I think the Book of the Dead would also serve as a source of Insight to researchers attempting to integrate knowledge and understanding into magic theory. (TME, p. 99) Current magic can't even guarantee that a magically copied page will be identical to its source (despite being essentially a photographic copy, including even stains and poor handwriting - probably due to the Limit of the Infernal). Being able to extract the entire set of memories and organize it into a coherent, written, narrative would, translation problems aside, be an amazing breakthrough.
The Altar of True Sacrifice (Might 5)
A Daimon, or some kind of power which can be invoked, though it appears to have neither mind nor motive. It is somehow linked to the concept of ‘sacrifice’ – not in the sense of a religious act, but in the sense of giving up something you truly value in exchange for something you need more. The best guess hermetic theurgists have is that it is an ascended Lugra, a spirit of the pain of loss, but this is only a guess.
It appears, as is implied by the name, as an altar of grey stone. It is rough hewn and seems to meld with the ground or floor it rests on as if cut from living stone. In the centre of the top is a hollow to place something in, about the size of a dinner plate.
The altar is horrifyingly easy to summon, so easy (and so sinister in its nature) that some theurgists fear it is a trick of the infernal and refuse to use it – the truth is left up to the storyguide. The difficulty with the altar is not in invoking it but in the terrible cost of the sacrifice required by it.
Personality Traits: N/A
* The altar is made of seemingly mundane stone. If attacked by something capable of breaking stone such as hammers and chisels it will break and be banished.
True Sacrifice, 5 points (Init 0)
The theurge must sacrifice something on the altar. This means the thing must be destroyed beyond repair and placed in the hollow. For example, a precious statue could be shattered by hammers and some of the shards placed on the altar; a beloved pet could be killed and its heart placed in the hollow. There is only one requirement for the sacrifice – it must be something truly and genuinely precious to the theurge offered willingly.
In return the remains placed on the altar will be imbued with vis in proportion to the significance of the sacrifice. This could be as little as one pawn as in the case of Calistus of Jerbiton who sacrificed a bottle of vintage wine he had been saving; to the 62 pawns gained by Vortigern of Tytalus when he sacrificed his own wife – one for each year they had been wed.
The truly desperate magus can even sacrifice parts of themself. By using perdo magic to destroy some aspect of the theurge and placing an arcane connection to them on the altar the sacrifice can be completed. Sacrifices of this kind known to have worked are the memory of the theurge’s mother, the mother tongue of the theurge, the theurge’s sense of taste and the left hand of the theurge. For reasons unknown any such sacrifice becomes a part of the essential nature of the theurge and cannot be reversed by hermetic magic.
How this vis is produced is a true mystery. Certainly, the daimon does not itself have the might to generate it. Some theurgists believe this vis is tainted by the infernal and any thing it is used for will come to evil ends. Whether this is true or not is left up to the storyguide.
Use of the altar is known to produce Eidolons, spirits of emotion, from those participating. It is unknown if this is due to some unknown property of the altar, or the fact that those willing to use it will often have extreme personality traits and be in a state of heightened emotion when invoking the daimon. Vortigern of Tytalus was plagued by the spirit of his own ambition for many years after his sacrifice, until he managed to trap and bind it.
Vis: If the altar is broken the majority of the stone vanishes into a choking dust. Anyone who is exposed to this dust and does not have magic resistance gradually gains 5 points of warping over the next few weeks. A single intact stone is left behind containing 1 pawn of Vim vis. This vis has the magical property of inflicting a point of warping to anyone without magic resistance within voice range every diameter.
Good point, I hadn't considered that aspect (I was mainly trying to think of a way to use caananite necromancy, my original idea was a mirror rather than a book but the book seemed more symbolic).
I'm of two minds about it, it maybe makes it a little too good as a source of insight. I might edit it to have the information be of dubious reliability. Like if you invoke multiple times for the same person there will be inconsistencies in the narrative, just to add some ambiguity to it.
Liafáil, the Stone of Destiny (Might 15)
This daimon is linked to certain stones of great symbolic significance, in particular the eponymous stone at Tara and the stone of Scone. Others likely exist, for example the Prince’s Stone of Carantania may qualify.
The daimon is linked to concepts of rightful authority and rulership, and can be called on to ensure the right, good character, and prosperity of future rulers. This was once the practice when crowning High Kings of Ireland, but ever since the hero Cú Chullain violently banished the daimon when it displeased him it has refused to answer the call of any Irish theurge, except in two cases when it came voluntarily to acclaim Conn of the Hundred Battles and later Brian Boru. Due to this the practice fell out of use.
The daimon itself is relatively weak, the difficulty in invoking it comes from finding a stone that it will inhabit. It may be there is some way of creating more than the handful known, but if so it is lost to time.
The daimon will ask for four things from the theurge: an arcane connection to the person being crowned, an arcane connection to their ancestor, an explanation of what the theurge’s culture considers the virtues of a king, and a hefty offering of vis (at least as much used to invoke the daimon, or more. If given these it will use its powers to determine first if the candidate is a rightful heir, then if he is a good candidate based on the values of his culture, and if he is the stone will proclaim him rightful and good, blessing him with long life and long reign.
Note: the target of these effects does not literally have to be a potential king. Anyone who is being formally appointed into a position of authority is suitable. If there is no element of blood inheritance then the Know the Rightful Heir power is skipped.
Characteristics: Int +1, Per +6, Pre 0, Com +7, Str 0, Sta 0, Dex 0, Quik 0
Personality Traits: Skittish +3, Wary +3
*The Liafáil will dissolve its aspect at the slightest sign of perceived aggression. It is still smarting from the last time an angry hero decided to take a sword to it.
Know the Rightful Heir, 1 point (Init 0)
This power requires an arcane connection to be placed on the stone, usually some item of coronation regalia. This is used to target a supposed ancestor of a person present as determined by the theurge and determine if they are a true blooded descendant.
(InCo 35: Base 3, Bloodline +4, Arcane Connection +4)
Judge the Rightful Heir, 1 point (Init 0)
This power requires an arcane connection to the target be placed on the stone. The target must touch the stone and it will probe his mind as per Peering into the Mortal Mind to determine if he has the making of a true king. The spirit itself does not judge this, it must be informed in advance by the theurge what traits to seek out and which to reject.
