Character Creation for Variant Sahirs

Per Page 31 of TC&TC, the Suhhar Suleyman's magic is much looser than the Order of Hermes', and while a majority of sahirs use Sihr, not all do, and Solomonic magic and naranjs can be created from any "summoning art." However, like with most hedge-wizards, the rules for their creation are somewhat loose and left to the troupe to figure out. Accordingly, as I have way too much time on my hands and I happen to like the flavor of non-Hermetic traditions, I came up with a bit of homebrew for several variants of Sahir.


Solomonic magic does not have a Magic Theory, but it is clearly a heavily integrated form of magic like the Hermetic Arts. In no case is this more true than with the Circle, and nearly any summoning magic that can target spirits can be integrated into Solomonic magic. By 1220, most of the spirit-summoning Arts known to the Suhhar have been integrated with the Solomonic Arts and can be used as Summoning Arts. A new Summoning Art would require a Minor Breakthrough before it could be used to create naranjs; the most obvious example would be the Rego Technique (though it would be far more likely that a Hermetic magus would instead create the Hermetic True Names virtue and use formulaic Hermetic spells, instead of trying to copy the Solomonic naranj). Any summoner who has learned at least one Solomonic Art, or who has studied under someone who knows naranjs, may learn to create naranjs for himself.

A naranj is single-Art. Some Traditions normally use a combination of Abilities for their summoning magic, but except as otherwise noted, the summoning spell uses only one of the relevant Arts. However, if the Summoning Art would require another Art to function, the sahir must have that Art.

Exempla Gratia: An elementalist with (Theurgical) Summoning 10 and Elementalist Air 4 binds an air spirit into a naranj. The Summoning Total will be based on his score in Theurgical Summoning, which is 10, and not on Summoning+Elementalist Air, which is 14. However, the elementalist could not cast a naranj to summon a fire spirit, unless he also had Elementalist Fire.

...But will they come when you call? Unless otherwise noted by the ability in question, a spirit is not compelled to obey or bargain with its summoner (another advantage of Sihr), though many will do so anyway. The bargaining rules on pg. 47 of TC&TC are only for Sihr and jinn; other Methods either have their own rules for bargaining, or simply require agreement on both sides.

Design Note: Where possible, I'm trying to ensure that Sihr is the most broadly powerful and useful form of Solomonic summoning, which a Rego Vim naranj or even a Theurgical Summoning+Element naranj would break through greater Summoning Strength.

I assume that a Gifted standard sahir does not need to buy Sihr as a Virtue, though a literal interpretation of the RAW would suggest that they do (screw the RAW, in this case). Likewise, other sorts of Gifted sahir should get their Summoning Arts free, though the exact mechanism depends on the tradition.

Finally, I'm flexing the rule about how Supernatural Powers always require a Virtue in the case of Infernal and Divine Powers, because Infernal Powers are supposed to be easy to learn if you can find a teacher and don't mind losing your soul, and Divine Powers are just as easy if you have True Faith. Accordingly, I'm creating two Major Virtues for Infernal Tradition and Divine Tradition, which allow you to freely pick up the four Supernatural Abilities associated with your tradition's magic (the latter requires True Faith). This is a kludge, because the rules as they stand are very poor and create characters who are weaker than they should be. (I ought to make a better rule for these someday...)

On to the sahir traditions!

Elementalist Sahirs

Summoning Art: (Theurgical) Summoning
Warping: Elemental Warping or Fatra Bayna; rarely, Divine Ascent.

Elementalists use Theurgical Summoning to call spirits associated with the elemental Forms and bind them into bottles. Elementalism is relatively common throughout the Middle East, though theurgical elementalism is somewhat less common than the other forms. Theurgical summoners are prized at the buyut al-hikma for their ability to bind elemental spirits into items, and to summon elementals to mine them for vis.

While there are many elementalist traditions, the Apostles of Apollonius are a special case due to their focus on the Divine. Many believe that the Apollonians have developed a Divine variant of the theurgical arts, and in any case, they often have less difficulty than other Solomonic magi in working their arts within the boundaries of the Dominion due to their practice of the Ars Notoria, also an Apollonian work.

Character Creation: UnGifted elementalists are normally Mythic Companions, learning Theurgical Summoning, Theurgical Controlling and the Elementalist Art corresponding to their favored humor, as well as whatever Solomonic Art they favor. Gifted Elementalist-Sahirs are a special case. With troupe permission, they may begin with a double-opened Gift, learning Theurgical Summoning, Theurgical Controlling and the Elementalist Arts as their "summoning art;" otherwise, it is recommended that they open the Solomonic Arts, learn Summoning as their "free summoning art" and take Controlling and their Elementalist Art. It is also possible to have a Companion-level elementalist who doesn't have Controlling, and who either bargains with spirits (perhaps a Spirit Companion) or summons and traps elementals for other sahirs to use or to refine into vis.

Whether Apollonians are allowed Divine elementalism or not is a troupe decision; if allowed, it should be a Major Virtue and, of course, mean that the Solomonic Arts cannot be used in a sinful manner. (Holy Solomonic Magic is also possible, use the Hermetic rules for Holy Magic for inspiration if you want to allow this.) Another option is for Gifted Apollonians to use the Ars Notoria virtue from RoP:D (also a creation of Apollonius) to reduce penalties for casting in a divine aura, but this is a somewhat impractical expenditure of XP and is very heavy on the Virtues.

Mechanical Notes: Elementalists can use Solomonic Storytelling for seeking and scouring like any other sahir, and likewise create naranjs. They can't bind anything but elementals into a container, though; a naranj or a use of Controlling must penetrate Magic Resistance (you did learn that jinni's True Name, didn't you?).

Goetic Summoners

Summoning Art: (Goetic) Summoning
Warping: Vituperation for infernalists, Fatra Bayna for purely Magical or Faerie summoners.

Summoners use the Ars Goetia to summon incorporeal spirits for their own ends. The Ars Goetia is always tainted with the substance of the Infernal, of course, and the higher Goetic Arts always draw on that Realm's power, so the Suhhar is generally somewhat suspicious of goetic summoners; however, as the Suhhar does not share the Order of Hermes' law against infernalism, a Summoner of this type may be found living and working among sahirs. The greatest of these summoners in the Mythic Middle East are the Mulhidun, but very few Mulhidun have joined the Suhhar or learned Solomonic magic, preferring instead to delve deeper into their own dark magic.

Some lesser summoners only practice a Magical or Faerie version of Summoning, normally learned through a Mystery Initiation, and avoid the deeper Goetic Arts. These summoners are limited by being unable to coerce spirits into obedience, but the temptation to descend into the Ars Goetia is always there, ready for them to snatch it. Greater summoners practice the full spectrum of the Ars Goetia, often in preference to the Solomonic Arts.

Character Creation: Lesser summoners are normally Companion-level, and take Summoning and the Solomonic Art of their mentor as Major Virtues. Full-fledged Summoners take Infernal Tradition instead, learn all four Goetic Arts, and may be played as Companions or Mythic Companions. Gifted Summoners are not unheard of (though it's common for them to have the False Gift); they may take Infernal Tradition or Summoning as their free Summoning Art. Mulhidun sorcerers should normally be Wealthy, since they can openly conjure up demons for personal gain.

Mechanical Notes: Summoning can't be used to coerce a spirit (though it can be used for highly-effective Scouring), but Binding or Commanding can, or the summoner can try to strike a pact.

Holy Sahirs

Summoning Art: Invocation+Adjuration or Kabbalah+Adjuration (this is a special exemption to the one-Art rule, due to the use of Difficult Arts, and it's still weaker for the XP than a conventional Accelerated Ability-based summoning art).
Warping: Divine Ascent, unless you want Fatra Bayna for some reason.

The Power of Adjuration allows the summoning of beings from other Realms through the limitless power of God. Developing the necessary internal strength to invoke this power is a demanding task, but there are a couple of traditions that particularly specialize in the calling of angels and spirits to gain their aid and service. These traditions are the Kabbalists, Jewish sorcerers who study divine mysteries, and the Mobeds, priests of the Mazdean faith and ancient princes of magic. Some of the Mazdean priests have joined the Suhhar and begun to practice Solomonic magic, hoping to rediscover some of the power that they have lost. There may also be a few practitioners of Kabbalah who have taken up the Solomonic Arts, though many rabbis would consider this sinful. (However, as many rabbis would consider Kabbalah itself to be in violation of mitzvot, particularly the use of astrological correspondences inherent in the practice, this is not as serious a proscription as it would seem.)

Other holy traditions exist that allow for the summoning of spirits, but these are much less common; solitary ascetics may develop the power of Invocation, for instance, but are unlikely to spend enough time in society to join the Suhhar. If it fits the needs of your troupe, there may be a small Christian or Muslim mystical sect that teaches these powers, or a Mythic Companion might have developed the secrets of the angels through their own research.

Character Creation: Holy Sahirs are, almost without exception, Mythic Companions; Gifted mobeds and kabbalists are highly unusual. Mobeds are likely to take True Faith and Divine Tradition. Take one's chosen Solomonic Arts, additional Mazdean magic and Outsider, and season to taste. Consider a decent stock of True Names and the Guardian Angel virtue.

Kabbalists with True Faith are unusual, but if you're making a mage-equivalent PC, go ahead and give him True Faith, Divine Tradition and Adjuration as well as a Solomonic Art or two. Such a character would learn Kabbalah, Merkavah and Ceremony (and possibly Gematria, though a sahir might have better uses for his time), marking him as an important leader in the yeshiva. Regular kabbalist-sahirs who have not attained such a state would be more likely to initiate Kabbalah and Adjuration, and Merkavah if that was part of his duty; if not, he should have been taught True Names by a senior Kabbalist. Initiates of Merkavah alone would make passable companions or supergrogs for such a yeshiva (if it were wealthy enough to support them), but would not qualify for Solomonic magic. Outsider is mandatory, of course.

Mechanical Notes: Invocation, aside from summoning spells, can be used either to command a spirit or to enforce a contract. A Guardian Angel will likely agree to be used as a vessel for magic; a default Guardian Angel probably has Might 15 and makes an excellent khadim.

1 Like

I like this - after reading up Sahir's due to the PCs beginning to interact with them, they're a surprisingly neat group.

That's a pretty good summary thanks Ramidel.

I'll link it to the relevant section of my blog shortly.

I love this summayr.

Only one are left, the Faerie summoning, I thpought than were less related or explained, just like the Mulhidun and all the other Goetic spirits.

More than Faerie Summoning remain. How about elemental Summoning, not as in HMRE but as in TSE? The Terrae Cult provides Terram Summoning (don't remember if that's the specific name). That can be used to summon spirits associated with Terram. But while it uses essentially the same Summoning as (Goetic) Summoning, it isn't tainted.

[strike]Also, what happens if ReFo is used to summon a spirit? (I'll have to double-check, but I think that's valid.)[/strike]

Edit: So I went and checked. TC&TC is pretty explicit about what works, so I crossed out the Hermetic note above. Invocation+Adjuration or Kabbalah+Adjuration do not show up on that list. Allowing them would be a house rule as far as I can tell, and should probably be noted as such. With that house rule, would you also allow ReFo?

I allow Invocation+Adjuration (and thus Kabbalah+Adjuration) because there is a canonical example of a character who does this - Magos al-Laqis al-Abyad al-Sakhr, a Zoroastrian sahir who casts spells through his guardian angel, which I think is only possible through Adjuration. Okay, I take that back: there's mention of a far eastern version of Realm Summoning that works on divine spirits, but that's supposed to be just a rumor.

As I said in the OP, my ruling is that integrating a new summoning art to serve as a back end for Solomonic magic is a Breakthrough - one that has clearly either been made by Zoroastrians, or gifted to them by God. Realm Magic works poorly with the integration rules, but I chose to assume that, at the very least, Zoroastrians have that integration one way or another. Kabbalists had it in my rules because why not. Whether other faiths automatically get the Integration is a troupe decision. (Christian Holy Powers, for example, tend to be gifted by God rather than taught as such, videre licet the Mysticism rules in TC.)

ReFo is absolutely not allowed for balance reasons - if it's allowed, the Art used is Rego, not Rego+Form, because my interpretation did not allow two Accelerated Arts - Hermetic magi learning Solomonic magic are powerful enough as it is without giving them Summoning Strengths that no sahir could hope to match, and I don't think they need to be overpowering sahirs within their specialty. As for using Rego, there are two ways to do it. One would be a Breakthrough (or a troupe decision that this is possible) and the other is to use Rego as a back-end for (Spirit) Summoning (which is already possible). The main advantage a Hermetic summoner brings to the table (aside from being a Hermetic magus, of course) is that Hermetic magic can compel spirits without any bargaining required - a benefit only shared with Elemental Summoning and Adjuration.

As for Faerie Summoning, I didn't have RoP:F when I wrote these rules out, so obviously I didn't make the Yatus. Could knock out an entry for them when I feel inspired.

An attempt, because I can...

The Yatus [Ars Fabulosa/Faerie Bargaining]
Summoning Art: (Faerie) Summoning (pg 131 RoP: F)
Warping: Fatra Bayna or Faerie Calling.

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Character Creation: {Place Holder}

Mechanical Notes: Slightly higher Summoning Total (Faerie Rank) makes naranjs a tad easier. Even summons on a botch (still not good). Can only summon Faerie-Might based Jinn, due to limitations in the Art and needs Arcane Connections if the Jinn isn't local or your Solomonic Storytelling total sucks. So expect to carry around stuff for Arcane Connections and Sympathy, in addition to bargaining tools.

Mr. Shades, I think than they coulld summon any no jinn faerie too, but anyway seems legit.

They can summon non-Jinn Faeries, but non-Faerie critters is something that the Art calls out as not possible. I thought it included 'Jinn' too...

I don't think so, the best enchanters form the Suhhar are those than can summon Elemental Spirits, than they are not inteligents beings and quickly recreated; so I would say than with Faerie Summoning you can use any faerie to make one summoning stregnth.

Correct. You do not need to use a jinn for Summoning Strength. For example, Magos al-Sakhr from the TC&TC examples uses an angel. So a yatu can use any faerie creature (though jinn are the most common type of faerie in Islamic lands).

That is the correct interpretation from memory regarding Summoning Strength. Erik Dahl would be able to clarify further if needed. Effectively the Magoi use their Guardian Angels to help bolster their strength - originally Alex's Magoi were aligned to both Divine and Magic Realms but that was too complicated and was considered over-powered so we had to scale them back (see the relevant Sub Rosa articles by Alex White for more on Persian magic).

Ars Fabulosa allows summoning non-Jinn Faeries so Yatu can summon all sorts of Faerie creatures (just as Elemental Summoning allows non-Jinn Magic spirits and elementals). Solomonic Sihr only allows summoning Jinn (defined specifically in CatC) whereas (Spirit) Summoning, the Goetic Art allows summoning all types of spirit but is Tainted (although non-tainted versions may exist) - there needs to be some tradeoff from both a mechanical and role playing aspect. The mechanical aspect was something I really grappled with, I think I got it almost right.

At one stage, the limitation on summoning only Jinn was going to be a Minor Supernatural Flaw (as originally intended in some of my fanzine writing and blog ideas) but once we started introducing the relevant other Summonings we abandoned that - a Sahir Mystery (always intended, but ran out of space / time etc) would be to convert Solomonic Sahir to being able to summon any incorporeal spirit AND any jinn, perhaps a Major Mystery Virtue involving the Pit of Babel?

I guess I really should do something on my blog again one of these days...