Table Talk (OOC)

I love these because they're right up Wolfgang's alley. I also note that we have a fledgling quaesitor and a fledgling hoplite in the covenant so that works out well.

Wolfgang will, at some point, be investigating the Holy Vehm, which could go in a lot of directions.

But to be honest he needs quite a bit more study before he can tackle things on his own. Rafael was light-handed with the giants, they could have easily been too much for Wolfgang to handle.

Not much has happened in the saga so far. A couple of magi joined the covenant, we harvested some vis, got in touch with local nobility and hunted man-eating menaces.

I also think these stories would be a great fit, if you want to run them. =]
With infernal in particular I always think it risks hijacking the whole saga if it's too huge (I mean, what could possibly be more important than stopping infernal menace?), but if we take care it would be nice.

True. But to be fair, you did get the jump on them. Had it been the other way around, Dagny and/or Gwyneth would have died (or even Wolfgang if he got hit first).

On that note, I would accept some criticism. I've been thinking on how to improve future combats, and at the moment I think the way to go is to make it hinge on factors... outside combat. Because for one threat to pose serious trouble to Wolfgang in direct confrontation it will need to have 30+ might (at least) and/or a ridiculous soak. And to seriously injure Kiefskala (with his humongous +21 Soak and +4 size) it needs to dish out at least +30 damage (possibly more), meaning it can either kill or incapacitate everyone else with a single blow. Neither is very practical on a regular basis.

I have a vis-collection story in mind that should prove a challenge for any and all of the current magi, if people are interested. It doesn't need to be run right away -- we can even ret-con it into the story line if we want to.

The key to challenging a combat-focused magus, while still providing a challenge within his specialty, isn't always to provide a bigger, badder opponent. It is usually to constrain combat in some way, such as:

  • Multiple opponents
  • Opponents that must not be killed
  • Opponents that are hard to target (invisible, intangible, hard to tell apart from bystanders)

I wrote them with you guys in mind after looking over your characters just a bit, so that was no accident!

Also I'm something of an Ash Guild fan myself!

Though Vorsutus being of norse descent ... I'm not sure if he is as worried about the Order of Odin as Wolfgang might be! 8P

Ah, well then I haven't missed much!

I'd like to make them more of a recurring bad actor if you will rather than a one arc and done kind of enemy. I am open for discussing how to do that. They could be over a Tribunal Border or the like. Or as a knightly order have a fortress or abbey or the like near a larger town or city that it would be unacceptable to just attack under most circumstances.

Honestly, I think the challenge aspect of stories is vastly overrated/overrused, and it's especially unnecessary in Ars. Probably a minority opinion, but I'm used to that.

It sort of ties in with my desire to see a character/group of characters advance significantly, by letting years and decades pass during the course of a game, which after a few years here and a few dozen Ars campaigns here and elsewhere I've begun to feel I'm the only person in the community who wants that. So I just sort of gave up on that and I go along for the ride with whatever other people in the saga want.

Wolfgang has some significant variances from the Ash Gild party line, which could make for interesting stories. Also, take a look at the Holy Vehm - they're mentioned in the write-up for Phillipus Niger (Wolfgang's parens) and he has some goals related to them (Wolfgang sees them as a major threat to the Order).

I did some reading on this today and it is quite interesting. Perhaps I could tie in some of my earlier ideas in with this one. Not something I'd ever dug into before.

I think I agree far more than I don't. Ars is to a large extent focused on characters that are very powerful, and get more powerful as things go along. Sometimes/frequently a challenge is interesting if done well. Yet I think part of the goal of Ars is also both simulating this world and exploring what these powerful people do inside it.

I think this is all perfectly in keeping with the spirit of Ars. Seeing time go by at a decent clip (not "too" fast, but where you can notice if you will) is I think how the game is intended to flow with a structure based in Seasons.

Looking over the Covenant area maps (nice!) I see some waterways near the Covenant grounds themselves that appear to connect to a river called the Sorne, that then connects to the Birse. That appears to go off towards Basel.

Would I be right in inferring that all of this connects to the Rhine?

I'd assume there are some questionable waters, rapids, waterfalls or the like intervening (even just along the length of the Rhine as it were) but I found myself curious if the connection to a major waterway was there.

The Birse indeed flows into the Rhine at Basel.

The Birse is a relatively minor river (at least compared with the Rhine) which flows into the Jura mountains. It is shallow and wide in places, deeper and narrower in others.

