Adelbert, a "Magi of Hermes" look at intellego and Astrology

Tellus, did you read what I quoted? Given that you refer to the page I had already cited, I'd say no. Your comment about saving me the trouble is nothing but provocative and argumentative and adds nothing to the discussion. Are you required to roll botch dice for the Artes Liberales Ability when doing a magic ritual, or is it because of other things? In short, my argument is that using AL as a component in the Ritual or Ceremonial Casting totals doesn't add any botch dice to the roll for the ritual, which is specifically what the text of the virtue says, "[...] required to roll botch dice for that Ability."

If you want to reduce botch dice with regards to working magic, there are already several avenues available. Spell Mastery, Cautious Sorcerer and the familiar's Golden Cord. I don't see Cautious with AL or Philosophiae as being additional options, personally.

I thought I had. Seeing this, Went back and re-read it to make sure. And unfortunatly, I saw nothing adding value to your statement.

Yes, reading it again, that was probably going over the line. My apologies.

Did you read the rest of my post?
The part where I pointed out that botch dice are not (formally) associated with their source, except in the case of wierd magic?
The part where I tried to explain how I see it working?

As a note aside, I find it interesting how often I find myself argueing against my original standpoint on this forum.
Yesterday, I'd have argued about the same as you above. Then I decided to re-read Cautious with (Ability), and since there's no formal definition of "rolling botch dice for that ability", I have to assume that it refers to any total wherein the relevant ability is included. Which includes casting total for rituals and ceremonial magic for AL.

As I pointed out earlier, I'd advice taking Cautious Sorceror, as it subtracts 3 dice rather than 2 and unarguably does what he want.
Where as there can exist an argument about the applicability of Cautious with AL.
My beef really is with the statement

Because you claim to get hyper technical, but then fail to present a valid argument, as far as I can tell.

But this is getting off topic.

But want I wanted was the lowering of botch dice from the astrology rolls involved with planetary magic and hermetic astrology. The applicability to ceremonial and ritual magic would just be an added bonus.

Avoiding arguments is specifically against my intentions in this thread. :slight_smile:

I don't find that particular argument at all compelling. Look at cautious with single weapon or cautious with athletics. For these skills the botch dice are always from something else - slippery mud, exhaustion, the sun in the character's eyes, a shaking floor, etc.. I think that these are directly analogous to botch dice from vis or foreign aura. One simply doesn't normally get botch dice from a skill.

I think that the question (unless someone brings something else up) is "Is a roll for ceremonial magic or ritual magic an artes liberales roll?"
Does anyone disagree with that summation of the issue?

Since this is a Magi of Hermes style of things, I would err on the conservative interpretations of everything, and there are enough errors in that book, anyway. I think it is a tad generous to think you can get a botch dice reduction for rituals from Cautious with Artes Liberales in addition to the other botch dice reductions you'll be receiving. Yes, I know you want it as a player running a character. As an author, or doing something in the style of published work, I think it is best to stick to a strict interpretation and not do this double dipping. If a player in a saga I ran tried to do this, I'd veto it, and leave it to the table to overrule me. In a saga I'm a player in, I'd voice my discontent, but if the consensus seemed to be fine with it, I'd roll with it. I seem to be in the minority, if not the only person here who has issues with the approach. While I have tried to make a compelling argument, I have obviously failed.

Is ceremonial or ritual magic an Artes Liberales (Ability) roll? No, it isn't, really, it is a Casting Total. Not if you add a Technique, a Form and Philosophiae. It is a casting total, and not an ability total. For non magical actions (ability rolls) the rule is clear: Characteristic + Ability + Die roll. I think it is a stretch to call a ceremonial or ritual casting total an Artes Liberales or Philosophiae roll. About the only way I'd be happy for this to apply is to somehow compare the magnitude of the spell versus the ability score of Artes Liberales. This would certainly limit the spell to be used in ceremonial magic and not ritual magic. Given that Ceremonial Magic takes 15 minutes per magnitude, and is likely to be rather low magnitude anyway, that's probably reasonable, but it isn't a strict interpretation of RAW.

I've created a character with Cautious with Artes Liberales specifically to avoid botch dice on ceremonial magic before (albeit in the "Frightening Munchkinism" thread). The one point I'd note which I don't think has been brought up explicitly so far, is that Cautious with Ability doesn't just allow you to reduce the botch dice by two - unlike Cautious Sorceror, it allows you to reduce botch dice by two down to a minimum of zero (this was quite important for my munchkinned character who otherwise would risk doing seriously injuring/killing himself when high level Life-linked Spontaneous Magic went wrong).

The botch dice reduction to zero doesn't directly affect the question of "can Cautious with Artes Liberales be used like that?", but is probably worth thinking about if trying to make a judgement based on play balance.

Anyone else want to comment of the spells? Is it OK to have a tool like this that can steal books? Should i have to integrate it with the art of memory somehow?

