New Mystery: Living Talisman

Hi guys,
When I was reading Troy's comments in
Item effects being triggered
It reminded me of something I played around with many years ago.
The following information was made about 7 years ago and hasn't been playtested - there are parts in it that are unbalanced and/or overpowered. What do you guys think about the overall idea?

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Living Talisman


In the olden days, before the advent of the longevity ritual, before the spread of familiars the craftsmen of magic used their skills to prolong their life and improve their powers. They created mighty machines of magic which could accomplish wonders. The solitary magi longed for companionship but were distrustful of each other. Even though they had their employees and servants it wasn't enough. No-one remembers who did it first but they decided to build themselves friends – someone who wouldn't be affected by their gift. Soon the practice spread, and as it did it grew. Initially the companions were just magical devices given voice. Then they were given life – and ultimately the craftsmen learned how to turn their most cherished servants into a magical being. More than an item, more than a mundane – this was the crowning achievement of many magi. As hermetic magic spread and expanded these wondrous beings fell out of use. There were cheaper, easier and safer alternatives – though they couldn't duplicate all the majesty of a Living Talisman.

A Living Talisman

What is a 'living' talisman?

A Living Talisman (LT) is a magical being which is bound to a magus as a mixture of talisman and familiar. This is more functional than a regular talisman, and is seen by some to be superior to a familiar as well. This is a pre-hermetic ritual which was created by the verditius smiths of old to turn their most valued companions or treasured items into something vastly more powerful.

A Living Talisman is created during a process of enchantments in which a verditius magus sacrifices part of his magic and vitality to imbue an object with life and magic. This ritual only works for verditius magi as it builds upon the outer mystery Verditius Magic. As verditius magi consider everyone and everything as tools to be used, the term object is used here – though it can mean human, mundane or magical creatures and crafted or natural items. The sacrifice of power and life is permanent – even if the LT dies at any point. A magus gains a Major Hermetic Flaw to bind the LT to his gift and the Minor Flaw “fragile constitution” to grant it life (if necessary).

Due to the demanding nature of the ritual a magus can only ever bind a maximum of two LTs in his life – each inflicting a different major hermetic flaw. A magus may only give a “Gift of Life” to one LT.

While a magus has an LT he cannot have a Familiar, Longevity Ritual or normal Talisman – he must release any familiar before starting the ritual, any existing talisman or longevity ritual is destroyed as part of the binding process.

Isn't it just like a familiar?

An LT is not a familiar – even though it is a magical being mystically bound to the magus. As such, there is no familiar bond. There are no mystical chords binding the two together. However, a lot of the rules for playing a familiar apply to an LT. It is still an independently minded creature which may not always agree with the whims of its magus. Uninformed magi will regard it as a familiar though hermetic investigation will reveal otherwise.

How is it different to a normal talisman?

An LT has Magic Might which protects it even when not being covered by Parma Magica. When created the LT will follow most of the rules of a familiar – except there are no chords or a familiar bond - the LT itself is enchanted with effects. Due to the link between the magus and the LT, they are magically classed as being a part of each other. The magus and LT are magically intertwined becoming permanent Arcane Connections to each other. More than that, a mystical tunnel connects the two (similar to an intangible tunnel) meaning that the magus can enchant the LT or call on its enchantments without it being present. A magus life force is tied into the talisman. This gives the talisman life and power, which it then feeds back to the Magus. The talisman is self-activating and self-motive (it can move around by itself and trigger its own effects), for example the talisman could activate a healing effect if the magus is badly wounded and unable aid himself.

Due to the close nature of their magical energies, hermetic magical effects designed to be used on the LT can be used on the magus without incurring warping. Magical effects designed to work on the magus can be used on the LT without warping due to the talismans magical nature. The magus will still receive warping for any ongoing magical effects. The magus can call on the effects of the LT no-matter where it is - the magic seems to come from the magus himself. If the magus enters twilight the LT will follow – normally twilight is a solitary affair, but they experience it together – the LT may even aid the magus in comprehending it. This also applies to final twilight.

How is it different to a Longevity Ritual

There are 3 main differences to a longevity ritual. First, this is a bonus granted by the Might of the LT, it is not an ongoing magical effect – there is no warping involved. Second, if there is an ageing crisis, it carries on as usual, it does not “fail”, in fact, it gives a health bonus to resolving the crises. Thirdly, it does not cause sterility meaning that magi can have many children.

Depending on the bond qualities chosen and the Might of the LT, the LT may give a large bonus to longevity. Typically, this bonus is lower than a mid-ranged longevity ritual. However, for the magus who manages to bind a very powerful being as his familiar, they can gain a bonus that Hermetic Magic cannot compare to.

What can become a Living Talismans

Almost anything can become a living talisman – eventually. Strictly speaking, only a Magical Being can become a Living Talisman, but there are a series of procedures which will make anything into a Magical Being. To become a Living Talisman, a Magical Being (Animal, human, thing etc.) must have been opened for enchantment, and it must have sufficient space for the “We are One” effect to be enchanted.

Breaking the bond

If the bond is severed improperly, or the talisman permanently dies, the magus immediately suffers a major ageing crisis. To break the bond properly the Magus spends a season separating his life from the talisman and enchanting it with the “Dissolve the Bond” effect to finalise the separation. Any flaws the magus gained creating the talisman remain, any virtues conferred by the bond are lost. The bond can also be broken by a specific type of Perdo Vim Ritual which must exceed the “We are One” effect. If the bond is severed and the LT survives, it loses all of its bond qualities and inferiorities, any suppressed virtues/flaws are active again. It loses any qualities its Might cannot support, the player chooses which qualities to lose. It is then a normal magical being and cannot have any other effects enchanted into it. However, it can still use its existing enchantments and can be be used as an object to create an LT– by the original magus or any other magus who can befriend it.

Rebinding a Living Talisman

If an LT is no-longer bound to a magus, and if it agrees, it can be bound to a new magus. If it doesn’t have empty enchantment levels, it needs to be re-opened according to its material and size. Previous bond qualities and inferiorities may be reactivated – this is an all-or-nothing process. If you choose to do this, before the final part of the bonding process you need to take a season to “retune” your Gift to the magics of the Talisman. This is a type of Mystery Initiation which grants you the minor supernatural virtue “Adaptive Body”. Now, after the first use, you can use all of the previous effects and bond qualities as if you had enchanted them yourself i.e. no more warping. If you do not want to make use of these previous items, you do not need to possess this virtue. You can bind the talisman as normal and create your own, unique bond.

Why did it fall out of use

One of the main reasons it fell out of use was the invention of longevity rituals and the bronze chord of a familiar bond. While an LT gives a bonus to ageing rolls larger than the familiar bronze chord – a mid-range longevity ritual is superior to this and stacks with the bronze chord. Another reason was the large vis cost involved in awakening something as a magical being. Magi with high hubris scores become very selfish - this is a process which gives a great deal to the LT and demands a lot from the magus involved. Additionally the high vis and personal cost involved was also a large drawback – none of the 'standard' hermetic offerings caused such damage to a magus. Verditius magi were already mocked for their reliance on casting tools, the flaws this process incurred made the situation even worse. Overall, many verditius magi came to the decision that a talisman, familiar and longevity ritual all combine to offer them greater longevity over a period of time.

Where did they all go

It is not commonly known if there are any magi with a Living Talisman in the order today. Such items could be disguised as a familiar or forge companion. As for magical beings which were once Living Talismans to a magus, they may be anywhere – a magical blacksmith in a magic aura, a magical ring which influences its wearer or even the mighty wolf living in the nearby forest. Only by befriending them, or investigation in a laboratory may their past life be revealed.

