Hermetic Rune Magic Warping question


I am writing a Hermetic Rune Magic based character and I have some questions about how some of the interactions of Rune Magic work. I am just looking at the Ancient Magic version of Hermetic Rune Magic, not the Hedge Magic version.


If you were to wear a Runecrafted piece of jewellery all the time, or tattoo a rune onto yourself, how much warping do you take a year? Is it five warping points a year, or one point per year?

From Ancient Magics p138

Secondly, every spell that uses the Rune Duration and the Inscription Target is considered a powerful mystical effect, which always gives the target a Warping Point. There is no way to design a rune spell not to Warp a particular target as with other Hermetic spells.

ArM5 p168 says:

A powerful, continuous effect that is not specifically designed for an individual grants one Warping Point when first applied, and five every year thereafter: one because it is a continuous mystical effect and one per season (four total) because it is a continuous powerful mystical effect.

Does this mean that it is just the first time that it is cast that it cannot be designed for a specific target and you are warped no matter the design but after this it follows the standard rules for being under a constant magical effect or does it mean that you also take a point of warping every season? Is this affected by the level of the spell(below 6th magnitude)?

The effect is a Rego Corpus spell for a crippled mage. If it is 1 point a year, I will take the tattoo and live with it all the time. If it is 5 points a year, I will make it a ring which I take off over half the time and drop it down to just the initial one point of warping ever. Which I think is less cool.


No, it can never be tailored for a specific target, so you'd be taking 5 warping a season (plus one when it's first applied).

I was wondering whether taking on and off the ring would result in you taking warping everytime you put it back on, but reading the Inscription description it says the effect is suspended rather than cancelled and recast. So that probably wouldn't be a problem. The ring would however be adding up with any other mystical effects he was under. I'd also be inclined to have it add up over time (so two seasons under a half effect counts as one season under a full effect), but that's probably technically a House Rule.

Actually if it is 5th magnitude or lower it is not a powerful effect. As long as you avoid breaking into 6th magnitude or higher you can avoid the harsh warping.

By "it" do you mean the original effect or the secondary one(s)? The original effect is always a powerful effect due to the nature of Rune magic (see the quotation in the first post of the thread), so the level doesn't actually matter.

The secondary ones are a bit more questionable, but you're still going to be pushing into some warping.

I meant the secondary effects. But there is a point we are overlooking. Is the Magus who has the rune the one casting it? Because if they are the one casting it then it does not matter if the rune can not be customized to a specific person.

The core rules have two cases where you suffer the lesser warping effects of spells and other magical effects - when the spell has been specifically designed for you, and when it is your own spell that is affecting you.

Rune Magic cannot be designed for a specific individual, so that case will never apply when using Rune Magic. This is true for both standard Rune Magic as well as any integrated Hermetic Rune Magic.

The rules never say explicitly if the other case (your own spell) applies for Rune Magic. At first glance it would seem it should apply since no exception to that rule is stated, but the statement "These two weaknesses explain why rune wizards are said to have become Warped much more quickly than Hermetic magi," from Ancient Magic implies that the extra warping always applies even for your own spells.

Keep in mind that all this applies to both the initial casting of the spell/rune as well as any continous effects, and that it also varies depending on if it is considered a powerful mystic effect or not. See the table on p168 in the core rules. 6th magnitude (level 30) or higher is generally considered powerful.

So for a rune of of below 6th magnitude you get 1 warping point per year.
For a rune of 6th magnitude or higher you get 1 warping point when it is first applied, then 1 warping point per year and 1 point per season.
Unless you rule that your own runes cast on yourself give you less warping (1 point per year only) since the rules do not explicitly say this is not the case.

Spells with Rune Duration and Inscription target (which are what are being discussed) are explicitly an exception to this, though - they always count as powerful mystical effects (as per the quotation from Ancient Magics in the first post of the thread).

Per the standard rules in Ars Magica, for spells you cast on yourself it does not matter if they are powerful mystical effects or not - you get the same amount of warping anyway.

But true enough, runes cast using Inscription Target and Rune Duration (which would be just about all runes) always count as a powerful effect regardless of their magnitude according to the rules in Ancient Magic.

The rules for Vitkir Rune Magic given in Hedge Magic are slightly different though:

Here there is a clear difference between high-level runes and lower-level as well as a difference between if the viktir casts the effect on himself or not.
This of course does not have to apply to an integrated version of Hermetic Rune Magic, but to me it would seem odd if it doesn't.

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Summarizing what others have stated, it's 1 point initially, 1/season (i.e. 4/year) thereafter.
Yes, it's harsh, but as stated "Ancient" Rune Magic is heavily warping.

There are two things I would say.
First, that the choice to be only part-time uncrippled so as to avoid warping might make for a "weaker" character, but definitely makes for a more interesting interaction. There will be times, possibly critical, when the character will be caught without the ring, and this adds rather than removes story possibilties.

