Exalted Style Sorcery in Ars Magica

So, Exalted the RPG. Love it or hate it, it's got some evocative sorcery spells. Lets say a Magus were to find some ancient magic theory (i.e. Atlantean Magic, lets say) that described Exalted style spells. What kind of hermetic magic theory breakthroughs would the magus be able to make?

This is tricky for me, as Exalted spells are more defined by what they cannot do than what they can do. Thoughts?


Most Exalted sorcery can be replicated by Ars Magica if you have a sufficiently powerful Magi.

Lets look at the first few bunch of spells I can find:

  • Adamant Countermagic - This is a Perdo Vim effect.
  • Becoming the Wood Friend - Sorcerer gains an empathic bond with plants. InHe I think.
  • Blood Lash (Emerald Circle) - Sorcerer conjures a lash of blood for melee combat. A very inefficient form of ReCo as Parma would protect from it.
  • Blood of Boiling Oil - Sorcerer can convert a single touched creature's blood into boiling oil, which is usually very fatal. MuCo(Aq) a very inefficient way of attacking somebody.
  • Calling the Gulls with Beaks of Steel (Emerald Circle). Conjures up a horde of birds with steel beaks to attack the sorcerer's enemies. Good vs. sailing ships. Cr(Mu)An(Te) could do this at high levels.
  • Death of Obsidian Butterflies - Calls forth a cascade of obsidian butterflies over a football-field-sized area. This is just a large scale version of Crystal Dart
  • Demon of the First Circle - Summons a demon of the First Circle and binds it to a single task or to serve the sorcerer for a year and a day. I think this requires a specific mystery and would get you killed due to the social implications of summoning demons being very different.
  • Dolorous Reflection - Creates a barrier that deflects all missile attacks directed against the sorcerer back at their attacker. ReAu(HeTe) - Probably possible, but Ars Magica doesn't generally work on arbitrary areas, so it would probably need to be in the form of a fog bank or cloud or similar.

These spells tend to be overly flashy and not as good as the less flashy way of doing something. Why turn somebody's blood to oil when almost everything has a heart you can crush far more easily? Why use a lash of blood when you could just throw a rock or fire at them?

The real difference is the ritual requirements.
Sorcery requires several turns of concentration, whilst Ars Magica rituals can take hours depending on the magnitude and the expenditure of a finite resource (Vis) and as such aren't suitable for combat.

Now I can see some breakthrough which reduces the time needed for ritual and ceremonial magic, but it would almost certainly come with some other cost, either costing vastly more Vis or simply needing a higher level to affect these things.

Exalted spells also don't really fit into the Medieval paradigm. The cosmologies are vastly different.

Thematically they are from an entirely different genre so don't make a good fit.
Exalted is extremely High Fantasy, the exalts themselves are Gods among men.
Ars Magica is Historical fantasy, which tends to be more grounded, with wizards staying away from society and tending to use more subtle magics.

My advice would be to find a specific spell that you want and there's probably a way to do it in Ars Magica through a ritual, but you couldn't get the breadth of results that Exalted Sorcery gives you with just a mystery.


Useful thoughts! You're right that the styles of the games are very different and don't totally mesh. At the same time, there's certainly got to be some type of improvements. I'm also thinking of what Exalted Magic does that breaks Hermetic Limits.

Death of Obsidian Butterflies is a good example actually. It actually creates the Obsidian Butterflies which remain after the spell is cast. So Sorcery creates matter. This is obviously a super powerful breakthrough in Hermetic terms. It also allows the spell to be cast on a "battle group" of any size. This means either a new target "Battle Group" or an innovation that lets Group type spells target larger groups than the spell is designed for.

And agreed - sorcery in Exalted is more stylistic than it is meant to be "effective."


Death of Obsidian Butterflies can absolutely be done with Hermetic Magic.
Cr(Re)Te Base 3 Ritual (Permanently Create stone or glass), Voice +2, Mom +0, Ind +0, +2 group, +1 size +1 Rego Requisite.
Total Level 25:
Creates 100 obsidian shards that are hurled in an arc in a direction you dictate. It does 10 damage to all targets in that direction. This spell requires a Perception + Finesse roll to target against the defence of everybody in the targeted area. (Inspired by Sling of Villano and Crystal Dart)
The area is littered with sharp glass shards afterwards causing +6 damage to anybody trying to walk across the area.
The fact that this is a ritual means that it takes 15 mins per magnitude to cast (for a total of 1 hour 15 mins) and requires 5 Vis per casting, making it nearly useless.

(Some parts of this are largely from guesswork.)


You are misunderstanding what I am asking about. I am asking about what does Exalted Sorcery do that Hermetic Magic can't, i.e. Breakthrough material.

