New virtues and flaws

I'm toying around with virtues and flaws, trying to get into the "spirit of the rules" while creating my own custom virtues and flaws. I wanted to share, seek critics, and eventually work collaboratively with others to give these new ones a reasonnable shape in respect to the spirit of Ars Magica.

Feel free to add your own. :wink:

Belief Based Magic (having a hard time finding a good name for this one)
Minor/Major Hermetic Flaw

For your magic to work, it needs someone to believe into it. Unfortunately you lack the necessary self-confidence to put yourself this belief into your magic. However, there is someone, probably a true friend or true love, who believes in you more than you do and make all your magical gift possible. Should this person die, disappear or cease to believe in you, you would loose your gift and all your confidence points until you weave a similar link with another person, or until you found the strength to believe in you at last.

If this person is a PC or a powerful NPC, this flaw is minor, otherwise it is major.

Unspeakable Magic
(minor ? major ?) Hermetic Flaw

The more you try to formalize your magic, the more it escapes from you. Your Magic Theory score is substracted from all your casting totals. Your MT still adds to your laboratory totals and determines the quantity of vis you can use in a season as normal.

I don't know whether this flaw should be minor or major. Any thoughts ?

Holistic magic
Major Hermetic Virtue

You have a holistic view of magic, taking it as a whole instead as a collection of different arts. This means you are less limited than other magi when dealing with requisite arts. Adds you magic theory score to the score of all requisite arts when calculating a laboratory or casting total for an effect. So, your MT can reduce, and even ignore, the penalties imposed by requisites when creating or casting an effect.

When you study one art, either from a book or from vis, you can choose to spend half of the experience in the arts of your choice. You must always spend at least one point in this way. Furthermore, when you study from vis, half of the vis you use can be of any form or technique.

Theosophical magic
Minor Hermetic Virtue

You believe that your gift is from divine origin and that by studying magic, it is God that you learn to know. Your magic does not suffer from divine auras. Furthermore, each time you gain experience points in theology, you gain half the amount in magic theory, and vice versa.

Your theosophical take on hermetic magic makes you disturbed by faeric auras. Faeric auras scores substract from your magic totals. You also suffer twice the penalty from infernal auras.

Note : this virtue is very different from the virtue Holy Magic found in RoP:The Divine. It does not make the characters magic divine but simply denotes a state of mind and beliefs. Theosophical Magic is about the intellectual perspectives of the character and does not modify the nature of his magic or his Gift.

At the storyguide discretion, this virtue may be common in the order in the late middle ages, representing christian culture among the hermetic society. Moreover, as dominion rules and faeric powers slowly fade away, this virtue could propagate quickly as an adaptative response to a changing world.

Skilled Experimenter
Minor Hermetic Virtue

You are particularly skilled to lead arcane experimentations, and those are often more rewarding than normal. May be you are more apt than other in repairing your errors before they become too dangerous. May be you are just lucky. When you experiment, you can choose to reroll your initial experiment dice. If you choose so, you must keep the second result, even if it is worse.

Magical Hero
Minor Hermetic Virtue

Your gift is linked to your image, as telled by story-teller, ministrels, rumors and growing legends associated to your acts. You begin play with a local reputation with score 3 associated with your magic. For example, you could be known as an evil wizard in the neighboorhing villages. Alternatively you could be a well-known "miracle maker". You may have a cult of worshipper if you wish (and take the appropriate virtue or flaw).

When you cast a spell on a person who is aware of your reputation, you may add twice your reputation score to your casting total.

Inspired Writer
Minor General Virtue

You are particularly inspired when writing. You may add one to the quality or score of your books, and gain 5 additional exposure points when writing.

Prolific Writer
Minor General Virtue

When you produce a text of your own composition, you do it twice as fast as normal. Double the number of points you accumulate each season when you write a book. You may write two tractatus per season. This doesn't apply when you copy books.

Interesting and novel ideas, but a few thoughts...

