Mercurian Aegis contractors - is this remotely plausible?

Another thing to keep in mind, security-wise, is that not only can this magus enter the Aegis at will, but he can also grant tokens to others.

In the end, it depends on the overal tone of your saga. How much conflict is there in the saga, that involves other covenants? How much trust is there towards magi of other covenants? Is it quite similar to the question of longevity ritual specialists (do you trust them enough to be in their lab for a season, and certainly be able to gather long-lasting arcane connections). Except that this is a commnunal decision of the covenant.

In any case, some covenants will never use those services, because they are simply too paranoid to do so.

Also, as Jonathan.Link mentioned, there is the matter of Penetration. By RAW, wards and Aegis must have enough Penetration to beat the creature's Might to prevent it from entering. That means that your ReVi specialist must have a Casting Total that doubles the spell level to get full benefits from the Aegis. For a level 60 Aegis, that means having a casting total of 120! That means a Focus as well as scores above 30 in both Rego and Vim.

Note that the Penetration Mastery doesn't help much there, because it basically adds 1 to your Penetration Ability score for each time it is taken. But what arcane connection will you be able to use to multiply? So it ends up only adding 1 to your Penetration Total.

The best way to increase penetration would be through Wizard's Communion, but again there you have some limits. If you want to keep the vis-saving feature of Mercurian Magic, then by RAW all of the participants in WC must be Mercurian as well. And the total levels of WC must double the level of the spell to be cast. And those WC must be variant that have Sun duration, which reduce their effective level by 10. In short, you'd need a cabal of fairly high-power Mercurian magi working together to achieve a full-powered level 60 Aegis. Which means splitting the vis income amongst them.

Not saying it can't be done. Just that, unless you have house rules in place for some of the previous factors, it is not really that easy to get vis from this on a regular basis.

Thus the traveling Mercurian Covenant mentioned above. The Neo-Mercurian cult would work well for this.

Whether someone or a group of people travel around doing this is going to be a function of the saga is a fundamental choice you have to make. If you want to have this kind of world, you have to back into certain underlying assumptions, and make some calls on HRs. That's not a bad thing, at all. It also suggests a far more genial order, one engaged in a lot of commerce. Keep in mind this is a service, not a product, and service oriented economies are a fairly advanced economic system. Such systems are subject to disruption...

Depending on how the Order is seen in the given saga.
But this is generally true, for all types of "specialists for hire" (Commonly suggested specialties: Aegis, Longevity, Healing or Terram builders.
In the more paranoid visions of the Order, these will not be succesful, while a cooporative Order provides a wealth of opportunities for these (N)PCs.

Let's get this straight, now.

By RAW, Wards have to penetrate.

But the Aegis is never mentioned to be a Ward, and does not use a 'Ward' guideline - it sure looks like a Ward, but there are equally valid reasons why it could/should be considered a seperate concept.
Furthermore, the Aegis is an exception in so many ways already that there's no reason to assume it in any way behaves like an ordinary Hermetic effect.
Indeed you cannot invent versions of the Aegis with changed parameters (except level) without a Breakthrough - this is explicitly in the description of the spell.

I currently play in ... 4 sagas, one of them online on this forum. In each of them, the status of Aegis penetration had to be established (you didn't notice it n the online saga? That's because just went with the majority), so we currently have:
Saga 1: Aegis does not need to penetrate. Contains a few veterans who'd be bothered by the need to penetrate because "it never used to need that".
Saga 2: Aegis needs to penetrate - specifically because we wanted a reason to use Wizard's Communion. We also currently do not have an Aegis (as I recall).
Saga 3: Aegis does not need to penetrate, because we can't be bothered - that's not what the stories of that covenant.

  • Secret subplot that will never be run: the Aegis is based on Rune Magic.
    Saga 4: Online Saga. Aegis needs to penetrate.

callen usually assumes that the Aegis does not need to penetrate as I recall, and has argued for this elsewhere on this board.
Do not simply assume as a given that it must. Not without word from On High.

Only if said magus has the tokens, and the covenant keeping the tokens would presumably be part of the contract.

First, it's Casting Total + Penetration that should reach target level + 60, not just Casting Total. Second, the Penetration option doesn't seem to work that way for a couple reasons. One, it is unlikely you're allowed to take it multiple times since those that can be taken multiple times have such written in their descriptions. Two, the Penetration option doesn't say to add your Mastery score once each time the option is taken, so taking it twice is redundant and does nothing.

And then there's the issue that many troupes don't play with penetration on this spell.