Yes, one can make a hermetic equivalent of Death of Obsidian Butterflies, but it has limits that the Exalted version does not have. Which again, points to another breakthrough:
Shorter Rituals, which would likely be a minor or major breakthrough.

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Hum... I like Exalted and Ars Magica, then I can help you.

The Sorcery in Exalted is much broad, have few hard limitations: no time travel, no ressurrection and no true immortality. Have other limitations, but they are tied to how Creation works, the dragon lines, demesnes, manses and the demon prision of Malfeas for example. Exalted Sorcery have a more "free form" of extensive rituals called "sorcerous working" and that can do true miracle things, including rewrite the laws of reality.

The Hermetic Magic have more clear and specific limitations tied to the Mythic Europe paradigm.

Each magic system is directly linked to its own setting. Because of this, you have to analyze both systems well and keep in mind what exactly you want, both from an in-game and an off-game point of view.

If you want make Hermetic Magic works similar to Exalted Sorcery you have to identify where the two systems converge and where they diverge. Exalted don't have a Vis system or anything similar, sorcerers draw sorcerous motes from the fabric of reality, shaping it through pre-established formulas in the very fabric of Creation and use methods established within themselves (shaping rituals) to store, amplify or manipulate it in some way. Learning certain spells (control spells) can permanently change the sorcerer. This can be a starting point.


Sounds like an "improvised Rituals" breakthrough to me :slightly_smiling_face:
Or maybe more potent rituals?


The Control spells could be an interesting Breakthrough for Hermetic magic. Making one spell your Control spell, and having it change you in some way.


That’s how I would interpret sorcerous workings. They’re generally slower than hermetic rituals, taking days sometimes, and usually require much more extensive preparations, but they can have major permanent effects. Including some geomantic alterations that, in Ars terms, could be seen as changes in auras. That would probably be best as an additional breakthrough though. Related to sacred geometry, but operating on the scale of landscapes and ley lines.


So after this helpful thread I've sat down and come up with a list of potential breakthroughs. For the most part I've avoided much in the way of details, more just general ideas.


  1. Spells that Bypass the need for Arcane Connections (Exalted spells can target a person directly so long as the sorceror has met them in the past i.e. Infallible Messenger) ?New Target: Sympathetic Connection or Range: Unlimited. Props to @temprobe .

  2. Spells that affect the Lunar Sphere (this is not a limit to Sorcery in Exalted)

  3. Limit of Time - can scry on the future or the past (this is not a limit to Sorcery in Exalted)

  4. Hermetic Workings, effectively rituals that take weeks, months, seasons or years to accomplish that accomplish significantly grander effects beyond a Magus's normal lab total.

  5. Limit of Aging - Sorcerous Workings in Exalted can make a character near immortal, however, always with a conditions in which it fails/doesn't work and a catch.

  6. Restore Fatigue - Not exactly a mechanic in Exalted, but certainly not a limitation either.

  7. Create new things without raw vis (bypass Limit of Creation)

  8. Bypass LImit of Warping - Sorcerous workings in Exalted can remove Flaws (with experience points.)

  9. Shaping Initiations - The gift does not exist in Exalted and as such Mortals can be initiated into magic. These can optionally bestow some kind of Virtue upon the mortal for a cost in experience points.


  1. Control Spells - For each magnitude of spells a magus knows, one may be their "Control Spell" - a spell that permanently changes the magus in minor way but also boosts the potency of the spell in some fashion. For Magnitude 1-X spells, the spell is one magnitude more powerful, whether range, duration, target or potency. This increases to two magnitudes for magnitude X+ spells, and the magus is more significantly changed.

  2. Increased Spell Penetration: In Exalted, the magnitude of spells has no effect on the penetration abilities of the spell. As such, this Breakthrough would mean spell levels no longer subtract from the penetration total. This is game breaking in Ars Magica as written, and should be a troupe decision about what kind stories get told.


  1. Fast Rituals: Most spells in Exalted that have ritual level effects can be cast in combat time - "Ritual" spells now take a number of rounds equal to magnitude.

  2. Target: Radius. Radius is a function of the Magus's power (In Exalted Many spells have a radius of effect based on Permanent Essence, which has no clear Ars Magica Equivalent).

  3. More powerful summoning spells - that instantly summon the being to the Magus's presence, and bind it to the Master's will for a year and a day, OR, bind the being to a specific task for eternity or until the spell is canceled/countered somehow.

  4. Decade Duration: Solar Circle Spells can affect an area for up to a decade in the core book.

  5. Target: Battlegroup. In Exalted, spells can be cast at armies or subunits.

Probably some more that I missed, but thanks again to everyone for their suggestions.

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Range: Unlimited. See Ancient Magic p. 45