Iâ€™ve been looking at Realm interactions and Iâ€™ve noticed several things. I thought I'd start a new thread to discuss this...
(Since Divine auras seem to be the one that most people have trouble with, all of the following comments assume that the abilities/powers in question are not from a Divine source.)
1.Mages are relatively unaffected. A negative modifier of -9 (the average Divine aura modifier in a populated area) is not overwhelming for the average mage.
2.Accelerated supernatural abilities are, likewise, not too terribly affected.
3.Normal (non-accelerated) supernatural abilities are crippled in even a moderate Divine aura.
4.Supernatural powers that do not require a die roll are mostly unaffected.
This leads to some very strange things. For example:
A Bjornaer mage can use his Heartbeast to change shape while within a city (since this does not require a roll), but cannot effectively use it to counter Muto effects cast upon him (since this would require a roll).
A character with Shapeshifter will not be able to change shape in a city, but a character with Skinchanger will be unaffected.
Infernal, Faerie and Magic creatures will be mostly unaffected by a Divine aura, since none of their powers require a die roll. Only their penetration is reduced and, since most people and things in Mythic Europe have no resistance, this isnâ€™t much of a restriction on their actions.
This last one bothers me quite a bit since it means that the Dominion offers no protection to the average mundane human. This seems counter to the Mythic Europe setting.
To (badly) paraphrase some questions/comments pertaining to Realm interactionsâ€¦
â€œYou could just make Supernatural Abilities be from the Divine. That would solve the problem.â€
True, it would solve the problem from a mechanical perspecitive. But, the background text in the main book says that most Supernatural Abilities are derived from the Magic Realm. It is not unreasonable to want to follow this. In addition, it is not unreasonable to assume that a mageâ€™s Supernatural Abilities come from the Magic Realm. Many players would be taking Divine Supernatural Abilities only because it makes the ability more universally useful, not because it fits their characters. I donâ€™t think that this is a good solution.
â€œAre you likely to be using Second Sight or Dowsing inside a City?â€
First, characters donâ€™t have to go to a city to find a Divine aura since most villages in Mythic Europe will also have a Divine aura.
Since a large number of â€œadventuresâ€ involve going into villages, most characters will spend a fair amount of time in a Divine aura even without ever going into a city.
Second, since creatures with Might scores are essentially unhindered in a Divine aura, they are as likely to be found in a city as out. So, yes, I would like to be able to use my Supernatural Abilities in a city. In fact, characters may need to do so.
Finally, whereas I do agree that some Supernatural Abilities donâ€™t fit within an urban setting, I donâ€™t believe that all of them are out of place. Entrancement and Enchanting Music both require an â€œaudience.â€ It is not unreasonable to want this to be a human audience. I donâ€™t really see why a person would become suddenly not sensitive to magic (Magic Sensitivity) in a Divine aura. And I would certainly like to continue to get Premonitions.
I think that my main problem at the moment is the highly variable effect that Realm interactions have on powers. Some are completely unaffected, some affected only a little and some are totally shut down. This would be fine if there was any rhyme or reason to this, but the difference is based almost entirely on how the mechanics of the game play out instead of how the Mythic Europe world works.
Also, Iâ€™ve always viewed areas of Dominion influence as islands of sanctuary for humanity. As it turns out, the Dominion provides absolutely no protection to anyone who doesnâ€™t already have magic resistance. When dealing with normal humans, Demons and Faeries are completely unhindered. This seems seriously wrong.
I was wondering if the Realm modifier wouldnâ€™t work better if it provided magic resistance to everyone and everything within its influence. This would allow any personal effects to continue to function normally, but anything affecting another being would be hampered no matter the source or game mechanic producing it. Just a thoughtâ€¦
The Shapeshift ability does require a roll.
"This requires a few seconds' (one round's) concentration, and a roll of Stamina + Shapeshift against an Ease Factor of 9." (Ars Magica, pg. 67)
According to RoP: The Divine, the average town will have a Divine aura of two (with the dwellings of the faithful having a 3). The average city will have an aura rating of 3, consecrated ground an aura of 3-5, churches an aura of 4-5. This is only the average. Some places will not have a Divine aura at all and some especially holy places will have auras substantially higher...
Basically, unless the land is especially holy, an aura of 2-3 is what you should expect to encounter.
Whilst I've various thoughts brewing on the other aspects of this problem, they're not quite ready to spill yet. This issue, however, is a knotty one. The problem with having a Dominion aura grant any form of magic resistance to mundanes in it is a simple one - most of them aren't actually realm aligned at all. To be so aligned, they'd need either a Might score or a supernatural virtue attuned to the realm. That's before the fact that they don't start with magic resistance 0 but none at all.