There are several areas where there are rapids or waterfalls. In fact, one of those waterfalls are in Laufen, which was the location of the recent giant story.

It is also subject to occasionally strong floods.

Very interesting.

I'm pondering how hard it would be to magically assist an longship in navigating these waterways.

Howdy all! So obviously I'm the other FNG. Sorry for the delay in getting this intro post up, but life was all sorts of hectic! End of the trimester, which meant report card narratives for students were due. So between that and a history competition my students were preparing for/competing in yesterday meant that I haven't had a spare brain cell to rub together as it were. But it's spring break, which means my sanity is slowly returning! Sanity being something of a misnomer in my case I s'pose?

So joking about my chosen profession aside, I've been playing Ars for a bit over a decade or so at this point. So still something of a baby by community standards.

And Plot, that's something I've noticed as well. Though it's not limited to Ars, it's a side effect of PbP I think. That said, don't worry, I'm very much in your camp. There's a reason why I'm a fan of just saying "For once nothing happens for a season or two, go read some damn books and or work in the lab" every now and again.

Sounds like a hectic time!

Glad you are in the mix now.

How large a longship?

For anything that might be seaworthy, it would be fairly difficult to impossible, if the goal is to bring the longship up to the covenant's valley.

The "river" that flows up to Chastellion is more of a stream, barely enough to float a skiff. There seems to be many places where even the Birse wouldn't be able to float a proper longship. Particularly in the summer when the waterflow is low and winter when it is frozen over.

That is pretty much what I was thinking of. A river/sea-worthy raiding ship for maybe 20 or 30.

You have my brain working!

I know I've been more slow here recently so I just wanted to clearly state that my interest hasn't waned. I'm working and going to school full time and both have picked a "convenient" time to pick up the pace at the same time. I'll be endeavoring to make more progress on character creation soon!


No sweat. We'va all had our ups and downs. Thanks for keeping us in the loop.

Is "Something Unexpected" going to be an adventure centered on Regulus or on the covenant/covenfolk? Depending on the specifics it would be more interesting for me to pick a couple of grogs. Peter and Klaus didn't get much screen time, and Argos gotta learn something useful sooner or later.

Also, it doesn't need to be something to be dealt with now (IMO). The result of the experimentation wasn't a Disaster.

Centered aroung Regulus. He didn't get much screen time so far, so this would be a short solo story.

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So, in light of this discussion (and wanting to nail things down as I progress in my post-gauntlet time), I thought I'd bring this up here. I'd like to propose an interpretation / house rule that the laboratory process of fixing Arcane Connections be seen as a background activity akin to talisman attunements.

I have a second House Rule that I would also like to propose that I think is more substantive perhaps. I'll provide an example of what I find specifically disturbing first. Both are from Hermetic Projects pg 94.

Guttering of the Home-Fires - ReVi Gen

Guttering of the Home-Fires
ReVi Gen
R: Touch, D: Diameter, T: Individual

This spell temporarily suppresses an Aegis of the Hearth effect. The Aegis of the Hearth effect must be less than half the level of this spell + 3 magnitudes. The known Lab Texts of this spell incorporate a side effect: while the Aegis of the Hearth is lowered, the temperature within the affected boundary is lowered slightly, which sensitive characters might notice. This spell must penetrate the Aegis of the Hearth effect, of course. Note that if the Aegis of the Hearth is of a high level, then this spell may need to be a ritual.
(Base effect, +1 Touch, +1 Diameter)

Removing the Hearth's Keystone - PeVi Gen

Removing the Hearth’s Keystone
PeVi Gen
R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Individual

The caster dispels an Aegis of the Hearth effect. There is no other evidence that the Aegis is absent, but alert magi crossing the supposed boundary of the Aegis may notice that they do not feel the characteristic tingle which indicates the presence of an Aegis. The Aegis of the Hearth effect must be
less than the level of the Removing the Keystone spell + 3 magnitudes + stress die. This spell must penetrate the Aegis of the Hearth effect, of course. Note that if the Aegis of the Hearth is of a high level, then this spell may need to be a ritual.
(Base effect, +1 Touch)

I see both of these spells as problematic because they are non-ritual spells that can be freely cast to overcome ritual spells that require vis to cast. It would be quite infeasible for any lower range Aegis to be effective against even a casual grade vim caster if they could dispel the Aegis with a lower formulaic spell than the Aegis ritual itself.

