Talisman Shapes

For a compound talisman, I understand it can contain several components.

Okay, say a shield of iron, in laid with a wooden symbol, say of a crown.

Does a symbol count for shape? Or would it need to say be an actual crown, like atop a staff, however small?

in terms of the shape bonuses I would allow a painted crown on a crest...
... now I have this image of magi in my game developing a "family" crest involving a half dozen unrelated but very useful shapes...

I would require every shape to be the shape of a component of your talisman.

This way, the number of shapes in your talisman is limited by your Magic Theory at the time of creation, unless you use ArM5 p.93 Verditius Runes or acquire the TMRE p.89f Great Talisman Minor Hermetic Mystery Virtue.


I'm pretty sure a symbolic representation counts: for example

I think there is another example somewhere (which I can't track down atm) about a staff with a coin on the end with, the crown on the coin counting as a valid shape bonus.


We walked that road. We had to houserule that you'll had to give a lot of importance to shapes in figures or drawings or carvings or whatever in order to get the shape bonus, so you can only have only one "symbolic" shape bonus besides the actual shape of the item itself (or its components). So if you have a shield with a drawing of a soldier wielding a sword in one hand and a staff in the other, wearing a crown, a mask, boots and a cloak, you need to give one of these things more importance, and get just one of these bonus plus the shield bonus. Which ended symplified to drawning just the item you want to get the extra shape bonus from. So you can have a shield with a sword drawing, a shield with a pair of boots drawn, or the most odd we ended having, a shield with a doorway drawn...

The important issue is, that "the carefully carved image of a crown" enclosed in the amber is a separate component of the item, in the shape of a crown. AFAICS, whether it can be actually worn as a crown is quite secondary and basically pointless nit-picking just limiting creativity.

For example I would allow inlaying the symbol of a crown into a talisman and then argue, that this inlay forms a crown-shaped new component.

But getting bonusses from just painting or engraving a symbol onto another shape should be reserved for ArM5 p.93 Verditius Runes and limited as described there.


I can see that interpretation is possible from the text, but it is not how I read it. All mentions of "components" are in the context of the vis capacity of the objects used to make the device.

Would you condsider a gold crown two components or one?


Looking up Beatriz' talisman closely, its attunements or enchantments make no use of bonuses for the shape Crown (ArM5 p.110) at all: the little crown could indeed just be an ornament without any magical significance.
So we can just discard this talisman as irrelevant for our thread.

ArM5 p.97 Preparation for Enchantment uses the term "components" in important contexts besides vis capacity of the objects, especially here (underscore mine):

As a single component of shape Crown and material Gold, why?


According to HoH: Societas (pg 132), being able to incorporate an image of a shape found on the Shape and Materials table, for only half of the standard bonus (rounded down), is a specific ability of characters with the Craft Magic virtue.

I'd therefore be inclined to disregard the Beatriz example as either an error, or something that is purely ornamental.

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One. It's a single object.

Furthermore, from a gaming PoV, my thoughts are:
On one hand, that's the most obvious hack to get access to more S&M bonus options.
On the other hand, I only rarely see people actually bother to try to really max out the number of components within their talismans, simply because those still have to be opened. Besides, that maximum quickly becomes obsolete, because increasing magic theory is both easy and useful.

Ultimately, I'm fairly unimpressed with Talismans in this edition.
Almost every time I think up a use for a Talisman, I realise that the purpose would be better served either:

  1. Invested into the familiar bond.
  2. by a cheaper magical device, one that isn't automatically a permanent AC to me.

I realise I disagree with OneShot on this:

A single object tends to consist of both a shape and a material. So I would return the question:
Why would you consider it two components, just because it carries two keywords?

EDIT: 'by' added above, to make the sentence (hopefully) more readable.

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You just misunderstood me - and I might be to blame for this.

"As a single component of shape Crown and material Gold, why?" is meant as "As a single component of shape Crown and material Gold! Why do you ask?"


Ah, my apologies, I (clearly) read your statement to the opposite effect

Another counter-example is Legends of Hermes: p80, Richard Strabo has

Strabo does not have Craft Magic, I'm still trying to find that half-remembered "coin" example.


Found it!

The number of physical components is the only thing that is constrained and the image of a crown is enough to count as a crown.


A counter-example proving what exactly?

Strabos' staff "is decorated with leaves carved from six types of woods". Each of these leaves is carved from a specific type of wood, hence not just a symbol, but an obvious, separate component of specific, separate material and specific shape. As Strabo has currently Magic Theory 8+2, a talisman from 7 components is well within his reach.

Please state with your next counter-example, just what it shall prove.


You are right: my bad, I read that as representations (even though I typed it up!). Silly Bob

So the same component has at the same time the shape Crown (ArM5 p.110) and the shape Coin (dito ArM5 p.110). This indeed is a point in your favor. To me it looks like an oversight, and a tiny erratum in waiting.

Best compare it with Salutor's find:

Replace 'bell' with 'crown' and you see the oversight in Dolorosa's example talisman. Looking over the ArM5 errata you find, that corrections in examples form a substantial part of it.


or someone wrote in a virtue that "solved" a house rule.
insert standard rant about ars magica and continuity

In the case at hand, the HoH:S Craft Magic Virtue is fully aligned with the previous ArM5 p.97 Shape and Material and Preparation for Enchantment.


Ok, so an inlay or a image wouldn't work, but a miniature would? (An inlay would work for flat things though, like rings)

So for a crown, say, to count, it would need to be basically crowned shaped, rather than represent a crown.