The line of Valpo

Valpo was a Verditius magus in the late 10h Century who turned his most trusted forge companion, Garrick into his Living Talisman of Might 10. 50 years later, when Valpo noticed that he was starting to age, he conferred with Garrick about what to do. Garrick was now immortal, and didn’t want his friend to die so young, so he suggested that Valpo dissolve the bond between them and undertake a normal longevity ritual. Valpo did this and worked alongside Garrick for a few years, he noticed that his only gifted grandson, his apprentice Taranis was very friendly with Garrick, so he suggested that they might want to bond together. 10 years after his gauntlet, Taranis successfully bound himself to Garrick. After around 50 years, he dissolved the bond and passed Garrick on to his most recent apprentice. This practice has continued to this day, and Garrick, who has been improving his Magic Theory as well his Craft: Blacksmith score is very well regarded among the people who know of him. In fact, he has written several well-known texts about Magic Theory under a pen-name, and is actively involved in the training of his partners apprentices.

A Living Talisman in play


As a magical being the talisman does not suffer from warping or ageing. It is protected from acclimation by the bond with the magus. An LT recovers from wounds as normal. Due to the close bond with the magus an LT gains experience as a normal character. LTs can die, they can have their Might reduced and they can be imprisoned. LTs do not suffer from deprivation, however, these can be taken as bond inferiorities. If the player chooses the relevant inferiorities, an LT character can age, it can suffer from deprivation.

Even if an LT has its Might Points reduced to 0 the enchantments are not affected (unless they use the creatures might). An LT can rest in a strong magical aura (as per the rules in RoP:M) or consume vis to restore their Magic Might points back to their maximum at the rate of 1 pawn per point.

Lab Texts

A Magus can use a lab-text for instilling effects into his LT only if it was made for an LT of the same type. They cannot use the lab-texts of “normal” enchanted devices. There are some lab-texts around for various animals, objects and humans. Some lab-texts are available at different power levels. Lab texts for various levels of “Awaken, my Creation” and “We are One”, can be found for the most common Talisman objects. Casting Tablets for “Exchange of the Two Minds” are a closely guarded secret, but can be found as a story.

Help in the laboratory

Due to the very personal nature of these activities, only the object/Talisman may assist in the lab in any season where effects are instilled into the talisman. This could be as a mundane servant, forge companion or a full-on lab assistant. The presence of other people would taint the enchantment process and cause it to fail.

Living Talisman Open Enchantment slots

A living talisman has a vis slots of (Talisman Might Score + Magus Hubris + Talisman Hubris + Magus Highest Technique + Magus Highest Form). This space is classed as “open” already and can be used straight away. As the scores change, the space becomes available without being “opened”.

Instilling Effects

As with a normal talisman the magus does not gain a bonus for previous effects when instilling effects into the LT, he gets the standard +5 for talismans. Due to the nature of the magic between the LT and the magus, the LT does not need to be present to be given enchantments. The talisman can work as a lab assistant or a forge companion when creating these effects.


Normally the two people do not have access to each others senses. However, they can get a general sense of the others mental state by just thinking of them (the free bond quality awareness covers this). Bond qualities or enchantments can be used to either provide the senses of the partner or to use their own senses as if they were there themselves.

Activation and Targets

When the magus or LT activate an effect, they have full control over the target. If it is range personal the target can be themselves or the other person – their choice. If it is range touch or greater, the target must be sensed by the activating person. However, if the senses are shared using magic, a person can activate an effect targeting someone using the other person as a point of origin – without the knowledge or involvement of the other person. Effects of range greater than personal need to penetrate magic resistance.

Uses per day

The maximum uses per day an effect can be activated is absolute – regardless of who activates the effect. If an 'always on' effect is to affect both people it must be either designed to affect both at the same time, or have enough uses so they can both use it as well as the +1 magnitude for concurrent uses. Instead of 2 uses per day it needs 6 uses as there is no 4.

Simultaneous use

For an extra magnitude any effect can be used concurrently for both people – such as a flying effect which maintains concentration. Normally it could only be used at one time as the talisman maintains the concentration. However, with the +1 magnitude for 2 concurrent uses they can both use it at the same time. However, the maximum uses per day needs to be taken into account.


The magus can use the duration “Touching” for effects instilled in the LT. The effect lasts as long as the two are in physical contact with each other.

The magus can use a new conditional restriction called “Touching” for effects instilled in the LT. This means the enchanted effect can only be triggered whilst they are physically touching. Adding this restriction to an effect reduces the the overall level needed to instil it by a quarter, making some very powerful effects possible. e.g. A lvl 100 effect becomes a lvl 75 effect.

For +1 levels the magus can add “touching” to any effect being instilled in the LT. If they are touching when the effect is activated it applies to both of them.

New Target 'Both'

The magus can create spells and effects which target both magus and talisman at the same time. This is +1 magnitude (equivalent to part).

Verditius Runes and Talisman Attunements

As the LT has been covered in verditius runes during the first season, the magus gets to add his full (philosophae + S&M limited by Magic Theory) to any enchantments he is instilling in the talisman. Whenever he enchants an effect into the talisman he also gets to choose any S&M bonus (limited by philosophae) as a talisman attunement – regardless of talisman composition.

Crafting the Living Talisman

The magus selects the object he wishes to 'awaken' as his talisman. It must either be a mundane person/creature/object, a magical being, or an enchanted device only he has worked on.

The magus uses a series of rituals to craft the object into a magical being bound to his life-force, culminating in a ritual which binds it to his magic as a Living Talisman. The object must remain close to the magus during each process - taking meals together, bathing together and sleeping together (though intercourse is not required). The magus constantly talks to the object as if it were alive (if it is alive they should converse to understand each other).

Useful information

Materials and Sizes

Human/Animal body (flesh, bone and blood) base points = 6

Character sizes => multipliers multiplier = 5 + (Size/3 rounded up)

Beings smaller than size -15 cannot be enchanted.


A normal mouse (size -10 ) can be opened for:

-10/3 = -3.33, rounded up becomes -3. Add 5 = +2 multiplier, * 6 = 12 pawns.

A normal rabbit (size -5 ) can be opened for:

-5/3 = -1.66, rounded up becomes -1. Add 5 = +4 multiplier, * 6 = 24 pawns.

A normal human adult (size 0) can be opened for:

0/3 = 0, rounded up becomes 0. Add 5 = +5 multiplier, * 6 = 30 pawns.

A small dragon (size +7) can be opened for:

+7/3 = 2.33, rounded up becomes 3. Add 5 = +8 multiplier, * 6 = 48 pawns

Mystery Initiations

Gain Magical Adaption

The parens will serve as the mystagogue. This script gives a bonus of +14, the mystagogue needs to have the virtue “Magical Adaption” and a presence + cult lore of 1.

+3 Travel to Durenmar by midwinter’s eve using only mundane means

+1 copy a text from the library about VIM

+1 Work for the mystagogue for a seasonal

+3 Deliberately receive enough Warping Points to enter Twilight (one bonus)

+3 Comprehend a Twilight (keep entering twilight until successful)

+3 The mystagogue sacrifices a season of time to teach you the Supernatural Virtue.


Magical Adaption

Minor, Supernatural

Your body will adapt itself to spells cast on it. If a high level spell or effect was not designed for you, the first time it is cast on you, you gain a warping point (as normal). After that, your body has adapted to the magic in the spell/effect and the spell is classed as designed for you whenever it affects you.
You still gain warping points from all other sources as usual.




PeVi General Level

R:Touch, D: Momentary, T: Individual; ritual

This is the standard hermetic spell which breaks a specific type of magic, in this case, it is cast on the LT to break the bond. The spell + a stress die must have a level equal to or greater than the “We are One” effect in the Talisman. This is a violent way to break the bond, the shock (and effects) are similar to that as if one of them had died.

Base level, +1 Touch

Exchange of the two Minds

ReMe 50

R:Personal, D: Season, T:Both; ritual

This is a magic ritual which exchanges the mind of a Magus with that of a Magical Being for one season. Both participants have to voluntarily want to take part in the ritual, mirroring each action and gesture, if they are being coerced or magically controlled the ritual instantly botches. As this is a Range: Personal spell it does not need to Penetrate. This is very similar to the standard hermetic ritual, but it only works with a Magus and Magical Being and it only lasts for a single season.

