Hermetic Lightning Rod

This item was inspired by another poster's submission to the 'levels 20-30 spells' post recently. I disagreed with his idea for controlling lightning with rego, but thinking about how one could do that, I came upon a sudden inspiration for a magic item.

The Thunder-Gatherer

This greater enchanted device was a a failed attempt to duplicate The Lightning Bringer (see the Vis Sources chapter of Covenants for details). Nevertheless, it turned out to have some uses.

Base Item:

A tall spike of smoothed wood, needle-sharp at the tip and two feet wide at the base. The wood must be gathered from an oak tree (+7 protection from storms) that was killed by a lightning strike (+2 Auram). As a Huge wooden object, it has a capacity and vim vis cost of 10 to open for enchantment, requiring Magic Theory 5 and allowing 100 levels of effects in its enchantments.

Survive the Force of Thunder
Muto Herbam 19 (base 4, +0 personal, +2 sun, +0 individual, +1 size, +4 levels constant)
This effect changes the wood of the object so that it is not shattered by lightning, but instead simply catches, much as the bare ground normally does. Were the item to be made without this effect, it would be destroyed by the first lightning strike. This effect benefits from the +7 'protection from storms' material bonus for an oak item.

Focus the Power of Lightning
Rego(Intellego) Auram 49 (base 4, +3 sight, +2 sun, +2 group, +2 size, +4 levels constant)
This effect detects and targets any storm clouds that near the area, gathering them closer to the item and causing their lightning-strikes to hit it nine times out of ten. This typically disrupts local weather patterns and creates an overcast, rainy and thundering sky above the location of the item at all times, with a lightning storm almost every other day. Standing too near the item when lightning strikes must make a Size stress roll of 6+ to remain standing, and a stamina stress roll of 9+ to avoid being deafened (as in the spell 'Jupiter's Resounding Blow.) This effect benefits from the +2 'Auram' bonus in the item material, for being made of lightning-struck wood.

Benefits of the Item:

Unlike the Lightning Bringer, this much simpler device is incapable of extracting vis from the lightning, a process which seems to require some sort of non-hermetic effect. Nevertheless, it is usable as a significato (see the Covenants rules) as if it were a similar vis source, and it provides a +4 specialization to Auram and a +3 specialization to experimentation if somehow included in a lab (though careful wards are suggested to keep the thunder and lightning from damaging the rest of the lab, and to keep rain and other weather away while allowing the lightning to strike it)

Pretty cool.

I would, however, recommend an Intelligo Aurum or Intelligo Vim effect representing the failure you cite but adding to the significatio "effect." Perhaps both can be served by something like Sight of the Unseen Magics with an Aurum requisite?

Also, maybe some sort of Muto Aurum effect that lets you bottle the lightning for study?

Just a thought.


I actually made at least one mistake I can see already - this being an item, not a spell, the Rego(Intellego) Auram effect should be a Rego Auram and an Intellego Auram with the linked trigger modifier. And yeah, you're right about the other part -- I'll throw in a Rego Vim effect using the 'transfer vis' baseline, but say that while it doesn't work right, its what provides the significato effect.

I'll do a writeup of the modified stats later tonight. Thanks for your input!

As a game-play suggestion, I would recommend that the significatio is only allowed for naturally occuring storms. Forces the magi to be nimble...


... in that they have to be willing to drop what they are doing OR be willing to maintain the device in a location with lots of storms. May seem costly, but to study Aurum repeatedly without spending the vis (other than item creation) above the level of the best available summa it is a small price indeed.

Good luck,


Here's the revised version...

The Thunder-Gatherer

Surviving the Force of Thunder
Muto Herbam 19 (base 4, +0 personal, +2 sun, +0 individual, +1 size, +4 levels constant)
To make it resistant to lightning, as before.

Sense the Gathering Storm
Intellego Auram 24 (base 2, +0 personal, +2 sun, +4 sight, +4 levels constant)
This effect allows the item to sense lightning in the area the moment it would strike, so that it may trigger the next effect:

Focus the Power of Lightning
Rego Auram 33 (base 5, +3 sight, +0 momentary, +0 individual, +10 levels unlimited use, +3 linked trigger)
This effect causes any lightning in line-of-sight of the item to strike the item, rather than anything else.

Thunder Harvest
Rego Vim 25 (base 10, +1 touch, +0 momentary, +0 individual, +10 levels unlimited use)
This effect was meant to capture the vis within the lightning. It doesn't work properly, however, as doing so may not even be possible with hermetic magic as it stands now. However, due to an experimental fluke, something of the vis does gather in the item for a moment after lightning strikes. If that event is observed by a magus using an Intellego Vim effect to see vis, over the course of a season he can treat the object as a significato. The level of power of the significato is up to the storyguide, but should be enough to eventually (over the course of several years) make up for the vis cost of creating the item.


As it is now, the item looks like it would need a capacity of 12, not 10, so the original shape and material would have to be changed. Further, it no longer draws storms to it - rather, it becomes necessary to either use weather magic to attract storms, or set it up in a covenant that has near-constant stormy weather. Creo magic to create storms won't work, since without ritual magic the Creo-summoned lightning doesn't contain the vis that the Thunder Harvest effect relies on.

On the other hand, the item would (if somehow incorporated into the lab) give a +5 specialization in Auram and +5 in experimentation, I think. ...It should probably apply a sizable penalty to Safety, though. :open_mouth:

And it would keep happy an Auram magus who has the Study Requirement flaw. :slight_smile:

Very happy indeed.

Particularly given that the device is only limited by what vis may be available in the particular storms for a season. Obviously up to the storyguide, but if one says that 5 good storms with this have the equivalent value equal 10 pawns of Aurum vis, the magus has access to a level FIFTY summa with a Quality hovering somewhere around 7-14 most of the time. If said magus also has an Affinity with Aurum, well, he or she can become a very powerful weather-mage indeed.

Great job! Move it up into the "laboratory" sticky thread.


Why is the LVL = 19?
Should it be (4+2+1+4 = 40)

This is a magic item:

Base 4 + 2 sun = 10, +1 size = 15. Just like a spell.

And then, you add 2 uses per day (+1 = 16) and an environmental trigger (Sun up/down) for +3 = 19