Holy _____

Looking through RoP Divine...

Can someone give me a briefing on how these things work?

Specifically I am looking at the various Virtues and how they combine to do the guidlines listed later in the chapter...

Are there any examples somewhere?



You mean the Holy Methods and Powers? I'll see what I can do.

Say you have a holy character. That character probably has True Faith. Brief aside about True Faith: it's like The Gift for holy characters, in that apart from all the other benefits it lets you learn Supernatural Abilities aligned with the Divine realm. If you get five experience points in an Ability, you learn it. However, you also have to subtract all of your other Supernatural Abilities from the study total. You can take these Abilities as Virtues instead, but learning them from a teacher is much more common and more efficient. Also, you can join traditions that teach specific Abilties particularly well, making it easier to learn those.

So, let's say you have a holy character with True Faith. Either through study or Virtues she has two Supernatural Abilities, a Method and a Power. The Method tells what you have to do to bring the miraculous effect into being, and the Power describes what sort of miraculous effects are possible. You always have to have both; in this way, they're like Hermetic Techniques and Forms, but on the Ability scale rather than the Art scale. The Method also tells you what Characteristic to use, and usually has an additional benefit.

Say your character has Meditation and Understanding. Meditation is a Holy Method that uses Intelligence, requires a special ritual to activate, and increases your chances of comprehending the Divine version of Twilight. Understanding is a Holy Power that gives insight into God's will, allowing you to predict the future in a limited way. Using them both together gives you a Meditation/Understanding effect.

Let's say the character has Meditation 5 and Understanding 5, and Int +2. She sits down in a Divine aura of 3 and starts meditating. This takes her about an hour, and you have to roll her Stamina to make sure she can hold herself in the proper meditative state. If she's distracted, you have to check Concentration. Assuming she succeeds, she has a base total of 15 (Int 2 + Med 5 + Und 5 + aura 3). You declare what sort of effect she's going for before you roll. She wants a vision giving her advice on what God thinks she should do in her present situation. That's a Level 20 effect. You roll the simple die and get a 5. Success!

If you had gone for a prophetic vision, which is a Level 35 effect, she probably would have suffered a Tragedy of Hubris, because she asked for more than she could comprehend, or perhaps more than she was worthy of receiving. This would have been a Major Tragedy, her total being 15 less than the target level. Perhaps she would have gained two Warping Points and would have to face the Divine Ascent. Or maybe she is struck blind by the light of the glory of the Divine, or something like that.

Tragedies of Hubris can be controlled with Faith. If the character has a Faith Score of 7, she wouldn't have to worry about suffering a tragedy of hubris when she tries and fails to produce an effect of Level 35 or less. This is extremely rare, though; few characters have True Faith at all, let alone a Faith Score of 2 or greater.

Does that help? Feel free to ask for clarification. I don't have any good examples offhand, and there aren't very many in the book because we were kind of strapped for space. I've played several characters with Holy Methods and Powers though, so I can probably come up with some if I know what you're having trouble with.

Is True Faith necessary for the Methods and Powers? I hadn't seen that when reading RoP:D.

True Faith is necessary to learn Methods and Powers as Supernatural Abilities. If you take them as Virtues, you don't need it.

Thanks Erik..its more or less what I was thinking...but I still have questions...

Can you explain this a little more? I must have missed the study total thing...

I understand the scale...abilities instead of Arts....that seems straight up...but there are a lot of guidlines for effects, and I don't see how ANYONE could ever hope to achieve them..IE level 60 or even 40 effects. A level 40 effect would require somewhere in the 15 range for abilities...I have a Magus with a 15 ability, and it took a LOT of effort to get ONE score that high...

How would these work with "Holy Magic"? Do the abilities clash like other Supernatural abilities and the Gift?

I guess the main trouble I am having with the whole thing is the fact there are a bunch of rules, but no explainations/examples to show if I have it right....

Thank you.

Here's an example of moderately high numbers done in game mechanics with nearly no story. (The other Erik may need to correct me as I have never used this in game and I'm a bit rusty)

A character has the following skills

Purity (cursing) 5
Cursing (applicable specialty) 5

stamina +2
Faith 3

The character undergoes a long regime of prayer and personal deprivation while creating his holy curse. After two bouts of prayer he has lost two long term fatigue levels but he has spent six faith points. Now normally faith points give a +3 bonus, but since the character has a faith score of three each faith point brings him a bonus of 6.

The character then lets their curse go

Stamina 2
Purity 6
Cursing 6
Faith 36
Aura 3
Fatigue -1

So a total of stress die + 53

That‘s a pretty big effect. The character is going to be real low on faith points and unable to let something like that go again any time in the near future.

One could easily imagine higher scores in the method or power, a higher casting stat, a relic with additional faith, a higher aura … all sorts of ways to make those high level effects come in to play.