Base 20, +4 Season, +2 both

“Both” is a non-standard target referring to the two participants, it is smaller than group, but larger than individual, so the cost is the same as group.

“Season is a non-standard target referring to a hermetic season, it is smaller that year, but larger than moon, so the cost is the same as year.

Enchanted Effects

All enchanted effects need to be invested as lesser enchantments – they need to be completed in a single season.

Awaken, my creation

CrMe(Vi) non-hermetic, General Level, effect

The object will transform into a magical being, this will break any attunement if the object was previously a talisman. The object gains experience points equal to half its unused effect space. This experience can be used to buy qualities and inferiorities as per the “Advancement rules” in RoP:M p52, the object must take the major inferiority “Suffers from Acclimation”. This effect cannot be disenchanted. The base guideline will awaken an object of 200 levels, each additional magnitude adds 200 levels.

Base 50

Dissolve the Bond

PeVi General Level, effect

R:Personal, D:Momentary, T:Both

The base level for this effect is the level of the enchanted (We are One) effect. This effect will permanently and peacefully dissolve the bond between the magus and Living Talisman. It must be enchanted into the talisman over the course of a single season, then activated (once). The bond breaks and any bond qualities/inferiorities are lost. Any suppressed virtues/flaws/qualities/inferiorities are restored in full. The LT becomes a normal magical being, except that it still has access to the effects enchanted into itself. It is still classed as being an opened enchanted device, with the full space being limited to it’s Magical Might. Any unused space is still available for enchantment.

Base level, +1 Both, +1 complexity

Improve the Bond

CrVi non-hermetic, General Level, effect

This can instil a bond with extra points which enables purchasing qualities/inferiorities.

The base version of the effect allows the bond to be manipulated. Each additional 2 magnitudes grants a point for improvement

base 20

Improve the Bond

CrVi 20 non-hermetic, effect

This grants 0 point to improve the bond, useful for adding free qualities and inferiorities

base 20

Improve the Bond

CrVi 30 non-hermetic, effect

This grants 1 point to improve the bond

base 20, +2 (1 points)

Improve the Bond

CrVi 40 non-hermetic, effect

This grants 2 points to improve the bond

base 20, +4 (2 points)

Improve the Bond

CrVi 50 non-hermetic, effect

This grants 3 points to improve the bond

base 20, +6 (3 points)

Improve the Bond

CrVi 60 non-hermetic, effect

This grants 4 points to improve the bond

base 20, +6 (4 points)

Improve the Bond

CrVi 70 non-hermetic, effect

This grants 5 points to improve the bond

base 20, +10 (5 points)

Improve the Bond

CrVi 80 non-hermetic, effect

This grants 6 points to improve the bond

base 20, +12 (6 points)

We are One

ReCo, Non-Hermetic, General Level, effect

If the magus has a Talisman already, this process will destroy it and consume the vis invested in it. This effect ties the gift and life-force of the magus to the Talisman, and those of the Talisman to the magus. The base guideline will bind a being of Might 1-10, each additional magnitude of effect will increase this by +10 Might. This effect grants 4 bond points. Additional bond points may be obtained by purchasing Inferiorities, or by sacrificing additional vis at 5 pawns per point. Additional vis can be drawn directly out of enchanted devices as part of the ritual. All of the vis is consumed, but only the vis the magus can control will grant bond points.. (purchasing inferiorities and sacrificing vis are optional so are not covered in lab texts)

base 50

Bond Qualities and Inferiorities

These are magus/talisman specific magical qualities and inferiorities which can be bought during the binding process. Points are used to buy qualities and inferiorities using the following table (adapted from RoP:M p52). SG imposed qualities and inferiorities cannot be upgraded, changed or removed. Changes can only be made to free qualities and inferiorities when 0 or more points are added.

1 point gain a minor quality and minor inferiority
2 points gain a minor quality
3 points gain a major quality and a major inferiority
4 points transform a minor quality into a major quality

transform a minor inferiority into a minor quality
transform a major inferiority into a minor inferiority|
|5 points|gain a major quality and a minor inferiority|
|6 points|gain a major quality|

Once the bond has been created, additional points can be enchanted into it as a laboratory process. See the enchanted effects “Improve the Bond” for more details. These are enchanted like lesser effects and must be completed in a single season. All bond qualities and inferiorities must be approved by the SG.

Forbidden Magical Qualities/Inferiorities

A magical being or familiar is unable to gain the following qualities and inferiorities as part of the final binding process – if already present they become suppressed while the bond remains. When the bond is broken they will function as normal.

No Fatigue, Gifted, Vis Mastery, Acclimation Prone, Temporary Might, Limited Speech

Incompatible Bond Qualities and Inferiorities

Some qualities and inferiorities do opposite things, for example “Linked Life” and “Two Hearts Beat as One”. Some qualities or inferiorities affect the same thing, if they have different names, they can usually both be applied. A common sense approach should be taken, with the SG having final say on whether two things cannot be used together. Usually only one of each quality/inferiority can be held. Where there are two versions of the same quality/inferiority, the lesser one is lost. The only exception to this is where it explicitly states that it can be taken multiple times.

Mandatory Bond Qualities and Inferiorities

While the bond is active the following free qualities are applied to both magus and talisman:

Awareness, Grant Intelligence, Improve Faculties, Shared Vitality

While the bond is active the following inferiorities are applied to both magus and talisman:

Impossible Longevity Ritual, True Friend/Love.

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Major Bond Qualities

Flexible Magic

At the cost of 1 Might point each the range, duration or target of an enchanted effect may be altered up or down by 1. Each alteration alters the total effect level by 5 levels. Non-ritual effects cannot make use of ritual ranges, durations or targets.

Improved Longevity

The magus and talisman gain an extra LTs Might/2 to ageing rolls. (replaces minor version)

Joint Magic
If the magus and talisman are touching the magus can add half again to his casting totals and the talisman gains an additional half Might to its powers. When enchanting the talisman the magus can increase his lab-total as if a magical focus applied. This cannot be combined with a magical focus.

Linked Life

Neither magus or talisman may be permanently killed as long as the other lives. When their body dies their spirit takes refuge in the body of the other and sleeps. When the body has been healed/repaired their spirit flows back into it and awakens. If both die at the same time, they die permanently.

Reduced Warping
As the minor version except only 1 might score is lost per warping.

Ritual Effects

The LT can be enchanted with ritual magic. However, for target “boundary” effects the talisman or the magus must traverse the boundary in question. When the ritual effect is triggered and it costs the LT 1 Might Score per 5 levels and the magus 1 long-term fatigue per 10 levels of the total effect (including modifiers).

Shared Abilities

In any situation each person may use the ability score (ignoring puissant) of the other person instead of their own when rolling die. The person whose ability is being borrowed treats that ability as 0 while it is being borrowed. This cannot be used for seasonal activities.

Shared Magic

The magus can call on the powers of the talisman, the talisman can wield the magic of the magus. If one has social penalties due to their magic, the other now suffers it.

Any Magic which effects one person may effect the other – this must be decided while the magic is active. Any magic rituals (such as Aegis of the Hearth) which one takes part in, the other is classed as taking part in.

Shared Major Virtue

The magus and talisman both receive a major supernatural virtue while the bond exists. This can be taken more than once for different virtues.

Shared Magical Quality

The magus and talisman can add a major magical quality to the bond. This can be any major quality from RoP:M. (including Ritual and Focus powers)

Minor Bond Qualities

Careful eye

Each person gets to subtract the others intelligence from any botch dice incurred (to a minimum of 1).

Exchanging Minds

If both parties agree, or one is unconscious the people may 'switch' minds, using the others' body as if it were their own. They still suffer any penalties imposed by wounds and fatigue, but regardless of how badly damaged the body is, they are conscious and able to act.

