Of talismans and MT limits

Hey folks, I just did a quick search to see if this has already been covered but I can't find anything. Apologies if this has already been covered.

The question is about opening a Talisman. Suppose I have a magus (let's call him 'Ferrari Jerbitonis' from Tribunal Romae) that wants to enchant -- oh, i don't know -- a two-horse chariot as a talisman. Let us suppose further that the chariot is made of oak with lots of decorative gold filigree and, perhaps, has a large emblem of a stallion rearing up that has been worked in ebony.

Clearly, this is just a fun little project that I've been toying with in a particularly dull meeting but I ran up against something.

As I was doodling, I realized that he would not be able to open this item for enchantment since it was too large and his MT is only a 6 -- therefore limiting him to 12 pawns per season. During a break, I remembered that I had my book with me and went up to have a look to see if the opeing had to happen before I declared it a talisman or after. To my reading, it appears that since a talisman can be opened a little bit at a time, then he could open the chariot. But, if one has to open the device before declaring it as a talisman, then he couldn't.

Anybody else have to deal with this?


My take on it is that you open the device as normal, you then spend another season attuning it as a talisman. I'm fairly sure that was how the rules went, but I've not been over them for a while.

You do need to prepare the item for enchantment before it can be attuned and benefit from the special talisman rules.

But the solution here is pretty simple... You don't need to attune the whole cart since a talisman has essentially unlimited space anyway. Open the yoke or a wheel or something as the talisman. Since its part of the cart, it still gets the form and effect bonuses and the ability to apply 'self' effects to it. Same as with a gem atop a staff.

You need to open the highest capacity piece of the composite item (far right hand column on page 97). So unless you want to boost your magic theory you'll want a very small amount of that gold filigree.

The "just enchant a section of it as if it were a gem atop a staff" option that Vormaerin suggests would work as well but it has the drawback of not giving you access to the material bonuses for the rest of the chariot (you'd still get the shape bonuses) which would severely curtail the number of attunments available for your talisman later,

Well, you are going to be SOL no matter what you do if trying to make a ubah talisman with a feeb magic theory like 6 :stuck_out_tongue:

Besides, the obvious solution is to just initiate into House Verditius and read some more Plato and Aristotle. Sheesh...

That's what magister Lambroghini did and Ferrari HATES Lambroghini! All muscle, no style...

Actually Six magic theory can get you six componants so six different materials and six different shapes plus the composite shapes. As long as the highest capacity piece doesn't take more than 12 pawns of vis you'd be easily able to make an "ubah" talisman. Capacity of a talisman is not linked to shape and material once the thing is attuned to be a focus. How many differnet bonuses are you really going to want, you need to spend a season to get one, you can't use more than one at a time and You'll probably fill a capacity of even 80 pawns long before running out of possible attunements from a six component talisman.

Hmm, I should have thought that the use of facetious words like "ubah" and "feeb" would have indicated I was joking around... Guess not. I'm well aware that the whole point of the new talisman and familiar rules is to make them viable even for starting magi.

Anyway, you are still limited to something smallish with a 6 MT, regardless of how gauche you make it. Its not gonna compare to a four horse scythed chariot of fiery doom like the OP was interested in.

They worked, I just couldn't control my knee jerk rules pedantry response (I took it as a personality flaw).

I realise that this isn't kosher as far as the rules go but IMS and i believe as a fairly common houserule elsewhere is that you can use 3 times your magic theory pawns of vis rather than twice.

We use this and haven't found it overpowered at all. It also allows us to enchant some fun things that are perhaps beyond young magi. e.g. a gem.

I like the idea of a chariot talisman, one of our chronicles magi has a flying carpet as his. It turns into a handy scarf for ease of carrying.

if you read The Mysteries revised Edition, the section on Great Talisman and Consummate Talisman has a clarification on the opening of a talisman.

Basically, you open it as a normal enchanted device (size, substance, number of components), limited by your MT.
You then spend a further season to open it as your talisman (it is not a Talisman until then).
You can then spend further seasons opening additional enchantment spaces in it.

Well seems like this thread is better than starting one of my own.

Apologies for the beginner level question, but if there is an available shape & material bonus totaling 7 and a caster has MT of 6, can they limit themselves to just +6 of the available +7? Or is it all or nothing?

Meaning, if they could not make us of the total +7 they must find something else that works but is only +6?

You can use it. The bonus will rise to +7 if you later increase your MT.


If, for example, you are enchanting a ranged effect to destroy faeries into a wand made of iron, then there is a +7 bonus available (from the iron material) and a +4 bonus available (from the wand shape), to make a total available bonus of +11 to your Lab Total. However if your Magic Theory is only 4, then you can only use +4 worth of this bonus. You can still complete the project (assuming your Lab Total including bonuses is sufficient).

Of course, if your Magic Theory was only 4, then you couldn't open an iron wand as an invested item anyway; as it requires 5 (base metal) * 2 (small; wand) = 10 pawns of vis to open, which exceeds the Magic Theory * 2 limit for a season of work (8 in this case).

You could still make a lesser enchanted item with this effect that was an iron wand, and you would get the effective +4 bonus to your Lab Total. But you can't instill other effects in a lesser enchanted item, and you need sufficient Lab Total to complete the project in a single season.

