Volkhvy and playability

I'm building a 10th century campaign in the eastern edge of the Rhine tribunal and want Volkhvy to play a significant background role in the saga. I understand how ridiculously powerful they can be with massive Ceremony rites, and there are several good topics here demonstrating that. But the restriction of spending Confidence or Warping for Evocation seems to force them into a role of casting occasional (ie. once or twice a year) big overpowered magic, but being otherwise fairly mundane. I can't see it being worthwhile investing in small spells considering the cost, it's going to be all big effect and/or long duration level 30+ effects to make the most of it and heavy specialization.

Sure, they can fill all the various roles of spiritual advisors and leaders of zealots and such, but do they end up being a 1-trick pony for playability as a Companion, or as a significant long-term ally or adversary? They have a large number of primary skills and potential sympathy/antipathy abilities to put xp into, leaving things tight for significant xp investment into secondary skills.

Losing the cost would make their one big trick far worse, so that doesn't seem to be an option. Anyone care to comment on successes (or failures) with Volkhvy characters?

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From the games I’ve played, confidence seems to be pretty abundant for those who have it. I definitely seem to commonly have 10 or more in my pool after a few adventures. Granted, I often forget to spend it when it can make a difference but I’m rarely in that sweet spot where +3 will make a large difference, and none of my characters have specific “you need to spend confidence to do this thing” such as the Faerie, Divine, or Infernal Methods that require it.


I haven't played one. But, regardless - it seems the rules don't work for you. And I agree, they do limit the volkhvy's (and many other hedge wizards) spells-per-day too much. I'd suggest changng the rules. Make the price more manageavble.

I tend to have a "Confidence replenishes" rule in my sagas, where Confidence resets to 3 if it's below that, each day/month/season (take your pick). This can allow volkhvy to cast more spells per day/month/season.

Another option is to allow them to invest Fatigue, Long-term Fatigue, or even Wound levels to power spells. Perhaps a Fatigue level is enough for lesser spells, a Long-term Fatigue required for greater spells?

Another option is to allow them to use raw vis instead of Confidence. Or perhaps a few pawns needed per Confidence point.


That is excellent advice, and I was already thinking along those same lines. It's good to hear confirmation of the direction I was already leaning toward after a lot of thought and careful calculation.

I need to decide roughly how fast an NPC would gain Confidence points, and for now I'll probably just go with "however many they need, within reason, in order to tell the story". I was also already mulling over of some sort of fatigue cost alternative, and I really like the idea of making it long-term fatigue instead of regular as an additional safeguard against misuse. Giving a safe and normal way, with options for a costly exertion when needed has the feel of what I was looking for.

At the moment this is just for NPCs, so I have plenty of room to fudge things. My concern is that a player is going to think it's cool and want a Companion Volkhvy, so I was just looking to see if anyone had already tried it and had some insight.


Unfortunately I've never used them or seen them in play. :frowning: Otherwise looks like a very cool idea, and would love to hear more about how your game works out on the actual play forum! :smiley:

As YR7 mentioned the "Confidence replenishes" rule is much more fun.

After 80-100 sessions our group created a couple of HRs. The sweet spot for us is that at the start of every season your Confidence pool replenishes to 4 if it was lower. More action, more boldness - more near-death situation for our magi :smiley:

I think the playability of hedge magi could benefit the same kind of Confidence replenishes.


My group has been using a variation of "Confidence points recover as Long Term Fatigue" for several years now. But then our Confidence system is expanded and changed a fair bit from RAW.

I would suggest using a search like this and reviewing a couple. In general what you find in post like these has some degree of Play Testing since they are used in a Saga.

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Since the thread has now switched to discussions about confidence:

In neither of our sagas was it a common ressource. We gained it rarely, one at the end of a story arc and also for major life events (getting an apprentice, making one's talisman and binding the familiar, getting married...). As story teller, I would also award one when the player had their mage do something with suboptimal consequences that was in line with their personality flaw ( turning over to the church someone who'd have been a great grog because the local priest pushed their religious button) or indulging in sinful behaviour in infernal auras ( along with a warping point in the later case).

It did mean that the use of confidence point were special events.

@Jank That looks more like reasons to let the Confidence score go up than to give out confidence points to me. :wink:

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I guess that's a question of how much the saga should be affected by confidence. The ability to roll up and just drop +9 on a key roll because of confidence score 3 just seems to tilt things away from the PC skills/attributes too much for our group's taste.


