Table Talk on Rules

[u][size=150]House Rules[/u][/size]

This saga is using the rules and mechanics of ArM5. However, for Hermetic history and culture, I am drawing heavily from earlier editions. If you are new to the game with ArM5, there is no need to worry. Simply inform others of your experience and we will help you along.
The Saga Start-Date will be Winter 1230, the start of the new year.
The location is the independent province of Andorra, specifically in the Parish of Ordino overlooking the village of Arans (in the shadow of Mount Arans).
The covenant suffered a recent attack, the nature of which starts off as somewhat a mystery. Carmen just returned last year to discover the disaster, and her father Antonio is missing. Other magi (old characters ported into the new saga) were also away when it happened. Andorra has the resources to rebuild, but there is still the mystery of what happened. And Carmen's desire to find or avenge her father.
Player magi will have been recruited to join the rejuvenation, and/or were drawn for a more personal reason. The back-ground of my soap opera is as above, but this saga will be driven by the stories of the players.

Character Creation

Early Childhood
Representing the first five years of life
begin with Native Language 5, Native Area Lore 2, and 45xp for Childhood Abilities

Later Life
From age six onward (until apprenticeship), you gain 20xp per year. If you are Wealthy you gain 30xp per year, and if you are poor you gain only 15xp per year.

Apprenticeship usually begins between age 7 and 21, and lasts 15 years. During this time, you receive 300xp for Arts and Abilities, plus 150 levels of spells. You should spend no more than half your xp on Arts, and should not have any Art score greater than 10.

Describe your Gauntlet.
A new magus has the following minimums for Ability scores: Latin 1, Magic Theory 1, & Parma Magica 1.
Suggested ability scores for a new magus are Artes Liberales 1, Latin 4, Magic Theory 3, Magic Lore 1, Order of Hermes Lore 1, Parma Magica 1, Profession-Scribe 1, & Philosophiae 1.

Further Development: Years of Growth (Spring)
You may play a character fresh from their gauntlet, or you may advance the magus in age a few years. Right now I quoted a suggested cap of 35, but perhaps it should be lower.
Advancement is based upon Season, Year, and Cycle.
In a Season, you may...

  • Take 10xp Advancement (average quality of the average abstract source is 10)
  • Work in the Lab (normal rules, including gaining Exposure xp)
  • Earn extra Vis Wages (3 pawns per season of any Form)
  • Do anything else that requires a season's worth of time

In the four Seasons of a Year (Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall), you may...

  • Take up to 3 seasons Advancement
  • Work up to 2 seasons in the Lab
  • Earn an extra season of Vis Wages
  • Do whatever else that fits
  • You Must take a point of Warping if you are on a Longevity Ritual
    This is to be viewed as a ratio when extended to a Cycle. So you could, say in the course of four years, take 2 full years in the lab and study the rest of the time.

A Cycle is an average of 7 years of abstract development (which may vary by as much as +/-3 years each cycle). Regardless of the adjusted length, each Cycle you may...

  • Draw a Vis Salary of 21 pawn of any Form of vis.
  • Gain one new Virtue from a Mystery, Adventure, or other appropriate source (see below)
  • Describe a Major event in your life (the frequency of Major life events may serve as a guide to vary cycle length).
  • You Must loose a season somewhere due to miscellaneous whatever
  • You must take one point of Warping for some reason that is certain to happen sooner or later. Take two if there is a good reason too.

Other Considerations
If you possess a Virtue that affects how many xp you gain from a study source (such as Apt Student or Book Learner), add 30xp per Cycle of Development. This is invariable no matter how you tweak things. If you have two such virtues, add 45xp. If you have three then you are really pushing it, but that would add 52xp per cycle.

Simple Twilight:
You can spice your magus up with a sprinkling of Twilight. In consideration of your whole Development, you may choose a balanced value of Good and Bad effects. Total up the value of them all, and add that many Warping points. Minor Flaws are worth 7, Minor Virtues 10, Major Flaws 10, and Major Virtues 15.

