Things I wish were in the main rule book

I'm just starting my first ARS MAGICA campaign and I'm finding getting my head around the main rule book a little hard.

A couple of things I wish were in there that aren't.

  1. A unified list of all the things that can raise the number of botch dice on magic. Given that the way that Twilight is triggered is gaining more than one Warping point in a single botch this is important! There are a lot of things that can cause the level of botchs to increase mentioned in the text and I'd like to be able to find them in a single list.

  2. A clearer explanation of how the various types of enchantment work. I never read this section without feeling that someone (either me or the writer of the text) (or, of course, possibly both) is being very stupid. I can't figure out what damn good a Talisman does a wizard at all.

Well I can help you there.

  1. A Talisman is considered part of you, so it benefits from your Magic Resistance. A simple spell like Fist of Shattering (PeTe 10 if I recall) can destroy an ordinary invested device at range, but a Talisman is much safer from hostile magic.
  2. You can invest Personal-Range effects into it and they can affect you (with a regular device you need the costlier Touch range to do that)
  3. You can invest effects into your Talisman a little bit at a time and it holds a lot more effects than an invested device.[/code]

I understand you absolutely. I missed an article or chapter about "How to play a magus?". Not the roleplaying part of course but the game mechanics and their contact with each other. Magic is quite difficult in ArM and as a beginner I had no idea what to learn, what do to, what worths to do and what are not.

See this about talismans, very interesting:

  1. A talisman is easier to enchant (bonus to lab totals).
  2. A talisman can be attuned to certain activities according to shape and materials bonuses giving bonuses to rolls to cast other spells. If your talisman was a sword, you could attune it to "harming human and animal bodies" and get a +4 to cast your formulaic "Ball of Abysmal Flame" at a bandit.
  3. A talisman is considered part of you, so you can cast "touch" range spells without actually having to touch the target. You can touch it with your talisman. This is useful if the target is a pool of acid, a politician( :laughing: ), or something else that is icky.

Thanks for the help, fellas but I still can't work out if a talisman is something every wizard would have or something only a fanatic would bother with.

(I can figure out that an apprentice is something you want and I think I can see how Familiars work.)

Actually, apprentices tend to be labors of love, in my experience. They tend to be a lot more bother than the benefit they give.

Familiars have many benefits--handy magic resistance for a low power saga, reducing botch dice, and so on.

A talisman is a neat toy. Talisman abilities don't botch in stressful situations (and spells do). It's also extremely nice to find someone else's talisman, as it could be a dazzlingly powerful item (this makes them nice treasure for a SG to plant, if he wanted to). Further, there is a nifty mystery related to talismans, but that's really for the high end game.

Even so, I think the main reason to have one is because it's cool. The sagas I play in tend to focus on the early career, and in that setting a talisman has more imagery than effect.

I think every wizard would get around to enchanting a Talisman eventually, but some sooner than others. Generally I think a Talisman is better than a regular enchanted device and you should put enchantments into your Talisman unless you have a reason to do otherwise.

For example, if you want to sell or lend the item to someone else, don't do that with your Talisman. You might want a different Shape and Material bonus than your Talisman provides. Maybe the item is something that needs to be away from you in order to be useful, say a magical burglar alarm.

I think the answer to the Talisman question does depend to some extent on which edition you are playing. In 5th ed, a talisman is generally an excellent use of your time. In 4th ed, maybe less so? Just my opinion.

I like the idea of a unified botch table. :slight_smile: I might try tomorrow!

cj x

The general rules for botches are given in the center column of page 7 especially:

There are situations where specific extra botch dice are used such as magi casting in hostile auras or useing vis but at least 80% of the botch dice that are used in play (in my experience) could be derived from the following one entry table:

Anything that makes the task more dangerous >>> 1 botch die

That is a good term fo them. :wink:

So each distict difficulty adds another die? Sounds easy to me.

5e talismans are great things and there's almost no reason not to make one, as you can continually improve it. 4e talismans were awesome as well, but since they couldn't be improved I never saw one used in play... players would always design theoretical talismans of ultimate power and then attempt to develop the necessary Art scores to utilize them, but never quite got around to it.

This is why both talismans and familiars changed in ArM5 to be things that you could improve as you went along. I saw similar behaviour in earlier editions.

Another thing I wish were in the core rule book:

I wish that whenever it meant 'plus one level' it said '+1L' and whenever it meant 'plus one magnitude' it said '+1M'. Or am I being needlessly obtuse.

The magnitude/level distinction complicates things for us newbies....

No I don't think you are being obtuse.

I wish there were more examples. If there was a book of just examples, I would buy it. (NOT kidding ther either).
The other day we were looking at the twighlight rules...
The maga in question rolled equal to the twighlight roll...What happens? We looked around and decided to give the tie to the character...but no example was found...
Perhaps we were obtuse...

FYI p. 6 under die rolls


Thanks. We KNEW it was somewhere....


I certainly agree with that. The only function served by the concept of magnitude seems to be to make the rules regarding spell costs (even) more confusing ... but that may just be because I don't really understand spell costs at all, yet.

Magnitude is there for characters in game to discuss. Magnitude is how many pawns of vim a ritual spell takes.

Level is a term for players to use.