Glorious Presence

Both people benefit from a +3 bonus to all social interactions – this can counter the effects of the gift. This does not need to penetrate as their personality becomes more forceful and they appear more imposing. As this is a physical effect it cannot be dispelled by magic and may add to other bonuses.

Improved Fatigue

Both talisman and magus have an extra level of fatigue – see RoP:M p40/41. This can be taken multiple times.

Improved Longevity

The magus and talisman gain an extra LTs Might/5 to ageing rolls.

Improved Magical Capacity

Whenever the magus uses vis (for any reason), if the talisman is present their maximum vis limit is increased by the talismans Might score. This does not stack with Elder Runes. Whenever the talisman is assisting in the lab on a talisman enchantment it gives an additional bonus of 10.

Joint craft
If the magus and talisman both have a craft ability, and it is relevant to the enchantment process, the talisman can add its full craft ability to the lab total if it takes part.

Joint studying

If the magus and the talisman both study from the same source at the same time, they can use their shared knowledge to gain additional insight. They gain 3 extra experience on top of everything from the study total.

Mystical toughness

For 1 long-term fatigue a person may reduce the severity of a wound by 1 level as it is inflicted on the other - to a minimum of a light wound.

Reduced Warping

If the magus would suffer magical warping the LT may absorb it at the cost of 3 Might points per point of warping – this also causes the magus to suffer a long-term fatigue per point of warping absorbed. This only counts for warping sustained as a single event – Warping accrued over a long period cannot be reduced.

Send/Summon object
The talisman or magus can send small objects to each other, or summon a small object the other is touching. This needs to penetrate. (This includes ropes/manacles used to restrain them)

Shared Breath

A person can eat, sleep and breathe for two. As long as one person is able to complete the actions, the other does not suffer from deprivation. The person can feel the discomfort of the other and undertake action to relieve it, the person providing the sustenance must do twice as much of the activity as normal.

Shared Characteristic

In any situation each may use the faculties of the other instead of their own – they use the other persons characteristic when rolling die. The person whose characteristic is being used must make a concentration roll of 6+ (depending on their activities) or become momentarily confused by the process. This cannot be used for seasonal activities.

Shared Experience

A person may use the others mind as a source of knowledge to learn from. It is treated as a source quality of 10 in an ability the other person possesses. A person cannot exceed the ability score of their source.

Shared Fatigue

At any time either of the two may activate this quality which spreads fatigue equally between the two.

Shared Learning

The magus or the talisman may use the experience source of the other for a season as if they had undergone that activity themselves. Virtues and flaws then apply as appropriate

Shared Location

Both people can use their senses and magic as if they were at the others location.

Shared Magic Resistance

No-matter where they are, the magus and the talisman are covered by the greater of the magus parma magica or the talismans Magic Might.

Shared Mind

The two people share a single mind – thoughts and images are passed easily between the two. If the mind of one is overpowered for some reason the other can attempt to free it.

Shared Minor Virtue

The magus and talisman both receive a minor supernatural virtue while the bond exists. This can be taken more than once for different virtues.

Shared Shape

The magus can become the same type of creature as the talisman and vice versa.

Shared Soak

Each person gets to gets and add the others' naked (without armour) soak to his own – this includes any effects which improve or reduce soak.

Shared Vitality

As the free version but the two people share their life-force to such an extent that the unchanging aspect of the talisman is passed to the magus, however the talisman has become more mortal and must make ageing rolls. The bonus of +1 per Might/5 is changed to +1 bonus per Might/2 for both ageing and wound recovery.

Talisman Powered Magic

The magical effects in the talisman can make use of the talismans penetration score at the time of activation. The effect has a base penetration of Might – (effect magnitude/5) + Penetration bonus. The talisman (or magus) may make use of sympathetic and arcane connections along with the talismans' penetration ability.

Team Effort

Whenever either person undertakes a task they may ask the other to aid them – even if they are not present. If the other person agrees, they lose awareness of their surroundings and 'join' their partner. They may then add their relevant characteristic with the others' – though they also suffer the results as well. For example joining strength to lift a heavy load would cause fatigue in both people.

Teleport to partner, or call them to you (if they are unconscious)

Free Bond Qualities

You always know the direction and distance to your partner. You always have a vague idea of their strongest emotion.

Borrowed craft
If the talisman is present, it may use its craft ability instead of the magus' for a lab activity.

Convert Quality

A quality of the talisman is permanently converted into a shared bond quality, but it will be lost when the bond is broken. This can be taken multiple times.

Convert Virtue

With SG approval, a virtue of the magus or talisman is permanently converted into a shared bond virtue, but will be lost when the bond is broken. This can be taken multiple times.

Grant Intelligence

Changes the talismans cunning into intelligence.

Improve faculties

Improve the talismans mental characteristics (Int, Per, Com) up to 0.

Joint body
The talisman does not count towards group limits when the magus is the leader.

Shared Vitality

The very close bond between magus and LT means the magus gets to add the LTs Might/5 to any ageing and wound recovery rolls. This adds to other bonus' such as Living Conditions. This quality is incompatible with the major version and will be replaced by it.

Suppress Flaw

If the SG agrees, any flaw which affects the magus or talisman may be suppressed while the bond is active. This is where the magical nature of the magus/talisman is temporarily correcting the specified flaw. This can be taken multiple times.

Suppress Inferiority

If the SG agrees, any inferiority which affects the magus or talisman may be suppressed while the bond is active. This is where the magical nature of the magus/talisman is temporarily correcting the specified inferiority. This can be taken multiple times.

Free Bond Inferiorities

Impossible Longevity Ritual

Due to the non-hermetic nature of the bond it is impossible to separate the magus and talisman. This makes a hermetic longevity ritual impossible.

Suppress Quality

SG imposed - any quality which affects the magus or talisman may be suppressed while the bond is active. This can be taken multiple times.

Suppress Virtue

SG imposed - any virtue which affects the magus or talisman may be suppressed while the bond is active. This is where the magical nature of the magus/talisman is temporarily overriding the specified virtue. This can be taken multiple times.

True Friend/Love

As ArM5 p59

Minor Bond Inferiorities

Hunger for xxxxxxx

Both Talisman and magus gain an overpowering hunger for a specific food type, they must eat it at least once a day or suffer from deprivation

Incompetent Lab Assistant

The LT is very bad at lab work, it only provides half (rounded down) the usual bonuses when assisting in the lab.

Inflexible perfection

The “perfectness” of the talisman influences the magus and makes it harder for them to learn new skills. Reduce all study-totals by Talisman’s Might/5.

Lost Humanity

Both the Talisman and the Magus gain the essential personality trait “Uncaring +4”, the suffering of others does not concern them. They can walk past a burning orphanage without a care.

Random Rage

Once or twice a season the Magus or Talisman will fly into a towering rage. They will smash furniture, scream at the sky and attack anyone nearby. When the rage has passed they have no recollection of what they did.

Reduced Longevity

The LTs Might/5 is taken away from any longevity bonus. This can reduce the bonus to 0.

Shared Minor Flaw

Both Talisman and Magus suffer from the specified flaw. This may be taken more than once.

Shared Minor Inferiority

Both Talisman and Magus suffer from the specified inferiority. This may be taken more than once.

Shared Pain

When one or the other is in pain, the other can feel it as if it is their own. They must make an Int + personality trait roll greater than the level of the pain to break free of it. The SG can call for occasional rolls during prolonged pain to stop the character succumbing again.

Shared Personality Traits

Both Talisman and Magus gain the others personality traits. If two traits oppose each other, one is randomly used when applicable.

Shared Wounds (minor)

When one of the two is injured, a weaker version of the same wound appears on the other. Light wounds don’t have any effect. This does not apply to wounds worsening. For example, a magus gains a medium wound on his arm, the LT gains a light wound on its arm in the same place

Suppress Minor Quality

A minor quality of the talisman is suppressed while the bond is active. The magic of the bond is overriding the quality.

