By chance, I stumbled across this in the core rules...
"All members of House Tremere have a Minor Magical Focus in Certamen...Other Magical Foci do not apply." (AM5, p 90, col ii, par 4)
So, to me, one way to read that implies that while, as written, the rules clearly state "A character can only have one Magical Focus, either major or minor, regardless of the source of the focus" (p 46, twice, MMF & mMF), at some point some author/editor thought there should be an exception (at least with regard to Tremere and their mandatory House Focus).
(And I, for one, think that would not be a a bad thing, at least for a 2nd minor MF for Tremere only.)
Just thought I'd toss that out, since it came up in another recent thread.
And one would think after the 'ftm' episode the great shrouded one would have been more cautious about posting without proofing
On a more serious note, this is a good interpretation. I was pretty happy with just house ruling on this one after the discussion here. The Tremere focus was clearly an attempt to transfer the house proficiciency into 5th. I doubt there was every an intention to rob them of the choice of other foci... or if there was it is a new introduction into 5th. I consider that to be an unitentional side effect.
Maybe David can be convinced of this fact and it could be added to any reprints of HoH:TL, the subject of reprinting being a hot topic currently.
I thionk everyone just House rules this one away. The other way to take it is to expand certamen so it's actually useful for something. Like, say, Nightwalking. Then it still is a limitation, but its not so crippling in play.
Actually, I really like the current rules, and would not be happy at all with a revision. This is the first edition where the Certamen advantage of Tremere - as supported by the rules - is very, very strong. Given how important Certamen is to establish a magus political standing - and to acquire resources, resolve disputes etc. I think it would be unbalancing to allow the Tremere a second focus.
Since most people seem to think Tremere are at a disadvantate without a second focus, can I just throw out the possibility that the Focus virtue might be too strong?
I prefer Potent Magic. It's less overpowering and adds more flavor. I'd like focus better if it gave you disadvantages along with advantages, for example a fire focued mage being bad at water magic. Right now it just feels like a power up trick.
Yep. Not a completely nuts possibility to suggest.
Because it is. Especially if you develop a magi that is a specialist already. Lets say a classic "plays with fire" magi, you put high scores in Cr,Re and Ig, maybe also the other Techniques and if you then add a Focus to that? Oooh NICE casting totals!
Of course, i like playing with lots of Virtues and XP instead. :mrgreen:
(though in part thats because with our modded R/D/T, we bloody well NEED it)
Still, i dont personally think Focus is OVERpowered, even if it tends to be a bit too good if chosen well.
Although I can see where you are coming from, there is nothing to prevent anyone else taking this is there? Or did I miss something important. The idea that it is an advantage to be pushed into a virtue that is available to any magus is an odd statement. If it is a unique option for Tremere then I completely withdraw this specific point.
I presumed the multiple foci ban was to prevent powergaming overlaps. Maybe I lack imagination but most other minor foci are in such small areas that to be able to reliably appy them to certamen (for a true power up not available to others) seems most unlikely.
What I dont like about the limitation in particular has nothing to do with powergaming, it adds a real flavour to a magus outside his arts scores granting a specialism that cannot be applied by default, requires imagination, and as I said flavour to the particular magus.
While I don't really have any problem with the RaW, I have always wondered why the Tremere's focus wasn't made a separate virtue akin to "Diedne Magic" which mimics the effects of a Magical Focus without actually being one. Particularly since IIRC, normal magical foci don't apply to certamen...
Not "at a disadvantage", but the variety of concepts is limited.
It's a little like the fact that, btr, no Gentle Gifted mage ever has a Major Magical Virtue (besides that). I suppose you could see GG as implying that all GG magi have a flaw that limits their magic that way, but still, it doesn't affect the mage's magic, just the mage's social interaction.
Maybe "Gentle Gift" also implies "limited Gift" in that regard - but I digress.
Hmm again, I had never considered this. Although a digression it is an interesting side effect of chosing it. It cannot have escaped the notice of a number of magi. I would incline to agreeing some would see this as the weak gift.
Not me. It does prevent them from developping the kind of overspecialization (as in magical focus, 2 affinities and 2 puissant arts) that makes some starting characters powerhouses in combat, which I suppose is a disadvantage in a saga which resolves entirely around it. But that is hardly the only type of saga...
