Strong Spontaneous Magic: New Virtue Idea

I just had the idea for a virtue to balance out the flaw Poor Formulaic Magic; Strong Spontaneous Magic.

My initial thought on mechanics is that a Strong Spont caster would not divide casting rolls if using a Fatigue Level. Further, when not expending Fatigue in a spontaneous casting, they would only divide casting rolls /3 instead of the normal /5. I think a +1 Virtue, possibly +2.

Like it? Love it? Hate it? Please tell me why, and any other input you'd like to share.

So... Diedne magic?


Balance is all wrong. If a +5 virtue existed, it would be +5. Diedne Magic is weaker than the effects defined in your post, is a +3 virtue and gets dark secret as a 0 point flaw.

The weaknesses of spont casting are :-

  1. If you divide by two you can get a decent effect and can go all day assuming you can take a breather between each spont, however, if you cast too often, you will get warping points.
  2. If you divide by 5 you can't do powerful stuff, but no warping or fatigue loss.

No fatigue divide by 3 sponting, means in a mage's strongest combinations, level 15 effects could be achieved with a mage not too far out of gauntlet with no warping risk. Level 10 effects in many area, and sponting level 5 in nearly anything.

No divide fatigue sponting is very strong. Why bother learning spells? It's rhetorical, there are reasons, but....There's a bunch of highish level spells one wouldn't use too often, however they are useful. Don't spend a season learning them, just spont them, the rare time it's needed.

Also, it's flexible. You wanted room instead of group. Spont that version of the spell. The person who spent an entire season to learn the spell is not as good as they are stuck with the rigidity of the duration, target, etc they learned in the spell.

If you wanted to tweak this virtue so it's not unbalanced, I would think at most, fatigue sponting be *2/3, and non fatigue sponting divide by 4, and it would be a Major Virtue. Even then, I'm not sure it isn't unbalancing.

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Compare this to Diedne Magic, which has a build in Major Flaw, for which you get no points.
That's effectively a 6 point virtue. Which was probably weaker than this.

Specifically, Diedne Magic was powerful enough that the one character I had with Diedne Magic, essentially couldn't be bothered to learn spells. At all. Because just studying raw Arts was more useful for him.


It's ironic how this makes Diedne Magic a good Virtue for a Certamen specialist.
For the same reason, it's also an excellent Virtue for a magic-item crafter. Hmmm...


Indeed. I hadn't thought about this - probably due to our low frequency of Certamen.

I had actually thought about this. Quite a lot.
IIRC this combination is discouraged (though not forbidden) in HoH: MC, but I might be wrong.
However, I've found that a heavy focus on Magic Theory is even better for item crafters. Especially if you allow for lab specialization in Enchanting Items.

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Yeah, that was my bad, folks. I was busy with other stuff when the idea, "Weak Formulaic implies there should be Strong Spontaneous" amongst the Virtues/Flaws. I didn't even look at the books or a character sheet and just pulled some numbers out of the air.

Weak Formulaic Magic is a -1 Flaw in 4th and only gives a -1 to casting rolls. In light of that, I'd welcome your collective thoughts on two versions of Strong Spontaneous Magic as follows:

+1 Virtue: +1 to casting roll after division or +3 before division
+2 Virtue: +3 to casting roll after division or +4 before division

Not in the sense of allowing the player to choose which way it works, but I couldn't decide which I liked better. I find it hard to nail down, personally, because of the variability between casting at /2 and /5 for sponts.

Please remember that 5th edition likes to use 'Minor' and 'Major' as identifiers, so these would be +1 and +2 respectively.

Also please remember that (unless I'm much mistaken), there's no roll and no dice added to non-fatiguing
spont castings. It's just a number.

We play 4th edition so there are dice rolls, so sponts /2 and /5 can vary widely.

Any preference one way or the other between the numbers I posted most recently?