The Order of the Small

Seriously limiting the amount of vis in the saga helps a lot, I think, to prevent problems with Might and Parma. Along with making sure that critters have a Penetration Ability Score and the instinct (if not Intelligence) to use it effectively.

Along with placing strict limits on how common in the Order as a whole, combat useful, foci are.

Thanks for the explanation. :slight_smile:

That's really interesting indeed. I guess some other vitues could also be given that way. In my next saga I intend to play the apprenticeship, initiation scripts would indeed be a great way to give magi PC some hermetic virtues and flaws.

Are your initiation scripts available somewhere on the Internet?

So you have decreased the power of the parma? Have you reduced penetration and casting totals as well?


This is really important, although the exact level can vary from saga to saga (For my taste, you've made might-strippers way less effective than a "normal" combat spell, while IMO they should be better).

But having a "soak" vs might-strippers greatly enhance the lifespan of beasties, as it makes those low-level multicast spells useless.
For exemple, in Phoenix, we use a (maybe too low) soak of Might/5.
Thus, while, in RAW, 4 multicasts lvl 5 DEO with Pen 21 (casting total + Pen of 26) would kill a Might 20 demon, they'd only strip him of 4*(5-4) = 4 might there. You'd need, for exemple, 4 multicast lvl 10 DEO (Casting total + Pen of 31).

You can tailor this from saga to saga, but this allow to keep RAW might yet make a great difference.


Another possibility might be to borrow from Hedge Magic and have, for exemple, Techniques as Difficult Arts, and Forms as "Normal" Arts (Although this makes puissant technique more valuable).

Ooooh yes.
IMO, there's always a tendency on these boards to often assume an applicable foci, a tendency we seldom see in published characters.
See also this, on a related note:

Ah, it probably needs to be added that Might creatures also gets an extra soak bonus against "normal" damage based on might.
You need to power up regular damage spells quite a lot to make a serious dent into Might creatures with them.
Trust me, might strippers are easier. Well, actually it¬īs probably "easier" to pick up and throw a mountain aimed on top of a powerful creature (and bypassing MR in the process). :mrgreen:

Yeah, though as Xavi said, this penalises Tech specialists very badly. It works, but its not a "solution" i¬īm fond of.
It works well enough though that i have it as one of my "Broken Gift" BIG Flaws.

Indeed. Having been involved mostly in games where Focus are far from on all characters, i was a bit surprised at first on the forum as it seemed so many used it on all their characters.
Although of course i can agree that it can add a little something to the character.
I really dont like the notion of having a Focus in "doing damage" though.

True. It does make specialists with a Focus potentially badly overpowered early on though.

It occurs to me that you could do the same thing with Arts.

So, you might have "Opening the Arts" being an Initiation Script that gives you 0 in all Arts.
Then, you might have 15 different "Apprenticeship" Initiation Scripts that each give the character a Score of 5 in an Art.
Then, a further 15 different "Master" Initiation Scripts that each give the character a Score of 15 in an Art.
Finally, a set of 15 different "Arch-Magus" Initiation Scripts that each give the character a Score of 30 in an Art.

Books about Arts would not give XP, but would instead be Initiation Lab Texts.

Each House could then be differentiated by having variations on the different Initiation Scripts, and possibly some Houses could be missing some of the Arch-Magus Scripts.

No, we use RAW on the effects of MR, penetration and casting totals. We have ONE skill for concentration, penetration and finess together, but the score stay around 3 to 6 for each mage. The focus are not (or, rarely) combat oriented.
I red the posts about Parma being overpowered( or something around that, if I understood well). We didn't encountered that problem. I think this is a matter of YMMV. No. It's a matter of Your Mileage WILL Vary! =)
Each gaming group tailor their way of doing RPG and the rules up to their tastes. I thinks that's a good thing, as the goal is for people to have fun .
Our way of dealing with that, after some thinking on your question, is that each player moderate himself (we're still looking for a female player, btw). We tend to overspecialize our character too much, going for "balanced" (in our point of view) characters. Also, we ban most Virtues, Secrets, etc that multiply power. We allow alternate rules on a case by case basis, and don't allow anything unbalanced. For exemple, we like the Focus Merit a lot, but ban those "Potent Magic" virtues that seems to do the same and adds up. If you want your mage to have a knack with Perdo, you take "Puissant Perdo": but then you can't add up "Affinity with Perdo" over that. Not sure if I'm clear, ask away if I'm not.

It just happen that there was a combat in our last game, between our Flambeau (12 years Out of Appr.) and a demon (Inf. Might 15), among other evils. In Infernal Aura 2 (+2 MR for the demon, -2 casting total for the mage). Our flambeau managed around 15 to 20 penetration on DEO Lvl 5 all along combat, BUT he used Vis (about 3 or 4 each casting). Consider: he's specialised in PeIm, focus on "vanishing". (Also: HR: DEO don't reduce MR ).
It was a balanced (and fun!) combat scene, ending with a tie.
I'm curious: may I ask you a question? In your campaign, did it happen that you played a difficult encounter ? I mean one with an adversary too powerfull for the characters to deal with (E.g.: too high MR), prepared as they where on first meeting, while being an unavoidable obstacle for them? How did the character reacted?

My pleasure! :slight_smile:
No, not available as for now. To tell the truth, I didn't write down all the rules : we just assume the 6 first Scripts (up to 15 MR) are automatic success for a season spent studying.
Here is what I gave my players for our campaign: (sorry, there will be french on this english board, traduction on demand only, but really nothing really new...).

[code]Parma Magica
Vous avez les scripts suivants qui permettent d'approfondir le Parma Magica. Chacun demande une saison d'√©tude. Certains demandent autre chose (mais pas ceux dans la liste ici). Pour obtenir un Parma sup√©rieur √† 15 points, les mages de l'Ordre contactent pr√©f√©rablement leur ma√ģtre, un membre senior de leur maison, et si aucun n'est disponible, n'importe quel autre mage senior de l'Ordre.

Le√ßon des Apprentis: Donne les cinq premiers points en Parma. Le ma√ģtre retient le secret du Parma magica, qu'il donne ensuite √† l'apprenti apr√®s que celui-ci ait jur√© son all√©geance √† l'Ordre d'Herm√®s.
Pratique de Première Initiation : Donne +2 points en Parma Magica.
Pratique des Initiés : Donne +2 points en Parma Magica.
Pratique des Grands Initiés : Donne +2 points en Parma Magica.
Pratique des Initiés Dominus : Donne +2 points en Parma Magica.
Pratique des Magister: Donne +2 points en Parma Magica.[/code]

Really, that idea you just showed is great. Didn't thought about applying the idea to the arts. You know, maybe we found ArsM6 here... ! =)
I would prefer less powered arts, but's that the beauty of the idea: it's easy to have different scales depending on the power level you want.
Magic Theory could replace Mystery Cult Lore for the Secret of the Hermetic Arts (or be something along those lines). Etc. All could be rewritten that way. Keeping the Te+Fo and spells as they are now. It's doable. The more I think about it, the more I like.

There really should be a subforum "not RAW ars magica ideas" because those tend to stack :smiley:

That is indeed quite a good idea, involving stories to find the scripts and negotiation to have one possessed by an other covenant/house. :slight_smile:

We did indeed. My players mostly explored the following three ways, in that order:

  • use more vis and arcane/symbolic connections!
  • try to negotiate
  • find someone powerful enough to help them (parens, renowned archmagi, etc.)

By the way, thank you very much for the houserule sample. :slight_smile: