How would you design a seer/soothsayer/oracle character?

I just used the search tool with my pdf of Chapter 6: Mythic Judaism, looking for "supernatural." I couldn't find it. Maybe I missed it? Maybe it's in the deleted section of RoP:D and thus no longer part of canon?

Hm. Could be. It's in the section that discusses having multiple people read from the same book. If you do it with a Supernatural Ability text, the PC has to roll a stress die - on a botch, you get possessed or otherwise go off the deep end. However, having multiple people do so simultaneously reduces the risk of screwing up. There's also a discussion of the fact that it's a similar technique (multiple people reading from the same text and discussing it) that mideval universities use, and that anyone who has gone to university would be familiar with the concept.

(EDIT - arts and academe, maybe?)

Yeah, I can't find anything like what you're describing in either RoP:D or A&A, KevinSchultz.

Hm. All rightie - I'll see if I can find it tonight.

RoP: I, p. 131-132 (mostly p. 132) has the malleus epistula, which appear to more-or-less be a chain letter teaching no less than 4 supernatural abilities (well, 2 of them are kinda Arts I guess).
But then, the Infernal always were happy to share.

You can (must, perhaps?) originally learn Ars Notoria from a book. I'm pretty sure RoP:D explicitly states this is an exception to the general rule (serf's parma).

RoP:D pg 132 Sidebar has rules for books that "teach Supernatural Abilities". I think those rules might be trying to say that, yes, some Jewish students are special cases. They can get the initial "teaching" in Supernatural Ability from a book without needing teacher/trainer. Unfortunately the sidebar isn't totally explicit on that issue and confuses things by saying "all normal rules and restrictions for learning a Supernatural Ability still apply when studying them from a book, but the storyguide should also ---(roll for potential suck)---"

There seems to me to be two possible interpretations for the game creators to include the sidebar.

  1. This sidebar describes something that Jewish magicians can do that other scholarly magicians can't. That is use books to "teach" their initial scores in Supernatural Abilities . But they incur additional risk from reading thanks to this awesomeness.


  1. Where every other literate character with a preexisting score in a S.Ability can safely study them from Books, if a Jewish scholar tries to do it they court disaster. So for Magical Jewish scholars Books are full of suck.

I'm pretty sure the author meant to make books more important to Jewish Magical scholarship not less. So I'd have to go with interpretation 1.

Of course if the rules from RoP:D where actually meant to allow for intial learning you could still say they imply it's a special case. The sidebar of Subtle Opening storyhooks on HMRE pg 51 has one scenario where apprentices are given books on "Lost" Supernatural Abilities which they can apparently freely learn from. Yet there is nothing in the description of Subtle Opening to obviate the Teacher/Trainer requirement in initial learning.

Yeah, I just found that as well - and came to the same conclusion regarding the unclear language regarding the "All of the normal rules and restrictions...." If you go with the latter (that it only applies to Jewish scholars AFTER they have learned the initial Ability the hard way), that means that Jewish scholars get penalized more than regular magi when learning from books - which seems to run counter to the theme of the tradition. Therefore, I choose to interpret that to mean "all the normal rules and restrictions" meant the requirement that you learn at least 5 xp, and that you had to spend a season, and that you were penalized depending on how many Abilities you already knew.

And yes, it does seem to indicate that Jewish mysticism is specialized in that sense. However, the sidebar on the other side of the page ("Study Partners") suggests that the act of having study partners is a technique that anyone who attended university can do. The implication is, of course, that it's the ability to share a single text (at a slight penalty), rather than the ability to learn a Supernatural ability from a book, that is being shared.

EDIT - so, bit of a clarification on my part, then: I incorrectly recalled that it was more general than it actually seems to be.

However, that kind of begged the question: what is it specifically about Jewish culture that allows magi to learn magic from books? And my conclusion was at the top of the sidebar: "it's a scholastic faith". This, in turn, implies that if you've got a group of sufficiently-scholastic magi (and not all are), then they can conceivably use a similar technique to learn Supernatural abilities.

Of course, what is "sufficiently scholastic?" YMMV, but it seems that the Order of Hermes doesn't quite cut it (according to the core rulebook.) So I'd say, at a minimum, a Hermetic who had the Baccalaureate virtue, who got into the scholastic tradition, and who was comfortable with the idea of reading a single text as a group, could fall into the same category.

Hmm I've been trying too remember if/where in RAW that guideline is. Anyone know? Either way it's a pretty good rule of thumb.

You mean the sidebar "The Radhanites"? That's the only one. I'm guessing you're looking at what amounts to the pre-errata version?

Yes mine is the old book not revised. The side bar is entitled Study Risk.

I think it's just an observed pattern (which starts in RoP:D - you can see it in the Holy Hedge Magic traditions), that got used a couple of other times, and was confirmed in the forums by one of the writers.

It varied depending on the realm. Divine traditions got three major and one minor, Infernal traditions got four major, and faerie traditions got one major and three minor, if I remember correctly. I can't remember what the magical ones (like the elementalists) got offhand, but my instinct is that it was one major and three minor, like faerie.

Not much soothsayer character design going on in this thread! :slight_smile:

Fair 'nuff.

So, with that one page digression, we've learned that what I described (Gentle Gift, Comprehend Magic, Divinations, and Premonitions) is actually a HOLY Hedge magic tradition. And a Jewish one, at that. :slight_smile:

Hey, they had a lot of prophets...

(Oy vey.)

Of course, it does say those are "Favored Abilities." That's not the same as teaching someone something new. It's just like a Hermetic magus with a score of 0 in Corpus studying a Corpus summa; that magus does not get penalized for scores in the other Arts and does not require a teacher at that point. I'd have to go back to double-check how you end up with one set of Favored Abilities over another for the Infernal. For the OoH and magical hedge traditions, this requires Opening the Arts.

Good point.
I've always read that the chain letter brings you into the tradition, meaning those abilities weren't really favoured before.
But I might be wrong, obviously.

There is always the quick and dirty one trick pony option. Ritual Power Virtue from RoP:Magic gives you a single magic power that can violate Hermetic limits.