I was asking primarily as a reason to allow him to get his weapon for this adventure as opposed to a later one, not a problem otherwise. Though the quality of an item is also a bonus to enchant it, so...
I looked at the income of Andorra. And it is massive. Expenses are high as well but I have yet to be in any saga that has that level of yearly surplus. Fortunately for Carmen, Mateu is quite far from a ruling position in Andorra xD
Having some +1 or so swords available should be easy for Donna. Having a lot of +4 or above not so much... These are named weapons. There are less than 20 of them in Europe at a given time.
But you are not in Spain. Minor pedantic point, but Spain doesn't exist yet. In about 150 years, Castile and Aragon-Catalonia will (probably) merge to form Spain. Those two lands may yet be a bountiful market. But again, that is not where we are. Andorra, the nation, is not even an important trade route. There is one major marked nearby. Bellaquin. They hold regular Hermetic fairs ((as mentioned in Faith & Flame). The customers there would be other covenants and magi. You could also market through Barcelona. But you would need an agent somewhat like a Venditior. You could also market through House Mercere. Talk to Lucas. There are various ways you can market your goods, and it makes good story material. But this is something I want to see played out, not hand-waved with labor points.
I read up on the labor point system and how to work your way up the social scale. Similar to the ArM4 system presented in that editions version of LoM (I forget the title). But they way it works out in ArM5 rules is totally broken. It presumes the character is not part of a covenant, and the verbage given to how to play as if they are part of a covenant, very sparse and very vague. Not your fault, but you need to show more self restraint.
If he wanted a special weapon for this adventure, there are rules in the CharGen HRs to provide for that. To have Donna make one for him is good RP material. But it has to be customized and worked on as a special seasonal project.
Not true. You have played a character in this saga twice before, so that is at least two times. We are still spending resources to maintain Marcellus the Frost Giant of Ex-Miscelllanea. It is a minor expense, seeing as he is "frozen" in a small regio known as the Ice Chamber, deep beneath the covenant. But his room is kept clean and free of vermin.
And we used to be richer. We are top shelf, yes. But I imagine we are not (yet) in the same league of power as Doisettep, Durenmar, Coeris, or Harco. We are a step lower, in league with Barcelona or Val-Negra. We have more magical power than Barcelona, but they are much wealthier.
And our wealth is not what you think. It is mostly on paper, and Carmen plays with the books. And this covenant maintains fifteen magi. Enough magi to form three our four covenants.
The wealth is meant to keep us from playing "Papers & Paychecks". Not for players to abuse. I am going to have to do some calculating and revising now
Having some +1 or so swords available should be easy for Donna. Having a lot of +4 or above not so much... These are named weapons. There are less than 20 of them in Europe at a given time.
Colada and Tizona are two such swords. I had once read that they tested the metalurgy, and indeed they contained Vandium.
I think there would be more than 20. Not much more. But estimates I have read for the population of the High Middle Ages in Europe at around one-hundred million. Say Donna is a one-in-a-million talent. There are 99 other blacksmiths on her level.
As a side note, with the Gift being a one-in-ten-thousand chance (as stated in RAW), that means there are ten-thousand Gifted humans in Mythic Europe. The Order of Hermes only represents a quarter of them.
Donna can still grow wealthy working for the covenant. I am increasing our expenses to account for it, and all armed grogs have quality armaments. I am working on an HR to account for time and quality, something that makes everyone happy. I am doing this because the idea intrigues me for now. And I wanted to revise the armaments HR anyway. C&G has started to interest me.
Donna purchased Wealthy with Labor point in 1240. What I would like to see is, over the next five years to bring her up to date, is for her to climb the social ladder. She is a Branded Criminal. The next social rank up is Covenfolk. That will knock her back down to Poor and she has to climb back up to Average then Wealthy.
You mean I have failed to live up to the expectatives of the saga before.
I was unaware that Marcellus was around! I thought he would be long gone. Marcellus was a character created before his own time. He is a a scandinavian gruagach variety through and through conceptually.
Richness-wise, I was comparing the income of andorra.compared to.other sagas.I have sen and played. It is a rich covenant. Wasn't aware that Carmen had invented creative accounting before Investment banking dudes did it. Basically Andorra has a "money does not matter for anything that is not a crazy project" level. I actually like it. It removes one of the roadblocks to playing magi instead of accountants.
Colada and tizona, they have one of them. Supposedly. It is not clear it is the real thing (iirc it was proven otherwise, in fact, but will need to check.
Not bad numbers there. But I do not see colada and tizona being +5 weapons. Maybe +2 at most. Probably just named normal swords in the real world, but in mythic Europe they certainly deserve a bonus. +5 is Excalibur. Colada And tizona never performed feats by themselves. It was their wielder that was the source of their power. Good swords, but IMO not magical.
I find the Order represents a too high percentage of gifted people. But that is me.
My suspicion is that while Donna may well be a one in a million character (in large part because people tend not to push themselves once they reach a certain comfort level), that would not represent 99 other smiths of her level, but more likely 99 other craftspeople of her level. So somewhere out there is a mason of similar ability who is probably making truly awesome cathedrals, for example.
As for what proportion of gifted people the order represents, I usually take that as the percentage of people it believes it represents. after all if they have a reputation for the whole "join or die" thing its not like people are rushing to introduce themselves...
You have failed nothing. I mention him mainly to tease you. But the concept could make for a great potential story someday.
She didn't invented. Italian financiers and Templars did. House Mercere and elements of Jerbiton (Franc Several from Barcelona) have expanded upon it. Carmen learned from them and is making her own advancements.
There is doubt if it is authentic, and if it is they don't know which one it is. I think that is the case.