retraining Method Caster

I am asking this because my Tremere character has the virtue Method Caster is planning on creating a wand Talisman.

But if my character is planning on always holding the wand while casting (to gain any potential attunements perhaps) after the wand is created, does this mean that

is triggered?
Can you relearn your precise method to now include holding your Talisman?

And what about some of the Mastered Spell special abilities, eg Quiet Casting, Still Casting? (not currently applicable to my magus character, but who knows in future)
Method Caster is about being very precise. Spell Mastery is knowing a spell in sufficient extra detail that you do extra things. Do these things intersect or clash?

I've always played it as you must keep level of voice (normal, bold, quiet) and gestures (normal or exaggerated) the same. Therefore, you'd move your arms as much with a wand in the hand as without so Method caster wouldn't be affected. However, trying to use quiet magic or still casting would stop you getting the +3 bonus because you've significantly varied the casting method, your virtue/spell mastery merely stops you taking a -5 penalty that most magi get for that alteration.

I should think, that an ArM5 p.46 Method Caster builds his Talisman to conform to his casting method, not the other way around. There could be many ways to touch a wand Talisman (ArM5 p.98) and thus get its attunement bonus: in hand, strapped to the wrist, to the forearm or even to the head, hanging from the belt, and so forth. Why shouldn't there be one to fit with his method?

In other words: discuss with your troupe, which way of using a Talisman wand they accept as working with your magus' method casting.


I've always read the Virtue as darkwing: there's one specific combination of voice and gesture "levels" (subdued vs. normal vs. extreme), chosen at the time of character creation, that allows you to claim a +3 bonus on top of all other modifiers. Whether you are also waving a wand or not is unimportant. I can see a troupe making a judgement call to negate this bonus only if the caster changes the "nature" of voice or gesture truly drastically while keeping the "level" unchanged, e.g. using Performance Magic to substitute dance and song for "ordinary" gestures and voice.

That said, one might still want to address the basic question: what if I want to start using no voice and no gestures as my "standard method" instead of the booming voice and exaggerated gestures I've used until now - say, because I've lost my voice in a magical accident? While in principle this is not possible, I'd be lenient and allow the magus to "regain" the benefits of the Virtue with the new parameters after several years (perhaps a decade or so) of no benefits.

Well, you can always create the It's Time to Change My Casting Methodology Mistery Cult! (shortened to ÏTtCMCMMC)... sounds silly but it's a good way to determine the time you would need to practice the new Method Caster parameters. I'd be quite generous with the symathetic bonus, so your magus could design this initiation script...

Target Level 15: Initiate a New Virtue Known by the Mistagogue (the Initiate gains the Method Caster virtue).
Initiation Script Bonus 15: +3 Minor Ordeal (loosing the Method Caster virtue), +3 Mistagogue spends time practicing, +1 Initiate spends time practicing, +5 Sympathetic bonus, +3 Specific Time and Place (visiting your Parens, who taught you the different ways to cast spells, and ask him to go over casting methods again, focusing on your new preferred combination) requiring Pre + ÏTtCMCMMMC Lore of +0.

You would need a ÏTtCMCMMMC Lore of 1, that could be given during the initiation getting 5 XPs in ÏTtCMCMMMC Lore through practice, so after choosing the speciality "ininitating yourself the Method Caster virtue" this would be useful for magi with Pre of -2 or more. If your magus have a quite funny look, maybe he will have to practice a bit more.

So after the math I'd say "spent two seasons, one visiting your parens and another practicing in the lab, and it's done", ignoring the whole brand new ÏTtCMCMMMC stuff before anyone starts concerning about your mental health.

I was worried because I was thinking "gestures" included finger movements, which would be restricted if holding a wand talisman.

Strictly speaking I understand that Method Caster is a version of Special Circumstances, where the circumstances are gestures and voicing of a certain level. It doesn't have to be the level you use most often - ie it is possible that you get the Method Caster bonus only when using Loud Voice and No Gestures, though you normally use normal Voice and normal Gestures. Though most players (like myself) will min-max Method Caster to be the Voicing/Gestures you expect your character to normally use during casting.

