Talismans as Heirlooms?

Has a talisman belonging to a deceased or Passed to Twilight magus ever been inherited by a filius in your sagas? If such inheritance has occurred, was it contested by other filii? Or other magi of the covenant/Tribunal?

Just toying with the idea of how "found treasure" might become a political headache. I know that doesn't seem connected, but I know my other troupe members occasionally browse here so being a bit vague on purpose...

1 Like

'Found' magic items can easily become white elephants in a saga, as investigating them (ArM5 p.100) requires lab time and decent levels in specific Arts. So many of these items disappear in covenant vaults, because no sodalis ever works up the interest to spend time on them.

For the same reason, general interest in items as personal as Talismans - many of whose properties may hold no value to anybody but its creator - is typically limited.

If an inherited item comes with some consideration for the heir, this might change: shared interests and experiences of legator and heir or instructions for use in a testament might make them more valuable than quality lab time.

Exceptional items - like those embodying the peak of achievement of an esteemed archmage - may become coveted and cause the headaches you wish to provide, if they pop up in your saga.

1 Like

Yeah, I've had exactly this experience both as player and story teller. Having to spend the season, using a not great InVi lab total for a random result just doesn't seem worth it.


Not a talisman. But I did have a a magus in my saga inherit another equally valuable and symbolic gift to much in game drama.

I had a player who played a Mercere magus with the "Black sheep" flaw, representing that he was estranged from the wider mercere family. When his mater died I decided that she had left him as her primary heir, and that specifically he would inherit her enchanted red cap, that she had used in her youth to carry out her occasional duties as a redcap. She was a stereotypical old and weird woman (think crazy cat lady but magical instead of cat).

This caused some drama because there was different older apprentice who had very hoped and expected to inherit all of the symbolically significant stuff. Sadly the saga ended before any further drama could come of the spurned elder apprentice.

I decided beforehand that the I would let the magical item come pre-identified because as mentioned by other posters, players rarely find it worth it to gamble a precious season on maybe identifying an item that maybe has useful powers. I specifically wanted to introduce a useful magic item thus I also decided to find some justification for why the item came pre-identified.

The justification I came up with in this case is: "the player had seen the red cap used many times in his apprenticeship and knew what powers it had and how to activate them". But be aware that if the situation had been different I would simply have come up with another justification.

From the players perspective this left open the chance that the item might have had more powers that they didnt know about. But discovering if it was the case would have required an investment of a season.

1 Like

House Trenere deliberately does this, because Talismans break the rules.

1 Like

Just imagining the outcome of a heist stealing a Tremere trove of collected Talismans whose owners have passed on...

Further food for thought, if you inherit a magus' possessions entirely after their death, the lab notes for the talismans powers might be amongst those belongings. Could be a useful idea if your players are likely to not want to spend seasons identifying/don't have good InVi scores.

1 Like

Those lab notes will be in his shorthand, so will still take you time to decipher them.

True, but in the specific situation described in the OP, where a talisman (and other items, including lab notes) pass to the filius, I think there is a reasonable case to be made that most filii probably have some degree of ability to read their pater/mater's short hand as they have likely been engaged in taking notes, learning spells from and otherwise handling the pater/mater's shorthand.

Possible. Unless it's a Tytalus, and then I expect many of them will go to the trouble of changing their shorthand just to mess with their filli...

I was thinking a filius would be likely to have similar enough abilities to the parens that they would find an inherited Talisman quite useful. Your best Art(s), barring a different Affinity, etc., are likely to be the same, and your favorite spells might also be. So any attunements for those would be a fit, as would more generically useful things such as "destroy things at a distance" that any magus is likely to be able to benefit from.

Are apprentices not so Hermetically similar as all that in peoples' actual sagas? None of my previous ones got to the point of apprentices before Life Got in the Way (TM).

But only for the maker of the taliman. Those attunements do not work for the heir.

A talisman is uniquely bonded to a particular magus and the special properties that magus can utilize with a talisman are nontransferabl and this includes filii. No other magus will be able to use a talisman’s attunements for their own casting. They will also not be able to increase the opened vis slots up to their art maximum but if there are already opened slots they can invest new effects up to that limit.

[edit] They will also not be able to use the talisman’s personal range effects that are supposed to affect both the item and the talisman owner or any effects that depend on the talisman-magus AC like a “teleport into my hand” effect.

It depends on House, but not all apprentices will share the exact same focus. This is part of why some Magi resent their former apprentices, or why they give them to someone else to train.

All true, though talismans can hold more enchantments overall than most greater devices and, being easier to enchant, generally hold more powerful effects. So long as the magus in question didn't deliberately limit who could use the talisman (or chose effects useless to any other magi), a talisman is a very potent magic item.

Also a Talisman will likely be with its mage, whenever said mage suffers a Twilight episode, including Final Twilight.
I would imagine that Final Twilight will often remove the Talisman when it removes the mage's body.
Though the Talisman might return as a sentient Magic Thing.

Anyone read Sir pTerry's "Sourcery"?

Addendum - now I think I want my next character to suffer from :
Plagued by Supernatural Creature - sentient heirloom Talisman


That's actually my next planned Pratchett to read. But I have to finish Collecting the Fortunes (second Crescent City book) first and then have a complete Dresden Files re-read planned, so it will be a while before I get back to Discworld.

Save your eyes, go straight to Discworld. Much better writing. :wink: