Throwing Rocks. Big rocks.

Something to remember, too.
BoaF can be used anywhere. Boulders? You can't throw them indoors. Likewise, you can't throw them at someone who's near a shield grog or sodales.

Nope. Attack Advantage for Aimed Spells do not carry over into extra damage. This was brought up here and discussed. IIRC, David Chart himself confirmed it is just a "to hit" roll. I remember that very much precisely because of Novus Mane.

Of course, but we're talking of thrown rocks.
If bigger rocks are thrown, on a flat trajectory, with less force than smaller rocks, we can, at least for game balance purposes, assume that the 2 cancel out each other: You gain +5 because of size, you lose 5 because of lack of strength.
If going ballistic, so that the rock's fall will increase damage, he'll lose in precision, thus cancelling his aiming bonuses.

That really should be in the errata, because I don't get that impression from reading it. The moment you compare attack and defense totals, it begins smelling like combat.
Also, this could actually make aimed spells even weaker, when one includes soak bonuses for armor and shields.

Eh? No carry over advantage for aimed spells? REALLY? That is totally unclear in the rules. :open_mouth: :confused:

For what it's worth, you're on the opposite side of your position from a few years ago. :smiley:

Which just adds further strength my point it's entirely unclear, despite David Chart's quotation The Fixer provided the link to.

But a poor magus who takes Invisible Sling of Vilano as his only offensive spell and manages to get off a successful attack against a mundane in chainmail is unlucky indeed. Let's say he succeeds in the attack, and go by RAW as clarified by David Chart. Now opponents roll for damage. On average the magus is going to do +11, and the mundane in chainmail is going to be able to soak 15 just by dint of his armor, not counting stamina or anything else. Unless one thinks armor shouldn't apply to this spell, but I have a hard time justifying that given that this is essentially a mundane attack. This applies to anyone Leather Scale and above, on average Invisible Sling of Vilano will not do any damage, and the only way to deal damage is with exploders or a botch on the defensive side.

I know, this suggests the need for another spell, like Wielding the Invisible Sling or Pilum of Fire which can be presumed to deal damage directly, bypassing armor. But Wielding the Invisible Sling has the armor issue, too. Some troupes play Pilum can be soaked by armor for the first attack, but not subsequent Pila of Fire...

LMAO. Too true :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

I have not reviewed it recently, but we do have had aimed spells IMS (manx saga), and we have been using carry over to damage. It was not thought to be unbalancing.

Well, as I suggested with my example, I think it might even be balancing. If someone's going to invest a lot of experience points in finesse, there should be a benefit that carries through.

I think there's something else to consider about whether or not to roll for damage on the aimed spells. The magus who relies upon finesse based attacks now has three opportunities for his spell to fail. The spell roll might botch (this can be mitigated by mastery, but adverse auras make this harder), his finesse roll can be botched (this can be negated by Cautions with Finesse) and finally his damage roll can botch, and it is explicitly mentioned on page 181. I'm ok with two chances to fail. Three just starts to seem punitive...

I follow David Chart's reading. And think it's the wise choice as it is simpler and more consistent to run (spell X produces X results; simple, easy), and so that Finesse uber specialization doesn't unduly increase damage.

It allows the character to master the spell for fast-casting and cast a handful of such spells in the same round. That's, ahem, enough of an advantage...

[size=85](I hate multiple-casting with the fiery intensity of a thousand exploding suns... and fast-cast is worse...)[/size]

Because regular mastery is not enough to break the system with any combat spell, eh? :wink: The only real result here is that you are making penetration more desirable than finesse as a hermetic ability. :slight_smile: Brute force beats skill. I do that all the time with my characters, but I do not like it conceptually.


Not sure how finesse uber specialization is any worse than thrown weapon uber specialization or Major Magical Focus (damage) is an uber specialization.

Multiple casting needs to be treated as quick and precise casting are, IMO; take X number of times to add X number of copies. When dealing with aimed attacks, this is also limited by the ammunition available AND it has a penalty to hit. Three copies to three diferent people, each is at -3 to hit, for each one. Even three copies at the same person, each one is a -1 to hit for each one.

Applying multiple casting to my previous example of the well armored opponent won't affect the damage result, on average. At best you are hoping for luck. The fire damage specialist doesn't have that concern, doesn't have any of those concerns, and can likely achieve penetration of his effect pretty easily if the individual has MR. If I have a bag of 20 sling stones and Invisible Sling of Vilano, with a Mastery Ability score of 3, and multiple casting taken once and everything as per RAW, it's unlikely that any of the 4 sling stones will do any damage, even assuming they hit. Mastery, for aimed spells, is primarily useful to mitigate against a botch.

