With Summoning, you can summon any spirit. Does it matter if they are in dorporeal form? It mentions that spirits posessing people are summoned, just the spirit and not the body, but what about a spirit that takes a solid shape? Not a demon, as their bodies are composed of pure spirit. I mean like a Jinn or a ghost that becomes solid.
Does Chthonic Magic apply? I mean, say you are a Hermetic Goetist, substituting Rego for Summoning and Vim for Realm Lore. If you also have Chthonic magic, can you use it to double your lower Art? I think so, but some of my players disagree.
I didn't respond about this in the other spot, so I'll write here. Chthonic magic does specify spells and lab work. The Chthonic Arts do not produce spells. That would be my rationale against allowing it.
My understanding is that a physical thing which can become incorporeal is not a spirit, but a spirit which has a power to become tangible is. As such, the latter can definitely be summoned. I think I'd rule that as with possession, the physical form is disrupted and an action is required to reform it.
When in doubt, I'd let the spirit overrule the letter. This is the sort of thing Cthonic Magic is supposed to allow, and so it should. The specification of spells and labwork to me suggests that it not apply to things where arts totals are used which are not active magic, and Summoning is clearly active magic.
I am of the view that summoning, binding, commanding and ablating are not spells/lab totals which means cthonic magic and magical focuses do not apply.
The fact that you are substituting Rego for the supernatural ability or vim for the (realms) lore because of the special substitution rules, does not mean you get to double them if you have either of the mentioned virtues.
Hermetic virtues do not apply to non-hermetic supernatural abilities like the Ars Goetia.
It specifically say you substitute your scores, not your arts.
So, IMO, you're using them as a goetic art (say, Commanding) and an ability (Say, Magic Lore), not as a technique and form.
Thus, no focus.
BTW, I see Cthonic Magic focus as a special lure for Hermetics. By the raw, if an hermetic ressorts to Commanding, Binding or Abalting, he's already "lost" (or gained, from a demon's POW) by his use of Infernal Powers
While it has the taint of the infernal, Cthonic magic is perhaps the single most powerful virtue in the game.
It affects a doubling of lowest art (like a focus) for ALL hermetic art combinations for spell casting and lab work. This makes it many times more powerful than any major focus.
To allow it to work on the non-hermetic activitities: Summoning, binding and such are supernatural abilities, they are not hermetic arts, is a step too far that is not justified. Considering the cost to use them is a minor sin like just uttering a blasphemy (in Marko's saga, it was used with invocation to dark hades in prayer). I am all for keeping the reasonable limits.
Summoning is not hermetic spell casting or hermetic labwork. IT does not use hermetic arts (yes you can substitute but they are acting as what they are substituting for). It does not benefit from the cthonic magic.
Assuming it could be worked in to the duel appropriately, maybe. It is in the interests of Hell for is servants to gain power. They thus gain followers and spread the influence of Hell still further. Certamen, to my mind, runs off your arts seperately rather than in a combo, so that's a bit iffy.
As a storyguide, I'd rule "no." Chthonic Magic gives a special boost to wicked Hermetic magic, and while magi can substitute their Arts for their scores in Summoning and Realm Lore, they still aren't performing Hermetic magic. Likewise, I wouldn't allow a Major Magical Focus in spirits to affect the outcome of the Summoning ritual. I suggest the character invent a Hermetic spell to summon the spirit instead, which should be a simple thing with Chthonic Magic and the willingness to use it. >:)
ETA: Oh, and yes, I imagine being corporeal does make a difference. For example, a ghost transformed by magic into a physical thing couldn't be summoned with Spirit Summoning, in my opinion. How are these spirits becoming corporeal? If it's something like a MuMe effect, changing the material of their bodies, I'd say Spirit Summoning can't find them any more. If they're controlling another body or just making themselves visible, they're still spirits.
ETA2: Hedge Magic hadn't been written yet, so the terms "Arts" and "Abilities" didn't have their new meanings in RoP: I. Because none of the Goetic Arts require the others to use them, they are technically "Accelerated Abilities." Think of Realm Lore as a special bonus that gets added to the total when summoning a specific spirit.
I had pointed out that combining a Hermetic spell with Chthonic Magic and Goetic Mastery was probably much more insidious than any of their abstract fears.
