Character Creation Discussions (OOC)

Interesting. To me, the FFM aspect of Theurgy was always more of a secondary benefit. The biggest advantages of Theurgy over other methods are twofold.

  1. Daimons. It's the only way to summon them, short of making a trip into their realm. As they can use aspects, trying to use any other method will result in them just blowing up said aspect and probably coming to stomp on you later if you've annoyed them enough. Any daimons get access to some pretty fun and funky magics, what with being capable of replicating ritual effects. Not all are mind you, but still.

  2. Spell Spirits. As wonky as they are, it's a very thematic way to get mileage out of any number of summoning oriented virtues/magics. Things like a talisman, a focus, a spirit familiar, etc. I very much have this idea of an older ex-Misc tradition that is barely integrated that has to use spell spirits for all their formulaic spells as they're simply not able to cast otherwise. Again, why I'm trying to talk all this out before pitching the idea as a whole!

Honestly, Theurgy on the whole isn't any more complex than say Sihr, or God help you, the RoP:F stuff. Shoot, probably one of the most straightforward summoning set of powers is Goetia out of RoP:I. Why they never made a comparable magic realm version I don't know, but that's a story for another day.

You say the latter is a minor thing, whereas I view it as a critical one, so thanks for bringing it up! Saga tone is extremely important, and a really quick way to see folks get grumpy, so I'd rather talk about it now so as to make sure I'm not being disruptive! That said, I don't see mystery cults coming to take a dominant position in things given all the potential story hooks. Drive the occasional story, sure, but it's likely to only affect the magus in question, so it's unlikely to suck in others/change the tone of the saga. It's no different than if you had any of the house mystery cults, or even a Tremere, a Q, etc. There are always going to be outside forces, ya know?

That said, don't worry, if my summoner concept doesn't pan out, I have an Auram focused nature lore ex-Misc or a Gifted Mercere wannabe Redcap waiting in the wings, either of whom I suspect would fit in with your view of things quite nicely!

There are really three things that are "upsides" I think. One is the flexibility of a special more general spirit magic system, and applying that spirit magic focus. The others are the Flexible Formulaic as you note, plus also the Spont Spirits are effectively formulaic spont spells in a way. And then access to Daimons for ritual and/or just plain non-hermetic effects from them.

The use of spell spirits as the basic tier of Theurgic magic has real ups and downs as well though. The effectiveness of say a Pilum spirit doesn't scale up with you as you say grow in CrIg total, even though it is still a CrIg spell. And mastering the spell doesn't give mastery of that Pilum, but mastery of summoning your Pilum spirit. Not the same at all. So in many ways it is much more flexible but also defined and limited by special parameters. If you want to be a spell battle master Theurgy is not for you. It does not excel there at all.

I think this is all great/good stuff to hear.

I like the idea of the inheritance and exploring it as well. I think any group of Magi come in with their own goals/ideas, but also that the Covenant itself and its interests and/or strategic situation shapes the game and the path forward. Both if you will create something emergent together.

So for clarity, what kind of stories do you see as fostering the "I'm generally more interested in the magi navigating life in the valley..." line of play? Easier to say when you think you see it (or don't) I would imagine, but I'm willing to say I'm all in for supporting stories that develop the Covenant and local area/interests as well. I think any saga largely would find that ... both unavoidable and rewarding. The Covenant should feature prominently in any game and neglecting it is a mistake!

I just don't know that is all I'm interested in at the same time. I'm not sure what that means for game tone etc. So far I don't think we have any ideas or concepts amongst us that are incompatible interests? (No infernalists trying to sit down and eat with the holy magi... yes I've been there, a long time ago) Granted I'm not deeply familiar with the other characters yet, but I'll give them a solid read some time soon!

My suggestion was made thinking that you can usually exchange 3 pawns of [Te] vis for 3 pawns of [Fo] vis with a redcap, so this isn't that distant from having, say, a source worth 3 pawns intellego and exchanging it as desired whenever there is a redcap nearby. I agree that the flavor should be unpredictable, but in practice I think we can eschew that, since it's reasonable to pay in whatever the contractor requests and he can simply be lucky about finding vis?

