Book rules from https://sites.google.com/site/lonedm/houserules. Seem like a good idea. These basically let you have move varied books, make low quality quick copies, make high quality more readable books using appropriate crafts, and add glossaries to books. I'm not sure about using 'resonant materials' on non-magic books though.
- Harder to kill magical creatures
- Various options :
- Might stripping strips Might Pool before Might Points
- Might stripping does less (creatures have some sort of soak against it)
- 0 Might creatures don't actually die
- Might stripped regenerates with time
- Might stripping only works on a bound target
- Might stripping doesn't work at all
- Creatures have higher Magic Resistance than written (Mightx2, +X vs. some form etc.)
The rules as written seem to make killing magical creatures trivial, easier than warding against them even. Might stripping spells can take a creature's magic Resistance, Life force and spell casting pool all at once. Multi-cast stripping spells of low magnitude and high penetration can destroy demons and angels in a single round. Many groups feel that this just doesn't feel right at all, magical creatures should be harder to kill than mundane versions, not easier.
The various options above are all ways to mitigate the issue. Generally they concentrate on making stripping of might less effective (less stripped per spell, less things stripped at a time, more magic resistance vs. stripping). An alternative is just to do away with this class of magic entirely. My favourite is that you can only strip might from a contained creature, such as one contained within a Ring/Circle, and that stripping might still doesn't kill (and that it regenerated).
Other rules are about making Magical creatures harder to hurt in general, as it seems to be easy to kill magic creatures (too easy for most groups). The obvious way is to up their magical resistance. The nicest way seems to be to give them bonuses to certain forms, so it's harder to target a water elemental with water magic.
- Craft skills make for better magical items
- Instead of using Finesse to determine the quality of created items, use Craft Skill
Rules as written use Finesse both for targetting, precise effects, and creating high quality created items. With this rule Magi with crafting skills produce better finished items than those without. Any Mage can create something with magic, but one with craft skills will make a finer example. For a particular desired quality make a Craft Roll against a given target or make a botched version. If the quality is open ended then make a Roll to see what sort of quality is achieved.
- Take 5 (Alteration) [p. 6]
- Instead of making a Simple roll, you may choose a result of "5" (as if the dice landed on 5) without rolling.
This rule means faster play and more standardized results when using abilities, while still allowing players to roll when higher dice results are hoped for.
- Recovering Confidence Points (Alteration) [p. 20]
- If a major character has less then three Confidence Points, he will regain this total in one Season. Point totals above three don't reset to three; the character keeps the higher total. NPCs are always assumed to have three points, unless the storyguide decides otherwise.
This rule simplifies book-keeping and keeps characters with a baseline of Confidence Points for the next adventure, encouraging players to use them more.
- Changing Specializations (Addition) [p. 62]
- Whenever your score in an Ability increases, you may change its Specialization.
The RAW makes you select specializations, but does not offer any word on how to change them. This suggestion seems to be widely accepted. More lenient groups allow you to change specialization whenever you gain XP in the Ability.
- Lowered Language Levels (Alteration) [p. 66]
- Reduce the level required for fluencies by 1, so that 3 is functional. A score of 0 with 1 or more experience points now corresponds to the "basic questions and answers" level.
Coupled with specializations based on dialect, this house rule allows a foreign character to be functional in a local dialect for only 15 XP, allowing multilingual characters without overly burdening them with experience point costs.
- No Magical Nourishment (Alteration) [p. 77]
- Magically created things do not nourish. As per the CrAq guidelines, water created temporarily does can quench thirst but has no lasting benefit. Food created temporarily from Herbam (as per the CrHe guidelines) and Animal has a similar limitation, quenching hunger but offering no lasting benefits. It particular, such food and drink does not stave off deprivation.
- While seeds (or cubs, or so on) can be made to magically-grow faster than usual, such magic is delicate and will tend to induce Warping in those who consume the produce. Only relatively minor coaxing, such as that provided by The Bountiful Feast, can circumvent this drawback.
- Things created by momentary Creo rituals are mundane, and as such can nourish and do not induce Warping, although they may bear the caster's sigil.
The RAW says that magically created food is nourishing "for as long as the duration lasts", which contradicts the Aquam and Herbam guidelines and is difficult to run in-game. Saying it doesn't nourish is simplest to apply.
The second proviso is required to prevent exploitation of the RAW to create a lot of produce by repeatedly planting seeds, growing them instantly magically (using CrHe guidelines), and then harvesting the produce and repeating the process.
- Varied Casting Characteristic (Alteration) [p. 81]
- When casting a spell, the relevant characteristic in the Casting Total depends on the Technique (Cr: Com, In: Per, Per: Str, Mu: Dex and Re: Pre).
Stamina is one of the most useful physical characteristics, so removing it from the casting total somewhat balances the importance of different characteristics. It also removes the thematically-inappropriate result of its inclusion, namely that all magi become tough and stalwart. This rule instead encourages more "thematic" magi, as magi focusing on Creo will tend to be eloquent speakers, those focusing on Intellego will be perceptive, and so on.
- Props Needed for Ceremonies (Alteration) [p. 81, 83]
- Adding Artes Liberales and Philosophiae to a casting score (of a Ritual spell or through Ceremonial Casting) requires 'elaborate rituals', which is interpreted to imply props are required. These include mundane items such as chalk, candles, colored robes, incense, and perhaps items with appropriate shape and material bonuses. The magi are generally held to have the necessary items on their person, if the player chooses so, unless circumstances dictate otherwise. Circumstances may also make the application of such props impractical, denying the magus of the Abilities' bonus to the casting score.
This is just a bit of flavor to give magi a reason to conduct colorful rituals, that "feel" like proper ritual magic should feel.
- No Penetration Multiplier for an Arcane Connection (Alteration) [p. 84]
- An arcane connection does not provide a penetration multiplier. It still allows the magus to utilize sympathetic connections to accumulate penetration multipliers.
Without this house rule, arcane and sympathetic connections can increase penetration by large amounts surprisingly easily. For example, a lock of hair, birth name, nick name, and birth date plus some astrology become a x8 multiplier, which with penetration 4 and specialty means +40 to penetration - which is often more than enough. Arcane connections are useful enough without allowing the magus to effectively ignore Magic Resistance by multiplying the Penetration Ability. Let the magi create stories to increase penetration - accumulating sympathetic connections.
- Weak Multicast Stacking (Alteration) [p. 87]
- The "Multicasting" special ability still allows you to cast extra copies of the spell. However, if two or more copies are used to hit the same target the effect is increased but not doubled; add a "magnitude" of increased effect per extra copy. For example, two Balls of Abysmal Flame will not produce two +30 damage rolls, but rather one +35 damage roll.
RAW multicasting allows a magus to double his damage output (or triple it!) with the investment of a few Seasons to gain the required XP. This house rule still allows the magus to multiply his effectiveness in some circumstances (such as firing at multiple opponents), but greatly reduces the effectiveness of this tactic against solo opponents (which are often the primary foes in Ars Magica adventures).
- Labwork Uses Vis (Alteration/Addition) [p. 94]
- Inventing spells or making items (investing powers, making charged or lesser devices) as in RAW requires you to spend 1 pawn of raw vis per 20 effect-levels. If you use less but still some, your lab total is reduced by 1/4. Using zero halves your lab total.
- If you use 1/15 (instead of 1/20) pawns and at least one extra pawn above the standard amount, you get +3 to the lab total. Using 1/10 and at least 2 pawns above the standard gives you +6, and at least 3 above the standard gives you +9.
- You may also use one extra pawn of each primary Art your are working with to receive +3 for each.
- (Considering changing the multiples to +4 for a more high-powered saga or +2 for a lower-powered one.)
This rules makes vis truly valuable. It makes the vis-based economy of the Order much more plausible, because everyone who has lots to spare can burn through labwork faster. It also significantly increases the raw vis needs of magi, however, and can either lower or increase their power depending on how much raw-vis is available in the saga.
- Limited Penetration Effect Modification (Alteration) [p. 99]
- The penetration of a magic item is limited to at most the (Penetration Ability x 4) of its maker. Alternatively, limit it to the (Lab Total/4).
This rule keeps the penetration of magic items low, keeping magi in the spotlight when dealing with high-Might (or high-Parma) opponents.
- Wards Need Not Penetrate (Alteration) [p. 114]
- Wards against creatures of Might created with the standard parameters (R: Touch, D: Ring, T: Circle) need not penetrate to function. Instead, wards work automatically as long as long as the warded Might is lower than the spell level, as indicated in the spell guidelines.
This rule means that it is now easier to ward against creatures than to vanquish them, which has a better feel to it.