  1. Holistic Magic - In order to avoid possible balance abuse, IMO, you should further specify that when one Art is studied, NO MORE than 1 point (of the number of bonus points provided) can be allocated to any one other Art.

  2. Theosophical Magic - IMO this is a Major Virtue, not minor. Magic not penalised by divine auras is in indeed an impact on the nature of the magic itself by my reckoning. That is a significant benefit to any magus. Add to that the bonus points for MT and it would be far to cheap at 1 virtue point to give this much benefit to a character.

  3. Unspeakable Magic - I am not sure I understand what you mean by "the more you try to formalise it...". Is this a penalty upon the ability to cast formulaic spells or on the ability to write lab texts, summae and tractati, or upon verbal teaching of one's magic to apprentices? Define what you intend to penalise exactly and perhaps others can decide more easily whether it should be major or minor (or might in fact be an unnecessary duplication of existing flaws).

  4. Magical Hero - I would write this as Magical Hero/Villain and make it optional as both a minor virtue or flaw depending which aspect you choose. Could also work as a Social Status Virtue/Flaw.

  5. Prolific Writer - IMO I would suggest that a minor virtue should only offer 1.5x the number of points accumulated in a season, not 2x.

Why am I reminded of Invisible Boy, from "Mystery Men"?

Most of these sound great, and that in itself is surprising- Respect for some balanced, well thought out additions. A couple are a bit open to abuse or game imbalancing, imo, tho' even then not badly so, especially with a strong SG.

Hrmmm... this seems like a huge trap. The larger your MT gets, the larger the spells you can design, but the harder to cast them? Ugh... Still, balanced, and a Bonisagus may not care. Minor Flaw.

Wow. That is... powerful. And you know that only Inventive Genius will take it. That in combination... wow. Still, not enough for a Major Virtue.

+5 exposure points from writing seems a bit much - that's huge jumps over time in languages for sitting in a room and scribbling. For me, anything that promotes hiding at the covenant and not getting outside is a "bad thing". Otoh, I'd say that the "exposure" would only be for: Languages (and it would have to already be at 4+ to do the writing), Profession (Scribe)... and not much else. Not the subject being written about- that's against the RAW, clearly. There is only so much mileage a character can get from those skills. I'd say it follows the rule of Toyota - "You asked for it, you got it." (The only abuse here would be an NPC scribe, growing to monstrous levels of Profession (Scribe) and becoming an NPC xerox machine.)

Many thanks for your answer. :smiley:

A good point, indeed. I'll change that.

True. This virtue is definitely too good to be minor. On the other hand, it may not be enough for a major hermetic virtue. I see two solutions :* Make the virtue major and provide a full attunement to divine auras.

  • Or keep the virtue minor and remove or greatly reduce the benefit related to divine aura, perhaps by slightly lowering the base malus from divine auras from 3x to 2x the aura score.
    Hard to decide which is best.

I meant that the more the magus intellectualizes his magic, the less skilled he becomes at making it happens, which translates to a malus to casting scores. "Try to formalize your magic" does not refer to a particular activity but to his intellectual grasp of magic that is reflected by his Magic Theory.

That or the virtue could require an appropriate story flaw. In fact, if the characters work his reputation well, this virtue could provide a significant bonus to his casting score against a large number of persons. This bonus should not be part a flow, IMHO.

I don't know. My experience in previous sagas is that player characters pass as little time as possible in writing books, and my players have often very little interest in writing-related virtue. So I would tend to say that this virtue needs to offer a significant bonus to be interesting when compared to other more "egoistical" virtue.

(most likely a cross post- 1 minute diff - just a heads up, Mort') :wink:

Yup. I was just editing my post, but as you have posted in the meantime, I'll make a new one. :wink:

:laughing: Didn't thought of that ! Well, I guess I should really change that name. :smiley:

As would many Verditius. :slight_smile:

This flaw comes from a rather childish conception of magic : the more you learn, the more you move away from that wonderful world where all is possible, still you come to other achievments. Not very innovative, but I like this idea.