Also, I would agree with you about a MuMe effect that changed a spirit into a physical being. But most spirits don't do it that way. They use a variation of some Corporeal Mantel type power, creating a body and animating it. I myself consider this a variation of "posession". The spirit never changed from being a spirit being. It is merely housed in a corporeal shell that it animates.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but is a man turned into an animal by MuCo(An) not still affected by Corpus spells? Certainly that's implied by the Heartbeast, Shapehanger and Lycanthrope Virtues and Flaws. I can certainly see scope for beings which can switch their essential natures between Spirit and Material, but I would have thought them the exception rather than the rule.
The example that was used was for illustration on how easy it is to invoke and use Cthonic magic for the incredible benefits. Does it matter how it was used necessarily in my argument? The argument was that it is disgustingly powerful with almost no drawbacks to balance it for Hermetic Arts.
Adding it to the Ars Goetia, just further unbalances what is just a major virtue.
In my opinion, it is perfectly balanced. You're damned, though you may deny it. And that is a big deal
My problem is that I don't get the chance to seduce and corrupt the Chthonic Magus, because everyone whines and complains so much that it forces me to show my cards and spoils my tricky plan. That happened to me recently. My long complicated manicions were set back to square one, and I think all of the debate may have chased the player in question away.
I personally would have preferred to have people address their issues in game. "Say, that is an awful lot of spirits you got going there. You smell like brimstone." And take it from there.
As it is, the players are confrontational out of game in table talk, but in character they are so timid that the guy used a Chthonic invocation right in front of one of them and they paid no mind to it.
Not everyone in that conversation saw it as perfectly balanced.
The issues that people had were with rules, depending on the person, either that the rules as written were obviously not being used or that the RAW might not work well even if applied. Characters ought not discuss that kind of thing!
They don't get to notice that he smells like brimstone unless either he or you posts that he does--and both of you didn't.
Not everyone is going to care about Chthonic invocations.
ACtually with the large number of pagans, most of the characters are not going to care about the cthonic invocations if they even know ICly that invoking dark hades is evil. The christians aren't going to know any different for one pagan religion from another. They are all heathens and pagans.
He hasn't smelled of brimstone yet, his one use of cthonic magic was fairly innoculous as pagan utterance unless you actually had reason to know about dark hades.
Most of what all of us were arguing was RULES, the time, the limits, the substitions and levels of spirits and such. It was mostly mechanics based such as NO DOUBLING REGO or no doubling VIM when using summoning just because you have cthonic magic.
"smelling like brimstone" is a figure of speech. More precisley I mean you should call him out on his suspicious activity with all the spirits.
And everyone should care about Chthonic invocations, unless you are also an infernalist. As it is, only one guy heard it, and his reaction was "meh, the Tremere of old used to worship Hades, no big deal".
Hades is not nice. Other pagans didn't think of him as nice. And Paganism was not ever a unified religion. Worshipping a different god than mine, even if they are from the same pantheon (and not chthonic), is as good a reason as any to oppress you or just kill you. Pagans that worshipped different gods did not get along. And as for christian magi, I am sure that they are well educated enough to realize who hades is and that the Titanoi were dealing with Infernal Titans.
As for rules, never used the Chthonic focus, just pondered it. The only HR in play is that I allow Commanding to be Tainted instead of Infernal, like Summoning.
As for debating RAW, well, that's why I ported the conversation over here. In game, raw is raw and that's just that. If the rules say so, you can do it. My style is to make raw less restrictive, not more. If we want to debate RAW, I feel it is of greater benefit to discuss it with the greater Ars community (like we are doing now). We have a greater diverity of ideas and interpretations, and it may touch on issues others have had
BBut still, the balancing factor to Goat magic and Chthonic magic is that you are supposed to suspect the guy all the time and want to inveatigate him. It only takes a subtle wiff of the Infernal to get you marched. No hard evidence is needed, just a good argument (either trying to convict him or justify the preemptive actions you took).
I know, that is another issue (tribunal). But I have ways of making it work .
I think one of the biggest balancing factors should be that the characters know and accept that they are doing something evil. They can rationalize it if they don't want to be evil, saying they'll make up for it later, or that the Divine is just as bad, or that their patron god is actually faerie or magic and not infernal, or that it is for the greater good, or that it's not them who's doing it, but the fact is that they should still feel a little dirty afterwards.
And hey, I think it's even more interesting if the SG can get the other players to go along with them on the character's downward journey. Sin by association is awesome! Maybe the whole party gets tainted a little every time they see the character invoke the gods of the underworld and kill a fresh whole lizard in the light of the crescent moon. If they can understand the character, sympathize and perhaps contemplate doing the same thing themselves if they could, then they all get to participate in the huge Story Flaw that the Virtue contains within it!