Saga design parameters and power level

Ok guys,

There seems to be a running discussion on what to expect in power level and what is and is not allowed so here are my ideas and inner background when I decided to run a hedge saga.

  1. This is my time as an online SG. Maybe I have been overly optimistic about the ease to run this (I considered it to be harder than an offline game, mind you) but some of the problems we have already encountered were things I was not expecting. Since this is my first time I appreciate all your feedback on what you like and do not like. I am bound to make A LOT of mistakes. I hope that is ok with you.

  2. I know the 3 groups of players I have played RPGs with as people first and characters later. that means I know what to expect in a lot of cases before they sit down to write a character. This is obviously not the case for online communities. There is also a kind of unwritten consensus at offline tables that have played for a while that is nonexistant in online games. So things will need to be made more explicit.

  3. I am a guy that likes small magics. This is actually my second run at a hedge magic saga, the first being the war against Damhann Allaidh (we srill call him Davnalleus) using hedgies as "new hermetics" and local traditions: Ignes Festi was represented using some traditions of the Hymns of Apollo, Pralix was a spirit master, we had a local witch (Hex, Entrancement, mythic herbalism, animal ken, flight, second sight and Skinchanger), and a gruagach specialized in shapeshifting spells. It made for a nice group with weird dynamics. Pralix was the most powerful if they could prepare, while Ignes Festi and the gruagach were the front line fighters (at a lower level than hermetics). this is the kind of thing that I was envisioning here. Maybe even lower power level. After some time out of the loop of Ars Magica I thought it would be cool to run a hedge saga again.

  4. The previous saga was played AFTER a saga where Dies Irae looks like kindergarten play. We used mount snowdon as sling of vilano ammunition to sink a fleet. We had 2 dragons (might 70) under our magical control by the end of the saga. We created our own tribunal and expelled the English from England. Good times, but made us think that hermetic magic could be somewhat broken :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: So I am more pro-small tradition than hermetic power level right now since that saga was fun, but way overboard.

So I came to the saga looking for a smaller power level than that of Hermetics.

  1. My idea for the saga was to put a bunch of hedge traditions through a saga that could be played with low to medium level hermetic magi. And see how they managed. When I talk about hedge magicians I mean characters that are less powerful than a hermetic magus. This might be because they need a lot of preparation, they do not have flexibility in their magic (being great at one thing but sucking big in a lot of others) or some other BIG constraint when it comes to their supernatural powers. My idea was to play up the FLAWS OR LIMITATIONS of the characters and live up to the challenge looking at alternative ways to deal with the problems, not trying to come up with optimized characters. I made a mistake here because I obviously did not transmit that idea at all. I was expecting witches, maybe an elementalist (with a few of the traditions, not all of them) or gruagach, a spirit summoner alright, an Augustan brother (they have some heavy limits on their magic despite being powerful), maybe a touched by realm + heron's magic guy or some stuff like that. Originally I did not expect vitki or some of the other more powerful traditions, but I was willing to accommodate them.

Diversity in power level does not bother me much. Few of the traditions will cover all the angles. Right now the concepts you are putting forward suck at social interaction except the Franciscan, or are not very good at dealing with the superatural or adapting to a rapidly changing situation (ie: an ambush). That is fine with me and something I like to encourage. these are the things that make characters interesting. Hooks built into the character.

when it comes to power level I certainly have my own preferences but are willing to accommodate. I am unsure about the creation of another tradition when more than 50 exist in the official books, though

What I will NOT tolerate is bad blood in the group. Constructive comments and suggestions are OK, but better not to rain much on another people's parade. Thanks.

NOW. The actual discussion.

  • Limit power to HMRE level
  • All options open
  • Limit some of the most powerful options only (discussion on what is that)

0 voters

Plan A: LIMIT. Limit severely the power level. Hedge Magic is OK; other traditions need SG approval. means that we try to control the power to tone it down somewhat.

Plan B: ALL NON HERMETICS ARE OK. Lift all bans and to hell with it.

Take in mind that the whole idea was to have PROBLEMS coming from the fact that you should NOT be able to bludgeon your way through most issues using magic. I am sure the power level will be higher than that of a folk witch coven, but I am unsure on how high you want to go.

I read the Sahirs in TC&TC. They are less powerful than hermetics, but they seem a tad too powerul for my liking, bt if we go the "play whatever you fancy route I am allowing them.

In the end I do not know if this post makes my idea clearer or more obtuse :stuck_out_tongue:

Shot away.


