Magicless magic

Hi there!

After working around several NPCs for our saga, I have seen that there are quite a few "tricks" that can be done by people withouyt the Gift but that would look magical to the untrained eye and that do provide magic-like (or even real magic) effects.

Looking at this I have started toying around the idea of what a Gift-less person could achieve, and thinking about what abilities a potential court wizard could command. So far I have detected the following methods in the rules. More abilities would be appreciated: I am sure I have forgotten several on my way here :slight_smile:

Mythic Herbalism: Supernatural virtue, true, but the effects are not truly spectacular. It enters in the category of "quasi magic.
Mythic alchemy (HMRE). Same case as M. Herbalism. Basically an improvement over normal alchemy. Those 2 are the most powerful abilities being considered, but all those are borderline assumptions
Touched by Realm (C&G): Allows you to make wondrous items. Also supenatural, but minor

Ligatures (A&A):
Achievable with any of the 3 philosophical arts (medicine, artes liberales or philosophiae).
A few hours to create
Provide a bonus of +1 +2 or even +3 to a single roll

Formulae (A&A)
These exist for all 3 philosophical arts as well (medicine, artes liberales or philosophiae).
The names and effects are as follows:

Inceptions (art lib). Info on the present, past or future
Reagents (phil). Alchemical stuff. greek fire, vitriol, calorific stone, alchemical steel, cement, protector
Theriac (medicine, apothecary). Restore fatigue, help recovery, antivenom, poisons

Enrichment (RoP:M)
The best thing in the unGifted repertoire since our founder destroyed a Djinn in his final battle. grants supernatural abilities and bonuses for the meagre price of your Ethernal Soul and... wait, this is The Other guys. Only triggers a constant muystical effect on you so you are saying "welcome!" to warping.

[u]Forest Path/u
A way for humans to acquire communion with the Forest Spirit and gain supernatural abilities out of it. It requires sacrifices by the one that has undergone the Path, but he also gains from it after a successful quest. There are several (unlimited?) different forest paths, all with their advantages and drawbacks.

Superior and Excellent Items (C&G)
Those are items made exceptionally well. They add bonuses to certain activites or totals. Not magical, but certainly preferred. If the bonus is large enough (say, +5) the effect might look magical to the untrained.

Anything more methods I am missing?


Some of the stuff from the RoP books like Tempering/Tainting/Tinting Auras might qualify...

Oooh what about Legerdemain? "Behold as I conjure forth yon rabbit from my hat!"

I think you've covered the non-magical magic in Art and Academe. There's a lot of stuff there that's useful, even to Hermetics. Especially since it ignores Parma.

Ligatures don't grab me. They may be rooted in traditional lore but for the game they just provide a bonus at little or no cost. I might like them better if you had to learn or invent specific formulas for each effect.

Reagents and Theriacs are very cool. With a very simple Theriac one can restore fatigue levels. It's a lot more convenient than integrating witchcraft from Hedge Magic and you'd think the Order would be all over it. If you could get your Craft Magic to a high enough level of proficiency to cook this stuff up with Rego you're really be ready to go.

Inceptions, on the other hand, don't really work for me as written. I really don't get the concept of spending a season to develop a one-use generic inception, which can then be freely customized to answer a specific question, after which the generic inception becomes useless. I can't really understand the in-game explanation for how this happens. I would think you'd either spend a season to come up with the charts for a specific event or else you'd be able to make your generic learning specific without using it up. Maybe I'm misreading the rules.

You're missing the near magical effects of things made with exceptional skill per City and guild.

and enrichment completely rocks, you could have a character with a high lore score and dozens of magical abilities complected as odd bits and pieces of creatures and phenomena collected by the lore master and his or her predecessors.

Ah true!

Adding those to the list. However, it goes with the "Mythic" abilities, since it requires the supernatural virtue Touched by (Realm) to work :slight_smile:


Actually, I think he's referring to Exceptional Items (which give you bonuses to the basic activity performed with the item proportional to your craft skill / workshop total), rather than Wondrous Items (which require the virtue Touched by Realm, and can produce items approaching the puissance of those of hermetic magi).

I think the proto-mystery mechanics of the Forest Paths (from GotF) are quite cool, and even more so for unGifted characters than for Magi of the Order.

How about the supernatural Craft stuff from C&G (Touched by (Realm))? My excellent craftsman from our pen and paper game can do enchantments of Terram and Corpus. That allows him to make even better weapons and armor for the grogs and himself and to produce trinkets to allow him to do all sorts of handy little things.

Edit: Beaten on that one. :slight_smile:


I already added the Touched by Realm thing :slight_smile: I will look into exceptional items tomorrow, since I am not really familiar with the C&G mechanics.

Hmm... I didn't knowe unGifted people could undergo those initiations. Will look into them tomorrow as well.

Thanks all! :smiley:


It's quite interesting that the Forms that were chosen in our game by the Touched by Faerie smith were also Corpus and Terram! I really think it's the most useful combination for this virtue. Incidentally, do you allow one to create effects with requisites outside the two forms? E.g. a MuCo(An) animal mask that turns the user into that animal? I can make up my mind neither on what would be balanced, nor on how the RAW should be read in this regard.

Check out the last paragraph on p.36 of GotF.

I totally missed this post! I will review these and decide :slight_smile:

Legerdmain is certainly an interesting ability to have (a folk magician soooo needs it! too trye! :laughing: ), but I was more concerned with "real" tricks a mundane can perform tinkering with the supernatural, more than pretending to be supernatural :slight_smile:


If you're looking for things people without The Gift can do, all of the traditions in Hedge Magic RE, except the Vitkir, allow unGifted people to practice their magic in at least some limited manner.

I know, but the traditions in HMRE require initiations. That leaves them out for me. It can be argued the other way around as easily, but I prefer to ignore them for the time being :slight_smile: HMRE is an amazing book (my favorite 5th edition book so far; we are using it A LOT IMS) but it does not cut it in this instance.