I spent a bit of time reading over the new Art Magic chapter that Luke kindly posted from the upcoming Codex. I read it side-by-side with the old chapter from the Magic Burner because I wanted to be sure I didn’t miss anything big since I’m playing a character that uses it.
I figured I’d start a thread in case any of you wanted to discuss it more because I’m working on trying to understand it better. I know some of you are viewing it as GM’s and are excited about it. I’ve gotta be honest, while most of it is pretty similar to the original, when I got to the Schools of Magic part, my response was more like, “oh shit.” That bit really changes things! Art Magic is still really cool, but now it’s less free-wheeling and more difficult. I’m not implying that it’s a bad change, and it probably only really affects characters already in play who convert, but it’s notable.
Do correct me if I failed my Arcane Knowledge test in reading this. But before, it was vague on the requirement to be part of a School of Magic. Being part of a school may have been the intent, I dunno, but it seemed optional because being part of one gave Advantage dice to using the idiom/effect taught by the school. But there was no penalty for trying other effects (unless of course the GM or world build included a limitation). In that sense, it acted like Circles with Reputation or Affiliation dice. (As in, you can still Circle without Reputations or Affiliations, but it’s to your mechanical advantage to use them if you can.) So being without a school would put you in neutral territory - no Advantage Dice for any type of spell. Tapping into magic would be more raw, less refined perhaps.
Now it would seem that being part of a School of Magic is a requirement, which is fine - that may have been the intent all along - but I came to that understanding by noting that there is no neutral territory now. Or rather, being part of a school IS the new neutral and there’s no Advantage Dice now. Now you build spells with Obs as written only if they fall within your school’s effects. Outside of that box, everything gets harder. This is more elegant because you only have to worry about modifiers if you go beyond your taught scope, but it’s more constraining and difficult than it was originally.
The pressure release valve on this is that it encourages you to seek out new instructors to teach you new tricks/effects. (You could do this before too, now there’s just more urgency to it if you want to be able to do more things well.) Doing so successfully means the Ob disappears, so with luck, over time, you could have access to a number of effects without penalty.
Also, it will be easier to get really effing hard Sorcery tests even when you’re a super competent wizard (not something my dude has to worry about for a long time, heh), because all you need to do is start dipping into magical streams outside of your teachings. So in the long, long game, it may be easier to get out of the rat race and achieve world domination (although admittedly, by that point your reps will be so big and bad, you’ll be everyone’s target).
What do you think?