Hermetic divination and aging

So, here's a thought: can Hermetic divination determine if someone is going to fail an aging roll that year? Some thoughts:

  1. Hermetic Divination is basically just a magical predictive algorithm. As such, it actually does pretty well if things go the way you think they will. So if you assume that you're going to stay in your lab for the next four seasons (that happens to have a huge Lifestyle bonus built into it), it seems that you could use Divination to know whether or not you should bother with a Longevity potion.

  2. From what I understand, Longevity potions can be suppressed - they've a magical effect, just like anything else. And I'm assuming that a suppressed effect doesn't cause warp, and that the suppression field itself wouldn't cause warp, either. Which means a maga could design a fairly simple ReVi or PeVi effect to suppress their own longevity potion.

  3. Therefore, a maga should be able to use divination to (basically) make their Aging roll a year ahead of time, with only the Healthy Living bonus, to determine if they age or not - and if they figure out that they do age, de-suppress their longevity potion. And if something they didn't predict comes up, (such as having to go on an adventure), they can de-suppress their Longevity Potion for the week or whatever that they're prancing about. (I would personally rule that it would have to be up for at least the Season that the unusual event occurred.)

  4. Now, this doesn't seem to be a perfect solution - I can see where this may go wrong due to the influence of entities that have high enough magic resistance to not be divined. But in general, does this sound like a valid approach to extending a maga's lifespan? Part of the issue seems to be "what exactally is aging?" If it's just a general decay of the body via time, then it seems that such an activity is easily predictable. If it's something more, and could include things such as "getting into fights a lot" or "running away from dragons", then it may not be easily predictable.

Dunno if this fits the current rules on LP (been a while since I read therm in depth) but around here we have always read LP to be much more than that. Something that changes your Essential Nature, in fact. The hermetic equivalent of Becoming. I even might have have doubts that you keep your soul intact after taking your LP. or not that extreme, but it is a significant change to what you are. As such you cannot stop it without destroying it. no suppressing. It is not a plain magical effect or item but something else. it can be affected by magic, yes, but so does your liver, lungs or spirit. I would not treat it lightly. If you have an on/off switch on it it would become too mundane for our liking, I am sure about this.

In any case assuming that something that affects the LP will not warp you is quite a stretch. It would certainly cause warp IMS.

If you interpret the suppression as possible and the no warping part as the effect, yeah, sure, go ahead. :slight_smile: As I said I am not sure the reasoning holds water, but if you are sure I see no problem with that in your saga.

I'd say the best information you could get is ... the current aging modifier :slight_smile: which, paired with the Aging table, gives you a good idea of the spectrum of stuff that may befall the character over the year.

Exactly. Aging (as we can see even today) is not slow, precise decay. It's slow decay with sudden bursts of acceleration here and there. You might slip and break your leg and never fully recover. You may have a heart attack when you discover that your daughter is eloping with that gipsy boy. Etc. A lot of this is the outcome, at least in part, of future actions driven by your free will and by that of other humans, so it is "protected" from Hermetic divination by the limit of Time.

There is no fate, you have free will.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but a longevity ritual, doesn't need to be on for the full year before the aging roll to have an effect, and aging happens in winter. If you figured out a way to dispel a longevity ritual you could repeatedly cast and decast it with sufficient vis.

However, there aren't many easy ways to ditch the thing. A baptism works. Once. A crisis work, but that has obvious flaws. (Although it would allow for a slight reduction in warping.)

The discussion of "hey, let's turn the longevity ritual on temporarily!" is based on the idea that aging may (or may not) occur in spurts as a consequence of strenuous activity, rather than in a gradual decline.

For example: say you used Divination to predict the gradual decline (and determined that nothing untoward would happen that year, because you PLANNED on being in your nice, safe, lab the entire time), but then something occurred that you know Divination couldn't predict (say, a dragon attacking the covenant). You could infer that your Divination didn't cover "running around after the dragon" as part of that Aging prediction, because you know that you didn't get 50 points of penetration on the roll, and that dragon's got at LEAST a magic might of 50. Therefore, for the time that you ARE running around after the dragon, you'd probably want the longevity potion on. And you'd probably want it on for the rest of the season as well, just to take care of any possible aches and pains (and long-term aging consequences) that might occur as a consequence.

Kind of like wearing a brace around a knee if you're out playing basketball. You don't need it for everyday use, but it's nice to have out on the court, where injuries are more likely to occur.

And while you could use a Dispel effect, it would likely be more cost effective to simply use a Suppress: you wouldn't have to re-cast the effect every time you wanted to turn it on. (Rego Vim, rather than Perto Vim, that is.)

In reading through the rules - a longevity ritual is simply described as a magic ritual that uses a CrCo lab total. By the description, it's not fully integrated into Magic Theory, but that's no restriction for Perdo or Rego Vim - those TeFo's explicitly talk about affecting non-hermetic magics just fine. You just need to be able to identify the general magic style - in this case, it would be "Hermetic Creo Corpus Longevity Ritual" - it's well-enough known as part of Hermetic magic that you can take a Minor Focus in it.