Proclaim the New King, 3 points (Init 0)
This power simply creates a booming sound, a cry of either exultation or outrage at the daimon’s choice. This is loud enough to be heard several miles away.
Bless the New King, 10 points (Init -10)
This power grants the Unaging and Puissant Leadership virtues to the target, who must be touching the stone, permanently. Those blessed by the stone of destiny tend to have long lives and long reigns.
Freyja of the Linden, Ascended Flora (Might 10)
This daimon is an ascended flora, the spirit of a plant, who was venerated (to her chagrin but not displeasure) as an aspect of the goddess Freyja in pre-christian Germany. She is not actually connected to the “real” Freyja, and has no knowledge of Germanic myth beyond what she has overheard by those calling on her over the years.
She has powers in line with those of a linden-spirit and can influence the minds of mortals (for the linden tree is said to have power to root out the truth). However, unlike lesser linden-spirits she is intelligent and has, over time, absorbed a great deal of knowledge of jurisprudence and politics from the trials and meetings held under her branches so is valued more for her advice than for her power (which cannot penetrate most magic resistance anyway). She is easy enough to invoke that even non-theurgists can manage it.
She was originally tied to a specific, huge, Linden tree found in the Hessian forest and can still be most easily invoked there. Some of the Tanzlinden trees found in settlements in the region are grown from cuttings of her tree, and she can also be invoked at them. This would be very public and probably unwise, however. Similarly some of the Gerichtslinden trees, used for legal proceedings in some places in that region, are offshoots of her trees, but not all.
If the theurge desires more easy contact with the linden-spirit he must take a cutting of the original tree (a cutting of a tree grown from a cutting is not enough) and grow a new tree from it. When this tree has reached a height of 30 feet (this takes in the order of 15-30 years of growth) it will become possible to invoke the daimon at it.
It is said that these linden trees are more likely to become trees of virtue than most if grown in a magical aura, but this is unproven.
She manifests as a warping of the shape of the tree. It very slowly shifts, so slowly it is hard to notice for those not looking for it, until from the right angle it appears to almost have a face in the nooks and crannies of the bark. She can speak from this ‘mouth’ and move the tree at will.
Characteristics: Int +2, Per +1, Pre 0, Com +1, Str 0, Sta 0, Dex 0, Quik 0
Personality Traits: Good Listener +3, Just +2
*Her body is the tree itself. If someone can destroy it instantly, for example with a powerful fire spell, she is instantly banished. Otherwise she dissolves her aspect as soon as the tree is attacked.
Abilities: Awareness 6, Bargain 8, Charm 5, Folk Ken (Criminals) 11, Guile 4, Intrigue 7, Artes Liberales 2, Civil and Canon Law 9, Common Law 4, Germanic Law 13, Code of Hermes 12
Mistress of Mentem, variable points (Init 0)
Freyja of the Linden can replicate any non-ritual Rego or Intellego Mentem effect at a cost of 1 might per magnitude.
Guide, 3 points (Init 1)
R: Voice, D: Conc, T: Group
Subtly influences a group of beings toward a specific course of action. Each time this power is used, it can subtly influence the actions of a single person for a day. The storyguide should provide advice to the character in a similar way to the Common Sense Virtue, except that the advice serves Freyja’s agenda, not the character’s. There is no compulsion to follow this advice. When she is not called on to participate directly she will use this power to silently advise the theurge.
Gemini, the Twins (Might 45)
This daimon, or possibly pair of daimons, are intrinsically linked. They represent the concept of fraternity and sorority, the social bonds between equals of similar age. They are of interest to theurgists due to their peculiar ability to create connections between targets based on these relationships, something not currently possible for hermetic magic.
They seem to value loyalty and will freely help a theurgist in aiding someone they have a fraternal connection to. Conversely they will violently oppose anyone who summons them to try and betray or harm their own brother or sister, and may even manifest an aspect to the target and offer help freely.
They appear as two statuesque humans. They morph between male and female, such that one is always male and the other always female. This is disconcerting to many theurgists.
Characteristics: Int 0, Per 0, Pre 0, Com +9, Str +5, Sta +5, Dex +5, Quik 0
Personality Traits: Loyal +6, Hate Fratricides +9
Combat: Brawl: Init 0, Attack +15, Defense +15, Damage +5*
*The Twins act as a trained group of two combatants
Wound Penalties: –1 (1-5), –3 (6-10), –5 (11-20), Banished (21-25)*
*Any injuries inflicted on one twin are mirrored on the other. If one is banished both are.
Abilities: Brawl 10
Let Your Bond Open the Way, variable points (Init 0)
This power transforms a hermetic spell cast by the theurge to use the range Sister or Cousin. Sister is valid against any person the caster has a strong bond or familiarity with and has known for a long period of time. This kind of familiarity is only borne of close proximity over a prolonged period. Cousin requires only moderate familiarity. The caster must be able to picture the target and know their name and have met them in person at least once.
Both ranges can operate at any distance, much like arcane connection range. They do not count as an arcane connection, however. This power costs 4 points of might plus 1 point for each magnitude of the spell being altered.
See the amazon chapter of Rival Magic for more details on these ranges.
Let Your Bond Be Made Real, 10 points (Init -10)
This power takes a Sister bond as described above and transforms it into a physical object. The object will always be small enough to fit in the palm of the hand but the exact shape is different each time and is symbolic to the bond itself. This object is an indefinite arcane connection to both the theurge and the other party. If the object is damaged badly or broken it ceases to be an arcane connection and the theurge and the other party instantly lose all regard for each other. Whatever bond they had is gone, as if they were strangers meeting for the first time.
The Elemental Kings (Might 100)
These four protogonoi each encompass the entirety of one of the four classical elements. They are spirits of immense power who can only be invoked by a concerted effort by a group of powerful theurgists. They contain the totality of the element – its physical nature, its symbolic nature, and its humour.
There is no confirmed instance of them ever having been summoned but several events are rumoured among theurgists to have been caused by invoking them: the Great Flood, the Thera eruption (which may have destroyed Atlantis), and the Cretan earthquake of the 4th Century which raised the island by 30 feet and destroyed much of the eastern Mediterranean coast are all thought to have been possibly caused by the Kings.
They are: Ghob, King of Earth, who rules the Melancholic Humour; Nicksa, King of Water, who rules the Phlegmatic Humour; Paralda, King of Air, who rules the Sanguine Humour; and Djin, King of Fire, who rules the Choleric Humour.
Ghob appears as an immense man of squat, dwarfish, proportions made of stone, easily mistaken for a mountain until he moves. Nicksa appears as an undine of titanic size formed of rarefied water. Paralda as an impossibly huge storm that sometimes seems to resemble a massive human woman, and Djin as a colossal fire in the shape of a Salamander.
Characteristics: Int +0/+9/+9/+0, Per +0/+9/+9/+0, Pre +0/+0/+9/+9, Com +0/+0/+9/+9, Str +9/+9/+0/+0, Sta +9/+9/+0/+0, Dex +9/+0/+0/+9, Quik +9/+0/+0/+9*
Personality Traits: Melancholic/Phelgmatic/Sanguine/Choleric +9*
*For Ghob/Nicksa/Paralda/Djin (Earth/Water/Air/Fire)
Combat Stats: N/A*
*The idea of fighting an elemental king physically is absurd, it would be like trying to have a fist fight with a mountain.
King of (Element), variable points (Init 0)
The elemental kings can replicate any effect related to their element, or the humour it governs, at a cost of 1 might per magnitude. As this means anything up to a level 500 spell the only real limit here is what the spirit is willing to do and the imagination of the theurge.
Isk, Lord of the Burning Wick (Might 15)
This daimon is a fire spirit who governs the passing of time during the third hour of the second vigil, the hour directly preceding midnight, the hour of elucubration on which the night turns. It has inexplicable power over candles and the passing of time.
To invoke the candle-king the theurge must prepare a windowless ritual space in the shape of a perfect hexagon. They must array six candles, each designed to burn away in a single hour, around them in a circle and the vis used in the ritual must be contained in either the wax or the wick of the candles. The invocation must begin the hour before dusk and a single candle must be burnt each hour so that the final candle burns out at the moment the appointed hour begins. The ritual spell must be timed to complete at this same moment. If successfully timed the theurge will be plunged into pitch darkness for a moment before the daimon manifests, bringing with it light.
Isk manifests as a cloud of fuel-less candle flames hovering in the air like a swarm of bees. Its voice is like the whisper of the wind at night.
Characteristics: Int +9, Per +2, Pre +5, Com 0, Str 0, Sta 0, Dex 0, Quik 0
Personality Traits: Patient +3, Precise +3
Isk will dissolve its aspect at the slightest sign of hostility.
Lord of the Candle Flame, 6 points (Init 0)
R: Arcane D: Conc T: Individual
During the hour of his purview Isk is connected to all candle-flames. With this power it can command the spirit of any candle flame in the world to obey it. These spirits are airy spirits of miniscule power – not even truly a single point of might. They have no ability to interact with the physical world, but can relay information. What information they can relay is also limited by their primitive intelligence and strange world-view. They are very focused on the separation and decomposition of things and will often speak in terms of the components that make up an object, rather than considering it to be a whole. An animal is a collection of bones, organs, humors, and flesh, for example.
The Hours Make the Day, the Moments Make the Hour, variable points (Init 0)
This strange power allows Isk to take a spell cast by the theurge and transfer it into a candle at a cost of 1 might per magnitude of the spell. If vis appropriate to the spell is transferred into this candle when it is later burnt the spell effect will manifest again. This can take one of two forms, chosen by Isk when the power is used:
- Every diameter that the candle burns for it will use a tenth of a pawn of the vis within per magnitude of the effect and the spell effect will activate. The effect contained within cannot have a duration greater than diameter. A typical candle will last 2-3 hours or 60-90 uses overall.
- If the candle is burnt for the entire duration of Isk’s hour it will use a pawn of vis per magnitude of the effect and the spell effect will activate. This destroys the candle. There is no restriction on the effect that can be contained within, including ritual effects. This can effectively create a single use charged item with a ritual effect, at the cost of having to spend the vis twice over – once initially on the candle and again when the candle is burnt.
Master of Candles, variable points (Init 0)
Isk can replicate any effect relating to Candles at a cost of 1 point per magnitude.
Rast-Khoda, the Herald (Might 70)
A daimon who embodies the concept of fame and renown. His powers encompass all kinds of fame and infamy, deserved or not. He is a powerful daimon, very difficult to invoke, but of great value to the theurgist who can manage it. He can grant reputations, erase existing ones, and in general effect how a person is remembered and viewed by others in ways that seem impossible to hermetic magic.
He is surprisingly amenable to granting the requests of those who summon him. He seems to view the, usually prideful, theurgists who invoke him with a sort of bemused indifference. He may caution them against requests which seem destined to end in misery, but will acquiesce with an attitude of “on your own head be it, mortal.” If pressed.
The few theurgists who have spoken with him report he is, somewhat ironically considering his nature, not a believer in the value of reputation. He reportedly advises most that reputation and the perception of others ultimately only have as much value as you give to them. Most theurgists who would summon him are unwilling to listen to such advice, sadly.
He appears as a man clothed in red. He has the head of a lion and the wings of an eagle.
Characteristics: Int +3, Per +9, Pre +9, Com +9, Str 0, Sta 0, Dex 0, Quik 0
Combat: Brawl: Init 0, Attack 0, Defense 0, Damage 0
Wound Penalties: –1 (1-6), –3 (7-12), –5 (13-23), Banished (24-29)
Abilities: Etiquette 15, Leadership 15, Charm 10
Be Known in the Minds of Men, 8 points (Init -10)
R: Arcane D: Special T: Individual
This mysterious power grants the theurge or another target a reputation of 1 that he or she previously did not have (this can be negative). This could be for anything, even things the theurge has never done. It only effects people the theurge meets in person after this power is used – if he writes a letter to someone he has never met this ‘false’ reputation does not count. The power lasts for 5 seasons, but if reinforced by an actual deed in line with the reputation in this period it becomes permanent.
If used on an unwilling target this is considered a (Rego) Creo Mentem effect.
For example: Estora, a reclusive theurgist maga little known outside her own tribunal is somehow selected to represent the tribunal at the grand tribunal. She invokes Rast-Khoda to give her a hermetic reputation of 1 as a “Wise Councillor”. When she attends the grand tribunal several of the magi present feel as though they have heard of her and put more weight on her words than they otherwise might have. This good performance solidifies the reputation and makes it permanent.
Let Your Fame be as that of Alexander, 15 points (Init -10)
R: Arcane D: Special T: Individual
This power enhances an existing reputation of the theurge. A positive reputation can be increased by up to 3 points, while a negative reputation can be reduced by up to 3 points. This cannot create or remove a reputation entirely. As with the power described above this reputation boost only effects people the theurge meets in person after this power is used. The reputation increase lowers by 1 per year until the original reputation is restored. If the theurge does something to increase their reputation it increases their “true” reputation, not the false increased value which remains static. The false reputation will not decrease if the theurge has increased the real reputation (or decreased for negative reputations) over the span of the year. In time the real value might catch up to the false value, making the reputation true and permanent.
The decline of the reputation may colour the views of those who were effected by the false value. This may result in a negative reputation (for example for “Wasted Potential” or “Washed Up”) and some, especially magi, may realise it was caused by a magical effect which is arguably a crime under the code.
If used on an unwilling target this is considered a (Creo) Rego Mentem effect.
For Example: Estora, buoyed by her success at the grand tribunal, invokes Rast-Khoda again to enhance her “Wise Councillor” reputation to 4. Over the next few years she attempts to solidify this enhanced reputation, and because of it she is often asked for advice. Unfortunately, she isn’t actually that wise, but because of the reputation the tribunal all believe she is giving bad advice on purpose for her own ends. The reputation begins to fade, and she has now developed a negative reputation as a “Wicked Schemer”. She is eventually killed in a wizard’s war by a group of aggrieved magi who she gave bad advice to.
Arija, the Falcon-Ship (Might 35)
This daimon takes the form of a living ship, of mid-size but without any means to steer or direct it or even sails. It can be directed by the thoughts of the captain and flies through the water as swift as a bird on the wing without regard for wind or tide.
When invoked the theurge must negotiate with the daimon for its services for a set period. It will only ever agree to travel within a set range and this must not overlap any area covered by an existing bargain made by any other aspect of the daimon.
This is a powerful ally for a theurge about to undertake a perilous voyage at sea.
Characteristics: Int 0, Per 0, Pre +1, Com 0, Str +8, Sta +9, Dex 0, Quik +4
Personality Traits: Likes Long Voyages +3, Restless +6
Arija acts as a ship and takes damage as one. It can be repaired as a normal ship though the construction will not be familiar to any living shipwright.
Abilities: Awareness (Currents) 7, Bargain (Service) 5, Craft: Shipwright 4, Hunt (Ships) 8, Leadership (Fleets) 4, Profession: Sailor 14, Animal Ken (Seabirds) 4, Penetration (Mentem) 6, Concentration 8
Voice of the Ship, variable points (Init +4)
The ship can speak into the mind of any person touching its decks and hear their replies. This must penetrate magic resistance but costs 0 might. For a cost of 3 might this power can be extended to follow a single person (usually the captain) for the day, even if they leave the ship.
Untouched by Hail and Rain, 5 points (Init +4)
R: Personal D: Sun T: Group
This power makes the ship and anyone on it be untouched by even the most severe weather phenomenon. It can sail through the fiercest gale as if it were a calm summer’s breeze.
Unhindered by Wind and Tide, 0 points (Init +4)
R: Touch D: Concentration T: Individual
This power propels the ship at a prodigious pace through the water without need for wind or sails, borne along by an unnatural current.
Untouched by Crashing Wave, 3 points (Init +4)
R: Personal D: Sun T: Individual
This power protects the ship from all waves, natural or unnatural, which break before reaching it as if striking an invisible barrier.
Gares, Lord of True Speech (Might 20)
A daimon embodying the concept of honesty. He has a burning hatred of dishonesty and will seek to punish any theurgist who he perceives to be lying to him. Hermetic theurgists are wary of summoning him, as it is well known that most of his gifts would be considered scrying if used on fellow magi and because of this even having been known to summon him puts one under suspicion of scrying. Still, his gifts are very useful and he has been summoned several times in hermetic history as part of investigations into serious crimes committed by powerful magi.
He appears as a huge hawk, larger than a warhorse. From the mouth of the hawk a human face emerges to speak with the theurge.
Characteristics: Int 0, Per +6, Pre 0, Com +9, Str 0, Sta 0, Dex 0, Quik 0
Personality Traits: Exacting +3, Hates Lies +6
Wound Penalties: –1 (1-7), –3 (8-15), –5 (16-30), Banished (31+)
Abilities: Guile (Lies) 20, Awareness (Lies) 20, Bargain 10
The Price of Truth, 5 points (Init -10)
Any pact made with Gares is opened by swearing to speak only the truth. He will refuse any theurge who tries to avoid this, and may become hostile. This can be considered to inflict the Prohibition flaw, with the penalty being that when the theurge does lie all the gifts of Gares instantly leave them. It does not matter how small or innocent the lie.
Hear the Truth and be Heard, 5 points (Init -10)
Gares can grant the heroic virtue Gift of Tongues allowing the theurge to understand and speak any language.
Feel the Spoken Lie, 5 points (Init -10)
This grants the theurge a personal power that allows them to feel lies for as long as they concentrate, with lies causing a crawling sensation on the skin. It is equivalent to a level 20 InMe spell and is resisted as such by the person speaking the lie. It has a penetration of 0, unless the user has the penetration ability. Activating this power costs 1 short-term fatigue level.
See the Manifest Lie, 5 points (Init -10)
This grants the theurge a personal power that allows them to discern illusions created by spells of no more than the 20th level as long as they concentrate, as per a level 25 Discern the Images of Truth and Falsehood spell. Activating this power costs 1 short-term fatigue level.
Lord of Truth, variable points (Init 0)
Gares can replicate any non-ritual effect relating to Truth and Lies at a cost of 1 might per magnitude.
The Tower-Tree (Might 80)
Theurges speculate that this mysterious entity is connected to the Axis Mundi the point around which creation turns. It is mystically connected to all places where there is a particular connection between the earth and the heavens. The knowledgeable theurge can use this connection to travel instantly to these sites of power.
Examples of such sites include Mount Olympos, the ruins of the tower of Babel, the Great Pyramid of Giza (and several other large pyramids), Mount Zion, the hill of Uisneach, and the Umbilicus of Rome.
Some theurgists believe the tree actually exists, either somewhere in the mundane world or in the realm of magic. A few radical theurgists believe that it should be possible to enter the garden of Eden via the tower-tree but no one has ever managed this feat. Those of this school of thought are split between whether this means that their methods are flawed or if it is impossible due to man’s exile from the garden.
Less well known is the fact that the tree also connects to places not in the mundane world ut in the realms of magic and faerie.
The tower-tree appears as an immense tree, or more rarely a vine, its trunk the size of a round tower and its branches far above the clouds.
The tree is connected mystically to many places of power. If the theurge closes their eyes and circles the tree anti-clockwise in a ritual fashion they will find themselves in one of the connected mundane locations. Many factors seem to influence this: the number of steps taken, the speed, which foot is used for the first and last step are just a few.
A less well known version of this property allows the theurge to enter the realm of magic or faerie. If the theurge is buried alive in the roots of the tree at just the right spot and they can dig themselves out before they suffocate they will find themselves at a particular location in the magic realm.
If the theurge can climb the trunk of the tree then through its cloud-brushed branches he will find himself emerging from the foliage into the realm of faerie. How the part of faerie this leads to is chosen is not well understood by theurgists but is speculated to be influenced by the sympathies and recent life events of the theurge.
Unless the theurge knows a specific ritual they will have no way to know where they will end up.
Koios, Guardian of the Pool of Knowledge (Might 55)
This kosmokrator guards the threshold of the pool of knowledge, which in theurgical legends represents a sum total of all things that are known and which can be known. He embodies the loss inherent to the quest for deep knowledge – for everything that is gained something else must be sacrificed, be it time, relationships with others, pleasure, or more literal sacrifices.
He is a daimon of far reaching power, who can grant the theurge almost any skill or power imaginable. However, he requires a steep price. Just as they would have had to sacrifice time and effort to learn what he gives them the hard way, to gain his permission to drink from the pool of knowledge the theurge must sacrifice a part of themselves. Nothing comes from nothing.
The sacrifices listed below are only examples. Almost any magic aligned ability and many supernatural virtues can be gained by drinking from the pool of knowledge, so long as a suitable sacrifice can be thought of.
Characteristics: Int +9, Per +9, Pre 0, Com 0, Str +3, Sta +7, Dex 0, Quik 0
Personality Traits: Mournful +3, Fair +3
Wound Penalties: –1 (1-7), –3 (8-15), –5 (16-30), Banished (31+)
Abilities: Bargain 17, Brawl (Blocking) 14
Sight for Sight
If the theurge blinds their eye irrevocably they may be granted the power of sight – the right eye grants a score of 1 in the ability Second Sight , the left a score of 1 in the ability Divination and Augury .
The Past for the Future
The theurge gives up all memory of their past in exchange for a score of 1 in the ability Divination and Augury . The memories are lost forever. The theurge may learnt the facts of their life but will never truly remember them.
The Future for the Past
The theurge sacrifices their ability to plan and think of the future in exchange for a perfect recollection of the past. They are afflicted with the flaws Short Attention Span, Simple Minded, and Unimaginative Learner but in return gain a score of 1 in the ability Art of Memory, the virtue Affinity with Art of Memory, and the new minor virtue Eidetic Memory.
Minor General Virtue: Eidetic Memory
You are especially skilled at memorising things and have a natural ability to recall details others would forget. Any roll to recall something gains a bonus of +3 and rolls to intentionally memorise an item of information gain a +6 bonus.
Health for Health
The theurge must drink from a special cup provided by Koios. The water of the pool in it is transformed into a terrible poison which destroys the natural healing abilities of the theurge’s body. From then on they can never recover from any wound except by supernatural means. This is described in the new Major Supernatural Flaw No Natural Healing. In return they gain the new Supernatural Ability Lay on Hands.
Major Supernatural Flaw: No Natural Healing
Either from warping or some kind of curse the character has lost the normal capacity to heal from injuries. When they are called on to make a wound recovery roll do so as normal but if the wound would improve it instead remains stable. If a sufficient amount of magical aid is provided they can heal as normal (+12 for light wounds, +15 for medium, +18 for heavy, +21 for incapacitating). In these cases roll as if no magical aid was applied but if an improvement is rolled the wound actually improves. Instantaneous magical healing (such as from a CrCo ritual) works on them as normal.
They recover from fatigue and disease as normal, only their wound recovery is effected by this flaw.
Major Supernatural Virtue: Lay on Hands
This grants a score of 0 in the supernatural ability Lay on Hands which works as follows:
The character has a supernatural ability to heal others. They can replicate any Creo Corpus effect relating to healing injuries with a roll of Stamina+Lay on Hands against the ease factors listed below. By default the target is the character themself. To target another person add +3 to the ease factor to make the effect touch range.
To cause instantaneous healing the character must expend a long term fatigue level per 3 points of ease factor. If they fall unconscious from this any further levels of ease factor will inflict a wound (light for 3, medium for 6, heavy for 9, incapacitating for 12, mortal for 15+). A magus who knows this ability may expend pawns of Creo or Corpus vis to reduce this by 3 points of ease factor per pawn.
Effects from this ability which are not instantaneous last at least moon duration then decline by one level of effect each time the new moon rises until they fade away entirely.
|Ease Factor||Healing Effect|
|3||Grant a +3 to recovery rolls.|
|6||Grant a +6 to recovery rolls.|
|9||Grant a +9 to recovery rolls. Instantly heal a Light Wound.|
|12||Grant a +12 to recovery rolls. Instantly heal a Medium Wound.|
|15||Grant a +15 to recovery rolls. Instantly heal a Heavy Wound. Restore a lost limb.|
|18||Grant a +18 to recovery rolls. Instantly heal an Incapacitating Wound.|
|21||Grant a +21 to recovery rolls. Instantly heal an all Wounds.|
Air for Air
The theurge is afflicted with the new Major General Flaw Short of Breath in exchange for a score of 1 in the supernatural ability Whistle up the Wind (see HoH:Societates for details).
Major General Flaw: Short of Breath
The character is afflicted with a chronic shortness of breath. They are prone to fits of breathlessness whenever they overexert themselves. Whenever the character fails a roll involving Stamina they begin to suffer deprivation from lack of air. After each deprivation roll the character must make a Stamina+Concentration roll against an ease factor of 6; with success meaning they can breathe normally again.
Freedom for Fortune The theurge sacrifices that most precious of all things: their own death. They are issued with a Death Prophecy by Koios and in exchange gains the ability to influence their own fortunes up until the point of their now inevitable death, granting a score of 1 in the supernatural ability Threads of Fate (see Rival Magic for details on this ability). The particulars of the death prophecy are left up to the storyguide, but it should never be one that would please the theurge – this is a sacrifice, after all.
Tantalus, the Foe of the Gods (Might 50)
An ancient king in Anatolia, Tantalus was so favoured of by the Olympian gods he was invited to dine with them. He betrayed this trust, in some accounts stealing ambrosia (the food of the gods), in others betraying the secrets of the gods, in others stealing a golden dog made by Hephaistos. In other tales he sacrificed his own son and served him as meat to the gods at a feast to test their omniscience (for if they were truly all-knowing they would not partake of the tainted meat). Whatever his true transgressions one thing is certain – his punishment. He was banished to Tartarus, the deepest part of the underworld, where he was chained in a pool overshadowed by a fruit tree. Whenever he bends down to drink the water recedes from him and whenever he reaches up to grasp the fruit the tree bends up out of reach. Thus he is ever ravaged by hunger and thirst with relief close by but ever out of reach.
While some in the Theban tribunal search still for the lost treasury of Tantalus in the mundane world or seek after magical secrets he might have stolen from the gods those theurgists who have invoked him know the truth. He was a mortal king who lived thousands of years ago, and a practitioner of chthonic magic. Though he was fairy blooded, the son of Zeus, he opposed the Olympians and the realm of faerie instead allying himself with the titans and even marrying Dione, daughter of Atlas. Eventually he was able to ascend to become an immortal spirit but found himself, perhaps due to his deep connection to the titans, imprisoned in the depths of the magic realm just as his patrons were. His magic was likely similar to that of the Makhai (the Greek equivalent to Muspelli, see Rival Magic).
He is a useful spirit to invoke for those wishing to learn more about faerie or magic lore, especially relating to the titans and Olympians. Caution should be taken as he is still bitterly opposed to the realm of faerie and fierce in support of the great Daimones. He is likely to be hostile to any theurgist he believes to be tainted by faerie. There are whispers among some circles that this daimon may have influenced the ideas of the Legion of Atlas in the Theban tribunal. He would certainly approve of their philosophies. He was the progenitor of the tragedy plagued Atreides lineage and it is possible some descendants of this line survive to this day. He would be well disposed towards a theurgist of this line (which likely carries mythic blood).
Characteristics: Int +9, Per +4, Pre +9, Com +2, Str 0, Sta 0, Dex 0, Quik 0
Personality Traits: Hates Faerie +9, Bitter +5
Abilities: Faerie Lore (Olympians) 16, Magic Lore (Titans) 20, Makhai Lore 7, Penetration (Daimones) 15
Teach Cthonic Magic, 5 points (Init 0)
Tantalus can help the theurge become initiated into the secrets of chthonic magic. If invoked as part of an initiation into chthonic magic he grants a +6 bonus to the initiation script.
Teach Names of Power, 1 point (Init 0)
Tantalus knows the True Names of each of the titans. He can teach a single one to the theurge each time he is invoked, but will only do so for those he truly believes to be servants of the ancient powers. The theurge must spend a season fixing the knowledge in his mind after receiving it.
Invoke the Titanic Patrons, 20 points (Init -10)
If the theurge presents a gifted child who has not yet had their gift opened to Tantalus and pledges the youth to the service of the Titans, Tantalus will speak with the child for a time and, if he deems them suitable, will invoke the titan most suitable to the child’s character to open their gift. This grants them the powers of the Makhai, the Greek equivalent to the Muspelli. See Rival Magic pg. 81 and The Sundered Eagle for ideas about the Makhai.
And we made it! The final entry (sort of).
Fractus (Might 30)
A Daimon deeply associated with the magic realm. Unlike many Daimons of this type he is helpful in full journeys in and out of the realm of magic but only to certain parts of it especially closely connected to the mundane realm. Theurgists invoke Fractus to allow them to influence the whole from the part and the part from the whole in ways that normal hermetic magic cannot, and sometimes to witness past events (though the reliability of this is very dubious).
Fractus is very willing to help theurgists. The way he reacts to mortals invoking him is very paternal, like a craftsman who finds his children are suddenly interested in learning his trade.
Fractus appears as a strange pattern that shimmers in the air where his aspect floats, like a cloud of ink in water. The pattern is constantly shifting but somehow from this movement a humanoid figure is always visible, becoming easier to see when the eyes are unfocused and fading into the pattern if one tries to concentrate on it.
Characteristics: Int +9, Per +9, Pre -3, Com 0, Str 0, Sta 0, Dex 0, Quik 0
Personality Traits: Paternal +3, Likes Suprises +3
Combat: Brawl: Init 0, Attack 0, Defense 0, Damage 0
Wound Penalties: –1 (1-5), –3 (6-10), –5 (11-20), Banished (21-25)
Abilities: Magic Lore (Cosms) 20, Second Sight (Vestiges) 20
As Above, So Below, 5 points (Init -10)
This power opens an entrance into the magic realm through some mundane thing. The passage will always lead to a macrocosm related to the entrance. For example, passing through a tree in England would lead the theurge to a macrocosm representing the forests of England, where the forests are represented by a single copse of trees, one tree for each variety that grows in England.
As Below, So Above, 5 points (Init -10)
This power opens an entrance into the magic realm through some mundane thing. The passage will always lead to a microcosm related to the entrance. For example, passing through the tree mentioned above might lead to a microcosm of the tree, where it is represented by a ship – the hull is the bark, the sail the leaves, the provisions and cargo relate to the health of the soil, and the crew represent the vitality and spirit of the tree.
What Was is, What is Was, 5 points (Init -10)
This power opens an entrance into the magic realm through some mundane place or thing. The passage will always lead to a tempus related to the entrance. For example, entering at Hastings might find you in a tempus showing what happened at the famous battle of Hastings (or maybe not, it’s unclear it Tempus show what really happened in history).
Retrieve the Wayward Children, 5 points (Init -10)
This power opens a passage from the magic realm back into the mundane world. Fractus will use it to return the theurge when he has seen what he needs to, as Fractus views it.
Bonus Feature: Extra Ideas
Here are a few ideas I also had but didn't end up fully developing, as a little end of event bonus.
Agnostos Theos, the unknown god: At one point the people of Athens were suffering from a curse that had inflicted a plague. They rightly assumed an angry god had sent the curse, so the Athenians sacrificed to every god they could think of but to no avail – they didn’t know and had utterly failed to find out which god had been offended. In desperation they made a great sacrifice to the ‘unknown god’ to lift the curse. Agnostos Theos answered and revealed to them the cure which was not known to any man or god. Agnostos Theos has very powerful divinatory powers, which grow stronger the less well known the desired knowledge is.
Appolonius of Tyana: A noepythagoranist philosopher and magician who lived in the 1st century AD in the eastern roman empire. Accounts of his life are muddled but it is often said he travelled as far as India teaching philosophy and working miracles. However, at times he was also accused of human sacrifice and the causing of plagues by magic. He is reported not to have died but ascended into immortality. He was briefly a patron of the rulers of Rome, being worshipped by the emperors Caracala and Severus Alexander. He has powers of scrying and can help teach second sight.
Abaris the Hyperborean: A physician-wizard of Hyperborea who travelled throughout the Mediterranean for many years around the 6th century BC practicing his craft. Renowned for his honesty, simplicity, and his great powers of healing and prophecy, he caused a great stir. He is said to have saved the cities of Sparta and Knossos from plague and to have been a colleague of Pythagoras. He supposedly was able to survive on only water and never ate. He carried a magical arrow or wand which was blessed by Apollo. As well as healing powers he has a detailed knowledge of Hyperborean magic but will not share it with Hermetic Magi who killed the last Hyperboreans in Mythic Europe when they refused to join the Order of Hermes.
A daimon of magical architecture: Standing stones, pyramids, Moai, Nazca Lines - there is a mystical significance in certain structures. This daimon would have some influence over this area, perhaps being a patron of hermetic architects.
Palladium: The Palladium was a wooden idol of Pallas Athena originally housed in Troy, stolen by Odysseus, and eventually finding home in Rome. The protection of Troy and later Rome was said to rely on this sacred relic. Palladium is a daimon who oversees the growth and preservation of settlements, having powers similar to those of virgilian magic (see Rival Magic). The method of invoking Palladium is lost to hermetic theurgists but a few seekers believe that if the roman Palladium itself could be found it would allow a ritual to be developed.
Amergin Glúingel: A legendary bard and theurgist of ancient Ireland. He and his brothers conquered the island from the Tuatha Dé, the faerie lords of Ireland. He was famed for his good relations with the faeries, for his cunning, for his powerful songs, and for his great knowledge. When his people, the Milesians, first tried to land on the island the druids of the Tuatha Dé called up a great storm to keep their boats from land, but he was able to use a song of his own devising to invoke the Genus Loci of the entire island which banished the winds and allowed the Milesians to land. For this act he is rightly famed as one of the greatest theurgists who ever lived, though stories of him are rarely known in the order outside of the theurgic cults due to his Gaelic origin. He is generally regarded as being the founder of the bardic tradition in Ireland, though the bards of the present day retain little of his magic. He is buried beneath a hill near Drogheda and can be most easily invoked there.
Lethe: The spirit of the river of oblivion. She was famously invoked by Pralix during the Spider War to destroy knowledge of the Pictish language used by the enemy Gruagachan, causing irrevocable harm to their tradition.
Ara, the Hunted: A daimon who embodies prey and the hunted. She can grant the theurge powers to escape pursuit, to hide, and over nature. In return she demands they refrain from causing harm to living things, or sometimes to perform a service in defence of someone or something being hunted.
She appears as a triskelion – three legs with a face in the centre where they meet. The legs constantly rotate and shift between the form of various animal legs but the face remains human and stable.
Gorelus, Patron of the Warped: A daimon embodying the concept of outcasts. He has powers associated with warping, raw magic, transformation, and social ties. He is a patron of those who have been touched by the realm of magic to their detriment, and those who have been cast out of society.
Mystery Tradition: The Cult of Isis
This faerie aligned mystery cult is of uncertain origins. Members claim that it is a direct continuation of the ancient mysteries of Isis popular in the late Roman empire but refuse to explain how they were transmitted or by whom. Those outside the cult who are aware of it assume, perhaps correctly, that it is either a modern invention using the name to lend an air of mystery, or a reconstruction of the ancient cult much like that of the Neo-Mercurians.
The Cult has only a small number of members. They favour house Merenita but faerie magic is not required for their mysteries. However, many members from outside house Merenita will eventually join it in order to learn the mystery of Becoming . Only avowed pagans are permitted to join - their rites are openly pagan in a way that would be uncomfortable or intolerable for devout Magi.
The cult believes that through special rites they can enter the “realm of the gods”, that is, the faerie realm, and by taking on the role of the heroes and gods of legend gain some of their power. In a sense they are theurgists, except that instead of invoking gods they invoke the story itself allowing a kind of controlled passage through faerie to attain a certain reward.
The cult teaches the Minor Virtue Names of Power, the Major Virtue Invocation Magic, and the new Minor Virtue Sacred Questing.
Minor Mystery Virtue: Sacred Questing
This virtual allows the magus to invent and learn spells which invoke the spirits of heroic stories. This allows the magus to enter faerie, complete the story, and in doing so gain some of the power of the legendary hero.
The magus must invent a spell for the story as follows:
Invoke the Tale of (Hero), ReVi General
This ritual spell creates an entry into the story of the invoked hero in the realm of faerie. The level of the spell must be at least equal to the might of the hero plus any modifiers (see below). If the spell penetrates for every point over the modified might of the hero the magus gains 1 point towards the invocation. When he has accumulated points equal to the modified might of the hero the story is invoked and he is thrust into faerie in the role of the hero.
If the magus can replicate the hero’s journey and defeat the same dangers they faced, they will emerge from faerie with newfound power.
The might of the hero is modified based on what the magus is trying to acquire from the quest, with larger gains harder to invoke. This modifier adds to the might of the hero far the purposes of invocation, including their magic resistance. The magus may choose not to direct the outcome of the story, in which case no modifiers are applied but the benefits of performing the story are decided by the storyguide, not the magus. The modifiers are as follows:
The magus wants to gain experience in a skill the hero possesses: +1 level per point of xp to be gained.
The magus wants to gain a personal power, lesser power, or minor virtue the hero possesses: +15 levels.
The magus wants to gain a greater power, or major virtue the hero possesses: +30 levels.
The magus wants to gain points of sympathy relating to the hero: +5 levels per point to be gained.
Bonus Bonus Feature: A Selection of Plot Hooks
Here are a few plot hooks involving the daimons created for this project. These are mostly not intended for theurgist characters, as they will have their own reasons for seeking out particular daimons, but rather as ways to use some of the daimons in a saga with no theurgist characters.
The false parma
A worrying report is spreading through the order of encounters with unknown hedge wizards in or near the tribunal the player covenant is located in who seem to possess magic resistance – has the secret of the parma magica been betrayed and if so, by whom? Unbeknownst to the order these are in fact a tiny and previously unknown tradition of non-hermetic theurgists who follow the teachings of Iamblichus and have been granted divine magic resistance by the daimon. Unless the player covenant intervenes the order is likely to take violent action against these supposed parma-theives and it is likely their patron may protect them leading to a possibly disastrous confrontation between hoplites and a powerful daimon.
An elderly magus known to the covenant confides in them something worrying about a magus who has recently moved to their tribunal. This new magus has great skill at flexible magic and the old magus recognises it as Deidne magic, but is too frail or close to final twilight to deal with a possible Deidne himself. However, if confronted the new magus will freely reveal how he learnt this power – by summoning a powerful daimon called the Cailleach who is known to the Gruagachan of Scotland. Can this story be trusted? Only the Gruagachan would know more…
Two magi, one a theurgist, in the player covenant’s tribunal recently fought a wizard’s war which ended in the death of both magi. Little does the tribunal know that both were slain by an aspect of the daimon of retribution, Nemesis. This aspect is weakened but still extremely dangerous and will wreak havoc in the tribunal, seeking out magi, using her power to learn if they have evaded justice for any crimes, and inflicting punishments on those who have. Can the daimon be stopped, or will the tribunal simply have to endure these assaults until its might is depleted and the aspect is dissolved?
The Tribunal that never happened
The meeting of the player covenant’s tribunal has just concluded with fairly normal results – some controversy, some argument, but mostly business as usual. However, a mentem expert declares a few weeks later that his and his covenant’s memories of the tribunal have been altered, asking the quaesitores to investigate. To their shock, each quaesitor in the tribunal realises on close inspection that their own memory of the entire tribunal is falsified, though so perfectly it was almost unnoticeable except in the smallest details. This information ripples throughout the tribunal as it becomes more and more clear that the tribunal never happened – the entire proceedings are a false memory planted in the head of every magus who attended the tribunal. Fingers are pointed and investigations opened but no living magus could have managed such an intricate spell under the Aegis protecting the tribunal site – only a powerful spirit with control over memory, such as Mnemosyne could have done this. Who summoned the spirit? Will a new tribunal have to be called? How will the magi ensure this is not repeated?
A character has recently performed a remarkable deed; one night as he steps out for some air a red star blazes brightly in the sky – he has been visited by an aspect of the daimon Anagogos. The daimon has been impressed by their conduct and offers to improve a vital characteristic of the character, but only if they complete a heroic task given to them by the daimon. This can be used as a hook into almost any story.
A magus has made what seems to be an amazing breakthrough and claims to have found a way to reliably ensure that children are born with the Gift. Though he claims the research is not yet fully integrated he offers the service of ensuring a couple (usually covenfolk) conceive of a Gifted child in exchange for a hefty sum of vis. This all goes well for a few years with the tribunal enjoying a glut of new apprentices. However, one day the magus botches and enters twilight during the ritual, leaving it half finished. The mother-to-be escapes and reveals to the tribunal the truth of the ‘breakthrough’ – the magus has been invoking Anu, an ancient fertility goddess, in pagan rituals and asking her to bless the conception. To ensure the cooperation of the parents he has been using mentem magic to make them pliable and then afterwards to alter their memory of the ritual. Many magi and covenfolk are outraged at having been unwillingly party to what many view as a pagan bacchanal. Others defend the practice either wholly or in part, arguing that it is worth it for the sake of expanding the order. The question is now what will the tribunal do in response when the magus emerges from twilight?
The coronation stone
Rulers in a region near the covenant have always been crowned or confirmed in a ceremony involving a special stone of some kind. A great stir has been caused recently as it has been discovered that the stone is missing. In truth a group of magi have stolen the stone hoping to use it to invoke the daimon Liafáil and have him bless the leaders of their covenant, mystery cult, or tribunal. It is likely that eventually the mundane authorities may realise the stone was stolen with magic, which may bring their wrath down on magi nearby – including the player covenant. Will the characters seek to return the stone and risk conflict with these theurgists, or will they try and help conceal the crime instead?
Note that the Prima of Tremere, Poena, is named for the Roman version of this goddess.
I like the Isis cult ideas - I've been trying to link her with the Blweymes that hold her temple in southern Egypt, and the Black.
Thanks. I did recall Isis being mentioned in Lands of the Nile so I tried to keep it as vague as possible as to whether or not the goddess was actually personally involved in this "cult of Isis" or if they were just borrowing the name.
The main inspiration was the idea of hero quests from RuneQuest/Glorantha, which I always thought were a very interesting concept that meshes quite well with the Ars 5e realm of faerie. The idea of re-enacting myths as a sort of mystical initiation. I went with the Cult of Isis because of a bit I remembered (or possibly mis-remembered) in The Golden Ass when Lucius does the initiation into the mysteries of Isis and upon entering the inner sanctum experiences all these strange things, entering the underworld, travelling through all the elements of nature, meeting the gods etc.
I didn't flesh it out fully but I imagine this hermetic Cult of Isis as going through that sort of experience when they enact their rituals in the vein of a vision-quest.