Overpowered spell combos/ Overpowered Magi

Greetings everyone!

Please excuse my english, as it is not my mother language (and it is my first post on this forum; hello everyone!)

I have a little problem of game balance in my troupe, that I cannot solve by arbitrary deciding it doesn't work. I explain myself:

First problem: one of my player has focused on Magic Resistance; Puissant Parma Magica, Affinity Parma Magica, every single xp put in Parma Magica, and on top, mastering every possible harmful spell in order to take the "Double Magic Resistance" option in Mastery.

Then, he managed to invent spells that allow him to become intangible: transforming into a ghost, or transforming into air.

Second problem: another Magus who overuse the Invisibility/ Fly / Fireball combo.

If I wish so, I can put these guys in a lot of trouble, this is not the real problem. It lies at the fact that any possible opponent is not a threat to them; I could make one so, but he would be ridiculousely powerful ("Well, yes, he DOES have a 90 Penetration Total with his Lightning Bolt, why?"), and it would become a Cold War (that has already begun) in order to create the most powerful and most boring Magus possible.

The second problem can be solved easily, by using Demons, Faeries, or even a spell to locate invisible characters. But this combo is overpowered, boring and plain.

In short: I cant' make only political or investigation stories; sometimes, magi have to fight, but I cant' put any decent opponent to oppose them (and when I say decent, I mean not a character who'd better belong to the Dragon Ball Z series).

Any ideas?

Thanks!

I think puissant Parma and affinity with parma are a little strange, Parma is only learned at the end of your apprenticeship (a parens who does otherwise gets a nasty tribunal and could be facing expulsion)

If someone is intangible by transforming into air, you could have someone take chunks out with a clay jar (or imagine a door slamming shut halfway in the magus, half of the air on one side and half on the other), if someone transforms into a ghost, he and his affairs can be warded against (though that does little good if you use penetration).

Fly fireball is easily countered with strong winds and fighting inside, add a little rain outside, and his outline will be visible, add smoke inside and his outline will be visible as well. You may also wish to look into the various perdo vim spells.

If they are overconfident, they could always become seperated and dealt with individually. if they are cautious, this will take some work

So you charge them with their strengths-- the guy lobs fireballs? He faces the Fire spirit, or the guy who lost his brother/uncle/cousin/sister to the magus, and made a pact to be immune to fire.

The guy turns into a ghost? Angry, vengeful spirits seek him for a past wrong... these guys sound like they've turned more than their fair share of mundanes into paste, I doubt you'll have trouble scrounging up victims. Have aspects or puzzles that can't be manipulated in an intangible form to bring him back to corporeality.

Crusaders. Crusaders. Crusaders. Try opponents with True Faith who shut down casting like a tree on a power line. The foes don't have to be constant, but maybe the pair have drawn the attention of the Templars, and now they face regular incursions of knights who shrug off the wizards' spells.

Aim at their pocketbook/supply chain. The mundane powers that be could come to exercise their rule over the land. The Church can start building an abbey. Bandits could start taking out covenfolk....but then they might like that last one too much. :slight_smile: What about striking at them by proxy? Try damaging the resources of the allies of the magi, forcing them to help that ally or lose them.

Use a bait and switch, too... have the covenfolk tell one story, but tell it wrong, and word spreads, bringing one of the Mundane powers to deal with the foe they expect while the magi arrive to deal with a completely different foe.

use Hermetic politics over vis sites, boundaries, rights to kill magical beasties in the area...sure, they could just blast the hell out of Pompinax of Tremere and hope for a Flambeau defense (no witnesses == no problem), but are they sure they're alone and do they want to deal with the fallout at Tribunal if they're wrong?

Consider targeting their previous family-- as someone seems to be gathering Arcane Connections against the magi, why? what for? are the loved ones dead or just captured, and is attempting to find them going to break the Code?

There are some starter ideas, I hoped I helped.

-Ben.

Ok,

So we know how to hurt the magi, and circumvent the kewl powerz the players are so proud of.

But there's another approach.

One magus has built up awesome defenses? Great! Throw a bunch of stuff at him that lets him show off. Another likes burning things invisibly? Give him stuff everyone will feel good about having burnt. Lots of it, enough for them to revel in their power.

And after a while, start encouraging them to do whatever they like with those powers. They'll come up with stuff they want their characters to do.

And that's where your game really starts.

Anyway,

Ken

Sodalis Tahlen, your problem might be result of trying to take the duo on through force. I would probably attack the duo through social/political moves. If the magi have caused trouble to Faeries, some Merinita organization might put social / political pressure on the duo. If they have done something to mundanes, Jerbiton House might make moves. They cannot kill members of the Order or they will get bigger problems.

If they cause trouble to the Church, someone (perhaps a priest or monk) comes asking the duo to do something about the problem. If they don't, it is Crusade time and they don't like that. Even though Magi can be horribly powerful physically, they aren't omnipotent and they don't want to make the bigger bullies angry.

Even someone as pesky as nobles may organize someone to poison annoying magus or stab him in the back when he is asleep. They may even bribe the grogs against the magi. If the two do not behave, there are always ways to give them a lesson.

