Immortality Options for mages

With the TMRE spoliers, I think I begin to see a greater pattern to the way immortality functions in ArM:

Immortality Methods:

*Great Elixir (TMRE)
*Becoming (HoH:MC)

You become a fully immortal magical or faerie humanoid creature, but you lose the human faculty to learn and improve. You need magical rituals to accomplish any kind of self-improvement.

*Inner Heartbeast (HoH:MC)

You become a fully immortal magical sentient animal creature, but you lose your human body and the ability to learn and improve. You need magical rituals to accomplish any kind of self-improvement.

*Living Ghost (TMRE)
*Guardian of Nature (HOH:MC)

You become a fully immortal spiritual ghost-like or nature-spirit-like entity. but you lose freedom of movement. Your lifeforce is bound to a fixed location, that you cannot leave.

*Immortality of the Forest (GotF)

You get full immunity from age, but you are fixed to a geographical area (albeit larger in scope than for LG or GoN) and you ultimately face earthily demise in Final Twilight.

*Elixir (TMRE)
*Longevity Potions with very high lab tot (ArM)
*high Divine aging-retarding Method/Power total (RoP:D)

You are almost, but not quite, immune to aging, and you keep all human qualities including learning ability and freedom of movement, but you ultimately face earthily demise in Final Twilight.

*Path of the Body : threshold of corporial repose (HOH:MC)
*Shaoshayant's Elixir (RoP:D)

You get full immunity from age, but you bound to a very strict code of behavior, and you ultimately face earthily demise in Final Twilight.

*Ascension to the Hall of Heroes (TMRE)

Dunno about this. Is the character still playable after it becomes a daimon ? I doubt it.

Plus, I guess there are likely mystical methods to use infernal powers to delay or stop aging, making one partially demonic, or even turn onself into a full demon in RoP:I, even if I'm not fully aware of their scope and characteristics. Lucky owners of the book and authors are welcome to contribute to this list.

There are two important thematic points to this, IMO:

The Limit of Aging is far from absolute. It is relatively easy for a dedicated magus to break it with Mystery Initiation. As a matter of fact, the Limit of Aging is one of the lesser limits that is more easy to break with mystae, with several different methods and options. This may reflect something about the nature of magic, life, the soul in the ArM setting, or just the fact that cheating age and death is one of the likely foremost objectives for the average mage researchers, and this limit simply got more research effort from Hermatic mystagogues than say the Limit of True Feeling, and with a comparable effort, all lesser Limits may be similarly broken or sidestepped.

As it can be seen, with Mystery Initiation any mage that despises aging or the afterlife and is hungry for unlimited time on Earth and immunity from death can rather easily overcome the Limit of Aging and get full immortality under an array of options, but he must still accept that he will meet ultimate demise in Final Twilight or give up a fundamental human quality (freedom of movement, freedom of action, human body, unlimited potential for change) or a combination of both. Cool, nice steup. Much, much satisfying than making the Limit of Aging an impenetrable barrier, IMO.

I especially appreciate the fact that under this system, if a mage is really willing to pay the price, he can even cheat God and the Devil of one's soul. Of course, one might state that a mage turned faerie/spirit/magical creature is not really escaping the Divine's judgement at the end of the world, or that (more likely) the Divine ultimately lets the mage have the kind of eternal existence that the mage really wants, but the (thematically very important IMO) point is that the game system makes the Church provably wrong and that Hell is not the inescapable afterlife fate of all those who reject it. Of course, one might even argue that the soul goes to its preordanied (sp ?) destiny and Hermetic magic, even empowered and broadened by the Mysteries, can only have dominion on the body and mind of the magus. This cannot be disproved, as it cannot be disproved the alternative explanation that the Divine simply leaves the soul free to go or stay where it really wants to be. This is left to the individual troupe to decide, even if I think the second solution is much more rewarding for most players: of course, my opinion may be biased by my intense loathing of Middle Age Christianity/Islam.

A thematically important issue that remains unsolved is what happens when the mage has conflicting allegiances and mystical bindings to one's body/mind/soul: e.g. what would happen if a diabolist would undergo the ritual to become a spirit or faerie ? Would it fail ? work ? tear him apart ? turn him into a demon instead ? Can a non-infernal, non-divine immortality method allow to cheat an infernal pact ?

Ah such fiction warms my transhumanist harth. It is definitly an fun adition to the game, you had longavity potions and becoming a litch before but here there are many more options. I especialy like the Becoming option.

One difference between these two is that with Guardian of Nature, you can cancel the effect; it isn't permanent. For as long as you remain in your focus, you're this immortal entity, but you can step out of it and start your clock again if you want. You can't do that with Living Ghost.

Yes, there are. They're all about as powerful as the methods in The Divine, but they also all have a fiendish twist.

I think that's likely. Like how Erik was saying in another thread about how there must have been /some/ big discoveries throughout Hermetic history, I imagine that the magus who makes a major breakthrough or stumbles upon a power that breaks Hermetic Limits might start his own mystery cult to teach it to others, since they probably can't learn Supernatural Abilities after they've opened their Arts.

There's some ideas in RoP:I about "tainted" beings and powers. I suspect that's probably what would happen; the diabolist would seem to be a faerie or a magical being, but would actually be infernal, because he would be tainted by his infernal activities. However, that might be a way to escape damnation, who knows? It sort of depends what kind of immortality the character finds in the Magic or Faerie realms.

Glad to hear it. It seems that the creator of the GoN ritual cared to provide for an escape clause, while for LG they didn't care. Who knows ? OTOH, a LG mage could probably devise a special ritual to relocate if he really need, similar to how Becoming faerie-mages have ones to change themselves.

Now that the NDA is down, care to explain/list them, for the sake of completeness ? In the other thread, it is mentioned that exotic infernal-tainted magic (Ars Goetia) can either allow the mage to tear away a piece of a spirit or merge with a whole spirit, to gain resistance or immunity to aging, amid other benefits, and using Infernal Me/Po may slow aging, much like divine Me/Po do. Is that all ? I assume the first two methods carry all kinds of mystical side effects, and no end of enimity amid associates of the abused spirit.

I am stricken by the relative dearth of anti-aging techniques for divine characters, in comparison with the massive array developed by magic- or faerie-oriented ones. Blessing to slow aging, the Zoroastrian immortality ritual, that's all. Maybe because divine-oriented mentality has less incentive to seek more time on Earth, while magic-, faerie-, and infernal-oriented mages have plenty (more time to explore magic, enjoy one's powers, postpone damnation). Of course a diabolist might comment that's because G-d is greedy and tyrannical and wishes to get the magus' soul soon, while His counterpart is more reasonable and always willing to provide for an extension, with the right deeds/ordeals/sacrifices :smiling_imp:

I have to remark that the barrier to learn Supernatural Abilities exists for non-Hermetic ones. HoH:TL explictly mentions that SAs that are discovered by a major breakthough are already hermetic in nature and do not face this difficulty. However, to use them one must still learn the ability. A second major breakthorugh is necessary to fully integrate them in magic theory so that one gets the new technique as one learns normal hermetic magic. OTOH, on average undergoing an Initiation, modifying an existing Initation script, and likely, experimenting to create a wholly new script is significantly easier than accomplishing a major breakthrough, much less two. So original research has the feature of being more burdensome on the inventor, and more beneficial to late adopters, while Mystery Initiation is the opposite, and allows more control on the spread of information. Human (and Hermetic) nature being what it is, it is natural that Mystery Initiation is more widespread than original research for expanding and improving hermetic magic. The two systems, however, in the end exist side-by-side and likely feed and inspire each other.

I was curious to know if RoP:I provides canon, proven methods for diabolist mages to turn themselves into demons, since the corebook mentions that humans may become magical, faerie, or infernal spirits. We have seen the Mysteries to do the magical/faerie thing. Moreover, I was curious to know [color=white] whether the ritual Septus uses to turn into a demon is a one-time special exception, or something that is provided in RoP:I and other characters may learn and use.

Living Ghost can in fact leave the Haunt (eg by possessing a body, dead or living - the "Lich" of fantasy might easily be a Living Ghost out on a jaunt...) - they just aren't safe outside it... they are vulnerable like any other ghost, but much stronger within the Haunt.
The Living Ghost has difficulties in changing and learning just like the Great Elixir Alchemist.

LG & GoN are not actually very similar...
As Erik Dahl pointed out, you can cease to be a Guardian of Nature, but not cease to be a Living Ghost.
Living Ghost has no GoN type easy-exits ... the transformation ends when you kill yourself, after which you are DEAD, and there are no easy ways back from Death in ME (short of Divine Intervention)
The "Living" bit primarily refers to their retained intelligence and free-will compared to a "Normal" ghost, which is bound typically by some unfillfilled need (an can be released by completing that); the Living Ghost does not wish to be freed from their Haunt! (Cf Calebais, or the notes in TMRE)

I guess that GoN is a voluntary long-term service, dedicating yourself to Nature in that area, and you can end the dedication, losing both duties and benefits

Yes, but not in the way you might expect...

