Mechanica of Heron: can this be done?

Mechanica of heron is not a single existant tradition, though. We are talking like it was, but this is not the case in the RAW :slight_smile:

Other traditions based on a single ability are:

  • Canaanite Necromancy (Ancient Magic)
  • (IIRC) the guys from the canary islands only use one ability to cast their ritual magic IIRC
  • It could be argued that Hyperborean Hymnists also use a single ability. You can be a hymnist with a single Chant after all (and be a match for a young hermetic covernant depending on what you decide to take and your access to vis).

Your suggestions are very good, though. I tend to agree that those would give more scope to the character. To be a good mechanician you also need high levels of philosopiae and artes liberales, though (so you would read something like 7 alphabets :laughing: )


You’re correct that the mechanicians are not a contemporary tradition as of 1220 and I suppose I could see magical practices becoming more sophisticated over the centuries, but with the possible exception of the hyperborean hymnists, I don’t feel that the treatments given in Ancient Magic are meant to describe the featured magical traditions in their entirety, but rather to highlight certain eclectic tidbits of lore that hermetic magi might find tantalizing.

  • Canaanite Necromancers: While an impressive ability in its own right, Ancient Magic also describes the necromancers as being capable of binding familiars and producing enchanted items neither of which seems possible with just their namesake virtue.
  • Meceny: In addition to clearly not being a gifted tradition, the meceny would seem to possess a form of Focus Power relating to weather – perhaps granted by ancestral spirits. Alternately, the spirits might be using their powers on the Guam’s behalf.
  • Hyperborean Hymnists: I don’t view the hyperborean magic as being based upon a single ability, but rather eight (Azai, Ceremony, Eloure, Iao, Oai, Pentiterouni, Psyrinpheu and Semesilam) though naturally the ungifted members of the tradition would only know a few.

Ultimately, however, my main reason for wanting to expand the breadth of the mechanician’s magical knowledge is related to their power level. By way of example, let’s examine the Lab Total of a fairly typical beginning Mechanician who has expended no more than 3 minor virtues and 135 xp (75 on Mechanica, 30 on each of AL & Philosophiae) on improving his magical abilities.

Int 4 + Mekanikos 6+2 (includes specialty) + AL 3 + Aura 3 + Inventive Genius 3 = 21
The hermetic equivalent being 21/3x5 = 35th level and in just 1 season, not bad for a beginning character!

Int 4 + Mekanikos 6+2 (includes specialty) + AL 3 + Aura 3 + Inventive Genius 6 + Die 6 = 30
The hermetic equivalent being 30/3x5 = 50th level! Experimentation can really pay off!

Additional magical abilities added to the mechanicians’ repertoire would act as XP sinks, reducing the potential for abuse. Additionally, the new abilities, might allow for the creation of otherwise prohibited items such as Heron’s Theatre. Finally, it might possibly explain why the ancient mechanicians kept Laboratory Texts which would otherwise seem to serve no purpose whatsoever.

I don't know how many of you are familiar with this chap, but he's somewhat of a contempory source for the Saga and some of his wonders are Mechanica under a different name. Maybe the Line of Al Jazari ARE extant Mechanicians

NB they've recently corrected a lot of the info above on this chap, but he is a decent jumping off point for Arabic Mechanicians


Too true about the Cannaanite necromancers :slight_smile:

About the hyperboirean dudes, I thought you had to be gifted to use these, but I might be wrong. In fact I think I am :slight_smile: Still, with a single ability (and ceremony at 1, true) you can work perfectly OK. More powers just increase your abilities, but are not needed there for a complete use of the hyperborean mechanics. Also, take in mind that the 7 names of light is what it remains (what the ghosts know), but it is explitly said that there are hundreds of other abilities that used to exist. A god is a god after all :slight_smile:

Now, on the real subject, the mechie guys:

I just got hold of HOH:MC. I dived straight for the Verditii and their Automata and quality items.

I am utterly unimpressed. I was expecting much more than that. The Augustan brotherhood whipes the floor with the verditii for inspiration any day of the week. The reference in AM to the Automata powers is also highly disappointing, since the guidelines are sketchy at best. It is clear that Automata are not the most elaborate part of the veridtius chapter. :confused: What I noticed both here and in the augustan brotherhood is that size adds to the might of the creature in both cases, so I calculated belcher's might wrongly, and the timing as well. Given the reduction, Belcher is created in a single year, not 2, and should have a might of 7 not 12.

Now, the augustan brotherhood is much better given their animo totals and approach. I will be digging there in the next weeks :slight_smile:

I have to say that your starting mechanician is Archimedes or Leonardo Da Vinci, not an average mechanician :slight_smile: Int 4 and inventive genius is not your everyday total. I always found that inventive genius and good teach should be Major since they are too easy to abuse, but hey. Igneus is a fairly accomplished mechanician by the time he constructs Belcher, and he does so having the lab total of 21 that you use for your starting character. And that includes a magic aura, something you passed over in your sample character :slight_smile: So yes, you can abuse the system if you want to but that breaks suspension of disbelief to me, so I prefer not to :slight_smile:

Other skills/powers that could apply:

  • Alchemy
  • Mechanica applies to normal devices, not Anima
  • Have another ability that only applies to awakened mechanica. Call it The Spark, Animae or stuff that does things. Whatever :slight_smile:

Take in minf that I would say that Mechanicians are mostly teachers, not lab-obsessed crazed lunatics like most PCs. They also have to pay for their mantenance, and their trade is EXPENSIVE. So, their time is likely to be devoted to the classics, AL and philosophiae much more than in Mechanica of Heron. They are also likely to invest some time in Magic Lore and Enriching items. And their philosophiae and Artes Liberales is likely to find them wanting to develop some periapts.