Suppress Minor Virtue

A minor virtue of the talisman or magus is suppressed while the bond is active. The magic of the bond is overriding the virtue.

Weak Mental Barriers

When the magus uses a magical power or effect in the talisman, a simple die is rolled. If the rolled number is 8 or 9, the magus and the talisman switch minds for a diameter. If the roll is 0, they switch for Duration: Sun.

Major Bond Inferiorities

Hunger for xxxxxxx

As the minor version of this inferiority, except that the food they need is something others would find repulsive. e.g. Human waste, human flesh, raw animal meat, spoiled vegetables etc. If others find out about this hunger it will cause many problems for the magus and talisman.

I need your touch

If the magus or talisman are physically separated for more than a month they suffer deprivation for each additional week they are apart.

Incompetent Lab Assistant

The LT becomes unable to conduct lab work, it can only provide menial services when assisting in the lab. i.e. Only a bonus to safety rating.

Inflexible perfection

The “perfectness” of the talisman influences the magus and makes it harder for them to learn new skills. Reduce all study-totals by Talisman’s Might/2.

Painful Powers

Every time any enchanted effect is used, it causes the Talisman pain. The greater the effect, the more pain it suffers. Every 5 magnitudes of effect causes 1 fatigue worth of pain. (See the Hermetic Flaw Painful Magic, ArM5 p57 for more details)

Reduced Longevity

The LTs Might/2 is taken away from any longevity bonus. This can reduce the bonus to below 0, creating a penalty. This replaces the minor quality.

Separate Magic

Because of a flaw in the bonding process, the Magus must be touching the Talisman to make use of any Talisman Attunements in spell-casting.

Shared Major Flaw

Both Talisman and Magus suffer from the specified flaw. This may be taken more than once.

Shared Major Inferiority

Both Talisman and Magus suffer from the specified inferiority. This may be taken more than once.

Shared Wounds (major)

When one of the two is injured, the exact same wound appears on the other. The only exception to this is lethal wounds, the partner gains an incapacitating wound instead. This does not apply to wounds worsening. For example, a magus gains a medium wound on his arm, the LT gains a medium wound on its arm in the same place.

Suppress Major Quality

A major quality of the talisman is suppressed while the bond is active. The magic of the bond is overriding the quality.

Suppress Major Virtue

A major virtue of the talisman or magus is suppressed while the bond is active. The magic of the bond is overriding the virtue.

Two hearts beat as one

If either the magus or talisman die, the other dies too.

Binding Procedure

The following processes must be completed in order, if a process does not need to be completed, it can be skipped. Some processes takes a whole season, others can be carried out at the same time. If this is so, it mentions it in the description. If the season of work is interrupted, or the two are parted for any length of time, the season is lost. The processes do not have to be continuous, each process is a discrete action, and there can be gaps of seasons or even years between them.

Process 1 2 3 4 5
Mundane item Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Enchanted Device Yes Yes Yes Yes
Living Being Yes Yes Yes Yes
Magical Being Yes optional Yes Yes
Former Living Talisman optional optional Yes Yes

1) Opening

The magus covers the outer surface of the object in verditius runes. If the object is inanimate these can be carved/engraved, if it is alive they must be tattooed on. Elder Runes may also be inscribed/carved or tattooed onto the object. During this process the object is opened for enchantment using the size & material table. The object can be opened as a composite item to enable more vis to be invested. For the tattoos on a living object, gemstones and other materials can be ground up and used as ink, to give larger vis capacity. An object only needs to be opened once, regardless of how many times it is bound as an LT. If an object has Might, it may be “opened” again to gain increased its Might.

2) Gift of Life

This can be carried out at the same time as “Awaken as a Magical Being”.

If the object is not alive already, the magus binds the object to his life force by ritually exchanging flesh with it – each week the magus does a short ceremony which culminates in them both ritually consuming a part of the other. A light wound is cut on the magus and the object is pushed deep into it and ground against the bloody flesh, whilst a small sliver is cut from the object and eaten by the magus. The magus’ wounds heal as normal, but the nature of the wounds and the number impose significant penalties to the magus. He is unable to do most types of activities during this season. This process forges a 10 Year duration Arcane Connection between the two.

3) Awaken as a Magical Being

This can be carried out at the same time as “Gift of Life”.

If the object was opened for enchantment, over a season, the magus crafts an enchanted effect to grant powers to the object. If it is already a magical being, it may undergo this process to improve its Might score. If the object is alive it can negotiate with the magus as to what Magical Qualities and Inferiorities it wants. The eventual Magic Might of the being will be half the amount of unused vis space in the object, rounded up. The effect to be enchanted is “Awaken, my Creation”, a minimum lvl 50 effect based on proposed Might Score. A magical being will keep all existing Inferiorities and Qualities, the magus can only add new ones with the increased Might.

At the end of the enchantment ritual the object is encased in a shell of magic as the ceremonies and internal vis combine to transform it into a Magical Object and bringing it to life if necessary. During this transformation it loses all general flaws and gains local language and Latin scores equal to the magus. It does not gain any other abilities, it is a new-born thing. It also gains a personality trait of Hubris at the same score as the magus. The outer appearance of the object becomes more perfect and fundamental to its purpose gaining or losing a single point in its highest physical characteristic (Pre, Str, Dex or Qui). The verditius runes sink deep inside it and any flaws or wounds heal without a trace. The only exception to this are Elder Runes which appear to be a natural feature of the object but are still recognisable. Although it is now alive and aware - if it does not have the capacity to move or speak these enchantments must be instilled into it.

The Objects Magic Might increases to one half the unused vis space in the object, rounded up. Normal Qualities and Inferiorities are gained by the object according to its function (the person playing the magical being chooses these with SG having final say.). If not present, the virtue Magical animal/human/spirit/thing is gained as is an appropriate social status. Due to the nature of the magical rituals the object gains the Major Magical Inferiority Acclimation Prone for free.

It is during this process that the magus will gain the flaw “Fragile Constitution” if the object was inanimate - part of his health has been permanently transferred to give the object life.

4) Two become one

To gain an understanding of the each others mind the magus and object must trade lives for the season. The magus casts the seasonal ritual “Exchange of the two Minds” which uses 11 pawns of Rego Mentem vis. It switches the minds of the magus and the object for a season.

5) Forging the bond

The magus spends the final season in his lab preparing the object for the effect which will link them together – during the instilling of this effect, his gift and life are linked to the object and the Living Talisman Bond is formed. The final ritual is a little different from the usual one to bind magic into an enchanted device, this ritual can consume extra vis, the more the better, since the vis is used to purchase additional bond qualities. Normal vis usage limits have to be followed, but Elder Runes and a relevant craft ability can raise this limit. Creo and Vim vis are always relevant; corpus, herbam, animal or terram vis can be used depending on what the object is made from. Existing enchanted devices can be used as a vis source, but only if they were entirely worked on by the magus.

Then, at the end of the season the magus casts the ritual to enchant the non-hermetic effect “We are One” into the talisman which ties his gift and life-force to the object and attunes it as his Talisman. After this enchanting is completed the magus makes an ageing roll – regardless of the roll the magus suffers an additional ageing crisis. (This will cancel any existing Longevity Ritual) The magus gains one of the major flaws: “Unstructured Caster”, “Rigid Magic” or “Weak Spontaneous Magic” as the part of his gift is permanently sacrificed to join the two together.

If the magus already has a talisman it is destroyed during this process. During the transformation ritual, vis from the original talisman can be used to purchase bond qualities instead of spending raw vis (this includes both vis used to open the device and vis used for enchantments). Any unused vis is lost in the transfer. The object gains the mandatory bond qualities and inferiorities, plus any imposed by the SG for free. The Magus and Talisman gain (Might/2 + vis/5 + Inferiorities) points to spend on Bond Qualities.

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Example - Brutus and his wife

Brutus and his wife Marguerite decide that this path is for them. It will bring them closer spiritually and will give her the protection she really needs (not to mention the power she would wield). Marguerite is interested in accumulating mundane power and connections. She is also devoted to her husband and family. Her magical nature reflects these traits.

Season 1

Brutus uses ink to put tattoos all over Marguerite's body. The ink is composed of three ground up gemstones selected to closely match her skin colour. The process takes an entire season and covers her head to toe. As the ink cannot adapt to her changing skin tones the tattoos visibly set her apart from a normal person. He also opens her as a composite magic item, using his Elder Runes virtue he can use his Magic Theory (12) and Philosophae (6) scores to invest 72 pawns of vim vis into her.

Season 2

Brutus and Marguerite retreat to the lab. He spends many days designing her magic powers and qualities, preparing her for the enchantment ritual which will awaken her as a magical being. Marguerite will have experience points of (720/2 = 360), which has been split between a Magic Might of 20 (corpus) and magical qualities. The “Awaken, my Creation” effect needs to be base 50, +1 magnitudes (Might 11-20) = level 55. As awakening a human was a regular occurrence, Brutus already has a lab-text for this.

Brutus finishes designing the ritual to fill Marguerite with power, he invests the lvl 55 effect into her and collapses to the floor. Magic powers wrap around Marguerite and begin the process to transform her into a mystical being. The cocoon of magical energies encases her for 12 hours while her flesh permanently tans and her hair becomes a more vivid shade. The tattoos fade under her skin and any wounds heal leaving her perfect and unblemished. None of her mental characteristics were below 0, but she now has improved presence to +4 due to her supernatural looking beauty. She loses the general flaws “Ability Block: Domestic” and “Town Dweller” during the process but gains the personality trait Hubris 2. When the cocoon fades she awakens as a new Magical Human with Magic Might 20 (corpus). She gains the virtue “Transformed Human” and the following qualities: Fatigue Mastery, 2 * Focus Power, Ritual Power; 20 * Improved Might, 3 * Personal Power, 2 * Improved Soak, minor virtue (improved characteristics used to increase her stamina from 0 to +2); Susceptible to Deprivation; Acclimation Prone.


Ears of the Hound

1 points, init -2

Marguerites hearing becomes very acute, she can hear whispers spoken several paces away. In game terms, she receives +9 to listen rolls.

Personal Power, InIm 20, base 3, +2 Sun, +3 Hearing; -1 cost

I am not here

1 points, init -2

Marguerite becomes invisible to all 5 senses.

Personal Power PeIm 20; base 10, +1 Conc, +1 Changing image; -1 cost

Eyes of the Bat

3 points, init -3

Marguerite can walk in complete darkness as per ArM5 p127

Personal Power InAu 25, base 4, +2 Sun, +3 Hearing

Crafter of Corpus

Variable 1-5 points, init -5

Marguerite can cast any healing related CrCo spell up-to level 25 at a cost of 1 point per 5 levels. She uses this effect to soothe pain and assist wound recovery.

Focus Power 25

Master of Mentem

Variable 1-5 points, init -5

Marguerite can cast any PeMe spell up-to level 25 at a cost of 1 point per 5 levels. She uses this effect to reduce emotions and remove memories.

Focus Power 25


5 points, init -10

Marguerite becomes fertile for a year and may naturally become pregnant. The child is a normal human child though it may have supernatural virtues due to its mother, physical characteristics are inherited from both parents as usual. During the pregnancy the child is at risk of being affected if Marguerite consumes vis.

Ritual effect, no hermetic equivalent.

Season 3

Brutus and Marguerite use 11 pawns of Rego Mentem vis to cast the lvl 55 “Exchange of the Two Minds” ritual which switches their minds. They each try to live the life of the other – sometimes to disastrous effect. By the end of the season, no-matter which name is mentioned they both look toward the questioner and attempt to answer.

Season 4

Brutus and Marguerite again spend most of the season in the lab. He spends his time fasting and preparing for the final phase. He infuses her with magic and bends it to his will. On the final day Brutus conducts the ritual to enchant her with the lvl 55 effect “We are One” (Base 50, +5 for (11-20 Might)) which will bind them together as magus and Living Talisman. He sacrifices his existing talisman which was opened for 75 pawns and has 5 pawns of effects.

He has Elder Runes, so the maximum vis he can use is Philosophae (6) * Magic Theory (12) = 72

He uses 6 pawns on the enchanting process, so he can transfer up-to 66 pawns from his previous talisman.

Magic burns through them both binding them spiritually and magically together as one. During the binding process her inferiority Acclimation Prone becomes suppressed as she is supported by Brutus' gift and Brutus gains the Major Hermetic Flaw “Unstructured Caster”. They gain (4 + (vis/5 = 14) = 18) points to spend on bond qualities and inferiorities.

Gain Mandatory Bond Qualities

Awareness, Shared Vitality, Suppress Inferiority (Acclimation Prone)

Gain Mandatory Bond Inferiorities

Impossible Longevity Ritual. (They already possess the True Love virtue)

Gain optional Major Bond Qualities

Ritual Effects

Gain optional Minor Bond Qualities

Careful eye, Reduced Warping, Shared Location, Shared Mind, Shared Minor Virtue, Shared Soak, Shared Vitality, Talisman Powered Magic

Gain optional Free Bond Qualities

Joint body, Convert Virtue (Inventive Genius), Suppress Flaw (Susceptibility to Faerie Power)

Gain optional Free Bond Inferiorities


Gain optional Minor Bond Inferiorities

Shared Personality Traits, Shared Minor Flaw (Deficient Corpus), Hunger for Meat, Shared Minor Flaw (Strong Body Rhythm)

Gain optional Major Bond Inferiorities


Brutus has expended 93 pawns of vis, his original talisman, 1 year of his time and gained the flaw “Unstructured Caster”. He did not gain the flaw “Fragile Constitution” because Marguerite was already alive.

After a few seasons, Brutus decides to invest some effects. He invests a sight range effect to discern motivations with 0 penetration - due to the shared location either can cast this on anyone the other can see.

Effects Enchanted into Marguerite

Sight of the Transparent Motive

InMe 30

R:Sight, D:Momentary, T:Individual

As ArM5 p148

Base 5, +3 Sight; +10 unlimited uses

Thoughts Within Babble

InMe 35

R:Pers, D:Conc, T:Hearing; Concurrent

As ArM5 p149

Base 5, +1 Conc, +3 Hearing, +1 Concurrent; +5 24 uses per day

Incantation of the Body Made Whole

CrCo 36, Ritual

R:Pers, D:Mom, T:Ind; 2 uses per day

As ArM5 p129

Base 35, +1 uses

My Touch Heals You

CrCo 27, Ritual

R:Personal, D:Mom, T:Ind

As Incantation of the body made whole, ArM5 p129, but heals both people, but they have to be touching

Base 35; +1 level uses, +1 level Touching; -25% Condition: Touching

Example - Mal Hadwin and his Staff

Mal Hadwin is a Verditius who wants to have a wooden staff as a Living Talisman

Season 1

He does not possess Elder Runes, his Magic Theory is 8, so he can open the wooden staff for 16 pawns of vis. He covers the staff in Verditius Runes.

Season 2

He attunes the staff as his talisman, due to his art scores it now has a vis capacity of 31

Season 3

He invests another 15 pawns of vis into his talisman, making a total of 310 levels of space.

Season 4

He spends the season with his staff, each week he cuts himself with a knife and spreads the blood over the staff. He slices a small piece of the wood off the staff and eats it. The next week he has a -1 to all activities, but he keeps on going. He undergoes the ritual again, gaining another wound. He rolls for recovery of his first wound and it remains stable. He enters the 3rd week with a -2 penalty to all activities. At the end of the 3rd week he undergoes the ritual again, gaining a 3rd wound, but his first wound improves and his 2nd wound remains stable. All through the season he gains wounds and they heal – at one point he has 4 open wounds, luckily for him, none of his wounds worsen.

