The Magus' Lab

This is for general rules discussions.

I realized that I was over-designing Selene, trying to make a full fledged character for the daimon, when what I should have done was more like this (FYI, the following is derived from creating her as a character, I can show my work if you want:)
Int 2 Per 1
Pre 1 Com 2
Str 1 Sta 1
Dex 5 Quick 2

greater power: presence (major 3)
greater power: donning the corporeal veil (human maiden) (major 3)
greater power: donning the corporeal veil: tree (major 3)
greater power: size+3 for tree (major 3)
focus power: commoners (major 3)
focus power:fertility (major 3)
focus power:fruitfullness (major 3)
focus power:rain (major 3)
focus power: sailors (major 3)
focus power: witchcraft (major 3)
focus power:feminine energy (major 3)
focus power: manifestation (major 3)
focus power: manifestation (major 3)
improved characteristics (minor 1)

General tasks: Selene can initiate someone, gifted or not, into all of the abilities associated with Folk Witchcraft at once time. She can also have her avatar take the form of a tree, establishing a magical aura with a tether of 8. Once the tree has remained for a year she may withdraw it or leave it as an effective Genus Loci. If it is withdrawn or cut down after one year the aura will drop to 4 in the affected area (up to 10,000 paces diameter). She may also bless a woman with a child with virtues and flaws she assigns, though a single virtue or flaw (or the Gift) can certainly be requested.

Yea, we don't need to go all the way and design full characters for daimons. That's too insane.

Stats and greater powers look fine. I'm assuming you took Might at base for buying powers.

Can you explain the focus powers in a bit more detail? Where did they come from, and how are they done according to the rules? I'm not familiar with the ability of a Daimon to initiate someone into a mystery on their own. Even Lasa Vegoia can only give a +5 to an initiation script in just two mysteries. Seven (do I have that right?) seems an awful lot, including three major Virtues.

Let me ask, just how many points of Virtues are you expecting Meliai to have at the end of the sixth cycle?

Also, where is the power to create a level 8 Aura and a Genius Loci? I'm unfamiliar with that ability. I thought magical being tethers were at Might/10, and then only when they inhabit an area. Is having an Aspect in an area good enough?

Generally peternatural tethers are capped at 5. None of the example Daimon can initiate someone outright, let alone in multiple virtues. A handful can produce ritual like effects, but it takes vis to summon them. Being able to pick out virtues and flaws is fertility magic, which is normally the sort of thing that takes a lot of effort to get. Most of the Daimons have a handful of powers. Even the really powerful ones.

The focus powers are actually just a listing of her influences from ROP:M. My idea is that she is not human and probably does have connection with the lost ability of fertility magic, especially since that is one of her foci. I added the initiation because she had the association with witchcraft as one of her specialties as well. On the other hand granting her the ability to bestow the Gift could work as well...perhaps better.
While it does say that preternatural tethers are generally capped at 5, it also states on p.103 of ROP:M that the might of a spirit should be doubled for calculating the aura created with Presence power, and on p. 10 of ROP:M that where a magical being has resided for more than a year gains a tether of might/10, and where they have lived the last half of their life, died, or been buried will have an aura of might/20.

I note that RoP:M states:

Forgotten Gods typically have some sort of focus — a type of magic or a part of the natural world over which they have influence. As characters, they should take a Greater Power that describes this influence. For example, if a goddess were associated with cats, she might have a power that would allow her to summon them or convince them to do her bidding.
(Emphasis mine.)
Thus, RoP:M implies that a forgotten god should have one focus, not nine. I'd probably be willing to slide things a bit and say two or three foci might be okay for a powerful entity. But not nine.

Consider, Gydryty-kom the Giant (Might 40) has two foci; Lasa Vegoia the Matron (Might 30) has three foci; Honos (Might 30) has two foci; and Dietrich von Bern (Might 35) only has one focus.

I don't have any problem with Selene being associated with fertility magic (if that's a focus she ends up with). The real question is what that focus allows Selene to do.

But where do you get initiation as a power? Why wouldn't giving a bonus to the inititation script be good enough? That, at least, has precedent. And granting a bonus to seven Virtues seems a bit broad for a 'focus.' Better that she should be focused on some aspect of witchcraft - curses, dowsing, shapechange, etc.

Don't hold your breath on that one. If it were that easy, House Mercere would have been doing it for centuries. (Okay, getting all these mystery initiations isn't exactly 'easy.' But it's clearly not out of the realm of possiblility for a maga in her prime.) My point is that allowing the Gift to be granted that easily would be disrupting to the game and would therefore be much more difficult. (I'm not saying it's impossible. But it won't be routine.)

RoP:M also notes:

The preternatural aura score is equal to the strongest preternatural tether, plus one for each additional tether. Likewise, it cannot exceed 5. A base aura score of greater than 5 thus always results from a combination of natural and preternatural tethers. Most such auras are legendary and those stronger still are extremely hard to reach, and dangerous to set foot in. If there are no tethers, the base aura score is 0.
(Emphasis mine.)
So, notwithstanding what it says later, RoP:M is clear that perternatural tethers are capped at 5. (I didn't see the word "generally" used in the description of the maximum value of tethers. Did I miss it?) However, it is very clear that the only way you get an Aura above 5 is with multiple tethers.

My interpretation is that Presence will double the magical tether up to the maximum of 5. So, a spirit with a Might of 20 and the Presence Quality would have a tether of 4. But a spirit with a Might of 30 and Presence would only have a tether of 5.

In the end, I don't have a problem with a sufficiently powerful maga being able to summon a thether and create an Aura. But it shouldn't be commonplace. And anything over Aura 5 will be take some work, particularly if you're looking to build it from scratch. Upping an Aura 3 to Aura 6 or 7 is one thing. But dropping an Aura 7 down anywhere is a bit less realistic.

As I think about it, I'm not sure about how reasonable it is to have an Aspect stay in a location for a whole year as a service. That seems like a lot. It leaves an AC to the Daimon hanging out there for a whole year.

Also, it may be that if a Daimon were manifesting an Aspect for an entire year, it might manifest a lower-Might Aspect.

They can also withdraw or cut off that daimon at the first sign of trouble. So the aura building only works if the magus keeps the tree protected (or the daimon may just create an aspect then separate from it after 'planting' it). How would you feel about a level 5 aura while the tree is there with a level 4 residual if it leaves after more than a year.

I'll look at what to swap around on the focus powers to try and cover multiple aspects with the same power...

Also keep in mind that Selene is Might:40

I'm heartened by the fact that (if I understand things properly), it costs something like 16 vis to drop an Aura like that. (At least two castings of a level 40 ritual). So there is a very real limit on how often the spell can be cast.

But I'll be honest, high-powered game or not, Auras are supposed to be kind of special. Just how many Auras is Meliai looking to drop down? If she's looking to make a host of magical forests across Atlantis to serve as havens for mystical creatures, that seems a perfectly reasonable goal. But if she's looking at dropping them like McMansions in the suburbs, then it seems like it would be too disruptive to the verisimilitude of the game.

I think you're missing the point. If you have seven powers related to dogs, cats, mice, stinkbugs, owls, ferrets, and orangutans, then the answer isn't to come up with a broader description and say "animals," or "living things." Those are too broad to be a 'focus' (IMO). What you need to do is decide what Selene's focus really is, and not try and give her too broad a focus. Use the listed Daimons for guidance. Try and make her focus similar to what they have.

True. That puts her up with Gydrytyr-kom (who has 2 powers), and just above Dietrich von Bern (who has one power). Can you see what's wrong with this picture?

von Bern doesn't have enough powers?

Honestly the Damion should probably be storyguide designed. Or at least not designed by the player summoning it. Honestly they certainly feel like when they made the rules for them it feels like they weren't thinking of "what would a clever magus do with one?"

Okay, fair enough. :slight_smile:

That's probably a good rule. Even if I'm not able to make all the Daimons, we could at least farm them out to people other than the magi summoning them.

I asked about that to begin with, you suggested we should create our own. As to Selene's aspects, those are listed on p. 108 of ROP:M- I am trying to stay true to that description, not trying to make some sort of Omni-daimon.
In order to summon Selene with the devised spell she needs to cast a Level 60 spell with 40 penetration twice, using a total of 24 vis. This will not only require 24 vis, but assistance from someone else who knows Wizard's communion with a minimum level of 10 because she cannot make that level of penetration on her own. The plan is that 1 aura might be dropped on the new island if either the existing aura is faded or small, as she wants to try and ensure there will be a magical forest on the island. Dropping one or two more in other locations would be wonderful, but certainly not in her short term goals. Of course in the long run she would like to have them all over Europe and overwhelm the divine out of existence, but while she is at it she wouldn't mind being given direct access to the magic realm and her own personally moldable reality within it to work out of- in other words she realizes that this is not a realistic goal but more of a 'wouldn't that be nice' sort of fantasy.

Sorry. After my stay in the hospital and related health issues, I was trying to off-load as much as I could from my plate. (To the extent that proved workable.)

I think the difficulty is that we're trying to compare a paragraph summary of Selene in RoP:M to a full write-up of various Daimons in TMRE and the puzzle pieces don't always link up. Daimons in TMRE are shown as having 1-3 Powers. Named Spirits are identified as having 6-8 things they rule over, but no indication of how many Powers they ought to have or how those rulerships should transfer over to powers. The best we get are typical powers (of which, I note, Presence is not one of the ones for Astra Planeta).