Second, what kind of warping does the "magus" incur if he goes for the permanent tatoo route? If he's a "standard" Hermetic magus, it will be the "Twilight inducing" sort. Keep in mind that reaching Warping 10, or even 20, does not automatically send a magus into Twilight. He'll just have to be more careful with his magic in exchange for being whole all the time ... or risk Twilight more often (and Final Twilight sooner!). For the tatooed "standard" magus incurring temporary twilight, or a "magus" incurring some other form of warping, I'd definitely taylor the resulting Twilight/Warping experiences to the tatoo magic; even that can be a source of cool.

Thank you all! I appreciate the reasoning.

Rune magic is supposed to be highly warping so one warping point initially and then 1 per year + one per season make sense if you are constantly under the effect.

With a runic tattoo at 25 and a longevity ritual at 35 he would have warping 5 at 39 and warping 10 at 73, assuming no other sources of warping. Not a long life for a mage but a decision he might make.

Once again note that a hermetic magus does not automatically go into final twilight upon reaching a warping score of 10. As long as one avoids gaining 2+ warping points in a single episode, barring flaws like Twilight Prone, one can keep gaining warping points without any ill effect.

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I don't get why Hermetic Rune Magic has this particular flaw / quirk with warping, and that it cannot be aligned. Neither of these failings are a part of Vitki's Rune Magic. It's almost as if integration breaks the Rune Magic somewhat...

Ancient Magic was written before Hedge Magic though, and there are obvious retcons in the latter; the Vitkir are still alive and kicking and their magic system is fully defined. That being said; should these 2 flaws simply be ignored?

Barring that, fixing both flaws should be possible.

Actually viktir do have the same problem with their runes not being able to be designed for a particular target, and thus causing extra warping.
See the text I quoted earlier from Hedge Magic:

Note that there are no exceptions mentioned for spells specifically designed for the target.

Vitkir rune magic does not seem to always be considered a powerful mystical effect though, which is different from the Hermetic Rune Magic described in Ancient Magic.


Not exactly the same thing as what happens with Hermetic Rune Magic though. Note that the warping described there is from a continuous magical effect, and it doesn't immediately warp the recipient unless it is of level 30 or higher AND unless the Vitki cast it on himself. The latter clause is an example of attunement. Vitki will still get warped over time, but won't immediately receive a warping point for every script they cast on themselves (attunement), and if it's cast by others it won't warp them immediately unless it's 6th magnitude or above. Warping over time though remains the same.

As far as I understood the Hermetic equivalent, Hermetic Rune Magic can never be attuned and any effect you cast upon yourself will warp you immediately, regardless of the level of effect, which are problems wholly unique to Hermetic variant of Rune Magic.

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As I noted earlier in this thread, by the standard rules there are two cases where there is reduced warping from a powerful mystical effect:
a) From a mystical effect you cast on yourself
b) A mystical effect that is specifically designed for the target.

Ancient Magic says that case b) never applies for Hermetic Rune Magic, doesn't say anything outright about case a) but says that rune magicians in general suffer extra warping and thus by implication says that case a) doesn't apply either.
Hedge Magic says that case a) applies for Vitkir Rune Magic, and by implication that case b) never applies for Vitkir Rune Magic.

So one difference between the rune rules in Ancient Magic and those in Hedge Magic is that Hermetic Rune Magic always counts as a powerful mystical effect according to Ancient Magic, but according to Hedge Magic only runes of level 30 (6th magnitude) or higher count as powerful mystical effects - just as in the core rules for warping.

The other difference is that according to Ancient Magic all rune magic will cause extra warping to the caster, not only the Hermetic variant. This unlike Hedge Magic which makes an exception for runes cast on yourself.

So both sets of rules agree that you can't attune rune magic for a target to cause less warping.
They disagree about if runes always count as powerful mystical effects, and they disagree about if your own runes will cause extra warping on yourself.
This is not just a case of Hermetic Rune Magic working differently than Vitkir Rune Magic, but a case of the two sets of rules disagreeing about how runes cause warping.

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This little tidbit. Unless the vitkir casts the effect on himself. That is Rune Casting Method 1, which is essentially personal range rune script. A personal ranged magic is magic attuned to you. Even if it exceeds level 30, it will not warp you immediately. Sure, warping over time will still occur, but this is a bona fide example of attuning an effect so it doesn't cause extra Warping.

I realize this largely comes down to personal preference, but since Hedge Magic came out after Ancient Magic, and had already made some retcons to what is stated in Ancient Magic, I feel it'd make more sense for Hermetic Rune Magic to be more in line with the actual Rune Magic that is still around and we see how it works, rather then inventing additional flaws.

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