Shape and material bonuses for a spear

Hello all

I can't find shape and material bonuses for spears, are there any? If not, what should they be? I'm tempted to say "same as a staff/wand" but this seems like a missed opportunity to do something interesting with it.


"What should they be."

In AM5, these bonuses do not exist unless the rules say they do. Plausible bonuses are only brought into existence through Vulgar Alchemy, and information is then disseminated throughout the Order by inventors. So they "should be" 0.

I don't like the Vulgar Alchemy virtue, and I think that these bonuses should be intrinsic, with the rules providing examples.




I'm not so sure about that. We've seen them added through a number of books. Outside of the separate knowledge that Atlas will soon stop making new ArM5 books, that doesn't mean we won't see more. There is no theoretical limit to the ones that are available. So I figure there may well be more known ones out there when I look at the books, since that is consistent with having read more of them in later published books. Ask your SG.

You could also go the route that a spear is a staff with a pointy blade put on its end. So it should get the staff bonuses. If that's not allowed, then how is adding a gemstone to the end allowed?

That's what I'm saying: Bonuses are explicitly added in rule books, and there are rules for getting bonuses that are not explicitly added, ie, through Vulgar Alchemy.

You could. One could also say that affixing a blade to a length of wood that is currently a staff makes it something that is not a staff, so it gets entirely new bonuses, whereas a staff with a gem on it remains a staff (with a gem) rather than becoming something different, ie a spear.

Indeed, I would rule that way. A staff is not a spear. In a similar way, if I take a bunch of staves and join them into a fence, I have a fence, which ought not get bonuses for affecting things at a distance, because I no longer have staffs. Note that a gem gets bonuses for its material. So a wooden staff gets bonuses for being wood and for being a staff, and if it's oak it gets oak bonuses (along with wood and staff).



Look at the Talisman of Darius on ArM5 p.35:

So one can argue from precedent, that the haft of a p.176 Long Spear has the shape and material bonuses of a p.110 wand/staff. And I would extend that to the hafts of p.176 Short Spears as well.


Well spotted One Shot! Although interesting that Darius has only enchanted the haft. Obviously this is more to do with penetration when stabbing than anything but he still hasn't technically enchanted a spear. He enchanted a staff and then stuck a mundane blade on it to make a spear.

OK then, vulgar alchemy aside (since I don't like it much), assuming that we want to find a new shape bonus for a spear, what might a spear have. This should ideally represent something innately spear related about it. The essence of being a spear. Spears are weapons, so bonuses to hurt things might be appropriate. They are also long and keep the wielder (ideally) at a certain amount of range from his target, so maybe something defence related. We have hunting spears like boar spears, but these seem to me evolutions of speardom for a specific purpose (i.e. hunting boars), although since spears have been hunting weapons for millennia, maybe something to do with hunting isn't inappropriate. Is spear hunting big in medieval Europe? Spears don't seem to have any hugely thematic roles (unlike say, shackles for binding people) so the bonuses should be high, certainly nothing at 4 or above.

How about
+3 hunting land animals or fish
+3 vs people
+2 repel things

Of course, that would be inconsistent with several things published. For example, what about a tattoo of a bow? It's not a bow, but it gets the shape bonus for a bow. Or, more pertinently, look at the well-spotted spear that Darius has. According to ArM5 you get the shape bonus from the full shape, including the part that isn't directly enchanted. So, since we have Darius's talisman and the statement about shapes, ArM5 is saying his staff is a spear.

True, but it still has the shape of a spear. Darius doesn't get to use iron for a material bonus, though.


Aren't there special rules for tattoos for gruagachan? Not for magi?

As for Darius' spear counting as a staff in core rules... I guess that means I'm flat out wrong, RAW.

Ok, I'm flat out wrong.

When it comes to shape and material bonuses, it would not be the first time: I also totally disagree that if I alter the shape of a staff into a ring that it should continue to get bonuses for being a staff. And the authors weighed in that this opinion is wrong. (I think it shouldn't be, but whatever. I can more grudgingly accept that the gold ring mutoed into a wood staff would retain its bonuses for being gold... but still don't like it at all.)

Hmm. Isn't that only because he didn't spend time attuning that bonus?



I think I had agreed with you on the preference way back when :open_mouth: (How often do you and I agree? :wink: ), though I think we disagreed on what the canon interpretation was. I think we (a bunch of us) went back and forth on that for a little while until an example was found. I know the reasoning I had presented seemed fairly sound (based on similar stuff with Essential Nature), but I never loved that that was the logic I was reading. I have, however, found some flavorful ways to use the canon interpretation. I want to make a mage dealing with transmutation of fire, turn some fire into objects temporarily, open the object made of fires, bind it as a talisman, and imbed permanent effects to keep the fires in their new forms. It's like a limited, non-Faerie version of Glamour.

No, it isn't. Page 97 (middle column, last paragraph, top half) of ArM5 specifies that if you enchant a piece of an object you get to use the full shape of the object but you do not get the material bonuses for the pieces you don't enchant. It looks otherwise, but in some ways its actually more lenient about damage than if you enchant the whole thing. If you destroy the spear tip of Darius's spear, you lose any enchantments that used a shape bonus for the spear or that were designed to work with the spear tip. Seems bad. But if you have a fully enchanted spear and you destroy its tip, it is a broken item and requires a Verditius to fix it before you can use any enchantment on it.


You and I agree pretty often. Or at least, most folks around here (or at least those who have expressed either agreement or disagreement with things I have said) disagree with me far more often about far more things.

On this issue, I think the prevailing rules are dead silly.

If I Muto a fish into a kitten, it no longer deserves bonuses for activities in the water but should have penalties, even though it is essentially a fish. But....



So, for better or worse, AM6 will look nothing like what I would do. And I would do quite a bit.

I like to allow people to alternately do original research to unlock a shape and material bonus. But that's a personal preference.

That's the gist of Vulgar Alchemy, isn't it? I think it makes sense when the desired bonus doesn't match the shape or material. I think it's clear that the list is not exhaustive, and there could be many reasonable bonuses available that aren't listed. The way to determine what these reasonable bonuses are is through a troupe/SG negotiation. Resorting to original research is just an opportunity for Twilight and warping.