Amurgsval House Rules

Parma Magica

A Parma Magica protects you against active magical impingement on your personal aura (all within range of Self). This protects against It does not: Special case:

Confidence Rules

  1. Before any stress roll representing a relatively short period of effort on the part of the character (less than a quarter hour, say, though possibly up to a day with good Meditation rolls), the player may declare that they are using confidence. (If the roll was not previously a stress one, it becomes one.) This explicitly includes soak rolls, and indeed all rolls that are not a matter of sheer chance (soak is not: you might get your arm in the way, or roll with the blow, or dodge enough to take it in a non-vital location, or whatever).
    Given the mediaeval paradigm, I would even allow it on rolls to see how well the character does at gambling (at one confidenced roll per roll of the character's dice, or per hand of cards)-- while we might now think of this as a matter of pure chance, if you have watched anyone gambling you will readily observe that they are staking, and often losing, confidence. However, if the character is completely unconscious, (arguable: making a knowledge roll), is unaware that they are making a roll (a Parma roll against an unperceived spell for example), or are taken utterly by surprise, they may not use confidence. (In the case of surprise, even a split second's warning-- not enough to even begin to reach for a weapon-- is enough to allow a confidenced roll. However, if the assassin makes his stealth roll well enough, and backstabs them, then they can't confidence the soak roll.)
    Confidence represents a character focussing their will upon a particular outcome. If they don't know to focus their will, it can't be used. On the other hand, someone who was expecting to be hit by an arrow from ambush any minute could declare in advance that he was going to confidence the soak roll, and could then do so even if he never saw the arrow. Only one such "predeclared" confidence is allowed, and in order to confidence any other roll the character must first drop the predeclared confidence.
  2. The character may stake any number of points from one to their current confidence. They should decide upon and declare the amount.
  3. The storyguide then determines the "success level". If there is an obvious breakpoint in the outcome of the roll (obvious success or failure, say) that is near requiring a roll of 6+ on the die, then that is used as the success level. (This cannot result in a success level below 4+ or above 8+ on the die.) If not, the success level is set as a roll of 6+ on the die.
  4. The player then rolls the one die that they would have rolled anyway, followed by a number of dice equal to the number of confidence points staked. Make sure that the "original" die is distinguished from the "confidence" die or dice. Should the player fail to distinguish them, the storyguide can decide which was the original by any fair and consistent method they like: e.g. random selection, or that the first one rolled was the original, or that the one furthest from the player is the original, or requiring the player to roll again.
  5. If the original die rolls the required success level or more, no confidence is lost. The character has performed above average, and thus does not lose confidence in themselves. The value of the die roll will be the highest rolled die.
  6. If the original die fails to roll the required success level, then for each of the confidence dice that also fails to roll the required success level, the character loses one point of temporary confidence. Thus if only one confidence was used, if the final result was above average, no confidence is lost. If, on the other hand, more confidence was staked, while the character may have got a good result, they may have only just scraped past problems, and may thus lose some of the extra confidence points staked.
  7. There are two rules for botching:
    1. When the character declares that they are minimising botch results: If the original die is zero, divide the number of botch dice rolled by the number of confidence points invested, plus one, rounding off, rounding halves up. (In the case of less than one botch die, use 7.2.) Familiars and similar modifiers subtract from the original number of botch dice, before the division.
    2. When the character declares that they avoiding a botch: If the original die is zero, there is a 1 in (confidence points staked + 1) chance that you roll all botch dice.
  8. For each botch die that comes up zero, lose one permanent confidence xp, up to the number of invested confidence. The Storyguide may modify this as he sees fit.

Learning Languages by Immersion

Assuming that you're speaking a language full-time (once you have some skill in the language), you gain points at a rate based on the difference between your skill and that of the people you're speaking with:
Difference1 xp per...
>= 3month
When two languages are similar, such as Latin and Rumanian, it is possible to pick up languages by immersion without spending an xp in the language in the first place. We're currently debating how much extra time should be spent on this, but two months seems what we've agreed on, so one ends up with 2 xp after 2 seasons starting from 0 when there's a strong similarity.

Virtues, Flaws, and Skills

Scribing and Reading Texts

Normal magi can write 12 xp of Arts, 4 xp of skills, or 60 levels of spells in a single season. They can copy 36 xp of Arts, 12 xp of skills, or 180 levels of spells. Strong Writer allows 4/3, and you multiply these amounts by twice the level of your Twilight-gained Increased Understanding, so you can write out 24 xp of Arts if you have complete understanding of that Art.

Exempli Gratia: Visitor Somni of Criamon has a Mentem of 30 and 5 levels of Increased Understanding: Mentem. He can write a Mentem 30 text that would be the wonder of the Order, but it will take him (30 * 31 / 2 / 24 <= 20) 20 seasons, or 5 years of solid writing. Will he be able to elude Final Twilight for that long, or will he leave a part-writen masterpiece behind him as he slips into the Enigma?

A non-Magus copying magical texts needs Scribe Latin 3 and Magic Theory 3 with supervision from a magus who has that Art.

You can write out a knowledge text one level lower than your current understanding, unless you have Strong Writer, in which case you can write your full score.

Exempli Gratia: E.g. Corylus has an Enigmatic Wisdom of 8 and is a Strong Writer. She can write out an Enigmatic Wisdom 6 text (21XP) in 4 seasons (5 1/3 * 4 = 21 1/3). The best text she could write would be an 8 text (36 XP), which would take her 7 seasons (5 1/3 * 7 = 36 2/3).

You can learn from a knowledge text at 3 xp per season.

Learning Spells from an Accessible Magus' or Own Master's Books

Normally, it requires an Int + Scribe Latin 6+ and a lab total + stress die greater than the level of the spell; it seems that this takes a season, after which the magus may write out a copy. If you already know the notation (by learning it from your master) or by having that magus on hand to ask questions of, you may waive the season of decipherment and simply learn (or copy out) the spell.

Training Apprentices

Typical apprentice is age 10 with 1x their age in non-magus skills (alertness, farming, survival) + Speak Own 4.

Languages are acquired for free past the first point.

Over 15 seasons of training, you pick up 15 xp in Magic Theory. Apprentices gain about 3 xp per year over 15 years of apprenticeship, including the Magic Theory xp and not including the Speak Latin.

After 15 years: Magic Theory 5, Parma Magica 2, Hermes History 2, Hermes Lore 2, Speak Own 4, Speak Latin 5, Scribe Latin 3 + Annual). 15 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 0 + 1 + 6 + 15 = 46.

Skills learned by devoting annual XP (aiming for 3). Roll off apprentice's traits and certain of master's.

You get 2 seasons worth of study per year of arts or spells, with your master or the library as source or assistant (adding Magic Theory). One season corresponds to the one during which the apprentice is being taught magic, while the second corresponds to the Night Reader virtue. The second season cannot be used for study of spells, at Roger's guess; Max suggests that it might be better for the first season not being available for that, since they're supposed to be learning an Art. Such virtues as Student and Night Reader are not yet active as the apprentices are already assumed to be devoting all their time to learning.

There are three sorts of training:

Laboratory Cooperation

  1. Magi may invent and learn a spell together by taking the lower of their Arts totals. The lab text ends up with the lower of their two magic theories, and the spell takes its sigil from both magi.
  2. Magi may make use of more than one assistant by the following rules: Leadership + Communication roll 0+ to get creative specialties, Inventive Genius, things like Herbalism when you're not an herbalist: (If multiple magi are cooperating in leadership-- requisiting their Arts totals in order for all to end up having learned the spell at the end of the research-- requisite Leadership skill with Debate or Diplomacy.) Penalties: If you can make an Int + Folk Ken (or similar social skill) roll of 6+ you can decrease that person's penalty on the chart by 1 level, or 12+ for 2 levels (so you can get their useful specialties even if the group isn't working together well).

The first Inventive Genius on a project adds +3, the second adds +2, and all further ones add +1 each.

Season Splitting

If you are teaching someone skills, you can teach them as many skills as you could give them experience points in your lowest skill in that group in a season, dividing the experience points up appropriately. (Thus, if you are teaching three skills at 6 to someone with 2's [at most] in each, they can gain 1 xp in each.) This is useful for shamanic apprenticing, and doesn't often happen with Hermetic apprenticing.

Enchanting Items

ArsM3, p242 is moderately confusing about getting Form and Effect bonuses. Explicitly:


It is possible to fast-cast formulaic spells if and only if you have Mastered them; fast-casting carries the usual penalties.

If you Master a ritual and you cast it with non-vis-boosted duration or range, you may roll a simple die.

In both spellcasting and lab activity, affinities add after requisiting of Arts. This is to encourage weird spells with funky requisites, such as Mighty Torrent of Blood instead of Mighty Torrent of Water: it gives the inventor a good reason (rather than merely an aesthetic one) to make use of their Corpus affinity.

Vis Boosting

When boosting a formulaic's penetration or the level of a sponted spell with vis and you roll a 0, a rolled "1" on a botch die representing a pawn of vis indicates that the energy went awry in some way, rather than toward powering the spell. This means the vis may evaporate quietly or go toward powering some relatively harmless effect (Storyguide's discretion). This does not apply to casting rituals or to extending the range or duration of formulaics or rituals, since these spells are already designed to handle a particular added quantity of vis.

When using vis to boost the range or duration of a formulaic spell, all the vis may be burned in one round, since the spell is designed to have vis fed into it. If you are using vis to boost your casting total (to improve penetration of a formulaic or to make a bigger spontaneous spell), you may only burn your Penetration score in one round. However, you may extend casting through multiple rounds in order to feed more vis into the spell, up to the usual limit of your Arts.


You may only burn as much vis in a single round of certámen as your Certámen skill, plus any knack with Certámen. This makes the "no Certámen skill and a pocket full of vis" strategy less useful.

Vis Distillation

Normal vis distillation is done with a lab total of Int + Magic Theory + Creo + Vim + 3*magic aura, providing the magnitude of the lab total in pawns of Vim.

Using Magic Theory requisited with Faerie Magic in the lab total, and using a faerie aura that is currently dominant (not equal to magic) will yield faerie-aligned Vim vis that can be used to study Faerie Magic from, much as Magic Theory is studied from normal Vim vis. This particular stunt is something Zahar learned from Orator of Merinita, but is not general knowledge.

Laboratory Design

Unusual specialising

Specializing in such things as Alchemy or Faerie magic uses Int + Magic Theory + (Stat for nonstandard skill, usually Int) + (nonstandard skill) instead of 2*(Int + Magic Theory).


Inventive Genius adds to the total for customizing a lab for the primary researcher; helpers add their (Int + Inventive Genius) requisited with their Magic Theory, and Int + Inventive Genius + Magic Theory for specializations; if adding to unusual specializations, the apprentice's magic theory is requisited with their unusual skill (Faerie Magic, Alchemy). Apprentices add after any doubling of totals.

Creating Laboratory Equipment

Skills: Glassworking. Metalworking. Carpentry. Pottery.
Substances: Rare metals, herbs, ...
+0 lab = 50% weird stuff.
+1 safety is basically reorganization and is mostly furniture.
Skilled craftsman: 100 silver a season. Thus, 1 season of work from a craftsman can supplant 100 silver worth of lab equipment.

Defaulting Blade Skills

If you haven't got your favourite type of sword to hand, you aren't completely hopeless with available weapons. However, you're operating at a given minus, with at least one extra botch die:
Weapon GreatswordBastard Sword (2h)Bastard Sword (1h) Broadsword Shortsword Dagger
Bastard Sword (2h)-100-2-2-5
Bastard Sword (1h)-300-1-2-4


DatePagan FestivalHermetic significance
1/20Begin month of Aquarius
2/2ImbolcAmurgsval Spring starts
2/19Begin month of Pisces
3/21Vernal EquinoxSpring season begins; begin month of Aries
4/20Begin month of Taurus
5/1BeltaneAmurgsval Summer starts; fertility festival, cauldron; Amurgsval Year spells may expire
5/21Begin month of Gemini
6/21MidsummerSummer season begins; Tremere tribunal meets; traditional Year spells may expire; begin month of cancer
7/23Begin month of Leo
8/1LugnasadhAmurgsval Autumn starts; beer train goes out in 10 day period around this time
8/6Novgorod Tribunal meets
8/23Begin month of Virgo
9/21Autumn EquinoxAutumn season begins; begin month of Libra
10/23Begin month of Scorpio
10/31SamhainAmurgsval Winter starts; Vim beer extracted, Aegis re-cast, blessing of fields ritual; Amurgsval Year spells may expire
11/22Begin month of Sagittarius
12/21MidwinterWinter season begins; traditional Year spells may expire; begin month of Capricorn
MidnightThe witching hourMatines
3 amLaudes
6 am/DawnParma timePrime
9 amTierce
3 pmNonnes
6 pm/SunsetParma timeVespers
9 pmCompline
The Age of Aries dates from 139 bc, so 1200 ad = 1339 Aries.

Experimenting while Studying from Vis

It is possible to experiment while studying from vis. If you choose to experiment, the season's work is rolled for on the normal Extraordinary Results Table. The risk factor and simple d10 that experimentation adds are added to the level of the source after the multiplication by the number of pawns of vis. Inventive Genius does not add.

Interpreting the results on the table

Disaster is a disaster: Creation Destroyed, Creation Turns on You: roll for Twilight (without any special bonuses).
Complete Failure means the season was wasted.
No Extraordinary Effects gives the simple die + risk factor bonus; No Benefit from Experimentation does not.