What we do see is that the most they seem to get are three Powers (or at least three major powers; I'm willing to bet they have some lesser powers too), even for the Might 40 spirits. And the scope of the (major) Powers are on the order of teaching a spell, giving a +5 bonus in two initiation scripts, casting a spell from a particular area of specialty, dispelling a spell, granting 17 xp, teaching names of power, increasing a Characteristic once, etc. And where they have three powers, one usually seems to be a personal ability, e.g., shapechanging, being able to cast spells, discorprotation, etc. Nothing seems even close to the order of initiating someone to seven mysteries (three major, four minor) all at once, or granting someone's child the Gift.

More reasonable, IMO, would be to say that if Selene has powers over fertility, she can grant one of a half-dozen listed minor Virtues to an unborn baby. If she's gifted in Witchcraft, she could give a lesser bonus (+2 or +3) to all witchcraft initiation scripts, or a better bonus (+5) to a few specific ones. Those seem more in keeping with what's listed in TMRE.

Even if we cut things down to what seem to be your top three power choices: Fertility, Witchcraft, and Presence, I think we still have a Daimon that's a bit on the powerful side, even for a Might 40 Daimon. But at least we're in the ballpark.

This makes me feel better. At 24 vis and the assistance of one or more magus, this isn't going to be willy-nilly. Provided we work with the rule that a single tether can't give more than an Aura of 5, I think the concept of having a Daimon who can help establish an Aura is workable.

But I'm always cautious with such really good deals (a 10,000 pace radius level 5 Aura for 24 vis is still an excellent buy). I always have to ask myself why, if it's so good, has no one ever done it before? Why aren't the ancient powers of the Houses doing it now?

In any case, let's see if we can come up with a version of Selene that looks a bit more like the Daimons at the end of TMRE. I think we're closing in on something workable.

IMO this could be asked of a lot of things in Ars Magica. One further point in this is that Selene has to agree to the service, so it may require additional negotiation beyond the 24 vis that gets her to show up and discuss the possibility. Another is that the Rhine has a history of such a tree being cut down and shattering the once massive magical aura that held power there...

Yep. This, as a collaboration with player.

The total of the Wizard's Communions must be double the level of the actual spell.

No, but generally I don't think you should take talk about general cases as hard and fast rules. Case in point, the presence power is an exception to the general rule a tether is might/10 round down.

Rereading that section I have some observations. First, not every magical being generates a tether. I wouldn't allow an aspect to generate an aura at all. Secondly the Aura doesn't form right away. First a tether must form taking a year. The aura still hasn't formed, but it will form over time. Third,

I wouldn't allow any sort of residual tether. If an Aspect is "killed" it leaves and returns to the main Damion. It wasn't there for half its life. It did not really die. Fourth, Damions certainly act like they can't spawn aspects freely. They haven't deployed door to door sales-Aspects for example. Even if you could get a year per summoning this is a) expensive as all hell and b) has a decent chance of botching and botching badly. 7.2% chance of one or more botchs per cast, 3.4% chance of two or more botches, which affects everyone in the communion.

Let me poll the troupe. What does everyone else think about the possibility of tethers from Daimon Aspects?

Aside - I've taken Wizards Communion at 20.

It would be handy if most of the magi had WC at a reasonable level too so we can combine for big castings.

If a Daimon is going to grant an aspect we should have to haggle for it. Perhaps it is initially summoned and then a deal must be struck.
So maybe we cast the first spell to summon and then resolve a story for it to stay. That may also resolve an ongoing massive vis cost and add a pseudo-characteristic to the forest.

I'm fine with the daimon thing.

As a side note, I'm not sure that there's any restriction on manifesting Aspects. True, they don't do your door-to-door sales Aspects, at least in a crass sense. But the Daimons we've read about (think gods, faerie lords, angels) don't exactly seem beholden to mortals as to where and when they appear. In fact, quite the opposite. They have a habit of showing up when they're least desired.

Now, there is a definite restriction as far as getting stronger. That only happens when their Aspects are summoned by mortals using vis, true. And that's where the Daimons seem to limit their use of major powers. But I think there are plenty of examples of Aspects manifesting outside of those circumstances and either using minor powers or just normal interaction with mortals.

As to 'drumming up sales' as it were, I think they probably do engage in that behavior, if not as overtly as going about with a sandwich board on. Appearing and helping mortals from time to time helps increase their worship and the chance that someone of power will summon their aspect in a worshipful way.

When I say "freely" I mean without any cost at all, not just the ability to deploy and aspect without a summoner. Yes, they aren't beholden to mortals and show up when they want, but they also don't spawn a hundred aspects to organize groups to summon them. They deploy lesser aspects.

If they could freely deploy aspects why would they bother with lesser aspects? Why wouldn't they go hit up some covenants and demand worship? Why not deploy aspects to gather vis for anyone who can summon them?

This is my point. They appear from time to time. Not everywhere all the time. If they want to be summoned they would at least make sure their worshippers have access to all the vis they need for summonings. They might be a little cryptic about it "Go to the top of the Great Hill, find 24 golden apples and sacrifice them to meeee!!!!!!" Whatever the reason Daimons act like the time of an Aspect is valuable. Am I making sense?