I wrote up a short example of how the PeVi spell Break The Shield works against Parma Magica in a forum thread. It’s not my favourite spell in the raw (see grumble below), but it is legitimate in the rules so knowing how to play it out is handy.
A quick example of Break the Shield (a.k.a BtS, published in Hermetic Projects, p.85) in use by two magi against each other might be:
Magus Alphar (BtS PeVi15, Pe5, Vi5, Stm3, Pen 0, Parma 2) vs. Magus Betar (BtS PeVi15, Pe10, Vi12, Stm3, Pen 0, Parma 1)
- Due to the randomness of initiative Alphar casts BtS against his opponent Betar first,
- Alphar’s BtS PeVi15, CT is 13+roll. He scores CT:20, which is Level 15 with +5 Pen.
- Betar’s MR is equal to Parma (1*5) + Vim 12 = 17. This means the spell fails to penetrate. There is no need to roll the Level + dice to cancel the spell.
- Betar returns the same BtS PeVi15 spell, with CT is 25+roll. She scores CT:32, which is Level 15 with +17 Pen
- Alphar’s MR is equal to Parma (2*5) + Vim 5 = 15. This means that Betar’s spell has penetrated successfully, so now the test of (spell level + roll)/5 vs PM score must be checked.
- Betar rolls Level 15 +roll, gets a total of 19. This total divided by 5 exceeds is 3.8, which is higher than Alphar’s Parma Magica score of 2, so down goes his Parma Magica.
- the next round might be ugly for Alphar…
This demonstrates why low level PeVi spells are handy against supernatural creatures i might stripping, and also why having several Break the Shield Spells might be useful, or investing in mastery and penetration is important for BtS.
Aside – My grumble about Break the Shield is that it reduces the influence of Parma Magica in the game setting, which in turn was a major justification for the successful formation of the Order of Hermes.
If BtS was available then why was PM a successful bargaining point. Having BtS in the game also creates an escalation in PM stripping spells as an opening volley. The first magus specialises in stripping parma and then proceeds to decimate the target. Every Magus beyond their mid years should learn the spell and master it using the defense mastery so that they can try to resist it.
Some characters in ars magica seem to create very specialised characters and in turn, very specialised aides and familiars. This can lead to a slew of high stat NPCs in the game and that adds to both good and bad inflation of lab totals.
One way to curb the growth is to rule that the effective Magic Theory (MT) of each assistant is capped at the lab leaders MT score.
As normal the leader needs to have the gift and also needs to follow the guidelines for how many lab aides they can have according to their Leadership score.
This additional cap would discourage familiars being used as MT xp dumps, and force player Magi to raise their MT as a higher priority. That is certainly a double-edged sword in terms of how a saga might play out.
A great house rule to limit the impact of might stripping spell effects on supernatural creatures in Ars Magica – Multiple applications of Perdo Vim do not stack, specifically for reducing a creatures Might or affecting an Arcane Connection. Once damaged only a more powerful spell will inflict more damage. Makes the famailiars tougher too.
Found via a discord group I’ve been chatting to. Clever idea!
A great idea came out of the Ars Forums recently for meta-magic spell stacking using variations of Opening the Intangible Tunnel (Ars Magica, MuVi, p). The idea is to first establish a connection using a lower level version, which has flexibility (like using R: sight), and then cast another which is optimised at a higher level with restricted range: Touch.
It’s a neat trick, and well within the rules.
The blog has now 450 spells for Ars Magica by year’s end, which means working in between work and family it’s possible to write roughly 50 new spells a season. Not sustainable, but possible. Many are variations on a similar themes, so perhaps an inflated figure; still I think that’s a good result for 2016.
It’ll slow down in 2017. I’m drafting and writing far less than earlier in the year probably due to the Ars Magica games going on hold and work/life demands. Next year I’m also hoping to pickup another game to focus on, and still keep the Ars Magica rpg blog posts ticking over too. There is a Deathwatch module I’ve half written, and initial thoughts for a more streamlined fantasy rpg mechanics based upon some of Ars and some of d100.
Happy holidays folks, see you next year.
Yehaw, yesterday saw the blog post over 350 new spells for Ars Magica, and very pleased to report that I’ll reach ~400 spells by the end of 2016 (yep, another shameless promotion). There is enough hoohey, cantrips, strange asides and odd enchantments planned for the future to end the year with a very large grimoire. Happy casting folks…
Here is a quick tip for metacreator Ars Magica users who wish to emulate the character creation rules accurately.
The problem: Metacreator does not handle Affinities for Arts and Abilities in the same manner as the core rulebook mechanics. The difference is minor, but sometimes those points count. It adds a multiplying factor to the spending of XP into the calculations of ability levels, rather than showing the allocated XP and then the updated level after the multiplication.
The fix: is to add generic virtues called Affinities so that the Virtues and Flaws balance, but the XP spend also adds up correctly. The downfall is that you need to roughly know what the score will end up being when you’re done spending XP, but that isn’t a show stopper to get a 100% core rules character.