Ability Granting

I should begin by invoking Serf's Parma and saying that I'm utterly opposed to the idea of giving abilities.

We've been having lots of arguments about ability granting in general. I've made the argument that an animal Quality is a preexisting template that was placed there at Creation, but two of the troupe members vociferously argue that MuMe should be able to grant abilities (at the cost of completely overwriting someone's memory for the duration... which, with an item, could clearly be permanent.)

Now, aside from the fact that this is completely game breaking in its way (selective removal of unwanted memories, using long-term CrMe to let them commit new ones to long-term memory, maybe their own if they're a magus or otherwise stored it) I do not think this is in the purview of Hermetic magic. Perdo Mentem seems to imply that you can't permanently destroy abilities since memories can be reconstructed in part, but there's not much mention of guidelines. It's been argued that the image created by Shadow of Human Life could teach if it's around for a season, and could be granted abilities through the owner's memory. All in all, Abilities appear to require lots of time and effort regardless.
Ghosts occupying a body certainly can (and by the by, does a normal ghost maintain the Gift after death?)

All this aside from Supernatural ability granting Virtues, their methods of acquisition are obviously different.

Finally, what about non-Hermetic stuff? Can Faeries hand out abilities?

I'm pretty sure that it says somewhere (can't remember where), that hermetic magic should be able to copy abilities, but that no mage has managed to do it. So they should be able to, but they'll have to figure out how by themselves.

Oh indeed? Can anyone locate this if it exists? Wasn't mentioned in any of the Limits.

Lol, just remembered what I was looking for at the time, and retraced what i looked at. Societies, p.68.

Indeed, the treatment of these issues is in Societates.

Other relevant apocrypha includes the rules for Automata in Mystery Cults, which allow the construction of automata imbued with the creator's Abilitiies.

Also the summoning of Daimons is available through Hermetic Theurgy (in The Mysteries Revised Edition), many of which have certain Abilities or even Arts they can teach.

I would add that Hermetic Magic is fully capable of summoning ghosts, which also retain their Abilities but would make bad teachers.

There are many supernatural beings (of all Realms) that can be bound and, perhaps, summoned by Hermetic magic so as to allow the magus a minion with the desired Ability (or a source for teaching it).

Although I can't remember an actual creature with that power, I think granting Abilities would actually be suitable for certain Faerie and Divine creatures, and perhaps some Magical ones (Forest Spirits). I generally don't think these would be the Abilities magi would be interested in having, even for their minions, however.

Finally, I'd like to offer my view - that Hermetic Magic should find it utterly impossible to imbue a character with Abilities or Arts (i.e. to grant XP). It's one of these metagame-things that magic shouldn't mess with, like Confidence, True Faith, Fatigue-levels, and so on.

Rather difficult to call it apocryphal when the HoH are the only real sources of information on the Houses. Who knew Tytali were so whacked just from the entry in the Core? Who ever would have guessed that Criamon were especially trippy Buddhists?

IIRC, MuMe can't have permanent effects.

MuMe cannot be made permanent, but it can be made effectively permanent by constant application of magic. If the magic ever expired, the MuMe effect would end, but as long as the effect was continually supported (such as a magic item with a constant effect) it could continue indefinitely.

Sit vis vobiscum,


Lots of Warping there...

How are the players arguing that an Ability is something magic can affect? An Ability is basically a ton of little related experiences (experience points). Maybe you could change all of the person's memories associated with an Ability to other memories associated with a different Ability, but you'd have to have a basis for those memories (like your own score in the Ability) and it would probably require a heck of a Finesse roll. Even then, I'd probably rule that it didn't work, because the character's body and mind aren't conditioned in the same way. The character simply doesn't have the experience, even if his memories tell him he does.

Oh, I was just saying that a continuous MuMe effect could be done, not that it would be effective or a good idea... :wink:

Sit vis vobiscum,


You not only recall correctly, you'll find I said an item could do it.
And really, 1 point of warping a year is a small price to pay, depending on who you are and how much warping you typically acrue.

And yes, Erik, that's my position (aside from game balance.) I also have to poke people to provide Finesse rolls, which they constantly forget.

Here's an item that I posted many moons ago that explains my position on the subject. I haven't looked at this item with an eye to compatibility with the Art and Academe mentem description as of yet. (and I see that it has target part which is inappropriate for mentem spells if I remember correctly)

In the early days of what eventually became the schism war two Flambeau magi created items to help one another in a wizard’s war that they each intended to simultaneously declare on a Diedne magus who they knew possessed some considerable skill in Parma magica. The two magi Helios, an ignem master with considerable skill in both penetration and mentem, and MacTir, a Magus of Apromor’s school, hoped to be able to create enchanted rings that let the other use a bit of their own strength. The Flambeau were successful in their wizard’s war. The two used their lab texts to create a duplicate set of the rings and these four items were used by many Flambeau during the schism war and in the years since to great effect.

MacTir’s Ring of Parma Splitting
[cut because it doesn't relate to the discussion]

Helios’s ring of the mind splinter

A simple steel ring enchanted with a single muto mentem effect.

Splitner of the Aggressive Mind

Muto Mentem 35
R Touch D Sun T Part
The Target of this spell has the part of their mind that understands how spells penetrate changed into part of a mind very much like Helios’. During the duration of the spell, the target is treated as if they had a penetration score of seven with a specialization in ignem. The effects of the spell masteries that Helios had are also reflected in the mind of the target. If the target chooses to cast panic of the trembling heart they receive an additional level of penetration skill, if they choose to cast Pillum of fire, they receive four additional levels of penetration skill. In addition to these beneficial effects the target also receives a small fraction of the personality of the long dead magus. The target will have the personality traits of hurried +2 and hatred of secrets+4 for the duration of the spell. The target gains a point of warping each time the effect is used due to the powerful magical effect. Most magi feel somewhat disturbed by their experience after the effect fades but do not recall being bothered during the duration of the effect itself.
Base 15 +2 magnitudes duration sun, +1 magnitude range touch, +1 magnitude target part 1 use per day

The board does not like ruling on your in game problems, because you really need to work these out in-game. Sure, you're right, but does that help you to negotiate in a spirit of goodwill with your players?

In the basic rules as written, you cannot hand out abilities. There is no good reason for this: its just that no magus has ever made it work, and they don't know why, and they do not think this is a Limit, it's just something that no-one has ever managed to pull off. (HoH:S, p 68)

Selective removal of unwantred memories is already possible, both in the core rules and in HoH:S, which gives it a bit more detail.

Ghosts don't need a body to teach: the ghost-like things in the Cave of Twisting Shadows think they are ghosts and act as a library.

A ghost does not have the Gift after death (House Jerbiton view).
A ghost has a thing so like the Gift that you might as well call it the Gift after death (House Criamon view)
A ghost is not a member of he Order of Hermes, regardless. (House Guernicus view)
Tamper with our ancestral ghosts and, right or wrong under law, we will kill you and everyone who tries to stand between us and you. (House Tremere view).

Apparently, yes, in previous editions. A grey area for the current edition.