The Daimon character can send Aspects to the mortal plane, and indeed, his Aspects can be Summoned by Theurgic Rituals (and probably other methods). The Summoning Ritual grants benefits to the Daimon, and the character (Aspect) gets to perform a Service (ie take part in adventures). Most proto-Daimons need a cult group to get their Ascension in the first place and are likely to leave instructions that the Cult should continue to summon his Aspect after Ascension, so he can keep the cult running, get things done on the mortal plane, and gain the vis-benefits from the Ritual Summoning.

Also, while in the HoH, the Daimon can interact with other Daimons, to their mutual benefit (or otherwise). No much is said about that - no space in the book, but it's so off-beam core ME as to be best suited to individual Saga specifications.

1 Like

Conserning escaping the judgement:
I tend to hold that while the character seems to escape judgement by becoming something else, it is only in terms of body and spirit - while the soul has allready gone on. This would explain the problems of changing/learning...

No ... it is not that the Mysta who devised the ritual did not care - rather that to become a Living Ghost, you have to become a Ghost: that is you DIE.
Once Dead, the character remains Dead... that's Death for you... The only exit would to cease to be Dead, by coming back to Life.

TMRE doesn't commit itself on that, but, yes: it is very plausible that the Soul has gone on, and what remains is Spirit or Spirit+Body.

Gaining Might would seem to be key - Humans do not have Might Score - beings of the 4 Realms do, and many (but not all?) of those beings are Immortal, or at least Undying. In turn, they are not Human ... so it seems that to become Immortal you must lose something of Humanity so you cease to be Human, and become a being of one of the Realms.

(Magi are normallty merely aligned with the Magic Realm, not of the Magic Realm.)

Thank you for the clarifcations on Living Ghost and Ascension to the Hall of Heroes. It seems these two immortality mysteries are more outlandish than most, as they require the character to pass through the wall of death, while others do not. Another consideration to do when adjudiocating the features of the various methods. OTOH, Final Twilight is irreversible, too, so Bjornaer Great Heartbeasts cannot return human, and also mages turned faeries or magical beings by Becoming or the Great Elixir have no concrete way to return to humanity apart (maybe) from complex and difficult rituals that they would have to research from scratch (actually another Mystery Virtue for turning a faerie or magical being into a human).

So it seems that the Elixir, vanilla longevity ritual with high lab tot, GoN and IotF are the only immortality methods that are really reversible (for IotF, you just leave the forest). Hmm, also Path of the Body, you just become a Gorgiastic.

As I said, this a possible explanation of the way rituals like LG/AtHoH/GE/Becom. work. Another possible explanation is that the Divine lets the soul go or stay where it really wants, and mages turned magical beings or faerie have trouble with changing and learning because being static is in the Essential Nature of such creatures. Their static nature bestows immortality, but also makes it difficult for them to change or self-improve. There's no way to discover which interpretation is correct within the setting, whether the soul goes on to judgement or stays with the spirit/body, but is subject to its new Essential Nature. Ultimately it rests on faith :wink: and to be decided by individual troupes according to how one sees the Divine in ArM. Personally I find the second explanation (soul stays) much more confortable because it IMO it fits more with the ecumenic way the Divine is depicted in RoP:D, it makes sincere pagan faith "right" and not a delusion fuelling Hell-fires, while the alternative is far too much close to RL fundamentalist Abrahamic religion for my confort or taste.

1 Like


I disagree with you at this point: from my point of view the imortality powers such as becoming or hall of heros are something a Diabolist should avoid. In my campain there is a magus which made a pact with a demon to gain help with getting real immortality when he was young. Now he is realizing, that even he becomes somehing other than human or even if he lives 10.000 years with immortality of the forest the demon will win, because the demon is a beeing which counts in centuries not in years and if you become a fearie, well I doubt that your soul will be trasnformed because the soul is something indestructible, something given by GOD, completly immune to every other effect. If someone becomes a fearie or a lich or a ghost his soul should go the Hell or Heaven as if he died.
If you want to get rid of a demon pact there should be only one solution: purify your soul and get near to god to get salvation.
So the typical bloodmagic Diedne will get into Hell even if he becomes a fearie.

You see, I have no real difficulties with all diabolists eventually going down to Hell because it might be argued that in their hearts of hearts it's where they wish to go and it's where they belong. If any, I would make it so that shortsighted/bumbling/self-deluded diabolists go join the crowd of the damned souls, but the most talented/determined/clever get to become demons: ability should be rewarded, even in Hell. So IMO the best solution to rituals like becoming or ascension being performed on a diabolist is for the character to become an infernal spirit or creature instead. The ritual's main effect occurs in that the mage is turned into a supernatural creature, but the infernal ties of the mage twist it so that its realm bindings are modified to Hell instead. Similarly, Final Twilight for a daibolist should turn the character into an infernal spirit.

No qualm here. My main difficulty is elsewhere, with pagan or secualr or irreligious mages. I find untolerable loathing with the idea of RP a setting where fundamentalist Christianity is made right and you go to Hell unless you bow down and pay allegiance to a tyrannical deity. The only way I could RP in such a setting would be with diabolist characters as heroic cosmic rebels against the Heavenly despot, in a Miltonian sense. For the ArM setting being something that I can find remotely confortable, the souls of barely moraly decent pagans must escape Hell and go where they wish to go in the Afterlife, be Arcadia or the Magic realm, or even, if if deep down their vision of the Divinity is compatible wit it, Heaven. But it is indispensable that Middle Age Christian and Islamic theology to be wrong and "there is salvation (or at least a confortable afterlife compatible with one's beliefs and expectations) outside the Church". This an absolute must for me.

IMO there is nothing in the ArM 5th ed. canon setting incompatible with such an interpretation of the afterlife. As a matter of fact, IMO the way the divine is represented in RoP:D reinforces it. If the divine embraces all monotheistic faiths equally and religions are badly wrong in this, why couldn't it leave pagan souls free to go where they want ? Divine-oriented souls go to Heaven, infernally-oriented ones go to Hell, pagan, magically- or faerie-oriented souls go to Arcadia or the Magical realm. Therefore, the souls of the mages turned magical beings, spirits, or faeries should stay with their body/spirit. The soul isn't transformed or destroyed. It simply continues to stay with the body/spirit. IMo this is the most elegant and rewarding solution.

You may treat this way, personally I would prefer if exceptional talent or cleverness also allows it without divine assistence, IMO it's more thematically fitting (remember all those stories wehere clever folks outsmart the Devil ?) but it's not an aboslute must, moral redemption (but not religious conversion; virtous secular persons do not belong in Hell) may be made a necessary prerequisite to break a demon pact. My absolute thematic threshold is with the souls of virtous pagans.

If he is really a diabolist, no qualm. If, more likely, he is just a member of a libelled pagan tradition he should go to Arcadia or the Magical Realm if he dies or goes into Final Twilight. Even more so if he uses Mysteries to turn himself into a magical being or faerie, the difference being that he gets to stay on Earth.

1 Like

Just in reply to something Lucuis wrote, about the fate of the soul - My intepretation of previous versions editions was that the soul can go to 4 different places depending on your beliefs - twilight for magic, heaven for christians, hell for bad christians, or arcadia for fae.

When fae or demons die they go nowhere as they have no souls, nor according to the rules do angels - souls are for humans. So if you use becoming to transform to a fae then you lose your soul, it is destroyed. I would extend this to all beings tied to the realms. If you have a might score you don't have a soul.

Actually I would have no thematic difficulties with a modea like this, and the soul of the magus that turns into a magical being or faerie going to the Magical Realm or Arcadia where it rigthly belongs, while the body and spirit of the magus stays on Earth thanks to the ritual.

This specific point is disproven, since the main book explicitly states that angels and demons have souls, and that humans may turn into magical creatures, faerie, spirits, or demons. hence, mages-turned-demons keep souls, and it is quite likely that mages-turned-faerie or-magical beings do too.

oops, okay

I was going off the previous versions, and things like the pax dei and faeries book which detailed the nasty things that happened to fae blooded christians who get blessed/ordained.

As I only get the pdfs I haven't stayed up to date on ROP infernal or divine or the main rule book

Oh, if you are getting your impressions about the Divine in ArM from stinking crap like Pax Dei I might understand where your approach comes. Pax Dei was a horrible, horrible, book, one of the worst ArM supplements ever. Not only it made the supposed central characters of the game (wizards) completely powerless and unconsequential in the face of every country priest and monk with an attitude (and their default attitude was depicted as ready to go witch-burning at the drop of a hair), but it justified the most obnoxious and bigot attitudes of oppressive and fundamentalist Christianity in game terms by making Divine-aligned characters perfectly free and apparently blessed by God in abusing their impressive supernatural powers by arbitrarily inflicting the most horrible curses on mundanes, magical-, and faerie-aligned characters alike at whim with no consequence whatsoever, as long as they payed lip service and allegiance to the Church. Few game supplements I have loathed more.

