Hermetic Architecture - Queries using a worked example

Hello all

I have been pondering Hermetic Architecture and how it works. I'd be very interested in peoples opinions on my worked example below and particularly on my queries and conclusions. If Neil Taylor and CJ (The Mysteries Revised authors) are about and willing to comment, I'd be super happy too :slight_smile:

A magus, lets call him Jim, wants to enchant his home to up the magic aura. He already has a really good aura with a strength of 7 but wants to up it to a fearsome 9.

Question 1 - Can the increase aura effects from Hermetic architecture be stacked, i.e. could he put 2 effects into his enchantment, one to raise it to 8 and another to raise it to 9?

Jim calculates that his home, a castle occupies and area consistent with a boundary effect and is made of hard stone (i.e. size 8, *4 multiplier) and so would require 32 pawns of vis of enchantment spaces. He therefore creates 8 wands made of gold (size 2 * material 10), each tipped with a semi-precious gem (size 1 * material 12). Each of these wands has 32 enchantment spaces and he requires 8 of them due to the boundary size of his castle.

Jim opens the wands for enchantment using 256 pawns of vim vis. He considers that if he does this again, he will pay for the services of a verditius or someone with philosophic alchemy or celestial magic.

Jim then enchants the "Increase Aura effect" into the wands

Increase Aura 1
Increase the aura from 7 to 8
(Base 70, +1 touch, +4 boundary, +14 levels for always on)
Costs 11 pawns of vis to enchant


Increase Aura 2
Increase the aura from 8 to 9
(Base 75, +1 touch, +4 boundary, +14 levels for always on)
Costs 12 pawns of vis to enchant

Question 2 - Does Jim need to enchant this effect separately into each of the wands, i.e. making 16 enchantments in total? Or does Jim make the enchantment once to cover all the wands. This either costs him 184 pawns of vis or 23 pawns of vis.

With the items enchanted, Jim places them in the correct locations with an int + Artes Liberales roll of 14 (base 6+ the size of 8).

He then casts the ritual Bind the Mystical Structure to link them together. This needs to be level 140 (highest enchantment effect level of 114+5, +2 magnitudes to bump it to boundary). This costs 28 pawns of vis and takes 7 hours.

Question 3 - The description says this is a special ritual and more like the rites of the mystery, using the spell rulles for vis consumption and calculations. Does Jim need to invent this ritual in the lab or can he just go ahead and cast it?

With all the components now linked, Jim settles into enjoy his aura of 9.

Question 4 - In total, has this cost Jim 468 pawns of vis, or 307?

Now, as it stands, either way, I can't see this being even slightly worth using. But, if Jim were an appropriately powerful Verditius, with Philosophic alchemy or celestial magic (or even better, both), or with access to such a person, the costs could be dramatically reduced. Even a normal verditius, fresh from his gauntlet, with a craft score of 5 could reduce the costs by 40 pawns of vis.


Question 5 - Has anyone actually used Hermetic architecture in game, and what did they do with it?

I faked up a flying castle and then smashed it into mountain so that the player character could crawl through it and fight monsters...

1: I think so.

2: Not sure, but I'd assume so.

3: As far as I can tell, you need to invent the ritual as a "normal spell"

4: Haven't done the math, but far too much.

5: Only a bit.

I see it this way:

Question 1: Yes, stacking in the way you describe it is possible.

Question 2: He needs to enchant each enchantment into each wand separately (p.98 middle column Investing the Effects).

Question 3: p.98 Completing and Binding the Enchantment speaks of casting a 'Mystery ritual' "formulated as a spell for calculations and vis consumption", not inventing one. So Jim can just go ahead and 'cast' it.

Question 4: 468 looks like the number to me.
AFAICS Jim is unnecessarily greedy and demanding. An Aura 9 in his castle is a horror for all its inhabitants but him. (Well, even an Aura of 7 in his castle is catastrophic ...)
Anyway he might be very content if having Aura 9 only in his lab, which is perhaps the size of a 10 paces by 10 paces room. This reduces effort and vis cost somewhat - if I am correct to 624+621+22=292.

Question 5: There's a certain magus 'looking forward' to become an expert in Hermetic Architecture, willing or not.
He knows that this knowledge is only useful in collaborative efforts of groups of powerful magi, including:
(1) Hermetic politicians agreeing on the goals, 'finding' the vis and making the work worth the while of the experts,
(2) Verditii opening the Component Devices for enchantment,
(3) the Hermetic Architect placing the Component Devices correctly, enchanting the effects into them and binding it all together.
Luckily, he has a lot of political ambition - and one or two big Hermetic Architecture projects might be useful to build support for himself. 8)


I'm impressed at Jim having 16 Magic Theory, given the limit is 2x your magic theory pawns of vis per season.

Having a very high CrVi lab total, he might well have Major Philosophic Alchemy and can therefore prime items with vis before investing them.

I'm impressed at him having the time to go through all those mysteries then :smiley:

He's found some generous and skilled mystagogues at some point in his life. Perhaps he would like to share where such kindly souls can be found with other interested magi? :slight_smile:

Jim is a very specific race, making munchkins pale in awe: he's a stalking horse. :stuck_out_tongue:


Hermetic Archaeology is a minor virtue, and it is complementary to Philosophic Magic, so it's not improbable.

He's probably a Verditius, with Verditius Elder Runes.

Mark Lawford had an article on the concept in Sub Rosa 11, for those interested.

IMS we have a houserule that the seasonal vis limit is MT *3. So Jim needs a MT of 12, not 16. Assume an appropriate specialisation, that takes it down to 11, very high, but not in the realm of madness.

Well it seems my worst fears were confirmed. Using Hermetic Architecture is just too expensive for this purpose (not to mention the effects are too high level to work on for any but a master leading a very experienced team).

Verditius magic, elder runes, philosophic alchemy and celestial magic aside, the vis cost of enchanting the effects separately into 8 devices is staggering.

Now, being an ex-dnd nerd, I remember fondly Mythals, enchantments that covered whole cities. Hermetic architecture looks to be the best way to do this, but I think it would work better with lower level effects. so lets forget the aura raising abilities and instead focus on the ability to use boundary effect in the enchantments. What would be some cool effects to enchant over a city wide area? Of course, we here run into the problem of warping. Constant effects cause a point of warping each year (assuming low level). Multiple constant effects mean that your populace are going to get weird, fast.

Now, this might not be too bad if you don't mind odd locals.

Hermetic Architecture is not cheap, by any means, but it does allow you to take advantage of using smaller items to overcome the MT vis use limit. When you raise the MT vis use limit, you make Hermetic Architecture even less attractive.

The problem seems to be: It doesn't allow that.

Each of the smaller items must have the same Vis requirements as the whole structure. And you then, additionally, need as many of them as the structure's size modifier.

ie. Enchanting a stone room would require 20 pawns, you need to be able to use 20 pawns to be able to enchant each of the five smaller items.

Ah, you're right. It has been a long time since I've looked at Hermetic Architecture. What it allows is one to enchant a structure, without actually building an entire lab around the structure.

Is this for an NPC? I think the easy solution is for your dude to have researched a breakthrough for Hermetic Architecture, so that the Viz cost is split among each of the smaller elements. Then you would have 32 pawns, as opposed to 256, which isn't out of line (I think), because you aren't saving Viz, just not spending all that extra. And you have a great "treasure" for your players, one more valuable then gold.....

The obvious name for it would be Major Hermetic Architecture.

It just seems the natural progression. As it stands, why not just set up a lab around the building and enchant that sucker? Yes, it's unsafe, but 200+ pawns? How dangerous or time consuming was getting that?

Sometimes it isn't possible. An SG might declare that is impossible, not just unsafe, to create a lab around a tower (edit) or something as large as a castle, perhaps.

First, sounds like the kind of game where you won't have more then two hundred pawns floating around to be used before you even start the actual project..... Second, of course, wouldn't a ring spell to shrink the building until it did fit your temporary lab still make more sense? As it stands, you have to be able to enchant the building before you are able to use Hermetic Architecture to enchant the building........

Not sure what you're saying. Are there games like that? Sure. It might even be that such a covenant has to maintain reserves of 200+ pawns. Go on killing a bunch of magical creatures and harvesting their vis. Or you're a member of Valnastium, the Domus Magna of house Jerbiton, and if Sanctuary of Ice still applies (it may not, since it's not canon for 4th Edition, but almost everyone plays that it is) they are harvesting or able to harvest over 200 pawns of vis annually, since you need 10 pawns of vis per magus, and Valnastium has 21 magi.

I'm uncomfortable with that approach, but I can't quite articulate the reasons why, as of yet. Part of it probably stems from the problems I have with large rings I've discussed elsewhere. Part of it is from the idea that circle spells can not be easily be broken, by just crossing over the ring of the circle. In fantasy literature, one must maintain their position either inside or outside of the circle, and crossing the ring typically breaks the spell/protection.