Thus, the fact that it doesn't have a determinate ending isn't a big deal, IMO: a ritual-based Watching Ward (ReVi) doesn't naturally end, either. It's a ritual as a consequence, but that doesn't prevent it from being affected by PeVi or ReVi magic. Similarly, temporarily suppressing an Aegis is one of the canon examples of how to use ReVi as a suppression effect (Hermetic Projects, pg. 94). And as a more simple example: circle/ring wards don't naturally end - but they can be suppressed just fine.

Hm. Well, the only real discussion of a LP's in-game effect that I can find is on page 101 of AM5th:

So... the description makes it sound like a version of "maintain the demanding spell", only using CrCo instead of ReVi. Not really seeing anything about Essential Nature in there, although that's certainly up to interpretation. However, the sterility bit is, at least in canon, a flaw in the technique, rather than a necessary element of a post-human longevity technique. Magi of Hermes (pg. 20) describes a magi who successfully works around that, simply by the standard Experimentation rules. However, it's MoH, and some folks seem to ignore that book out of principle, so YMMV. :slight_smile:

As such, I'd argue that, in-game at least, Longevity Rituals are only partially integrated (and thus somewhat mysterious) simply because no one has done the legwork to fully integrate them - likely precisely because they are so important, and so they've been treated with a "don't fix what isn't broken" sort of way.

Regarding a suppression effect causing warping - my reading of the long-term warping rules (pg. 168) seems to indicate that the Longetivity Ritual is the target, not the magi - similar to suppressing any affect that is on a magi, be it from an Enchantment, or ritual, or whatever.

Also, in reading through the description of the Targets in Vim (page 157), the book indicates that a target can either be a magical effect, or else an individual. If a ReVi suppression effect was designed to "suppress all magic on a person", then I would say that there is good evidence that such an effect would cause that person warp. But if the target is a magical effect, I don't see there being a warp issue.

As a counterexample, I don't see a "Guttering of the Hearthstone" effect (the Aegis suppression effect) as causing long-term warp in a covenant, even if the Aegis was suppressed for several seasons. If anything, it would PREVENT warp from occurring.

Finally, the section on long-term warping describes a LR as causing long-term warp...like a long term effect that is designed for the target. Therefore, it seems reasonable to treat a LR as a long-term magical effect, rather than anything more mysterious than that.

I'm suss on this concept. Divination should be vague and unreliable, with improved "information" depending on the limits of it's power and the degree of success in the roll. Improved does not mean certain, and shouldn't be something used to predict the same thing year on year for such a game-mechanically based choice. Of course the method and degree of accuracy as applied in each saga is open to as much interpretation as your troupe likes, but I'd dislike this approach in game. I mean no disrespect, but I guess it's not the flavour of what I picture the Divination skill being used for.

I disagree with the whole idea that turning a magus' longevity "on" for the winter and "off" the rest of the time could bring any benefits, even if it were possible. On the contrary.

Aging occurs throughout the year. The longevity is there to reduce the impact of that weathering down of the body as it happens. If the longevity ritual is "turned off" at some point during the year, it means that the magus is no longer protected from that weathering. To me, that would be a shock on the body, which would require an immediate aging roll -- without the benefit from the longevity ritual.

The whole idea smacks of trying to abuse the game rules, which are used to imperfectly model the mecanism of aging, to avoid the (small) disadvantages of having a longevity ritual while still benefiting from all of the advantages. In any saga I would be storyguiding, that would be quickly stamped down. :unamused:

And that doesn't even go into how you would suppress it. A longevity ritual is much more akin to an item enchantment than to a spell. It is a constant effect on the item (body) being enchanted. Furthermore, any spell to temporarily suppress it would have to be an ongoing effect -- thereby causing Warping. Plus, if you allow a magus to suppress his own longevity ritual, it means that you need to allow a spell cast by another to suppress or dispell it. Leaving the target without his longevity ritual right before winter...

So I'd say no. Simply no.

Yes. That too. :laughing:

Hm. Except that's not what kind of information Hermetic Divination gives. HD gives explicit, binary, yes/no information about a specific question. "Is there a vis source on this mountain? Y/N?" Which makes it a pretty good substitute for Intelligo magic.

I do agree that It's utility in predicting the future is where is becomes less useful - but it still uses the same format of a binary answer to a yes/no question. How ACCURATE that information is up to debate...and I certainly agree that long-term predictions, due to free will and magic-resistant entities, makes it less useful.

Hm. I would argue that sort of thing is EXACTALLY what Hermetic Divination would be used for. Historically, divination was used quite often for that sort of thing. Weather predictions, for example.

Hermetic Divination actually as explicit rules for "casual divination" - watching how clouds move or how birds flock together - to grant informal insights just like the one I describe. Doing such an activity every day for "should I have my LR enabled?" seems highly appropriate - and rather Roman, if I recall my ancient history correctly. Weren't they the ones semi-obsessed with regular auguries and fortune and fate and whatnot? Perhaps I'm mixing my cultures...

Regardless, it's a casual, 1-turn effect that can be done at any time - and it's no more botch-prone than any other ability. As such, I would imagine that anyone with Hermetic Divination would probably be using it a couple of times a day, at least informally.

That being said, I do agree that "do I need my Longetivity Ritual today?" is a bit of an explicit, in-game reference to something that is fairly game-mechanical. It could probably be more readily phrased as "will I take an injury that will cause long-term decrepitude in the upcoming week or month?"

In thinking about it a bit more, what I think I'd do is, instead of having a maga do this, is to instead allow the Diviner to add their Int+Divination ability to any Aging roll - to represent them using their Divination to make life generally better for themselves.

It's the in-game version of "if you're a prophet, why don't you predict lottery numbers?" Well, with Divination, you might not be able to do that - but you can make life a lot easier for yourself, just in general.

I understand the view you're proposing but still can't bring myself to like the application of HD to aging. To be fair, I think of it to be closer to a magic eight ball result than a yes no; in spite of what the rules say. :slight_smile:

Hermetic Divination can only tell you what is true NOW, it cannot break the Limit of Time. A Quaesitor that suspects you, or that plans to visit a village where you've interfered, those things will follow an obvious course.

Anything that is accidental, such as twisting your ankle or that Quaesitor passing by at the wrong time, is outside its scope. And that include any and all issues that are resolved by rolling a dice.

Looks very arbitrary to me.

To avoid impacts on campaigns you wish to join, better leave be. Especially considering https://forum.atlas-games.com/t/so-uh-playing-ars-by-yourself-these-days/9008/1


Fair 'nuff.

...OK, that came out of left field. And requires quite a few assumptions regarding a number of things about people you don't know, and scenarios you weren't involved in, and even my reasoning for posting this question, that I'm not particularly interested in clarifying on an internet forum.

And the fact that you didn't realize this means you're not someone I care to talk to for the time being.


I don't make assumptions about your campaigns.

I just answered your

with a recommendation, in the light of another post of yours.


Anyway. Moving on...

That is certainly a good point.

That is also a good point - however, is that a rules interpretation, or RAW?

That's not what's being discussed. I fully concede that the roll occurs during the winter, but that represents a number of injuries that occur during the year - and that as a consequence, having the LR in effect only during the winter wouldn't be effective.

That's one theory. The other theory is that aging occurs quickly, as a consequence of injuries, and an older body's inability to heal as effectively. Or it's both. That's one of the issues being discussed. The question here is what occurs if a Longevity Ritual is engaged only during times during which that kind of aging occurs - usually on adventures, but also potentially during times that a regular predictions for your health suggest that such an injury may occur.

My theory was that Hermetic Divination, if done regularly, might be able to predict such activities. "Will I be injured today?" - if so, turn the LR on. If an injury occurs, leave it on until the injury heals. If not, leave it off.

Alternately, the Hermetic Divination, if done daily, may also indicate that your body will "naturally" decay every day enough that it's functionally up most of the year - meaning that you'd take warp normally.

My original question was "well, OK - what would that look like over the course of a year" - and I came up with "doing the aging roll beforehand, and figuring out if the PC needed to have the bonus from the LR to protect him. If he needed it, then it would be up. If not, then it would be suppressed."

Rego Vim can suppress an enchantment or ritual magic just fine - Aegis affects them, after all - as does Guttering of the Hearthfires. Perdo Vim affects completely non-Hermetic magic just fine as well.

EDIT - and enchantments cause warp through their effects, not through their existence; otherwise, simply wearing an enchanted ring would cause warp (which it doesn't.) And effects are treated just like magical effects. Rather, I would argue that a LR matches a Watching Ward (with its single use, indeterminate ending) with a delayed CrCo healing ritual in it, more than anything else. And Vim can affect those just fine.

So the suppression effect, to me, is fully within RAW - you just need to design a specific effect to do it. Regarding whether a suppression effect itself would cause warp - as stated in the Vim section, Vim spells can target either effects, or individuals (creator's choice). Therefore, it seems that you're arguing that someone who is not the target of the suppression effect can take warp from the spell - which runs counter to the description of long-term warping.

If that were true, then the LR would not provide a continuous bonus to resist the effects of aging. What you are describing ("a delayed CrCo healing ritual") is just one of the components of the LR -- the one that makes sure that the magus does not suffer from the negative effects of an aging crisis.

I disagree that it is that clear. The longevity ritual is something that is much more powerful and integrated into the magus' being. It is not simply an effect that is applied to the magus (such as a simple Purification of the Festering Wounds would be). It is also quite personalized to every single individual. And since it is the result of a seasonal activity that requires raw vis, I would consider it unbalancing if a simple spell was able to suppress or dispel it. At a minimum, it should require a ritual (much like Disenchant).

Very much a YSMV topic. Certainly not clear-cut RAW, IMHO.