Suggestion for crafting mage needed

I am a bit overwhelm by the number of books now available, so I am looking at this group to have some advices.

I would like to build a mage around the concept of magical crafting, specially gifted in building things for his sodales, and possibly even for some friendly non-magus. He would be contacted by spring covenant, lonely mage or mage looking for discreet job to build room/lab/house/inn without resorting to Creo magic and vis expensive ritual (I know that vis abundance is relative for each campaign, so in this case, assume that only well established covenants will be willing to spend virtus for tower building).

The core virtues I identified so far:
Puissant Finesse
Affinity Finesse (is having both overkill ?)
Major focus: manipulation of physical object (non-living), basically, encompassing ReTe, ReHe (wood) and possibly the odd "bone-made" throne.
... which leave plenty of room.

If having score in relevant mundane knowledge helps in the building process (Craft: Architecture or Masonry), I could easily see Apt Student, as he will broaden and diversify his building skills.
I am always partial to Inventive genius, to make the research of specific spell easier, and I am also considering Free Expression to let him build truly creative structures.

As flaw, I would easily see:
Weak Spontaneous Magic - I see my magus as a methodical, slow builder, not so keen on improvising stuff which might collapse. However, he might be having "Flexible Formulaic Magic" as a virtue: he can be creative once he has learned something.
Waster of vis - which could explain also his choice of magic.

Emphasize will be on Intelligence and probably Perception - the two main attributes which could be relevant for Finesse and construction.

House: It is not clear cut for where such magus could come from. A forgotten tradition in Ex Miscellanea coming from menhirs crafter ? A Mercere helping his house establishing network of inns and trade house ? I guess, it will depend on the Virtue/Flaw you might suggest.

Arts: definitely Rego, Muto, Herbam and Terram as his priority. His magical focus should help him handle the various requisit.

For spells, I was wondering if it would be possible to invent spell allowing to only partially build items, requiring several spells to achieve the final results. The idea is to be able to achieve higher Artistic value by decreasing the Finesse roll target. He might have to spend a whole week to build a house instead of just one spell. Maybe he need to invent spell with Duration "Concentration" ("The five Masons at work"), and need high concentration score and good stamina.

Finesse (obviously)
Artes Liberales (geometry) - I guess
but what else could help ? Some social skills to negotiate ? some drawing skills or craft skills to put his idea on paper and show it to his customers ?

I am looking forward to your suggestions.
I do not want a one-tricky poney, I would rather look at a well rounded character.

Following all suggestions, I am updating my magus here

Hieronimus Fafnerson, House Ex Miscellanea
Strong Faerie Blood (God Blood, Fafner) - Free Ex Misc
Puissant Finesse - Free Ex Misc
Weak spontaneous Magic - Ex Misc
His Master Westi the Woodbender, a Rustician magus. When he took Hieronimus as apprentice, Westi was not able to initiate Hieronimus in the Art of the Rustician magi, however, he clearly felt that he had all the potential to be a great Craft-magus, so he trained him the best he could.

Virtues: 5 minor
Faerie Legacy (necessary to enjoy the Sympathy benefit coming from his blood)
Affinity - Finesse
Puissant Concentration
Improved Characteristic
Free Expression

Waster of Vis (major)
Warped magic (minor)
Faerie Upbringing (minor)

Int: +3 (+1 from Improved characteristic)
Per: +2
Sta: +1
Str: 0
Dex: +1
Com: 0
Pre: -1

Early childhood - no social skills because of Faerie Upbringing
Native Language: Danish: 5
Second Sight: 2
Faerie Lore: 2
Survival: 2

He was found at the age of 8 by Westi after being adopted by a small farming community after leaving (or being abandonned ?) the court he was living in, he had learned by that time:
Language: German: 3
Area Lore: 1 (5)
Athletics: 1

Parma: 1
Magic Theory: 3
Latin: 4
Artes Liberales (geometry): 1
Concentration: 1
Finesse: 5

The choice of the Arts was dictated to be able to cast The Mystical Carpenter (ReHe25), The Phantom Blacksmith (ReTe20) and a few other spells that I will design later on.

