Verditius Magi

Hello everyone.

So, I am finally getting to play Ars and my verditius, after only fifteen years of wanting to. But I have a question, I wanted to ask people about how Verditius outer mysteries work in the setting of mythic Europe, rather than the rules.

Is the discount in pawns of vis for opening an item for enchantment known to anyone except the Verditius? I don't mean how to do it, that's obviously a house secret, but that they get that (substantial) discount? Because I was thinking, if I was making an enchanted ring for some customer, then it would cost, say 12 pawns to open it, then 4 for an enchantment. This would leave 8 spaces for enchantments left in the ring.

But that means I would charge the customer (12+4) x 2 for my time = 32 pawns, plus the actual 16 it supposedly cost, in order to maintain the Verditius price line. Do I have that correct? 48 pawns seem like a lot!

On the other hand, why would anyone ever get a Verditius to open something? It is one season of time for anyone, and you are paying them vis equal to double the spaces they unlock for their time, which seems a lot.
But, the Verditius want you to pay them to do it since they are getting a discount.

So, does the rest of the order know the Verdi are making profit coming and going? Or is that a cult secret that it happens? As a Verdi, I would be offering to open things for others if I was freshly gauntleted as it means you can effectively earn your craft score in vis for a season's work, plus whatever you charge, without having to charge double the cost of opening.

Do I have the wrong end of the stick? Am I over thinking this?

Whilst I don't think it's explicitly stated, I would assume it's known amongst magi who pay attention that the Verditius get the discount. It's a sufficiently common virtue, and there will be enough magi whose Hubris takes the form of boastfulness, that it's going to get out even if it is treated as secret (which I'm not sure it would be).

I'd be inclined to have Verditius charge a multiple of the discounted cost, rather than the undiscounted one. This does have the slightly funny result that they'll be charging less as they get better; but any Verditius worth his salt is going to be enchanting more and more impressive enchantments as they get older, which should help offset that.

As to "why get a Verditius to open the item", there are a couple of potential reasons other than it potentially being cheaper:

  • There's a good chance they can open an item you can't handle the vis for - not only to they tend to have high magic theory scores, but if they have the Elder Runes inner mystery they can use Magic Theory x Philosophiae pawns rather than just Magic Theory x 2
  • If they craft and open the item in a season, they can get various bonuses to enchanting effects into it later

Offeringing to just open things for other magi is mechanically feasible, but it's grunt work that is probably going to get you looked down on by your fellows, and will get increasingly distasteful as you get prouder.

I thought the same about keeping a secret. Asking 70-odd people who are prone to be psychologically damaged by the hubris of what they do to keep a secret forever is asking too much of a conspiracy.

I was going to pitch that a Verditius charges the unmultiplied cost. You are getting a season's work for "free" since you would have had to pay that cost to open the item anyway, and the Verditius is getting their craft score in pawns of vim vis as profit. Also, they can put their beloved masterwork into a piece that no one else has worked on and ruined. But that might be that hubris talking again.

My next point, has anyone actually paid a Verditius' rate for enchantment in a campaign? Have you as a player ever handed over thirty pawns of vis (or whatever) to get a sweet new item?

I'll add to this list:

  • (supplementing the second point above) Any magus can use the regular Verditius Rune bonus, just not the Elder ones.
  • A Verditius can create otherwise essentially impossible shapes.

I don't believe it's every explicitly stated either way; My searches came up blank but that was a while ago.
In my home campaign, Verditius traditionally charge the discounted price for their work [(10-5) x3] instead of (10x3). In the play-by-post I'm playing in, its the other way around. The people who are willing to pay that cost most easily are Mercere, because Redcaps have vis resources and no ability to enchant things themselves.
Generally, most people wouldn't get a Verditius to open an item for them if they could do it themselves - it's not vis-efficient, but it can be time efficient if you happen to be vis-wealthy. More often, a Verditius usually won't bother to open an item for enchantment for someone else unless they're getting some sort of significant bonuses. The examples I've seen are: A very good Longevity Ritual, doing it for a friendly covenant mate or your covenant as a whole, a rare and prestigious book. The HoH book suggests that a non-vis project should be charged double what the Verditius can extract in a season of vis extraction, and this works as a nice minimum-baseline for when a project is too low-rated to be worth the Verditius's time. People should only really GO to a Verditius for a project when they have vis to spare and need a great, grand project. To me, a more common occurance should be a Verditius making a series of items and having them put on display in his studio, telling the Redcaps what he's got available for sale, and bragging about how awesome his work is. The Verditius shouldn't try to monetize low-vis projects, because his hubris says he's BETTER than that.
(My online Verditius has a 141 vis Hammer of Doom for sale if someone wants to buy it!)