So, if a SG is planning on running a saga which resolves entirely around combat, and has players that instinctively create that kind of characters, forcing him to tone the opposition up, I suppose it's only fair to warn the lone player trying to create something else, and perhaps throw a few house rules his way so he can stay in touch.
On the other hand, if the SG wants to throw in a lot of politics and mundane interactions, then he should warn that Blatant Gift/Infamous/+50 Ball of Abyssimal Fire Flambeau that he might get bored, while the Tremere will fit right in.
Hmm although I would traditionally agree with these kinds of things representing 'pwoerplay' in most games, especially in the instance of starting characters I don't really see it that way in Ars.
1: Magi are ridiculuosly powerful anyway. Unless the target has magic resistance a 7 yr apprentice could bone most mundanes.
2: As an SG it is easy do crush such specialised characters by offering challenges that counter the specialism. Magical immunity/huge resistace to oooh your specialist field... I am not saying you should, but it is a whole lot easier to present 'real challenges' to a group of specialists than a group of powerful generalists... wonder if Greater immunity: Hermetic Magic is a sufficiently specilised field within the particular realm to qualify? Obviously outrageous to allow a player of course, but does it fit the criteria I wonder? It might be common to us, but it is a specialised su-set within the magic realm. Hermetic Fire magic must surely qualify... maybe even for a minor virtue. Form a cult and innitiate all the henchmen into it and your specialist has got himself a real problem.
3: I dont feel the bonusses offered to starting characters are all that extreme. Yeha maybe you can push into a bracket of another magnitude, or you can penetrate slightly better with your lower level spells - woohoo... you can do that in a two seasons of training anyway by choosing reading about the particular field. It isnt like this is going to push characters into the 40s TeFo. More is achieved by taking 'gimme' virtues like guild training, silled parens, educated etc... If anything needs beating with the nerf bat for starting toons it is the free XP vitue set. Nothing, other than the obvious logic that you couldnt possibly have been educated by so many different gorups in your short life, prevents you from taking all of these and creating a toon with more than double base XP for his age. Much of it can be deployed in supernatural and hermetic fields. Flawless magic is like an XP Birthday+Christmas+visit form rich overseas uncle all in one neat package. The best part is, its the gift that keeps on giving! In short, there are better ways to #exploit# starting power levels.
In my experience this is of a much later advancement boon. Once you want to start playing the 'big money card game' and need 50+ XP to advance an art or skill - then you feel the benefit of these. They 'stave off' the huge costs for the higher end stuff making them much more achieveable. For me, that is absolutely fine. These virtues permit characters to achieve a more advanced understanding of magic without having to watch a whole generation of grogs grow old and die. I have played the lvl 20 spell game often enough to be happy to play the lvl 35 spell game in within the attention span of a particular saga. Especially when that is only available in highly specialised areas.
(iirc, a newly gauntleted, dedicated specialist character, with dual puissant/affinity, can easily reach 60's in their focus without too much trouble, "by the rules". (Not sure as a SG that I'd fully approve the character, but...) And with a minor focus, that's only half their Virtues.)
I had never even noticed that and indeed it does, although his totals are appalling for anything else, it does rather overturn what I just said about the achieveable levels. I am obviously not enough of a min-max gamer to consider options quite so heavily focussed. In particular I had not considered the focus applying to your ability to learn a spell. No reason it shouldn't I just had not considered it.
I still don't feel, however, that this is the bets way by any means to 'pimp your toon' if that is really what you seek to do, although I do admit taking a magical focus for the double 'trouble' in a field that you have high scores in the likely TeFo is probably the best option.
This guy is the extreme though, I can't see there is much else he could do to push the envelope, although admittedly it is futher than any character I have seen played in my ArM life.
Low Magic Theory and not much else, he could cover all the basics np with a couple build-point virtues.
You add Loud Voice/Bold Gestures, some Potent magic, perhaps Special Circumsstances and/or Cyclic Magic for +3, a non-negative aura - 70+ is just around the corner. Just past the cheese store - you can't miss it.