[Hermetic Breakthrough] Range: Stars

Ok, Coraldo Hernandez, brilliant though often drunk egomaniacal playboy of House Bonisagus realizes he needs to start showing results in his laboratory work, as no one seems to recognize his innate genius in the way he would like.

SO, he sets his eyes on some sort of hermetic breakthrough.

After a few Twilights, he finds himself feeling the movements of the spheres. He wakes up the exact same time each day. He knows when certain constellations are above him. He decides that perhaps he is being shown the path he needs to follow for hermetic glory by his own somewhat intoxicating magic. He turns his eyes towards the skies. He does not want to extend magical power beyond the spheres above, but he DOES want to interact with them.

He decides to try and work on a new Range: Stars.

His reasoning is that by focusing on those things under the stars by way of the constellations above, he can effect them. The player envisions this as something akin to "Range: Road", and will need to worry about the same issues that such spells have trouble with: how to sense the target, a hefty increase in spell level (+5 magnitude), and potentially requiring casting at night, and not being able to affect those within regios, or potentially underground (unsure of the cosmological implications of that, in truth).

In the words of Coraldo's player:

That said: ambitious, but too crazy?

What do the fine sages of Conventio Forum Ars Magica say with regards such a breakthrough?


The problem i see is the sphere on which the pinpricks of the stars exist, is on a more outer sphere than each of the planetary spheres. You may want the player to interact with the inner spheres first.

I think if you are interacting with the spheres, you would open up new durations.

Or if you are doing divining type magic, how about the Range: Celestial Interval , where the range is every moment in the future or past at that exact position of the sphere in question at the time of casting. Then have some Interval magnitude increase for further into the past or future. Or for a greater window of time in the next Interval. Just a thought.

Frustrated by the Original Research process, though unwilling to just handwave, the determined Bonisagus player resurrects discussion about celestial breakthroughs for target, duration or range....

He would like to have a breakthrough that gives him some measure of bragging rights, and hints at potentially breaking the Limit of the Lunar Sphere.

Does anyone have any ideas? My mind is blank, and I have a hard time buying into his description, but I'm worried I'm being overly conservative. Still, just accepting any old idea may lead to madness as the game system falls apart, or the setting is warped by a new and perhaps too powerful addition.


The age old SG dilemma.

But the best rule is to give them (more or less) exactly what they ask for (... and make them suck on it.) :smiling_imp:

The celestial sphere is beyond the planetary sphere, which in turn is beyond the lunar sphere - this mage wants to fly before he can levitate. So act all apologetic but it's "Lunar Sphere" first.

Next, just because he can't do "much" doesn't mean it's not a Major Breakthrough - this, in part, addresses the "madness" issue, as Major B's take a long time.

I'd be very suspicious of a Range that reaches to a sphere, Lunar, much more if beyond. Ask him what he wants to get out of it - have him define it and its limits. No backdoor "Oh, so it must also do this!..." sophism later on. Ask him to be specific about how he plans to apply it - don't fall for a competitive player thinking he's going to "trick" the SG and then you have to close him down. If he says he just wants a cookie, don't let him think he's going to get the keys to the cupboard.

Balance any real gains with difficulty to apply those gains - perhaps he finds a new Duration, "Moonrise - until the moon has risen and set" - about 23 hrs max, and so usually longer than "Sun"). Wow - even if that's just something other than "next sunrise/sunset", nice! Because it's special, you could call it "+2 magnitude +2 levels". Yes, a bit cludgey, but as a SG you are giving without giving too much, and nothing says it has to be +2 OR +3. It's a "breakthrough", it's supposed to be different from what everyone's used to.

And he gets his bragging rights, and can move on to the planetary sphere. Don't be afraid to give a +4 modifier for Duration that, it turns out, can only be used for Rituals - nothing wrong with you adding restrictions on top of his. Or even +5 or +6 Durations, for planetary orbits that last longer than Year - yes, you're going well outside and beyond canon, but so is he (that is the point), and if these are that unusual and powerful as Durations then there's no reason not to go outside the current numerical max for magnitudes. And a Ritual effect that lasts "until Mars is in Virgo", or something (keep it some reasonable amount of time, years but (maybe) not decades, etc.) does have a very cool and appropriate feel to it.

As for the stars themselves... well, now we're at our 3rd Breakthrough, so that's way down the road - maybe he'll have been distracted some something shiny. But if not, as a SG, before I make any decisions I'd want to know what he thinks he's going to do with it. Maybe demons will trick him into thinking he's speaking with them - that's always good for a laugh. 8)

i was thinking along the same lines as the shrouded one. You have got a long way to go before you get to the stars. Such breakthroughs are a very very long way away form where we are in 1220. Connonically speaking of course.

If you are setting your ArM campaign in 1350 you might just get there, by assuming the lunar is already done by A.N. Other. Of course, it just gets harder as people have a clearer idea just how far away those things are. The rules of hermetic magis are going to change with the changing 'paradigm' over time. Given the timepsan of such breakthroughs I suspect the order would not have managed this one even by 2010.

As by RAW it means breaking strict limits, i would say its Hermetic breakthroughs even.
Both the "Lunar" AND the "Stars".

A possibly suitable Duration we already use is "Moonphase", ie until the next time the moon is full, half or new... Gives roughly up to a week of duration.

Interesting ideas.

I'd argue for the following. Let the player go for it. I'm not sure how your game is organized, but if the "alpha storyguide" is the one that ultimately decides on cosmological structure and how that relates to magic theory, make your decision, but don't tell the player about it. Ths would be a rich source of stories. Consider:

  1. What if the guy discovers that the Limit of the Lunar Sphere is NOT related to the Limit of the Divine. As a bonisagus (presumably with at least a little skill in astronomy as well as AL), he might want to explore this.

  2. What if he explores the mysteries of the Hall of Heroes? If a new daimon creates a star in the heavens, how does that happen? What if, just suppose, they are NOT pinpricks in the fimament? What if the lunar sphere is actually a boundary to a strange regio where the Fae and Magic coexists in equal balance and each star up there is representative of someone who was transported there (dead or alive)? What if, actually, in order to find the "Range: Stars" the person actually has to use Corpus or Mentem magics to affect the spirits (since the soul is inviolate) of those up there?

I agree with the currently accepted (in M.E.) cosmology, there should be no way for them to achieve Range: Stars, but lots of interesting star-related durations (Duration: Astrological Sign, Duration: Lunar Month, Duration: Eclipse, etc). That said, a research project never has to b assured that it is possible to attain if one just rolls well. An impossible goal can lead to all sorts of interesting discoveries.



Salvete, Sodales!

Ahem, by RAW Astronomy is part of the ability 'artes liberales' - and as it is one discipline of the classic curriculum, I don't see a reason why to change it.

Alexios ex Miscellanea

Indeed. I knocked this out quickly and it only occured to me after posting. Good catch.


I think this is interesting and I would say "go for it." Be careful when you decide what effects the magic can have but I don't see an inherent problem with (for example) a spell that can detect the positions of the constellations in the sky during the day time.

As a storyguide, think about how long you want the quest for this Hermetic Breakthrough to take (compared to how long you want your Saga to last). I think Hermetic Breakthroughs ought to be a kind of lifetime achievement for a magus, not the sort of thing they come up with one afternoon right after apprenticeship.

There are all kinds of ways you can turn this quest into stories. For example, you might send the magus to Persia (or India!) to consult with the great astronomers who live there. The magus might find that a lodestone is an Arcane Connection to the North Star, then spend years hunting for the right lodestone with a strong enough magical resonance -- only later to be accused by rivals in House Bonisagus of cheating ("he's not using the lodestone as an Arcane Connection, he's using it as a compass!").

Ultimately, what the spell actually does is not important because in my opinion, the magus should be about ready to retire when he finally invents it. :wink: If you make the road to get there interesting enough, and provide enough of a sense of progress along the way, then I don't think the player will even mind that what started as a plan for quick fame and glory turned into a lifelong quest fraught with hardships and unsung triumphs.

In short, if you play it right, you can make this quest into a central theme for the character, and I think the player ought to be commended for thinking of it.

I think this discussion is a bit too literal. Range: stars could be interpreted as what is influenced
by the stars.

Range: stars
Equivalent to range Arcange Connection, but requires a horoscope for the target instead.
If the horoscope is inprecise, the target is the group of all entities included and the size
will have to be increased to accomodate. Some rare targets may also have a "twin", born
under the same stars and with the same horoscope.

Seems like a plausible breakthrough I think.