He instils “Awaken, my Creation” lvl 55 into the item, base 50, +1 magnitude for 200 levels.

During this season he designs the enchantment to awaken his staff as a Magical Being. His item has 310 free levels of space, so the Magic Being will gain 155 Transformation points.

He chooses to give the staff:

Magic Might: 10

Characteristics: Int -2, Per 1, Com 1, Per 0, Str +1, Sta +2, Dex +1, Qui +2

Size: -2

Virtues and Flaws: Magic Thing

Magical Qualities & Inferiorities: Gift of Speech, Improved Attack, 10 * Improved Might, Improved Soak, Lesser Power, 2 * Personal Power

Personality Traits: Essential Trait – Staff 3, Sarcastic 3, Brave 2


Human Shape

1 point, Init -2 Corpus

R:Personal, D:Sun, T:Ind

The staff transforms into a normal human shape.

MuHe 20 (Base 10, +2 Sun)

Personal Power: 20 levels, -1 point cost

Hands of the Magical Staff

0 points, init -2 Terram

R:Touch, D:Sun, T:Ind

This allows the staff to lift and manipulate items as if by a person of Strength +5. The staff must concentrate to do anything other than carry the object, including dropping it or taking something else.

ReTe 15 (Base 3, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 Constant

Personal Power: 15 levels, -2 point cost.

Grant Puissance in Brawl

3 points, init -8, Corpus

R:Voice, D:Sun, T:Group

For every Might point invested, ten men can be given +1 to all brawl rolls. Or 1 man can gain +3 to brawl. Might points spent on this power cannot be regained until the effect ends.

Muto Corpus 20, Base 2, +2 Voice, +2Sun, +2 Group

Lesser Power: 20 levels, -1 point cost

Season 5

The staff was awakened as a sarcastic magical being called “George”, it sometimes transformed itself into a human, it sometimes levitated itself using it’s “Hands of the Magical Staff” power. Mal and George cast the “Exchange of Minds” ritual lvl 40 and they exchange bodies for a season. George decides to go travelling, and takes Mal with him. They spend the season travelling the local roads and inns.

Season 6

They spend the next season, in their own bodies, preparing for the final act. George assists in enchanting the lvl 50 effect “We are One” into himself. Mal sacrifices 1 greater enchanted devices totalling 10 pawns of vis. The bond is formed with (4 + 2 = 6) bond points.

Gain optional Minor Bond Qualities

Improved Magical Capacity, Reduced Warping, Shared Magic Resistance

Gain Free Bond Qualities

Awareness, Joint body, Shared Vitality, Suppress Inferiority (Acclimation Prone)

Gain Free Bond Inferiorities

Impossible Longevity Ritual, True Friend

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Honestly I don't like it. It seems like an overly complicated variation on binding spirit familiars rooted in a history which doesn't fit in the history of the order.

I tried reading it but only got about halfway through the first post before I realized just how long it was. I will need to find enough free time to read all the way through and form an opinion I can give you. This is just to let you know that I will be working through it.

I can't remember which books I read when I came up with this idea. I might have included some parts of Spirit Binding (TMRE: P66). I was definitely reading ROP:M.

I know it doesn't fit in with the current history, my idea back then was that it was something that had been lost in the ages. Characters stumble across a creature or device and over time (and lots of adventures) they piece together the lost knowledge.

I like the concept of a mystery to make a living being into a talisman (or a talisman into an intelligent item). If it stuck to that concept, it would have been good. As a base point, it could have looked like this:
A) Make a talisman intelligent, and open up a few options in that regards such as granting magic thing virtues;
B) Allow the inscription on the soul mystery to apply on another human being, that someone else becoming an actual talisman.

A good mystery would have been one or the other, and probably shouldn't apply indiscriminately to a human, an object or an animal. Though to say that a variant of the mystery turning a familiar into a talisman that would turn the talisman into a familiar would be fine to me.

The second comment is again on the scope of that mystery. Merging talisman and familiar into a single thing might make sense for a mystery virtue, it didn't need to also dwell into replacing the longevity ritual.

The third comment is about game balance which I feel was intended to be thrown out the the virtue. A few examples of how that game balance seems to be broken in my eyes:

  • Aging: First, the mystery gets rid of the warping side effect of the longevity ritual. This warping was the balancing factor that meant that, yes, a magus could live very long, but the longer he extended his life (and the younger he started), the more he needed to actually stop using his magic because the next twilight he got might be the last one. Incidentally, the base protection from aging in longevity ritual was tied to the lab total of the magus, which meant that has he aged, if he wished to remain protected, he would need to devote an increasingly higher percentage of his time to boosting the longevity ritual lab total and eventually his lab total would increase slower than his aging penalty would, due to the difficulty of forever increasing your xp intake in creo corpus and magic theory beyond a certain point. Here, it seems to be tied to the magic might of the familiar/talisman/longevity ritual in such a way that the magus could probably increase the magic might of the creature through magic qualities faster with age (higher lab total = more xp for the creature), which if I'm correct, could mean that the magus would actually be less vulnerable to aging as he got older, if he kept increasing the might of his partner creature/talisman/everything.
    *Another of the feature that fundamentally balanced the familiar was the Might to size restriction on lab total. This is inverted here because Larger = more vis space to open up = more XP/Might that can be obtained from converting unused enchantment space that was opened up.
    *Some of the bond qualities seem broken to me:
  1. Reduced Warping: It's not clear whether what is lost to reduce warping is might score or temporary might points (the major version hints the former, the lesser version the later). Might points would be entirely inbalance, as it would make gaining warping points as inconveniencing as losing temporary fatigue.
  2. Ritual effects: If memory serves, enchanting with ritual powers would be a major breakthrough for hermetic integration, and is probably worthy alone of being a mystery virtue. That this is seen as just a side feature of the mystery is not at all inline with the game design.
  3. Linked Life: So... my familiar or myself are basically invulnerable so long as we're not together and the enemy can't teleport at arcane range connection through an aegis? Sure...
  4. Shared Magic: Is this for real? "The talisman can wield the magic of the magus" So an animate familiar will use the magus's wide array of spells at a distance with a single enchantment?
  5. The shared virtues / qualities series: This essentially lets the magus, together with the ability to grant XP through vis that let the talisman evolve magic qualities, self-initiate into almost all virtues of the game by spending vis in the security of his lab and without the need for a pesky mystery cult lore or needing to find someone to lead the initiation;
  6. Shared learning: Combined with Linked Life and Shared Magic, lets the magus gain adventure XP instead of exposure XP while his familiar adventures for him with his full spell compendium, while the magus is performing lab research, and btw, the familiar can't die a permanent death probably, and we've already established that warping won't kill the mage either. Sure. That's balanced.

In a few words, while the concept itself isn't too bad, the actual game mechanics don't work at all, in my humble opinion. If you trimmed the scope by half, got rid of the longevity ritual replacement. and avoided the multiple game balance breaking mechanics I've pointed out, this might be a fine mystery virtue, but I would need to look at it again once it's been completely rewritten.

Just my two cents. I hope you don't take this as too highly critical, but there's a lot to consider in drafting up a new mystery virtue for it to fit with other mysteries in the book. It is anything but easy. I've been trying to draft a new one for weeks now and I'm still not satisfied that it is balanced yet interesting enough to present to my GM :D.

Hi, sorry about getting back to this so late.
Many thanks for your comments, I will try to explain some of my reasoning behind things.

But there aren't many magi who can pull off a Lab Total of 140.
But I agree that the empty space is too big.


Living Talisman Open Enchantment slots

(Talisman Might Score + Magus Hubris + Talisman Hubris + Magus Highest Technique + Magus Highest Form)
Let's just limit this to the talismans Might.

Looking back over it, " 5) Forging the bond" doesn't quite match the description of the effect.
"The Magus and Talisman gain (Might/2 + vis/5 + Inferiorities) points to spend on Bond Qualities." is too big. We should just leave it as the base 4 points given in the "We Are One" description.

Yes, the magus can enchant more effects into the LT if the LT has a high might. If we take an extreme example of a Might 50 dragon. The magus would need a lvl 70 We Are One effect (+4 magnitudes for extra 40 Might). This has to be enchanted in a single season. It gives 40 pawns worth of space for enchantments and improvements.

Aging and Warping
Let's remove the major versions of these qualities, then relabel the minor as major.
The might lost from reduced warping is Might Score, not Might Points. The Might is permanently lowered.

Ritual Effects:
There are many magical beings which have powers with Ritual Effects. This was to allow the LT to do something like this at the cost of Might Score. Just a lab-style method of giving Ritual Type powers.

Linked Life.
Then the magus, as a wondering soul needs to somehow take over someone's body or craft a new one. It opens up lots of new story ideas. Of course, if the magus dies because a demon steals his soul this effect won't work.

Shared magic
Didn't quite think this one through. It sounded nice at first, but the talisman casting magic from the gift is a bit too much.
The other part of the quality is OK though.

I like the new Virtue, Magical Adaptation.

As for Living Talisman, I think it should be an adaptation of Inscription of the Soul, with you embedding minerals or making precise scars in a person to get additional Shape and Material bonuses. Granting Magical Might and allowing selections from Qualities and Inferiorites just seems to be too much. As others mention, what you've written drastically changes the magus and many of the underlying mechanics. I'd also want the Mystery to be available to non-Verditius.

If the Living Talisman can serve as a lab assistant, this could get quite powerful. An extra +10 (or more!) to lab totals makes a huge difference. Even if the LT can't do that, it can still learn, and become competent at whatever. The magus can create Personal Range buff spells that would affect both him and the LT, if they were touching.

If the magus had a PeCo spell, with touch range, could he invoke it, and have the LT touch the foe? This would be a considerable expansion of power. Note especially that the Verditius Automata mystery explicitly forbids effects in the Automata beyond Personal range, so you can't make a magical drone to do remote strikes with that Mystery.

As for the longevity of the LT, my version would have a requirement for longevity rituals. The LT would be considered to have a supernatural virtue, so gets the more favorable reduction. The LT would survive the death of the creating magus, but would need to be found by an experienced magus to continue the rituals. This is the trade off for having a sentient, who can improve (by normal learning) without the magus spending time on further enchantments.

What sort of free will does the LT have? There's some interesting stories there. I'd also try to work the mechanics so it's not just a 2nd familiar.

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It seems to me that a living Talisman is very similar to a familiar, and should probably replace or supplement a familiar bond (i.e. the living talisman must be a familiar)

It is. A magus with an LT cannot have a familiar.

Rethinking it, I'm not sure if Magic Adaption should be a major. Gaining warping from non-designed spells is a major source of warping for magi (or something that makes them think twice about their actions).
Removing this opens up lots of possibilities (inheriting talismans etc.). So maybe it should be a major. Just because it can be considered to "break" hermetic magic.

Let me have a look at IotS. Maybe I can borrow some of that stuff to make this less overpowered and bring it more inline with established stuff.

The LT can assist in the lab, but they work as a normal lab assistant. Contributing their Intelligence and Magic Theory.
The +10 is only on adding more effects into the LT itself.

Could always change it to higher of +10 or (Int + MT) for enchanting new effects

In theory, yes. But this means that the LT has to be in this dangerous place. A LT is a massive investment in time, vis and permanent flaws. Not something that you really want to send out to do assassinations.

As it stands, the LT has Might. Are you suggesting an inferiority that causes it to age? I can agree with that. Instead of a normal LR, how about enchanting an LR type effect into the open space of the Talisman.
As the LT gets older it needs extra enchantments as the existing bonus isn't enough. Therefore any magus with the lab-text could do the enchantment for it.

Magic Adaption: It does help with the stat gain rituals. It's nice that very powerful buffs can now be given to another safely. Hm. While it does help with taking an attack spell, if a 6th magnitude spell overcomes your Magic Resistance, an extra point of warping is the least of your problems. It's defensive, only usable in response, while a major virtue should be able to be used proactively.

I'm trying to build a LT, and the rules are convoluted. So you take 1/3 of size, add 5 and multiply by 6 to find the opening cost. Ok, I'm going use a Giant-Blooded Human as the target. That's .66, rounded to 1, = 36 pawns.

My magus has Int 3, MT of 8, Cr, Re, Co and Me of 20, Craft Tattoo of 4, Philosphae of 6, and Verditius Elder Runes. His lab has an Aura of 3. He has a bright Apprentice, with Inventive Genius, giving him a total of +8 to the rolls. The lab has some improvements, giving him an additional 3 to any lab total.

He spends 32 pawns (36 less 4 for his Craft Tattoo), The next season, uses the Awaken creation. That's a LT of (3 + 8 + 3 + 20X2 + 20X2 + 4 [Craft] +8 [S&M + Veriditius Runes] +3 Lab +8 Apprentice) = 119. Toss in Early Riser for another +1, with a lab total of 120. He goes for a level 80 effect, taking two seasons. The base for the effect is raised by 10, since he used two Elder runes in the creation, but he adds 4 magnitudes, giving 200 + 4*200 level = 1,000. What do these 1,000 levels allow me to do?

I tried to keep going, and made a ritual that granted 9 bond points. (base, plus an Improve the Bond). I'm not sure how to follow your example. Your example of enchanting a person has them giving 72 pawns of vis. This become 360 "experience points" which grants a Magic Might of 20 and magical qualities. How big is the total pool? How did 360 XP become a magical might of 20? Why am spending points on qualities/inferiorities now, when I get them at We are One/Improve Bond stage?

I understand what's going on here. The Living Talisman is better than either a talisman or a familiar and has qualities of both. You see it as requiring an immense sacrifice on the part of the magus to empower it, thus requiring some of the most limiting Flaws in the game.

But the mechanics and formulae must be very clear to understand. I can't see clearly what the new aging modifier is.

I really don't like LT gaining Magical Might. You are setting up a system where you must decide between having more powers or more Might, that really goes against the magical creature rules, where more Might = more powers. Because using powers costs Might, you are making characters harder to design, or forcing every power to be bought without Might cost, making them weaker.

All of the other Mystery Paths that grant a magus Might don't grant powers. They simply make the new magical being more resistant to casting. I'm ok with something akin to the familiar bond, which can be enchanted or simply more effects in the talisman. You are granting powers and allowing effects to be enchanted.

I've made it clear I don't like Might in this case.. A familiar has Might, but lives as long as you do. Since you wanted the idea of a transferable LT, I wanted to put a disadvantage. Sure you can have this century-old associate, but now you need to take care of its aging. I also didn't like the idea that the ritual made the LT immortal and invalidated the Longevity Ritual of the magus, this was my suggestion.

base Awaken can awaken an object of 200 levels (20 pawns). Each extra magnitude opens another 200 levels. You opened your Giant Blooded person for 36 pawns (360 levels) so your Awaken needs to be level 55 (50 +1). Add 2 Elder Runes to get a total of 65.

The object has a total space of 360, half of this is 180 which can be used to buy Might and magical qualities. It doesn't mention that this is divided by 10 to get the points...

So, you can buy 18 points of qualities (or more if you add inferiorities) for your new magical creature.

When Brutus opened Marguerite he added extra gems to her to make her hold more space. So she had 720 levels of space, which allowed her to spend (720/2 = 360, 360/10 = 36) 36 points of qualities. She spent 20 points to buy twenty lots of improved might

These are the qualities that the magical being will have. It is nothing to do with the bond, all of these are bought using the normal rules.

Frankly it looks like you are cramming too much into a single mystery initiation, and rehashing ground that doesn't need to be rehashed. I would simply reject the concept even if this were official material...

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