Consolidating Possible Expansions of Hermetic Theory

I was wondering if anyone has material they would like to contribute to a consolidated community list of possible expansions of Hermetic Theory. These would typically be the result of OR, whether causing changes before a game begins or while it is in progress.

They do not all have to be major or drastic, in fact it would be better if most of them were not. If most of them allow a seeming slow steady advancement of Hermetic Magic through the course of a long game then it would help the SG and free up some of their time.

A refinement that increases the speed of fixing an Arcane Connection would be one such. Currently changing the time to a season or a week seems to be a fairly common house rule. There is nothing preventing this from being achieved by OR and it could even be tiered for long running games. Start normal, advance to seasonal, then finally advance to a week. Something of this magnitude is sure to make in into the Folio.

Other possibilities would include things like non-standard R/T/D. Power-creep should not be the goal. Things that are interesting (especially if they provide story possibilities) would be best. Even a massaged Base is good. My own character invented a CrHe (with Mu and Me requisites) Ritual Base that awakens living plants. For most Magi it is interesting but not very useful, though there are a few who would really want to learn it.

If we can gather/generate enough of them it would serve as a great resource for ongoing Sagas. So does anyone have any they would like to contribute?

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  • Reducing the time to set up a Hermetic laboratory from two seasons to one.
  • Target:Pair, intermediate between T:Ind and T:Group, targets a group of exactly two, must be identifiably a pair and separated from any others of the same type, in the same way as T:Group.
  • Refinement to T:Pair, expands it from "a group of exactly two" to "a group of one or two", in the same way as T:Group can be used to target a group of one.
  • Refinement to T:Pair, permits powerful effects using it to be designed specifically for a particular pair, meaning it could be cast on up to two individuals other than the caster without Warping them (or with greatly reduced Warping, in the case of constant effects).
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Came here to say “Target: Pair”

Oh, another common breakthrough is “longevity rituals do not cause sterility.” I saw a few campaigns with this even before the NPC in Magi of Hermes did it.

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Yeah, that's a pretty common one. I mentioned in another thread recently that I have a list of research projects that someone, somewhere is working on, and occasionally I roll on it for e.g. redcaps offering Lab Texts for interesting experimental results for sale, or stuff for a new Bonisagus Folio, and so on. The full list is:

  1. Mirche Ex Miscellanea, of the Stonehenge Tribunal, attempting to integrate Minor Hermetic Virtue: Ring/Circle Magic into standard Hermetic Magic Theory (Major)
  2. Alekto e Bonisago, of the Roman Tribunal, attempting to reduce the Creo Auram guideline for "Create a phenomenon wholly divorced from its normal context" from +4 magnitudes to +3 magnitudes. (Minor)
  3. Fedelmid e Bonisago, of the Rhine Tribunal, attempting to integrate the Rune Magic of the Order of Odin as Hermetic Rune Magic. (Major)
  4. Gemma and Bobila ex Verditio, of the Tribunal of Thebes, attempting to discover a Verditius Elder Rune for the Form of Terram (Minor)
  5. Luigsech ex Jerbitone, of the Tribunal of the Levant, attempting to integrate the Minor Hermetic Virtue: Planetary Magic into standard Magic Theory (Major)
  6. Garvan e Merceri, of the Tribunal of the Greater Alps, attempting to create a Longevity Ritual which does not cause infertility. (Major)
  7. Bridget e Bonisago, of the Rhine Tribunal, attempting to develop Target:Pair, intermediate between T:Ind and T:Group. (Minor)
  8. Esdras Bjornaer, of the Rhine Tribunal, researching permanent changes to existing targets via Creo(Muto) ritual. (Major for any single specific type of changes, Hermetic for the general case)
  9. Paulo ex Criamone, of the Iberian Tribunal, attempting to develop a new Intellego Herbam guideline, "Level 5: Learn all inherent magical properties of a plant or an item made from plant products." (Minor)
  10. Reece e Bonisago, of the Normandy Tribunal, attempting to integrate the Mystery of the Great Talisman into standard Magic Theory. (Major)

Obviously, some of these would have a lot more significant knock-on effects if successfully completed (Rune Magic especially), and some are thoroughly trivial- integrating Planetary Magic, for example, despite being a Major breakthrough, amounts to "a very small bonus to Lab Totals for enchanted devices only for magi with no distractions and good Artes Liberales".

I chose the research topics manually; the names (and most of the tribunals) were rolled randomly (except Gemma and Bobila, who are canon characters from TSE), and I have to admit I'm a little bit curious how Luigsech (which is an Irish name) made it all the way to the Levant. I suppose if she was interested in astronomy, seeking out Arabian sources might explain it.

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Adept Laboratory Student's integration seems to be a common project.

