New Virtue: Merged Forms

The discussion about having fewer Arts sparked an idea for a new Hermetic Virtue.

Merged Forms (Hermetic, Major): Two of your Forms are merged together in a single score. These Forms should be linked together by a single concept.

Some examples are a Corpus+Mentem (necromancer concept), Animal+Herbam (Nature Mage concept), or Aquam+Auram (Weather Mage concept).

Does this seem unbalanced? It is a bit more focused than Elementalist or Secondary Arts, but also quite a bit more powerful.

The xp saving alone is significant.
Two Arts for the cost of one , as a Major Virtue , is not at all balanced with any other major virtue.
Combined with an affinity for both arts and a possible minor magical focus (as you can only have one major hermetic virtue).

How do you handle Tech/Form combinations with the two merged Forms if you use them outside the concept?

As is yes it is unbalanced, but you might be able to tweak it a bit.

First I would say that it counts as a magical focus and therefore you can't have a merged art and a minor focus. Though it doesn't provide any of the normal benefits of a magical focus.

Second I would build a couple of disadvantages into the virtue to compensate for the huge advantages it provides. Like some sort of deficiency in using the merged art outside the confines of the unifying concept. IE a weather mage wouldn't be very good at creating olive oil or sulfer fumes. Also a built in incomprehensible flaw linked specifically with the merged form would make sense. Sorry but no one else knows what your talking about when you discuss the "Weather" form.

Furthermore I would require a character to have a 10 in that form in order to successfully open an apprentices arts. Even then an apprentice might still end up with the normal selection of arts.

As a Major Virtue, just fine. I actually think it looks like a great concept.

Really? The biggest XP boosting Virtue is Skilled Parens, with its 60(+30), triple that is an absolute minimum of 180XP, more like 220-250 meaning that you dont actually get a clear advantage until you´re looking at 20-ish scores in the combined Art, compared to picking XP bonus Virtues.

Just some numbers to judge this by.
20 in an art is 210xp, which is enough xp to buy 14 in two arts.
40 in an art is 820xp, which is 28 in two different arts.

When your other choice is major magical focus, it comes down to techniques. As long as the technique you're using is at least 6 for a mid power saga, the magical focus lets you reach higher totals than using a combined art (for the same xp). That's only a season's study in each technique, with the right books. Of course, you get unfettered access to both arts instead of being stuck with your magical focus. If you build in a deleterious circumstance, though, I'd rather have the magical focus.

That is, until you start stacking virtues. Affinity, Puissant, Deft all become two-for-one virtues, and that's what really makes this virtue impossible to balance. You either balance it for someone taking all three and screw the guy who doesn't think like a power gamer, or you attract all the power gamers.

It's more user-friendly to just tell those people Major Magical Focus and Affinity in both necessary arts.

OTOH, as the result of a harrowing Initiation script... those initiation rules are flexible that way. Require a script total of 50 or 60 and why not? And no I don't know how you'd get a script total that high. It'd be something to do after you've explored every other way to devote yourself to your specialty.

Would it be more balanced to instead have the Virtue ignore requisite within the area covered - which in turn should mimic Magical Foci.

So, the necromancer with a Merged Forms(Necromancy (covering co+me for ghosts/corpses)) could ignore any Me req. for a Corpus spell, or vice versa. He could also have a Focus.

But exactly, what do you mean by "merged".

Do you mean you add [art1] and [art2] when in your area of specialty specified by the merged forms virtue? if yes, what about focus, what about requisites?

Do you mean you add [xp in art 1] and [xp in art 2] in a "art' 1&2 " which covers your area of specialty specified by the merged forms virtue?

Do you mean you always use [art 1] when doing a spell in your area of specialty specified by the merged forms virtue, and no taking requisites in account?

I hadn't though about any alternatives, I just read it as: "when using ´magic within your area of expertise, use the best of the forms involved". But I see it can be interpreted otherwise.
Especially when the two forms aren't just merged for everything, but only for a narrow area as a Focus.

As I understand it, the idea is that you no longer have 10 Forms, only 9. The 10th would be a merged Aq+Au (weather witch) or Co+Me (Necromancer) or Im+Me (illusionist).... You use the combined form for all effects covered by either one of the previous 2 Forms



  • that supress the "field" part since you basically merge two arts, and that was not wat was said in the initial post. If that's the case, that's clearly too unbalanced and no worth thinking about it.
  • two of the reading i have give 10 normal arts and a 11th. The 11th is the merged one, but his value is unknown.

Three solutions:
1- in the field, a 11th art is created and is always used. The score of that art is the score of one of the multiple arts normally used in this field (Corpus or Mentem in Necromantic magic, one of the four elements for Elementalists)....
2- in the field, a 11th art is created and his value is the addition of values of arts composing the field.
3- in the field , a 11th art is created and his value is based on the xps of the normal arts composing the field

For example, let's consider this magus, a necroment:

Creo 16+3
Intellego 5
Muto 10
Perdo 10
Rego 16+3
Animal 10
Aquam 0
Auram 0
Corpus 25 (with affinity)
Herbam 0
Ignem 0
Imaginem 0
Mentem 19 ( without affinity)
Terram 7
Vim 10

Does he have a 11th "necromantic" form used in all necromanting spell which worth

  • 25 (always using corpus, even if higher or lower, in any Co, Co(Me) or Me spell related to necromancy)
  • 44 (19+25)
  • 31 (515) (because 19 = 190 px and 25 = 325px = 515 total)

Affinity is already taken in account in your basic score; puissant could be used and would provide
(If you had a puissant in mentem, for example):
Corpus 25
Mentem 19 +3

  • 25 (adding but corpus remain chosen by the player has the value for "necromantic form")
  • 47 (adding)
  • 31 (no change since puissant give no xps)

For example: awakening the legion of the deads is normally a ReCo(Me) spell, level 55 (base 10 i think, +2voice, +3moon, +1requisite mentem, +2group, +1size)
For this magus it would become a ReNe 55. Ne form being Necromantic.
He pays for the requisite (in opposite to elemental magic), but use his Necromantic value.

Using solution 1

means that instead of 22 he has 25. Not especially good, but it can allow focusing on one art AND it can also help doing spells of the other art (here Mentem), with the first.

Example: Incantation of summoning the dead is ReMe 40 ritual.
For this magus it would become ReNe 40 ritual.

Since Ne is basically Corpus score, he would uses his corpus score in a mentem ritual, allowing him obviously to "disdain" the mentem art => xp saving.

However, parma magica remain based on the 10 normal arts and he would be weak against Mentem since he would have add his arts being, by realloting virtues:
Corpus: 34 (325 already + 190*1,5 = 610) +3 (the puissant which would be on Corpus rather that on mentem of course)
Mentem: 0 (190 px saved)

his "Necromantic" score would be 34+3, which is good (it basically mean +15 from his normal) but not as good as a focus. Since a "field of magic" is as broad as a focus, and since the field of magic is a major virtue, it can be ruled that it cannot be used WITH a focus.
It seems pretty bad in comparison...
If the example necromant had a focus, the rego and creo spells would have had +19 bonus.
However any spell using Muto/Intellego/ perdo would have less bonus from the focus, and in that aspect, the "merged forms" is more interested for "generalists" specialists. (Because necromant magic is not only about 2 techniques you can max out (Rego and creo like in the example), but also muto (turning weapons of the ghosts), intellego (speak with the ghost) and perdo (destroy ghosts, skeletons and zombies)

This version would seem OKAY for a major virtue. It allows a good flexibility instead of a focus (if you are not a generalist in techniques, as aren't generally speaking specialists who have a focus),
Solution 2 and 3 gives the same problem: we can try to balance them for a field using 2 arts (Necromant), but not one using 4 arts (Elementalists).
They seem pretty unbalanced if you think about an elementalist with Auram, Ignem, Aquam and Terram at 10... that would do an "'Elemental art" of 40! or 20 respectively using solution 2 and 3...

The same elementalist using solution 1 would have used (for example) Ignem as Elemental 11th art, bringing it to 220, with an affinity (and not increasing Aquam, auram and terram), which would mean an ignem 25 and thus an "Elemental" art 25.
More broad than a focus (elemental magic is really broad) and powerful.

Then I would reduce the field of specialty which can be defined by the addition of 2 forms only: necromancy (corpus + mentem), sea magic (auram + aquam), magmatic magic (ignem + terram), nature magic (animal + herbam)... I'm looking for other ideas

That was the intent. You only have 9 Forms, one of which covers twice has much as before.