Fast-casting, IMO, should only be allowed as a defensive measure. I think that is the original and intended purpose of fast casting by reading the section very carefully. I really, really hate (that might be too light a word) the idea that you can beat your own initiative and your opponent's, and somehow manage to attack before the opponent gets his attack off, by a roll that gets a bonus of Finesse added to it, unlike the original Initiative roll did. Fast-casting should be for mitigating an attack, or, acceptance of mutually assured destruction. Alpha and Beta are fighting, Alpha has initiative, Beta loses it. Alpha swings with a sword, but Beta fast casts a spell. The appropriate and reasonable fast cast spells are things that mitigate the result of the sword swing (Wizard Leap, something that turns the Sword into Butterflies, or something), not a Ball of Abysmal Fire Beta tries to get off before getting hit with a sword. It very well may be that Beta has no suitable response, but to avoid getting hit. Going out in a blaze of glory is entirely reasonable.

For example, I have a maga in Oppidum of Héviz who mastered Mighty Torrent of Water for fast casting. In that saga fast casting is only for defense or the mutually assured destruction. I can fast cast it against PoF and BoAF, or other fire related magics, but if I try and use it as an attack and fast cast it, I'm still getting hit with whatever was coming.

: shrug : High Finesse allows a character to fast-cast defensively, as well as to aim spells and - by RAW - to fast-cast offensively. And it has occasional other uses. I think that's a very useful ability, generally more useful then Penetration that allows the character to add multiples of it using arcane and sympathetic connections and that's about it. (Yes, he also adds it once per spell, plus once more with Mastery - seriously ? You're excited about adding +4, day, to your spell's penetration total ?)

My changes requiring minimum size only make Finesse less applicable, as one could add large size anyway and I'm just requiring it, thus making aimed spells less flexible and potent.

Uber thrown weapon specialization will rarely benefit from wizardly shticks like Fast-Casting. Major Magical Focus (damage) is silly, granted, but one silliness does not undo another....

The big problem here is that this is even allowed. Instead of casting one spell per round, you're casting several, multiplying your damage output. That's major.

One way to address multiple-casting is as a limited from of Flexible Magic, allowing you to change the Target of your spell from Individual to Group (at a +10 increase to the spell's level). This is at least consistent with the magic system, and also opens the door for other Flexible-Magic based special abilities. It practical terms it means you invest time in Mastering your spell instead of learning a similar, Group-target, one, which does not seem unreasonable.

Another way, once suggested by The Fixer, is to treat each multiple copy hitting the same opponent as an extra magnitude (+5) of damage. At least that keeps multiple casting from overwhelming individual opponents.

My favorite way is to nerf it totally. Make the mastery ability allow you to divide up your Casting Total. If you actually have enough Casting Total to cast the spell multiple times, it probably isn't that dangerous to let you do so...

I don't have a problem with a sling not affecting an armored knight. Or a scaled dragon. Except for luck.

This is only as long as you keep aimed spell damage down. If aimed spells do large damage - such as increasing the damage based on the HoHS guidelines, or using a "drop a rock" spell - then suddenly being able to aim better and fast-cast several in one round is nice.

That makes a lot of gaming sense, but I find it makes little in-world sense. My troupe discussed the matter and we settled on house-rules that basically limit offensive fast-casting but do not eliminate it as an option. In case anyone is interested, they are:

Amir’s Fast Cast Rules: By group agreement, our house rules for fast-casting are as follows:

  1. Normal Spell Initiative is (die + Quickness). Fast-Cast Initiative adds +Finesse on top of that total (for the combat).
  2. You have a pool of fast-cast spells you can cast each round in the combat. The size of this pool is determined by your Fast-Cast Initiative for this combat. It is 1 fast-fast spell at EF 5, 2 fast-cast spells at EF 15, 3 fast-cast spells at EF 25, and so on.
  3. From the first time you cast a fast-cast spell in a round, you can no longer cast a normal spell in that round. From the first time you cast a normal spell in a round, you can no longer cast a fast-cast spell in that round.
  4. From this point on the rules depend on whether the spell is Personal, i.e. affects only the magus and his gear, or non-Personal.
  5. A magus may fast-cast a non-Personal spell on his Fast-Cast Initiative or his Normal Spell Initiative. He cannot fast-cast a non-Personal spell at any other point in the round. A non-Personal fast-cast spell is not an interrupt, and may provoke an interrupt Personal fast-cast spell.
  6. A magus may fast-cast a Personal spell on his Fast-Cast Initiative or any lower initiative count. A Personal fast-cast spell is an “interrupt” action that, if successful, will prevent the interrupted spell or attack from affecting the magus and his gear. It does not provoke an interrupt (Personal) fast-cast spell.
  7. A magus may continue to fast-cast until his fast-cast pool runs out (for this round), subject to the limitations above.