From a narrative point of view, I think it could be interesting if fate never brought him a specific kind of vis (eg. he never finds Perdo and no one pays for his services in Perdo, they just don't have it when he requests), but this is just a though. :v

When you put it like that the whole thing makes a lot more sense to me! It's indeed interesting! Would he then have the Cabal Legacy Flaw, to start with Theurgy? I understand this would allow one to bypass the "no initiation before play" limit. And what about the tradition's major non-hermetic virtue?

Thanks for being understanding about my point on mystery cults. I said it's minor because I don't think we are risking to wander too far... but at the same time, if I say nothing I might actualy start to think like that someday. :sweat_smile:

I agree that mystery cults don't need to become the center of the saga. It's just that to me they usually seem "bigger", just like demonic influence. But I reckognize this is mostly a matter of perception, and admittedly I haven't dealt much with mystery cults in my home games. Maybe it's the moment to change that?

I'm not even sure how to comment that. XD
I also don't think we have any incompatible characters so far!

Excellent question, and one for which I'm not sure I have a good answer. But I'll try.

Most of the time I've seen mystery cults in play turn out as "this magus has no life outside the cult". The way most cults are written kind of suggest that (to me at least). Assuming this is true (and I fully know it isn't necessarily true, and that my understanding might be biased due to little experience with this) and we have a few mystery cults, we suddenly have some magi playing in a completely different game.

So in a way my comment is an overreaction that amounts to "please don't make everything about the cult".

But again, this is just a biased opinion (that is changing). =]

I appreciate this conversation, it has already allowed me to rethink a few things. And be sure that this isn't me asking anyone to drop your concepts!

That was indeed the plan! Just felt like a very fun and fluffy way of going about things. Massively restrictive too, which was a nice way of addressing any potential complaints about power level.

I'm thinking a hedge tradition out of Novgorod, given that shamanism is very much alive and well in the tribunal (yay steppe nomads!). A spin off from the Volkhv perhaps? Actually the more I noodle on that as it were, the more I like the idea. The Volkhv worship faerie Gods, which are daimons themselves.

Actually leads me to your other question, about the major virtue associated with the tradition. I was thinking Strong Faerie Blood. The idea being that those with the Gift in his tradition are all descended from the local deities and are spirit blooded as it were. Even if I'm not the biggest fan of sympathy traits (Faerie God gives a bonus to one), it feels very right for the concept.

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I like the idea of barely integrated traditions sometimes. Even if just because they can be flavorful. It is possible to build deep thematic builds with Hermetic Magic, but it can be challenging to do. Especially for people still getting familiar with the rules. Hedge Magic/Traditions evoke a particular feel/tone of characters and magic a lot more strongly much of the time. The Order is supposed to be full of such idiosyncrasies and subtly distinct traditions even within users of Hermetic Magic but often we don't get to see it as strongly as I would like.

On a different note, are there any price guidelines set for purchasing spell instruction with vis? I've been pondering it as I have time to work on Vorsutus and it seems a potentially attractive option.

Alrighty, given that no significant objections have been raised to the concept in broad strokes, I'm going to push ahead with the concept! This is just a basic little blurb, I'm more than happy to expand later. So with that in mind...

Character Name: Vedun

Concept: Ex Misc

Born Kassian Izyaslavovich to a family of foresters along the Ural Mountains, Vedun might have suffered the fate typical to those born with the Gift if it weren't for the fact that his strange eyes, entirely lacking in both iris and pupils, clearly marked him as touched by the fae, and likely as a future Volkhvy. It's not that anyone particularly liked Vedun, but it's more the fact that nobody was willing to risk the wrath of the gods by harming the child.

Growing up would have been a lonely, isolated affair, even by the standards of those living on the outermost fringes of the tribunal, if it weren't for the fact that spirits of all sorts could often be founding milling about the child. Whereas most couldn't stand to be around Vedun for any extended period of time, spirits seemed to be inexorably drawn to him. And so it was with these otherworldly creatures that the child spent most of his time, learning the strange customs of his 'cousins'*

His education would continue uninterrupted for many years until the arrival of Malincka Capcek, a Bonisagus maga attempting to invent a blended theory of Volkhv and Hermetic magic**. Taken to the Thousand Caves covenant, Vedun was trained in the ways of the two traditions, learning much, but most importantly, how to use Hermetic magic to form the bonds with spirits typically associated with the Volhv. Upon successful completion of his Gauntlet (an act that required him to summon and bind a spirit), Vedun took to traveling, first inside the tribunal, but it wasn't long before he was venturing beyond Novgorod's borders.

*As a totally random note, after reading up on the Volkhv, apparently the local faeries address them as cousin. Seemed a cool little bit of fluff.

**Was reading up on the tribunal during the brainstorming process, and found out that this is very much a thing already, so it was perfect.

Working on a Virtue/Flaw spread and I wanted to get folk's thoughts on an idea. The Inoffensive and Alluring to Beings virtues out of HoH:MC were going to play a significant role in the build (obviously, given the fluff). But the problem is, spirits often heavily blur the line between the two realms. That is to say, Magic and Faerie (there are Infernal spirits too obviously, but I'm a good little Hermetic and would never dream of diabolism!). So in a perfect world, I'd like both, but I can't. Of course, by the same token, I'm not really interested in it applying outside of the relatively niche area of spirits. 'Cause that's a quick way to be the guy sent out to talk to random dragons that show up demanding tribute or the like. Which is a really quick way to get turned into a wizard-kabob. That and really, this (limiting it to spirits) just makes way more sense for the character.

So what do folks think about allowing for a slightly modified version? Inoffensive to Spirits. Arguably it's a much smaller area of effect than say all Faeries + anyone with a Faerie virtue, but technically it would require a deviation from RAW. To be clear, I'm moving forward with the assumption that the answer is no, so don't worry, I won't be offended in the slightest if folks don't like the idea or are just worried about slippery slopes. But I figured there was no harm in asking, eh?

I don't think we have anything besides what is in the guidelines:

Magi charge a very high price for teaching another magus for a season (the equivalent of 4 to 10 pawns of vis).

I'd set the price according to the maximum TeFo of the magus and how rare are the spells he is teaching, not to the spell level. An archmage won't stop his personal projects for a meager amount of vis, and will charge more if it's a customized spell that you can't find elsewhere. But I think you could get a small discount from your hermetic patron as a favor, or even trade for service if it seems reasonable?

@Nithyn you kinda of lost me again. The blend between Volkhv and hermetic magic would result in hermetic theurgy, is that it? What is exactly the relation with the faerie? I understand that hermetic theurgy deals with the magic realm, at least as written.

I'll get a read on the section about Spirits and Daimons from Mysteries and RoP:M. Is that the kind of thing you'd be interested in interacting with?

I think he is just using this for fluff/backstory more than anything. But I could be wrong.

Yeah, though that appears more toward teaching for gaining experience. Which is great but not exactly what I'm looking for.

I'm not sure what a breakdown of spell levels learned would look like for that price range. One could assume that the low end of instruction at 4 pawns of vis would have something of an "average" mage vs the high end at 10 pawns for a season would be more of an optimal specialist in the subject matter you are looking for (high arts + applicable focus + lab bonuses etc.) though translating that into firm numbers is tricky. I'm a little hesitant to weigh in too strongly on this topic since I'm the one looking to try and use it.

I'd say that if you are concerned with abusing things then you probably won't. :thinking:

What about using the magnitude of the teacher highest lab total?
(It doesn't matter that you are learning CrIg and he is a MuTe specialist; he could be working as a MuTe specialist (or just minding his business) so he will charge as a MuTe specialist. It also doesn't matter if his lab total is 90 and yours is 30, you can always look for another teacher).
But really, I'd just eyeball it.

Spot on!

Long story short, there's this whole thing with this Bonisagus maga who is trying to summon Hermes by crossing the two types of magic. Volkhv magic has a lot to do with forming a pact with a given god. And given that the gods are all Faerie daimons (though they really do straddle the fence between realms), it felt appropriate to say that the intersection of the two results in Hermetic Theurgy. Or even that they're simply using the already discovered theurgy with Volkhv trappings as it were. But yes, it's purely a fluff justification, not trying to actually blend the two traditions!

