Saga Discussions (OOC)

Troupe discussions and decisions about the saga.

It has been 4 days since the saga announcement was posted. With 6 players (plus me), I think we have a full roster for now.

I am still waiting for the play forum to be created, but we can start discussing the parameters of the saga. I have a preliminary list of things to be discussed:

  1. Power level of the saga
  2. Source books used
  3. Starting year of the saga
  4. Starting level of magi and advancement rule
  5. Combat rules
  6. Absences
  7. Text formatting
  8. Dice-rolling
  9. Creation of a wiki
  10. Stories Frequency and Duration
  11. Confidence

Now, that is a lot of subjects and it could get confusing fast if each of us starts talking about several subjects at once. So I suggest discussing only one at a time, with everyone stating their preferences and hopefully us reaching a collective decision (which I will record), before moving on to the next one.

If you have other subjects you think should be added to the list, I will do so and we'll get there eventually.

If everyone agrees to this (let us know if you object), the first subject would be:

1. Power Level
How powerful are magi in this saga, on average? How common and powerful are supernatural creatures? How hard is it to find vis sources and how much raw vis is available to magi? How good are books?

How common is it for a mundane to know that magi exist? That they are organized in an Order?

In the Covenants chapter of the ArM5, the following terminology is used for the power level of covenants: Low, Medium, High, Legendary. I think the same terminology can be used for the power level of a saga.

My usual sagas lean towards the Low side of things. This time, my preference would be towards Medium to start with, but perhaps leaning slightly towards the high side.

What do you think? What would you like?

I think Medium to high is good.

It might be easier to discuss this after we have a forum, you can make a thread for each category; and/or everyone can put up a post addressing all the points and can easily see where we all agree or don't and discuss further or decide, as warranted.

I am good with a medium - which to me translates to an avg opponent from a Realm having maybe 15-20Might. A good book having a Lvl of 12-14, Qua 12-13, Vis sources are hard to find, but dedication and some time will scrounge up new ones on a regular enough basis.

Have rumours of wizards permeate the areas closer to covenants as people would become a bit familiar with strange happenings. Knowledge of the Order is probably only a few scholars, clergymen and nobles.

A powerful magus say age 90 might have scores of 20-25 in his best scores. Magic theory of the avg mage might go to 7/8 before the added work of raising it becomes onerous.

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Having it be too high might run the risk of going against the premise of the saga. After all, who cares what resources we have if everyone has more vis than they know what to do with and if dragons abound? Similarly, we won't want several potential Familiars available right outside the door; it's nice to put in some effort to earn your Familiar. On the flip side, if it's a true low power it's unlikely this opportunity would have arisen.

That's why I'm thinking medium-ish. I wouldn't be against a little higher or lower than medium, just pointing out that we don't want to go too high (definitely not legendary) nor too low. So Low/Medium, Medium, or Medium/High seem best to me.

I'd agree with Ronni mostly, though I'd expect a bit higher Arts for the best Arts of a powerful, 90-year magus.

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I don't really like the idea of caps on might and skills and so on. Calibrating the vis supply and (I'm lessed thrilled about) book quality makes sense, but I don't see the value in or need for benchmarks on arts and abilities, for PCs or NPCs.

My numerical "caps" were merely approximations, not hard suggestions :slight_smile:

Yes, I agree with Plot_Device on not placing caps. I'd read Ronni's post as suggestions for typical good ranges rather than caps. I think we're in agreement overall, just stating things a little differently.

We are just looking at what is considered "typical" and what would be considered "extraordinary". For example:

  • Is a Might 20 creature considered weak, average or strong?
  • What would the best Art of a specialized magus 20 years out of apprenticeship normally be, 20 or 40?
  • Is 10 pawns of vis considered a big amount to have, or just the regular expenditure of a magus per year?
  • Is a L15Q10 summa considered a great book, a good book, or just passable?

I am not looking for hard caps.

Here are my suggestions, which I'm really not tightly attached to:

  • Is a Might 20 creature considered weak, average or strong?

This is average. There are many with lower Might, but main antagonists are likely to have notably higher Might.

  • What would the best Art of a specialized magus 20 years out of apprenticeship normally be, 20 or 40?

25-30 if we're talking a single-Art specialist. It's pretty simple for such a specialist to start with a score in the 15-20 region in one Art. Yes, you can exit gauntlet around a 33 or so, but that takes a twisted amount of optimization and shouldn't count. 20 years later provides plenty of experience to add 10 levels if you consider Puissant and/or Affinity, and this is a specialist.

  • Is 10 pawns of vis considered a big amount to have, or just the regular expenditure of a magus per year?

I would consider that a lot for a year for most magi. The uppermost magi would probably have more than that because their services would be valuable enough. But most magi would probably be more in the 4-7 region. Maybe I'm just too used to vis-poor sagas, though, so I may have a poor gauge on this one.

  • Is a L15Q10 summa considered a great book, a good book, or just passable?

It's written by someone with a pretty strong Art with better-than-average writing ability. It's on the strong side of good book, but it's not at the level of being a legendary book.

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One of the challenges of the PbP format is that, if people don't speak up, we have no way of knowing whether it is because they have no opinion on the matter, are still thinking about how to formulate their answer, or are simply busy with weekend activities so haven't read the post yet.

So whenever you have no opinion or preference on a matter, or you are still cogitating your answer, let us know! :sunglasses:


Yep, I left early in the day and wound up not being back home until like midnight somewhat unexpectedly. I did think on some of my preferences here though:

I would say this is average as well. I would think Might 20 creatures to be merely uncommon, especially around medium - strong auras.

I would say that a specialist should have a best score in the 20-30 range 20 years post gauntlet.

