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Author Topic: Covenant Items - Magic  (Read 5183 times)
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Spell Energy / Taint +2/-0
Posts: 59

« on: August 22, 2013, 12:32:20 PM »

Hey all-

I've been running Midnight for some time now and have an active campaign going.  One of the questions I've always struggled with is whether covenant items' magic is one that can be sensed by Astiraxes.  I ask because I've effectively scared the bejeezus out of my players regarding magic... they want nothing to do with it.  However, I've difficulty figuring out how to get items into their hands as they level to fight more difficult encounters.  I've no problems with putting them against overwhelming odds and seeing how it plays out, but at the same time, I don't want them to feel like I'm throwing some more difficult monsters at them just to kill them since they don't have anything beyond a masterwork weapon (if they're lucky).

I could see both sides of the argument, covenant items are infused with magic by the events of the past and astiraxes sense magic... question answered.  However, deriving its bonuses from the past events of which they've been a part may grant them a different kind of enhancement that astiraxes can't sense.

How have you done it in your games?  Covenant items - Astirax sense-able, or not?

Thank you!
Insurgent Commander

Spell Energy / Taint +3/-0
Posts: 493

« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2013, 01:33:48 PM »

We always had a Null that we used as a pack-mule because he suppressed magical auras.

I guess you could also say that covenant items only exert minor auras unless the ability of the item is being used. This would make it hard but not impossible to smuggle but also make them think twice about using it. You can use it but you better clean up and move on before the astirax shows up.

\"No Mr.Bond..... I expect you to die!\"  -Travis.
Luiniel Blades
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Spell Energy / Taint +4/-0
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,586

"Inch towards daylight"

« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2013, 02:12:22 PM »

If none of your characters are Nulls however, suggesting they become an Insurgent Spy is another way to conceal magic.

A more relevant option to solving this problem about Covenant items is having their magic be Innate in nature, rather than Channeled magic. Midnight's magic system is divided up in three ways, Channeled for Arcane Casters, Divine for the Legates and Innate magic ranging from the simple bits found in Elves, Elflings and Halflings, to the power of Dragons and other creatures that have spell like abilities. Astiraxes themselves are made up of strands from Channeled magic, which is why they can sense it so freely.  The fact that the magic is infused from past events and unique situations rather than somebody making just another magic item from a nexus is a great way to explain why the Shadow forces can't find it.

Currently reading: Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series; The Hero of Ages.

Spell Energy / Taint +22/-0
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,118

Whisper's Will

« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2013, 06:56:17 AM »

After Midnight 2nd edition came out I started treating covenant items as innate magic, they are naturally developed magical items, born and not bred, and as such their magical auras are not able to be detected by astiraxes.

"We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects."
 - Attributed to Herman Melville.
Bane of Legates

Spell Energy / Taint +9/-2
Gender: Male
Posts: 635

Hiding from Shadow

« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2013, 01:38:16 PM »

Covenant item mechanics as stated in M2E page 307 state clearly that they are undetectable until the powers are unlocked, because their magic is innate (which IMHO seems contradictory: if they are innate magic, they can't be detected at all, since it's not arcane magic).

If you combine their innate magic source with the astirax's sense magic ability as described, you'll notice that astiraxes can only detect (as a limited list):
- arcane spells or lingering spell effects,
- "classic D&D" magic items (a +2 sword, for example),
- or magic items created with power nexus use (the rules even state that magic item creation at a power nexus make the power nexus detectable)

It does not list covenant items, which are a specific and distinct group of magic items.

which means you could perfectly rule that "astiraxes can't detect covenant items because they are a different kind of magic items".

Personally, in my game, I ruled just like Nif: covenant items can't be detected by astiraxes.

Or you can rule that they can't be detected as long as their powers are not actively used (if you want to keep the "fear the astirax" factor).

There really is room for interpretation, and in the end, it all depends on your group's game style.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2013, 01:43:44 PM by smeagol » Logged

"Il n'est pas besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre ni de réussir pour persévérer" - Devise de la famille d'Orange
Avatar of the Witch Queen

Spell Energy / Taint +8/-4
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,600

« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2013, 12:21:44 AM »

Same boat as Smeagol and Nif

Spell Energy / Taint +2/-0
Posts: 59

« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2013, 11:26:38 AM »

That's the answer I was hoping for, thank you!  I didn't want to do something that would break the world somehow by making covenant items undetectable.  However, like I said, if I want to be able to throw them into more difficult situations/encounters without making them feel like I'm trying to kill them or end the game unceremoniously, I want to give them a bit more power as they level beyond what their heroic paths and general character upgrades give them.

The fear of astiraxes is already well in them, as they won't pick an item up if they think it's magical.  They even killed their uncle when he revealed himself to be a channeler (though, their uncle did start that fight).  As an aside, I'm thinking about making their young sister start showing signs she has some aptitude with magic just to see how they react.  So, this is not a fear I need to further instill, just a constraint I now need to work within when giving them loot they'll actually take and keep.

I appreciate all your feedback.
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Against the Shadow  |  Forum  |  Midnight & RPGs  |  GM's Corner (Moderators: Bleak Knight, Glacialis)  |  Topic: Covenant Items - Magic
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