30 Tales of Extraordinary Vis for November

I've not done a November contribution thread before and I might never do it again, but I've had fun digging up ideas for strange vis over the last few days and I'd be glad to share what I've written so far. These are sources of vis which are more than fuel for a single Art; much of this is based on the rules for Extraordinary Vis (Realms of Power: Magic, pg. 119) but I may just pull from all four Realms books for inspiration. I'll also take inspiration from real-world mythology whenever possible, unless an anachronism would be both A: caused by the Order of Hermes, and B: really funny.

I'll be doing themes for each week that passes, too. from November 1st to 7th, the theme is Minerals. Let's start with something medieval bestiaries inexplicably called a "stone"...

1: The King of Pearls
Vis: Creo Aquam, 1-4 (quality varies)
In the Eastern land of Taprobane, there lives a truly titanic oyster the size of a man’s head. On the first day of Autumn, this king of oysters opens its shell to absorb the chill morning dew. If the skies are clear on this day, their pearl’s luster is clear and it contains 4 pawns of vis which are Dedicated for Creo Aquam; if the skies are overcast and stormy, the resulting pearl is dull and contains only one pawn.

These grand oysters have been imported to Mythic Europe with varying levels of success. While Hermetic magic can provide clean seawater, the sun is beyond the sphere of Earth and cannot be counterfeit. On the other hand, sabotaging the pearl’s growth with a conjured storm cloud is a simple plan.


2: The Resonant Agate
Vis: Corpus, 2
Those who mine deep into volcanic rock may find banded agate stones. Agate is well known as a charm for bodily health; thus, the largest and most finely banded agates may hold 2 pawns of Corpus vis.

More curiously, the agate shares an affinity with that rarer mineral, the pearl. The Agate of Virtue may be Enriched by fashioning it into a pendulum on a long string and leaving it adrift in the ocean for one whole cycle of the moon. When retrieved, the pendulum grants the Minor Virtue of Dowsing and a temporary 3 points in the Dowsing Supernatural Ability, making the search for the King of Pearls that much easier.

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Well now, this mineral in particular is one which already exists within RoP: Magic in another form. Then again, the ways of magic are myriad and unknowable...

3: The Alpine Thunderstone
Vis: Auram, 6
Thunderstones fall from the stars in the dead of night all over Mythic Europe. These stones appear to be ordinary blades of sharpened flint to the naked eye, which are often overlooked until unearthed by a farmer’s plow or a mason’s shovel. These rare stones contain 6 pawns of Auram vis, still crackling with the chaotic energy of the skies.

The Thunderstone has myriad and unpredictable properties, but one of the most famous was discovered by mundane folk of the Greater Alps Tribunal. A spell-like effect may be drawn from the Thunderstone by tying it to a leather cord, whirling it over one’s head exactly three times and hurling it at the front door of a house.

Thunderstone’s Blessing (Rego Auram 40, Base 5, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +3 Structure, +1 size, single use)
Lightning never strikes the same place twice; when the Thunderstone strikes a home, that home cannot be struck by lightning again until the next sunrise. Unfortunately, the Thunderstone shatters when used in this manner.

4: The Fire Stones
Vis: Ignem, 1 (Male), or Creo, 1 (Female)
These capricious stones from the East were unknown to Mythic Europe until scholars of the Loch Legan tribunal recorded a warning against them in their bestiary. Fire Stones are soft and crumbling samples of discolored sandstone; the “male” stone is darker than the norm, the “female” stone is brighter, and both are warm to the touch in perpetuity. Male stones contain 1 pawn of Ignem vis and female stone contain 1 pawn of Creo vis, making both valuable to those Hermetic magi who prefer simple solutions to problems.

Those collecting vis would be wise to keep the Fire Stones apart, however. If the male and female stones ever touch, their lesser enchantment sparks a magical fire which will not die until the stones are separated. Much like a fiery romance, a magus should not play with his stones unless he is using some manner of protection.

The Passion of the Stones (Creo Ignem 25, Base 4, Personal, +5 Constant Effect, individual, +10 Unlimited uses, +3 environmental trigger, +6 Penetration) A fire as hot as burning willow springs up between the two Fire Stones, feeding off of their passionate magical potential until they are pulled apart. The fire deals +5 damage to anything it touches every round; a paltry threat to magi, but a genuine threat to a wooden building.

5: The Artist’s Patina
Vis: Mentem, 3
Painters and scribes of Mythic Europe create their green pigments with patina- the green “rust” which forms on copper exposed to air and time. Deep inside of antediluvian copper mines, the traces of metal have a particular affinity to mortal thought. Magi may extract 3 pawns of Mentem vis from this pigment.

For magi unwilling to enter an abandoned, crumbling, soot-choked mine for whatever reason, they may also discover these pigments from the marvelous effect they have when used as ink. The lesser enchantment within the patina adds clarity to whatever it illustrates.

The Verdant Announcement (Creo Mentem 20, Base 3, +3 Sight, Momentary, Individual, +10 Unlimited uses) Upon looking at words written in the metallic ink, the reader is given a mental image of what the words sound like in the writer’s voice and native language. The mental image offers no translation of language or explanation of intent.

6: The Stone of Wadjet
Vis: Creo, 2
The malachite was beloved by the Pharaohs of old. To them, the stone’s brilliant green tint was a reflection of paradise and a symbol of the protector goddess Wadjet. The most flawless malachite stones bear 2 pawns of Creo vis, truly earning their reputation.

Malachite of Virtue may be Enriched by being polished, adorned with an icon of the sun, and carried by a midwife attending three successful births in a single season. When enriched, the Malachite of Virtue gives its bearer the Minor Virtue of Puissant Chirugy.

7 Days already... this is the last Mineral for this thread, so we might as well make it a proper capstone.

7: The Top of the Pyramid
Vis: Vim, 10 in total, 1 per portion
Egypt’s pyramids were not meant to be naked sandstone; in ancient times they were coated in a layer of gleaming white stone, capped by a point of pure gold. The display was meant to respect the dead, but greed and pragmatism led to these ornaments being stripped away. The golden top of one of those pyramids has long since been melted down and sold as ingots, each of which holds a single pawn of Vim vis.

The restless dead know when they are slighted. These ten ingots each carry a curse to punish anyone who accepts bloodstained gold, twisting the owner’s body into something monstrous. This curse cares not if its victim is truly guilty, only that they return the gold by any means.

A Heart Burdened with Sin (Creo Vim 29 Base 5, +1 Touch, Momentary, +2 Room, 1 use per day, +3 environmental trigger, +6 Penetration) Once per day, the ingot of stolen gold scourges the room it is contained in with raw magical potential. Every living thing in the room without sufficient Magic Resistance gains 1 Warping point, and unliving things eventually warp after a month or so. Warping caused by this spell tends towards effects which make the victim appear decrepit and severe. A storeroom containing an ingot is likely to reduce every other treasure inside to ash and dust.

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For the second week, let us discuss Vegetables. Most of them aren't for eating, of course.

8: The Last Silphium
Vis: Creo Corpus, 8 (maximum)
In the records of ancient Rome, there is mention of a yellow-flowered herb named Silphium. The herb was a digestive, a painkiller, a cough suppressant, a contraceptive, a delicious seasoning, and is described in past tense because the Romans ate the Silphium to extinction. The last Silphium was supposedly given to Emperor Nero as a gift, but that herb was only the last mundane Silphium.

There is a Regio hidden along the East coast of Africa, accessible only to sailing ships travelling in the dead of night. Within this Regio is an older, more primal shoreline untouched by man, where the primeval Silphium of Virtue still grows every spring. This impossibly lush herb contains 8 pawns of vis Dedicated for Creo Corpus, but if all 8 are harvested before they regrow, no more will ever sprout in that spot again…

9: The Forgotten Love Charm
Vis: Imaginem, 2
Asparagus is a vegetable dismissed as mundane by Mythic Europe in the year of our Lord 1220, but the ancients of Greece and Egypt knew what medicinal effects it held. The young shoots act as both aphrodisiac and contraceptive depending on the means and dosage; the most potent asparagus was the variety grown in the gardens of the Epicureans, whose unique breed has since gone wild in the Thebes Tribunal. If this forgotten “Asparagus of Virtue” is tapped by magi, it produces 2 pawns of Imaginem vis.

The Asparagus of Virtue (as absurd as it sounds) may be Enriched through a ritual in which the whole crop is cut down with a sickle of sharpened flint stone, then tossed into the ocean. At the end of the season, the most alluring shoot of the crop shall wash up on the very same shore with no signs of further injury or decay. If woven into a necklace, this rare herb grants the wearer the Minor Virtue of Puissant Carousing- though they may still be asked why they’re wearing a piece of asparagus around their neck.

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10: The Wary Traveler’s Herb
Vis: Animal, 4
Mugwort is a flowering herb so common it could be called a weed, while still being a medicine beloved all over Mythic Europe. Theriac recipes for restoring fatigue and awakening the exhausted with mugwort are common, while even the living plant repels insects with its scent alone. The Mugwort of Virtue is especially repellant to pests, and may be extracted for 4 pawns of Animal vis.

This potent repellant may be released all at once in a wave of magical force by tearing the leaves to shreds and applying the juices as a mark upon the ground. While this naturally destroys the Mugwort of Virtue, some situations are dire enough to require it.

Ward Against the Corrupted Beasts (Rego Animal 40, Touch, Ring, Circle, single use) No animal aligned with the Infernal with Might 40 or less can affect anyone within the Circle, or, if it is within the circle, affect those outside. This includes demons in animal form, mortal Infernal cultists in animal form, and formerly mundane animals warped by an Infernal aura.

11: The Disturbed Grave
Vis: Rego Terram, 2
Villages built around peat bogs come to rely on them as often as they curse them. Though peat is an excellent fireplace fuel, peat can also preserve anything simply by being an impenetrable barrier. Centuries-old graves were often as simple as sinking the deceased into the bog and burying them in soft peat, where they mummified without truly decaying.

Graves such as these are a source of Dedicated Rego Terram vis, though by their nature they cannot be pierced by stone or metal tools. Those willing to desecrate a grave must do so with their bare hands, a wooden digging stick or whatever magic they have. Up to 2 pawns of vis may be gathered every spring and autumn, but harvesting both pawns exposes the mummy, then exposing the robber to whatever wrath an angry Anglo-Saxon ghost may muster. Destroying the ghost naturally erases their vis source from the world.

Is this allowed? I'm not sure if it is allowed. Let us say magic is mysterious and leave it at that.

12: The Christmas Miracle
Vis: Herbam, 7
The old tale of Sir Cleges and King Uther Pendragon recalls a gift of fresh, ripe cherries, grown impossibly in the dead of winter. These cherries truly exist, and the blessing they offer makes them a great gift indeed. A Divine regio nestled between the chalky hills of England hides a single cherry tree which flowers in autumn and bears fruit in winter.

The 7 darkest, most succulent cherries on that tree each bear a single pawn of Herbam vis each, though magi might not think to simply eat them. A fruit picked fresh or freely given is an expression of God’s love with all the boons that implies, and a delicious meal besides. As for the vis… nothing may be proven in a laboratory, but Christmas cherries used to fuel violent or selfish magic tend to provide no power at all in the best case or add botch dice in the worst.

Thou Preparest a Table Before me in the Presence of Mine Enemies (Transcendence/Meditation 25, Base 10, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, Individual, single use) A living person or animal who eats one of the Christmas cherries may survive without further food, water, shelter or even air until the next sunrise or sunset; for a few blessed moments, the cruelty of Mythic Europe’s winter simply slides off of them as rain on leaves.

13: The Glastonbury Thorn
Vis: Vim, 3
When Joseph of Arimathea travelled to Glastonbury, he placed his walking staff on the ground as he rested, and that wooden staff grew into a living hawthorn tree. This tree sprouts twice a year, once in summer and again in winter. This miracle inspired the abbey at Glastonbury, and the tree is considered sacred in the year of our Lord 1220.