But someone with a high Thrown Weapon Score could damage a knight or a dragon with a sling, without luck, possibly. In a game about magic, magic should generally trump the mundane. Except in this instance, it doesn't. Because the RAW as clarified by David Chart says that the Attack for a spell is a yes/no check, and any overage is discarded, and then roll for attack. The guy with a sling gets his Thrown Weapon score + die + 1 From the sling vs the Defense total against the knight or the dragon. On average they will be fine, but on the outstanding success yes, there will be problems. My main issue is that by discounting the spell success roll, the finesse roll, and leaving it all to damage, is that the finesse player is actually penalized if he should roll well before the damage is done. That's kinda a bummer. You rolled 81 to hit. But you botched your damage roll. Sorry, dude! That doesn't happen in combat, and again in a game about Magi, magic should trump the mundane.

Alright, scale it up per the guidelines, nothing changes, and it is no better than PoF or BoAF for doing damage as a function of magnitude, and it also requires ammunition being available, and good finesse scores. Or revise the guidelines and make variants of the Crystal Dart and me a MuReTe specialist and ignore having to improve finesse, and focus on penetration, because then I don't have to worry about aiming and all three of my Crystal Darts or their variants will hit.

Of course it makes game sense. I'm not sure what you're going at by saying gaming sense and in-world. There are numerous spells that can be used to mitigate receiving the effect of the attack. Wizard's Leap, and you're out of the way.

This just nerfs fast casting, generally and makes spell mastery for fast casting even more important. By preventing a normal spell for being cast when someone has fast cast, or someone from fast casting when they have already cast a normal spell, you're just making combat focused players chose fast cast mastery for all of their offensive and defensive spells.

Ah, now I get your point. Good point. Good two points, actually.

Yes, the sling weapon can out-damage the sling spell. I can see where this doesn't fly in a game about wizards, certainly. More broadly, however, we're allowing high Finesse here to count as a weapon ability. All weapon abilities, with the right spells. I'm not sure I like that. Even if the focus of the game is wizards, I don't like that they can fight like a trained fighter. Leave the weapon-fighting to the mundanes, or the few martially skilled magi, and leave the wizards to do... wizardry stuff. Also, not allowing this means that wizards will seek more impressive spells rather than increasing their Finesse, which I like. I can see both sides as having good points here.

On the issue of rolling high hits in vain - yes, that sucks. Another very good point for using the attack advantage method.

Let me put it this way -

Take a high Finesse character, and let him gain fast-cast mastery in BoAF and a Catapult of Vilano. Under RAW, he can fast-cast lots of BoAF or lots of CoV, as he wishes, each round. That's very useful. With one Mastery point, 5 XP, a Season of Practice, he gets to cast multiple copies of the spell per round. That's very, very effective use of time.

Now, CoV has the disadvantages you noted. The character might not want to cast it if he has no suitable ammunition, or even simply if targeting opponents with low magic resistance (so penetration isn't an issue). In those circumstances where he does want to use the CoV, however, his high Finesse also aids his attack rolls. That's cool.

And his high Finesse means that he is more likely to fast-cast defensive spells, and to react in time to cast offensive or reactive spells in combat.

These are all major advantages. In my opinion, that's superior to accumulating +4 on the penetration of all your spells, plus a heftier bonus on that rare and half-mythical case where you obtain an arcane connection and sympathetic connections to your opponent. Not that I'm dissing Penetration - it can be a powerful Ability in those rare cases. But I think those cases, important as they are, are rarer.

So I think both Finesse and Penetration are useful Abilities, and I'm not too concerned if one is slightly more useful than the others.

Sure. But why can you fast-cast a spell defensively, but not offensively ? You can fast-cast a torrent of water to smother that incoming fireball... but not if you aim a little to the side, to hit the magus' shield grog instead ? Sorry, this kind of distinction between spells doesn't really work for me. From a gamist perspective, I can grok it and ignore that. But from a simulationist perspective, it still doesn't jibe.

Hope that clears up my point.

Well, the RAW already disallows casting both a normal and a fast-cast spell. Arguably. (There was a big discussion on that recently; I think this was the consensus.) So this isn't a change, just a clarification. And yes, this does mean that combat-focused players will choose fast cast mastery. Which leads to them focusing on Finesse, which leads to them looking up other ways of using Finesse, such as bypassing Magic Resistance by using aimed spells, which leads us to where we started this thread... :slight_smile:

The house rule does indeed nerf fast casting in general, which makes fast-cast mastery even more important. Note it also means that all those Finesse-maximizing characters are actually worse off than under RAW. This was what my troupe wanted. I'm not particularly enamored of this house rule, it's rather clanky and weird - but so be it.

