Ancient Magic : Sources and Insights

I've been looking over the rules for integrating various ancient magics into Hermetic theory as per the introductory chapter of Ancient Magic.

One of the things I stumbled onto was [paraphrased]: a single source will only provide a single insight, though there are rare exceptions. ( on page 8 )

For something like Mechanica, there's a raft of examples of various texts, items, etc. that the aspiring magus can uncover to study and subsequently attain the necessary breakthrough points over a series of quite fun treasure-hunting adventures, followed by appropriate research.

However, for Caananite Necromancy the only remaining source is from Zephaniah - the last remaining keeper of an oral tradition. Her singular insight would probably translate into about 5 or 6 breakthrough points in most scenarios. How, then, does the researcher make up the remaining 40 if they can no longer gain insights from Zephaniah's teachings? Or would Zephaniah (or any other cognizant, willing teacher) class as one of the exceptions mentioned above?

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I would say that have a practitioner of a tradition is quite an endless source of insight. He knows how it works, and can tell you (if you convince or force him), so you do not have to figure with backwards engineering how it works from the finished product.

So yes, unlimited I would say :slight_smile:


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Well, remember, it is a game. The way we ran it the time it came up (Storyteller used a Stormbringer module, ended up with a unique automaton which didn't need repair. Big brownie points for a Verditius to figure out!), The source gives you an insight. Experimenting in the lab gives you breakthrough points, if you are lucky. There doesn't seem to be anything in the rules that says you can't experiment in the lab to get more breakthrough points using the same insight. Makes sense when you think of it, practice makes perfect, so doing "it" over and over until you get it right is how you should figure "it" out. Still a lot of ways to toggle how long it takes to get the breakthrough. One, finding the source is as big a story as the Storyteller wants. Second, nothing says the insight has to be something the Mage can use easily. If you want your players searching a bunch of ruins, make the insight something the players have a hard time with. A level 60 ritual, a MuHe effect for your CrTe specialist. Make them chose between sharing the insight or spending years in the lab getting their scores up....

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I'm working from memory here, but I believe Hedge Magic practitioners can provide a number of insights equal to their score in their Magic Theory equivalent. It would seem reasonable for Zephaniah to provide something similar based on her Canaanite Necromancy skill.

Letting her provide all the needed insights takes away the fun though. The players should be searching for other sources of knowledge left in Endor or other ancient ruins, perhaps summoning the spirits of other Canaanite necromancers, perhaps even finding ways to contact the Canaanite gods. The breakthrough, like the others in Ancient Magic, is staggering in its implications and should be quite hard to get to.

It's important remember too that the Integration Insight Points are accumulated with the Original Experimentation points...

I think that Zephaniah would be a plausible exception.

There are plently of other things to find though. For example, items similar to the sample Hermetic items "Zephaniah's Brazier" and "Mot's Hand", might be found that were made by Canaanite Necromancers. Zephaniah probably has samples available. The Canaanite versions of such items might (or might not) be usable directly, by a Hermetic magus, but by studying them he could gain an Insight. You might also be able to persuade Zephaniah to write "Lab Texts" or books that describe what she does --- and then use those texts as sources of Insight.

It's really up to the troupe to decide exactly how time-consuming and difficult gathering the Insights is going to be.

Zephaniah could also train a Gifted apprentice, one who has not had his Gift opened...

That wouldn't integrate the Necromancy into Hermetic Magic though, just result in a single young magus who has the supernatural ability.

Teaching Mechanica of Heron to an unopened apprentice, on the other hand, has possibilities, especially in a saga where vis is hard to come by.

However, it would provide you with a new teacher who can then be studied as an insight source. It smacks of rules-manipulation, and it also means each new insight means tracking down another Gifted youngster. That said, it's up there with teaching your apprentice magic theory, having them write a bunch of tractatus on the subject, then improving your own magic theory by reading these self-same tractatus - also perfectly legitimate by the RAW...

That, and it isn't the kind of story progression I'd associate with learning a new form of magic.

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It seems OK to me.

I can see plenty of story potential in a magus setting up a kind of school for Canaanite Necromancers, trained by the ghost of Zephanniah, in order to study the different ways that the students each use Canaanite Necromancy. YSMV.

I could see this happening once. A student with both Opened Arts and Canaanite Necromancy might understand the integration in ways Zephaniah never could. I'd probably make the student wait to pass the insight on until he could write a tractatus in Mentem (or Vim, whichever one best corresponds to Necromancy).

Doing this over and over does smack of rules manipulation, at least IMO.

Besides, Zephaniah training apprentices able to use tthe tradition is a MASSIVE story hook in itself. I have been toying around the idea of the ghosts of the basilica of the thousand columns doing the same, but for something much darker....


Darker than forming a permanent personal arcane connection to the Land of the Dead for the purposes of summoning the shades of the wizards and kings of all the ages in order to rip their secrets from them? Yikes!

The point is not whether it is rules manipulation or not. Everything is. The question is whether the rules manipulation creates opportunities for your troupe to tell the stories that you want.

"The magus having to hunt down many items of ancient arcane refuse for Insight"
"The magus has to hunt down many Gifted people, and have them taught parts of an extinct tradition by a ghost, in order to gain Insight".

Both seem to create similar opportunities for story.

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The Virtue also gives history an Arcane Connection to the present ...

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