If everything is OK there then I'll continue. Before going to the next fifteen years I post my thoughts on what mystery cult to use for him. That way I won't put up more mechanics before people are done hashing out the questions brought up by the last set.

From my notes:
I wanted to do a mystery cult because I hadn't done an esoteric mystery cult before and the cults all are lacking in initiations. You might appreciate having someone else create a few initiation for a cult to take the work off your back or, if you hate them, to use as an example of what not to do.

But what mystery cult to use? I wanted to go with one that already had a write up. Then it would be more likely to be of use to others. Here are all of my choices (or at least the ones that I looked at)

Order of the Green Cockerel: starts off with vulgar alchemy. vulgar alchemy is a mess and I don't want to strongly tie a character I think others might use to either the official version or whatever fix I chose for it.

Volshebnii Mechtaneli: these folks are hidden from the order (which doesn't work well with the very order centric character I'm creating. Also their abilities don't work in conjunction with intellego well, (as in there isn't much synergy, there aren't any actual problems that crop up).

Neo Mercurians: They require mercurian magic and I see this character as relying on spontaneous magic a bit more than is a good fit for that.

Legion of Mithras: first they learn inscription on the soul then they sacrifice their talisman (this is not an optimal plan). Also the first few initiations don't especially appeal to me as they seem somewhat too martial for my investigator character.

Philosophers of Rome: Too pagan

Children of Hermes: I absolutely hate everything about this cult. For me, it is right up there as a contender for the worst bit of text of the entire fifth edition line. I certainly don't want to draw any positive attention to it.

Mystic Fraternity of Samos:
This one is a pretty good fit for my character. I don't really see him going to look for immortality but he could stop initiating sooner.

Magoi of the Stars: Hermetic divination as a final initiation is a bit worthless for someone who has a very high intellego score (even with its neat "you don't need an AC to cast intellego stuff at a target" trick) but otherwise it fits very well. As you probably guessed from the thread title this is the cult that I went with.

Disciples of the Worm:
necromancy really isn't his thing. Also the cult would probably be especially cagy around a quaesitor

Knights of the Green Stone: Vulgar alchemy again and this cult initiates the art of memory as a virtue when it isn't actually a virtue (or is that the magical memory virtue which I suppose would be OK, IIRC the magical memory virtue says you can sell off your lab notes for profit and still keep a mental copy). Also it is too young for a character that I intend to take 100 or more years past apprenticeship.

So Magoi of the Star is the choice (even though Adelbert will choose to cease pursuing initiations before reaching the deepest secrets).

I like those arguments better.

Here's another way to think of the question. What answer is going to be more fun? If a player wants to be near flawless with his Philosophae (philosophae would be subject to the same discussion) would it be fun for him to get a more tangible benefit to it than avoiding the o so terrible botches of messing up a Philosophae roll? On the other hand, Adelbert is designed to be an NPC, having him roll more botches might give you more interesting stories (that could be true of a PC as well).

I think Looking Glass Mind should have some duration other than Concentration as the effect specifically makes it hard to concentrate, thereby making it likely to not last that long. Duration Diameter is the same level of effect and fits well with Recall Images of the Looking Glass "...a short period of time (no more than two minutes)...."

I don't think Art of Memory should be a requisite as that skill seems to do what it does and not having it shouldn't kill the concept. If a character has that skill and this spell he'd just be really good at remembering things.

As for "stealing books": Yes, it could break a saga, if your saga could be broken that way. But it's based on a guideline from the main book so having a spell allow you to perfectly remember a text should be valid. You mention that a member of the Order wouldn't (at least your character wouldn't) copy books using this spell. I don't think you can do much else.

My two pence,


On the one hand, I think in practice, in-play, I would say that if being good with Artes Liberales is beneficial to a roll, then being Cautious with it should also be beneficial to the roll.

However, strictly speaking I think I agree that a careful reading of RAW does not allow Cautious with Artes Liberales to reduce the botch die of ceremonial/ritual magic. This is because Cautious with (Ability) says it reduces the botch die if "... you are required to roll botch die for that Ability." (ArM5, page 40). Botching a spell casting roll is not botching with the Artes Liberales Ability.

I just want to note that I'm glad to see this character. I was disappointed to see no Quaesitor among MoH, and I'm eager to add this guy to my list of NPCs.

Carry on!

A true munchkin would say that maybe they weren't his kid, or that he got an arrow in the knee when he was 5. :smiley:

It's the "getting there" that's the problem. Needing 5-10-15 extra xp when you are score 8-9-10 is a bigger deal than needing 5-15 extra xp when you are 11-12. Anything higher has a clear winner and, as you say, it's all fine.

Glad to be of help.

Well, it will be interesting to see develop.

As a player I also prefer puissant if I have to choose one between puissant and affinity. The lower levels are a long period of the character's life, and there having an affinity does not compensate. Once you have reached the level where you are at level 8+ it means that you are already fairly competent in most areas, so concentrating XP in a pair of abilities is not that difficult anbd can make you improve salmost as fast as if you had affinity anyway.