Side Effects

Exaggerated Sigil: exaggerated sigil with Art and Art increase (your Sigil attaches to anything with this Art, and your own spells have your Sigil's effect doubled)
Minor Flaw: penalty to Art (antispecialty) with Art increase
Minor Side Effect: opposed specialty/antispecialty with increase; lose one, lose the other
Minor Side Benefit: bonus to Art (specialty) without Art increase
Major Flaw: bad weirdness (resembles Warped Magic) with Art increase
Major Side Effect: weirdness with Art increase
Major Side Benefit: good weirdness (resembles Side Effect) with Art incrase
Fatal Flaw: Something pretty nasty or seriously weird and useless, but you can use your Art as if there was no increase without the problem. Storyguides have fun.

Side effects persist until the wizard takes the time to study the Art as if they had not had this season of learning. (e.g.: Take Creo 15 to 16 and acquire a side effect. Said side effect will persist as you learn up your Creo, but if you ever choose to study Creo as if it were 1-3 pts lower [as appropriate], you can lose the side effect.)

Modified Effect: whimsy-- learning the wrong Art, experience in a skill or possibly a very obscure Affinity-- adjudicated by the Storyguide who introduced the vis.

Discovery: Follow the chart.

Faerie Familiars

Forget the "Cord Types" section. The Faerie Cord in the Bestiary is required, and its score is the thing that adds to your Feyness; in addition, it adds to your familiar's understanding of mortal things. The gold cord does not grant a bonus in Faerie Auras.

The Link of Reality works as stated for the magus (but delete all references to the Imágonem score), but not for the faerie. At +5, the faerie is fully mortal with respect to a single skill at skill 2 (e.g. they had Play Lyre of 8 and now have Compose for Lyre at 2) or can acquire a creative ability from their mortal. At +10, it's two skills at 3 or as many as the magus can teach them (in the usual teaching process). At +15, the faerie may function as a mortal in Arcadia (e.g. killing something is as if a mortal did) and gains Free Expression if the magus has it. Negative links mean the faerie gains less mortality from hanging around the magus than they would normally, because the magus himself is less human.

The Link of Magic works as stated, but there is a +20 version that gets you the best possible aura modifiers, so the human using faerie powers in a magic aura gets the magic aura's bonus to the faerie power.

Cross-Realm Bond is a +15 bond quality that can reach from another level of reality (the Near Lands, Arcadia) to the Fields We Know.

Whoopees for +3 cords

Modifications to Faeries 4th Ed.

This is an attempt to avoid the AD&D Elf problem: "who wants to be a human"?

Normal faerie blood is a +2 virtue that gives the usual set of bonuses; it comes with a free point each of Virtue and Flaw that should define strongly what sort of faerie blood you have.

Strong faerie blood is a +3 virtue that gives the listed bonuses for aging; the magus-response to longevity potions requires faerie magic. It comes with 3 points of Virtue and Flaw to define your heritage; Faerie Eyes, Faerie Sight, and Minor Discomfort from Iron are strongly recommended. It grants one more point of Feyness than normal faerie blood of similar characteristics.

Faerie blood does not under any circumstances grant extra virtues and flaws outside the normal range for the character or the ones listed in the two paragraphs above.

Aura Mutations

In a +6 magical aura, peasants and covenfolk are supposed to become warped and twisted. In addition, we've been breeding in faerie blood at the fertility festivals. If there are any pure-human peasants left, it should be a rare and wondrous thing. Soon, the peasants aren't even going to care about people with the Gift...


Children born and raised in a +6 aura have one extra point of Virtue and two extra points of Flaw as grogs. These extra points must be mystical in origin, though not necessarily in nature.

Children born and raised in a +7 aura have two extra points of Virtues and four extra points of Flaws, similarly.

Exceptional talents are certainly possible. Modified ones may be possible: Dark Animal Ken, which allows hypnotising animals with your gaze to catch them, is one example.

Unusual dietary requirements of commonly available substances are a -1 flaw; being able to eat those things only should be worth -2 to -3 depending on how unusual they are. (-2: eats earth and stones, -3: eats only raw flesh or small live animals). These things are worth more for grogs than magi, remember.

A common flaw that has been turning up since the valley became a regio is worth about -1 and involves peculiar aesthetics: the unusual, bizarre, and even horrifying becomes aesthetically interesting to the grogs. Magi with the Blatant Gift find themselves being treated as if they had the Curse of Venus instead, little girls pester Criamon magi for tattoos, children are unusually unafraid of magic (and will often ask magi to do some magic for them or to them!). Grogs with this Flaw will have trouble in social interaction with mundane ones-- as a disagreement over whether the buxom blonde or the girl with the harelip and evil eye is prettier-- that can lead to brawls.
A provisional weirdness table, feel free to ignore
Weirdness: stress roll
0+Pretty normal(+3/-3)
3+A bit strange (not immediately obvious)(+4/-5)
6+Warped (subtle)(+5/-7)
9+Definitely warped (visible)(1 pt visible)
12+Twisted (blatant)(2 pts visible)
16+Bizarre (has serious effect on behaviour)(3 pts visible)
20+Really freaky (even magi think he's strange)(4 pts visible)
BotchCompletely, utterly normal (Withstand Magic? Magic resistance?)