Gaining New Virtues
You may gain One new Virtue per cycle. This could result from Adventure, Initiation, or other miscellaneous events. This requires an investment of Time and XP. The time required is 3 seasons for a Major Virtue, 2 seasons for Moderate, and 1 season for Minor. A Moderate Virtue is rated halfway between Minor and Major (2 points). Removing or Reducing a Flaw counts as a Virtue of that value, and Transforming a Flaw or Virtue into a different Virtue counts as having a value equal to the difference between them (a Transformation is thus limited in range to equaling a Major Virtue).
The xp cost is separate, the required seasons scratched off as waste. The base xp cost equals 10 times the value of the Virtue. You may include one to three new Flaws to reduce this cost by 5 times the value of the Flaws. The minimum cost is 0xp, just the time investment.
Companions may possibly use this formula to gain new Virtues because of back-story events.
This system is compatible for any reasonable explanation. If associated with a Mystery Cult, Initiations make things easier. Subtract 4x your Cult Lore from the xp cost. The time requirement is unaffected, and the minimum cost is 0xp. There are also Initiation scripts in cannon that provide a package of multiple Virtues & Flaws. Reasonable packages are fine, just one initiation per cycle.

Mustering Out
Then comes the time when you stop screwing around and tricking yourself out pre-game. You should spiff up a little, but you may choose to come straight out of gauntlet. You may also choose to advance up to a number of years, but I encourage you keep this to a modicum. Right now the cap is 30, and I keep changing my mind.
The official saga-start date will be Winter 1230 Christmas and the start of the New Year.
You may only keep a portion of the Vis Wages and Salary from Development. If you haven't used it all up in the lab, divide whatever is left in half and subtract your Hermetic age. That is what you get to keep as personal property. The Personal Vis Source Virtue is worth 3 pawns per year, and there is no penalty or limit on how much of this you can keep.
I am going to have certain expectations of older characters, such as having at xp equal to your Hermetic age in Order of Hermes Lore. You should also spend xp for the Area Lore(s) for where your character has resided. I expect magi with more than 15 years experience to have no zero scores in any Art, and by age thirty or sooner you should be ready to train an apprentice. And don't forget your social skills. Magi always forget their social skills, but it gives them an edge in dealing with other magi who often lack social skill.
As for vis, I may allow you to spend some of your accumulation on books and trinkets that are personal possessions, deducted before mustering. A pawn of vis is worth 4 covenant build points for books, Items, Retainers, Henchmen, Pimping out your Sanctum (I'll allow you to move in and install in a single season without further hassle), and other durable goods. You cannot buy back vis or a vis source.
Then we must figure out why you came to Andorra. This is easy to do, we just need to establish what it initially is.

I screwed up and accidentally deleted my HR document. I have a copy at home though. No worries. Simple shit.
The Wards Rule stands. If the Ward matched either Realm or Form, Penetration is as normal. If it matches both Realm and Form, do not subtract the level from the casting total. Wards are defined as a one-way barrier to keep something out. The Aegis is not a Ward, it is something more intense, and does not have to penetrate.

I will clean this all up an make this thread a locked global when we are through. So feel free to comment and discus HR's here for now. When I square it up and polish it, I'll edit it all and clip comments out Tsaving them in the archives somewhere).
I am also running Carmen through the CharGen, testing the system out and debugging it.
Which brings me to a comment about Language and Area Lore.
Language Specializations include a Dialect or a Use. Area Lore specilizations include a Specific Region or a type of Lore.
For your Native Language you get two specializations. One is a dialect, the second may be a use or another dialect.
For Native Area Lore, choose a region and either a type of lore or a second region in that area.

A Ward is defined as a one-way barrier to keep a subject out or away and/or protect you from it. A Ward cannot be used to trap or bind a subject, this requires a different spell.
Wards use normal rules for Penetration, subtracting Level from Casting Total. This presumes the Ward matched the Realm or Form of the subject. If the Ward matched both, then do not subtract the level from casting total.
The Aegis is not a Ward, it is something far more advanced, and does not need to penetrate to have normal effect.
Wards against mundane substances grant a bonus to soak/resistance/ The item is kept at bay unless delivered with enough force to push past the ward. A clasic example is the Ward against Heat & Flames. Similar Wards versus other substances are possible using these same parameters: versus Cold (also Ignnem), metal weapons (terram), wood (herbam), animal claws (Animal), getting punched or touched by humans (Corpus), etceteras.