By all means shift to RoP:D if you financially can. It's a galaxy-wide leap of quality, as with pretty much all of 5th ed. in comparison to 4th ed and 3th ed.

1 Like

It isn't a matter of cash, it is that I only buy pdfs, for physical space problems, and can't possibly fit any more books into home without throwing out old ones (not going to happen). So I buy the pdfs from RPGnow and store on dvd. Can fit a few thousand books into a small folder that way.

So I am pleading once again, Atlas, please release more books on pdf format. Please? You don't want me to have to suffer through on Pax Dei and the other third edition stuff?

Ahi, I sorely feel your pain, pal, because you are forced to pass on so much goodness. I cannot but heartily praise the excellent effort that David and the various authors have done to turn the confusing morass of half-baked ideas that was 4th ed. into something elegant, coherent, and fun. The 5th ed. stands head and shoulders above all the others, and I savor the day when the HoH and RoP series are done and the basic strucute developing all the basic elements of ArM is complete.

However, Atlas is more or less alone (along with SJG) as the only publisher of a game I fancy that still treats PDF publishing as a necessary evil to cover for out-of-print books, and is as bad as Hero or WW or FASA back in the day in disseminating so many near-essential gaming crunchy bits in so many books (but the others -Hero, M&M, Shadowrun, WoD- release pretty much anything in PDF as well).

As a result, my backpack is groaning each time my group switches to ArM in our periodic gaming rotation: lessee... apart the main book, HoH:TL, HoH:MC, RoP:D, Covenants, and soon TMRE and RoP:I are almost-essential presences, for various reasons: you have a character in that House, a Virtue or Flaw in that book, you need to check a spell, spell guideline, a R/D/T or shape/material bonus in that book, you have a character in that mystae, the story touches topics like hermetic law or trade or covenant maintenance... Yep, having PDFs of all those books would be a great boon, as would be having a complete, updated index of stuff like spell guidelines, V/F, shapes, materials, and Abilities.

While having printouts of out-of-print PDF books is nice, to save space it is really necessary to have all books on laptop or none, because having half books on laptop and half on paper is ultimately annoying and confusing.

The old External Soul virtue is within the scope of Infernal Methods and Powers. Damhan-Allaidh's followers form an Infernal Hermetic Societas. Such groups are noted as being suspect and carefully watched, but membership isn't an open admission of diabolism.

Merging a spirit within yourself doesn't grant longevity. Biting a chunk out of it with Ablation does. Hmmm. Tasty spirits.

And the way you obtain such an extension, rejuvenating yourself at the expense of somebody else (Ouch! Where did that Decrepitude Point come from?) is in and of itself Evil, thus furthering Hell's agenda.

Not explicitely, no. After your death you may become an Infernal Ghost, for example, and there are guidelines for granting someone Infernal Might (though that's not a guarantee of immortality), but no explicit way is given to become a demon. The fact that it may happen doesn't mean there is a well-defined sequence of steps that can be taken to achieve it. You're essentially at the mercy (HA!) of Hell's whims.

The damned soul of a mortal with a high Hierarchy could return to Earth as a demon but it is equally, if not more likely that it would just be selected for some extra-special attention as it roasts in Hell. I haven't seen mention of any "turn into a demon" ritual.

now I have my own TMRE properly in my paws, I can comment more easily than digging out RTF files.

To those who maintain that Living Ghost is flawed and a mistake vs the Great Elixir, perhaps they have overlooked the relative Might scores you might expect from the Immortality options in TMRE?

  • Great Elixir: Might = (level of Grant Might -20 )/2
  • Ascension To The Hall Of Heroes: (level of Ascendant Form ritual)/2
  • Living Ghost: (level of Transformation Of The Living Ghost - size levels)
    (in the example, a Boundary+2 Haunt uses 30 levels, so eg (Transformation level -30)

for equal Art scores, The Living Ghost ends up with most Might, and the Elixir grants least;
conversely, the Elixir leaves you most alive, the Living Ghost least alive, and Ascension probably makes you the safest if most remore Immortal.

Very true, the example shows a Living ghost with a comfortable Might of 50.

Besides, the Elixir doesn't seem to let you do anything with your Might, beside giving you MR and forcing you to deal with Aegises. Living Ghosts can actively tap their Might and who knows what kind of powers a Daimonic magus might develop.