questions about Monica Ierne's talisman

Hello all,

I have been looking at the the example of Monica Ierne of Tremere and her Talisman from AtD pages 30-33 and there is a few things that I do not understand. Hoping more experienced players can elucidate.

  1. The Talisman is described as a cylinder of flint with bronze bands. Basically Wand sized hard stone with with a tiny amount of base metal, which should cost 2x4 + 1x5, or a total of 13 pawns of Vim Vis to fully open for enchantment (Arm5 p97) in a single season.
    But Arm5 p94 says that the Vis limit for enchanting is twice Magic Theory score per season.
    And Monica Ierne is listed as having Magic Theory (Terram) 4. So how did she open her Talisman for enchantment? Even assuming that the Terram specialisation applied to opening a purely Terram item, it still makes her Vis limit 10.

  2. Where to the attuned S&M bonuses "+9 causing Paralysis", "+3 Ignem", and "+6 protection from Faeries" come from?
    I know HMRE says Bronze gives "+3 Terram", and the ArM5 p110 lists the Wand/Staff bonuses.

  1. Talismans can be opened for enchantment bit by bit (ArM5 pg 98, top of middle column) so she is not limited by her MT x2 when opening the device, though it still limits the maximum via she can use in a season.

  2. The Shape and Material bonus summary at the Atlas webpages does not list tyhose bonuses so I guess they made them up in order to fit the characters needs.

Maybe I had misinterpreted that.
I had been working on the assumption that a Talisman started off as an Invested Item, then you could further open it up season by season until the total Vim Vis used to open it equalled max TeFo combination. Meaning the Talisman could be further opened up if Art scores improved.

This has nothing to do with the item being a Talisman - which after all it isn't when initially Opened.
However, careful reading of Preparation for Enchantment will lead to the discovery that a compound item can be opened with a number of pawns of Vim Vis equal to the highest required by any single component (ArM5, p. 97). this would normally limited how many level of effectyou could invest into the item based on this amout of Vim Vis, but because it is (later) opened as a Talisman, that amount increases.

That is exactly correct.

For missing bonus there is the minor Hermetic Virtue of Vulgar Alchemy in TMRE 33 that allows to find new material and shape bonus. The Order of the Green Cockerel initiate this virtue and even ask to find new bonuses for a later initiation. Because I don't own AtD I'm not sure how or if this is a suitable explanation.
Also don't forget that the one open a item must not be the same that enchant the item later.

Except in the case of talismans where the magus must do everything himself.

Looking at HoH:TL for minerals - Brass has a +3Ignem bonus, bronze has a +3terram bonus - perhaps the writer put the wrong metal down for the bands? Iron would give +7 to harm or repel faeries.

To the best of my knowledge the mineral Flint and the shape of Cylinder do not have any bonuses, so I suspect the author has invented new ones. There is no "paralysis" bonus but a net does give "holding immobile +5" so maybe the bands are in a net shape on the flint cylinder?

This is actually incorrect. Talismans are created from items that have been previously prepared for enchantment by the magus (or even items that have been invested with effects, entirely done by the magus), meaning that one must be able to open a device, before making it a talisman. After that, one may add enchantment space to it, bit by bit. See page 98 of Ars Magica 5th Edition, first sentence of the second paragraph under the Talisman Attunement heading.

It's important to note that one can open any compound item for enchantment by choosing to only prepare using the highest cost item, too, in this case 2x4, or 8 pawns of Vim (Ars Magica 5th Edition, page 97, 3rd column, first paragraph. Since it's a talisman, additional S&M bonuses can be added at a later time, as more vis is added. It's only important to prepare for enchantment with multiple S&M bonuses, in cases where it isn't a Talisman, if you intend to use all of those S&M bonuses in later enchantments, or simply need the enchantment space.

You are right. I misread the question and thought about the increase in capacity one can do after attuning it as a talisman and not the initial opening of the item for enchantment.

The author may have erred, confusing Brass with Bronze: Brass +3 Ignem, HoH: MC p137.

The other bonuses I have no lead on.

I had meant to say that I had considered that, but the second point

I had been assuming that these bonuses come from the Bronze Bands, which if I understand that in order to get the Material bonus, the actual material needs to be included in the opening of the enchantment.

The only mystery virtue that Monica Ierne is listed as having is "Leadworker".

