Some talisman design help?

I am new to ars magica, designing a magus. It's super awesome, but can be very open ended...which is part of the fun, but also open ended!

My magus specializing in creo/corpus, though is also working on rego/herbam, then animal (just to give an idea of the scores)

I want to make a talisman...simple to start, but later can imbue useful stuff in. This is where I'm a bit unsure! My character's priorities at the moment are a badass longevity ritual, healing, and perhaps a nice familiar? From the core rules, it seems like amber is the way to go, +3 corpus, though a creo bonus would have been more idea (so I can heal animals and make plants!). I'm not sure if any of the other rule books detail other possible materials, or if any other trickery is possible. Can a talisman have two materials? For example, could I mix bandage and amber and hyacinth, or is there just one primary material bonus?

Beyond that, what I'm really at a loss for is what effect would be useful. My character is a pharmacopian (ex Miscellanea lineage from the societates book), and I'm not quite sure what sorts of effects are useful on a talisman. Healing doesn't seem terribly useful, as it is incapable of sticking. There are various effects that could help in his role as an herbalist/healer, but I can cast those fine...I'm unsure what the benefit is to put those in the talisman if I can cast it just fine? I think that's what is making deciding an effect difficult...I'm unsure of when it's beneficial to have the spell in an item vs. being able to cast it. I guess you can invoke it instantaneously? In that case, I feel like something like "Seven Leagues Stride" or even just "Wizard's Leap"? Though in the latter case I'm not sure how binding the spell would work, as my character has Deficient Technique Perdo...which in a sense would be a reason to put it in the talisman where he could actually use it?

I dunno, I welcome y'all's advice!

Atlas have a nice compilation of the published material and shape bonuses you may find useful

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Your magus can have several components in his talisman, each with their own shape and material bonuses. Check that out on ArM5 p.97.
A magus specializing in longevity will over time get a lot of bargaining power, which he can use to contract help in the lab. This might allow him to put many powerful effects into his talisman.
In general, effects relying on Penetration require extra analysis, before putting them into a device. Buffing and support effects benefit from devices, as these do not botch, do not fatigue its user and can store many uses per day.
Shape and material bonuses of your magus' talisman determine the attunements it can be opened for, and attunements help him casting his spells. So amber and a magnet may be interesting. A wand or staff shape is also useful for the Rego that works well with Corpus.
There is one simple CrCo effect your magus certainly wants in his talisman quickly: ArM5 p.129 Bind Wound with infinite uses per day. It keeps fellow travelers and grogs active despite of wounds, and allows them to march on their own feet back to the covenant.

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A few things to take a look at - Bind Wounds, Endurance of the Berserker, whatever that fatigue-transference spell is. Another vein of thought is to enchant your talisman with effects you want to be able to use well but aren't as good at: I saw a Creo Ignem specialist with a Demon's Eternal Oblivion in his talisman to deal with things he couldn't normally do. You could easily put a variety of detection spells in it, or perhaps just make anyone touching it gain a +X to healing rolls for a month. You could add some protection spells into it, like plant or animal or metal wards.
While it makes some familiarity sense to have healing type spells in your talisman, it's probably logical to use it to shore up weaknesses and avoid casting spells you may botch.

Ivory is +5 healing(HoH:MC), Rhodocrosite has +3 binding wounds(and others, HoH:TL), Garnet has +2 vigor and +2 strengthen body and mind (and others,TMRE and HoH:MC), Birch is +1 Creo (GotF). There's a bunch of applicable ones.

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Endurance of the berserkers is definitely a very good option, as you can make the talisman maintain concentration and it is a low level option for starters.

Non botch-able low level teleportation is another very good option in ReCo that can help you survive combats or beat some small obstacles. But beware the requisites to transport your clothes and equipment. That can reduce the atractiveness of that option.

Not directly relevant, but this post:

Explains how to get the most material/shape bonuses from a talisman.

I am playing a Bonisagus CrHe based maga at the moment, and also have an improved Vulgar Alchemy that allows her to discover new form and material bonuses. Her putatative Talisman is

Rod of Asclepius (+6 CrCo healing, and as yet unknown bonus to diagnosis)

The Staff is a hollow tube made from Iron/sprouting Oak/Lead in a triple Helix.

The Serpent is coiling the opposite sense and is made out of Yddrassilian wood

The Serpents Eyes are Opal and Emerald, with a tongue of red coral.

In its Jaws it is clasping a sphere of clear glass within which is mercury

The fangs are magnets

There are silver rings around the top and bottom of the staff

Sprouting from the midway join of the serpent and the oak is the enriched Mushroom of Virtue.

Materials used: 1 Iron 2 Oak 3Lead 4 Yggdrassilian wood 5 Opal, 6 Emerald, 7 Red coral, 8 Clear Glass, 9 Mercury, 10 Magnets, 11 Silver, 12 Enriched Mushroom of Virtue.

In no way will she ever be able to open all the bonuses, but it is fun to design them. I feel that Magi Bonisagi should be subtly boasting their magic theory by having talismans with lots of material bonuses as a sort of house status marker.


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I always thought that Mercury bonus are too good and that every magus would want to put mercury in his/her talisman

Wow! Mercury has some solid bonuses!

