I have a problem and think I have found a reasonable solution, but I wanted to run it past the forum to get some comments and thoughts from you all.
In the game I am planning, the PCs will need to summon a magus who has ascended to the hall of heroes. None of them will have hermetic theurgy at this point as it needs to be early in the campaign. The ascended magus has planned for this and is entirely onboard with it. So......
Can an ascended mage just show up on his own terms without being summoned? Is he able to observe the players covenant from wherever he is? If so he can just turn up and the players don't need to find a way to summon him. I'm not fond of this since it removes agency from the PCs.
this is the solution I prefer, could the magus have left a casting tablet for the PCs to find, with an Invoke the Pact of Daimon ritual, keyed to himself. Then when the PCs find it, they summon him, and bamf, there he is and its all their doing.
If I do use 2), are there any pitfalls that I'm overlooking? Any obvious abuses? Is this even possible? Can you cast a theurgic spell from a tablet without Hermetic Theurgy?
Well, you can cast Invoke the Pact of (Daimon) (TMRE p.80f) without the Virtue Hermetic Theurgy. So casting it from a Tablet should not cause any problems but the usual ones: lots of botch dice, lack of control ... but I reckon you will cherish these for your game ...
Writing Invoke the Pact of Sly Magus might be possible only, once Sly Magus has ascended the hall of heroes - but there are usually henchmen of Sly Magus to inscribe Casting Tablets with the ritual after this.
I don't know if it's possible to have a Casting Tablet of Theurgic spell without Hermetic theurgy, but there are other pitfalls:
I don't know what spell level it will end up being, but take note on the rules for using casting tablets. If you fail to succeed on the casting roll, you'll be taking fatigue, and possibly Warping. And if it fails by 31+, then it also fails to cast the spell. So make sure one of your players has a high enough Casting Total that he's got at least a decent chance not to fail to cast it.
Thats a really good point. As an ascended magus he should be able to write it himself though as he'd still have access to all his Hermetic powers. I'll have to keep that in mind for my timings. I quite like the idea of him writing the tablet to summon himself at a future date. I'll be playing this guy as a magnificent bastard so Sly Magus is an apt nickname.
Good points all. Its entirely possible that my PCs won't be able to cast it when they find it, but once they find the tablet, that will at least be a good incentive to pump their arts up, learn wizards communions, etc. All of which should be much easier, and quicker, than getting initiated in Hermetic Theurgy. So actually this might give them an in game objective, always good.
Even if it doesn't incentivize them enough, remember that even if the cost is 'only' fatigue, it will put a damper on the number of times they actually use it. Plus, it can generate a story if someone manages to steal it from them.
Oh I hadn't thought about that but its perfect. My plan was that they would initiate into a Mystery Cult that has Theurgy so eventually they could recreate the summoning. But having the tablet stolen before they can recreate it, so that enemies could capture their patron is a great hook.