Intellego: 2
Muto: 4
Rego: 8
Herbam: 8
Terram: 6

The Mystical Carpenter (ReHe25)
The Phantom Blacksmith (ReTe20)

First I have to ask:
Do you see him as crafting mundane items, or magical devices?
Because if you plan to craft magical devices (other than charged items), Waster of Vis will get really expensive.

If you see yourself crafting mundane objects, Finesse is the way to go. Affinity and Puissant work well together - I used that for the craft maga I wrote a while back.
If you find yourself in a physical conflict, it can even be used offensively, and spells that need to be targetted generally do not need to penetrate.
In this case, you may want to look into HoH: Societates, as the Jerbiton chapter has a lot of thoughts about craft magic, and the Flambeau chapter has some material on using Finesse in a fight.
I also would probably leave the Major Magical Focus in this case, as most craft magic spells are low level, being usually R: Touch and D: Momentary, as well as fairly low base effects. There is a list of expected spell levels in a box HoH: Societates, p. 61, none of them above level 5, while Magical Foci are usually good for access to high level spells, or getting good penetration with medium level spells, neither of which you really need.

If you plan to create magical devices, decide for yourself if you want to play a Verditius or not.

Either way, Magic Theory is the golden ability, worthy of both Affinity and Puissant.

If you've decided to walk the path of the verditius magus, Craft and Philosophiae will also become useful, as will House Verditius Lore probably.
The book here is HoH: Mystery Cults.

Alternatively, there are the Rustic Magi of HoH: Societates (p. 130ff), whom I personally consider potentially broken beyond repair, but have very limited experience with.
Can't really advice you there.

But by now, I hape to have boiled things down to just the core book, and either HoH: Societates or HoH: Mystery Cults. :slight_smile:

Don't forget Spell Mastery. If you've been selective about your crafting spells so you don't need a ton, it can get cheaper to improve Finesse via Spell Mastery, at least a little. Also, figuring you might go with Finesse-type combat spells, Spell Mastery there helps.

Faerie Sympathy can work with Finesse, in which case I would also recommend Cautious with Finesse.

I do think D: Concentration fits the rules, allow you to progress more slowly and more carefully. You pay an extra magnitude and must spend more time. But that should lower Finesse difficulties, though never more than 3 about the mundane value. Also, having the actual Craft Abilities is handy. You can get a Finesse bonus, plus depending on how C&G is read these will cap how high you can get via Finesse (if you want to go past Superior). (As nothing violates this reading and it prevents serious brokenness, I think this reading should be generally accepted.)

Faerie Blood: Dwarf is good if you're getting a bunch of Craft Abilities.

Ok, I am new here, so take anything I am about to say with a grain of salt. Or Herbam Vis, if you prefer.

Anyhow, if you are looking to create a character who is all about crafting devices, you could - with Story Guide approval, of course - look at Ancient Magic. In the section for Heron of Alexandria's Legacy (starting on page 75) there are rules regarding Mechanica, which are magical-mechanical devices. There are a couple of Virtues there related to this, and all the rules regarding Breakthroughs and a few Abilities related to this field of study.

Now, you have to be aware that following this path is bad news for House Verditius, as they will lose out the most. Integrating these devices into the Order means that magi will no longer have need of numerous magical devices, which means a drop in sales for Verditius. This could bring up a serious story hook in Verditius wanting to suppress this knowledge once/if it's found...or destroy any magi/covenant who utilize it.

Already lots of good suggestions.

Non magical items, so definitely not a Verditius.
As is Finesse score increases and expand his area of expertise (through additional spells but also Craft ability) to become a Master Crafter. Inventive or talented architect will create nice blueprint or design and he will use his magical skill to build what would be extremely difficult/risky or require a lot of manpower to execute the work.

I was reading in Hermetic project the level of spell like "Hands of Phereclus", and it is a ReHe(Te) 40 and the Unseen Shipwright is ReHe(Te) 30, so I believe at some stage the Major focus will help.
I believe the spell in HoH: Societas is more for little items made in a day through normal means.

Thanks ! I am wondering which of Flawless Magic or Flexible Formulaic Magic is more worth ? If I take Flexible magic, I can achieve several effect with on spell, and every mastery level will benefits all variants. Flawless magic allow me to master more quickly and cheaply every spells. It will be quite usefull also once I take a few combat spells as high finess + mastered spell will be quite efficient.