No problem. Ask away, I need to catch up to the other Erik's posts. :slight_smile:

Sure. You know how people with The Gift can learn magical Abilities in the core ArM5 book? (Page 166, Learning Supernatural Abilities.) Well, people with True Faith can learn divine Abilities in the same way. However, if the character already has any Supernatural Abilities, including Arts, you have to subtract their scores from the study total when you first learn it. If you don't get at least 5 xp, the character doesn't learn the Ability.

Holy traditions are particularly attuned to four Divine Abilities, which they can teach without this penalty. That is, they don't have to subtract all of their other Abilities from their initial study totals, and they don't have to subtract their scores in those Abilities from other study totals. (I think this concept is explained better in The Infernal.) So if your character becomes an Ascetic, for example, she will probably learn Adjuration, Cursing, Purity, and Second Sight, because those Abilities come especially easy to people of her tradition (these are called "Favored Abilities").

There are other ways to increase your total besides the Abilities. They're usually limited resources, because you shouldn't be able to pull them off all the time, but they can be done. Here are some suggestions.

  1. Having Purity allows you to spend multiple Confidence or Faith Points on the same effect, beyond the character's Confidence or Faith Score, so long as she performs the activation ritual again. These don't have to be Purity effects, but let's assume they are, and that she has one point of Faith. Each day she prays passionately, lashing herself and causing a Light Wound. Let's say she does this for ten days. That's ten Faith Points, &en;10 for the Wound penalties. So that's a +20 bonus. That's not bad. Even if you don't have True Faith, you might have a relic.

  2. Having Invocation allows you to roll a stress die rather than a simple die. It's possible you'll stress the roll, giving the character a very big total. It's rare, but I once rolled 1, 1, 8 on an Invocation, for a 32. Of course you also risk botching...

  3. The aura contributes to the total, and if you temper the aura to support something that the storyguide agrees matches what you're praying for, you can add the value of the temper as well. That can be as much as +13.

  4. Ceremony is really, really powerful. If you get just one holy character with a good score in Ceremony, you can add the Characteristic + Ability of a whole bunch of other characters. The Sufis and Invicti both have this as a Favored Ability! Invictine ceremonies put the Mercurians to shame.

  5. Holy Magi can design miraculous effects as Hermetic rituals, and add their scores in the Method and Power to their total instead of Artes Liberales and Philosophiae. Inventing the spell is tough, but once done it can be learned and cast like any other powerful ritual.

Well, if you're a magus without a tradition, even one with Holy Magic, you still have to subtract your Arts from your study total, which means you probably won't be able to learn any of them. If you join a tradition after becoming a magus, though, you can at least learn the Favored Abilities. (And Holy Magic is a Favored Ability for all four of the Hermetic traditions.) Or perhaps you can find a Mystagogue that is willing to initiate you into the Virtues through a Mystery rite?

Sorry about that. If you post what you're working on here, I'd be glad to help, and I'm sure everyone would like to see it. I bet we can come up with a good example or two together. :slight_smile:

As I said, no problem. Thanks for asking!

I was working on a Gifted Magus with "Holy Magic". I was looking to see how this would work.
Does he get access to (say) "Intervention" guidelines, or does he need to have the abilities?

I was also wondering how his magic interacts...

Can he detect a Demon (Unlike normal Hermetic Magic) with Intelligo magic?

As I started making him up I quickly thought that Presence is very important to the Magus due to the expanded list of Ranges. Specifically, "Presence" range is greatly affected by your Presence....

Huh. I missed that. :blush:
Where can I refference that...?

You have thrown a lot out here with some niffty examples, and the first thing I see is that IMO the whole system seems overly complex. There seems to be a lot of exceptions and angles to work from the ability causing effects side...
<scratch, scratch>

He needs to have the Abilities to use the guidelines ("Holy magi can cast holy spells that use the guidelines for miraculous effects, assuming they have the necessary Method and Power." RoP:TD, page 69, under Benefits).

It is considered both Divine and Magic, much like Faerie Magic is both Faerie and Magic ("Holy magic is attuned to both Divine and Magic realms." RoP:TD, page 69).

Sure, if he's got a Method and Power that allow it. That sounds like Meditation/Intervention to me (Level 4: Perceive the evil in a target...), though you could also do it with Adjuration effects, like an Invocation/Adjuration effect asking "Are you a demon?". You'll have to try and penetrate its Might, of course.

That's true, though you probably only use it if you have a really good Presence. You can always use Voice instead. Communication, Intelligence, and Stamina are also good as they figure into Invocation, Meditation, and Purity totals. However, Stamina and Intelligence are still the best Characteristics for magi, whether they are holy or not.