The "perceive everything, including reading the library of Durenmar in a season" spell, well, I would put a limit on it. Memorizing books or long processes seems abusive to me. Maybe you have a limit of Diameter use per day before you start getting really sick (fatigue loss due to overwhelming information) or something like that. I think it is a fine spell to have to get all the details of a scene "sherlock holmes style", but to recall the exact contents of whole books makes the alarms ring. However, since reading the book would take a season anyway for you to get the XP, it implies that you will accumulate warping when reading those books with the second spell. That can be a feasible counter as well. If you accumulate no warping, I would veto the combo IMS.


Emphasis (bold) mine.
Sorry, concentration is not terribly useful for longerterm activities, such as copying books, or understanding them.
Even Sun would involve casting it repeatedly (70 +/- 10 times each season) to make it useful.

So, that's fine, it solves the problem.

He could theorically copy books, but, in practice, using the second spell to recall a book would take it as much time as reading it, since he'd need to "read" his memory of it.
Of course, there's always the Moon or even Year version, but... Well, it doesn't bother me. Either he studies from memory, or he copies, and a potential "book stealer" makes a great story hook.

Also to do this, he would IMO need to clearly see the pages, like have the book open and turn them, not just flip them quickly. Minor squibble, I know, but this means one could get caught.

Oh, and I love love love the combination of spells. Spells building one upon another are, IMO, sorely lacking.

Thanks, that's what I tried to say by "Arts Roll"
IMO, the reverse also holds. If we imagine that, due to a breakthrough, one could, say, add intellego and Corpus to AL in order to draw an horoscope for someone, I wouldn't see Cautious Sorcerer applying.

Anyway, I think it's a nice HR. I like the idea of the guy who's safer at ritual magic, but not at formulaics. I'd say go for it, but make a note about it.

Sorry for being late with my comment.

If I understand the purpose of this spell right, it shall in particular greatly expand the imagination of the target (see A&A p.31), enabling it to store huge amounts of unstructured and unprocessed sensory input.
Just cramming masses of unprocessed sensory input into the existing imagination might have all kinds of side effects, including erasing existing 'content'. The troupe would decide about them: and they can be disruptive. So this is not an option for an MoH example magus.
But as Looking Glass Mind is a Muto spell, any expansion caused by it will expire with the spell - so the BLOBs of sensory data it contains would then be lost as well.

Permanently expanding one's imagination to a sufficient extent would have to be a Creo Mentem ritual. Of the kind of those Characteristic increase rituals, which MoH example magi did not use, right?


EDIT: HoH:S p.70 Other Tricks of the Mind contains a Storage subchapter, where you could borrow a basic idea. What about turning the raw sensory data into an object by a Muto Mentem spell like Inmost Companion (ArM5 p.149f), and reading them from that object for later processing? Of course, this object would also vanish once the Muto Mentem spell expires - but it leaves Adalbert's head free in the meantime.

Oooh, I like One Shot's version!

I'm trying to remember my thought process on this and I believe it was that it is a lesser problem to frequently loose concentration on the spell and have to re-cast it than it is to be stuck in sensory overload mode when you don't want to be.

It is based on a guideline from true lineages to which I added a magnitude and claimed it could do more. The reference spell (Serf's parma) "The Good Witness" allows the target to remember as if the moment in question had just passed. I added a magnitude and said as if the moment were still happening.

Oh! a childhood illness that shattered his strength for life, it further explains why he was sent to the monastery to get educated while giving me more bonus points to play with. So tempting.

In my notes he doesn't get any xp in finesse until he's out of apprenticeship (where he throws in a years worth to get to level 3 in the first time period). I agree it makes more sense to have at least one level so I stole some XP from his second language to give him a point. This won't change my +15 character at all.

I was thinking a second or two per page. (which might be a problem under the effects of Looking Glass Mind as it is presently described.

I agree. that was one of the primary thoughts when I wrote Ranulf.

I guess I'll have to look through Societates to see if there is a way to construct the spell that makes sense from the perspective of the brain that we have in the game. If not, I'll take a run at doing it with intellego imaginem or the exterior storage option. I haven't run the numbers yet but the exterior storage choice might not be the sort of trick you can teach your apprentice when you want him to act as a recording device, it might need to go later in the character if he can even do it (my present draft never gets muto above 8 or 10).

Hmm, my guideline list is wrong :confused: anyhow The Good Witness has this part that is interesting (to me at least)
"Depending on how long ago the day was, any particular event may have completely disappeared, depending on how
memorable the event was. Thus some details may be recalled perfectly and others will be entirely missing."

This might clear up your book stealing issue. "Yes, you remember distinctly looking through the Mentem book. Recalling if that passage was on page 3 or 30, though...." Reading a letter on a desk would be no problem but remembering the difference between any number of page wouldn't be as distinct a memory and would require, perhaps, an Art of Memory roll.