So, does this mean that Rego Vim wards are less effective than specific wards?

One-way barrier directions would not be my choice, but its your saga, and its a minor detail to me. You're saying that a ReTe circle/ring Ward is different from a ReTe circle/ring Trap? Do they at least count as similar spells for the purpose of mastery and research?

Not at all, depends on how it is used.
Rego Vim against, say, Infernal Spirits aligned with Vim is effective and specific. Rego Animal versus all monsters is unspecific.
Unspecific Wards Penetrate using normal rules
Specific Wards do nut subtract Level from Casting Total

I see Wards & Bindings as the flip-sides of the same coin. So yes, they do count as similar, but they are still different enough that it requires separate spells.
Or, here's an idea, maybe they can be the same spell, you just decide which way you wanna cast it, inside out or outside in. I have no problem with that. Feedback?
The main reason, aside from my aesthetic preference, is that a Binding type spell should have to penetrate as normal, no matter how specific.
And a Ward does not need to be a Circle/Ring. It can be Personal/Day, Group/Diameter, etceteras.
There is the bit about the Columbae and their special ward magic. That's cool, but I doubt there will be any in this game. Just presume that what they can do with Wards is even cooler

By the RAW, a Rego Vim ward works against all creatures of a particular Realm, regardless of form. You could have, for example, a ReVi Ward Against Faeries which would keep out any Faerie regardless of Form alignment. If you want it to work differently in your saga, that's fine, I just want to clarify.

As an aesthetic choice, I'm either going to have a circle/ring ward, a Sun/Room ward or something. I'm not going to have a Personal Ward Vs Bad Guy. It just doesn't suit the sort of characters I build.

Additional house rule request: Path of Seeming, from HoH:MC, in the first Avenue, gives the initiate Clear Thinker, Common Sense and Keen Vision, in exchange for Disfigurement. Common Sense is a dumb virtue to begin with. May I get it swapped for something else? In Canaries, where I'm playing the Gauntlet+10 version of this guy, we chose Puissant Awareness, so we should choose something else in this saga.

The virtue swap is cool.
For Wards, I think you are misunderstanding. Per RAW the have to penetrate. I am just saying it is easier to penetrate if the ward is specific.
Tell you what, I'll give you two options.
A semi-specific ward penetrates as normal and works both ways.
A specific ward only works one way, but you get a break on penetration.
Does that work?

So, for example, if Vibria were to invent, say, Ward Against Beings of Flame (ReIg general), loosely based on the Wards against Faeries of blah. If she simply builds it as "no creature of fire whose might is equal or less than the level the spell can affect those targeted by the spell" at a level of 10, and she casts it as a general ward (semi-specific?), then she subtracts the Spell Level from her Casting Total as normal. With her ReIg of 18 + die roll, she's almost assured of keeping any Fire creature in or out of the circle unless she rolls a zero.

However, if she were to build the ward so that it specifically targets Fire creatures aligned with the Magic realm (as opposed to Faerie or Infernal) to keep them outside the Circle, at a Level 15, then she doesn't have to worry about Penetration, and on any roll but zero, she will keep the Magic fire creature outside the circle, but it has no effect on Infernal or Faerie.

Am I understanding correctly?

Yes :slight_smile:

Though they may fill your Companion "slot", Redcaps are treated as Magi in many ways. They go through 15yrs of Apprenticeship, and just as the HR's for Magi, they recive a slight increase. 400xp for Apprenticeship. They start with 60lvls of Enchanted Items, and they are eligible for a level 50 Longevity Ritual when needed.
Redcaps are also developed as magi, advancing in seasons & cycles. They must spend half their time in service to Redcap duties. The rest of the time they may do as they please (study, adventure, and even earn vis).
Each season of Service earns 5xp and 2 levels of enchantment. Thus, the typical Redcap in an average year recieves 30xp and 4 levels of enchanted items (which may be saved up. He also earns a vis salary of 7 pawns per cycle, just as any other magus. Extra service or other chores earn 3 pawns per season. An extra free season per year will cost you 3 pawns.
Redcaps treat vis differently than magi.
When "mustering out", they get to keep all of the vis as wages and salary. For resources, the value is 5 points per pawn. For Enchanted Items, they already benefit from 1 level per season of service. Earned vis may be spent on additional item/Levels using the rules for mustering.

My plan is to re-post these house rules as a locked global once they are all agreed upon. This thread shall remain an open sticky for discussion of these rules and proposals for amendment.
Most people seem to agree on most things, so I am preparing to do this soon. This thread will always remain open, so I encourage discussion.
I mean main HR's, not interpretations on RAW or fiats for individual characters.

For example, I want to change "Mustering Out" (a term I picked up from Traveller).
Specifically, the Vis you accumulated during development/advancement.
Subtract your Hermetic age, and keep the rest. However, only half of it may be kept as actual vis. The rest is spent on resources you get to bring with you.
The vis you really keep may be of any Form, which must be designated at this point, along with noting how it is contained.
Personal Vis Source is kept seperate, and you get to keep all of it. The Art is designated when the Virtue is chosen, and annually yeilds 2 pawns of Form vis or 1 pawn of a Technique (the value is doubled in game).
Spending Vis on Resources
At least half your Vis Wages & Salary must be spent on resources.
One pawn of Vis equals 4 covenant Resource points for the folowing items...
Books (Library & Lab Texts)
Lab Equipment (movable Virtues (& Flaws) you can bring with you and intal into a new lab in a season or so of refinement)
Extra Lab (returning magi may preserve their old labs from the disater: otherwise start with a new lab and spend points on salvaged equipment)
Specialists (other that your Companion and initial two Grogs)

The following resources have an inflated cost, based on the market values of Vim Vis. One pawn is worth 4 points still, but the cost is adjusted.
Lesser Enchanted Items: 1 point per level
Charged Items: 1 point per (half of level + charges)
Longevity Ritual (level 30): age x 1
High Level Longevity Ritual (level 50): age x 2
Money: 1 point per pound of silver (&/or abstract equivilent)

You cannot buy the Resources of Vis Stocks or Vis Sources. You must choose the Personal Vis Source Virtue for your own vis source. As for Vis stocks, you keep what you were already limited to (I will allow you to swap 2 pawns of Form for 1 pawn Technique before entering game

Gaining New Virtues & Flaws
In a given Cycle, you may gain up to 3 points of new Virtues. This requires discretion, and should not be indulged in every Cycle (unless you are part of a Mystery Cult). Other than Mysteries, new Virtues could result from Adventures, Warping, Twilight, or (whatever rule I can't remember).
Foe Mysteries and Adventures, new Virtues require an investment of Time and XP. The base time is one season, plus one season per point of Virtue gained. Up to 3 points of New Flaws may be incorporated, reducing this time by one season per point (minimum of 1). The base XP cost is 10 time the Virtue gain/increase, unaffected by Flaws.
For these purposes, removing or reducing Flaws counts as Virtue points equal to the change; likewise improving a Virtue or changing Virtues & Flaws. The Virtue vale is equal to the change. So for examples: removing a Minor Flaw is 1 Virtue point; changing it to a Minor Virtue is 2 points. Changing a Virtue or Flaw to one of equal Value is 0 points (but the value of the changed trait still counts towards your limit for the cycle).

You may use a tale of grand adventure to justify new virtues only once. This should usually be something non magical, such as gaining a General Virtue or resolving a Story Flaw. Any new traits must be a plausible result of the story.
Because this may only be done once, this is the only method allowed for gaining XP related Virtues (such as Warrior or Educated). Social Statuis could feasibly be altered as well. Companion characters may use this method as well.

A Cult Score of 1 is required for your first Initiation, plus another 2 points for each Initiation after that. Reduce the XP required by 5x your score in Cult Lore.
Initiation Scripts in printed cannon maysuperceed these guidelines.
Cabal Legacy allows you to start with one Initiation for free (part of your initial virtue & flaw balance).

For Warping, simply apply normal rules for the characters Warping Score (magi refer to Twilight).

Tye typical magus will (in the short term) have a balanced number of Good and Bad effects from Twilight. These may include new Virtues & Flaws, gaining/loosing knowledge or spells, amd etceteras. Simply choose a number of appropriate Warping Points from Twilight for that Cycle, and divide between good and bad effects. This requires no xp and the time is considered washed in the abstract of the season (unless you have an abnormally high Warping Score). You may take up to 21 points of Warping from Twilight per Cycle.
Certain characters may have special traits that may justify more Twilight points or adjusting the ratio of good/bad effects. Use common sense and troupe guidance.