When it comes to stablished covenants I always liked triamore. ylou have all seen the discussion on the saga et al. One interesting thing about triamore is that it is located in a MUNDANE powder keg (at least 2 major mundane hooks, and up to 4 easily). It has the problems of a major landholder being a minor landholder herself. It is also by the side of the Ardennes forest, that is a good mystical location. Mystical wolves, spirits of place and weird stuff like that will be around.

I expect stuff from Lords of Men and the church to creep up in the saga, and some city and guild in the cities of Flanders if you go that route.

I also expect wolf spirits, dark faeries (that may or may not be magical), dark streams that open to glades of unparalleled beauty and mandrake roots to be around. And eyes of newts and frog tongues being important to cast spells.

No comments on this? And only 3 votes?

I think the debate was settled and we all have our magi set within the narrowest of those parameters anyway.

I am waiting for more details on Triamore as a Covenant, but I agree the location is pretty good.

Three of us are making Gifted Companions with un-opened gifts now, so I think we should talk about Openings. Are we ok with Opening Gifts in play? Should we have that happen before the start? Or will that throw off the power level and we should agree to avoid it? (Frere Sulpice may be harder to open, because his supernatural ability is higher, but he still could be opened to a holy tradition, in theory.)

Is Wilhelm among them? Welcome!

AFAICS both Yannis and Sulpice have high Supernatural Abilities, which make opening their Gifts for a Tradition tricky, but not impossible.

Anyway both can be introduced to the Virtues of an existing Magic Tradition, Mystery Cult or Holy Tradition by initiations. This we can leave open to the development of the saga.

AFAICS both Yannis and Sulpice have still a lot of development ahead of them without agreeing with a Mystery Cult or Holy Tradition about membership and initiations.

I think Wilhelm and Yannis both just have one Supernatural Ability at 5. Which isn't that hard to open, really. Even Frere's 9 is doable.

Initiations are meant to be a "big deal" in the saga, and Opening is a much better way. As characters, I can see certain traditions appealing to the curiousity and being sought out, I just want to bring it up as players so we know it's ok for the saga.

I guess it comes down to a question of how much saga power growth over time we're ok with.

Opening the Gift works differently from opening the Arts, it is much more forgiving of people with Supernatural Abilities.

For each Minor Supernatural Ability the total is increased by 3
For each Major Supernatural Ability the total is increased by 6

In Yannis' case the Opening of the Gift total is only increased by 3 despite his Forest Lore score of 7 since Nature Lore is a Minor Virtue

For me this is not a mechanical issue at all. It is a design thing. If you go for an initiation you will succeed or fail depending on the player wishes. Having 1 or 500 major supernatural abilities is not relevant here. Or not much.

The question is if you are designing characters that you want to have undergo an initiation in the future. This needs to be integrated well into the saga, with a buildup.

Donyou want initiations left and right or you prefer the characters tonne more static design- wise. In case you want to be initiated, into what?

The difficulty with most Mystery Virtues. as written. is something that OneShot has pointed out with Yannis' Awakening Virtue; a significantly large number of Mystery Virtues require the use of magical Arts. Without a score in Arts a Gifted Companion is weaker than someone who does

So if a Gifted Companion can find a magical tradition that is willing to open his Gift then it's to his benefit

My point was this; not so much that we'd be hunting initiations, but that our characters might be attracted to traditions, and since we haven't been opened yet we could pursue that.

1 Like

Ok. If his is what you want we can pursue this. Any specific tradition that you want or you want to be surprised?

I didn't have a specific goal. I was just thinking that Yannis probably aligns well with Folk Witch and Wilhelm probably aligns well with Learned Magician. But if we're going into the game with that goal, shouldn't we just make them that way from the beginning? But then we get into the problem of starting with sort-of-two-traditions, which is not what we were sort of aiming at for power level. So I'm kind of in a loop.

Yannis was already told by Mistress Greta that it would be bad if he became a Folk Witch so he might go back and consult with her about whether he should join a specific tradition that catches his eye. On that note... Surprise me

Oh yeah, I forgot you were saying Augustan before. Really any of the academic ones fit for Wilhelm. I'm also waiting to hear back on the virtue/flaw array question because that will have an effect on his educational history.

This will be in mid term, so we have time to think about it. Will keep it in my notes

1 Like

Heh, I just realized the first thing Yannis would want is to become literate... expect him to spend one season in the first year learning Artes Liberales. Thankfully he already has Latin 3.

HMRE p.7f Opening the Gift looks different. But it says especially "See the individual hedge traditions for details of precisely how the Opening Total is calculated." Perhaps you already have a specific tradition in mind?

Frère Sulpice can coherently follow the Holy Tradition: Franciscans some time later in the saga.