Ancient persian magic?

Hello. I'm reaching out to the community to get ideas for how to deal with a peculiar problem in my home campaign, which is set in the Theban Tribunal.

Short story - this is the result of an adventure done by a secondary storyteller, who made a really fun adventure, but who doesn't really have a good grasp of the setting beyond the ordes of hermes. The quest involved stopping a cult (possibly faerie or infernal-inspired) that was planning a mystic ceremony to resurrect Emperor Darius with the help of four ancient artifacts he held while alive:

  • Darius' Bow
  • Darius' Mantle
  • Darius' Chariot
  • Darius' Shield

The party came back with three of those, while the shield was left behind. Initially, the items were designed by the storyteller based on hermetic magic guidelines, and the devices replicated roughly the effects of Eye of the Hawk (Bow), Gift of the Bear's Fortitude (Mantle) and Unstoppable Steed (Chariot).

As the main story lead, I want to rebuild those items from the ground up and connect them to non-hermetic magic, largely because I don't like the idea of introducing ancient items that are based on a magic style that is posterior to it by a thousand years and I would like to have that ironed out before the party investigates the items in the laboratory. The intended effect can be changed as needed to fit the magic system, of course, or there is no point in doing that exercise. Is there any non-hermetic magic or device system that would fit for ancient persian artifacts? If not, what would you do?


Could you build them using Solomonic Arts? Specifically, Lesser or Greater Bindings?


First of all I would recommend that you start by discarding any ideas you have about what mechanics you want these items to have. (dont forget them, write them down for later).

Start by thinking what role you want these items to play in your saga. Do you want them to be unique and legendary items that define their wielders/users? do you really just wish they were gone? something else?

What you want out of the items, from a storytelling perspective determines what powers you should chose to give them or not to give them.

I would suggest reading the chapter on mythic Zoroastrianism in "the cradle and the crescent" to gain a better understanding of how the mythical universe of ancient persia looked like. It is not going to give you are perfect understanding of ancient persian beliefs about magic but it will give you a good look at how faith based supernatural powers behaved in ancient persia in mythic europe.

I would strongly consider them possibility of making these items have powers based on a faith rating, similar to holy relics but for the zoroastrian faith.

There really is no good system to describe ancient persian magic. However there are many options, and you dont have to make a whole system only come up with sufficient rules to describe what items you have. If you want them to be legendary and unique you can go ham, because you dont have to design the items under the assumption that the players will get access to a ruleset for copying them.

it is also possible to assign them symbolic values based on ancient persian ideas about kingship. To essentially treat these regalia as granting abilities associated with ancient persian kingship.

here is what I would go with for themes:

Darius' Bow - Personal prowess in battle. 
Darius' Mantle - Regal'ness (is that a word?).
Darius' Chariot - Battle leadership.
Darius' Shield - Protection. 

Note that the roles of the bow and the chariot seem similar. The difference is that the bow symbolizes personal prowess as a warrior where the chariot is focused on the ability to lead armies. (In actuality the bow and the chariot would most likely have been linked as chariot warfare is all about shooting a bow and using the chariot to maneuver around for good places to use a bow and away from such places once enemy infantry get uncomfortably close. At least in the bronze age.)

many more themes are of course possible.

Another interesting option is to treat the items as transformed by warping, in which case each item is really a creature of sorts with its own personality and agenda.

I hope that helps. I will be happy to help further if you feel like it and can describe more precisely what you want.


The easiest way to go would probably be to have the items contain extraordinary vis (RoP:M p.119). Not necessarily the most interesting, but probably the easiest.

Dareios I by TC&TC p.81 would have been a patron of the Mazdean faith. By p.85 box Saints and Relics such items left by Dareios I could be sacred and holy objects, imbued with divine powers and Faith scores.

I don't know, whether this fits your saga, though.

1 Like