A Horn of Plenty [Invested Device]

In the covenant of Rethra, magi-priests lead pagan worship of idol gods. Their chief ritual involves blowing the Horn of Plenty, taken off the god's statue, as a means of blessing the new year, assuring it will be a bountiful and fertile one.

This isn't very easy to do Hermetically. Let me suggest a way - I'd be happy for any comments or whatever.

How to accomplish this Hermetically? Well , you are affecting the people, granting them a magical power - the power to make plants grow in good health and well. This is a Muto Corpus spell with a Vim requisite, and the effect itself adds Herbam and Creo requisites. Range Voice, Duration Year, Target Group, Size +2 (up to 1000 people). Penetration is zero (note that it isn't affected by the aegis). Mu(Cr)Co(He,Vi) 70 (Base 30, +2 Voice, +4 Year, +2 Group, +2 Size, -10 levels effect frequency). The item is astrologically attuned through the mystery of Celestial Magic – its effect frequency is increased by +10 (to 1/day) in the Spring season, but the item is inoperable at all other times (suffering an effect frequency modifier of -10 or -20...).

It is an invested device. In addition to the effect, non-Hermetic Empowerment is used to power the Ritual effect. The prison holds a tiny fraction of the Forest Spirit, which is fed power yearly by it; the Forest Spirit can apparently heal this lost Might Score, albeit slowly. In principle a Might 35 spirit must be bound to accomplish a similar effect through Hermetic Empowerment, each year; presumably the Forest Spirit essentially fills the item anew each year without this being necessary.

Note that the effect induces warping. The magi of Rethra have also developed a ReVi spell cast a few weeks before the celebtrations on the entire covenant, with a Moon duration, that provides modest magic resistance against this particular spell; thus, the covenfolk do not incur extra warping nor the horn's benefits, but those outsiders that visit the covenant to enjoy the god's blessing do.

The device can serve as a source of Insight towards integrating the ancient magic of Hermetic Empowerment and Celestial Magic (each separately).

Why go through all the cost and complexity of essentially enchanting 1000 people with an ability to grow good crops when you could far more easily and cheaply invest a CrHe or CrHe(Te) (thinking with noble's parma here) effect that essentially blesses the land the itself to grow well whatever is planted normally?

The end effect would be fertile fields which is what your pagan fertility religion is seeking anyways, no need to bother with extra principal and requisite techniques and forms to accomplish this even if you also choose to utilise Hermetic Empowerment, Spell-binding or other mysteries in the process.

It is a good way to design such an item.

My critics seems not to go against your idea, but about AncM...

I'm not familiar at all with Ancient magic, but how could you make for a year duration effect into a magical item? Ritual spells are not supposed to be duplicated by a magical item. This because of game balance.

I suppose the "non-Hermetic Empowerment is used to power the Ritual" effect.

And Celestial magic for a duration of a season? Giving -10 level, but the effect is effective only during the spring...!?

I would better see a (really small and easy?) breakthrough of a duration of "Season (+4 magnitudes)" Same as year(+4), but does not need to be a ritual.
Then all those weird....rules...i must say....
Let say that Durenmar sell the paper to learn that breakthrough for a price, and we have a (better?) game-balanced way to do this.
Don't get me wrong: I like the idea of having some Ancient Magics to discover. Some. Meaning: rare.

I'll start a new thread, as this is going off topic.

Sorry for running astray from your topic, YR7. Your idea is good.

Why BASE 30 ? MuAn for giving a magical effect is level 25 (p.118)

Would not an effect with Duration Sun (+), 2 uses per day (+1lvl), Environment trigger: sunset and sundown (+3lvl), would sustain a permanent effect, instead of duration Year ?
Instead of having a Range: voice +2, and Target:Groupe+2, size +2, you could have each of the participant of the ritual touch (blow) the Horn of Plenty, with an unlimited uses (+10lvl).
This would give:
Base 25
Range: touch +1
Duration: Sun +2
Target: individual +0
Unlimited uses +10lvl
Environment trigger: +3lvl.
Total: Level 53 effect.

But I agree this would make the item less rare and so less mythical in this case (as this was intented, I think). Also, you make me doubt about the permanent duration: would like to hear you back (or anyone).

The requisites in this case should add to the magnitude as well; I'd say +2 magnitudes (for Cr and He).


I would also agree with BoXer that blowing the Horn over the land would probably produce a lower-magnitude effect that the Horn's designers would have appreciated.

I believe I should explain the covenant’s situation better. The covenant doesn’t have peasants. It isn’t involved in agriculture, at all. Instead, it is the center of a yearly ritual that blesses the farmers that come in to it from miles around. From a distance of about ten miles, really. The covenant itself, and the area about ten miles around it, isn’t involved in agriculture (although it is in hunting and forestry).

