Would be interested in peoples thoughts of the impact on the following house rule for enchanting
Opening an item for enchantment can be done over consecutive seasons, thereby allowing non-specialists to open more costly items, it simply takes them longer to do it.
This feels as if it fits in better with the other 'invention' mechanics of spells and powers of items, and avoids having to massively specialise in Magic Theory just to open large items (ie metal Armour, which I consider costs 25vis to open). Any major alarm bells ringing?
You can open your talisman (ArM5 p.98) for enchantment piecemeal, and are not limited by its material and size. And typically you enchant your talisman well before any other enchanted device.
If you are a Verditius enchanting lots of devices, you anyway have Verditius Magic (ArM p.93) which increases your limit here.
So your house rule just cheapens talismans and Verditii.
All it does is make opening big items take longer for less specialised people, the overall vis cost is still the same. Does your group include any Verditius who were planning on specialising in enchanting large things? If no, then this change won't upset the game noticeably. If you do, then this change might make the Verditius character less useful and cause annoyance in your gaming group.
I'm wondering how you see this rule benefitting your game? Under normal circumstances a magus can open an item with a capacity of up to their magic theory *2. So for a character with a magic theory of 5 (at gauntlet if they put a priority on magic theory, or a season or two of work if they haven't) can open a device with a capacity of 10 pawns. That's 100 levels of spells, it's not trivial.
What gain do you hope to see by allowing the PC's to concentrate their magic item effects is small numbers of items rather than spread them out in devices with "only" 100 levels in the first one (probably 120 in the second so on). Especially considering that per the rules as written any magus can spend a seaason changing an existing invested device into their talisman and then do as your house rule -increase capcity over time- in addition to the other benefits (a bonus to enchant, range personal effects, use for touch range, protection by parma, and opening attunements).
It seems like such a small thing to alter. I'm curious if you see benefits that I'm missing.
Its actually not for the mechanism of capacity, but instead of the object itself. I probably play ArM slightly higher fantasy than 'standard', so am interested in enchanted swords and armour. Swords & metal armour being 15/25 vis to open each puts them out of the reach of many magi (Magic Theory 8 isn't trivial and 13 is massive) - I know William of Normandy of the Orcales of Diodyma (Through the Aegis) gets round it enchanting just the iron eagles icon of his breastplate, but thats never seemed quite right to me....
...I actually find greater enchanted items my own character creates difficult to utilise for his own use, as they are often within your own speciality, and as a fan of spell mastery I find those far more flexible and interesting....
So you don't use one rule - compound items with a single enchanted component (see ArM5 p.97) - and wish to change another - preparation for enchantment limited to one season - to compensate? Why?
Note also, that William's iron eagle is his talisman (see ArM5 p.98 Talisman Attunement) - so he can prepare it for enchantment over many seasons anyway, and is not limited by its shape and material for the vis and effects to put in, but only by his current highest Form and Technique.
The rule change I would recommend is that a magus can open an item using less vis than the maximum, but the item cannot be further opened, as usual. He can still open the armored breastplate for enchantment but it won't hold as much, held back by lower magic theory or a shortage of vis.
Thanks Erik and One Shot, still feels odds to me - or probably I'm just odd
Ken, thats a really simple means of doing it and I would use that over my initial suggestion, as it removes potential abuse from large space for enchantments, thanks
Also, Erik mentioning the pommel of sword gets round the problem of enchanted swords - for some reason, Hugh of Flambeau take on that with his poleaxe never translated into a sword and pommel in my head...and its from that character I found my favourite mMF - Arms & Armour.
That deals with the scariness of everyone being able to open an armor which can hold 250 levels of enchantments, which would be for me the most unbalancing danger here, but makes the shape & size vis cost pretty much useless.
I would twist it a bit making it more costly and less efficient, to the relief of all the verditious out there: you can expend several seasons enchating an item, opening it by 2 x MT vis pawns per season, but most of that space is burnt by the overly extended opening procedure, so you only get 2 x MT vis pawns for enchantments in the item. So a magus with MT 5 wanting to enchant a metal armor which needs 25 pawns to be opened would require 3 seasons and 25 pawns of vis to do it, ending with 10 pawns of vis still opened, wich would hold up to 100 spell levels, so it would be like enchantign a bit of the breatsplate with 10 pawns as in RAW, but wasting 2.5 times more vis and 3 seasons instead of one. Or considering that now he can aim for even higher costs, he could enchant a silver set of armor in the same time, by spending 30 pawns of vis, and still get only room for 100 levels of enchantments. It seems quite hard for the player: the extra vis and time should be rewarded somehow, without giving them anything near what a Verditious could do with that vis in the same time.
So an immediate alternative could be: you can push up the opening time by making it less efficient each season, so you can choose to open an item for several seasons. In each one of them you may open 2 x MT vis pawns per season, but 1/2 of these pawns are burnt and useless, so you only get your MT vis pawns per season for enchantments space. So that same magus would require still 3 seasons to open the silver armor and 30 pawns of vis, but he could just use 15 vis slots to enchant 150 levels of spells.
You should not be scared by the maximum level of enchantment that an item can hold: it still needs a mage able to create such enchantment. It is not because you have space for 250 level of enchantment that it is easy to put one single 250 level enchantment in said item.
Having multiple effects counting for 250 level can easily be achieved with multiple, lesser (and much less vis intensive) enchanted items. The real advantage of single items with multiple enchantment is once you start to link them with triggers that cannot be achieved as easily with multiple, individual items.
Clever design of spells and enchantments is much more efficient that simple, huge high level effect. Take the example of the flying castle in Legend of Hermes.
It took me times to wrap my head around the fact that no matter what, mages in Ars are powerful and given a bit of preparation can do very powerful things. Thus, Ars' stories are not about overcoming impossible obstacle, because in most case, mages will be able to overpower any obstacles, but instead stories are about dealing with the consequences of their choices, the impact it has in the mundane society, the consequence for the Order and/or themselves, because mages will succeed, but at which costs...