Clarification Regarding Sahirs and Sihr

I am making a sahira for a game and have some quick questions regarding Gifted sahiras:

  1. Unless you have Bound Spells, are you able to use multiple spirits at a time for your naranjs? For instance, could have two summoned jinn, one Magic and one Faerie, and choose which to cast through at the time of casting?
  2. For a Gifted Sahir, is it an accurate reading that using a low Might spirit is actually beneficial if one does not intend to overcome Magic Resistance? Summoning Strength skyrockets, making all other forms of casting and even Lab Totals much higher. (Obviously, there's other reasons to raise the underlying art, like if you develop Independent Solomonic Magic or need a high Might spirit for penetration or need to be able to spend enough Vis to do something useful.)
  3. When casting a Solomonic Travel spell to create a passage to a Boundary or Vestige from the physical realm (base 25), must it be one to which you possess an arcane connection, or can it be used without an arcane connection?

It's been a while since I wrote them, but I'll do my best to answer your questions. :slight_smile:

  1. Yes, in fact I imagined sahirs would try to keep lots of spirits around them, each specialized in different things. Hopefully the deals your character makes with them keep you involved in interesting stories!

  2. Yes, precisely. The sahira sort of lends her magical strength to the spirit for the duration of the summoning, and the more strength she has, the better the spirit can aid her magical activities.

  3. My impression of boundaries and vestiges is that they are actually another type of arcane connection. Vestiges are temporal connections, and boundaries are spatial. So when your sahira travels through one of these to one of these, she is floating through the Twilight Void on her way to a place that is magically connected to the place she left. It might be a microcosm or macrocosm, or just a place that is sympathetically connected to the former. She can explore the Magic Realm by randomly traveling through vestiges and boundaries to see where she ends up, and she can use Solomonic Travel to ease her passage through these vestiges or boundaries. Indeed, Solomonic Travel is likely the only way she can get to the Magic Realm without discovering an existing passage. But she can't control where the vestiges and boundaries take her without an arcane connection to one, you see? The arcane connection is the path to the place in the Magic Realm. Kha’trazh, the grand vizier, is said to have one of these, so it's a pretty big deal to get one. (By the way, I think the guideline you want is either base 30 "Open a direct passage..." or the general guideline "Open a passage through the Twilight Void..." which I think at base 25 would be a boundary of no greater than +5.)

Hope this helps! I love hearing about sahirs in play, so please feel free to share how it goes with the forum!

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This is my first opportunity to play one, so I'll try to let you know!

Yes, I did mean the base level 30 one. In particular, this character is journeying to the west in search of Scota's remains in Ireland, and I figured it would be really interesting to pick this spell, since it's something that Hermetic magic doesn't cope with as well. From the way the guidelines were described, I thought that the spell worked similarly to the similarly described faerie one - IE, it opened the nearest boundary (such as "nearness" can be described for the Magic Realm, anyway.)

To be able to access the "nearest" generic boundary, would I have to use a Solomonic spell to travel through the Twilight Void first, then? Or what is the method? I find the Magic Realm book a little unclear on this point. Alternatively, would I have to find an object or entity in the local environment that functions as an Arcane Connection? What about the upper floors of regios?

EDIT: It occurs that I could probably find a Magic-aligned jinni who could do this for me, and have that be one of my known Summoning naranjs, but hmm - that's really about as plausible as having one's own arcane connection.

I think "nearness" is a great way to describe the connection! Yes, without an arcane connection to use with the base 30 guideline, the sahira would have to set off through the Twilight Void to explore the boundary's nearest destination. I think arcane connections to the Magic Realm are extremely rare, so I'd say she has to go somewhere first and then find something in that place that she can fix in the lab to give her a permanent connection.

It's been almost as long since I looked at the Magic Realm rules I'm afraid, but my memory suggests that the strength of the regio from which you start influences how long it takes to get to where you're going through the Void. So it makes sense to choose something from the upper floor of a magic regio if the sahira doesn't want to spend years searching for a connection that advances her quest.

Magic Realm travel basically puts the players at the mercy of the storyguide, so you'll want to make sure they are on board. If your troupe isn't that interested and just wants to handwave it, I'd propose treating it like a seasonal activity similar to experimentation. If you succeed with a good effect, she finds a vestige that gets her closer to her goal.

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Cool, thanks! I'll let you know how it goes.

Should be interesting. We have made one slight change to RAW - we've decided that Sihr can affect natural spirits of place such as nymphs and landvaettir (and whatever the equivalent may be) as well as jinn, with the suggestion that the focus on jinn is a mere linguistic one, so if I update here that might be a consideration.

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Question!

As Accelerated Abilities, do the Solomonic Arts have Specialties? I noticed that the example character doesn't have any listed, but also only benefits at +2 from Puissant Solomonic Travel. I noticed that Accelerated Abilities in Houses of Hermes: Societates possessed specialties aside from Sihr, which is interesting. I have to assume it's intended at this point, but it's worth asking.

+2 from Puissant for an Accelerated Ability is correct. Affinity tends to be far better for Accelerated Abilities. Meanwhile, Puissant is far better than Affinity for Difficult Arts.

As an Ability, yes, there should be specialties.

  1. Assuming that you've successfully bargained that service, from the Jinn, yes. Note, however, that the affiliation of the specific jinn used to cast a spell is immaterial to Realm interactions. Otherwise Yatu Magic would be redundant.
  2. Sort of. Even with Jinn of high Might the sahir will still struggle to overcome MR. The advantages of summoning a Jinn of greater Might is that it will have more powers it can use on the sahirs behalf as well as being more physically and mentally capable in general (and having good MR itself). Khuddam bonds can help compensate as well. Also, they're harder to summon and thus more likely to be available at any given time.
  3. I can't find any such guideline of base 25, but I don't think so as it's not mentioned in the guidelines for the base 20 or 30 effects and I'm fairly certain ACs to and from the Magical Realm don't work.

PS. I have a question of my own that I feel I used to know the answer to, but can't figure out: How long can a Jinn maintain an effect? Clearly the Hermetic Concentration guideline of 15 min/Concentration score is insufficient for the uses described so would it be fair to assume that Solomonic rituals persist until one of the following occurs?

  • bargain with Sahir expires, freeing the Jinn
  • Sahir commands the Jinn to release the effect
  • something actively happens to distract the Jinn from its task
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While the specific text that Accelerated Abilities function like abilities in all ways except the scale at which they might be purchased would certainly suggest that Specializations are warranted, the powers of Vitkir, Sahirs, and Settut neglect to mention any Specializations and even with Societates, only the Donatores' Banishing lists one making me think it was probably a typo.

I would also note that there is at least one other way Accelerated Abilities differ from standard Abilities: Your maximum score in them is not gated by age. Admittedly, this could be considered part and parcel of being purchased at Art scale except the Difficult Arts don't seem to be affected in such a way either.

The text clearly says that the Solomonic Arts are Accelerated Abilities, which is odd to me because my recollection is that I designed them as Arts. But maybe that was an early draft, and playtesters suggested a good reason for them to be Accelerated Abilities instead. That is probably why the sample sahir doesn't have any specialties and lists them separate from Abilities. You are correct that if they are Abilities they should have specialties. Thanks for pointing that out!

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Those seem like reasonable guidelines for a sahir's ritual concentration duration to me!

I suspect the argument they had was similar to the one in Societates, which states that Arts require a second Art to function in the definition of the rules.
(Of course, that doesn't get into Powers and Methods, but what do I know. Those are Regular Abilities that combine like Arts, aren't they?)

I'd imagine it would be kosher to maintain a ritual effect indefinitely (barring interruption) by renegotiating with the jinni at the end of each period, too.

Oh, you're absolutely right, that's probably why! And yes, when I designed Methods and Powers for The Divine, the style guide hadn't started distinguishing between Difficult Arts and regular Abilities yet.

Frankly, I've always felt that whether 2 or 3 is added for Puissant should depend on the scale of increase, not whether or not the usage formula includes one or two values, but I lost that argument. :slight_smile: Was it the vitki rune magic where I wrote something like "These are technically Accelerated Abilities, but players should treat them like Arts in all ways"? :smiley:

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I think so. I remember being incredibly frustrated by the Vitki.

It's fascinating to watch the line-by-line evolution of terminology, though.

If the mythical Ars 6 ever came out, I'd imagine all of that standardization would pay off, and then be swiftly forgotten as you had to refine design standards!

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Regarding the difficulty of having Arcane Connections to the Magic Realm, remember that all AC degrade one step upon entering/exiting the Magic Realm, as one of my players found out the hard way after he was taken by Kha’trazh to his castle in the Magic Realm to meet the Hermetic Embassy... while carrying his full collection of 20+ ACs of places to teleport to!

So any AC you take from the Magic Realm would instantly be one step "less permanent" by the time you reached the mundane world to fix it in your lab. That alone can be a pain in the butt. :wink:

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My recommendation: CrVi to slow down the rate of decline to give yourself more time to return to the lab.

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So true. I was just meaning to provide an explanation regarding another factor why it would be more difficult to find AC that someone else brought from the Magic Realm. That would definitely work.