Domus Cygna - House Rules
House Rules

Take-a-Four The take-a-four house rule used in a lot of tabletop Ars games should serve us well. (Ta4 usually only applies to simple rolls, but I'm willing to extend it to stress rolls as well if they're made in circumstances where neither an open-end nor a botch would make much of a difference. It simplifies resolution.)

In circumstances where Ta4 isn't a good fit (Lab experimentation comes to mind-), we should probably pick one of the dice servers. I don't expect a lot of combat or major dice-rolling to come up, but it may happen...
Character Building We're using standard Ars character building. Nothing fancy...

I favor point-buy just because it starts everyone out on even ground. Then again, my dice-luck is notoriously bad when it comes to rolling stats for characters in *any* system, so I may be biased...

Personally, I don't have issues with Magical Affinities as long as the point cost makes sense... An Affinity for manipulating fog might be a +1, an affinity for air/wind is a +2 (That's based on the cost of old Grimgroth's from the 'Mistridge' book-), the Auram form in general is a +3, and techniques are always +4.

We don't have a Merinita, so Faerie Magic shouldn't come up (Thank the gods of gaming-)... and while Outer Mystery Virtues and Flaws are fine, I don't think starting PCs should have Inner Mysteries.

Hedge Magic is a little iffy... I've seen companions with various sorts of Hedge ability done well, so I'm not automatically opposed to having a Charm Maker or a Hedge Alchemist around, but there's a lot of potential for abuse. Like the Inner Mysteries, it's something I'd have to be convinced to go with.

Everyone has 7 points to play with for Characteristics, and the usual score range is between -3 and +3. (There are Virtues and Flaws that allow you to go beyond that-)… Point allocation in Ars is usually done on a pyramid scale. Positive scores cost points, negative scores give you extra points to put elsewhere.

+3 … costs 6pts
+2 … costs 3pts
+1 … costs 1pt
0… Average (No points either way)
-1 … adds 1 pt
-2 … adds 3pts
-3 … adds 6pts

Virtues and Flaws:
Magi and Companions can have up to 10 points of Virtues and Flaws (Virtue and Flaw totals have to be equal, of course-) Grogs can have up to 3 points of Virtues and Flaws.

Any of the Virtues and Flaws in the main book are open, of course… The ones listed in the Wizard’s Grim are also good. If you want something from Mysteries, let me know. Generally speaking, I like the Outer Mysteries well enough… but the Inner ones are a bit iffy for a starting magus.

Abilities (Skills):
Magi start with their House template skills, and have their age plus some number (It varies by House-) of points to purchase additional skills with.

Companions start with Speak Own Language 5, and have their age x 2 in points to use for other skills. Grogs start with Brawl 1, Carouse 1, Speak Own Language 4, and also get their age x 2 in skill points. Like Attributes, they're purchased on a pyramid model.

A skill of 3 is basic competence, a 5 is professional mastery, and a 9 is almost unheard-of expertise. It’s unusual for a starting character to have anything over 5 or 6.

Lvl … cost
1 … 1
2 … 3
3 … 6
4 … 10
5 … 15
6 … 21
7 … 28
8 … 36
9 … 45
10 … 55

Arts and Spells:
Unless they’ve purchased Virtues or Flaws that say otherwise, Magi start with 150 points of spells. It’s a direct point cost this time, no pyramid schemes. A spell’s cost just equals its level… so picking up ‘Eyes of the Cat’ (Muto/Corpus 5) would cost 5 points.

There’s a limit to the magnitude of the spells your magus can start with though… They can’t have a spell of a level higher than the total of their Technique + Form + INT + 10. (F’rex… Say Lyssander of Merinita has a Muto of 6, an Imag of 7, and an INT of +2. The highest level Muto/Imag he can start with is a lvl. 25…. 6 + 7 + 2 + 10)

Magi also start out with 150 points to purchase their Arts (Forms and Techniques) unless they have Virtues or Flaws that alter that number. Like Abilities and Characteristics, Arts purchase uses a cost pyramid. It’s unusual for a starting magus, even a specialist, to start with any one Art over 10 or 12.

Lvl … cost
1… 1
2… 3
3… 6
4… 10
5… 15
6… 21
7… 28
8… 36
9… 45
10… 55
11… 66
12… 78
13… 91
14… 105
15… 120

Personality Traits, Confidence, and Reputations:
Unless you have a Virtue or Flaw that alters Confidence, your character starts out with 3 points.
Personality Traits usually have a range of +3 to -3, and most characters have two or three.
Most starting characters don’t have reputations, but there are some have Virtues or Flaws that give them.
Experience An alteration that seemed to work reasonably well with my tabletop crew was making seasons spent in practice with basic skills worth 1 xp. No dicing involved.

