Hi all. New guy here so I hope this hasn't been asked and answered before.
So I'm thinking about running a campaign centered around an oncoming Fimbulwinter. Naturally, the Muspelli will play a big part in this.
In developing some potential story seeds, I thought it might be useful to create one who the PCs could interact with on more friendly terms, with the goal of integrating Muspelli magic into Hermetic theory. A Muspelli who has some serious doubts about the goals of the Jotun and who could even be convinced to abandon the plot for Ragnarok.
But this made me wonder about how a Muspelli's patron Jotun would react to the Muspelli abandoning their goal. Or, even worse, turning themselves over to the Order and lending their magical knowledge to the development of Hermetic theory to help stop Ragnarok. Given how entwined a Muspelli's magic is with their Jotun patron, it struck me that it might not even be possible to integrate Muspelli magic using diplomacy.
What are people's thoughts? Does a traitorous Muspelli lose his powers? Can he still access his etin-mod for utiseta, or summon an Aspect of his patron (probably very inadvisable)?
While long-term the Muspelli and their patrons want to cause Ragnarok, short-term some of the Muspelli can be interacted with in a friendly way.
See the entries for followers of Nidhogg&Fenrir and those of Urdur.
As a rule of thumb, if something is not explicitly stated in the rule and a SG needs to adjudicate a case, it is left for him to decide what suits him the best for his needs and the story.
A Muspelli having some doubts and possibly loosing part of his powers is reasonable, and also a nice way for him to look for mages as a way to recover part of his power or learn a different way to do magic. It gives him an incentive to look for hermetic mage and trades secrets for initiation into hermetic magic - just keep in mind that learning hermetic magic for somebody who had been initiated in another form of magic is very difficult and requires very high InVi score (see HoH: Societas, p128), a task for a Pralixian specialist.
Since you are talking about Fimbulwinter, you have access to Dies Irae, and in Twilight of Gods, there is mention of the Golden Cord and how magic is funneled through Titans that grant powers to their worshipers. You can decide that it is how works Muspelli powers and if they displease their master, their powers can be restricted or possibly stripped - up to you to dial what could still work regardless of the relationship with their master and what is the specific purview of their master.
As already noted it is possible to play a Muspelli benignly (in the short term); Muspelli are ultimately still humans with personal needs and failings. Hell, one way to defeat one of the Muspelli is through their need for human connection.
In the long-term it can get tricky but I believe it could potentially be done the easiest with Urdur as your patron. As a Jotun, she presides over the domain of destiny / fate, which is something Norsemen took very seriously. Even the gods were bound to it and her main beef with them is their repeated attempts to evade it. It is a very common trope in European storytelling too, with the ones trying to avert destiny usually being decipted as the villains, a role interestingly filled by Aesir in this particular story.
Perhaps Urdur had foreseen the character acting against his fellow Muspelli, but rather than strip him of his powers and agency, she leaves him be; his fate and actions have been foretold and should thus be allowed to come to pass. Or perhaps this attempt at Ragnarok will fail, but said character's actions will somehow be beneficial for when the time actually comes to pass?
Does anyone else find the whole idea of Jotun as magical beings who want mortal servants to be diametrically opposed to the entire setup of the Titanomachy? It seems to me that if the Jotun plot were to be successful they would be the same as faeries in terms of utilizing worship.
That being said, maybe a Muspeili is cooperating with Hermetic Magi in order to "contaminate" their magic and provide a greater potential outlet of power to the Jotuns. It's not like there aren't already mysteries for calling on the powers of powerful magical beings...
"You want to convert an infernal aura into a magical aura? Sure, no problem, just call upon Loki's kin to do the job for you"
The difference is that faeries need interaction with humans. Worship is one possibility, but any kind of interaction can suffice. Faeries literally cannot exist without humans around.
The Jotun, and other magical beings, don't have this need for interaction with humans. They don't get anything from worship as such. They can use humans as servants or tools, or even have them as friends or lords, but if all humans were to suddenly disappear it would not have any direct effect on them.
My memory is less than perfect, but don't many activities involve the actual intervention of an Aspect of the Jotnar patron, and the Muspelli is an arcane connection to the patron? Such as initiation into new powers, improvement to the Ettin-mod, and receiving instruction in your powers. (There aren't many if any books, and with no Parma your peers don't actually like being in your presence.) So betrayal is likely be tested by a personal encounter of a mythic being, and if they are displeased with you, they have a permanent arcane connection to you to blast you at will. Honestly, they only have to add 2 points of warping, and there is a solid likely that a Valkyrie will show up and try to kill you.
So your faithless Muspelli is likely going to be a painting the walls in short order. They might last long enough to give Inspiration to integrating some aspect of Muspelli magic, but they aren't going to survive long enough to actually teach you anything. (Especially as their magic is performed in a language you don't know.) And their efforts to realign Faerie auras is definitely a violation of the Code, so your the culpability in the matter may get you called to a Tribunal. Some of your characters might sympathize with their crusade against the Fae, and many will be desperately interested in the ability to realign auras, but the Muspelli aren't going to be a long term solution. Any Muspelli cooperating with the Order is likely going to live fast and die wide.
Seeing as the Muspelli's overall goal involves freeing Loki, the most treacherous being in all Norse mythology, it wouldn't be out of character for one of them to emulate Loki's treachery.
