The idea that ONLY hermetic magi have magic resistance is getting old. For hedge traditions within ME it works. On the other hand we have rune magicians without runes of protection from magic(!). Sahir have a defense against Jinn and only Jinn. Recent books have danced around this to the point that it becomes silly.
Do we really want every non-hermetic tradition to be made up of glass cannons that will fall to the first poorly cast pilum of flame of incantation of lightning. This seems more than a little bit ethnocentric and imperialistic. Every non-European mystic on the globe is simply waiting for the Europeans to come in superior weapons and destroy them? This seems more than a little bit anachoronistic.
Might I suggest a different way of going forward. Magic Resistance is split into two categories. First is defense for the effects of the Gift the other is MR. A great tradition, meaning a tradition of magus level magic holding sway over a large area, will have some form of MR. This won''t always be as powerful as Parma (skill * 5 +form) but might have other effects (for example conferring the Gentle Gift but limited MR to form).
Well, so far the magic traditions described are still in Europe or at the fringes, and we know that the Order has co-opted all the best traditions in Europe, or killed them off. No wonder the surviving traditions are underwhelming ! And if an European hedge mage somehow grew in power to the point where he would make a decent opponent, he would be facing a steady stream of 'Join or Die' Flambeau hoping the answer is die so they could have a good fight...
The only possible exception is the Order of Odin, if it is more than a myth. Maybe the viktirs described in HMRE are just the viking's version of hedge mages, and the true Order of Odin is something entirely different (or maybe it doesn't exist). But in the areas where the Order exists, it has a monopoly on effective Magic Resistance (among mages that is, supernatural creatures are another thing entirely) and enforces it ruthlessly.
So, there may well be other great traditions with effective magic resistance, or even god-like powers... but not in Europe.
Well the Mongol Shaman's seem a bit under powered. Also the Middle East is not Mythic Europe, in fact most of it wasn't even part of the Roman empire (so you can't even explain it as the Roman's doing). It just seems a bit much for every tradition to be waiting for a hermetic to come up and go "boom headshot." If any Roman tradition had descent MR, Parma would not be that big a deal. Once we start getting into the Middle or Far East that logic starts to break down.
Also the Mongol are going to sweep into Eastern Europe and kill about half the population of Transylvania in the 1240s. When you have the Golden Horde headed for the Domnus of House Tremere you somewhat want to give the horde shaman MR.
Perhaps the horde itself generates a style of Aura (Fay, infernal, magical?), which includes MR - akin to the roving divine aura of the crusades. I'd happily handwave that to see a PC be challenged by an event. Perhaps it just happens to be a small segment of the horde where the magi are that has the effect. Fate has a sense of humour in my games.
So we have most of a Tribunal getting laid waste, and a small side battle involving among other the Knights Templar that you can do just about anything you want with (even change the victor) without altering the larger timeline. Doesn't that just scream to have a coalition from the Rhine and Transylvanian tribunal crushed in a pyrrhic victory that leads the Mongols to conclude that Europe might be too hard a nut to crack? My thoughts are to make it a real nightmare, magi have to sneak into the Mongol camp to kill their captured Sodales before the Mongols can extract the secret of the Parma Magica. The aftermath brings magi into greater contact with the middle east as members of the order seek to strike a blow against the horde. You could end the saga with the Jerbiton (and Flambeau mercenaries) and the Sahir's aiding the Marmaluk defeat of the Mongols in 1250, in return for Sahir aid in removing the Latins from Constantinople in 1251. (With no breach of the code, the Sahir's interfered with mundane to help drive the Latins out. All the Jerbiton did was strike at a declared enemy of the order).
I agree with that. It's a little silly that Latin Europe - a region without notably strong magician legends during the middle ages - should be the home of dramatically more competent wizards than any other part of the world.
It's also a little silly to specifically limit foreign traditions by the Limit of Magic Resistance, which only affects them vis-a-vis other fantasy elements, as opposed to limiting some of the mass effects that Hermetic Magic can do, like the giant meteors.
If you read the sidebar in HMRE p.9, it's presented not as a theoretical limit, but as a simple observations of traditions the Order is familiar with. In other words, traditions the Order are not familiar with are not subject to that limit.
Maybe the Mongol Shamans know how to bond magical horses in a way similar to Hermetic familiars, which would leave them benefiting from their mounts' Magic Resistance ? (a magus may choose to use his familiar's magic resistance, but it does not stack with his Parma Magica). Just a small addition to whatever tradition they are, but such consequences...
I have always allowed for 2anti-magic effects. Anti-magic runes (burn when they stop a spell), spirits rushing forward to stop your spell, teleporting away to prevent a spell (you cannot perceive me anymore..)... etc etc.
Still, the OoH and the euriope of legends do not fit well. if you want a medieval europe in the current setting, remove the OoH and play with the hedge traditions. Works MUCH better. The main flaw of the current setting is the order of hermes. Why the world does not fall down in the face of the order existing is a recurring theme in the cannon text. You do not need the same justification for the other mystical traditions.
I agree. The use of other magical/powered entities would definitely be the way to go. That's the entire point behind binding entities after all, to gain their powers and tap them for your own uses. Bound spirits as defenses are an approach I've looked at. This type of magic would be common amongst barbarians and darker forces.
Another possibility, depending on how you look at your pagan gods, is a gift to dedicated followers based on their pagan patron. The clergy of Christendom gain magic resistance so it stands to reason that a high-muckety priest of Pan would be granted something similar.
I am actually not in favour of this move at all. I do very much enjoy the Limit of Magic Resistance, both from a thematic and functional point of view.
Not all .. uhm.. traditions? are created equal. I like the fact that the Egyptian-Greek-Roman-Mediterranean what have you arts ascended to supremacy and while boundless other traditions exist, some with their own powerful niches, nothing can stand up to Hermetic Order. I would not like to see any tradition/culture capable of meeting a Magus, especially a skilled one, without some significant handicap to the Magus (like he doesn't see it coming, or he's outnumbered by a lot, or they have an arcane connection and he does not etc etc...).
I think that is something that is different and that I like about this game. The vast majority of earth-based/historical games has that sort of power-sharing across cultures whatever-you-wish-to-call it... but again, Hermetic Order or bust. Got some cool other background? Well, lets hope someone from Ex Misc picked you up young and taught you the better way.
Not every game requires two, three or four diametrically opposed multiple factions. Definitely not this game - not the focus in my opinion.
That certainly held true for 4th edition, I'm not so sure about 5th. Let's say you wanted to throw a fireball on a battlefield. Well you could go around casting pilum of fire. That's going to do +15 damage. A longsword in the hands of a Strength +2 knight is going to do (+8 damage + attack advantage), a longbowman is doing around +10. Yes you are dangerous in the battlefield but not really that much more deadly than the average knight.
So lets say you wanted to do some serious damage. That would require upgrading that pilum to sight range (+1 mag), upgrading the target to group (+2 mag) and adding an extra order of magnitude (+1 mag). You know have a level 40 spell. Alternatively you could do a boundary casting. That would give you a level 45 ritual, if you were able to see the opposing army, or a level 50 at Arcane Connection range.
Figure the average battle has a Divine Aura of +3 (not that God approves, but there is a lot of praying going on). High level spell in a divine aura a raging battle: how many botch dice is that? I'm guessing a minimum of seven. The magus goes, casts one spell, then retires from the fight a nervous wreck from how close to a CrIg botch he came. (Oh and there's always a chance that somebody might have a guardian angel capable of dispelling your casting).
Magi can cause real problems for a baron and his retainers, probably having about the same effect on a fight as a monestary that can call up six or seven knights from its land. Yes there are some magical weapons of mass destruction that a few specialists can command at high cost. Once you start breaking out those weapons, divine intervention becomes a possibility.
Alternatively, magi can use their magic to try to accumulate power at court. If they do it's time to work out who the other supernatural players at court are.
Outside of the battlefield and court intrigue, almost everything else can be lost as noise. I know at least one castle in the Scottish highlands that folklore holds was conjured by witches in one night.
I'm not in favor of a group that equals pound-for-pound the OOH, just that some other version of resisting magic be available. IMO, the OOH is superior because it banded together, shared knowledge and (sorta-kinda-maybe-so) works together. I liken it to the difference between basement inventors and dedicated research labs*... sure they can both produce but the lab has the benefit of expanding upon shared knowledge and experience. For me, the OOH is the product of over 300 years of collaboration and knowledge.
Other traditions may exist that oppose the OOH but they are unlikely to have the unified theories and organization to make the breakthroughs that the OOH has over time. But I like the idea that a shaman/non-traditionalist may be able to stand up to a mage who isn't expecting serious resistance. The Hermetic mage is likely to win in the end with preparation and so on but it's going to take more than a contemptuous Pilum!
(*--Yes, I realize that's a bad analogy because we hate corporate research labs and like independent inventors... but you get the point. )
Like Nerhesi, I'm also very much in favour of the "Limit of Magic Resistance". Every other magical tradition has something "unique" to it. I like the fact that Hermetic magi do too, and that they are not simply the "second best at everything".
We actually allow for Pagans to take Truth Faith/Relic as well. The theory behind it being that the Faerie God(s) are simply bestowing a portion of the power upon the individual. Come to think of it, we actually allow Infernalists to do the same thing. At the end of the day, we find that having more foes with MR prevents the players from just steamrolling everything. That and quite frankly, IMO it just makes sense. But my players prefer a higher power level to the game so take it with a grain of salt.
Boy Flambeau in your Saga must be really different than the ones in mine Got a CrIg Flambeau IMS who is a bit of a combat junkie and tosses around BoAFs with a few bumps for size that he's mastered up to a five with Multi-Casting. Shoot, you don't even have to go that route, use a simple CrAu20 spell to create a Tornado at sight (we call it 'The Witch's Last Ride' ) and sit back and watch everything go flying. Six or Seven Knights have nothing on a Magus who spend a year or two focusing on combat spells.
Err... we demolished mount snowdon. Casting POF is done to light the campfire and not much more around here...
There was a recent therad on "how to destroy a whole army with a level 30 spell" recently. Quite a lot of possibilities, really. POF is just good for skirmishes, but fails big time if you want to be the combat junkie type.
That's the sort of ability that needs to be kept out of the hands of non-Hermetic traditions. Magic resistance, on the other hand, only helps wizards resist other wizards and magical creatures and so doesn't mess up their relationships with mundanes. It's a strange Limit to put in place if the goal is to keep non-Hermetics from ruining the historical believability of Mythic Europe.
This goes to the very core of where some of us differ. Some of us prefer the current Canon; that the "Pagan Gods" are Fae/Magic spirits. Done. Whether benign or malign is up to you, but they're just false gods. Funny enough, the show Supernatural kinda followed this path-
[spoiler]Satan shows up near the end of the last season and in a blink of an eye annihilates all the other "gods" - from Thor to Shiva to Set[/spoiler]
I think he was just stressing that divine intervention is real and it happens. In fact, it can happen pretty damn often depending on how often your magus tries to affect the Host (impossible to affect by magic). So going around and flagrantly screwing around with God's anointed will cause you issues (not just 5-6 Bachelor Knights, but a few lords, a king, an archbishop/pope.. etc etc).
I think you're overlooking the effect of botch dice as a check on power level. Assuming that army is moving with a mobile alter and attending religious rites regularly, it has a Divine aura of at least three (maybe higher if a priest performs the last rites for the army immediately before going into combat). That is a bunch of botch dice. Spell Level/10 + Aura for Divine sounds about right. Do you really want to be multicasting a spell that calls for 7 botch dice? Even if you have it mastered to 5 (75 xp into one spell seems a bit much), five castings makes if fairly likely that a high level Ignem spell is going to get away from you.
BTW how does everyone compute botch dice on spells (gearing up to run a saga in a couple of months and this will be my first time with 5th edition)?