I think these guidelines (for determining magnitude affected in these two spells) are being correctly applied... and that doesn't really bother me. What bothers me is manipulating / dispelling ritual spells with non-ritual spells.

I propose that it requires a ritual spell to manipulate or dispel a ritual spell.

I have already presented comment regarding AC fixing.

For rituals: ruling certain spells from dispelling rituals effects is not new (see Quiet the Raging Winds and The Cloudless Sky Returned), so there is a precedent. It's ruled also that Disenchant is a ritual, even if it is not necessarily required based only on it's effect, and I believe this is a balance decision. So regarding that, I don't think there is a problem.

Looking at specifics. Let's consider a lvl 20 Aegis. It would always dispelled by a lvl 10 Unraveling the Fabric of Vim, or a lvl 5 RHK, as long as the magus manages Pen 20 (not that hard, casting total must be 30/25).

Lvl 25 Aegis (this is us): dispel with lvl 15/10 spell, requires Pen 25, casting total 40~35. A bit harder.

Lvl 30 Aegis:dispel at lvl 20/15, requires Pen 30, casting total 45~50.

Let's jump to Aegis 40. Dispel at lvl 30/25, requiring Pen 40, casting total 70~65.

I'm not concerned with Guttering the Home-Fires since it requires a lvl 25 spell against a lvl 20 Aegis, and it must also penetrate, requiring a casting total of 45 (reasonably high). A lvl 33 Aegis would already require a ritual GHF, and the needed casting total would be around 80.

So... is this really a problem? A low level Aegis has marginal utility against other magi anyway, it's function is to protect against low level Realm critters. A high level Aegis won't be easily dispelled. And either way, interfering with an Aegis is grounds to a charge of deprivation.

Yes, a specialized magus is capable of destroying a high level Aegis right out of the gauntlet. But a specialized magus is also capable of burning Paris alone with the right set of spells.

At the end of the day, are we going to be involved, as a covenant, in the type of story where hostile magi would find it reasonable to supress/dispell the entire Aegis at once?

Overall, while I don't see any problem with the houserule, I don't think it is really necessary. If we are concerned with that happening to us, we can spend a few seasons working together to invent a high level Aegis (or buy a lvl40 Aegis from Durenmar). If we do that to other covenants, this is going to be invastigated and prosecuted b hermetic law.

Such houserule also has implications towards rituals in general, which I have not considered in depth.

I tend I think to see Magi in the Order as being somewhat more fractious?

That if a Covenant had an enemy of sufficient age/power that they were capable of dispelling their Aegis without having to expend meaningful resources themselves ... it would be all too common to use such power to squash an undesired new Covenant just by squeezing their resources. Imagine the "beneficent" Tytalus who knows perfectly well how to dispel things and conceal their casting sigil/traces both ... and comes by to "help" you by making you more vigilant every couple of years. Or every year if you are annoying as well.

It seems all too real a possibility to me in the setting that such abuse could and would occur if it is possible. Yes it can be punished by the code, but that is not a foregone conclusion either. Hermetic Justice exists but is often a misnomer, especially when a case has different power levels of Magi on either side.

It also however simply doesn't seem like something that should be possible (dispel an Aegis and storm the castle as it were) without expending resources to make it happen when resources have to be regularly expended to provide a defense. Otherwise the defense is meaningless and far more costly than offense. I'm ok with defenses being able to be defeated I just don't think defeating them should be casual or free.

The Schism illustrates that when Hermetics fight, they are capable of overwhelming defenses and destroying one another. That is ok. But it shouldn't be casual and require no investment/expenditure.

I also don't see this as specifically related to the Aegis, though it serves as a practical and ready example, and think the applicability is more broad.

Vis is one of the primary meta-currencies of Ars. It constrains the ability of the Magi to do really powerful and/or permanent things to the expenditures of a finite resource. Overall I think that is a good thing for the game/setting.

It provides stakes to stories, meaningful rewards, and the ability to build and/or cast important and impactful things that can further shape the game as it progresses.

To me that sort of meta-economy and its story/setting impact/exchange if you will is negatively impacted by things that devalue the expenditure. Such as being able to dispel or suppress an Aegis with non-ritual magic. But the same could be said of other sorts of ritual magic. Creating a powerful active effect via ritual only to have it casually negated/dispelled (by easier spells even) without any similar resource expenditure on the other side just doesn't seem like something that is a positive possibility if you will. A lack of balance that has negative impact on gameplay, stakes, and story.

Best regards gentlemen.