School of Owen (Bows)

I've just come up with a new Flambeau school: The school of Owen (named after Owen ex Flambeau).

It uses longbows and Muto Magic (or animal or herbam - depending on which part of the bow you enchant).


  • the weapon (bow) can be enchanted without negative effects to penetration
  • magical resistance doesn't help against arrows
  • you can use "explode on impact" area spells or non-magical poisons to upgrade your arrows


  • no good in melee
  • defensive spells exist

I know there is the spell Shriek of Impeding Shafts - but you can use the same spell (with a Co requisite) to aim a bow (kin of an acustic laser pointer).

example: Owen vs Magus
Dex 2 + weapons skill attacker 4 +specialisation 1 +3 magical weapon bonus + 4 weapon attack bonus + 8 damage bonus + target seeking pointer bow 9 - quickness target 0 - weapon skill target 2 - soak 6 = +22 damage!


Ward vs wood re He 15, or shriek of impending shafts or the other spell that allows you to auto-dodge a wood weapon attack per turn, level 10-15 as well. Damage = 0. Also, I think you are giving the other hermetic magus a rahter low level of protection and weapon skill. Most of my mages do not go out ofg the lab without a +8 or +9 bbonus to soak and a ward vs metal and wood for security. they are on the paranoid side of events, but if you are facing magical shooters on a regular basis you'd better be.

It is not a bad school. The magical archer is a classical concept, and you can find a pair of magic archers in the sagas played buy the people of the forum. It is WAY more effective vs non hermetics, though. Hermetics can leave you quite a useless fighter if you want to cause damage with the arrow. And that, rather easily I would say.

You want the ability that allows you to time the release of the spell (tethered magic was it? Serf's Parma) AND a nice concentration to maintain a spell while shooting the arrow carrying it. Touch range spells for the win here.

Actually, if you do not want an HERMETIC one, a nice magical archer can be simulated with the rules for Natural Magicians, creating chartae: each charta would be an arrow, with the effect being released on impact.

My thought it is that it is a really cool concept for a hunter magus, specially one specialized in Big Game (read: size +2 and up magical beings), but that it is not the best hoplite design.


Arrows need not be made of wood! Metal or animal bone (or even human-!) could work.

Barring the obvious and easy protection against the normal wood arrows, this could be a good addition to a Flambeau School.

And to risk going slightly off topic: That whole deal, where paranoid magi cast dozens of warding and protective spells, everytime they stick their heads ot the door - that bugs me! Sure, I use a few of those once in a while myself. And it is fairly easy to avoid the nuissances of minor things. But really!
Perhaps it is because I've never played in any hardcore, cutt-throat sagas. We just don't need that. One player did that, to the point where it really, really annoyed me. I just couldn't up the ante, since none of the other magi bothered with those protective things. Perhaps this is just a problem I have.

Spells cast on a regular basis by most mages IMS:

  • Doublet of Impenetrable Silk/Linen
  • Ward vs metal
  • Ward vs wood

IMS the personal wards only grant a soak bonus, though (base 3, +3 soak per magnitude, +2 for metal), so that is different form the total immunity of the RAW. Total immunity only works for Circular wards. Still, it grants a fairly high defence against attacks, specially mundane ones. Most of the mages IMS would not be impervious to a +22 damage total, but they probably sustain a medium wound at most.

In our sagas, that is part of the standard compliment of spells for the field magus. Not as important if you are an urban magus, but a ward vs metal can save you from the usual cutthroat in that dark alley over there. If you are going into a dangerous area, better to be prepared. This kind of stuff is the kind that sells well in flea markets at tribunals. YMMV :slight_smile:


Well, if non-circular wards simply give a Soak bonus, rather than completely ward swords and arrows away, I'm less aggrevated by it. Most of my recent characters have known Ward Against Heat and Flames, but they don't use it all the time.