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Yes, it is one of the ones on our Saga spreadsheet being worked on. To a greater or lesser extent, many of the Hermetic Virtues have a chance of showing up on the list of full integrations.

I'd say that most of of the Hermetic Virtues are already fully integrated in Hermetic Theory - the virtues just indicate someone who has a special talent for some aspect of Hermetic Magic.

Fully integrated meaning that anyone who reads a text or is taught it receives the Virtue for free if it is the result of OR, while for Integration a fully integrated Virtue can be used by anyone freely who studies a work on "Magic Theory" about it.

So there is a marked difference between Hermetic Virtues as they are and Hermetic Virtues which have been fully integrated.

If you want an example in RAW, Parma Magica is a fully integrated Hermetic Virtue. Any Magus who has studied Hermetic Theory containing it can learn the Arcane Ability without a Virtue. In effect every Magus has the Virtue "Parma Magica" for free.

EDIT: Integration makes a non-hermetic Virtue into a Hermetic Virtue. Full integration makes a Hermetic Virtue free to learn.

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Yeah, opening up all the existing Hermetic virtues for integration via original research results in such silliness as "let's integrate all the Affinities and Puissancies" or even sillier "let's integrate the Gentle Gift". While there are a few core Hermetic virtues I could see being integrated (Life Boost, LLSM, Diedne Magic although dear God the politics on that last one would be fun in the Dwarf Fortress sense of the word), for the most part I would stick to Mystery Virtues for "integrate this already-existing Virtue into standard Magic Theory".

I did not say all, I said many. In general it is the ones you listed which are the ones appropriate. I would not see most SG accepting an attempt to fully integrate Affinities or Puissancies as a possibly successful OR.

EDIT: FFM, Magical Memory, Adapt Lab Student, and Spell Improvisation are some others. It is also possible to do a variant of something like Personal Vis Source.

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Yes, I know all that, but I still say that virtues like Adept Labratory Student, Puissant Art, Method Caster and many similar virtues can't be integrated more fully - they don't anything at all to Hermetic Theory but instead just reflects an individual talent for something giving that individual a small bonus.

A few virtues like FFM, Quiet Magic, or Life Boost on the other hand can be more fully integrated - they add something to Hermetic Theory.

Adept Lab Student can be done, if you consider it a refinement of how Lab Text are written.

It was not my intent to come across as saying all Hermetic Virtues should or even can be fully integrated. Many of them do not work well with it and as always the decision comes down to the individual SG on what they would like to allow in their game.

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If Adept Labratory Student applied when writing Lab texts I might be persuaded to agree, but as it is it only helps in comprehending existing Lab Texts.

But on the other hand - this is a typical YSMV thing.

The general conscientious I have observed for allowing it (including many post on this Forum) has been that it results in a new style of Lab Text which is easier to understand.

The overall effect is not that every Magus gains the "Adept Lab Student" Virtue, but that Lab Text of those who learn the refinement provide a +6 bonus to Lab Totals. It gives anyone who reads the Lab Text the benefit of "Adept Lab Student" for that specific text. Whether this can be combined with the bonus from someone with the actual Virtue is up to the SG.

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Anyhow, to return to the original thread topic, how about this:

  • Seasonal vis-handling limit increased from MT*2 to MT*3.

This one's in a weird spot where it's both a common house rule, and has tremendous knock-on effects. Powerful non-Verditius enchanters benefit enormously from it; the upper age bound on inventing new Longevity Rituals for non-Merinitae is enormously increased (though the Lab Totals achievable are essentially the same); significantly larger and/or more complex items can be opened for enchantment.

Edit: Also, vis-rich tribunals (Thebes, Hibernia) may well get outright invaded by their vis-poor neighbors (Rome, Normandy).

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Yes, that one is a common House Rule. I suspect that many of these type of House Rule can actually be defined as a successful OR or Integration in game. If defined that way they are not a House Rule in the normal sense (a change of RAW game rules), but are rather something that is possible by RAW with the group deciding it has already been done before play begins.

I agree in principle that power creep is bad I think in terms of the excercise you propose it is an oxymoron. I would argue that a breakthrough from Original Research by definition makes hermetic magic more powerful because it either takes something that can already be done and makes it easier to do or it makes something that was previously impossible possible.

That said I still find the exercise to be worthwhile.

Range : Voice - Any spell with range voice works at the expected range of a normal person yelling, regardless of if they are silent, whisper, speak or yell. Whispering or not speaking at all still have the usual casting penalties.

This breakthrough was created by a hoplite who when prosecuting a "join or die" case was turned mute by a powerful curse from a witch.

Suspending duration spells - Any magi with a successful finesse roll = to the magnitude of the spell *3, can suspend a spell for a maximum of their finesse score *15 minutes. At any time the magi can take a action to start the spell again. An attempt to cast a new spell while having a spell suspended has a penalty to the roll of the magnitude of the spell and is always a stress roll.

Someone has image of the wizard torn for defence, but then wants to go through a doorway or sit on a chair and not look goofy, suspend the spell.

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Some of the ones that are from my own Saga. You will notice that several of them actually have an improved version possible and being worked on.

  • Separate (and competing) groups are working on Aristotle Magic Theory and Plato Magic Theory [as seen in A&A, p.11]. They are both trying to complete their research first while actively interfering with the other groups research. However neither of them will have the full effect. Aristotle will provide the benefit to Lab Total, while Plato will provide the benefit to Formulaic Spells. If you learn one then you cannot learn the other. After both are created, a new version combining both will have to be researched and created to allow someone to gain both benefits.

  • A version of LR with Fertility intact was completed before play began. However the version has a drawback of only providing a +1 for every 10 points of Lab Total, rather than the normal +1 per 5 points. It also does not restore fertility for anyone who has used a normal LR. At least one person is working on a version with the standard bonus.

  • Our version of improved Arcane Connection creation in effect since play began. Time is roughly a week (it can be done as a week of distraction with other Lab Activities) and the limit is the Magi's Magic Theory in a season. Increasing the season limit to the Magi's seasonal vis capacity is a possible improvement.

  • Orthon of Bonisagus created a refinement of the MuHe(Me) Base 4 effect that awakens plants. The refinement created a Co(Mu)He(Me) Base 5 effect which ritually awakens a specific category of living plant (Trees, Bushes, Grass, Vines, etc) by momentary effect. While not being researched, a possible improvement would be to create a version that worked on all plants under a single spell rather than a limited category.

  • The refinement of Lab Text talked about in earlier post, which provides the benefit of Adept Lab Student to any who study from it. The effect is specifically written as "New Format for Lab Text, increases Lab Total of anyone using them by +6" in our tracker. It is an Integration rather than an OR, since it is studying how people who have the Virtue are better able to understand Lab Text and integrating that if a way that others can better understand them as well. Because it is an Integration, only people with the resulting Virtue (at normal cost) will be able to produce Lab Text that provide the bonus until it is fully integrated.

  • There are people working on the FFM and 'Spell Improvisation' Virtues. These are being researched as a refinement to Hermetic Theory which would improve the versatility of Formulaic and Spont magic.

  • Someone is working on Integrating 'Premonitions', with the ultimate goal of Fully Integrating it (allowing any Magi to gain the Ability without the Virtue). This is causing a some contention among those who know of the research, since it could possibly be considered Scrying.

  • Another Magus is working on Integrating "Shapeshifter", again with the ultimate goal of Fully Integrating it. This is also causing some issues, though in the case of this research with House Bjornaer. While different from the Heart Beast, it takes away from something they feel is unique to their House.

  • A group of Bonisagus researchers is working with a coven of folk witches to integrate several of their abilities. While most of them are as described, two are not. One is Integrating (and possibly Fully Integrating) Flight while the other is a version of the FW Virtue 'Expert Potion Brewer', which would result in the 'Expert Charged Enchanter' Virtue which would double their MT when calculating Lab Total for creation of Charged Items.

  • While completely unknown by who, there have been hints that someone is working on fully integrating 'Diedne Magic'. The whole thing is very sketchy and even the hint of it is making many nervous.

  • Our Covenant Mystery Cult is currently working on a collection we call the "Blood of Hermes". They are in effect integration of varies Faerie Blood and related Virtues into Hermetic Mystery Cult virtues. Currently the three being studied are 'Blood, Legacy, and Presence' which will have effects similar to Strong Faerie Blood, a hybrid of Faerie Legacy with Faerie Blood, and Frightful Presence.

  • A version of 'Cautious Sorcerer' is being studied, with the goal of making Hermetic Magic less chaotic. The most likely outcome, if possible, will be a reduction in Botch dice calculation from Aura and/or Vis use rather than gaining the actual Virtue.

  • Another researcher is working on an effect based off of 'Personal Vis Source', which would allow a Magi to generate annual Vis within their own body. This Vis could not be extracted, so could only be used in Rituals or Enchantments the Magi is performing themselves. The type and amount would be 1/10th their highest Form (the most appropriate to their style of magic if more than one is the same score). The Realm the Vis would be associated with is the Realm Aura that the Magi spent most of the year in. Possible refinements include allowing it to work with Techniques, allowing it to be changed Form of choice when gained (with a further refinement allowing it to be changed annually), and allowing it to be extruded from their body.

There are a few others, though for several I do not think they actually have chance of succeeding.

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