Now this time I searched the forum and did not find what I am after, so...
What is the real incentive for Merinita magi to increase their Faerie Magic ability score? The Core rules provide new targets/durations available whatever one's skill level is, as well as equal benefits from Faerie and Magic aura (also unaffected by ability score). In HoH: MC, FM can be substituted for Magic theory in some instance---one might just concentrate XP on MT. The FM score also adds to botches and warping---rarely an incentive. So the only advantage that remains is that IF you use only Faerie vis, you can use additional pawns equal to double the FM score. That seems rather weak. Am I missing something? Shouldn't the Faerie Magic total be involved in Charms creation somehow, or other useful calculation?
Some will say: You're impatient, the outer mystery is not all... But the Inner mysteries using the Faerie Magic ability are not that common. There is the Becoming ultimate mystery that is limited by Faerie Magic, but that is certainly late in blooming in most sagas. And then there is the Symbolic Magic mystery. Unless I missed some, that's it. Many Merinita career paths will see no use for this supposedly basic house ability.
Anyone has a houserule to modify this? Am I missing something? Am I underestimating the stated usefulness of the ability?
The extra vis can be really, really handy, such as when making a longevity ritual for an old magus.
It's actually not so incredibly useful for Becoming since you can boost your Warping Score up to 9 (or more if you want to risk it) with ease and the targets get lowered with Ordeals. Once you've gotten Faerie Might that limit is entirely gone.
The biggest mod i did(and this was before this ability existed in canon) was to make a distance based on the skill level, whenever the magi was using the Ability, for casting or lab total or whatever, he got to add the strength of the strongest Faerie aura that was within that distance at the time.
This gave plenty incentive to stick nearby as strong Faerie auras as possible, with higher skill allowing more and more leniency to distance.
I also had the Ability simply add straight off to all casting and lab totals with the limitation that whenever it was used, the result was not regular magic but "Faerie magic", not always useable by someone without the ability and so on.
Well, no. The ability can also be used to know stuff, but that's rare and generally immaterial.
However - since this is a free ability, this is as it should be. Being able to add 2 x Faerie Magic to the vis limit per season is already too powerful for a free perk, as far as I am concerned.
Not really. There is no room for it in charm formulas/flavor, and as I said it's plenty powerful as-is.
I might allow a Mystery to have it work alongside Magic Theory, though, instead of substituting for it. That's quite a power-boost, but I seem to remember other Abilities working like that, so - why not FM too?
One thing that's not clear to me is whether the Faerie Magic Ability ability always adds botch dice to a magus' magic, or only when using its benefits (e.g. going beyond the standard vis limit, or when substituting it for Magic Theory).
Huh? The Ability is free, not the XP for it. You get absolutely zero for FREE. Sure it´s easy to raise it 1-2 levels, but you still have to spend time on specifically doing so.
Not as much of a boost as you might think. It´s usually on the level that it may be easier and quicker to get by improving your lab. If someone goes highly focused on it, yes it can become a major powerboost, but that will normally mean that the XP spent isnt spent on Arts, so what you get is similar or minimally higher totals in general but slightly lower for best Art combinations. Essentially a generalist vs specialist choice.
As i´ve used it, it´s a good thing for a magi who wants to be a generalist and get a small bonus for cheap, but it´s a surprisingly small advantage overall(and since i changed all houses to Major Virtues, this is why i added the Aura bonus thing as well).
The only real way to abuse it is for a character to start out with Puissant and Affinity in FM and possibly in MT while picking overlapping specialisations in both. For someone who wants a good lab total to make spells or items early, this lets them start out notably better.
Other considerations of FM aside, I think this is an enormous advantage for a Merinita magus with ready access to faerie vis. He can enchant more powerful items than anyone outside House Verditius and maintain longevity rituals at a much higher age, all for much less xp than a magus depending solely on MT. Given a couple decent summae, it wouldn't be difficult for a Merinita to have a 5 in both MT and FM before he's 10 years past Gauntlet. With that (and a couple rooks of faerie vis), he can invest an item with up to 200 levels of effects or perform LRs for magi as old as 100 (though with a relatively low CrCo score). Total xp cost would also be 150, as opposed to 275 for a comparable level of MT.
Eh...? How on earth do you figure that? Actually, looking again i´m not even sure what you´re comparing?
So when you instead have MT7+2+40XP, ie. 10 effective total, FM@40XP still gives you +3, and ehm... ok that comparison just goes more and more strange if you modify it...
IIRC, by RAW you can still only use FM for rather few things so comparing directly with MT like that can´t be anything but odd. FM also adding botch dice doesn´t exactly make it any more endearing either.
Personally, i will rather pick Affinity+Puissant for MT if i want to go that direction. FM by RAW isnt very attractive at all.
Lets compare with Fightmasters look:
Switch to a Bonisagus, to get an effective score 10 you then need 180XP rather than 275 and you only need it for one single Ability which is preferred overall. Just 30XP difference between a Bonisagi and a Merinita even when you try to maximize the benefit. But as i said, if i want a high MT Bonisagi, i will use Affinity as well, then i can get away with just 120XP, 30 less than the Merinita even if it includes using another Minor Virtue.
Doing the same for the Merinita, ie using a Puissant for MT that drops XP use to 100, a difference of a puny 20XP, at worst a year worth of very poor quality study.
Not until you go ahead and place Puissant on both FM and MT do you start getting a real edge from it.
By that point, the Bonisagi is one pt of Virtue down, which she could use to get, let´s be evil here, lets say Book Learner... Not going to figure out how long it takes before ms Bonisagi catches up(if ever) but i would again pick that one before the Merinita if i wanted power.
Mmm, that can be argued until the end of time, i would probably favour the latter, ever so slightly.
Yeah, I should have added "... for that particular usage."
Yeah well, you have to use a cutting point of the Ability cost. Puissant MT9+2 + 50xp offers a +3, whereas 50 xp in FM offers a +4. Or Puissant MT3+2 + 55xp also offers a +4. Which shows where the balance lies.
Hey, I play a Bonisagus, so I totally agree its free Virtue smokes FM as you've shown.
I have to concede this point after looking at the covenant chapter in ArM5. I had forgotten you could 'purchase' level 8 summae for a starting covenant. My assertion about 5 MT + 5 FM being a better option early in a magus's life was based on limited access to summae above level 5, which is generally the rule IMS. Blasted house-ruled myopia.
I still think the Merinita comes out ahead in the long run, though. Let's move our benchmark from 10 to 15 effective MT and focus solely on House virtues for simplicity. For the Bonisagus, it's 455 xp. The Merinita can hit 8+7 with 320 xp. A difference of 100+ xp is nothing to sneeze at, especially when you probably exhausted your good sources (books and teachers) around a 10 effective MT.
Also, I want to be clear about my point here. I don't doubt that a more powerful MT-based character can be made. Giving both example characters Affinity in MT narrows the difference considerably, for example. I was just responding to the OP's statement that the vis bonus from FM was 'weak'. I think it's a fantastic perk, though I'd probably downgrade that to 'pretty cool' on further consideration.
Enigmatic Wisdom should be merged with Divination, too.
As to FM - sure, it probably could be beat. But it's a nice perk that the Merinita gets for FREE. The house virtue already allows some (powerful, IMO) ranges and durations, the (powerful) ability to handle Faerie vis and work in a Faerie aura, and (if HoHMC is followed) options for binding faerie familiars and the possibility of inner initiations. Now you want to have the virtue ALSO be as good as Puissant MT? Having FM as an ability allows a pretty decent way to stack up more raw vis into items, which can really be useful for Merinitia that are brewing their longevity rituals. I think that's quite enough for YET ANOTTHER FREE PERK. I'd put it as "too powerful", in combination with everything else, frankly.
It is not free. To make it useful you need to put XP in the Ability. Sure, the Merinita gets a free opportunity to put XP into this, but that means the character is not putting XP into something else.
There doesn't seem to be much motivation to put XP into Faerie Magic. As you say, a Merinita already gets lots of other stuff (faerie vis, faerie spell parameters, faerie familiars, working in a faerie aura). This is the stuff that really defines what (most) Merinita magi are and do, and you don't need a Score in Faerie Magic to do any of this stuff. So, why bother? You are usually better off putting your XP into something else.