The situations thet really sent me over the top, was in a saga, which died in its infancy. A very paranoid magus (or perhaps player) was loaded up on all sorts of spells like this. Everytime I as SG started a sentence, which theoretically could end with words like " see movement in the forest ahead", I'd get interrupted by this player wanting to cast at least a half dozen protection and booster spells. Unfortunately he had Flawless Magic, so I didn't even have the hope that he'd Botch. Sigh. And because of this, as well as my own unwillingness to do this, I always allow the SG the opportunity to surprise us, if that's what he wants. Sure, if your SG is a killer DM, paranoia is the key to survival, but otherwise...
If this particular saga hadn't died out, this magus character would have suffered intense stigma. He was a giant blooded, melee Flambeau specializing in Corpus and focus in Aging. He had a pretty good business of selling Longevity Rituals for other magi. And everytime conflict was around, he'd teleport away. His Flawless magic resulting in mastery of all spells, was most often used for Resistance. And being Size +2 means he couldn't be affected nu normal Target: Individual or Group spells, directly targeting him. This also precluded him from being member of Miles, since the teleport spell would not affect him. All in all completely defensive. Imagine how popular he'd be in House Flambeau - they'd call him a wiener, right?

What you see here is a ward that prevents magi from being much affected by mundane attacks, but far from immune to supernatural attacks. To me that is mythic enough to prevent the "powerful magician dies in lousy bandit ambush" and more along the "powerful magician dies facing a dragon allowing his companions time to flee". "We go more for the epic deaths for magi so those spells are simply brainless choices for us. We had seen our share of dead magi by a child throwing a stone at them and rolling like No Tomorrow to prefer this kind of pre-planning to be normal. It is assumed that all magi have them ready when travel in the wild, in the same manner that theya re assume dto recast parma at sunrise and sunset. If that is part of tyour setting, it is not complicated to make interesting stories for those characters since you take this as one of the characteristics of the party.

But we are ranting heavily here and stealing JeanMichelle's thread, so I will stop it here :slight_smile:


IMO, these have their place in Ars, but for situations where magi expect danger.

The idea of a magus casting wards every morning is, to me, dull, boring, and lacking in verisimilitude. And I don't like the idea of him casting it everytime he travels either, nor casting them when he goes into town. A paranoid magus would do it, sure (and should expect warping). But not every magus is a raving paranoid, no more than every politician puts a bulletproof vest everytime he goes out.

But I think that, if this magus takes a road know for bandit ambushes, or expects to be confronted by a troll, he would be stupid not to cast them.

Note also that the idea of the assassin sliping a blade into the magus, while perfectly in-genre, is made utterly impossible by these "paranoid magi", which I find a great loss.
There's also the side-effect of having active wards: you can't touch a spoon, your clothes, can't eat either (vegetables, animals)...

Not much of a loss if you know the wards will be there, as I mentioned. An active ward (as well as an active parma) is also seen by second sight et al (see active magics) so it is fairly difficult to go around incognito while warded. And killing magi via mundane assassin wopuild be dull for my troupe. besides, killing magi by backstabbing is the least cool way to generate stories. We have had prominent companions murdered, but not magi. If you want to backstab magi, invest in some penetrating daggers. Generally the covenant is about to collapse when the companions die, anyway, not when the magi disappear, so not a problem for us. Most magi are paranoid individuals IMS. YMMV. No option is inalid, just shows different preferences in different troupes.


BTW: Jeanmichelle: take a look at Mythic herbalism for those poisoned arrows :slight_smile: One of the coolest Virtues since Minor Magical Focus


Thanks xavi,

the vrtue is too pretty to be wasted on a pacifist.

Apart from that: I hate warding.


.... at, say, a -6 penalty to any shot and all ranges quartered.

These metal arrows are not modern titanium alloys! And fiberglass.... no.



I agree with Ovarwa (as I usually do). Absolutely no bone. Arrows need to be flexible, in order to "wiggle" around the bowshaft and avoid hitting your hand. With modern metalsmithing you could probably do it in metal, but in the middle ages ... hmmm... very, very, very difficult.

Crossbow bolts are a different story.