Another way to take them on is via covenant connections (I think someone talked about this already). Peasants of the area don't like how the magi handle things and revolt. If the magi burn them, they also burn the families and friends of their covenfolk and grogs. Not good business.

What I am trying to say is that if your opponent is physically stronger than you, don't attack him via physical force. Attack him via sneaky ways, social ways, political ways... anything but physical force.

Edit: I apologize. I just reread your post and noticed that you already considered political attacks. Since you are only asking advice how to defeat the two in physical combat, I give you these pieces of advice:

  1. Against Invisibility use a spell that causes a lot of dust to fly in the air. The dust shows where the invisible magus flies. Make the dust flammable/explosive and the magus blasting his fireballs ignites himself.

  2. Magic Resistant Magus requires little more work. There are ways to circumwent magic resistance like old "Teleport Ground Your Victim Stands Above His Head". That won't work on immaterial things of course. Against this magus I would prefer to attack via the above mentioned ways. I didn't get what makes this magus a threat though. Yes, he is physically very resistant, but what can he do when an army of crusaders (True Faith or no) marches inside covenant walls?

well, if you are somewhat invurnerable, you can do anything you wish, you have all the time in the world... Even though you might wish to make haste when someone is trashing your sanctum...

Unravelling the Fabric of Auram, lvl 20 (Or similar effects). Let the flying magus plumet to his death^^

Note also that, if you turn into a Ghost or spirit, you can't attack physically.
And then, a simple PeVi spell will cause you some trouble (turned physical while passing through a wall?). And he can't take the "Mastery" option for Unravelling spells, because these don't target him, but his spells :wink:

These don't need great power, nor penetration :wink:

You can also use indirect attacks, like the ReTe spells in HoH: S. Even infinite MR is useless against these :wink:

Another option is to present them with similar characters. Their opponents can't hurt them, but they can't hurt their opponents either. How will they deal with them?

Well, your characters reached the power level where hermetic magi become the top of the food chain. The only real enemies now in a direct combat are other hermetic magi. So makie a nicve war with hermetics. Or introduce the divine on a BIG scale (crusade vs them?) if they are unsubvtle enough to annoy the pope (they might have been, for what you say).

Load sof good ideas in this thread so far. You can vcdertainly come along with quite a few ways to go along with this using a combo of what is listed above. MR is no biggie if you use spells that surpass MR, and anti-spells are easy to cast at them as well. They are reallyt tough, but not invincible.

Cheers,

Xavi

Thank you A LOT all for your answers! Although I'm not new as a game master, Ars Magica can be quite difficult to handle (especially as my previous games were a lot simplier in term of rules and limits of power).

There are here a lot of ideas to pick up, and so as much story ideas for my troupe (6 members, including the two specimens I spoke about).

Thank you again! :slight_smile:

IMHO, get the players to understand that you do not mess with quasitors first, then let them draw the attention of said quasitors.
This at least is a great deterant IMS, as are our villagers, who are not really fond of magic. (but we rely on our village more than some other saga)

Ken's right, IMO. Play with power. Let them have their fun. They will guide you into bigger challenges on their own, because they will naturally want to flex their muscles and see how big a bite they can grab. Don't punish them for being clever in their design. And there is nothing wrong with going a little DBZ once in a while. I have a pair of Flambeau magi I can send your way to slap them around :slight_smile:

Don't forget as well that no matter how high your PCs have set their Parma and no matter their puissance or affinity, it can't withstand the negative impact to MR caused by a Dominion aura.

Just usher your saga into more high Dominion-aura areas and your player will soon wish he had invested points in a wider variety of skills.

Hi,

I sometimes find it useful to divide games into 2 categories, those that are all about "can the characters achieve their goals" and those that are about "what do the characters choose to do."

Most classic RPGs fall firmly into the first category. Can the players pillage the dungeon? Will they uncover the baron's nefarious scheme before he launches a fleet of super-zeppelins against the armies of Europe? Will they bring Doctor Pyramid to justice?

There is another kind of game, more rare. The PCs have great power--will they answer the villagers' plea and pillage the dungeon to save them from the monsters that ravage them, or will they force the villagers to move, because an ancient treaty with the dragons has that region set aside as a nature preserve (for endangered green slimes)? Will they defeat the baron, or will they focus on personal goals, preferring to leave the morass of 19th century European geopolitics to the Europeans? Will they bring Doctor Pyramid to justice, or will they join with him, to free planet Sphinx from the Gryphon Empire? Or maybe they launch an initiative of their own!

These latter games are less about suspense than about character development. Hmm. Perhaps more aptly, in these games, the players create suspense for the GM and each other, because no one know what will happen until they make it happen.

I find such games much harder to run, yet....

Anyway,

Ken

ACs for the high parma, or just beat him mundanly (the fist of a magical beast isn't resisted)
Mentem spells vs the intangible, if you have a mind you can be targeted. it doesn't matter what form your in. Second sight or several easy Intelligo spells to detect the invisible.