Even though we did start out with concerns similar to James' about too-rapid skill progression, we ended up not altering the training rules... Since you have to find someone of higher ability who's willing to train you, progression beyond a certain basic level is easier said than done. Once you hit a 5 or 6 in a skill *you're* the expert that people come to consult... Finding someone to train you after that is a mission unto itself.
Multi-Subject Books Several books in Domus Cygna's library contain information on more than one subject. When a character studies one of these books they must pick which subject they plan to study in that season. They may not gain experience in multiple subjects concurrently.

For example, if Octavia studies a book containing both Hermetic Lore and Hermetic Law in the Summer, she must choose either Hermetic Lore or Hermetic Law to apply that season's study total to. She will not receive points in both. In the case of LQ's with multiple subjects, you can read the book with benefit once for each subject.
Combat I definitely recommend that we use Michael's re-worked rules from Ordo. They patched a fair few of the holes and weirdnesses in the original system.
Estate Management Accounting is kept largely in the background. Once in awhile it can be amusing to have a bunch of magi stumped over the best way to move 16 barrels of wine cross-country to meet their merchant friend's ship at port, but counting pennies and keeping up with the price of wool in Flanders gets old fast.
The Order & Society From a post to the Berklist by ev-Magrod... Who sums it up perfectly:

"In my opinion, the OoH, societally, is much more like an extremely affluent guild than a "Fourth Estate", or a body apart from the rest of Mythic Europe. They govern themselves, they have guild by-laws and membership, they have patrons and connections with other elements of society, and they have a degree of autonomy that is purchased through whatever influence they can bear on the ruling organizations of society. They are still, however, ultimately subject to the laws and mores of that society.

"Further, individual magi who are of noble descent will, like noble clergy, tend to associate with their social peers and have a noble set of assumptions and values... Those magi who are well educated will tend to associate with and possess the values of the educated clergy and university citizen... Magi who hail from the peasant classes will tend to have the attitudes and values of the peasantry, though they will also, of course, have more access to the concept of privilege (afforded by their power and covenant associations) than any peasant could hope to entertain.

"How each individual within Hermetic society chooses to address the set of assumptions and values that are determined by the class they were raised in is an individual issue that may be influenced by their peers, but is ultimately self-determined."
Faeries There are a lot of faeries in and around Domus Cygna...

I like the old 2nd ed take on Faeries and language. They don't actually have a language of their own, but they can speak and understand any mortal language they come in contact with.

Common fae tend to use the language of the mortals in the area they inhabit. The gentry in the Arcaedian Courts use the language of the nobles they're pretending to be... but given the oddness of time in Faerie (Past? Present? Future? They're all more or less the same-) there are almost certainly Courts under the hills that still use languages that haven't been heard on Earth in a very long time.

Additionally, I tend to keep some of the other traditional limitations of the fae. They can't lie (although they don't have to tell you the entire truth-), they won't break their word once it's given (although they may twist the intent-), and they can't read. They can learn, given enough time, but they can't create anything completely original on their own. The Greater Fae (hags, sidhe, true dryads) can destroy Lesser Fae, Demi-fae, and Faerie-kin, but they can not destory each other (or be destroyed by their less powerful kin-) without mortal or arcane assistance.
Mucking with Old Scratch The Order generally frowns on playing with demons, so spells of any level for summoning and binding them would definitely get a hairy eyeball from the Q's. 'Eternal Oblivion' wouldn't... That's a common spell.
Elementals Spells for banishing, summoning, and binding Elementals aren't common, but they don't raise as many eyebrows as demon summoning rituals...

With elementals in general, I prefer the old elemental rules (such as they are-) from 2th ed to the "Genii Loci" status they're given in The Mysteries...

In that version 'Destroy Spirit of an Element' was a general spell... Perdo/(Appropriate elemental Art)... Near/Instant/Individual. To destroy it you have to beat its Magic Might with the spells level plus a die roll.

'Bind Spirit of an Element' was also a general spell... Rego/(elemental Art)... Near/Sun/Indivual. Again, you have to beat its Might with the level of the spell plus a roll. On a botch thw elemental attacks the caster.

'Summon Spirit of an Element' (Rego/elemental art) worked the same way, and Ward was a direct analog to the type-specific faerie wards that still exist in 4th. Botching usually meant that you got the wrong sort of spirit...

There was also a spell called 'Craft Bottle of the Elements' (General. Muto/Vim. Reach/Perm (Ritual)/Small) that allowed a magus to enchant a container so that it was capable of holding an elemental once it had been summoned and bound. The elemental was released by breaking the container.

Elemental mights range anywhere from the Wind Whisps and Water Worms with 10 to the Storm Dragons and Greater Firebirds with 50.