The core way of blessing the crops is The Bountiful Feast, which blesses the fields lying within 3 miles of the casting who are owned by those present in the casting… doing things this way, the covenant could have just invented a slightly higher-level variant for an extra size and that would have been a fine, core-way of doing things. That is cheating - this is not how a Boundary target works, a scattered assortment of fields is anything but a Boundary – but still, a CrHe ritual that affects all the fields certainly feels right (perhaps using the owners as an arcane connection of sorts?), and the spell is core.

My way of doing things is more core than core :slight_smile: It is not possible to use the standard Boundary target in the way The Bountiful Feast does, so instead I bless the peasants. This has the advantage of blessing the peasants rather than the fields, but really it just arose from me trying to think how to do a Horn of Plenty by the rules without reading The Bountiful Feast first… I agree that a straight CrHe ritual of simply higher level (for increased range) would be much simpler.

Whether the spell effect is a CrHe or a MuCo(Vi,He,Cr), however, doesn't address the main problem - how to construct a horn of plenty.

I have not phrased things too clearly.

The virtues used aren’t actually from Ancient Magic, they are rather from The Mysteries (Revised Edition). I utilize two mysteries, to resolve two problems.

One is that an item may not be used to cast Ritual effects. The horn may be used simply as a prop in the casting of the ritual spell proper, but that’s boring. I want the item to cast the spell. I want to create a magical horn of plenty, not to find an effective way to bless the crops.

Hermetic Empowerment is a mystery that allows Ritual effects be invested in and activated by items. It does so without unduly upsetting game balance by replacing the raw vis cost of the ritual with draining the Might Score of bound spirits. This is done by investing an effect known as Empowering Prison of the Declining Spirit into the device, and trapping a spirit in the prison; this is the prison mentioned in the items’ description. It is actually a fairly weak virtue, IMO, as the costs in raw vis to invest the prison are substantial, as are the requirements in terms of Arts and penetration involved; I don’t see it breaking game balance at all, I’m not sure I see it as useful either… At any rate, the virtue as written does not allow one to power the ritual as desired as the bound spirit will be drained until it is too weak to power it and then the horn will become useless; to overcome this difficulty, I cheated – I allowed the Forest Spirit to bind only a “tiny fraction” of itself to the horn, and to heal between drainings.

The second problem is that I want the horn to affect things during the festivities, not to be capable of doing this shtick every single day of the year! I was stuck on this until I remembered Celestial Magic, another mystery which allows items to be increased in potency during a certain astrological Sign, but at the cost of lowering the potency in the opposite sign. This potency change can affect the uses per day, with a high penalty bringing the item to below one use per day, making the item inoperable. Seizing on this idea, I cheated again. I allowed the item to be designed with a negative effect frequency to begin with, so that it won’t be operable at all normally, but the added bonus due to Celestial Magic during the favorable astrological Sign would bring it to 1 use per day – just what I wanted. Except that I had to cheat again and let the item affect the Season, rather than the Sign; this isn’t critical, but Spring seemed darn fitting for a Horn of Plenty!

All this cheating means that the item isn’t really legit. The idea of lowering frequency and setting up astrological times is… strange. But I just don’t know how to limit the use to particular times in a convincing and interesting manner otherwise. My way gives an incentive – it lowers the effect level. And it gives a perk to Celestial Magic use, which I think is a rather weak virtue. The ability to drain power from the Forest Spirit without permanently lowering its Might Score might be disastrous to game balance, but in this particular case I don’t mind it :slight_smile:

The reference to ancient magic is poorly phrased. The item is meant to hint at the mysteries involved, and provide a source of Insight that will speed up Original Research to discover such capacities, or to provide hints that will allow them to meet with the mystery cults that fashioned the item and so obtain such virtues, or to allow the characters to discover the virtues as ancient magic indeed… whatever works for the troupe, storyguide, and story :slight_smile:

As for mysteries and ancient magic in general – see other thread.

The base level for doing the same for Animal would, indeed, be 25. No Vim requisite, BTW. I’m not sure what the base level should be, but if anything it should be higher – MuCo levels are higher than equivalent MuAn guidelines. I settled for 30, seemed plenty high enough.

Creating an item that maintains the effect indefinitely and casts with unlimited frequency is problematic. If allowed, then be prepared for many items that bless those who use them – instead of walking around with a bearskin of endurance, you put one briefly on at the covenant before embarking on the journey, as do all your friends…. I prefer to interpret the rules to say that maintaining the effect maintains the effect of a single spell, it cannot be combined with anything but a Sun duration and 2/day uses. A similar discussion of maintaining concentration was run around here recently – again I vote for interpreting things to say the item maintains concentration on a single spell, not allowing the item to maintain concentration on any number of spells simultaneously...


See above :slight_smile:

I considered that, but... the spell doesn't do anything without the requisites! You change the people, gifting them with a magical power that does.... nothing. :confused:

Indeed. I think I'll change that.

