Folk magic Integration

The books (particularly Hedge Magic: Revised Edition) cover the idea of what happens if a hermetic mage integrates Folk magic into the Hermetic Paradigm.

But what would happen if a would-be Bonisagus attempts to integrate some aspect of Hermetic Magic into the Folk Magic paradigm?

Any suggestions?

Is the Bonisagus a Folk Magic practitioner, and expert in its Theory?

Also, why would they "betray" the Order of Hermes "secrets"?

Aren't there Virtues in tC&tC showing some potential sahir integrations of Hermetic magic?

1 Like

There isn't a "Folk Magic paradigm" as such, since Folk Magic isn't a whole tradition, just a single Supernatural Ability.
What your hypothetical Bonisagus would be doing would essentially be to teach the Folk Magic practitioners some Hermetic Magic. Which would likely fail unless they are Gifted.

Pretty sure the intended meaning of

Is that it’s a folk witch who, if they were a Hermetic Magus, would most likely have been the sort to be in House Bonisagus.

On the issue of betrayal, insight can be gained in a number of manners such as from a found enchanted item or a book or a ghost. Another possibility is that the folk witch might actually be in the Order and trying to reconcile Hermetic Magic Theory with Folk Witch Theory alongside a Pralician trying to do the opposite.

Yes but I don’t think that was done with any other hedge or rival tradition.

Huh? They are one of the few traditions with their own magic theory which is pretty much the one thing you need for a paradigm. So do you mean they don’t seem to have a systematized grid of arts that interact with each other because sure, they don’t.

1 Like

Well, if Folk Witches and their tradition is intended, then that's a different thing, but there also exists a Supernatural Virtue that is actually named "Folk Magic" (TSE p123) which has nothing to do with Folk Witches.

Considering HM:RE is mentioned at the very beginning of the post and they reference the canon integrations at the end of the chapter that that was merely a mistake of some kind (typographic, translation error) and the actual intent was pretty clear.

You should distinguish:

  • HMRE p.36ff Folk Witch Magic, which has p.39 box Folk Witch Magic Theory and with TCI p.44 box Hedge Magic and Original Research in Àdamh Brathair a visionary theoretician out to unify the Hedge traditions of Ireland on one hand,


  • TSE p.123 box New Virtue: Folk Magic, which is just a Minor Supernatural Virtue covering some simple peasant magics without much organization and certainly without an encompassing theory on the other hand.

This will help straighten out the discussions in this thread.


In terms of Hermetic Law? It depends.

-Why is this Bonisagus doing this?
-What will be done with this improved Folk Witch Magic?
-Does this Bonisagus have some Folk Witch abilities?
-Is the Bonisagus cooperating with other (Hermetic or Non-Hermetic) Witches in this project?
-Hedge Magic (p.9) suggests that developing a Hedge Magic Theory might not be illegal per se, but frowned upon.

If an argument can be made that the Bonisagus is just improving her magic or her (read: Order's) allies' magic, she could potentially win a case brought against her during Tribunal.

In terms of actual Breakthroughs? There are so many options to consider. Heres a few that come to mind:

  1. Folk Witch Potions (effectively Charged Items) always require Vis, even if the stored Abilities do not have ritual effects, like Healing. Learning how to brew potions of Second Sight, Shapeshifting & Flight without any vis expenditure could be neat.

  2. Folk Witches cannot use their Supernatural abilities in a standard fashion; they must always rely on Folk Witch Methods (Incantations, Fetishes, Potions). Occasionally this works pretty well, and on other occasions, it is detrimental. For example; you need to enchant a new fetish for every form your Shapeshifter has. Getting rid of such detriments but keeping the pros is another option.

  3. Better Familiars. Folk Witches can bind familiars, but this does not come with the added benefits of Familiar Cords. Fewer magical botches, slower aging and an added Magical Defense against mind control? Sounds like a sweet deal.

  4. Kitchen Assistance. Witches apparently can't aid one another in their Kitchens; the only exception is the Familiar and the Sabbat bonuses. Finding a way for them to aid one another in Kitchen directly could be useful.

  5. More Flexible Magic? Undoubtedly a Hermetic-level Breakthrough, but the ability to vary the effects of their Supernatural Abilities in a spell-like / ritual fashion could be a powerful boon. Consider the way Muspelli Utiseta works; something along those lines, perhaps.


HM:RE is where most of the integration rules are found as well as examples of integration, so no - the actual intent was not clear at all if Folk Witches were what was meant.

1 Like

It is not quite clear what you mean, but for the sake of discussion, suppose the question was this. A Gifted Folk Witch with a Bonisagus mindset wants to integrate Hermetic magic into her tradition. How would she go about it?

Folk Witches have a magic theory, a kitchen, and lab totals, making their magic structurally compatible with Hermetic lab work and original research. I imagine we would simply adapt the Hermetic rules for insight, integration, and original research into the folk witch rules, and play the Folk Witch as a Bonisagus. I have not tried it, so I do not know if there be obstacles, but I think it would work.


I think that I started a discussion about this a while ago on the Discord server.

The problem that I see is that Folk Witches have Lab Totals but they don't use an Effect Level for their activities. The activities are "one and done", something similar to charged items.

So you have to come up with new rules about integration/OR (maybe integration is easier) based on Hermetic ones, for example by introducing Effect Levels for effects (and use the "LT - Level" type of research) .