I am glad you are suggesting that because I was considering Faerie Blood or even Strong Faerie Blood as Ex Miscellanea (and not Merinita) as a builder lineage.

Precisely. Ability grows much more slowly than Arts, so I am willing to trade magnitude and time for quality. Depending on the quantity of virtues/flaws I have, I might add Hermetic Prestige or other reputation-related virtue to show that he is quite popular amongst young/poor covenants as he is offering good value for money and his willing to accept delay paiment (which could translate with Personal vis source virtue possibly).


Generally agree with comments here. Note that Hermetic crafting totals tend not to be very good. Partnering with a Learned Magician (or just being an LM under certain interpretations) can change this dramatically.

Having played just such a magus, you'll want the following:

Puissant Finesse
Affinity with Finesse
Independent Study (so Practice with Finesse is 9xp/season due to Affinity)


Minor Magical Focus (Craft Magic) - makes inventing spells quicker
Affinity with Rego or Puissant Rego
Cautious With Finesse (this helps reduce your botch dice to zero in most cases with Craft Magic)
Flawless Magic (so that you can get lots of Finesse Mastery on spells; with Independent Study practicing Mastery is 14xp/season)
Great Perception (boosting Finesse totals)
Apt Student (for learning Craft skills, though getting a Craft to 5 is probably pointless and getting a 1 is enough to avoid a penalty)

It seems that you want your magus to craft mundane items through Rego craft magic (rather than e.g. creating them with Creo magic like Conjuring the Mystic Tower). Right?

If that's the case:

a) As it's been stated, you may not need a focus. Sure, in some cases you may use spells as high as level 40 if you make really big stuff, but they are rare and far between. And you don't really need a focus to handle level 40 spells (an Affinity with Rego might be worth taking, though, just because Affinity in a technique is so "big"). Basically, a lab total of 60 or so is more than enough to develop any spell you need, and if you have that, you can merrily cast level 40 spells without trouble. You won't get that straight out of gauntlet without investing heavily in it, but you'll get there quickly enough in normal play... and in the meantime, there's plenty of other stuff you can do with spells of Level 5 or less, and almost everything you need is within level 20 or so.

b) Don't take dwarf blood, you'll use Finesse to craft, which is no Craft Ability. Instead, take Faerie God Blood, which gives you a faerie sympathy (you want to take it in Craft Magic). It's a supersolid choice (see RoP:F), particularly if you take Cautious with Finesse.

c) As you immediately noted, it's really, really worth investing in Finesse. It's the ability you'll use all the time, you need it at very high levels, and it comes in pretty handy for lots of other stuff too. Take Affinity with Finesse, and take Puissant Finesse, and don't stop there. Take Cautious with Finesse (so your chance to botch is really small, even if you leverage your fairy sympathy). And take Learn Finesse from mistakes; Finesse is an ability you'll use a lot, so you'll get 8 extra xp (5, boosted by Affinity) every session that you botch (which you probably won't, given your being Cautious) or fail by exactly 1 point (which you will if you push your limits) a Finesse roll. And make sure you start with Finesse at 7+2, sacrificing your initial Art scores if need be; Finesse is generally harder to raise than Arts, and you don't want to Practice it, since practice is a lousy source of experience (even with Independent study) - Learn from Mistakes will probably give you all the experience you need in Finesse, if combined with your Faerie Sympathy.

d) Make sure you bring your Perception to +3, and consider investing one or two points in Great Perception, bringing it up to +4 or +5. It adds to your Finesse totals! EDIT: Some people assume crafting is Intelligence + Finesse, rather than Perception + Finesse. Technically, that's what HoH:S says; but the examples in Covenants all use Perception. If your troupe assumes it's Intelligence, raise Intelligence - it's even better because it adds to your lab totals.

e) I'd probably suggest against taking Flawless magic. True, you can get a lot of "free" spell mastery xp from that, and with the Precise Casting mastery (from HoH:S) every "mastery slot" devoted to it gives you a +1 to Finesse, but only with that spell. You'll soon be good enough to make a lot of stuff with spontaneous non-fatiguing magic; you are far better off improving your Finesse!