Or if you desparately want an invested item, you could get someone else (who has a Magic Theory of at least 5) to open the iron wand for enchantment for you. Although then it can't later become your Talisman, which may or may not be an issue.

I had thought that there was a limit on the size of the total bonus, not on the number of sources? (e.g. a magus with MT 4 could obtain a total bonus of +4 that could come from several different shape and material bonuses).

Serf's Parma!

In a compound device, you can only combine a number of components equal to your Magic Theory score (ArM5, page 97).

When instilling an effect, your total bonus to the Lab Total from Shape and Material Bonuses cannot exceed your Magic Theory (ArM5, page 99). It is not clear (but implied) that these bonuses can come from multiple sources; i.e. if a magus has a Magic Theory of 5, they can get a +5 bonus from a wand (+4 destroy at distance) made of animal bone (+4 destroy animals) to a PeAn spell (both wand and bone are appropriate, and can give up to +8 total).

I've always assumed that talismans in particular are made up of as many components as the magus can handle, to maximise the potential for Shape and Material bonuses he may wish to call upon.


The big question is whether the MT limit to boni for Shape & Effect is the individual bonus or the total bonus. Once a decent Lab Rat gets MT 10, he's never limited. The solution to best limit potential abuse, is to limit S&E bonus totals to MT score.

Is it possible to hire a Verditius magus to make my talisman and to engrave it with his runes without opening it? Than my magus would open the item and use it as his talisman.

The total bonus is limited. See page 97 Enchanted item example.

Ok, my player has been arguing that the rules, as written, seem to indicate talismans can be opened partially, but I can't see how.

Is this how that is supposed to go, because I got even more confused with this thread!

You should refer back to ArM 5 p.97 "Preparation for Enchantment",
to ArM 5 p.98 Talisman Attunement, ArM5 p.99 Instilling the Effect, and for clarification and re-statement, to The Mysteries Revised Edition p. 89

  1. you open any device by spending a season, and must fill it with the pawns required to open it in that season, limited (by the rules) to 2Magic Theory. If MT is not enough, you can't open it. ArM5 p.97
    [i]Saga option - some allow 3
    MT, but the rules say 2[/i]

Note that an unopened device is not a talisman, nor is the initially opened device a talisman, so you are limited by MT at this stage.

1a) enchant the whole of a single substance device (size * material factor) pawns - poor choice for talisman as too few attunements
1b) enchant only part of the device as if the chosen part were the only part. Not a good option for a future talisman, as too easily broken
1c) open a compound device, with no more components than Magic Theory score, with a number of pawns equal to sum of all components.
Poor choice for talisman, as you can open more spaces later ... (good choice for small cheap device with lots of spaces.)
1D) open a compound device (num. components <= MT), with the number of pawns equal to the highest required by any single component.
Best choice for a talisman - you can get the most possible future attunements allowed by MT, while not requiring a huge MT score just to open the thing.

  1. Spend a season to turn the opened device into a talisman. Only at the end of this can you use any talisman rules. Stage 1 is not a talisman!
    ArM5 p.98

3a) re-prepare it for enchantment, with as much or little Vis as you like, up to total capacity limit of (Highest Tech + highest Form). you can do this piecewise, ArM5 p.98
3b) invest a magical effect in the talisman (limited by number of open spaces, etc), ArM5 p.98-99

3c) at the same time at 3a) or 3b) open any one new attunement, from the existing components. (This is why 1D) is such a good option!)
ArM5 p.98

4) cast a spell with talisman - bonuses from attunements only apply when the magus is touching the talisman, and only the highest bonus applies.
ArM5 p.98

Attunements apply to totals to cast Ritual, Formulaic and Spontaneous magic, but not to Magic Resistance or Lab activities. (Hence, do not apply to effects in a device, whether you are investing or triggering them -- only applies to spell casting)
ArM5 p.98

Note when investing devices that any and all Shape And Material bonuses apply, but are limited in sum by MT score./ ArM5 p.99


In short - the best way to make a talisman is with a compound device - eg a wand or staff inlaid with several woods, bone, metal or gems, with a total number of components equal to MT score. (Best wait until MT is decent!)
Choose components which will give lots of attunement bonuses later, (and will also give S&M bonuses)

Open it initially as an Enchanted Device, with number of panws = highest single component, limited by 2*MT score

Spend another season to turn into a talisman

Now spend seasons opening as many more spaces as you like: up to 2*MT per season, to a total capacity of (max(Te)+max(Fo)). This you can do in stages - this is the "open partially" bit of talismans.

Note that TMRE also has the Virtue: Great Talisman, which allows you to open attunement bonuses merely by using the talisman, and also to craft in additional components when you increase enchantment spaces - still limited to Number of Components <= MT score, but we assume MT score has increased since Talisman was first made.

As for getting a Verditius to open the Talisman - no way! ArM5 p.98 "you can only attune an item as a talisman if you prepared it for enchantment yourself." ... and "A magus may attune an item with instilled effects as his talisman, so long as he instilled all the effects personally".
Talisman magic is very personal!

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