I have a problem with the Craddle and the Crescent: I am totally unable to bring my head to think how a Sahir can be an interesting character. An interesting magical character, more concretely. A Muslim learned dude that talks to spirits is interesting, yes, and being in the middle of all the crusading and politicking Arab and Persian factions is really interesting as well, but so far I have been unable to think of the Sahir powers in a way that make them appealing. I have come to the conclusion that this is my fault, since people talk great things about the sahirs left and right. So given my fault, I have decided to ask you all for examples.
Could you think of a few things that in your opinion make the sahirs interesting? It can be some spells, some general abilities or powers that they will be using regularly or whatever. I am quite lost in that point.
I'm not entirely sure what you're asking, but I did find it somewhat difficult to grok the Sahir tradition at first since as you say their magic can seem to have a rather narrow range of effects which, combined with the necessity of spending virtues and XP buying up you summoning art, can result in an all sahir party looking much alike.
Part of the fun of playing a sahir comes from the method by which they work their naranjs, the various jinn they make use of are a lot of fun to play since like grogs the personalities can be completely over the top.
Beyond that, sahirs, unlike most hedge traditions, are highly skilled where magical research is concerned. Furthermore, the relatively small breadth of effects accessible to them as written means that each individual breakthrough is potentially more valuable when compared on a relative scale.
Finally, something that confused me about Sihr at first was the Bargaining modifier for terms that reduced the spirits Might which didn't make any sense to me until much later when I remembered that Spirits many spirits have the "Grant Virtue" Ritual Power which they can only utilize by reducing their Might...
Hope that helps,
Could you expand on this a bit?
I thought Gifted Sahir gained all five Arts for free, along with a summoning Art.
Did I miss something? OR are you refering specifically to non-Gifted Sahirs?
Basically I cannot wrap my head around Sahir concepts. I am totally blank when it comes to think how a sahir would be designed and how it would act in play terms. Having Djinn granting you virtues and flaws (a concept I do not like about ArM5, BTW, but that is me; V&F should be more unique than what they are now IMO) is all good and great, but what about a dude that centres more around naranjs? Or a combo. What kind of real effects can I expect to be able to pull being a Sahir?
I have a learning block when it comes to Sahirs, basically. Other non hermetic traditions have been all good and great and easy to understand, but Sahirs have not.
The example I had knocking around my head while working on tCatC was a mustajib; a Nizari assassin.
He can use Astrology to locate his target
He can use Storytelling to prevent anyone from seeing him until it is too late
He can use Physic to weaken his opponent, making him easier to kill
He can use Travel to gain access to his target's strong room, or to effect an escape
How each mustajib actually performs these tasks depends very much on his personal preferences and the spirits he summons
Gifted Sahir get the five Solomonic Arts for free, but still need to pay for a Summoning Art (always at least a Major Virtue). I suppose they don't technically have to buy the said summoning art up as high as they can, but players do tend to do so because it's their most powerful and versatile Art by virtue of adding to Summoning Strength.
My goodness, you're right! I was sure they got a summoning Art for free!
That is a given, but still makes for a limited number of virtues spent. However havng to pay for the summoning Art itself hurts!
well you can use your summoning art and potentially get anythign done that a spirt
My first thought was to make a Sahir version of Gwidion from Magi of Hermes (I use plants to do everything) and found I couldn't. They are a weird tradition, their abilities aren't as broad as rune wizards or Hermetics but their not as focused as most of the others.
Actually if you concentrate on (Solomonic) Sihr and summoning spirits for what they can do for you, you can create a very flexible character - you just need to prepare ahead as there is a lag with much Solomonic magic.
Many Faeries and greater Spirits have the Grant (Virtue) Power as pointed out above and can be bargained with or coerced to bestow this on the sahir. Depending on how your Troupe rules it, you could have spirits grant the equivalent of Lesser or Personal Powers such as Flight or Shapechanging powers, Master of (Form) or other Focus powers, allowing the sahir to have "fast-cast" magical abilities as "Jinni Blessings" or similar. This is one way to build a Hermetic Sahir that can surprise his Flambeau foes for instance, but it holds for OoS sahir also - some sahir may eschew the other Solomonic Arts and instead concentrate on bargaining for particular suites of granted powers (not unlike diabolists in RoP:I actually now I think of it) which gives them almost as broad a selection of options as Hermetics - they just develop these "spells" or "spell-like abilities" through a different pathway.
This adds a lot of options, but is not something we developed a lot in the book, mainly due to space constraints and the theme of developing the sahir as more than just summoners.
It's something I'd like to touch on in future, perhaps with an article on "Solomonic Mysteries" or split into "Jinni Mysteries", "Astral Mysteries" and "Elemental Mysteries". That's not even counting Infernal options...
Certainly a lot of unique options are available by pairing the sahir's Summoning Art with Ars Goetia or Ars Fabulosa, but that's hardly necessary to create a unique and compelling sahir character.
As I consider it, sahirs are somewhat unique among Mythic Europes major practitioners of the arcane in that they have intimate ties to both the supernatural world of the jinn as well as immersing themselves in the Mundane.
Based on that, I'd suggest that a sahir concept really should be based on his/her role in the suhhar and the relationships maintained with jinn, fellow sahirs, and mortal society in general.