(Un?)Ironically, Odin himself is as good a contender for this position as well.
That is the rules definition of the difference, yes. But in terms of the backstory narrative it is agreed that faeries were originally magical beings which became faeries because they sought worship as a way to boost their power. Sound familiar? It's a bit like saying that someone is a blood drinking werewolf that can control their anger, remains bipedal at all times and never grows hair or takes on an animalistic appearance, and is unaffected by the moon, but they are a werewolf and not a vampire because they don't take damage from sunlight and follow the rules for making werewolves instead of vampires.
No, that does not sound familiar. I don't think I have encountered that origin story for faeries anywhere.
Where is it from?
Trying to locate it, I have taken it as part of the background for years. There is at least a reference to it on p.8 of RoP: faerie, as well as p. 124 in the sundered eagle. I believe the primary reference though is p.108 of RoP:Magic, under the window "Genii, Gods, and Worship"
It’s said that long ago some of these spirits — the first faeries — found that the worship of mankind could give them power beyond their allotted span, and they became the first gods. In a conflict called the Titanomachia (“War of the Titans”), the Faerie gods staged a coup and ousted the uncaring and aloof spirits of Magic from the thrones of the world.
so by this principle the Jotun should be "uncaring and aloof" not trying to recruit worshipers and emulating the faeries.
Huge difference between recruiting worshippers and recruiting pawns to be sacrificed later.
There are many references to the Titanomachy, where the faerie gods overthrew the magical titans.
The most detailed account in the Ars 5e line is probably in Dies Irae p111.
The quote you gave is probably the only place where it is suggested that faeries started as magical spirits who grew powerful through worship.
Later in the same insert you got the quote from it is explained just why some magical spirits encourage worshippers, and it is not to get power directly from the worship itself, unlike the faerie gods.
It is more that it can be useful to have devoted servants, and in some cases this devotion can help the spirit reach the status of daimon.
Faeries: Gets vitality, and thus power, from worship.
Titans: Gets mortal servants from a religion devoted to them. Does not get vitality from worship.
There is the whole Theurgy thing, which does in fact give Daimons the means to improve further and gain more power?
Being summoned through theurgy = Daimonic Points = Advancement.
Sure, but it is not the worship itself which gives the Daimon more power, but the vis used when summoning them.
In the "My Life as a Grog" blog, Jarkman follows up on Mark Shirley's suggestion on this forum of having Mimir as a benign Jotun patron who may work with rune magicians. I guess that could expend maybe to Hermetics.
Thanks for the replies. Really interesting ideas here.
I definitely think that Urdur would make a good patron for this NPC concept. I know in Dies Irae there's already an example Muspelli of Urdur who could make a decent candidate for Hermetic recruitment with a bit of diplomacy and charm.
So much will depend on PC decisions of course, but I might lay the groundwork a bit early in case they want to snap up those opportunities. Run an encounter or two with a Muspelli before the Fimbulwinter plot really kicks off. I definitely like the idea that the Muspelli might be doing their own thing before they hear the call for Ragnarok, and a decent proportion of them are probably hoping it doesn't happen in their life time, leaving them to actually enjoy their powers in whatever way they choose. I think that's an easy way of bringing in a cordial Muspelli.
I might even have a Muspelli of Leikin building an army of the dead for Loki but not necessarily maniacally evil. Because unless Loki plans on turning up tomorrow, it's pretty reasonable that such a Muspelli could be doing whatever she wants with that army whilst she waits for Ragnarok.
Once Fimbulwinter starts, I might just have to make some background decisions about whether this is the "real" Fimbulwinter or just a precursor. The former is an easy out, since a Muspelli's patron might not care about them preventing Fimbulwinter if it isn't the true end of days.
But I could see some good stories around protecting a Muspelli from their own patron, or them having to balance retaining their powers with their own conscience. I had a thought that the impetus for this change of heart was angelic intervention from heipt, so perhaps an opportunity for more pious characters to push them to forsake their powers and patron.
This sort of timeline gives me the chance to slowly limit the possible integrations suggested in Rival Magic. If caught early, the PCs might have the chance to truly study utiseta and integrate Flexible Ritual Magic and Aura Alignment. Perhaps even a way of calling up daimons without the use of vis that could be integrated into Hermetic Theurgy.
But once a Muspelli betrays their patron, perhaps they only have their etin-mod to offer as inspiration for Potent Mythic Blood. They might be locked out of utiseta or find it too risky to call upon their angry patron for power. Or they have become god-fearing and are looking to properly forsake these powers.
Isn't there a Greek variant of the Muspelli tied to the Greek Titans? That could serve as a less antagonistic version if required.
Freeing Prometheus might be less concerning than freeing Loki after all.
And that is assuming that they are different entities. No one says that the mortal practitioners have to be working with all the true information of their patron's goals.
A lot of the Greek titans actually sided with the gods or stayed out of the conflict, Prometheus included. Though later on he gave fire (or magic) to humanity and Zeus got annoyed at that and chained him to a mountain and had an eagle peck out his liver every day. Eventually Heracles came by and freed him. And some of the titans were just too strong to imprison at all, Zeus didn't even think of chaining Nyx, he'd have gotten smoked.
Presumably the whole muspelli magic thing only works for actually imprisoned titans, and those tend to be pretty cranky overall.