Sorry I maybe should have been clearer.

The person in question is a gifted folk witch, not a hermetic magi. They have been told about Bonisagus, and admire what Bonisagus did for the collection of cults that he came from and wants to emulate Bonisagus's journey to improve their own folk witchcraft and leave a legacy that they could pass on to their apprentice.

They have studied and learned both Hermetic Magic Theory (from a text) and Folk Witch Magic Theory (From their own apprenticeship)

They are a gifted Folk Witch, not a Hermetic Magi. (at least in game terms, they have joined House Ex-Misc because of extremely low standards)

That is for integrating Folk Witch abilities into Hermetic Magic, this person is trying the inverse.
They seek to integrate Hermetic insight into their own Hedge Magic to improve the hedge magic.

They are not a Bonisagus, they are a Folk witch with access to Hermetic texts.

Thanks for pointing out the Supernatural Virtue "Folk Magic" (TSE p123), I was not aware of that one, but you are entirely correct, it is not relevant to this question, which is about a Northern English Folk Witch.

Yeah, that is a problem, narratively it should be possible for magical traditions other than the Order to develop and expand their understanding of magic. After all Bonisagus himself was not a Hermetic mage when he began his journey and probably also couldn't make "lab totals" as a modern Hermetic would understand them.
Folk Mages do have a "paradigm" of magic as they have Folk Magic Theory which can be used to do a number of things. So it should be possible to expand upon their current suite of abilities. Especially if you've got a guidebook showing you how another group managed a similar thing. Indeed, I would wager that some things like Longevity rituals and Familiar bonding probably have the same origin (either familiar bonding was learned from Folk Witches, Folk Witches learned it from the Order or both discovered it from some older source), so this has already happened.

Although by now the Magic Theory of the Order of Hermes is an order of magnitude more complex and comprehensive than the magic theory of a rustic tradition. But that's just a matter of a clever mind prying apart what is fundamental from that which is rote.

1 Like

You've actually hit upon exactly what I am asking yes.

I would agree, I think that various elements of Hermetic Magic would need to be integrated one at a time.
Perhaps starting with the ability to permanently enchant items.
A Folk Witch already knows how to attune a Fetish such as a broom for flying or a rod for divination.
Maybe with integration they could develop a flying broom that works independently of the witch themselves.

Integrating some version of vulgar alchemy would seem to match most naturally with the paradigm of a folk witch.

Integrating the arts would be much harder. Hermetic magic has tended to integrate a single art a time. So maybe an extra supernatural ability derived from Hermetic magic? Ending up with something between an art and a supernatural ability akin to the "Arts" of the Gruachan?

Actually mechanically, you could change the Folk Witch "Cursing" supernatural ability into the Gruachan "Curse" form and from there, create equivalents to the other 6 Folk witch virtues as well and maybe then integrating the Hermetic Techniques... That would be a lot of potential breakthroughs.


Disregarding the possible political implications, I think it depends on what aspect of hermetic magic this folk witch is integrating. At the moment I can think of:

  • accelerated abilities (by integrating the way Arts are structured they might change their abilities into accelerated abilities, would probably require 1 breakthrough for each ability)
  • integration of PeCo effects to increase the possible curses the witch can inflict
  • integration of CrCo effects to allow the witch to use Healing w/o vis to provide healing bonus
  • improved way to bind familiars (gains familiar chords and the possibility of investing effects in the bond);
  • improved longevity potion (higher lab totals);
  • integration of rules for charged items allowing to brew weaker potions w/o using vis

As nex said you would need to change OR/integration rules a bit. Also, check the last paragraph on p. 16 from Hedge Magic. It talks about hedge wizards trying to integrate effects from other traditions, or hermetic effects, and mentions that due to a less structured theoretical framework these traditions would require double the breakthrough points (around 60 for minor, 90 for major, etc).

Maybe decide what is minor, what is major and what is... "folk witcher" for the tradition? Like, maybe integrating new curse effects is minor (it's similar to developing new range/duration/target), integrating new aspects to the tradition is major (eg. integrating familiar chords) and changing an ability into an accelerated ability would be a folk witcher breakthrough?


That's a really good answer and pretty much what I was looking for.

I think each supernatural ability would become a slightly different enhanced ability.

Animal Ken: Create a new enhanced ability using the Rego Animal and Intellego Animal guidelines
Cursing: Use the existing Gruachan form "Curse"
Flight: Create a new enhanced ability using the Rego guidelines for Corpus and Terram.
Healing: Create a new enhanced ability called "healing", taking guidelines from Intervention (Purity) healing and Intervention (Purity) fatigue restoration.
Second Sight and Dowsing: Combine into a new enhanced ability "Perception" based off of Intellego Vis and Intellego Imaginem guidelines.
Shapeshifting: Create a new enhanced ability "Transformation" using the Muto Corpus guidelines and the Gruachan take shape form, allowing shifting to animal or elemental forms.

Obviously as these would be forms only, they would struggle to reach the heights of Hermetic magic or even those of their Gruachan cousins, but it would be significantly more flexible.

Improved Familiar binding and integrating rules for item creation including charged items I fully agree with.
I think that the improved longevity potion will simply use the new version of the "healing" and so probably doesn't need to be its own break-through, being bundled with the development of healing as an enhanced ability.

1 Like