Writing Persuasive Texts?

Salve, Sodales!

I'm wondering if anyone has any thoughts on how one might right a persuasive tractatus or similar work that a wizard might want to get out into wider circulation among the Order?

A Jerbiton maga wants to spend time writing a persuasive text about softening the clauses of the Code that deal with wizard-mundane relations and interactions. I told her I'd get back to her.

Does anyone have any thoughts on how one might do such a thing?
I'm wondering it if might be an Intrigue-type roll, as opposed to focusing on the creation of such a treatise.

Her outline:

And I inquired as to her goals:

Thoughts, anyone?

Well... go with the player.

Since the maga's main goal seems to be to establish her expertise in wizard-mundane relations, I'd allow her to build use a "Bonisagus/Flambeau House-Acclaim"-like system for it. The book would earn her some XP in the desired Reputation.

I would also allow her to make an Intrigue stress roll to further her more long-term goal; I'd gauge the reaction of the Order/Tribunal to her ideas by this roll, and arrange for future stories accordingly. Consider modifying the roll by the Quality of the work (minus the average quality), and any personal-investment by the player to improve the reception (sending copies to specific magi, or whatever).

Finally, the book itself seems to be something like Order of Hermes Lore, for the most part. It seems fitting-enough that mechanically it would be a tractatus on that subject.

Code of Hermes sounds more appropriate to me.

As for gauging the effect, some kind of Com + (either Intrigue or Code of Hermes) roll. Modified by the character's attempts to persuade individual influential magi (i.e. stories).

I agree, writing a tome (especially a good one) should net you xp(s) in the appropriate reputation(s). I'd use the House acclaim rules from HoH:TL to gauge how many. Those rules unfortunately only consider Art tractatus and summae, which is a shame since I think one should also be able to gain acclaim from books on Abilities such as Parma Magica, Penetration, Spell Mastery and Magic Theory; but it should be easy to extrapolate.

I think that the "propaganda" part should be handled with (some modification of?) the Debate rules from HoH:S (see proposal cases, p.92). I'd say that each book written by the maga - or by someone of her faction - is one round of Debate, and it will be opposed by a current viewpoint, by another book written by an opposing faction etc. Assume at most one round of debate can take place every year, or perhaps every three or seven years - ideas only spread so fast, after all. If you wish, you can allow the maga to "end" the Debate at the Grand Tribunal in person (past rounds of "written" Debate still count; new, "verbal" rounds then take place in real time, however).

Perhaps there ought to be some mechanics in the game for politicking - like there is for Original Research and Integration of anctient magics.

Something story driven rather than merely game rules. It might be a side effect that the active magi raise their Intrigue and Code of Hermes to high levels, but it should not just be rolls for debate and the comparing of totals to some difficulty.
In the course of stories the politically active magi can further their cause by spreading the word and making their viewpoint popular. It could function like a Reputation/Acclaim, where the SG assigns points due to how the stories unfold and what was achieved. So much depends on the roleplaying aspects rather then mere numbers, although a magus with good Com and apporpriate abilities (and perhaps already a Rep for something positive) will do better than the opposite type. But the Acclaim should be for one cause, one specific political view rather than for more general use. E.g. a magus gunnning for a Peripheral Code ruling regarding more lenience to Dealing with the Mudanes, like the OP talked about. And like the Normandy Tribunal has, where only grave cases demand legal action. Or Rhine Tribunal's ruling that allows a lot of magi to cover their hides by referring to this clause.
Each such story could also give the active magus something akin to Insight from Ancient Magic, alowing him to work with this to gain support and acclaim.

Once you get to Tribunal the Acclaim helps you push for such a ruling as you desire.

That sounds like a good idea, ultraviolet.

Thank you - but does that mean I have to design the rules for this then? Sooo many projects...

Life is hard, man :slight_smile:

Hmm - given that she does work to distribute the tome, I'd let it give her a bonus to her hermetic reputation xp equal to the quality of the book. If it is distributed very widely double that. This reputation could also be used as a measure of how well known her text is in the order - texts by well-known magi will tend to be read more (and discussed more) than that of a unknown one.

Mostly the book seems to be a work on intrigue (with a lot of references thrown in).

The magi is using this book to argue a point. Cicero had a collection of speeches which were arguing a point. Cicero’s texts are classified as tractatus in Artes Liberales, as Rhetoric. If I was going to classify her book as a tractatus, that is what I would put them under.

I am not sure focusing on this work as a study source is really the point. I want to echo what ezzelino said, that the debate rules from House of Hermes, Societies is what you want to use, or possibly the disputio rules from Arts and Academe. She is putting out a position in writing, which others respond to or don’t, and this convinces others or doesn’t. People are only allowed to complete a certain number of tractatus, do we really want to limit how many issues people can write about?

IMHO it is kind of artificla that all such texts about oppinions should automatically be abour Artes Liberales. Rhetoric is merely the tool, the mechanics. The real issue is the oppinion airs in the text. So I'd make the texts about a relevant Ability. Perhaps with a HR that the text could be read at reduced Quality for purposes of studying Rhetoric.

Argumentative texts trying to push a political viewpoint shouldnt be ANY ability.

From a gamist viewpoint, why read them? :wink:
IMS any text is about something, some ability or other. Perhaps not with the full quality to actually make it worthwhile, but at least Exposure.

So I'd allow those reading a persuasive, argumentative political text just for the sake of some politcal plot or agenda to gain some benefit in ability. Each time you read such a text you become just a little bit wiser.

Oh i didnt mean that they shouldnt possibly give XP in something.

However i much prefer that debating texts are something that doesnt require normal study time but also doesnt give any major XP, perhaps act something similar to correspondence would be more appropriate.
Because really, an argumentativt text doesnt really TEACH you alot, and its extremely rare for such texts to be of same length as a book on a specific subject.

Giving Exposure XP would be just fine i think, but i still dont think it should take up any real time. Ergo, handle it as correspondence or something similar.

So, someone reading through all my posts here would gain XP in what? :mrgreen:

Ars magica lore?
Should apply in the same way as correspondance (1 additional xp per season, in whichever topic is discussed).



I disagree.

An argumentative text teaches about an argument in a field.

You have to remember that studying from a text is an abstract representation of much more than merely reading the text. Most texts (whether teaching or an argument) should in fact be readable in a few days (at most) by a dedicated, literate scholar; especially medieval texts which are generally quite short.

Studying from an argumentative text would represent much more than merely reading it. It would represent reading the text, working through the logic of the argument, deciding whether you agree or disagree with the argument, and identifying what is wrong (and right) with either the argument or the counter-arguments.

"Studying" any text whether an argument or another sort of text is a whole lot more than an exercise in reading.

If it actually argues within the field of an actual skill, yes of course. But if arguing an opinion? No way.
And again, most argumentative texts will be shorter than a serious book on a major subject.

I dont really disagree overall, but when the subject is nothing but an opinion, then that wont take anywhere near the time that a factual subject book will take to read and "go over" as above.

I'll second that,

p88 of A&A even has a sidebar on using "written disputatio" to sway the opinions of others (in the context of religion, but the same principles should apply),

I agree, I just assumed the texts took Seasonal activities to read. If read in between-time I would not give any exp benefit above what correspondence would.

Well this thread is more about arguing ones own case than any subject, so I'd say Artes Liberales (Thetoric)...