How Good is "The Art Of Magic" in your saga

The The Art Of Magic is Bonisagus's seminal work on Hermetic Theory.

It's a text of great historical significance but is it actually a exceptional book for the purposes of study and covenant building.

How bad-ass was Bonisagus any way. Was he a good writer and what was his magic theory at when he wrote it.

What's the book's level and quality. Is it broad or deep or both.

Did he write it as a broad primer with a maximized quality and relatively low level. So as to be an introduction for others to take his work further.

Or is it an authority very high in level but with with relatively low quality. So as to be deep and require much reading to fully grok.

Or is it an ultimate combination of the two perfect authority never to be topped written by a superhuman Magus.

Or maybe it sucks and it's been obsolete for years but the order refuses to admit there are better version out there.

We introduced authorities IMS. They are summae with no upper limit and a quality of 5. You can read them over and over again with no limit. In the case of Bonie, his work is an authority. Not the most stylish thing, buit you can see the pulls and gears of the system, and get a lot of insight from his work, given time to think about it (read: seasons of study). Aristotle and the bible also fall in this cateogory.


I think its pretty low level. Sure, he was the Einstein of his day, but he was breaking new ground on his own with very little help. Others have taken his work and built upon it, discussing their findings with their peers and increasing their knowledge almost exponentially. Kinda like modern technology.

Just the opinion of a knuckle head in Texas making his first post.

Jimmy :smiley:

I like the idea but shouldn't an authority be at least a quality six. They should be a little bit better than straight practice. Of course if The Art of Magic Can be clarified then your talking about adding an extra three points anyway so maybe it's not a good idea.

Bonisagus was clearly a good teacher, as per the virtue, and had a special, supernatural insight into Magic Theory (originating the "Puissant Magic Theory" virtue which defines his house.) It should be at least a very good work.

IMS, Art of Magic is high quality to level 4, and middling quality to level 6. It can quickly teach magi the core of Hermetic Magic. However, Bonisagus understood that he left a great deal unfinished, and charged his House to continue his work. The incomparable greatness of the work lies not in its completeness (i.e. high level), but in its exceptional Quality (IMS, 6+3(great teacher)+2(Communication) + 2 Level gimping = Quality 13 to 4, Quality 11 to level 6.)

Essentially, Bonisagus, and his opus, can teach anyone the essentials of core Hermetic Magic Theory. Its a great book for students and younger magi.

Art of Magic (de theoria magica) of Bonisagus is at first a summa 9-16 (if well bound, well illustrated, well scribed otherwise 13)
Then it is read like an authority again and againt at quality -5 (minus five) as authorities were in 4th edition

IMO, Bonisagus had in the ten years reclusion:

  • to create the parma and hermetic magic breakthrough.
  • to upgrade parma (to teach and share it, need 30 xp) by practice because no other source available
  • to upgrade magic theory (same idea).

So, with his 40 seasons :
2 "hermetic" breakthroughs let's say 6 years (3 each).
Still 16 seasons or 4 years = 4*30 xp. 120 xp. So parma 3 and MT 9 (i think he would have had an affinity and a puissant).

While after the foundation of the Order, he had more years.

But I doubt he had gone higher than 13-14 in MT.

IMO also, the founders have only put the basics: today's magic is far better because it encompasses 4 centuries of upgrading (aegis theory, ...).

Don't forget you get your breakthrough points as x.p. in an ability when you develop it.

Ah yes!

So parma 5 and MT 10.

Level 6, Quality 15.

I joined an ongoing campaign, so I didn't have any influence on determining what it was.

I think thats very close to what someone here came up with as suitable as well.

Since you no longer add Int+Concentration to Study Totals as in 4th ed, a 5th ed Quality of "-5" would actually mean you loose 5 exp every season you study it. Talk about a suckingly bad book!

To keep things in balance, the Quality of an Authority needs to be better than for mere Practice or else it is without merit in the saga.

as house rule, we continue to add int+concentration as we don't see why you would not do so (as more intelligent you are and more concentrated you are, more you study)
I know that if authorities do not exist any more in 5th edition it is because you don't add anymore int+conc, but if you decide to continue as in 4th edition, and it is as we do, you can do that.
of course, it is often not very interesting to read authorities, specially if you don't have much in int and conc, but when you don't have anything else or if it is something you cannot practice, it may be worth of reading.

Anyway we always keep first reading as a tractatus or sometimes, reading seasons for a summa as for the theoria magica - so once you have 9 in magic theory, you don't need anymore to read it, specially when you earn 2+int while working in lab (here also we add int as we think that more you are intelligent, more you learn)

Level 10, Quality 3,
like the Bible: inspirational rather than educational, always yiedling new insights.


To each his or her own. I really, really liked it when 5th ed got rid of the Int+Conc. thing. From our 4th ed saga running over some 25 game-years we saw huge polarizations between those with int +3 and those with int +1, and a tendency to wanting to raise Concentration to high levels. Consequently the good readers also never missed a spell while getting injured. I believe my maga approached Concentration 10.
With the 5th ed rules you can get more variation because you aren't as bound to high Int. Sure, few children would get picked for apprenticeship - let alone finish it - with too low int. And yes, it still affects Lab total, but with relatively low amounts, seeing as Arts usually mean the most, and all the boni possible from Lab itself. IMHI you get more freedom to create a magus focusing on Stm (casting spells, being tough in melee), Str (going into melee), Dex (melee again, or crafting), Qik (fast casting, melee defence), Per (ranged combat, aimed spells), Prs (social skills, or being a Mystagogue), Com (teacher or writer, social skills).

BTW Is that canon that the Bible has Level 10 Q 3 (in Theology I assume)? Why would anyone read it rather than Practice? From a purely maximizing viewpoint, of course? Are there times where you can't Practice? The rules donøt go into detail, but I see Practice in Theology as debating these issues with an individual who also knows the subject. Like two monks debating...actually monks with vows of silence would be prime examples of who would want to study...

Hmm I remember that now. I don't have A&A yet but it's next on my to buy list. I remember reading the quality of the bible and thinking it wasn't very good for study purposes. My first instinct would be to raise the quality to six or you could just assume that The Good Book is really only a useful academically for good readers. Are the stats on the books in A&A for standard copies or well scribed well illuminated texts?

Once I get A&A I might consider coming up with some hose rules for authorities. I think they would be a fun addition to hermetic scholarship.

I'm glad that authorities were removed in the current edition. The concept reflected an understanding of the nature of knowledge in the Middle Ages that just isn't correct, the idea that no new understanding developed but that people sat around obsessively studying ancient sources. Systems of knowledge just don't work that way, then or now. It's an anachronism along the same lines as imagining a world of knights in shining armor.

Take Aristotle for example. Every one of his major followers in the field we now think of as philosophy had differences and changes from his views. As for the natural sciences, forget learning them from Aristotle. Advances were steadily made throughout late antiquity as well as the middle ages. Nobody in their right mind would imagine that reading Aristotle's works alone would make you an expert.

The Bible might seem like a good source for Christian Theology but studying it in isolation isn't likely to bring one to the same understandings as the Church built up over 1200 years of scholarship. The Waldensians, for example, developed their "heresy" from a reading of the Gospels.

The basic point is that medieval knowledge built pretty the same way as knowledge does today, through creativity and accumulation. Bernard of Chartes showed this understanding, along with a respect for the past, in his famous quote:

"We are like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, so that we can see more than they, and things at a greater distance, not by virtue of any sharpness of sight on our part, or any physical distinction, but because we are carried high and raised up by their giant size."


This is canonical (pun entirely intentional).