I agree with Xavi, Ovarwa, et al. that the magus that only pokes his nose out of his sanctum with a "Globe of Invulnerability" around him is indeed dull, boring and (as a SG) quite irksome. In fact, it irks me when players try to create "invincible superhero" characters in general. Sure, with sufficient knowledge of the rules and careful planning one can create a dreadnought mage, but as an avid veteran roleplayer this approach lacks the right sense of what RPG's are about. Others may disagree but I feel that RPG's (ArM in particular) are not "I must win at all costs" type games. People who want to play like that should, IMHO, play videogames. RPG's are about creating and playing people in an otherworldly environment. That's why Flaws are just as important, and interesting, as Virtues.

I appreciate players who build a good, interesting concept for their character and then play it out with integrity, even if that means they walk off a cliff or into the dragon's maw. One of our players is more dedicated to making fatally flawed magi than powerhouses, and his creations are always fun, interesting characters, even if they often sorely lack important arts or abilities as a result of their flaws. This player who seems to want to be invincible at all times should be taken aside and "talked to" by the SG. He/she may defend their mage's actions as within their character, in which case there are always unresisted spells to dodge, Divine powers immune to magical wards, and other ideas.

Sidenote: I realize the RAW seem to allow to Corpus wards, but in my troupe's house rules magi cannot make wards against Corpus as they are primarily comprised of Co themselves; one cannot ward oneself against oneself, in other words. So bone weapons are a very real threat to magi in our sagas, although since we don't play the cutthroat, "Killer DM" style it hardly ever materializes. Just a thought.


Whoa! I love being agreed with, yet prefer it to be with something I actually said!

I think an invulnerable magus can make for a fine character. I don't see a good roleplaying game as a complicated gambling game, with the emotional energy and personal time invested in a character staked on dice rolls, but about developing interesting characters. The best stories aren't about the battles but the choices.



Ok, arrows for a bow of other materials than wood might be tricky - with mundane craft. But you could have a master fletcher to work with you. Sure it's expensive, but what do magi care?
Or you could use PeTe to lessen the weight of those cold iron arrows, and MuTe to allow them the flexibility needed. Or An or Co for bone arrows.

And regarding the other subissue (which I apologize for almost hijacking this thread to):
I don't mind players activating their booster/helper spells, when danger is at hand. it just annoys me, if sobebody does this all the time and uses virtually all spells at hand (e.g. in the books) as well as almost everything else imaginable.
Small spells won't warp you, and they're not used every day in the lab or library, just when the magus goes outside - even just for a trivial event.


Except that a mundane fletcher wouldn't know what to do with a weird material, and Hermetic Magic sucks at crafting. Really, really sucks.

Two problems:

The lesser problem is that the arrows would still need to be properly crafted, not simple, since a craftsman needs to figure out how to do it, cold iron is a suckful material for making arrows, and medieval ironwork is not really up to the task of forging a sleek arrow. And, due to the weird way Hermetic craft spells work, a magus would have an even more difficult time. I really dislike the craft magic rules, but there it is.

The greater problem is that even if you have the arrows, casting PeTe or MuTe ruins the school of magic, because now the arrows are resisted by Parma....



Weeeeell, the Pe/Mu Te effects could be Momentary, and stop just before impact??? :S


If you're gonna go the straw route, best enlist Rumplestiltzkin! :wink:



As said: we have a slightly different approach here. We consider a ward vs wood and metal to be more or less the same thing as the Parma Magica. If you can, you will have it at hand to protect you, in the same way that you use your parma to do exactly that even when you are in your lab or reading a book in the library. It is something that you simply do. It is part of your usual dress, much like Parma. In our version of the OoH most magi have personalized versions of those wards (some of the most paranoid will have more wards stacked on, but tha tis less common).

That is perfectly OK for us. You simply have to take that into account when you design stories, in the same way that you assume that the magi have their parma magica active and carry their familiars and talismans around. it is part of the setting. Our setting at least.



FWIW, I think a virtue or hedge tradition that combines archery and spellcasting would be cool.

Something like, you must have Performance Magic for Archery. You can now cast spells at a new Range: Bowshot. Maybe Archery adds to the casting score and the arrow must strike the target.

This doesn't help with a Flambeau school that gets around MR, but has a kind of coolness all its own.