If you take all that, it's 8 minor Virtues:
Affinity with Rego
Great Perception x 2 (EDIT: or great Intelligence if you assume that's the characteristic for Finesse crafting)
Faerie God Blood (Sympathy with Craft magic)
Affinity with Finesse
Puissant Finesse
Learn Finesse from Mistakes
Cautious with Finesse

You could complete it with some xp-granting Virtue, like Independent study (if you adventure a lot) or Book Learner (if you don't). Or you could take a Relic, and call upon it once/day for a +3 bonus as long as your motives are pure (consider taking it from some Crafter Saint, and get a devotion to that saint - see TC). Or take Free Expression - make truly beautiful stuff. Etc. etc.

And Practice with Spell Mastery. Don't forget Precise Casting (HoH:S p 34)

Perception is for Aiming and duplicate illusions, Intelligence is for Crafting (ArM5 p 77 top right and HoH:S p 60)

That's true, but the examples from Covenants all use Perception.

If you're taking the Fae Blood virtue, a suitable background for the crafting might be from the myths around fasolt and fafnir. I came across them as part of Wagner's Ring Cycle, where they built Valhalla. but I'm certain you'll find the real myths with a quick google.

On HoH:S the rules talks about Intelligence, but Rego craft magic uses Perception. Like one houserules, you can say than if the proceess would be naturally made with Intelligence (Like the alchemical reagents from A&A) then, any Finness roll would be with Inteligence instead of Perception.

On HoH:S the rules talks about Intelligence, but Rego craft magic uses Perception. Like one houserules, you can say than if the proceess would be naturally made with Intelligence (Like the alchemical reagents from A&A) then, any Finness roll would be with Inteligence instead of Perception.

If so, Intelligence is certainly correct! :slight_smile:/2

Precise Casting is good for +1, maybe +2 tops, but the Finesse targets are pretty high. If you take Great Perception(x2) AND you saga uses Per+Finesse for Craft Magic (which it should, IMO), you don't need Flawless Magic. OTOH, if you take Flawless Magic, you probably don't need Great Perception. You probably won't find many books on Spell Mastery with regard to most Craft Magic spells though.

For the record, my Craft Magus had Per+2 and got up to Finesse 8 before the saga ended, and it was inadequate for my ambitions, especially once HoH:S came out and made it even harder with actual Ability requirements. This is a path with a LOT of non-Arts study, but having tons of Finesse makes you very dangerous in Hermetic combat with indirect spells.

Consider Gentle Gift. You'll need to source raw materials a lot (or have underlings that do so), especially if you want to turn your focus into a revenue stream (for example, buy up raw wool, turn to wool cloth, profit).

This is actually incorrect. At quick count in Covenants I found 5 examples using Perception + Finesse, 3 examples using Intelligence + Finesse, and many more unspecified.

This is highly dependent on what the craft mage is doing. What if you only use The Phantom Blacksmith for your crafting. You just love smithing and don't care for anything else. You can still craft quite a variety of stuff with that. And by being focused you can raise your cap for Excellent items. Even without Flawless Magic I would definitely consider raising Spell Mastery to 3 for The Phantom Blacksmith before raising Finesse to 8, even with an Affinity. This is why I made my conditional comment above about Flawless Magic. The Spell-Mastery option improves if you're doing fewer spells, and it improves if you're doing other things it's good for as well. But it's far from the best option overall.

(A Learned Magician can give himself Int or Per +5, add +2 (iirc) to rolls for the characteristic, give himself Puissant Finesse and add +3 to rolls, and then make botches impossible. This is before he takes an Affinity for real and dumps xps into Finesse. He can also do this for someone else. This is a pretty good start for a magical crafter. He probably also wants a Faerie Correspondence to ice the cake.)

Doesn't one of the books have something called, like, Lesser Craft Magic? Where you can take an item stored with vis and turn it into a still-mundane item with a bonus to rolls involving using it? I'm not sure of the details as I'm away from my books, but I recall something like that.

Rival Magic, I believe. But it doesn't do what you think.

Those are Verditius Items of Quality, I believe, from HoH:MC.

This is misleading. There are three examples (all on p.97) using Intelligence + Finesse, but to calculate something that is arguably not a Craft total; more precisely, to see if you can achieve a specific result. The first is to see how well you can scrape away ink from a series of pages. The second and third are to see if you can incorporate "unusual" materials in your book-creating spells.