BTW a hypothetical example. Say that a magus finds a nice straight branch from a dead tree, a tree that was killed by a lightning strike, and the lightning strike left a perfect ring shaped scar in the branch, and the tree was a yew or an oak, or some other tree listed in Shape and Material tables in Rhine Tribunal book.
What Magic Theory score do you need to gain access to all the possible S&M bonuses if the magus turns that branch into his staff talisman?

You can open a compound item for enchantment by only paying the highest number of pawns required for one of its components. You still get the shape and material bonuses for all components of that item this way.

Your limit is, that the compound item cannot have more components than your Magic Theory score. Best read that up again in ArM5 p.97 Preparation for Enchantment.


Magic Theory has nothing to do with the S&M bonuses one gains from a talisman.

Magic Theory limits the number of different materials that can be used in a composite item. Each material can provide multiple bonuses.
Magic Theory affects the maximum amount of vis one can manipulate in a season. So in this example, a staff is a large wood item so it costs 8 pawns to open, thus requiring a Magic Theory score of 4.

Magic Theory also serves as a cap on how large a S&M bonus can be applied to one's lab total when enchanting a power. So if the staff is made of oak, the S&M bonus to the lab total for enchanting a power to protect from storms (usually +7) would be limited to +4 because of the Magic Theory score.

A talisman bonus is not limited by the Magic Theory score, nor is the number of such bonuses directly limited by Magic Theory.

I find this post

to be invaluable when considering Talismans


Exactly what I was looking for.
I understand my mistake now. I had previously thought that if you invested part of a compound item, that you could only get the shape bonus of the part you hadn't invested. Now I know it is Shape and Material bonus.
Which now explains how Monica Ierne invested her Talisman (just the Flint cylinder) with her Magic Theory score of 4 (shape of wand, shape of bronze band which presumably is a ring, material of flint, material of bronze), even if I am still unaware as to where the strange material bonuses are defined.

So in the weird hypothetical from before (temporarily ignoring the ring shaped burn mark I added to make things complicated), a wooden staff only has 2 components - the shape of the Staff and the wooden material, even if the wood may fit several different categories (from a live tree, dead tree, be it Birch, Hawthorn, Oak, etc) in the Shape and Material bonus tables spread across several books. The lightning burnt ring shaped scar would add a second shape to the staff, while merely adding another category (lightning struck) for the wood to be described as. Thus making it a composite item with a total of 3 different categories of Shape and Material (2 shapes, 1 material) - most magi should have Magic Theory 3 at gauntlet.
Though they would need more Magic Theory for the Vis limit in investing the staff.

I'm glad I'm not the only one still using caribet's post.

Flint is a powerful ward against faeries and is used to bind demons in certain places, so I used it. Flint is, as I vaguely recall, her sigil? I imagine a heap of magi who have a sigil have talismans with odd material bonuses.

As to brass or bronze: in the medieval period the distinction is basically a moot one in most places, which is why many modern museums refuse either term. I wanted bronze, and given that most medieval brass is arguably a bronze, I just took what I wanted.

Yes, Monica Ierne's casting sigil is described as Flint.

I have heard that elfshot is Flint, so it is not too great a stretch for "Cause Paralysis"
I might accept the Brass is equivalent to Bronze idea, as both are alloys of Copper and I don't expect the medievals were always exact in the other metal(s).
I mean, the Shape and Material tables are sometimes annoying. Doesn't easily categorise which gems are precious or semi-precious, etc. Let alone explain what is the difference between amethyst, clear glass, crystal, quartz, and rock crystal, and where they may overlap.

That's because the Precious vs Semi-Precious system is antiquated and deprecated.

Traditionally, the following for types of gems are considered Precious (and only these): Diamond, Ruby, Saphire, Emerald.
All other gems are considered semi-precious.

and Amethyst was on this list until the 1750, when the gold rush started in Brazil, which allowed the discovery of huge amethyst mines in Minas Gerais. That is only at that time that Amethyst lost its rarity, thus was "demoted" from precious to semi-precious.

Precious and semi-precious are not used by professionals, as it does not linked to the value of a stone. The finest jade (jadeite) of imperial quality can reach price comparable to diamond. Unheated paraïba tourmaline will fetch 2'000 USD/ct, and possibly ten times this value if certified coming from the location of Paraïba (in Brazil). That's 20'000 USD/ct and it is professional price, not retail price... A one carat diamond, D, flawless will be around 10-15'000 USD.

These quotations are not 100% up-to-date, but close enough to give a good feel for what "precious" and "semi-precious".

So in Ars, regardless of the stone, if it is of high value/quality, I will go with precious (in my Saga), except for the most basic quartz.