Non-obvious traits (psychological)

Subtly weird traits

Visibly weird traits (1 point visible)

Blatant, twisted traits (2 points visible)

Bizarre traits (3 points visible)

Really freaky (4 points visible)

Animalistic traits may merit an Animal Companion (+1 Social), Animal Ken (+1 Traits) specialised with that animal, Keen Vision, Sharp Ears, Faerie Eyes, Faerie Sight.

Faerie Friend (+2 Supernatural) should not be common, but occasional; similarly, Magical Animal Companion (+2 Supernatural) is a possibility.

Withstand Magic (+2 Supernatural) is a good one for people who don't seem at all warped...

Social Handicap (-1) gives -1 to -3 on social rolls.

Disfigured (-1) is -3 to Presence rolls. There may be a -2 version for extreme effects.

Sense of Doom (-3) is possible due to the number of oracles wandering around.

Haunted (-2) shouldn't be common, but is possible. (There are too many shamans and magi who can do something about it: the best reason is that someone has earned it and the magi prefer to leave him that way.) Ghostly Warder (+4) may be available easily, though.

Offensive to Animals is -1.

Magic Susceptibility is -1, with -3 to resistance rolls and soaking magickal attacks.

Large is +2 (with +1 to Strength and Presence and an extra Hurt body level), Lithe is +1 with +1 Dex, +1 Qik, -1 Hurt level, Siz -1; Obese is Qik -2, -3 on Fatigue rolls, Siz +1, no extra Fatigue level.

Textbook Example Curses, quoted from Ars Magica 3rd Ed as examples only:
-1 Everything you say, that you really mean, is taken in the worst possible way.
Smile, laugh, frown, and cry always in the wrong circumstances.
Can only eat living things.
A toad appears in your mouth when you speak a direct lie.
All food tastes like ashes and all drink like stagnant water.
Music causes you pain-- the more beautiful, the more painful.
-2 Stutter uncontrollably when you try to say something important.
If you ever tell a secret that was entrusted with you, the secret somehow, in some way, harms you.
-3 Pained by light: the greater the light, the greater the pain.
See shapes and phantoms in the night that terrify and immobilize you.
-4Doomed to be wounded in every battle in which you partake (and many that you try to avoid)
Your wounds bleed horribly, so that for each unbandaged wound you have, you lose one Short-Term Fatigue Level per rounds, then Body Levels once you're Unconscious.
Normal tools often break when you try to use them.
The touch of sunlight burns painfully (lose one Body Level per minute). Compulsion, Delusion, Evil Eye, Faerie Enmity, Magical Air, Sensitive... Simple Minded goes well with Faerie Friend...

+2 Faerie Blood: includes a weird faerie trait and weird faerie flaw. There's -2 Minor Discomfort from Iron, -3 Vulnerability to Iron, -2 Susceptibility to Divine Power, -1 Strong Faerie Nature, +1 Faerie Eyes, +1 Faerie Sight.

NOT AVAILABLE: True Faith, True Reason, Diabolic Upbringing, Tainted with Evil, Demon Plagued, Guardian Angel.

Some sample grogs:

Simple Minded, Faerie Friend, Luck, Delusion: guardian angel...

Dark Animal Ken, Evil Eye, Diet: eats small animals alive and whole (can survive on raw meat for a while but it's just not as healthy)

Grog generation

Normal grogs have 3 points of virtues and 3 points of flaws, and start out with Speak Own 4, Brawl 1, and twice their age in XP. In Amurgsval, they should either be +4/-5 or +5/-7 with Speak Own 4, Brawl 1, Faerie Lore 1, Fantastic Beast Lore 1, and Folk Enigmas 1, with twice their age (less 3) XP.

Faerie Grogs

Faerie Grogs are generated as Faerie Companions, but they may only take one Faerie Power Point of faerie abilities and 3 points of virtues and flaws. These people are usually the result of changelings growing up and deciding to stay in Amurgsval; they may eventually wander off into the faerie world at some point and return at irregular intervals (if at all). Don't always expect to bring them home after an adventure. Their Faerie Might is usually around 7.