High Fantasy Mysteries

Hi all

I'm thinking about creating mysteries based more on high fantasy concepts than European historical/fantasy ones. I kind of did this for my Scions of Nathas game but I'm particularly interested now in thinking about the kinds of magic that you see in more high fantasy settings. Obviously these ideas don't fit into the Mythic European flavour so I'm seeing them as more resources for SGs to use in their own settings or players to use as research goals.

In particular the following kinds of magic

  1. Extraplanar travel. i.e. travel to other planes of existence. Obviously these planes have to exist in the setting, but assuming they do. You'd need some kind of magic that could either move a person from one plane to another or open a tunnel between the planes that a character could walk through. Essentially, we are looking at expanding the rules for Rego Corpus and Rego Terram to make teleportation and Hermes Portals/Mercere Portals work across different planes of existence.

  2. Spell Effect fields. Bit complex to explain, but basically a field that affects anyone that enters it. Very hard to do in Hermetic magic. For those familiar with the Forgotten Realms, I'm thinking something like Mythals, where a entering the area immediately casts several different effects on you, so one area might have a mythal that lets you fly within its borders. Another has an effect that make you unable to lie, etc, etc. In Hermetic magic, the closest you can get with this is a room or structure effect case from an item that auto-casts every round, anyone walking in would be caught in the next cast. Having this work with Boundary targets might be sufficient. But you can't do it with spells alone.

  1. Extra-dimensional spaces. Or for the Looney Tunes fans out there, Hammer space. Essentially this is creating small pockets of reality from scratch that do not occupy room on the outside, but have space on the inside. The classic bag of holding, the Doctors Tardis and all manner of pocket realms fall here. The closest you can get to this in setting is with regios, but these can't be created by magic (not deliberately anyway). I'm not sure how one would go about this. I guess you'd need creo to create a new area, but there isn't really a form that equates to space or distance. My gut says to go with Terram as thats the closest analogue in the mind of your average medieval mage, but maybe Vim would work better to create an unformed and empty space. Then use other creo spells to make stuff in it.

Anyone done any of these? Anyone think of other high fantasy magics that could be rules-ed up?

These all sound like high Aura deep regios, which can do things like have alternative physical rules and so on.

1: Magic Realm

2: ReVim Spell containers

3: Magic Realm Regio

The creation of 3 within Mythic Europe would require a mathematical breakthrough in society such that topologies can be explored.

One could extend Arithmetic Magic for Persian Magi where there was already heavy criticism of Euclid's parallel postulate (Omar Khayyam 1048-1131). Which opens the door to Non-Euclidean Geometry and Topologies, which are started in the 17th century IRL based upon Khayyam.

Which could, if one were inclined, lead to Euler and Manifolds etc etc. Then a hermetic breakthrough to have space bending rituals.

Leplace could be a Bonisagus studying Ignem and heat dissipation, which could lead to gradients, which could lead to field analysis.

Then you would have to do something so that mundane Philosophiea research helps Magic research.

Or if you want to make Criamon not suck, have them working on Zeno's Paradoxes and riddling the nature of the universe and magic, then develop Set Theory...

There are quite a few anachronisms that I think are plausible consequences of magic existing and being researched scientifically.

The Normandy Tribunal book has a passing mention of a Faerie wagon that is larger on the inside than it is on the outside on page 78.

Necromancy: extending the ability to create and/or control undead, including the ability to transform oneself into a lich. I've played-around with a Cult of Nergal that had a Mystery for creating undead using Momentary rituals (not just Creo! Rego mostly), and a Spirit Magic initiation path ending in The Living Ghost for a talisman-based lich.

Priestly magic: Theurgy could be developed to style a magus' power as stemming from a Magical "god" in the Magic Realm. I think the mechanics could use some tweaking, but ideas such as Names of Power and Daimonic (?) Familiar can certainly be translated into the a "Cleric" style character.

Not quite...

And we can do even more complete than that. See "Bag Without Bottom" (MoH p.126).

A race of beings native to the Magic Realm which forge the chaotic primordial essence of magic with their minds, ala Zerth Githzari and Githyanki in DnD. Where knowing and Knowing are differentiated by understanding of Platonic ideal forms.

At the centre of the Magic Realm is a city. The Anchor between Logos and Pathos, the hyperbolic Foci of the multiverse. Then you can get all Amber like, with every possible universe already existing in N dimensional space, every universe a shadow...

Space Jammer with Void Engineers!

I'm working on an episode for Games From Folktales now where I point out that there are a surprising number of Verditus magi who have made submersibles, and that this is likely a mystery cult initiation, and that if you see Verditus and Criamon as the physical and metaphysical halves of a single tradition (both are from near Sicily), this could eventually result in an excursion suit which allowed you to go into Twilight without taking damage (accruing Twilight points) which would allow travel. I've not knocked it into shape yet, though. Basically the silve cord claimed to link phantastic travellers to their bodies is a metaphoric bathysphere cable.

There's a Crimon sept who can do this, based on the isle of Aran in the Loch Legan tribunal. That's all that's said about them, though (it's in HoH:TL and is a joke based on a song I listened to a lot while writing them. It's a line from "The Riddle" by Nik Kershaw.)

I'm not clear on how this would work in practice, but if you have a good idea, write it up and send it it to the fanzines. The problems I see are

  • that many of the better known ones had refutations published by the period. Aristotle, for example, is a seminal author in the design of the Hermetic Forms, and he wasn't a big fan of Zeno.
  • I'm not sure that swapping out of a moral issue (breaking time) for a mechanical issue (the discovery of set theory) gives obvious story impetus to player characters
  • I'm not sure why you need a separate house for it: it seems like something House Bonisagus could be doing, for example.

I like using philosophical arguments to think about Mythic Europe, and I like using certain types of mathematics to talk about Realms, so if you need a hand to edit your article I'm happy to help. I'm sorry you thought my writing sucked, but you can't please everyone.

I'm working on a Games From Folktales thing now you might have a useful opinion on, actually. I'm trying to look at what happens if you cast a spell with an Empty Name in it, on the presumption that General Level spells have empty names when written that get made specific at casting, and so one might botch by saying an Empty Name instead of a referent name. In RoP:M, the Magical Realm is Meinong's jungle. Does that make sense, or should the whole thing be shifted off into Faerie, in your opinion?

Confirmation at last that Nik Kershaw had an influence on the Criamon.

I always wondered if the path to build your own regio relied on "The Station of the Beacon in Vale of The Night"

I have a tendency to post online things which I find embarrassing a day later. I have a few colloquialisms which are abrasive. I know I couldn't stand having work criticised as intently as you and the other writers are subject to.

I don't like Criamon mechanically, I like the flavour. I guess the reason why is I want them to be the Magical Realm's equivalent to Merinita. In the sense that Merinita aren't strictly defined by their initiations. Approaching topics Bonisagus are interested in from a different and near incomprehensible perspective.

My thoughts are that for the purpose of riddling as a learning tool, Zeno's Paradoxes would serve as introductory problems for apprentices. Set Theory and Discrete Mathimatics are anachronistic, yes. However would they be in a world of teleportation and Magic?

Bonisagus approach the same topics from a different path. Mathematics are games. Objects manipulated by rules. Basic rules which every proof and theorem builds upon. Asking questions like, what is Arithmetic? What is counting? I can see a Criamon annoying a Bonisagus with a very real attempt to get an answer, lol.

I have in my mind that the structure of formulaic spells that MT provides are templates, an abstract interface, a pattern to follow in guiding the flow of magical energy. Vim Spell containers hook the part of a formulaic spell which designates the 'trigger release'. The potential magical energy is not released until the secondary condition of the container is met or is dispelled, in the the former normal procedural execution of formula will occur. Latter is highly volatile.

Part of the genius of Bonisagus is the functional design of spells (think Turing) formulaic spells of hermetic magic are extensible and modular. The Vim specialist takes advantage of these features of the hermetic design and manipulates the magical circuits at cast time, not design time.

So "Empty Name" = null reference exception at run time. Er... cast time. If the variable is invoked. Or use the same mechanic as Charm Magic and Story Magic when a charm is inappropriate, though I don't know what it is.

I would argue a difference though between an invalid interface and a null.

Anything in the Magic Realm I would consider definitionally not Non-Being... -insert long half thought out reasoning here- The Faerie representation of everything, even the non-being, are the stories told of said Beings and non-Beings. Non-Concepts, or at least the Stories told of non-concepts I would reserve for Faerie.

I wonder if I'll pick up that gauntlet... By leaving dreams unrealised we can keep them untarnished forever.

Ps. I find my bombastic nature insufferable as well.

We have now been warned, that usually help. :slight_smile:

I'm working on a path of Criamon as Mentat like Amberites.

I think it works. Don't have the rules quite worked out for what I'm doing. It's mostly something to explore in a game if I run one with a Criamon.

Actually I have a lot of material. Does sub rosa do submissions?

That sounds cool, mentats were always one of the coolest features of the Dune setting.

I actually got some ideas from one of the posts. Without going into particulars, the path is heavy into math, Mnemonics, and cryptography. Cryptography as a term is anachronistic, however encoding messages is not. I was looking up mnemonic techniques like the Memory Palace as mentioned in Art of Memory. Then fell down a rabbit hole of Hindu mathematics. Apparently much of thier knowledge was passed verbally... They, get is, would encode formula in hymns and use phonetics as a mnemonic tool. To remeber more than I can in grad school, lol.

So, add magic and a group obsessed with riddling the nature of the universe and time. That and pretend the tradition survived. I think it's going to be neat when finished. Basically be a few paths that are Mid East and on the fringe.

The Numerology initiation is a good one and would be accessible. Then I was thinking a Mental Lab would be an initiation on a path of the mind. The path requires Memory Palace (plus Enegmatic Wisdom) and not Criamon Lore to initiate, you memorize a lot of material that eats up Loci. Each virtue on the path eats up space in the mind, represented as Loci.

The Mental Lab minor virtue then grants a low end portable lab that can only do a few things. (Description in covenants) Though I was thinking if one were to initiate into spirit talisman they could access spirit and body through the mind and develop enchantments in the mental lab.

Everything else is half baked.

IIRC, the arab world had a text on encoding texts, written around or somewhat before 1200 AD?

The most well-known example of this is gateways to Arcadia. Aren't there similar gateways to Heaven and Hell? Did someone ever try to set up a Hermes portal (or whatever) in Arcadia, or within a Regione or whatever?

It is clear that Bonisagus' theory is not complete, and Hermetic magi are left in the dark about many important (?) aspects of Mythic Europe. To me, this is the strength of Ars Magica; it leaves so much genuine mystery in the world. Rules would ruin the game if a player knew in advance whether a Hermes portal from Arcadia (or whatever) should/would/might work or not.

Can you make a field into an enchanted device? The rules do not unambiguously forbid it. You might have to dissemble and reassemble your lab outdoors, which takes time, and would certainly give some flaws; low security in particular. You would need an impressive lab total for the effects, I suppose. A high-risk project for the dedicated researcher. If the outcome was predictable, it would not be research.

I am glad that you cannot do it with spells. It is massive effect, which should require massive effort.

The World Tree RPG system has a magic system very similar to Ars Magica's, but with a few more arts. In particular, they have a form representing location, which is used for exactly this purpose. Making pockets and containers to hide things extra-dimensionally is quite common in the World Tree world. Obviously, this art was not discovered by Bonisagus, so Hermetic magic cannot use it, but the rules for research to extend Bonisagus' theory have been given, 4th ed Grimoire IIRC. It should be possible to discover the unknown location art with an enormous amount of luck and time.

In fact, if you like the ArM system, but want to swap Mythic Europe for a high-fantasy world, I would recommend having a look at World Tree. It is high fantasy indeed. It does not have the rich collection of supplements, though.