[u]Common Sense Application[/]
Don't be a munchkin.
'Nuff saud.

I'm at a loss here, probably because I don't remember the RAW on this.

Say, I want to gain a minor virtue from twilight. How many warping points does this cost me? Is there a minimum warping cost?

For XP, how many? 2XP per warping point? For spells, 3XP per point?

RAW has it at 7 points for a Minor V/F, 10 for Major, XP x 2, and Magbitude x 1

As for the mystery adjustmet, it was based on player input. If you alreadt created the character, just take back xp's and redistribute them.

Mustering Out (rerevised)
A term I picked up from Traveler, used here to deal with the resources you accumulated over the years. Specifically, your Vis.
As you developed, it was not necessary to keep track of what kind of Form vis you had in stock (though you may if you wish). All that was important up to now is the amount.
Every Cycle, you recieved a Vis Salary of 21 pawns, and you were able to earn Vis Wages at a rate of 3 pawns per Season.
Total the unused pawns and subtract your Hermetic Age. A negative result does not indicate any debt. It just means you are poor.
No more than half may be kept as actual vis (the Form and Container must now be determined). The rest are to be converted into Benefit Points (or Barter Points).
This does not apply to the Personal Vis Source Virtue or vis distilled in a Lab Season. You may keep all of this, or spend it as desired.
The Personal Vis Source virtue has an annual worth of 2 pawns of any Form or 1 of a Technique (value is doubled in actual play). Vis distilled from the Aura depends on your skill in the lab.

As stated, after subtracting Hermetic Age, at least half of your remaining vis (from salary and wages) must be spent on Benefit points. Similar to Covenant Build points in that many items have a similar price, they are actually not the same, and a few key items use a different price scale. These prices are set to the relative value of a pawn of Vim vis, and thus can be used as a guideline for trades in game.
Think of one bp as a quarter-pawn of Vim vis (Vim is used as a standard, as it is the easiest to obtain and the most in demand).

Gaining & Spending Benefit/Barter Points
One pawn of Form Vis is worth 4bp. Convert half your starting vis this way, and you may convert additional vis for more.
For Redcaps, a pawn is worth 5 points
. The value is the same (1 point = a quarter-pawn), they just get more for their money.
The base value of resources are as follow...
Books - Quality + Level
Lab Texts - 1 point per 5 levels
Casting Tablets - 2 points per 5 levels
*Lab Equipment - Minor Virtue 10, Major Virtue 20, Preserved Lab 50
(*for old members, Preserved Lab is the cost to preserve your old stuff; for new and old members, Virtues represent the cost to purchase or salvage stuff; otherwise everyone starts with a basic lab)
**Specialists - highest Ability score (+ Com & Teaching if a Teacher)
(**beyond your Companion and two Grog characters)
Longevity Ritual (up to level 50) - age x 1 + (half of level)
Higher Level - age x 2, plus level
Mundane Wealth - 2 points per five pounds of silver's worth of assets (but presume you already have a bunch of miscellaneous personal junk)

Enchanted Items
Lesser Enchantments: 6 point per five level
Charged Items: 1 point per (half of level + charges)
Invested Items: 12 points per five levels, plus 12 points per remaining open pawn
Other/Extra (Minor): 10 points per season of work
Other/Extra (Major): 20 points per season of work

You may not purchase additional Vis Stocks or a Vis Supply as a Benefit, but you may do so in play. Skip converting to bp and just trade pawns directly using rules from True Lineages.
A Vis Source is worth seven times its annual value.

Buy low, Sell high. Vis is Money. And unless you are a Redcap, you are on the short end of the stick. For most magi, a pawn of Form vis is worth 4 Barter points when buying stuff, 5 if selling. For a Redcap, a pawn is worth 5 points when buying stuff and 4 when selling. Plus they have an inside deal on vis.
And this point system is bullshit, just a relative gauge of open market value. Characters may negotiate their own deals in play.

Example Barter: a magus wants to by an Ignem Summa (L10, Q10). The value is 20 points, which costs him 5 pawns of vis. He later wants to sell it, and gan get 4 pawns. A Redcap would buy it at 4 pawns and sell it at 5.
The Redcap deal with each other on the level (for the most part), and their insider prices are in House only.

Though Redcaps are Companion Characters, they are treated as Magi during creation and development. They go through 15yrs of Apprenticeship, and advance in Cycles. They also have use for Vis.
As an Apprentice, a Redcap gains 400xp plus the Well Traveled Virtue for free. A new Redcap must have a minimum score of 3 in Order of Hermes Lore, and must spend 15xp on the Area Lore of one or more Tribunals.
A newly Gauntleted Redcap begins with 50 levels of Redcap Items (or 50bp). All Redcaps are eligible for a level 50 Longevity Ritual when needed, and may pay extra for better cost equalling the difference in points).
Redcaps develop in seasons & cycles, just as magi. They must spend half their time in service to Redcap duties, but the rest of the time they may do as they please.
Each season of Service in Redcap duties earns them one Benefit point accrued (or one level towards Redcap Items), plus they gain 5xp relative to their duties, such as in Area Lore or the local Language (this counts as a mix of Practice &/or Exposure). A Redcap may pull extra duty and work a third seasons a year if they choose (a season of extra overtime earns no bp, but you get two pawns of vis from the guy you are filling in for plus the 5xp, and 2xp for a reputation as an overachiever).
This continues on in game. Points may be saved or spent both during and after development.
Redcaps can also spend Vis this way, getting 5bp for each pawn. They can also spend bp from service (or vis) on Redcap Items at a cost of 1bp per level.
Redcap Items are Lesser Enchanted Devices designed to aid Redcaps in their duties: aiding travel & communication, weighing vis, logistical needs, etceteras. New Redcaps are never given items that can harm people or ensorcell large numbers. Vis may be spent on such items, and veteran Redcaps might be allowed risky devices if needed. But these are at normal prices.

Redcaps recieve their fair share of vis from their covenant, and earn a little bonus for their duties. Each Cycle, a Redcap recieves a Vis Salary of 28 pawns, and they may use their free seasons to do extra chores and earn a Vis Wage of 3 pawns. Some Recaps are lazy Tor have urgent matters to deal with). An extra season per year (on average) can be gained by paying 3 pawns of vis as a bribe to the guy filling in for you (one pawn of this goes to the regional Master as a penalty).
Each extra free season thus gained earns you 2xp for a Reputation as a Slacker.
Redcaps do not pay a deduction from their vis when Mustering Out, but they must still convert at least half of their vis into bp.
A Redcap may spend their free time in study, practice, adventure, etceteras (and maybe even mystery initiation).
They may also try to hustle in a season of Bartering (buying a bunch of crap with their vis and trading or selling it for more vis).
The Formula is simple (I hope). The Redcap risks a number of Rooks of Form vis (even rooks only, to keep it simple). If successful, the typical novice Redcap gets a return of a dozen pawns of Form vis (this may vary). The experience of this season earns them 5xp Practice for appropriate abilities, plus they gain 2xp for a Hermetic Reputation as a Hustler.

To Vary it Up (optional, test rule)
Sum up your Hustling Total by adding together your Communication + Bargain, including a risk factor of up to 3 points, pluss a Simple Die. You break even at a total of six. Every three points (or fraction thereof) earns you a pawn on your invested rook. Every 3 points short (or fraction thereof) looses a pawn.
But Wait! Roll on the Extraordinary Results Char (ArM5, p109). Include your Risk Factor (which also adds to botch dice), and interpret results as follows...

  • Disaster: You loose your entire investment, plus an additional 2 pawns per botch rolled
  • No Effect: You simply take profit or loss as indicated
  • Side Effect; You acquired an unusual or unusable item you cannot get rid of.
  • No Benefit: You just break even, no matter what your Bargain roll
  • Complete Failure: You loose your entire investment
  • Special or Story event: Make a story out of it, taking adventure xp
  • Discovery; gain 15xp divided between Bargain, Order of Hermes Lore, and/or any social abilities involved in your style of business
  • Modified Effect: you make a business or social connection (which may be helpful or harmful)