That said, Hermetic Theurgy, as far as I'm aware, doesn't specify the realm of the summoned spirits? Especially since Vim allows for the summoning of spirits from any realm (Ish. Don't get me started on the whole Divine bit. But I digress) I mean you can easily make the argument that spell spirits would obviously be Magic Realm, though it would be interesting to see someone with Faerie Magic argue otherwise for their purposes. Not that it would necessarily change anything mechanically, but still. Anyhow, to the bigger point is, daimons exist for all realms. For example, we know all the faerie gods are daimons, and they can still reach out and do stuff.

Bingo! There's just such a plethora of fun options there for everyone to play with! Tons of potential stories too. Plus, who wouldn't like the idea of playing a spirit as a companion character? Or maybe I'm just a wee bit biased?

I would be inclined to agree. If we know instruction is anywhere between four to ten pawns, then we can assume that applies to spells. The trick is just figuring out what those lab totals look like. If it were me, I'd assume something like a magnitude and a half per pawn? Give or take. Since 75 is towards the high end of what a magus can reasonably get on a lab total for that sort of thing.

Interestingly enough, I can see older mages being more willing to teach than younger ones. If only because of the very high prices that they can charge (making it extremely profitable), and the fact that it's a fairly safe, warping free activity. Did I mention how profitable it was?

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More like 4 pawns is for a young magus teaching for 4 pawns a season (probably about his specialty) while a mature magus (say 30-50 years past Gauntlet) charging 10 pawns.

Using the highest lab total magnitude would work as a gauge. So learning 20 levels of spells through direct teaching would cost 4 pawns, while learning 50 would cost 10 pawns. I'd put 50 as a hard limit.

Purchasing lab texts is less expensive, but often slower. Also, direct teaching allows you to learn spells from different TeFo combinations in the same season, although finding a magus who knows exactly the spells you want is dicey -- you may end up with a few odd spells as a result.

Do this too often, however, and you may earn some sort of reputation (such as not being self-reliant, or a suck-up).

I would not object to that. Infernal spirit aren't repulsed by the Gift, anyway. :smiling_imp:

Right? If anything the Gift is like an all you can sin buffet to them!

... I don't even want to think about what Alluring would means.

Alrighty, so on that note, I'm gonna finish up a V/F list and push forward with this later today!

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Alrighty then! Here's an initial proposal for virtues/flaws. I'll be sitting down to explain them all in a bit when I've got some more time!

Strong Faerie Blood (Faerie God?)*
Hermetic Theurgy*
Greater Potent Magic (Spirit Magic)
Lesser Magical Focus (Vim Spirit Magic)
Puissant Magic Theory
Theurgic Familiar
Names of Power
Inoffensive to Spirits
Alluring to Spirits
Personal Vis Source

Restriction (Can't use non-spirit magic)*
Cabal Legacy
Study Requirement
Hedge Wizard
Foreign Upbringing
Social Handicap (Outspoken Pagan)
Proud (Major)

*Denotes ex Misc virtues

Interesting Nithyn. You might end up more of a social outcast than Vorsutus, and that didn't seem possible to me. :wink:

So this seems like roughly 5 spell levels / pawn for teaching?

Would you care to set a price range for lab texts?

Hah! I'm not sure I'd say bigger... just different? But yes, he's gonna have an... interesting time interacting with any mundanes, that's for sure. And there are certainly gonna be a few Magi with problems with him too. And to tell you the truth, that's kinda the point?

No price range for those. They don't provide an immediate benefit to your magus and their value as a trade item is fairly low. I prefer to have them worked into the narrative, as a side benefit of your magus' actions. So he might trade a season of service for access to a library and lab, then spend a partial season (after losing a month's time travelling) or full season copying some lab texts.

Usually, consider that your magus will have to copy them himself. That would be one of those seasons with only exposure xp, to bring the average xp/season down.

Hey @Arthur you want me to keep posting stuff in here, or should I take it to a dedicated thread?

Also sorry for the slight pause folks, had to give feedback to a bunch of research papers, and I'd been putting it off until the end of break. That's all squared away now, and I should be jumping back into things here shortly. Suppose it's time for some honest to goodness stats and abilities shortly.