The crafting of automata: Why bother?

So here I am all geared up to play a secretive, reclusive Verditius who only really has any connection with those things he can make with his own two hands and what do I find? Automata are way too expensive and limited to contemplate.

Leaving aside the sheer cost involved (we'll assume the money can come from somewhere), there are really two stumbling blocks that prevent Automata from becoming truly wondrous:

Abilities. If I had a mind to craft a humanoid automata to protect me in my sanctum or out and about, I would like to give it the weapons skills that I never had use for myself. But of course, if I only have a brawl of 1, that's all I can offer. I can't (as the rules stand) get in the greatest swordsman in the county and use his ability to teach the construct. I can't even substitute my finesse for the ability. So, for it to do anything useful, I need to be able to do it to the same level or more as I want the construct to do.

They break down. Now, I'm not too averse to this. It does after all make some sense. But, by making it so likely that they will break, all the hard work and cost can be very quickly wasted. The stress die vs. the automaton's magic might score takes no account of the constructor's Hubris/Magic Theory/Finesse/Craft score etc. How do we model a well-crafted construct against a poorly constructed one?

Other things that wrankle a little...

How can I increase the Magic Might of my construct? A humanoid (size 0) base metal construct will always have a Might of 15. Always. How do we model a greater or lesser construct? I guess we could trace through precious metals and gems but even then, we reach a natural limit. Could the crafter's craft/hubris/etc scores not have been included?

Despite all the vis that's used to power the darned thing, there's a ritual to cast aswell. So, for a humanoid construct, that's another 6 pawns of Vis to burn. That's without the Vis used to make it do anything remotely useful.

Has anyone actually used these rules yet? How did they actually work out in play? I'm really dubious as the initiation script is a little harsh to gain something that appears so hard to use in play.


I haven't used them... I found the whole thing highly pretty much summed up my whole thought on the matter.
Why build something you have to keep fixing? I suppose given the right situation, its not too bad...and could be quite useful...

I've kept this to myself, but since were all 'confessing'. I have not bothered to read the chapter on Verdi at all. I've skimmed the origins a bit, but my lack of interest is so great that several months later, I've still taken no time to look at the Verdi material. I've essentially listened to my buddies and replied "uh-huh" like I know what they are talking about. I dunno, nothing grabbed me and said read more. Maybe this week I'll read the chapter. Afterwards I'll try to contribute something to the board.

I don't see automata as uninteresting at all. I don't see why Urien does.

But I will agree that that they suck miserably n terms of benefit received compared to effort exerted.

You can raise their stats through the roof with a high enough lab total (+5 at level 30, +9 at level 50) but this isn't a substitute for being able to teach your automata actual skills.

I suppose that some sort of muto (intellego) mentem ritual that the magus casts upon himself to temporarily steal someone else's knowledge might be a work around but that would raise the (already unreasonable) cost of the automata in time, in vis and in warping

I don't like the damage rules at all they not only make automata even more impractical but they also rule out the possibility of stone golems or any other forms of automita apart from contraptions of pulleys and wires.

Certainly these will be heavily house ruled if they show up in a game where I'm the rules SG..

I think I have found a use for them. Sort of.

To construct them only vim vis is required as long as you don't instill any effects. However, the automata still is a magical creature and can thus be used instead of vis when enchanting devices by using "bind magical creatures".

This enchanted item can then be smelted to produce vis of any form (as you chose what effects to invest in the item you are now smelting).

As far as I know this is the only way to actually transform Vim vis extracted from an aura to any other kind of vis. It's not all that cost effective, though.

// Fredrik Hertzberg

Well, I have to say, on balance it is worth reading. There are a couple of points where (I'll be generous and assume they were intentional) there's scope for "breakthroughs". I mean, on the "binding magical beasts", an obvious extension is to literally bind them. Don't just suck the energy out of them and use it as Vis, essentially just turn the creature into the item, powers and all. How about binding it to the automaton? So long as the creature survives, it is powerless, bound to and powering the construct. Why can't I enchant any non-personal powers into the automaton? I might want to make a mechanical dragon that can breathe fire on any who defile my sanctum.

I guess I'm more concerned abou this chapter than I otherwise would have been as we're going to start a new high-magic saga to contrast with our very mundane, city-centric main saga. I want to be able to make and do wonderous things. At the moment the automata appear too grounded in the gears and levers of mundane clockworks.


Perhaps one could teach the automata magic theory and use it as an laboratory assistant. Perhaps not as cheap as hiring a servant with good intelligence and letting the servant learn magic theory to function as a lab assistant. I am not entirely sure if an ungifted person (pr thing) can learn and use magic theory in a creative way. But if they could it would certainly be a good use. Non the less, the lab gets more impressive if you have an automata working there. If you could teach it finesse you could have it perform craft magic with an magic item. This is perhaps most useful if your covenant is short of grogs or space.


Nice idea but it doesn't fit with my reading of the section. I think the most you could squeeze out of the rules is a forge companion/servant but in all honesty, a grog would be cheaper to buy and maintain.

This might be a stupid question, but what books cover theese things?

Houses of Hermes: Mystery Cults

The Verditius Chapter

Ok thank you for the information. I did not know the book was out. I need to visit my game store more often. I have been looking for this one. It have Criamon in it right. That is my favorite House.

It surely does have criamon! And Bjornaer, Merinitae and Verditius. And plenty of new treats!

I've always been a staunch supporter of my local store but after a shift in ownership I'm sad to say that I've had to order directly from Atlas/Warehouse 22 to get my Ars fix.

I often use the gamestore Outlands, the one n Bergen is rather good and have most of the books I want.


Oh, gods... another Norseman! Run away Furion! Run away! Soon, we'll come ta get ya. :smiling_imp:

No seriously, Outland for teh win!

/me waves at his new Bergeneese friend...


Wawes back

Yes we gang up on pepole and eat them. :wink:

For crying out loud... lol

Then how would the two of you decide who should be the first to eat the other?

A concerned Dane, who had his expectations on Norwegians as cannibalistic savages confirmed... :smiley:

I'll never go skiing again...

Oh that's eeeasy! He starts gnawing on mah foot, while I much on 'is ear or sumsuch... But ya missed the bit 'bout "ganging up" which means that we sorta walk inna shambling horde southwards and eat anyfin as doens't speak at least passable Norwegian... Sorry Dane, ya shoulda tried ta keep yer northern province a wee bit longer. :wink:

But if ya ne'er'll go skiing again, then I know i have at least done some good... (memories of horrible, horrible skiing trips in some godforsaken norwegian mountain at the age of seven... I still wake up screaming)

Well now - I might be wrong - but I think he is a she...

Does that in anyway change the etiquette amongst cannibals?

Yes, slightly; one does not gnaw on the ... tender ... bits of the other gender without express permission. Yup, yup. Also, might I interest you in my new book?

Murder Never Tasted this Good: 69 ways to prepare Long Pig.

A few rather exciting recipies there i must say.