The main problem seems to be to create a Ritual effect from an item, and to limit the use to once per year or so, instead of the "oh, hum, another day, another casting" of a regular item which breaks the Mythic feel. Do you feel my solutions are adequate?

Sorry YR7, I'm too tired to read everything you wrote, but to respond to what you said in regard to my post, I'll say this...

I really think you are overthinking the whole problem/solution scenario. So you can't find a way to do the spell with a Boundary Target, no problem! Just do the effect using (as you began to suggest and which I would concur) a R: Arcane Connection and Target: Group. Then all your farmers who bring soil from their fields are essentially bringing the very Arcane connections you need to bless all the fields at once now how far away they may lie.

As for how to make the horn, just make it, I don't really see the complicated problem you are making it out to be. Find a suitable material or materials for added relevant bonuses, design a simple CrHe(Te) effect that imparts fertility to the soil in all the fields represented by those who are present at the ritual and you've got your solution. No need to write a veritable encyclopedia to further convince yourself that it has to be any harder than that.

Methinks you are suffering from an overabsorption of RAW, frankly :wink:

This is also not true and surprising to see coming from after you have gone at great length to explain how your idea comes from TMRE. Page 64-65 detail that with Hermetic Empowerment you could indeed invest a ritual effect (which in this case could easily be ruled to be so simply because of its Year Duration).

BTW, if all of this discussion concerns something that has no viable result in your saga anyways (if there is no agriculture or crops for the effect (however it is designed) to bless, then why are we even discussing it???

Truly man, go for the simplest and most efficient solution, its the Hermetic way :wink:

For story purposes I don't really see the problem here either. So you make an effect that has 1 use per day (which frankly is the lowest cost option offered for RAW enchantment, 0) but the fact that it is the centerpiece of a particular cabalistic group's belief structure should be enough to dictate that it is only used once per year at a specific astrologically significant moment.

As with any religion, the trappings may not be as legitimate as those who fanatically advocate it may either believe or wish others to believe. This leaves the door open for so many other possible story offshoots IMO.

  1. The Item was a gift of the god(s) in question and thus came with the stricture that it must only be used by such a person (High Priest?) at such a time, blah blah. Otherwise great calamity will result from the breaking of that commandment (Horn shatters, Plague of Locusts, blah blah... think Torah :wink: )

  2. The item is a hermetic fake created to enhance the authority of this wacked out cult over the minds of the ignorant peasants to give the magi/priests preeminence. The horn then could be stolen and sounded with nothing bad happening and the magi having to:

a. explain themselves to an increasingly sceptical society
b. whip up some hermetic nastiness to reinforce the claims of doom for angering the god(s) etc... (This could also lead to possible botches which further endanger the hold hold of the magi over the people, etc..)

Much more fertile story-related possibilities by focussing on the perceived sancrosanctity of the device than its mechanics (those are easy peasy to construct IMO)

You are absolutely right. I'm playing with ideas here, sorry if this wasn't clear. I was just struck with the question of how to fashion a horn of plenty, and got carried away...

... which is why I used Hermetic Empowerment to invest the ritual effect :slight_smile:

Oh, there are. Just not very near the covenant. Besides, the item is important for descriptive and background reasons. Or might be, depending on how things will go.


Okay, Ive woken up a bit so Ill say more

Here are some further thoughts to help you resolve this personal crisis.

The making of the device is a dawdle IMO (as I said). Just make it like you would any invested device, even if you do use hermetic empowerment and celestial magic to power and limit the use of the device.

As for when to use it, well actually you can have your cake and eat it too in this regard. You need a celestial festivity AND one that corresponds to Spring/fertility rites. No probs. Use the device at the Pagan celebration of Imbolc which was in fact the ancient and longrunning pagan celebration of the end of winter expressly for the purposes of seeking blessing for the spring planting.

There, now just make a simple CrHe(Te) ritual to bless the earth by Arcane connection, Group Target and get on with your story! :wink:

Edited to add: Oh and with a simpler and lower level ritual, you also have no worries with the Might drain cost of the effect on a level 35 spirit (heck, as SG wy not just say it was a bloody Daimon imprisoned there by your cult's god and make the Might 50 or 60 for longer device utility).

Looking at the guidelines I would gladly also say that you can start with a Base 1 CrHe effect "Ensure that a plant grows well for the duration of the spell" so...

Gift of the Earth's Fruitful Bounty
CrHe(Te) level 35 (much cheaper than you originally suggested)

Base 1, +4 Arcane Connection, +4 Year, +2 Group, (call Terram req free)

Blesses all the fields of those who are present at the blowing of the ritual horn provided they have brought sacrifices of soil for the ritual.

Use a hefty Mighted spirit (level 70?) and you have 10 years of use in the item. ORRRRRR, apply you one free cheat here and say that the soil brought at the arcane offerings are consumed by the ritual effect and absorbed into the horn to re-empower the trapped spirit.

There, be happy! :wink: