Thanatos' Questions and Ideas

Well, you guys do seem to prefer that the noobs with little idea how the rules work keep their questions and ideas contained in single threads, so... I guess I'll save you the pain of having to get annoyed and then stick me in a solitary thread, and just seal myself in one.

Anyway, let's begin!

Obviously, "artificial intelligence" in the sense of creating a computer capable of intelligent thought and feelings is a recent fad on the scale of human history. But would the ability to create intelligent life be considered a big deal in Ars Magica? (Note that "intelligent" does not seem to require "with a soul" in Ars Magica, given that Magic creatures can be intelligent.)

Related to my parenthetical above, it seems there are a few ways for a magus to become a creature of Magic or Faerie. (There may be ways to join the other two Realms? I am unsure.) Would a character who took one of these paths keep their soul, despite Magic and Faerie creatures not normally having souls?

I had an idea for a Wreath of Flames spell. I was thinking you'd do this with the level 20 Creo Ignem guideline for creating damage +20 flames in an unnatural shape (in this case, like a cloak around yourself), making it with a Rego requisite to avoid burning yourself or your stuff... It'd be Touch range and, I dunno, either Concentration duration or Diameter, depending on if you wanted to be able to fight with it active. So the total level should be 30... If a large campfire's flame would be enough to do that. That's a really vague size. Problem, though... Maybe I'm thinking with my modern brain too much, but would the caster blind themselves with the smoke and flame so close to their face, even if it wasn't burning them, or could that be covered as part of the Rego requisite?

Can items with Personal effects be used to affect their wielders indirectly? Like, obviously, a ring with Personal range invisibility effect can only turn itself invisible, not its wearer, but if you had a cloak with a Personal-range effect to protect against fire and heat, and you shielded yourself from a dragon's flame with the cloak, would it protect you?

I can't find any guidelines for making armor stronger... I figure it'd be Muto Terram, but I'm not sure what level it would be or how much stronger you could make it. Similarly, what rate of magnitude-to-Damage would you need if you wanted to make a more potent "Edge of the Razor"? Or is that even possible?

A good number of folk tales have such things as "swords that can only be wielded by the rightful heir to the throne" or good jazz like that. So would the mythic paradigm suggest that a bloodline can be traced through something other than a given person's knowledge of the bloodline? If so, would you use InCo for that, or maybe even InVi if it's a supernatural property of the blood? Like, Excalibur got pulled by Arthur, and he didn't know he was an heir until he did so, so in Ars Magica terms, the item would've had a Linked Trigger based on an In(something) sensing the proper blood from the person trying to pull it. I want to know what Form that (something) would be.

That's all I've got so far. Thanks a bunch for helping me figure this game out, guys!

From what I've been able to glean, it's only the one person. The request hadn't even happened until nearly a year of them posting rather significantly, evidently without learning any of the rules or even the setting. Even then, they weren't forced but asked to contain it to one thread. It's not that we're condemning them for breaking out of their assigned thread, it's that they explicitly agreed to the request and then ignored it for literally no reason, so people like me are more confused with the inconsistency.

In regards to the A.I., I think there are a few options for House Verditius in their book. The same goes for the Mysteries book for becoming a creature of magic, such as drinking the Elixir of Life, or becoming a Ghost, or even Ascending to the Hall of Heroes. The book that focuses on House Merinita covers the procedure for becoming of the fae. I honestly forget whether the soul survive any of these processes, at least from a religious perspective.

If you check the questions asked by that one poster, you'll probably understand why it was suggested they be kept contained. I do confess that the solution made me uncomfortable and definitely it's not meant to apply to "generic" newbies!

Oh, no. Perhaps in the form of an electronic device, but "automata" who could think and feel are the staple of legends from millennia ago.

Technically, no. Vanilla Hermetic magic can do it. As you point out, making "souls" is an entirely different business, which would break (and egregiously!) one of the greater limits of magic. Now, noble's parma, but I do think that Kabbalists can actually do it, in the form of golems. Of course, any pair of lovers routinely creates new life, without needing mystical abilities or raw vis :smiley:

I believe not. When you become a creature of Magic or Faerie you certainly lose your humanity.

There certainly are. For example, mythic artists with sufficient reputation and an appropriate supernatural muse can "join" their muse's Realm at a certain point (see A&A). However, I do not believe there are any rules in place for playing such (divine or infernal) "ascended" characters. On the other hand, various supplements certainly support play of characters with Divine Might (Nephilim, from RoP:D) or Infernal Might (Demon Children, from RoP:I).

The Rego requisite would cover it.

Uhm, the latter is unclear. I mean, technically you could probably make the cloak flame-and-heat-resistant, but it could just remain cool while allowing heat to pass through ... and in any case for it to protect you "indirectly" it would really have to wrap you up seamlessly from head to toe...
On the other hand, you could certainly have a flying carpet or broom that flies through a Personal effect and "drags you along".

You could actually claim it's Creo Terram up to the point of "natural feasibility" (because you are improving the item). Beyond that, Muto. What level? I'd just say gauge it by comparing it to existing effects :slight_smile: Not too helpful, I guess...

Uh, this is a good one. I guess InCo would be it.

Ignore this post... I've posted it accidentally and I'm having trouble with deleting it, so I edited it into an "Ignore ..."

From what I recall, Golems have a spirit, but not a human soul. As such, they tend to not have as good emotional self-control, and are often confused by human interaction (I think). That's why the rabbis that create them usually consider them to be the equivalent of children. (Not having a soul being somewhat analogous to having an immature soul? I forget the specifics.)

And just because I was perusing A&A last night - turns out that Hermetic magic is currently investigating the ability to summon human spirits via the "natural" way - and by that, they essentially mean cloning (using male and female sperma). So far, they haven't been successful. There's a story seed in there that describes someone thinking that they are successful, but it turns out that it's just demon/faries/ghosts/whatever possessing the otherwise empty bodies.

EDIT - you'd think "shoot it with X's Eternal Oblivion" would be standard protocol at this point. Ah, well.


Sorry - I think you can only delete a post if someone hasn't responded to the thread yet.

Hardness of Adamantine (MuTe 25) from HoH:S page 37 is a spell that improves metal armor. Aegis of Unbreakable Wood (MuHe 15)from the same book page 36 mentions shields. Doublet of Impenetrable Silk (MuAn 15) from the core book works on animal products.

Making the armor into an Item of Quality is another possibility, if you have access to a Verditius magus with that Mystery. Armor has a +7 "protect wearer" S/M bonus that should be useable, while shields have a +5 "protection" S/M bonus.

The fire warding cloak could work, depending on the exact effect enchanted. A variant of Ward Against Heat and Flames from page 143 of the core book might work, since it specifies that it affects any flames within one pace, but it also goes on to specify "the target", so it's not 100% clear.

Re: threads. please create them, as makes it easier to read on small devices.

Re: strengthening or enhancing weapons and armour.

There was a supplement which came with the Parma Fabula (Gm's screen ) for Ars 4e which has some rules.
I wrote a post a using that as inspiration to link it to the weapon breakage rules in Lords of Men.
Link ... nd-armour/

It's... a special and unique case. Don't think it is a rule.

Yes, if it makes sense. A cloak with some form of fire resistance will protect the covered part of his wearer. Now, it depends on the effect. If the cloak is enchanted with Ward against Heat and Flames, it is specifically design to resist and prevent heat and fire to go through. It will act as a kind of shield. If the cloak has Veil of Invisibility, it is invisible, not it wearer. In fact, if you think of the Invisibility cloak in Harry Potter, it is very difficult (impossible ?) to replicate the exact effect of the cloak: it is kind of invisible (but not completey so you can handle it), and turn invisible things which are covered by it, or fraction of it.

There is also a little bit of interpretation left for the troop's approval to decide how much of the personal protection is applied to the one behind such objet. As a rule of thumb, I will go with the intention the item was designed, unless it is obviously flawed, or trying to cheat the rules. If an item was designed to protect the wearer from some form of harm, which is the case of a cloak or a shield. But a hat with a ward, will protect at most the head of its wearer (possibly useful against sunstroke in the desert, but it is as far as I will be willing to accept the protection).

Jason72 gave a lot of good lead.
Additionally, you can also use magic to make armor of things that would normally not be considered suitable for armor. Like granite, jade (nephrite) or cristal, or even simply extra heavy steel armor (tournament armor are typically unsuitable on the combat field). Magic will be used to make it lighter or flexible (Muto X since it is obviously an unnatural change).
However, keep in mind that armor prevent things to go through, but the wearer still receive a shock (concussion). To have truly perfect protection, you need to look into various wards (against metal & stone, wood, claws and teeth...) - all these effects are Rego based.

Two ways to achieve this effect:

  • a magical item can be invested with "Effect Use" ("You work the identities of these people into the enchantement itself, so the list can never be changed, nor can the restriction be bypassed"). Now, I have to say that this option is a bit vague and can lead to lots of abuse. Because technically, you could say the third male heir of such and such, or any demon of the fifth circle. So I would personally limit this "Effect Use" to easy-to-identify target (which is, of course, another vague term) like the mage himself, or those who wear a certain tatoo. I will also allow the use of arcane connections (to allow or restrict the usage). For more intricate condition - like "only those who were granted permission by magus Anonymus", it would require firsta detection effect (Intellego based) and then that the other effects would have to be enchanted with a linked trigger (all p 99 of 5th Core rulebook). By the way, there are no rule describing what can be detected by "Effect use", so this is something to be discussed with your group.

  • in RoP: Faerie, a specific Range for user with Faerie Magic is Bloodline. It is usually used to curse or bless a whole lineage, but it probably could be woven into a magical item - using the "Effect use: bloodline", for a +3 extra level. Either to slay/plague a whole lineage, or to be used by a whole lineage. If somebody would bother with the integration in Hermetic theory, any magus could use it. Considering that it is already accessible by a group of magi (albeit with a specific virtue). It is probably a minor integration (15-20 points). Integrating every Faerie magic range/duration/target would be a major undertaking.

Wow...way to lead by criticsing the community. 8)

No, create threads if you want. Abe's a special case.

In the sense that you can bind spirits into things to make them intelligent, no. In the sense that Hrools exist, no. In the sense that Familiars are intelligent, no. In the sense that everything is intelligent enough to answer InXX question, no.

Faeries, arguably no, but the faeries would never give you a definitive answer. Magic, arguably no, arguably yes.

I'd cover it with the requisite.

Yes, because it's not affecting you: you just happen to benefit from the environmental change it creates. You similarly can't warm yourself by a campfire while the effect is in place.

Yes, but don't think of it in gaming terms, think of it in material terms: what are you -actually doing- in world to make the armor better?

Sounds like a faerie...

Yes, either is fine. House Merinita has a Bloodline Target, too.

That wasn't Excalibur, that was a different sword. Excalibur came from the Lady of the Lake. Also, the sword in the stone, which Tennyson calls Sequence, was put there by Merlin specifically so that Arthur could pull it out: it was a con. We don't get as many cons as we should in Ars. Still, yes, Corpus or Vim depending on how you describe the effect in world.

No worries!

Only in the later, post-vulgate cycle.
Which, I may add, is a sly attempt by faeries (like the Lady) and their minions (like the entity that calls itself Timothy Ferguson) to milk the Arthurian legend for vitality. Thanatos, do not fall for their lies!

Heh: the earlier sword isn't Excalibur: it's Caledfwlch. (Yes, I do know that's "Excalibur" in Welsh.) 8)

Fair point, Ezzelino. 8)

Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.
But you can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you.
If I went 'round sayin' I was Emperor, just because some moistened bint lobbed a scimitar at me, they'd put me away.

Thanks for all the informative answers so far guys! I don't really get what's going on with Abe, but clearly I misunderstood you guys' intentions, so I'll start making other threads soon. For the moment, though, I've got a thread for my questions, so I may as well keep using it!

So, if you're investing an item with an effect that has requisites, can you use vis of one of the requisite Arts as material, or do you have to use vis from one of the "main" Arts?

If a magus lowers his Magic Resistance to receive an effect with a duration longer than Momentary, and then lets his Magic Resistance become active again while the effect is still active, would it continue to affect him, or be cancelled?

How do Arcane Connections and item penetration interact? Or do they at all, since the item technically has no Penetration score, making Arcane Connections only useful for the Arcane Connection range? (For items, anyway; a magus with Penetration score obviously likes Arcane Connections.)

Lastly, this might be covered in some book I don't own yet, but what would generally be the benefits and/or disadvantages of making mundane items out of supernatural materials? Like, a suit of armor made from dragon scales, or a silk robe woven from the silk of magical silkworms? (I actually don't think that's the technical term, but it's what they look like, gosh darn it.)

Don't let being new to the game deter you. Ask away, and the community is happy to answer and share experience. The problem is if you don't take in and learn what the community says. Everybody started from scratch at some point, and have grown as ArM players. Only, the forum didn't exist back when some of us started - actually a lot of us may have started before online communities were a thing. So our ignorance was kept limited to our own gaming groups, conventions etc.

This isn't very clear i the rules, ArM p.99 refers to 'Technique and Form' in singular. The easiest is to enforce only using the primary Art. On one hand a requisite requires you to use the lowest of those arts in Casting Score or Lab Totals, so they count equal - and hence both kinds of vis should be applicable. On the other hand I'm not sure I like it that way. But requisites are a bit odd, and I see them in two different ways: One is the "required and equal" requisites, like MuCo(An) for shapeshifting, it won't work without the requisite. So both Forms should be good to use. The other way is the "extra power" where a requisite is added to allow the spell or effect to do something else in addition to the primary effect. In these situations you pay +1 magnitude. Here I could argue that it must be vis of the primary Art you use. Theoretically and off the top of my head.
But in real gaming situations, how would I do it? We'd discus it in our Troupe and I may lean towards allowing the use of any of the Arts used in the effect.

Penetration and Resistance is only relevant for the initial effect. Once the effect Penetrates it won't suddenly be resisted. A situation could be construed where a magus is caught between Parma Magica activations and only reists with his Form score. Once he finished raising his PM an effect doesn't suddenly dispel.

Devices have their own Penetration, paid for with levels in effect modifications, see ArM5 p.99 on a 1:2 scale. Every level added gives Pen +2. For devices neither ACs nor Penetration score matters. it always sort of bugged me that a device created isn't affected by the creator's Penetration. It could have a free Penetration equal to the score of Pen ability, and you could buy further levels. But I think for the sake of balance the combat magus with his spells and Penetration ability is kept separate form the lab rat with his Magic Theory and whatnot. It would be yet another point sink for the Verditius if he needed to invest in Penetration as well.
But ACs are really, really useful to combat magi casting spells - especially spells with a few Mastery levels and Penetration Mastery. Check out the book Hermetic Projects: The Intangible Assassin or Sub Rosa #16: Designing the Intangible Assassin.

I don't think this has been covered in any book. I'm guessing if the supernatural material has physical properties superior to the mundane material it can replace in an object the end product would be better. Like dragon scales, if they are used to fashion an armour like metal scale it would offer a better Protection value, depending on how superior to steel dragon scale is meant to be. Or it could simply be lighter? For silk I'd look to the MuAn spell Doublet of Impenetrable Silk, that spell is good for +3 Prot to animal based armour or clothing.
But the real question is: Can you find a craftsman able to work these strange materials?

Re: Magic Resistance to receive an effect with a duration longer than Momentary

I thought that might be the case for spells which are directly affecting the Magus, like a "change the magus to a sheep". However I also thought that ongoing external effects like scrying might be blocked if the target moves into an area with an Aegis of the Hearth or raises their Parma Magica again. Or even if a grog being spy'ed on is protected by somebody else's Parma Magica.

In those cases I think the Penetration total of the spell is tested again against the protection to determine if it is blocked or not. Likewise I think that if that protection is removed (leaving an Aegis) then the target is again affected by the spell if it's Duration has not ended?

This one I think is a little YSMV also (Your Saga May Vary).

In our saga we allow devices to be designed to use arcane connections as an intrinsic part of their design, meaning you can boost their penetration if you have an AC properly sorted and ready to go. This means they can suddenly surge in penetration but take some extra prep time.

As far as I can remember, there is no rule for such unique material.

You can address it through different ways:

  • such material gives a significant bonus to craft item of superior quality - the final bonus does not come from the material, simply that it is more likely to be "perfect", thus better.
  • handle them as object of virtue (RoP: Magic, p 124-125)
  • simply decide when you introduce such unique material, which bonus an item will gain compared to a standard bonus or if they have a unique feature, like resistant to fire, or unbreakable.
  • assign very high (+10) form/shape bonus for a narrow application

As Christian mentioned, a certain skill, a special virtue or even an initiation might be required to handle such rare material (can only be forged by the heat of such volcano, or can only be sewed during a full moon over a faerie pond) - all good material for story.

Enriching an item of virtue requires knowledge in Magic Lore - Item of virtue are a nice way to have "mundane-ish" NPC with magical items, without having to source them from the Order (and pay the exhorbitant fees of an enchanter).

Firstly, to the best of my knowledge Christian Andersen is correct, as far as RAW is concerned anyway.
He also gives the Golden Rule for things not covered in the rules: Talk to your Troupe.

House Rule, to the best of my knowledge.
Another common house rule is ofcourse to limit the penetration of charged devices.

Remember that R: Personal spells do not have to penetrate.

IIRC you might be right about the Aegis - but then, the Aegis is distinctly different from Parma Magica I guess.

Let's look at examples. We'll use a scrying spell for this, with non-Momentary Duration.

  1. Cast at magus inside an Aegis, fails to Penetrate. Magus steps out, but the scrying spell fizzled when it failed to Penetrate IMHO, it does not sit dormant until it is sufficient for a suddenly weakened MR. Actually, the text for AotH says as much.
  2. Cast at a magus outside an Aegis, it Penetrates, but magus walks inside an Aegis too strong for the scrying spell. What now? Spells cast towards/across the Aegis are resisted, but does this qualify? Or does the magus 'carry' the ongoing effect across? Does spell fizzle now? I don't like it to be suppressed while inside the Aegis, only to flare back up once outside. But I like it if someone can 'carry' the effect across the Aegis.

And now disregarding Aegis:
3) Cast a magus, fails to Penetrate due to his Parma Magica. Again, I think the spell fizzles and stops, it does not lie dormant. Because if the Duration of the scrying spell was longer than the target's PM lasted...But no.
4) Cast at a magus without Parma Magica active, spell Penetrates. Magus activates PM, what then? Does the spell suddenly stop, do we test Pen vs. Resistance if something changes? I hope not, because both Pen and MR are subject to modifications for Aura.