That could be change for a possiblity to move the result of the initial dice by a +1/-1 margin, but I think it would be even more powerful.

That would be still less experience than the magus could hope to learn from an average book or vis study, but well, 5 is probably to much. I would propose 3 then. That way, the character gain 2+3 exposure point when writing, which is the same amount as training. So even in the case he have no books or vis to study from, he would not have a significant advancement advantage leading him to never leave his covenant.

As I wrote in my previous post, I rarely saw my previous players to spend more than one season every ten years writing a book for the covenant. This is only intended to make writing books more rewarding.

Edit : For unspeakable magic, I just thought that the malus could be doubled and only applied to spontaneous magic. It would probably fit better in the concept.

How about "inexplicable magic" instead of "unspeakable." This calls it more like you're describing it-- magic for which you cannot explain the underpinnings.

As someone who regularly, skilled experimenter... wow. :slight_smile: Yeah, good times.


Or "Strong Theorist"- better in the design than the practice.

I don't think it matters ~how~ much you give for "Inspired Writer" - with few if any exceptions, it's an NPC virtue, plain and simple, and therefore questionable. "Exposure" must relate to the activity in question, and BTR writing about a skill isn't "using" it for those purposes. Therefore, it bumps experience for:o Profession (Scribe)
o Language (of the Text written)
...and that's about it. And since, BTR, the character must already have at least a "5" (or 4 + specialty) in that language... well, exactly how exciting is that increase, at least for 99% of character concepts?

Therefore, "all" the exposure experience goes to... Profession (Scribe). For most PC's, this is... moderately dull. For an NPC scribe/librarian, this is a huge bump, and, therefore, not overly desirable from a Saga POV, imo.

Prolific Writer-
There was a Virtue from 4th ed that was similar to this. The new rules made it obsolete as written, but I liked it a lot. Check it out if you haven't.

Wow, great work :slight_smile:

As a SG I probably would not allow this in a Saga where Original Research plays a big role. For someone who is interested in break trhoughs this is a great adavantage. Or maybe I would count it major.


You man, must have the virtue inventive genius. Kudos for a set of good V&F. I really like the villain one. I think some of the villains to come IMS will have those. The archvillain is only rumopured to exist so far... with dread :smiling_imp: but no appearence on stage yet....



Agreed. That suits it better. :smiley:

The idea behind the virtue is that by writing on arts or magic theory, one magus with inspired writter could slightly increase his understanding of it. As he write, he uncover new insights. The need for him to formulate his understanding makes him discover new perspectives which inspire him. Concept-wise, I think its nice for many Bonisagi and a few magi from other house.

In order to fit this concept, and make this virtue interesting for PC characters, it should allow exposure points gained in this way to be put in the corresponding ability or art. Maybe this allowance should be the major and only benefit of this virtue, or come with a slight bonus in exposuse as I proposed.

But, as you point, I don't see any exciting thing in having an exposure bonus in scibe or language. Even for a NPC virtue, this would be rather useless.

Yes, I remember having seen this virtue in the 3rd edition, but I don't remember the precise effects. I think this virtue allowed for magi to write books with quality equal to 2/3 of their arts, along with a boost to the speed at which they produce texts. But I don't remember the exact mechanics.

I have thought about skilled experimenter. Maybe this can be balanced this way :

Skilled Experimenter
Minor Hermetic Virtue

You are particularly skilled to lead arcane experimentations, and those are often more rewarding than normal. May be you are more apt than other in repairing your errors before they become too dangerous. May be you are just lucky. When you experiment, you can choose to reroll your initial experiment dice. You second roll receive a +1 increase in its risk modifier, which do not add to your lab total. If you choose so, you must keep the second result, even if it is worse.

That way the second roll is more likely to have a negative inpact. But this is still a second chance. Maybe the increase should be higher.

I had just finished the last Harry Potter. All credits should go to J.K. Rowling and her Voldemort guy. :laughing: