I've often found, at least in my own sagas, that magic auras are very easy to overlook in terms of flavour by dint of being the "default" aura in a game focused on hermetic magi. In theory magical auras should be just as supernatural as divine, infernal, and faerie auras, but in practice they often boil down to a modifier to spells and lab work, a nice natural feature, and maybe some link to old magic or one magical inhabitant.
Just as divine auras have angels watching over everything, infernal have demon waiting to corrupt sinners, and faerie have, well, faerie stories, magical auras have airy spirits - every rock and tree, every blade of grass, every sound and smell and so on has a spirit and that's largely what creates the feel of a magical place. Even if people without second sight can't see these spirits and the spirits don't really interact much with humans, their simple presence in some ephemeral way enhance the thing they inhabit.
And because most player characters live in a magic aura. these spirits should be the ones they have the most frequent encounters with. They are quite literally a part of the scenery for the Order of Hermes.
But airy spirits are also harder to write imo than other realm spirits. Angels, demons, and faeries have clear motivations and a lot of folklore to draw on. Magic spirits just exist and have essential natures that don't necessarily lend themselves to creating stories as easily as the other realms.
So I figured I would have a go at writing 30 magic spirits you might find in hermetic covenants. Some are written with interaction with characters in mind, some as background characters who simply add to the magical feel of a covenant, and a few are examples of how you might use airy spirits as characters in a saga. I'll also try and include story seeds for spirits where I can.
Note: many of these spirits are inspired by Hellenic beliefs about minor spirits, especially Hellenic beliefs about personifications and lesser spirits of natural features (Nymphs) and spirits from the poorly attested Roman domestic religion. The intent is not that these spirits are literally the beings of Greek and Roman worship (which would mostly be faeries) but rather:
- Natural spirits which might have inspired ancient beliefs that gave rise to faeries with similar aspect but more human-focused. Or
- Spirits which the Order has labelled using Greco-Roman conventions, due to the influence of Roman traditions and in particular the mercurians on hermetic theurgy, because they vaguely resemble a mythological spirit.
Table of Contents
Airy spirits of fire which inhabit magical lamps. Can be troublesome if their lamp is left somewhere they consider "boring".
Airy spirits of water which generate out of complex plumbing systems. Inclined towards maintaining healthy water, if their habitat is given proper care and maintainance.
Airy spirits of earth which inhabit stone doorways. Sometimes used by Magi to defend their sanctum.
Imagine spirits of the sound of argument. They use mimicry and exert a subtle influence to induce arguments so they can enjoy the auditory species this generates.
Imagine spirits of the sounds of grief and lamentation. They appear in advance of deaths and tragedies and are often the first warning of an impending demise.
Spirits of retribution which can form when someone who has been deeply wronged speaks a curse in a magic aura, though only rarely.
Intelligent flora spirits which are sometimes generated from mountain-ash (rowan) trees instead of the tree awakening. They have apotropaic and warding powers and multiple Meliai can work in concert to greatly increase the potency of their collective power.
The magical human offspring of Meliai and mortals, described by Hesiod in Works and Days. They are giants with an intrinsically warlike nature.
Strange imagine spirits of the sound of prayer and supplication. These spirits are aligned with Mentem, and on rare occasions can use a devout pagan supplicant as a conduit to enter the magic realm and deliver their prayer to a daimon.
Spectres left behind by covenfolk who die while performing their duties. Even in death they carry out their assigned tasks doggedly.
Elemental spirits of aquam which inhabit ocean currents. They are usually benign and have been known to help ships in danger and save drowning sailors, but are also quite easy to offend. When angered they can put a ship in grave peril.
Imagine spirits generated by spoken promises. They often cling to the person making the promise, subtly influencing them to keep it.
Spirits which embody the fertility of a person and which propagate through a lineage. These spirits do for human families as the influence of Flora and Fauna do for the fruitfulness of plants and animals in magic auras.
These banes are the spirit of a disease that only occurs in magic auras and which impairs the second sight of those who are infected. It spreads when someone with second sight observes the disease spirit.
These Imagine spirits spring up wherever disease causing stenches are found in magic auras. They increase the potency of the smells and drastically raise the risk of contracting disease.
Short lived spirits of spoken rumour. They travel on the wind and spread the rumour to others, that it might be repeated, and grow stronger as the rumour grows.
These spirits are the symbolic embodiments of a reputation, just as Eidolons embody a personality trait of a character. Like Eidolons they are linked to a specific reputation of a specific character and desire the perpetuation of that reputation.
Date-Palms of virtue closely match the Lotus tree of myth. Their fruit can be enriched to grant immunity to deprivation, and the flora spirits that attend them are able to cloud the minds of those who eat of the tree, making them unable to recall their home or past.
Imagine spirits exist for every sensation within a magic aura, and those sensations which are regularly experienced by humans can have a profound influence on their health. Thanks to the influence of spirits of taste the impact of diet on people living in magic auras is greatly increased.
A break from spirits to give rules for a new kind of Formula that skilled chefs can use to create meals that influence the humors, but only when eaten in magic auras. A fun hobby for a Gastronomer character, perhaps.
Intelligent spirits that inhabit poplar trees. They have a natural affinity for divination and magic lore. It is in their nature to acquire and impart knowledge, meaning they can be consulted for wisdom by those with the lore to know how.
Spirits which watch over asps and have a natural affinity for medicine. They can cure any snake bite but at the cost of their own destruction.
The Flora spirit of the eldest apple tree in a grove or orchard. It has power over the other trees and the fertility of the entire apple crop.
The "Little Bacchi" are spirits of the sensation of inebriation which are only perceptible by the drunk and which encourage the ill-judgement of those who encounter them in such a state. Some more temperate magi believe them to be a myth dreamt up by drunkards to excuse their behaviour.
Airy spirits of lightning. They can be found congregating around storms in magic auras and have the power to form bodies made of lightning itself.
Airy spirits of Ignem which inhabit domestic fires. They start out very weak but grow in power the longer a home is continually inhabited.
Airy spirits of Auram which are able to sense the moods of people, and create weather to match it.
A collection of story seeds making use of spirits.