Long time no post.
I have a query.
In a game i'm plotting i'm doing auras a bit differently.
Essentially auras are usually leylines running across the earth and are fairly weak (level 1 to 5). Where leylines cross they form a confluence with a higher aura level (and larger area, rather than th long thin lines).
These confluences can be tapped to produce vis. To do this the magus needs to build a structure at the exact centre of the confluence and enchant it as an item that i'm calling a manse (a term i'm pretty sure i stole from Exalted).
This manse will produce vis from the confluence on an annual or monthly basis.
To begin with my PCs won't know how to make these, so it'll need to be discovery by original research or more likely, by integrating inspiration, ancient magic style, from ruined ad partially decayed manses they find (they might even find a weak working one).
I've decided that building the manse takes a season and then "imbuing" it to complete the enchantments another season. The imbuing takes a number of pawns of vim vis equal to double the aura rating of the confluence.
So, my query. Have any of you got any experience of integrating ancient magic or doing original research in your game and have anything useful to share about it
How many break through point should i make the discovery be worth?
Looks pretty fun and balanced to me. Depending on your game, you probably will want to reduce the number of Vis sources the Covenant has access to, to give them a reason to chase this. As to the number of breakthrough points, I would suggest 150 to 200 to start. which looks really big, i admit, but assuming that your lowest level confluence is level six, and assuming two magnitudes per level (level 6=60lv effect), a group able to work together should be able to do that in four years or less (one breakthrough point per magnitude is 12 points per insight, minimum). Then, to take a page out of Ancient Magic, lower the amount needed if they already know certain Mysteries (Philosophical Alchemy and Hermetic Architecture are the ones which come to mind. Now you have a story with travel, combat (for the confluences will have creatures from the Magic realm staying there, why else would a Covenant not be there?) and social interaction (to dig out those oh so needed Mysteries). At that point the only real question is "When do you want the players to have this?" Early game, mid game and late game are all possible. The real controlling factor is you and the Warping. Original Research, you are looking at twelve or more Warping points. Hello, Twilight! My reading of Ancient Magic was that happens with the Integration of Ancient Magic, but the book is not clear on that, so read it for yourself and decide how it's going to work in your game, before the players push the issue.
Well, my players will start fairly weak (i.e. fresh out of gauntlet equivalent) and without access to auras with vis just lying around, they'll hopefully want to get onto this straight away. I don't want it to take too long as they will likely only be free to play in the lab for half of each year to begin with, with much time taken up exploring, questing, ruling a tiny tiny nation, etc.
Its unlikely any of them will get hermetic architecture or alchemy before they figure out the manses.
As for the confluences, the lowest level ones they might encounter will be level 2, while the largest they will find will be somewhere in the region of 8.
Ideally i'd like the players to get this fairly early, but then be restricted in how many manses they can build by the lack of vis. As they scrimp and save to get more vis they can build new manses, so it'll get progressively easier for them as time goes on.
There should be plenty of examples of ruined manses around for them to pick over for inspiration. I'll have another read of ancient magic.