Having a character at confidence 4 - yeah, the impact is huge.

While I think granting confidence points should be more common than Medusa describes, it is a playstyle difference and I can’t fault the troupe for choosing something different than how I would play it. Those events do fit things that would grant points to me but I don’t see that they should be granted in such limited circumstances. On the other hand I completely disagree that any of those events by themselves should be justification for increasing a confidence score. We know that multiple years of what amounts to child abuse carefully structured to create a competitive and oppositional mindset in a Tytalus’ apprentice can raise a confidence score from 1 to 2 and none of those events meets anything close to that bar.

yeah, I'll openly admit, I can't remember anyone increasing their confidence score in our games after character creation. At all. It was intended as a somewhat tounge-in-cheeck attempt at suggesting that maybe @Jank was holding back a bit hard on handing out those confidence points.

It did not come through very well. Mea Culpa.


I give out 7 points per session my 1st Crusade campaign, with a Tytalus who has a Confidence score of 2. It absolutely makes things swingy, and frankly, more "heroic" since he can get a roll of 8 on a good characteristic of 3, skill of 6 + specialty (1) = 18 then +6 lets him 24's for pulling off insane stunts easily.

I've never seen someone with a Confidence Score 3+ in any saga I've played. It would most certainly make for a very epic/legendary kind of game where "Confidence" is just as, or more important than actual skill. That said... It is a finite resource. The player in my game tries to hoard it in slower sessions so can burn through it more lethal sessions.

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Thanks, HTH, that gave me food for thought.

One thing we wanted to do back in Andorra was to have some way to... old mages get more experience and raw power, young mages get the boldness and vitality of youth.

We didn't think about it back then, but reading you, I'm thinking that handing out lots of confidence point (and a temporary increase in confidence score) would have fitted the bill. Been fun and encouraged the mood.
Too bad now :frowning:

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Our group changed Confidence to increase like an Ability, with the only way to get XP in it being you get a point every time the SG would normally give a CP in play. We also adjusted the scale required to increase it to what would be the normal total for that level (so 1 to 2 requires gaining 15 [20 total], 2 to 3 requires gaining 30 [50 total], 3 to 4 requires 50 [100 total], etc) and limited the max based on age the same as starting skills are. Most of our (now fairly old) Magi are 3, with a few actually having a 4.

Combine that with our "Recover CP the same as long term fatigue" and "CP Pool limit equals 1 + [Confidence x2]" (we had to limit it since it recovers far easier, unlimited like RAW would be bad) means the Magi are mostly walking around with a pool of 7 CP and able to spend up to 3 on an action.

The SG normally gives 1 XP per 5 "Safe Years" and 1 XP per "Adventure Years" to NPCs which have Confidence. A year is an "Adventure Years" if they did an adventure, dangerous travel, high risk interaction, etc at least once in it. So NPC Magi who are extremely adventurous hit Confidence 2 as fast as 15 years post gauntlet, Confidence 3 as fast as 45 years post gauntlet, and Confidence 4 as fast as 95 years post gauntlet. The safest playing ones take five times as long and rarely get past 2 since average Magi lifespan in our Saga is in the 150's (100~120 for poor, 140~170 for average, 190~230 for rich).

For anyone wondering about the age ranges, poor Magi are the ones without a lot of Magic resources (limited Vis and books, poor to ok labs, no to minimal assistance) who mostly have to create their own LR with little assistance. Average have decent Magic resources (decent Vis, books, labs, so assistance) with the top of that range able to hire a younger LR specialist. Rich are the ones with tons of Vis who mostly can afford to hire a LR specialist.

The breakdown is roughly 30% poor, 60% average, and 10% rich, though of course this varies massively based on Tribunal. In the Alps most of the Magi tend to be on the higher end of average with a greater percentage being rich.

The difference in resources plays a fairly big part in the politics of our Saga, with the Bonisagus leadership (our Big Bad) carefully working to keep the poor poor as a means to control the Order. Our Covenant has become extremely wealthy and works counter to this through our "Book Trade" by over paying for unique text from poorer Covenants (ie ones they write themselves). We started doing this originally to gain political capital (of course people will support the group nearly giving them access to good books) and discovered the plot due to pressure from our House Leadership (half of us are Bonisagus).

Absolutely - extra confidence points are a great way to showcase "the power of youth!"