Now, when you attune do you get all the bonuses from a material, or just one bonus, but if you attune multiple times, you can get another one? I think it's the latter...but just making sure

You get "one kind of magic attunement based on the shape and material of the talisman every time you prepare it for enchantment or instill an effect". (ArM5 p.98) That is just one new bonus each time.

How do you interpret Mercury’s “Terram and Aquam” bonus? I always though that it should be applicable to effect that use Terram and Aquam in the same effect, but the table show them as separate bonuses (which is too good).

HoH:MC p.137 writes:
"Amethyst +2 wealth, +2 hearing, ...", "Cinnabar +5 dragons, +4 wealth, +4 language, ...", "Basalt +3 Ignem, +3 Perdo" and so on.
So I read "Mercury +3 Terram and Aquam, ..." as a bonus of +3 to effects which need both Terram and Aquam. Otherwise it should have been written "Mercury +3 Terram, +3 Aquam, ..." as in all the other entries for forms or materials, which offer several bonuses of the same value.

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"liquid metal" Terram AND Aquam is one interpretation.

The other , more meta-gamey is: the system caps your bonus according to your MT. The Forms & Effects are ways to let you take steps to get a bonus up to your max. They are in a sense Story Hooks to get a rewards in bonus points - include this cool stuff, and you can make it more magical.

Several Mysteries give you bonuses which look huge, but still have the cap-by-MT, so they too just make it easier to reach to cap.

By ArM5 p.99 Instilling the Effect several Shape and Material Bonuses can add to the lab total for an effect. Their applicable sum is limited by the Magic Theory of the on instilling the effect.
But by ArM5 p.98 Talisman Attunement only a single magic attunement opened in a talisman - the highest applicable one - provides a bonus for a casting score.

I see what you're saying: single entry, "and" rather than "or." At the same time, I see entries like "arts and sciences" and "demons, devils, and angels" which include "and." Does brass only provide its bonus against something that is a demon, a devil, and an angel or a group that includes all of them? Or maybe does the single entry for Mercury provide a bonus of +3 to anything covered by the two Forms? And single entry applying to either instead of two entries would be beneficial at times (when you cannot stack), like Talisman attunements where you would only need to choose it once to get both halves. But it would be detrimental at times (when you can stack), like instilling an effect in an item where an effect with Aquam and Terram could pick up both bonuses if they were listed separately.

I am not sure about what you see.

Please let me add just a few general observations about HoH:MC p.37 Appendix: Expanded Form & Material Bonuses, which many may consider trivial.
(1) That text contains several lists of Shapes and Materials providing ArM5 p.97 Shape and Material Bonuses.
(2) Each entry in such a list first names the Shape or Material providing bonuses, followed by a list of the bonuses it provides.
(3) Each entry in such a bonus list is introduced by the value of that bonus, followed by a description in English of when that bonus applies.

English is not a programming language to parse like a compiler. Yes, it encompasses termini technici of Ars Magica, but also colloquialisms, idiomatic phrases and figures of speech.

"arts and sciences", for example, is an established standing expression that does not need further parsing, while "demons, devils and angels" could well be a not so fortunate colloquialism used for lack of a common term for supernatural beings of either Divine or Infernal provenience in Ars Magica.

But Terram and Aquam in Ars Magica are precisely defined termini technici. They are not made into two different bonuses (like in "Basalt +3 Ignem, +3 Perdo") or linked with an "or" (like in "Sulphur +2 preserving or decaying"), but with an "and". This implies, that both are requested for the specific bonus to apply.

Therein lies the problem. As I said, I see what you're saying. You're arguing that in this particular case it is AND like a programming language. If that's the case, you're correct. The problem is the frequent use of "and" in for other SM bonuses. There are lots of them, and some of them are nonsensical if "and" is meant in that way. Unfortunately, sometimes people write "and" for the union of sets, which is really OR. Meanwhile, the intersection of two sets is OR. But even mathematicians use "and" not as AND, such as saying "the union of A and B" or "the intersection of A and B." Here there is something unstated because we don't have complete sentences. The word "or" shows up a lot, though, so one would hope all uses of "and" are AND. But maybe there is an implied "the union of" rather than an implied "the intersection of"? Take a look at these few examples:

collect and preserve items - Is that only for effects that both collect and preserve things, not applicable to just preserving things?

strengthen body and mind - Does this not apply to strengthening the body alone or strengthening the mind alone, just for simultaneously doing both?

cure boils and ulcers - Does this only work for effects that cure both boils and ulcers, but not for effects that cure only one of those?

weighing goods and money - Does this only work if you weigh goods and money together?



I would read it as either Aq or Te. If it requires both Aq and Te, it is almost certainly a Mu effect, at which point the +6 Mu would be the better bonus to apply.

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ReTe(Aq) to teleport an amphora full of water to other place is valid spell that uses both Forms. It is not limited to Muto in any way.

That is true, but this is a very edge case. Especially since "pulling" the amphora alone with ReTe would suffice and the water component would be brought along without the need for the prereq.
I assume that the main overlap of Aq and Te is either converting one into the other, or maybe lava (though Ig might come in for this).