The issue of Might based powers might be sorted simply by having them require more Might to overcome a potent aura - possibly one more might point per magnitude of aura modifier? That'd mean that sitting in a church should keep all but the most powerful demons from doing anything beyond the physical.
It isn't necessary for a person to be aligned to a realm or to have any prior magic resistance to be granted magic resistance. This is made clear by the ability to share Parma Magica resistance with anyone.
Really, how I envisioned it was as a strange form of Aegis. All non-personal ranged magical effects would have to "penetrate" the Realm modifier in addition to any actual magic resistance before it could have any effect. It feels like this would give a more balanced (and useful to mundane humans) effect.
I'd rather have a single rule that covers everything, rather than a specific rule for each thing covered by Realm modifiers.
That's not to say that it wouldn't work, just that it feels too specific...
Animal ken, just think about how useful a skill that would be for someone trading in horses or whatever kind of animals would be.
And thereÂ´s a loooong history of dowsing used just about everywhere, because the need for good water sources, well cities needs lots more of them than any "middle of the forest" ever does.
I definitely looked at this possibility at one point during the development of ArM5. I think the playtesters shot it down as a gross violation of the established cosmology and canon...
It seriously undermines the value of Parma. It's a great breakthrough, which is similar to just standing in an aura. Wow. And then you have to vary the effects of Magic Resistance based on the aura, because a Magic aura shouldn't seriously hamper Magic abilities, which universal Magic Resistance would.
It also wouldn't solve the initial problem. Supernatural Abilities tend to have low Penetration, and so would almost invariably fail to work, while Hermetic magic would be barely affected. Creatures would have more problems than now, of course.
The fundamental problem is that ArM has three relevant scales: Art + Art, Ability, and points of Might spent. The first one is five times the second, which is about twice the third. So, any penalty that magi notice will cripple the other two if it applies. Since the magi are the centre of the game, the penalties are scaled to them.
In my game world, I chose the hard way regarding the Divine Aura: you MUST penetrate, or your power doesn't work. Is there no dice, or is there no Penetration? Too bad for you.
The reason is that the Church and the Dominion are the Order greatest threats. Each Alliance work very hard to prevent the anger of the Church. If you take it too lightly, this treath is laughable, and thus there is no reason for why the Order doesn't rule the world, or at least are totally unaffected by mundane powers. ("Ooooh, the local lord wants us to pay taxes? Let's torch his castle, and if the Church meddles, torch 'em all too!").
I thought of an interesting solution. Only one of the three Abrahmic faiths generate a Divine Aua, right? If you are a magician/magus/etc, you only suffer a -1x aura penalty if your personal faith matches that of the aura, -2x for s similar faith (different, but also divine), and -3x if your religion is totally different (pagan and etceteras).
? Okay, I cant think of any such faith that isn't Abrahmic (as even Zoroastrianism borrows from the Abrahmic tradition), but that does not mater.
If your religion matchgs, penalty is 1x aura
If it does not match bbut is also Divine, then penalty = 2x aura
Non divine faith, penalty = aura x3.
Of course, then I cannot think of a reason (mechanics speaking) why someone would want to be pagan, so maybe Pagans get a bbonus of 1x for faerie auras, wheras followers of the divine only get 1/2 x faerie aura.
And my keyboard has no B button, which is why my bb's double up all the time!
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoroastria ... d_cultures
[i]Zoroastrianism is uniquely important in the history of religion because of its possible formative links to both Western and Eastern religious traditions. As "the oldest of the revealed credal religions", Zoroastrianism "probably had more influence on mankind [sic] directly or indirectly than any other faith".
It has been asserted that key concepts of Zoroastrian eschatology and demonology had influence on the Abrahamic religions.[/i]
Pagans should probably get bonus from both faerie and magic, while divine shouldnt get a bonus from any aura except divine.
I think you can make a case that this includes Ra. You might say that there are other gods in the pantheon, and I might say "No, they are just like saints." and you'd say I was wrong and stretching things to make them fit the game mechanics, and I'd say, sure, but its a game.
That is, the power of Ra as creator lies above and behind the power of the other Egyptian Gods, and so he might be an aloof Divine worshipped by faeries and magical spirits who form a lesser pantheon.
Or perhaps its just me thinking it is cool when the players dig up the Crown of Ra and put it on, and then find out that its a 5 faith point relic.