A sprig from the Glastonbury Thorn is a sight to behold, but more notable to magi is that the first sprig harvested from the tree in winter holds three pawns of Vim vis. Of course, trespassing on abbey grounds to vandalize a holy symbol is a plan for the desperate or truly amoral, and the hawthorn sprig has other uses than as fuel.

Echo of the Grail (Perdo Vim 50, Base 40, +2 Voice, Momentary, Individual, single use) The Glastonbury Thorn’s protection dispels any magical effect with a level less than or equal to 40 + a stress die (no botch). Whether the hawthorn is Divine or not is questionable, but its magic is true and potent.

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Two weeks already, and we finished our Vegetables. Up next are Animals, and some of those are ideas I've been sitting on for a while.

14: The Winter King’s Mercy
Vis: Auram, 3
Every winter, King Holly drives the Summer King away and claims the throne, at least for a little while. House Merinita has a non-interference pact with the personification of winter which was only put into motion after decades of literal cold war between the magi and the fickle winter king. King Holly is even allowed onto House Merinita’s domus magna at Irencillia, albeit for only three days and three nights every winter. As a show of respect and a promise of peace, the faerie king presents the house Primus with a wreath of still-living holly branches, berries and leaves untouched by decay. The caretakers of Irencillia are gracious yet nonplussed by this ritual and hope to never have to explain where last year’s wreath went.

The wreath may be tapped for 3 pawns of Auram vis by any magi with the rights to extract it. Despite its clearly fey origin, the wreath is entirely Magical, calling into question how and where the Winter King obtains this boon. Because of its particular magic, the king himself may be the only member of his court who can carry it.

Respite from Whistling Winter (Rego Auram 20, Base 10, Touch, Ring, Circle, one use per day) By literally singing the praises of the Winter King in the presence of the wreath, a doorway the wreath hangs over is barred by a Ward Against Faeries of the Air, blocking any Auram based faerie (especially minor spirits of winter) with a Might score of 20 or less. The Winter King himself is too Mighty to be affected but appears uncomfortable when passing through regardless.

15: The Saharan Serpent
Vis: Animal, 3
The deserts of Africa host an odd serpent Pliny the Elder named Amphisbaena. This two-headed snake has twice the eyes and double the venom of any mundane specimen, but more unusual still is its mutability; some Amphisbaena grow stunted wings unfit to carry their body, or redundant legs their two heads cannot agree to share. The snakeskins of these mutant specimens contain 3 pawns of Animal vis instead of the two pawns a common Amphisbaena harbors.

A mutant Amphisbaena’s snakeskin may be Enriched by treating it with Balm of Gilead, then tying it around a tree while it cures. An Enriched snakeskin worn around the neck grants the wearer the Minor Virtue Rapid Convalescence. Being precious to any mundane person in Mythic Europe, these charms are some of the most commonly counterfeit vis sources around. The Order of Hermes has little trouble sensing vis or the lack thereof, of course.

16: The Rolling Bones
Vis: Herbam, 2
The Vegetable Lamb of Tartary is a rare beast first discovered by the Hebrews in times of antiquity. This sheep-like spirit of the grasslands is easily mistaken for a shrub from a far distance, and even when moving it clearly has roots dug into the earth. If hunted successfully, the Vegetable Lamb is supposedly delicious.

To Enrich a Vegetable Lamb, a hunter must be respectful and make a clean kill. These spirits can suffer slings and arrows ad nauseam, but a spear tip which severs their root slays the beast and preserves their magic. A Vegetable Lamb holds 2 pawns of Herbam vis in their knucklebones; if they were Enriched, the bones grant the user the Minor Virtue of Cautious with Artes Liberales. These rolling bones are priceless tools for astrological inception.