RoP:TD, page 47, Learning Methods and Powers. The same rules appear in RoP:TI too, on page 126.

Really? Well... I prefer to think of them as robust. :slight_smile: There's a lot of variables that you can play around with, just like Hermetic magic. The basic premise, though, that you have a Power that says what you can do and a Method that describes how you do it, is pretty straightforward. It's only when you want to do really powerful and earthshaking effects that you have to look at the fiddly bits, because while they're possible, they're supposed to be extremely rare. Invicti's big effects tend to be destroying supernatural creatures (Invocation/Cursing), while Ascetics tend towards effects like leveling an unholy town of wickedness (Purity/Cursing) or protecting a church against a rampaging dragon (Purity/Adjuration).

Seriously, I think the best way to follow what's going on with holy characters is to choose a tradition. Then you can investigate the sort of things that the tradition tends to do, and in so doing get to know the system. I grant you that the traditions aren't easy to find, because the headers are so small. There's eight in the book: the Ascetics on page 47, the Cantores on page 93, the Sufis on page 116, and the Baal Shem on page 140; and the Hermetic ones are the Invicti on page 70, the Neriusians on page 94, the Zoroastrians on page 116, and the Karaites on page 141. There's also two types of Mythic Companions that have associated traditions: the Perfecti (page 94) and the Kabbalists (page 140). The Zahids (page 117) are basically exceptional Sufis.

I played a member of Sol Invictus in one saga, and the storyguide decided that there were only three other magi involved in the tradition, though we had other holy characters who served them and participated in their ceremonies. They felt like Mercurians, in that they could work together to do big effects, but the things they did tended to be Hermetic spells cast with the power of the Divine, like huge Demon's Eternal Oblivions. That character started with True Faith and Holy Magic, and learned Ceremony early on. I don't think she ever learned any Methods and Powers, though their bishop had them, including Adjuration and Blessing. Together they adjured and destroyed a powerful faerie that they thought was Woden the All-Father, and they were just starting to deal with the consequences of that when the troupe broke up.

What sort of holy magus are you thinking of making? Christian? What is his purpose; how does he serve the Divine? What is his House? Could he be a follower of the Priory of St. Nerius, perhaps?

Kind of thinking along the lines of an isolated (from the Church) Magus who is working towards understanding both Hermetic and Divine magics, and how they are similar. He is of course (NPC) Bonisagus...
I haven't worked out the beginings, but I want him to be the type of Divine character that looks at his Sodalis with kind of amused patience and understanding, who wants them to all repent and serve God...but doesn't push it much. All that's under the provision they don't do anything to disturb his forebearance....

The plot line is something like this:

His Master taught him His magic traditions. The Master was a Bonisagus that "saw the Light" and relearned the 'proper' way of doing things. After his Master passed during a Certamen (trying to sway the ungodly), he took up with another Bonisagus and several others. He has been working on many projects and problems over the years. Until recently, everything went well, but then the Covenant was lost...
I won't go any further about the plot, because the other players visit here, and I wouldn't want to spoil their fun...
You can PM me if you want more info..

I guess the thing that I REALLY need to figure is which of the Holy ablilities I NEED for this character...and how many CAN he have....

Hmm. Well, from your description, I'd guess he has True Faith and Holy Magic. He doesn't have to have True Faith, but having it makes his discovering new Divine Abilities much easier to explain. If he was taught his Methods and Powers by his master before he opened the Arts, he could have as many of them as you want him to have, but I would suggest a single character has no more than five. Three is a good start. How about Blessing, Intervention, Invocation, and Meditation? That's a nice range of effects, and you would have one Method/Power combination (Invocation/Intervention) that's a blank slate, so you can decide what sort of effects it allows him to do, based on the needs of the story.

As a Bonisagus, he needs a good score in Holy Magic, since it's his version of Magic Theory, and perhaps his House Virtue is Puissant Holy Magic instead. You might also want to take Hermetic Prestige to counteract the inherent bad reputation he would otherwise have in the Order of Hermes. Or perhaps not, if he's isolated and not highly regarded by others in his House. Sounds like he also had Skilled Parens. I'd suggest you also pick a few big Flaws, at least 10 points' worth since you've got about 20 points of Virtues there. For example, sounds like he could be an Eremite.

To pull off really big effects, the character would be dependent upon his Hermetic magic. So, you'll probably put most of his experience in Arts; he doesn't need a lot of experience points spent in his Supernatural Abilities, since he just has to have them to use them with his magic. I suggest focusing on Creo and Vim. If he does have Blessing and Invocation, he probably doesn't have to spend a lot of experienece on Parma Magica, either, since he can give himself a pretty strong Magic Resistance with that Method and Power combination, and probably has a CrVi Ritual at D: Year to protect him or someone he touches with (Level of the spell - 10) points of Magic Resistance.

Gotta get back to work, but I hope this helps!

My concern is by taking a lot of abilities, his Arts will suffer, turning him into 'vanilla' magus. I guess I need to look more at the varies ability effects to make that determination and choose the ones that will help him most...hmmm

Yes, I gave him the Puissant Holy magic...seemed like the right thing to do. As for his reputation...why would he care? :smiley: As long as his Sodalis and he are 'good', everyone else can make their own choices...
20 virtue points?
Ermite? Have to look at that. No clue...

Ok lets break this one down.

The 'Big Effects' are what I was referring to above. If I spend a lot of points on abilities, this would tend to take away points from Arts...
Blessing and Invocation: Magic Resistance-Hmmm have to look at this one. I hadn't seen that... :blush:

If i'm reading this correctly he would only need a score of 1 in the method/power ability to have access to that area of effect, which he would do with his hermetic magic

As Agnar said, he needs to have the Ability in order to use the guidelines with his magic, but not necessarily a particularly high score in it. You could just leave them at 1.

Yes: True Faith, Holy Magic, Blessing, Intervention, Invocation, Meditation, Puissant Holy Magic, Skilled Parens.

It's a Major Flaw that says you prefer to do things your own way, and so you can't join a holy tradition and have no Favored Abilities.

Hrm a hermetic magus as a mythic "companion"? O_o

An ex Miscellanea with True Faith and an Affnity with Holy Magic as his free Virtues and with Holy Magic and one method and one power would be more balanced I think.

Or without the method and power and the Ars Notoria (and enough additional xp because he have to learn soe languaes for the Ars Notoria).

OK then..you need the ability to access the various methods (etc).
Serf's Parma,
...Seems kind of expensive to have to take abilities (Virtues) to get an ability of 1 (and no higher)...so you can access that type of magic...

I guess my next questions is...

Other than having your magic attuned to the Divine, what's the advantage to having "Holy Magic"? It seems that if you want to take advantage of "Divine Magic", your better off NOT being a Magus/Gifted...

Serf's parma,
Holy magic is a hermetic virtue. Having it as a non-magus character makes no more sense than having affinity with muto.

The advantage of holy magic is using prayer rather than vis to fuel your ritual spells

Sorry Erik, I wasn't clear enough..
I wan't referring to a Non-Magus...
I was saying that instead of taking "Holy Magic", if you wanted to do Divine effects, you should just take the Virtues and skip "Gifted" all together.
I am not sure of this, which is why I have been asking for clairification. From my view:
Holy Magic is a (IIRC) three point Virtue. With it you are attuned to Divine Aura's. You can (as you pointed out) use Prayer to fuel your Rituals (not sure if that's a plus or not??)...
...But unless you take OTHER Virtues, you can't (from what I've seen) access the other Divine effects. To do that (for a Gifted Character), you need at least two (?) other Virtues so you can get the related abilities. That turns "Holy Magic" into a five point virtue...Unless you just want the Divine aura bonus and Vis savings...
Otherwise you are a Hermetic Magus who uses a type of magic that walks like a duck, talks like a duck...but costs as much as a cow.
Faerie magic is only a One point Virtue...
Holy Magic is three points.
Faerie magic gives different parameters for spells.
Holy Magic gives different paremeters for spells
(Even up here)
Holy Magic allows you to use prayers and such to fuel your Rituals. If I remember correctly, this uses up your ability to do so for a while (depending on spell, and inate abilities otherwise).
Of course you could say this is huge. I think in actual play, in a typical setting, you would have enough Vis for your 'needed spells'. That being the case, you could probably cast a bunch of spells using Vis, where as you are limited in number from the virtue. Of course this is on top of what you can do with your Vis...but I am not sure this is worth the extra Virtue points.

I'll play devil's advocate and gather points contrary to Urien's dismissal of holy magic.

First of all you get something that looks equivelent to faerie magic, but it isn't. Divine auras are the most common aura in the setting where are characters most likely to end up rolling a whole mess of botch dice? I'd say tha tthe most common place is in a divine aura. Rather than giving a slight bonus to the caster like Faerie auras do it gives the largest penalty of all of the auras. Faerie magic changes the aura effect from +.05 to +1, holy magic changes it from -3 to +1 eight times the advantage.

[serf's parma]
A character from a holy tradition has a method and powwer that are native to his tradition so he can learn them with no penalty, and use their guidelines for hermetic magic. [/sesfs parma] Are methods and powers major or minor virtues?

Unlimited free vis of any appropriate type for rituals. In my experience characters frequently have a fair stash of unused vis. They tend to use up all of their creo, corpus, and vim vis pretty quickly. If a character can't figure out how to rock the world with as many ritual spells as his moral sense allows him, he isn't trying.