So with:

  • mechanica (normal items)
  • philosophiae (reagents)
  • artes liberales (divinatory stuff)
  • magic lore (enrichment)
    [i]- Alchemy (optional, but fairly standard given the sundered eagle Crete entry; that is a mechanician at work to me :slight_smile:)
  • Animae (optional)[/i]
  • Teaching

It is quite a spread of abilities already, and a very expensive one, so that will require some funding (probably the patron flaw). I would say they can devote 2 seasons maximum per year to their trade. They are not removed from society after all.


Funny, I used to have exactly the same misconception (maybe not a misconception then?), but when I was rereading the rules for my grimoire last year, "Performing the Hymns" page 103 seemed to make it quite clear that characters could be initiated into the required virtues. As for the "lost" names, I took that as mere background fluff, but an alternate interpretation is that the seven beautiful names described in the chapter represent a single facet of hyperborean magic devoted to Apollo Phoebus and that the lost names relate to other Apollo's other aspects or even to different Gods altogether.

You're right again! Perhaps I should have said typical PC mechanician? :laughing:

Hi there!

2 things, a question and a few links.

QUESTION: What metal would be associated with a Mischievous personality? An Anima created by Mechanica of Heron develops a personality trait associated with the material it is made of. I want Belcher to be mischievous, but I have no idea if brass is mischievous or not. probably not, sicne brass is fairly dull as a metal. Any ideas here?

searching to answer this I cam across a few medieval alchemy texts. Maybe it would be more use if you use reagents and the like than with Mechanica, but I thought I would bring this forward :slight_smile:
These articles made me think that brass might be a cool material for a small drake Anima associated with a scholar. Lots of symbolic references for S&M bonuses and familiars there! :smiley:
A nice alchemical disctionary with insignts in a lot of materials.

Seems I will have to associate Belcher more with Light and Discovery (curious personality) than fire :slight_smile:




I agree, use amalgam. That is, mercury alloyed with silver or gold.

Also, you're severely underestimating voice range on your Archimedean disks. On a clear day, from a high vantage point, and with the wind at your back, your maniacal laughter as ships kindle and burn can be heard for several miles. I've had a shouted conversation from a mountaintop with people at a lake at the base, a full mile away. It's not the most relaxing thing to do (you go hoarse fast) but it's possible. And Voice range is established once, you don't need to shout continually through the effect. So a shouted warning to turn back or face the wrath of Apollo is all you need to engage the effect, and after that it's acceptable to chortle quietly at their destruction. They don't even need to hear the warning, since it's how far your Voice carries that's important, not actually being heard.

Edit: A compulsion for honesty made me google up the terrain.
The lake is in voice range. ... es/Map.pdf the conversation was between camp bowman on the shore and viewing rock, which is a lot closer than jump rock, which is easy to find.
It's only a mile's distance, which is way off from my guess based on childhood recollection. The full extent of my error is knowable only to the people who remember what this post said before I edited it. It's embarrassing.

Points taken on Mercury and Voice range. Thanks :slight_smile:

More stuff here!

Could this be used by an Anima?

Pristine Repair of the Mechanician's Friend (ReTe5)
R: Touch D: Inst. T: Individual
The Anima repairs any damage that it might have suffered becoming brand new again. To achieve that effect the Anima must consume metal of his general type, shaping it into the appropriate form in the process. This is generally done by (cosmetically) eating it. This effect is generally created in Anima that are either hyperactive or are likely to suffer combat damage due to their activity, be it scale sheer cliffs or combat.
(base 2: Shape and form dirt, as if a craftsman had worked it; +1 touch, +2 metal; 1 use per day, penetration 0)

In terms of mechanica, it would be a difficulty 3 effect. Costing 1 pound of silver to create. It might be necessary to adjust this cost depending on the size of the Anima.

Crappy name, I know

Would that work? Would it need T: Part to affect only the amount of metal you need, and not the whole of it? Would it be Personal since it is a self-repairing spell?


Pristine Repair of the Mechanician's Friend My first thought was to repurpose the Rego Corpus chirurgy guidelines from A&A, but upon further inspection, that approach doesn't work very well... At least not for this particular application.

In retrospect, I think you've taken the right approach, but would note that according to C&G page 79, lil' Belcher would seem to require a "Mechanica of Heron" score in order to be able to make the repairs described (EDIT: I suppose Brass Smith might be acceptable)

Isn't it Covenants where you find the Rego guidelines? I thought so...

The idea was that the repair would be "organic": you eat brass, you get repaired. You would still require brass smith to do that, I suppose. I can get him get this ability by simple exposure, I guess. Level 1 would be enough? He will have a fairluy OK finesse score of 3 or 4 as well, sicne he needs it for his fire breath in the end, so that should not be a problem.


Honestly, I've no idea :blush: having made little use of the Craft Magic guidelines or Craftsmanship rules myself. As I understand it, a damaged damaged item can automatically be repaired in a month provided the worker's Craft Score = (2x(3+magnitude)). Given the focus of C&G, however, Craft Magic isn't really described... The book does make mention of the Verditii "Reforging" mystery which might provide some useful information regarding the repair of magical items (Serf's Parma)...


Just checked it. It seems that craft magic simply requires you to make a Finesse roll equal to the amount that a mundane worker would need to make/repair the item. You just add +3 to the difficulty and that is all. knowledge of the craft ability is not even necessary. It requires a fairly high finesse level, though. Covenants, page 49-51