17: The Egyptian Specimen
Vis: Muto Animal, 2 (deceased) or 1 (live)
It is uncertain if Pharaohs of old knew what vis was, but they understood that unusual or rare animals held magical potential. Among the more glamorous gold and jewels buried with their dead, one might find a preserved two-headed lizard in a jar. These lusus naturae may be tapped for two pawns of Dedicated Muto Animal vis, one in each head.

What is less obvious is that a live two-headed lizard may be harvested repeatedly. All that must be done is to take a pair of tin snips and cut off the less essential-seeming head for 1 pawn. This does not kill the lizard, against all odds, and the second head will regrow one year and one day later. However, the other head is bound to remember this cruelty, and Magical beasts are wiser than they look…

18: The Imitation Vanilla
Vis: Creo, 2
Beavers are hunted for a paltry amount of meat, a fine waterproof pelt, and most strangely of all their castoreum, the musk they spread. The earthy, leathery scent is prized as an aphrodisiac, but magi know that only the Beaver of Virtue has castoreum worth harvesting. The musk from a Beaver of Virtue is worth 2 pawns of Creo vis if extracted from this dour, industrious beast.

Enriching the vis of a Beaver of Virtue requires a beaver to surrender its castoreum willingly. For mundane folk this requires pursuing the beaver for an entire season; for more magical folk, talking to the beaver may be an option. Either method results in the Beaver of Virtue excising its own castoreum in an act which is excruciating to watch, stripping its own Might score and rendering it a mundane beaver for the rest of its lifespan. If this vis-infused musk is an ingredient in a bottle of perfume, the scent grants its wearer the Minor Virtue of Venus’ Blessing and a pleasant scent reminiscent of vanilla. Merely rubbing the raw castoreum onto one’s body is not recommended.

19: The Piscine Anachronism
Vis: Muto, 1
Hermetic Magi often act as if they are from another place and time entirely, and nothing suggests that more than their tendency to deliberately cause Warping in plants and animals for “research”. This has resulted in some curiosities, most notably a fur-bearing trout produced by a covenant in the Loch Legan tribunal. If fished up and skinned, the white pelt of the trout offers 1 pawn of Muto vis, the same as any Warping-induced Magical beast.

The fish’s hairy pelt makes it too slow and waterlogged to live outside of captivity, but the most curious result of this Warping is that its mutation breeds true. The covenant’s moat is filled to the brim with mutant fish, and stacks of their pelts have begun to choke their coffers. So much Muto vis is concentrated in this covenant that their grogs find themselves becoming hairless, slippery and lithe when living near storage too long, some of them even diving into the moat with the fish. Anyone looking to trade for Muto vis is likely to find a bargain, if only to get it away from them.

The Scale-Bearing Man (Muto Corpus {Animal} 10, Base 3, +1 Touch, +1 Diameter, Individual, +1 Requisite) Anyone entering the vis storage room without some manner of Magic Resistance eventually finds their skin and hair replaced by fish scales for one diameter. The effect is merely unnerving and uncomfortable on land, but in the water the scales grant +3 to all Swimming rolls. Repeated exposure to this magical effect will inevitably result in Warping.

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20: A Balm for Your Pain
Vis: Perdo, 2
The Mediterranean Sea hosts a strange fish known as the Torpedo, so named because any person or animal who touches it is paralyzed and goes… torpid. This touch is a form of magic which travels through metal tools and weapons; the only safe way to hunt the Torpedo is to catch one with a net or fishing line. If the Torpedo can be safely dissected, its skin holds 2 pawns of Perdo vis.

Despite being the beast’s weapon, the paralyzing skin has some medicinal uses. Rendering the human body numb for some time is a Godsend for any chiurgeon who needs to cut into a living person. Childbirth in particular becomes much simpler when pain is no longer an issue.

Rendering the Prey Torpid (Perdo Corpus 30, Base 15, +1 Touch, Momentary, Individual, +10 Unlimited Uses) A human touched by the skin of the Torpedo loses their sense of pain, which heals as a Medium Wound. While this may sound like a total boon for the target, being unable to feel pain adds three botch dice to any Perception test to notice injuries on their own body. The fish skin numbs everyone it touches, so be careful in handling it.

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