The "concept" linking the two is mainly for flavour and leaves it up to the Storyguide (or Troupe) to decide if the concept makes sense in the saga. Some Forms simply don't make sense when merged together (Co+Ig? Vi with anything else?), so the player has to provide some strong reason why this would be valid.

As I stated in the initial idea, I agree that it is quite a bit more powerful than Elementalist or Secondary Arts. Basically, your score in the merged Form covers as wide a venue as a Technique does. Crunching some numbers reveals that this is the equivalent to having a 45% bonus to xp in both Forms (as opposed to the 25% bonus provided by 2 seperate Affinity virtues in those Forms). It should certainly be incompatible with the Affinity (probably Puissant as well) to avoid excessive stacking, and may count as a Focus.

Having a penalty stacked unto it would also make sense. Maybe the merged form has a weakness area, similar in width to what a Major Focus would provide, where the score is halved? So a Necromancer could have a weakness with the living humans (if merged forms are Co+Me) or beings (if merged forms are An+Co). Similarly, a Nature Mage (An+He) might have a weakness with processed things of those forms.

Just throwing ideas there. :slight_smile:

How does this compare to Grigori magic which does the same thing?

Oh you merge different forms IF they are linked by a concept. I didn't understand that, and that is way too unbalanced, and the fixes seem artificial.

I read that you link 2 forms WHEN they are used in the linking concept, which would have been balanced. ^^

Merged Forms as a Major Virtue seems balanced to me inisolation*.

Compare it with an affinity in each of the two Arts: Merged Forms effectively gives you a 100% boost in the xp of each Art, for the cost of 3 virtue points, vs. a 50% boost from the affinities, for 2 virtue points. Merged Forms is slightly more effective xp wise, but it also allows you less flexibility (you are effectively forced to keep the two arts at the same level, and Merged Forms works only on - well - Forms, which are less "valuable").

The problems may start to crop up with other virtues that modify the merged form - for example Affinity or Puissant Form, that get their value "doubled" if applied to the Merged Form - or with vis etc. Nothing that can't be managed with a little care, though.

It's not the same. With Grigori you can ignore your Terram score if you do a MuCo(Te) whereas this one replaces Terram with Corpus when you do a MuTe, much more powerful.

Except for MuCo(Au) and MuCo(Aq), I can't even find a use for Grigori magic.

That was pretty much my thinking as well. Puissant i could simply give 1 lower in bonus(still useful enough to consider, but not superpowered and not totally nerfed), and you could make an Affinity give a 25% or 33% bonus instead of 50%.

Yeah sure its not a weak Virtue to have, but its restricted to affecting 2 out of 10 Forms, and the gain still requires XP to be used, unlike a Focus which is an essentially a "free" bonus boost in an area of roughly similar extent.

"merged". Co and Me Forms in your example are MERGED into a SINGLE Form. 9 Forms total.
The result is effectively your #3, that XP gain is joined which is the main bonus from this, that you can effectively get a higher score for 2 Forms. Another effect is that requisite Art scores between the merged forms become irrelevant.

Based on what exactly? The big effect from this is that you can effectively boost 2 Forms at the cost of 1.
A Minor Virtue already gives you HALF of that at 1/3 of the Virtue cost.
Flawless magic will still give you a greater XP boost if you play towards that. LLSM will still give you a faaar superior flexibility. And if you do the maxed out exploits of Secondary Insight/Elemental Magic, even those might still give more of a raw power boost than this.
And a Focus, if chosen well and used properly WILL give you a bigger power boost. Most of the time it will give you a MUCH bigger power boost.

Consider, Te1, Fo1, Fo2 Score 20 each plus a Focus(a major can cover the relevant parts of 2 Forms, ie almost as much as the 2 forms in total), thats 630 XP and you get a casting total of 60.
Te1@20 and Merged Fo1+2@28(using 420XP from previous Fo1&Fo2) gives you a casting total of 48, but with a slightly wider application if the Focus was a Major.
Or, why not Te1@20 but with Affinity on both Fo1&Fo2 putting them at Score 24 each and instead a Minor Focus, this would give a casting total of 44 without Focus and 64 when its relevant.
Or lets say we get even more funny and NOT use a Focus at all:
Te1@20+3(Puissant) and Affinity on both Fo1&Fo2, ie @ Score 24, isnt this funny, we now get casting totals of 47...

Yes i know i simplified by just using a single Tech, but its still a perfectly valid comparison as the diminishing returns of higher scores doesnt go away.