That probably highlights where I was getting confused, by assuming Method Caster was always optimised for the casting method you had "mastered". So if you actually got a Mastery Ability for a spell, you could include the spell casting method for that Mastered spell in the normally "mastered" spell casting of Method Caster.
The English language may have too much poetic licence.

Just as a hypothetical, to appease my inner munchkin, how does Deft Form interact with Method Caster?

Would losing the bonus from Method Caster count as a spell casting penalty that Deft Form would alleviate for a particular Form?

Deft Form allows one to cast spells of the form without gestures or words. One would think, then, that the method for spells of this form wouldn't have gestures or words incorporated into them, to get the bonus most of the time, and to not make it meaningless...

I would say that a season spent on Spell Mastery would allow one to change the method used for any spell. Note, I'm not saying you need to change the mastery score, just spend a season studying/practicing spell mastery for the particular spell to alter your method, which would allow someone who had a mastered spell with an ability score greater than 1 to change it rather quickly.

And though I hate to agree with One Shot, he does have something of a point, that a method caster would likely make a talisman that would conform to his method, rather than the other way around...

This raises an excellent point.
It's not entirely clear whether your "standard" method of spellcasting has to be the "same" for every Form ... or in fact for every spell. "Yes, I generally cast my spells without Voice of Gestures, but I've always found shouting PILUM OF FIRE! with all the air in my lungs truly liberating!".
I'd allow it, meaning that a magus' "standard" method for most or all spells in his Deft Form would probably be "no Voice or Gestures".

Note in this sense that casting without Voice and Gestures and Deft Form yields no penalty, but not bonus either; so occasionally someone with Deft Form but without Method Caster could want to cast with Booming Voice and Exaggerated Gestures to get those two puny +1s. The only Method Caster I've seen in play had, indeed, selected Booming & Exaggerated has his "standard" method, based on the (possibly faulty) premise that Booming & Exaggerated is the hallmark of when you really need every bonus you can get.

I guess I left it unstated, but yes, I've never believed that Method Caster required the exact same method for every spell. Rather that each spell had its own method to the casting, and the method for casting was developed as the spell was invented.

If I was adjudicating the "method" could vary by spell (very reasonable idea), however it should follow a theme. And also the theme needs to be loosely declared in advance. Not seeking to disadvantage the player but seek to understand it in play. Ask the player - what the theme/method?
Then you'll see and know in advance if Deft is influenced, if other special circumstances overlap, booming, etc.

That's interesting: I always got it the other way around, assuming that during apprenticeship the character found that he was specially good with some specific voice and gestures range (by having a nice baritone voice and fair operistic gestures, for example, that would make him great when shouting and doing exagerated gestures), or practiced these more, and thus the bonus only applied for that only combination. I feel It's easier to 'theme' the virtue in this way: you only have to do it one time, after all.

Anyway the only problem I see assigning one preferred combination that takes advance of this virtue for each spell is the pain of taking track of all of them in the spell's description. But if you go that way I would even allow anyone to change their preferred voice and gestures whenever they increase (or adquire) spell mastery on each spell, as a lot of people do with ability specialities when abilities got increased.

I tend to lean towards the interpretation that Method Caster is a single Voicing & Gesture combo that applies to all Formulaic spells you know and will ever learn/invent in the future. Quoting from Arm5 p46

I highlighted "consistent", which I think is the important bit.

However, does Deft Form on Arm5 p41

supersede the last sentence in Method Caster for the Form you are Deft in?

But the consistency of Method Caster might be challenged by Cautious Sorcerer which implies you are very careful with magic, which in my mind implies you know how to work with your strengths and avoid your weaknesses when casting magic. And since magical foci, Affinities with Arts, Deft Forms, etc can be all over the place, your weaknesses and strengths for each of your spells that you are being cautious with are likely to be different. Thus how you are cautious with each spell casting may vary.

Or am I overthinking things?

Is it just

, or are there more conditions?

I have just checked up on the Fast Casting Mastery writeup in ArM5 p87, which refers to the rules on p83 -

, which technically is the same level of voice and gestures as when casting a normal formulaic spell. This suggests that when a formulaic spell mastered with Fast Casting is Fast Casted, it should benefit from Method Caster. Is that correct?