Invoke the Spirit of... erm, can't I just cast the spell?

This is another in what I'm anticipating to be a series of "But why bother" threads (see also my questions on Automata). In this case, I'm trying to work out how and why Hermetic Theurgy works.

From page 78 of Mysteries revised we get the description of Hermetic Theurgy, the virtue allowing the commanding of spirits to do the spell-based bidding of the magus.

I just need to work out why it's worth its weight.

If I feel I might need a Pilum of Fire spell, I have a couple of options. I can learn the spell or invest it in a device or I can learn an "invocation" spell and let the spirit cast the spell for me.

So, let's assume I have Creo 15, Ignem 15, MT 5, Int 2, Stamina 2. I also know a Name of Power (Ignem) at lvl 20 (for a +4 bonus I think). Assume also a Penetration of 3.

Invent and cast the spell:

Lab Total: 15+15+5+2 = 37 + Name of Power (Ignem) 4 = 41. This is enough to invent the spell outright.

My casting total is 15+15+2+4 = 36. That gives me a Penetration of 16+3 = 19.

If I invent the Hermetic Theurgy spell (spending only a season, I grant you):

Lab Total: 15+15+5+2 = 37 + Name of Power (Ignem) 4 = 41. This is enough to invent a sufficient spell (lvl 20) with no additional penetration.

To gain the PoF effect, you spend a round casting the Invocation spell and then a round to instruct the spirit.

Put like that it just doesn't sound worth it. Granted, with a high enough lab total a high penetration version can be invented, but if you can do that, you could have faster access to the spell through putting it in a device.

So, what's the deal? Why get the virtue and why invent the spells to use it?

Off the top of my head: it doesn't cost any vis and you don't need to carry physical device around.

Can these spirits concentrate for you?


First of all, it's only a minor virtue. It isn't the most poweful virtue in the world. It's just really cool.

The advantages I see are:

In order to cast a formulaic spell you only need ot get within 10 of the total. In other words if you have a level 40 PoF spirit you only need a cating total of 30 to get that 20 penetration PoF cast (this is only useful if you've got others to teach you the spell or lend you their lab notes rather than having to invent the spell yourself. You know, only useful if you're in a mystery cult :laughing: .)

You more or less get flexible formulaic magic as a minor virtue.

You can invent a version of a spell that lasts a longer duration and therefore cast the spell to summon the spirit when you're in a low stress and friendly aura situation and then have the spell go off in a high stress and or unfavorable aura situation and not have to worry about botch dice and such.

If you can invent "summon the spirit of pillum of fire" in a season you can invent his identical twin and his cousin Larry too. Perhaps all with duration diameter or longer This allows you a good deal of flexibility ie. "Ok guys when Bob comes into the room everybody blast him and yell "surprise"!! I'll be over here, out of the way, trying to spont some defensive magics"

There are some big drawbacks to hermetic theurgy spells (slow casting and spells that do not improve with the improvement of your art scores) but you don't necesarily want to limit yourself to only researching theurgic spells. You'll also want to get a comfortable number of normal spells as well.

That's the winner right there. On a single season "invent the spell from scratch" activity, I'd reckon on using the standard spells. If, on the other hand you do have access to lab texs, then yes, suddenly it starts to look a little better. It's a damned shame the examples in the book don't show how best to use the virtues in-game.

I can see how a senior Theurgist could go very well equipped with a number of spirits just itching to cast their spells for him.

Of course, with a lab text there's the risk that the spirit be already busy somewhere else when you try to invoke it.

For the most part I agree with you, yet I don't think that you should disregard the value of flexable formulaic magic with the spirits.

A few spirits for frequent spontaineous magic needs such as rego terram or muto corpus which allow the caster to spont at better than half their score without loosing fatigue are also extremely useful.

Yeah, examples would really help understand the in-game utility of some of these virtues that, in the abstract, my mind can't quite figure out - or I only figure out the surface coolness which seems underwhelming.

I hope the Spirit of Cut Examples is freed upon the Earth sometime in the future...


