Daimons and Aspects and ACs (Oh My!)

I've finally gotten around to reading the City of Brass adventure in Tales of Power. It's very cool and I want to congratulate all the authors. People worried about spoilers probably shouldn't read further, as I'm about to question some of the magic described therein in nit-picky detail.

One thing I was a little surprised at is the big deal being made of how exceptional the Djinn Bottles in the adventure are, and how big a hermetic breakthrough it would be to duplicate them. As far as I can figure it out, the unique characteristics of the bottles are twofold:

The ability to connect a genius loci to it's home anchor, remotely.
The ability to affect Daimons living in the Magic Realm

The first point I'm not sure about, but it seems like some variation on the Intangible Tunnel would work. I don't see anything beyond Hermetic limits here, though arguably some new Vim guidelines might be needed.

The second point got me thinking about Daimons. We know they can't be "bound", but the bottle enchantment doesn't really seem like a binding per se, as the Daimon is not in any way trapped within the bottle. Rather, the enchantment seems to be more along the lines of a long lasting control spell, which is not prohibited as far as I know.

But how to target the Daimon, and not just some temporary Aspect? After all, Daimons live in the Magic Realm and as per RoP:M pg.28, "the only Arcane Connections between the mundane world and the Magic Realm are vestiges and boundaries".

But wait, the same book says on pg.102 "An Aspect is a constant Arcane Connection of indefinite duration which is in constant mental contact with its Daimon". Hmm... apparently there ARE some ACs to the Magic Realm after all. Presumably a magus holding hands with an Aspect could cast an Arcane-ranged spell on its Daimon.

Then I reflected on Daimons in general. Again as per RoP:M, all Daimons have a True Name which "is an Arcane Connection of indefinite duration". Moreover, "The physical location of a genius loci is an Arcane Connection to that spirit, regardless of whether it is a Daimon or Airy Spirit" (pg.110). This idea of there being no ACs to the Magic Realm isn't holding up and I have trouble reconciling this information with the rules on the Magic Realm. There seem to be quite a few options for targeting a Daimon without
breaking Hermetic Limits. That's not even considering the option of creating the enchantment within the City of Brass itself, where the actual Daimon is.


Hermetic magic can't operate into the Magic Realm, just like it can't operate into Heaven. Even with Arcane Connections. It can operate on an Aspect, so such Arcane Connections are still useful. And it is possible for an Hermetic wizard to cast an invocation to summon a daimon if he knows its true name, and if he learned that invocation from a grimoire; he can't invent the invocation. Even such invocations cannot force the daimon to do anything, but can summon an aspect.

Magi initiated into Hermetic Theurgy can invent new invocations, to summon the daimon, given his True Name. And can cast the invocations more easily.

That's my understanding based on TMRE. I may be mistaken. :slight_smile:

That could well have been the thought at the time of TMRE, if I may commit the borderline heresy of suggesting the rulebooks are not always consistent with each other :wink:

But as per RoP:M, magi can even go to the Magic Realm themselves, and "While an Aspect may be used to target spells of Arcane Range against its parent Daimon, few magi have sufficient power to make such spells penetrate the larger Might of the Daimon itself" (pg. 102). Which sounds pretty reasonable to me, although I don't understand what that larger Might actually would total. However, it is in seeming contradiction to an earlier chapter in the same book that says there are no ACs to the Magic Realm, and possibly also in contradiction to TMRE. I know I don't understand it completely.

Well, to be fair, Aspects are kind of weird as far as Arcane Connections go. I mean, the examples in RoP:M never really went into what would happen if a person was, in essence, simultaneously in the Magic Realm and the mundane world. And I was under the impression that Hermetic magic without Breakthroughs wasn't currently capable of opening a path to the Magic Realm; as far as I recall, RoP:M mostly mentions alternate paths into the Magic Realm than through Hermetic magic.

You could argue that the potential to open paths to the Magic Realm has existed in Hermetic magic since just the core rulebook, though, given the intrinsic link between Hermetic magic and Twilight...

True, and perhaps that's an answer. Perhaps these Arcane Connections exist but can't be used without the Magic Realm breakthrough. That's only a minor breakthrough though, as per RoP:M, certainly not a Hermetic one.

That's purely speculation however, and the books seems to pretty clearly indicate that "an Aspect may be used to target spells of Arcane Range against its parent Daimon"; if Aspects and True Names and the like are indeed some sort of weird and limited AC, I haven't seen any reference to this fact.

RoP:D page 20, RoP:I page 34, and arguably TMRE's entire Hermetic Theurgy chapter all describe True Names as permanent Arcane Connections that can't be programmed in even with the Mysteries or Supernatural Virtues that usually allow building ACs into items, and which can affect creatures not currently in the mundane world for purposes of summoning them... So I dunno about limited, but they come off as pretty weird and abnormal to me.

I don't see what you mean in your RoP:D and RoP:I references. RoP:D page 20, under "Angelic True Names" states"

while RoP:I page 34 says

None of this sounds limited in any way, including use with other Mysteries or Supernatural Virtues. If anything, it sounds too easy to summon and command an entity when one knows its True Name.

I hear you on the Theurgy chapter of TMRE. Vanilla Hermetic Magic does seem to have trouble summoning Daimons, although arguably only with summoning and not with other spells affecting the entities. Overcoming this difficulty seems to require nothing more than a minor virtue, rather than anything related to a Hermetic Breakthrough.

I suggest that the sources can be harmonized by maintaining that Arcane Connections to spirits (True Names, Aspects) are useful as noted in the RoP books, but that they cannot be used across Realm boundaries. Thus you can indeed affect a daimon by using his aspect as an arcane connection - but only if you're already in the Magic Realm. You can indeed use a True Name to summon a demon - but only if the demon is actually on earth (or you went down to hell). Mysteries allow ways around that - Hermetic Theurgy allows you to summon daimons, Infernal Summoning allows you to summon demons.

But ultimately - yeah, I suspect the rules are inconsistent. For what it's worth, I think the above makes for a good idea even if it's not how the real rules work.

I am the one who wrote City of Brass, with some assistance from my old pal Jarkman. All of the Jinn are Genie Loci, but it is only the Malik that is a Daimon.

spoiler alert

The Malik has two aspects presented in the material. One bis bound to a basalt pillar, a feat that Hermetic Magic. The other rules in the City and has never teasted if it can manifest elsewhere. That aspect dissolves and reforms semi-regularly. The bound aspect never moves.
Many of the basic functions of the bottles can be duplicated with Hermetic Magic. You can bind a spirit to an item, use it as a conduit for summoning, enchant it to command and control said spirit, and much more. However, these imperfect duplicates are bound to have some flaws and will certainly require a substantial amount of work. But the still will not imitate the Suleiman bottles perfectly.
With a Brass Bottle of Solomon, the jinni resides in the City of Brass in the Magic Realm. It is not a daimon though. The bottle serves as a sort of conduit, not an arcane connection. However, the bottle is the locus now. That is a feat Hermetic Magic cannot duplicate (AFAIK), changing the locus of a genie. Further, the one who holds the bottle controls the jinni. Hermetic Magic can duplicate that part, but I am not sure if it can do so to the extent and length the bottle or Sahir magic does. There are several other nuances to these bottles that Hermetic magic can come close to duplicating, but not quite. But it does make for an exciting research project and/or clever invention.

I am going to reread that section tonight to refresh my memory as to handle questions and discussions more aptly. I am preparing to run that adventure in my own saga.

Hi Marko, nice to see your response. I like the scenario a lot, in terms of the story itself and also in the way you use Magic rather than Faerie. I'd like to see more of that. If I nit-pick some of the magics don't take that as a criticism. Mostly I'm just trying to get my mind straight as to how Magi summon and relate to otherworldly beings. The AM5 rules are not especially clear on this, so I think it's a useful exercise.

I was under the impression that the Malik had a brass bottle too, but perhaps that was just an assumption on my part with no basis in the text. The Malik in the City would be the Daimon itself, wouldn't it, and not just an Aspect? That's his home turf in the Magic Realm after all.

Fair enough. I'm not sure I agree that the loci connection magic is beyond the scope of normal Vim, but that's a minor point. The connections to the Magic Realm are perhaps more interesting, given the seeming contradictions in some of the other rulebooks.

In any case, good job!

I think you're on to something here, though I probably wouldn't do it precisely the way you suggest.

It might be that with True Names the arcane connections exist when beings are in other Realms, but can't be used under the circumstances, at least by vanilla Hermetic Arts. Mysteries such as Theurgy and Goetia would allow sorcerers to use the name, probably without multipliers and solely for the purposes of communicating with and compelling the being to manifest in our Realm. Otherwise it's hard to see what anchor a sorcerer would use to summon otherworldy beings. I could see other Arcane Connections working similarly, such as an ancient idol with a connection to a spirit once worshiped.

It should be possible to summon powerful beings from other Realms, but it should be more difficult than True Names provide for under the RoP:D and RoP:I rules.

I think would leave Aspects as they are written, as the only Arcane Connection allowing general magics to be case from the mundane world to a being in another Realm. Giving Daimons this one vulnerability just feels right to me. At least that's what I'm thinking right now.

The Malik's Locus is the city itself, and his presence there is another aspect. He can remanifest with a different set of powers as suits the needs of the story.

As for the non-Hermetic powers of the bottles, I am sure an innovative wizard can figure out how to duplicate many bits and pieces. But there are still things outside the normal scope. Creating a conduit to and prison in the Magic Realm is one of them.

Oh, and thanks for the comliments!

Upon reflection, I agree with you on conduits, regardless of how doable arcane connections to the Magic Realm are. I think a conduit to a locus in the material world would be eminently possible though. It's easy to forget that the djinni in your story are native to the Magic Realm, since generally non-Daimon magic spirits ("Airy Spirits" in RoP:M terminology) are native to the mundane realm. These are a nice addition to the menagerie of spirits out there.