I would think this would vary significantly from place to place, as well as the age of the magus. I imagine that just about any post gauntlet magus should be able to get 2-3 pawns of vis per year of whatever type they want through the Red Cap network. There might be a year of lag time for particularly remote places, and there definitely are restrictions for magi who live more eccentric lives on the road. Older magi I think would consequently have access to more and more vis sources/income as they can accrue the what privileges they can over others.

I remember hearing something about the Greater Alps requiring a certain amount of vis per year to establish residency there. We certainly don't need to follow that, but I thought it might be something to bring up in relation to this. We also might want to start thinking a little bit about the rules for vis extraction. If the rules for depleting auras are not included, then extracting vis from auras will really change up how much vis anyone is able to get.

I would normally consider this a great book. I have tended to play it that books with qualities up to 15-20 exist across the Order, but access to them is generally monopolized by older/well-connected Magi or used as bargaining chips against younger/weaker covenants. Unless we are already a well established covenant, I think we might have 1-3 such great books, but we shouldn't have all of them.

I think that knowledge of weird wizards who live on the edges of civilization is pretty universal, because the way the Order is structured to me suggests that the Order has a very consistent but fringe presence. I think that one of the Order's best defenses is a somewhat sinister/dangerous reputation to keep people away as much as being totally hidden. I don't think most mundanes would know about the Hermetic Order or even different hedge traditions. That doesn't mean they don't know anything, they might just think that all wizards belong to an Order that is marked by individuals wearing tall, point, purple caps.

I'll have to review that specific section of Covenants, but I think I also enjoy a "medium" kind of power level. I like a somewhat fantastical / fairy-tale tone to the setting, but I don't like the supernatural elements being so prevalent as to drown out everything else. I imagine finding an apprentice should be very difficult, but finding a familiar is most difficult because it's hard to find a magical animal that you actually want to be friends with (and vice-versa).

The rule of the Greater Alps is that a covenant needs vis sources of at least 10 pawns per magus living there. Which does not mean that the individual magus will recieve that vis, as it may be used to cover covenant expenses (including the Aegis, maybe even several when chapter houses are present).

I lean toward a medium to high power level. It seems likely the area we inhabit would be high for the setting if its so desireable to the nearby tribunals.

I agree that hard limits are detrimental to a campaign but find the stated ranges pretty good for the commonly encountered stuff. More powerful creatures and higher quality books should have to be sought out and become major plot points.

Yearly vis is a tricky topic...if you want a medium power level you need to keep regular vis sources pretty low. One time rewards that are generous can be controlled. That said I don't consider a rook a year to be particularly high. Much lower than that and any Magi with marketable skills (or high vis needs) would be looking for a new home pretty quickly.

The Greater Alps point and mjprogue's comment on vis left me thinking that a little more than normal for me would be good. If we don't have a large enough covenant supply, then there is no possibility of joining the Greater Alps. But we might only be right near that cut-off, requiring us to find just a little more to qualify and protect what we have to maintain enough. So maybe really close to 10/magus would be good.

And then 50+ pawns of vis per year would be reason enough for Magi from the Rhine and Normandy tribunals to be interested I would imagine.

I think I now have a fairly good idea of the power level the troupe wants. It runs near medium, expressed in the following way (I am putting together:

  • An average supernatural creatures has a Might of 20 (this should be a threat for a single magus who is not optimized for fighting such an opponent)
  • A magus 20 years post-Gauntlet would have his best Art in the 20-30 range
  • A L15Q10 summa is a great book (the library should have a handful of those, but certainly not is all Arts)
  • The covenant should have sources around 10 pawns/magus/year (before covenant expenditures)

So let us move on to the next topic.

2. Source books used
Which shall we use and to what extent? Which one shall be specifically not used and why?

For example, there is the case of the 4th edition Sanctuary of Ice (The Greater Alps Tribunal book). Do we use it as written (converting the stats to their 5th edition equivalent), use it for inspiration (the tribunal rules, covenant names and description, magi's names), or not at all (making up a different Greater Alps tribunal)?

What about the other two Tribunal books, Guardian of the Forests and The Lion and the Lily? Do we keep everything in there?

Another example is Covenants. Do we want to use the finance rules? The lab improvement rules? The covenfolk loyalty rules? The optional book rules?

Considering the sometimes shaky guidelines of several spells in Magi of Hermes, do we want to allow those spells? What about the more fantastical elements from Hermetic Projects and Transforming Mythic Europe?

Then there are books which are more targeted at mundanes, like City and Guilds and Art & Academe. Do we want to keep things focused on magi and exclude those books?

I don't think we necessarily need an exhaustive and detailed list of "yes" and "no", but a few general guidelines would be good.

I would vote to include all 5e books as well as the 4e books for Tribunals that are not covered by 5e. Here are my more generalized preferences based on book types:

Core book, Apprentices, Grogs, HoH books, TMRE: Use everything, though not every Mystery Cult in TMRE needs to exist.
Covenants: I like the Boons/Hooks, craft magic, book rules, and lab rules. I don't care as much about the finance rules, but if someone wants to keep track of them I'm fine with them, too. Covenant loyalty is good.
RoP books: Mostly use everything, but some changes (like demons planning) could certainly be made.
Tribunal books: Try to keep the overall functioning of the Tribunals and their styles. But specific personalities, covenants, etc. could be used fully, for inspiration, or not at all as works best for SG's.
Mage example books: A lot of the questionable stuff has been cleaned up in the errata. Overall, these can save players a lot of effort in creating new spells. Overall I like to keep them as things that could be done, but not necessarily things that have been done.
Other setting books: I've definitely had magi doing crafts, experimental philosophy, art, etc. It wouldn't surprise me if a couple magi do something along those or similar lines. Plus A&A includes clarifications on Mentem. So I'm inclined to keep them all.