I did actually start a thread somewhere which explains Hermetic Theurgy a little more, but I agree the usefulness of this took a while to strike me. These spells are also much more powerful if you have a high Magic Theory and incorporate decent Names of Power with that virtue. I'd say you really need Hermetic Synthemata to stand much chance with the Daimonic Pact part of Hermetic Theurgy though!

cj x

Granted. I almost quoted the part about the Flexible magic too. But for me, the passage I did quote was the clincher. It does explain how it suddenly looks very viable if you a) are able to invent the spell at a high enough level, perhaps with some assistance or b) if you have a support network able to feed you the lab texts. In either case, the need for the brothers and sisters of your own cult becomes important.

You do not add Name of Power bonuses, unless you have some other Virtue which tells you to do so. (It's actually useless on its own - about the only one...)

  • If you also have Hermetic Theurgy, you can add NOP bonuses to both the casting score and Lab total of Theurgy Spells;
  • If you have Invocation Magic you can add NOP to casting score of "any spell (that matches)" (eg your Pilum of Fire);
  • if you have Consummate Talisman and invest an effect in your Talisman it can cast NOP on you as you cast an appropriate spell.

You never add NOP to Lab Totals (except for Theurgy spells, or other specific Virtue).

you (via the spirit) get the benefit of Flexible Formulaic Magic.

If you had an extended duration Invoke spell, you could cast the Invoke spell in a favourable aura, then enter a very unfavourable aura and have the spirit perform;
likewise it can perform if you instruct it in other unfavourable (botch-worthy) circumstances. Since the spirit doesn't roll, it can't botch.
An extended duration Invoke spell is like a cheap Waiting Spell, without the vis, and with the magus triggering it. (You don't need to concentrate to keep the spirit around, unless the Invoke suration is Conc.)

the Invoke spell/spirit is also similar to a device effect except
a) you need no vis to prepare or invest it - it's just a spell.
b) you get unlimitied uses per day, for free.

no - they cast the spell an "poof!" gone... For a Conc spell, the magus concentrates, just like a device effect

Oh, yes - that too!
If you invent (poss. from a Grimoire) an Invoke spell at the limit of your casting ability (CT = level-10, costs fatigue, works, but would normally have pen=-10), the Invoke Spirit is still full strength. (And may have that built in Pen boost)

one of my favourites is a Conc. Invoke combine with a ring of Maintain The Demanding Spell, to keep the invoked spirits around...

I thought you had to instruct the spirits at the time they cast the spell for you, not "a couple of rounds in advance". (They're also stupid)

but the idea appeals....

if you do not have Hermetic Theurgy and try to summon a Daimon, you more opr less need Synthemata (or other gross means to boost total), as you have to complete the Pact in one casting, so you need a ritual of 2*Might, and to penetrate.

If you have Hermetic Theurgy, then a spell of Might+5 will do, so long as you have a stash of vis and time to repeat the ritual, as the points accumulate from casting to casting until the theurgist completes the Pact. Only a Theurgist gets this benefit with a Daimon.

(Oh, and don't use Synthemata if you want a Daimonic Faimilar - you geta pissed off Daimon who won't want to have his Aspect live with you...)

Is this the case with Names of Power as well? I'm unclear how Names of Power affect the disposition of Daimons.



one of my favourites is a Conc. Invoke combine with a ring of Maintain The Demanding Spell, to keep the invoked spirits around...


How on earth did I miss this last August?

That's a fantastic idea

I think Names Of Power would go down quite well with most Daimons... By Jupiter!

Thanks. That's what I was thinking as well but wanted to make sure before I started playing my newest magus.

Old topic, i know, but this sentence bothers me.
Why this spell acts like device?
And if it acts like device, can i add +5 to make it concentrate for me, or do something else that devices can do?
Sentence that points out that it uses same rules for penetration as devices, doesn't mean that it is device.

There is also sentence that tells that spirit departs when it has performed (cast) spell. I think this can mean three things:

  1. Spirit casts spell and leave and magus must concentrate spell - just like quote says.
  2. Spirit casts spell and leave, but it leaves after concentration ends because that is part of spell and so part of "casting".
  3. Spirit casts spell and leave and nobody can concentrate for spell. After all it's spell spirit's power and it is separate from magus. Magus only casts spell to summon spirit, he doesn't use its power.

What with that outbreak of necro, can't you guys start new threads?

Did you read TMRE p 78-9? Only RAW matters.

They don't stay, and you cannot concentrate unless the spririt had Tethered Magic (HoH:TL p107, bless that VFindex).