Survey query: Talisman users

After creating a Talisman you can place various enchantments into it. Each enchantment requires it's own activation command.
Also attune a single Shape or Material bonus alongside each enchantment.

Query 1: do you typically make these enchantments usable by whomever holds the Talisman, or only the creator ?

Query 2: are the attuned Shape and Material bonuses more important than the enchantments in a Talisman ?

Just had another thought.
How is an enchanted in the Familiar bond activated?

I think this depends on a number of factors. The personality of the magus, the particular power, if saving 1 magnitude is important due to art scores (using Personal range instead of touch for instance). I rarely play characters that would bother to add the extra levels to limit users but would implicitly limit users with personal range teleport, for instance.


Again, I assume it depends on the creator but that any method used in items is plausible. Each being is considered always touching the bond so it could be a vocal command, a gesture, etc., including a linked trigger from an InMe effect allowing mental command. though there is the limit that if the effect only affects one participant in the bond that it is the other who is able to activate it, assuming it isn't a constant effect or whatnot with an environmental trigger.

In addition to depending on the Magus, what the item actually is can make a difference. This is especially true with things like Inscription on the Soul which effectively allows the Magus to be their own Talisman.

Unless the Magus is planning specifically on leaving their Talisman behind when they die for others to use, actually spending the extra magnitude to increase range from Personal to Touch might be something that never even occurs to them. It is added effort that makes the enchantments harder with no benefit to the individual Magus.

Shape & Material bonuses from a Talisman are one of the largest and most important benefits from having a Talisman. They are a direct increase in a Magus spell casting power, allowing them to successfully cast spells in adverse conditions and/or a higher penetration then they would otherwise be able to achieve. They can also often get you over that last little hump to casting a spont spell, whether that be just enough to cast it with fatigue or allow you to do it without spending fatigue. When designing your Talisman it is often better to use Shape & Material which has fewer larger bonuses over many smaller ones.

You only put Personal range spells in a Talisman?

Not greater range spells that you want cast when you are in a hostile Aura?

Yeah, plenty of times putting effects greater than personal range is useful whether those are offensive effects or buffs you might want to place on your companions.

You only put Personal range spells in a Talisman?

I think its less about ONLY putting personal effects in a talisman, and more about personal effects in a talisman being uniquely powerful. If I want an item to blast apart enemies or teleport friends, I can make that from anything that provides appropriate bonuses (wands with rubies for fire spells for instance).
But If I want a spell thats only going to be cast on me then a talisman provides a unique benefit. It allows me to put it at personal range rather than touch and it therefore allows me to cast it without lowering my parma. Both of which can't be done in other items.
So yeah, you can put the combat spells in your talisman, and if your talisman is a staff with a ruby on the end that might be a great idea, but if your talisman is a ring, or a hat or chalice or something, that personal effect is still going to be better than in any other enchanted item, whereas you might want to put the fireball effect in a handy wand separately.

Like most things, it depends on the magi is question. Some might put the blasty efects, some might put only personal, and some will do a mix of both.

  1. I typically make it so anyone can use the effects, because I would like to think someone I trained could make use of it when I'm gone and it will add to my magical legacy.

  2. Depends on whether you prefer casting as you go or having big enchantments built in. I love the attuned bonuses, gives you bonuses when casting and allows you to reach slightly higher spontaneous spells. However, I have seen a Verditius enchant mega effects of doom into their talisman so the effects can be more important.


It depends on the effect enchanted in the item. It can be worth keying some effects with intellego mentem spells to affect the owner of the Talisman, but it's not necessary for everything.

They can be incredibly important, and one of the main reasons to build a Talisman in the first place. The enchantments are nice, but I would say far less important than attuned shape and material bonuses. Having an item that gives you several boosts that can compare to virtues like Puissant Art is very nice. Especially when a boost to an art from Talisman can stack with Puissant, with the exception of lab totals for spell research.

1 Like

1: It's generally not worth increasing the level of the enchantment for exclusive use. If someone steals your talisman they have to investigate it, unless you show off your talisman frequently and foolishly.

2: Maybe. It depends. Given that enchantments in the talisman can be uniquely powerful and that they are safe to use regardless of stress or local aura, talisman enchantments can be very important. OTOH if you're making a talisman just to get those sweet, sweet attunements, then the enchantments are likely to be weak and largely inconsequential.

Since the two always come together, the question seems moot.
It is clear that a couple of good enchantments would benefit any magus, very often more useful than learning a spell to the same effect since it can be used without risk in any situation. That is always worthwhile.

The value of the S&M bonuses depends very much on the magus' speciality. When you find one which really fits the magus' speciality and is large, it is of course brilliant, but that is not always so easy, and you can often gain more by reading up on your arts. For some magi they may be worthwhile in their own right.

My players almost never made talismans and didn't see the point.

Many players regard talismans as 'big projects', like they have to pile it full of enchantments before it's worth it. This IMO disregards the utility and social status a talisman has. The extension of touch range makes the use of a lot of touch ranged spells much more convenient. And having a talisman (and familiar) makes one a 'proper' magus, and in some tribunals (Rhine especially), conforming to social expectations is important.


Talismans are big projects. If you make it too early, you will find that you want another one.

Very often, you will want a gem inset in the talisman, and then you cannot even open it until you have reached Magic Theory 6. If you do that early in the career, you have a very narrow focus.

In addition to that, there is the general problem that one is easily tempted to read arts first, to get a bigger lab total, before one starts making minor enchantments, and the talisman is not much worth before it gets its first enchantment.

So, while there are many good reasons to make a talisman, there are also many other things one wants to do with the time. It is not that one does not want it, but rather that it is postponed.

1 Like

There's a reason I love the Great Talisman mystery.

A simple “two season” staff or wand talisman is not bad. It often gets overlooked but can be made near to gauntlet if you have the vis and destroying it can later be part of an initiation script fo initiating the first talisman mystery.


And that's FINE. There's no good reason to hesitate to make a simple talisman early in your career (the touch range utility alone is great), then destroy the old one to make room for a new one. You didn't waste time or vis on the project, you got use from it for probably decades. Worth spending a year to make the talisman and throw a few basic enchantments into it for a couple good attunements.

In fact, it's even more valuable for a young magus to do so, as it's a much bigger power boost to get a couple good attunements - assuming that they've gained the easy arts progress (up to around 15 in an art, where the summae dry up). And there are plenty of 'maintain concentration for user' effects that young magi would find useful, so really it's ONE extra season you're spending over a greater invested device.

And that's leaving aside how many mystery initiations can allow you to sacrifice a talisman for big bonuses (enough to avoid gaining flaws).

1 Like

You are making quite a few assumptions. I have no problem seeing that if you play a slow paced saga with a lot of stage time for the magi, that an early talisman can be worthwhile.


  1. To sacrifice the talisman, you have to assume that said mystery cults are in play and that the PCs are accepted and promoted.
  2. The one season over a greater device really assumes that you would make the effort to make that greater device. Most common effects can be done with lesser devices, which would not be thrown away when you need a better device.
  3. You have to assume that there is enough vis in play to afford a greater device.

I like the sacrifice for mystery approach, but not every saga feature the right mystery cults.

In short, it depends on the character and on the saga.

Straight out of apprenticeship, a Magus will have a Magic Theory of at least 3. With a 3 they are limited to 6 pawns of Vis and 3 components for a compound item. So what can we do with that?

  • Medium components of Wood, Leather, Cloth, or Glass
  • Small components of Bone or Soft Stone
  • Tiny components of any Metal (except gold), as well as Hard Stone

So we can pick any three of those to build into it. Looking over the list, we find that a simple stick gets the modifiers for Wand/Staff, Wood(Dead), and the type of wood it is (Oak, Ash, Aspen, Beech, Birch, Blackthorn, Cedar, Cherry, Chestnut, Cinnamon, Cinquefoil, Cypress, Elder, Elm, Fir, Hawthorn, Holly, Hornbeam, Linden, Palm, Pine, Poplar, Rowan, Walnut, Willow, and Yew as a non-exhaustive list all provide bonuses). If the tree the wood was taken from was struck by lightning there is an additional bonus. In general it is overall the best single component within our range.

A straight out of apprenticeship with minimum Magic Theory Magus' two additions to that base wand have a variety of choices. Some of the better choices...

  • Basalt: a Hard Stone which provides a bonus to Ignem and Perdo.
  • Brass: a bonus to Ignem, Music, and Demons/Devils/Angels
  • Bronze: a bonus to Terram and Darkness
  • Clear Glass: nearly as good as Quartz at Invisibility and adds a second modifier.
  • Copper: a large range of narrow focused modifiers
  • Granite: bonus to Wealth and Terram. Use a course rather than gemstone quality piece
  • Iron: especially good against Faeries. Depending on the Saga this might be highly valuable or worthless.
  • Ivory: good for Healing.
  • Lead: bonus for Wards as well as Summoning or Binding Spirits.
  • Magnet: bonus to Rego, with a larger one to RegoCorpus and RegoTerram.
  • Magnetite: bonus to Animal
  • Marble: Hard Stone with bonus to Beauty, Cold, and Wards
  • Silver: small bonus to Intelligo and Terram, as well as large bonuses related to lycanthropes.

There are a couple of really good ones that would require two components to get.

  • Mercury provides bonuses to Aquam, Terram, and Muto. Though you would have to use something as a container for it (clear glass or a metal).
  • Mirror (silver and glass) provides bonuses to Summon/Bind Ghost, See the Truth, Display Images, and Illusions. Combined with the modifiers from Silver and Glass, this gives a very specific set that if it fits the Magus is very useful.

A simple wooden wand, if chosen from a wood that fits the Magus and with two appropriate other components can be enchanted as a Talisman straight out of apprenticeship that provides bonuses to Arts and activities the Magus favors. While yes if you wait you can make a much better (or at least more complicated) one, selection of appropriate parts would allow one any Magus can create to be very useful.

For the earlier question to me, no I do not make every enchantment in a Talisman with a Personal Range. I was simply pointing out that effects a Magus instills which are to be used on themselves, many Magi will use the lower Magnitude of Range Personal to enchant a more powerful or cheaper effect without thinking about "Can someone else use this?". Any effects planned to be used on others will have a range greater than Personal.

1 Like