+4 to Penetration is easily +16 to +20 if you search for your AC (something any magus should be doing) so it is no negligible bonus :slight_smile:

We never fast cast. That might explain our POV difference .


We hardly ever collect arcane connections. That might explain our POV difference too :slight_smile:

Again - getting high bonuses from arcane and sympathetic connections is great and justifies investing in the Penetration Ability. It's a useful ability. It's just that Finesse is useful too - to be the fastest gun in the west, errg, the fastest spell slinger in the combat, and to do cast many, many fast-cast spells instead of one (plus a few other uses).

Well, one can't fast cast willy-nilly. It has to be "[...] a response to an attack or other surprising event" page 83 of the Ars Magica 5th Edition.
If someone wants to get into offensive fast casting, I can get very stingy with the awareness roll necessary to notice the event that is being responded to. You can't notice everything, especially if you're busy casting a normal spell. Allow me, the SG, to adjudicate whether you notice something. My sensibilities are such that I'm going to make it easy, if not automatic if your fast cast is defensive in nature, rather than offensive. And if it is offensive, the best you can achieve is some sort of mutual or simultaneous action. Your BoAF goes off just as a grog slices one of your shield grogs to pieces, he's dead, Jim. :smiley: Should've done something else...
I mean, if all the grogs are dead or grievously wounded, fast casting doesn't make a lot of difference when used "offensively" the way I see it.

What does high finesse mean, in this context, too? I'm not clear on that. Assuming a Finesse of 6, and a Quickness of 0 (because let's face it magi will generally put points in Stamina, dump Strength unless a physical fighter and are thinking about Com or Perception with the points they receive from Strength. Quickness might get 1 point, in my experience. Check all that, we'll go with Finesse 6 (casting speed) and Quickness 1 for an effective +8 to the fast casting speed roll. On average (die roll of 6), that's acting at Initiative point 14, then 8, then 2, and then -4, per RAW. -4 is unlikely, but possible if someone rolls a non botching 0 and has negatives due to quickness or encumbrance. I would allow normal spell, after all that, but after only else has acted.

Then, with that Finesse of 6, what was the opportunity cost of having it at that level? Cost in Virtues? Cost in low Art scores, because Invisible Sling of Vilano is often taken as a last ditch offensive spell for decidedly non combat magi.

In the context of my player, it means Quickness +3, Finesse 3+2 (casting spell as specialty), and the Fast Caster virtue (for another +3), for a total of +11 and with plenty of room to grow (by reading books on Finesse, mostly). That's 17 on average, which is roughly acting on 17, 11, 5, and -1, or so, by RAW. With lots of die rolls, SG decisions, and arguments. Or 2 fast-cast spells by our house rules, without any arguments or mess; which is a large draw for them to me, as an SG.

Yeah, I'm a fan of the no argument thing. That's why I limit fast cast for defensive purposes only, too. The number of die rolls doesn't bother me too much.

That'd be Ophelia at gauntlet. That's 5 virtue points and several characteristic points tied up into making her fast. Her spells, by and large are defensive, and due to my own sensibilities, fast casting can't be used for offense. Of course, she does have Flawless Magic and will pursue Quick Casting for several spells, pushing those initiative or fast casting totals even higher. She has strengths, sure. She also has weaknesses. If she can't go offensive with fast casting she has many weaknesses.

I guess my question here would be: do you allow a fast cast spell to interrupt an action, or does the action still resolve if the fast cast spell doesn't actually change the result. For Example, someone fast cast BoAF against an opposing grog who is taking on your grog. Does that resolve first in your system?

That works fairly well, although my players and I saw conflict over what constitutes a "defense" vs. "attack" or what an unacceptable "side effect" will be. We also felt that affecting others with spells which are only defensive, not offensive or "other", stretches believably for us. That's why we chose the simple division of "Personal" or "non-Personal". But we definitely considered you division, too, and I can see it working very well.

Hmm. Puissant Finesse and Fast Caster; 2 virtue points. What am I missing ? He doesn't have Flawless Magic; spends XP instead.

For offensive ("non-Personal") spells, the fast cast does not interrupt the action. It is resolved after the action that triggered it. For defensive ("Personal") spells, the fast-cast spell interrupts the action, an is resolved before it is.

So in your scenario - the ally's fast-cast BoAF will strike the opposing grog after his blow has been resolved. It's impossible to fast-cast a defense for your poor grog; you can't reach out with magic to any range (even Touch !) that fast. You can avenge him very fast... that's about it. If he was a wizard, however, he could attempt to fast-cast a defensive Personal spell (spontaneously or by mastering Wizard's Leap or whatever) to avoid the blow. Wizards get all the cool stuff.