But at very least it could be that magus plus an apprentice dropping the target level to 30 at worst. Overlapping apprentices could sometimes drop this to 20, but let's leave it at 30 so the magus gets all the vis. The magus would have a level 50 version of the Sun duration Wizard's Communion, leaving a level 30 variant for the apprentice, which isn't so bad to teach since the magus would clearly focus on ReVi instruction and have a lab built for those. So the magus would probably only have to hit 90, which I'll admit is still high. But is it that high? Let's say for safety reasons (plus Stalwart Casting, Penetration, Adaptive Casting, Imperturbable Casting, and Lab Mastery are all useful here) the magus has Mastery 5 and has Penetration (Vim) 5. Let's factor in the Aura, Stamina +5 (Mercurian after all), gestures/voice, and his Talisman, for roughly +14 more. Then include Artes Liberales (Rituals) 4 and Philosophiae (Rituals) 4. That leaves Re+Vi+(stress die)=50 as the goal. So a score of 25+ in each of Rego and Vim should be sufficient without needing a Magical Focus. In short, you really do not need such a cabal at all.


Actually, mostly the other way around. Primarily, I generally assume it will vary by troupe. Second, those with whom I play in person generally require it to penetrate, and I like it that way. Here's my carefully thought-out stance:


My mistake, I was remembering it adding 1 per time taken (as for Precise Casting) instead of adding Mastery Scoe to Penetration.

True enough. Sorry for implying that this is RAW, where it is in fact undefined.

Actually, WC states that you the added levels of WC must be at least twice the level of the spell being cast with it. And those 2 magnitudes lost to give D:Sun to the WC are painful there.

So, even with 2 apprentices, the magus would need to know a level 60 WC (effective level is 50), while each "apprentice" needs a level 45 WC (effective level 35). How many of your apprentices know a level 45 spell before Gauntlet?

But all that is based on the assumption that Aegis must penetrate. If it doesn't need to, then there is little need for WC to be used with the Aegis.

Whoops, sorry, forgot about the doubling. So you'd want two magi with their apprentices, they each earn one Vis per casting. That's still pretty good if there is a market for it in the saga.

However, I do have a much better method that doesn't require any apprentices and is very doable via Neo-Mercurians. You use Hermetic Theurgy and invent a few such spells. It's still your spells (Mercurian), so you should be OK. But I could see some ruling against that, saying the WC's aren't coming from a Mercurian.

Hmmm... What about multiple casting WC? It doesn't allow you to do anything much on your own. But it might get you to the doubling more easily so having an apprentice will be enough to halve the lab total.

But let's look at it without WC. Using the same numbers I had above, you'd need 30 more points. So scores in both Rego and Vim of 40 without a Magical Focus. With one scores of 27 will do. We could do better as there are some pretty good mundane books in Artes Liberales and Philosophiae. I'll have to check later to see what the best I could get out of a Talisman is.


I would be one of those who say that a spirit is not a Mercurian magus.

Actually, I don't think this would work either. If you look at the description of WC, it says that you add the level at which each participant know WC, not the level at which they cast it.

So we are talking:

  • Score of 25+ in Rego
  • Score of 25+ in Vim
  • Learning a level 60 Aegis
  • Mastering the Aegis to 5
  • Penetration Ability at 5 (useful for other purposes)
  • Artes Liberales at 4 (might actually be higher)
  • Philosophiae at 4 (might actually be higher)
  • Having cast enough rituals to bring Stamina to +5 (useful for other purposes)
  • Having a Talisman providing a +14 bonus (that's stretching it, I think)

This gives you a Casting Bonus of approximately +79, and an additional Penetration bonus of +11. Still 30 points short, but you get aura and a die roll, so 20 points short. (I discounted the Voice and Gestures bonuses, because I doubt anyone could keep yelling and throwing his arms around for 3 hours. But it's only a small +2 bonus anyway.)

So yes, it's doable by a single magus.

My question is, is it worth it? That's a huge investment of time and effort, to set up what amounts to a side business that can earn a few pawns of vis every year but requires you to travel around all the time. The investment is less if you use WC, but the rewards must also be shared. And travel becomes more complicated.

There are far easier ways to trade for vis.

One-time rituals are much more likely to be in demand, if simply because of the time it takes to learn the spell for that single casting.

Aegis would more likely be offered to Spring covenants that have not any magus who knows the spell yet, than it would be for well-established covenants. If a covenant needs a high-level Aegis, it probably means it feels threatened by powerful magic-wielders, which usually means Hermetic magi. So they wouldn't trust someone else to do it. Just MHO.

IIRC, The errata ruling that said that you needed WC of sun duration also gave that to the Mercurians as part of their free WC. So they would still have 1/2 the level of their highest ritual of sun duration WC.

I haven't seen anything in the errata that was specific to Mercurians, although the copy I have with me dates from June (can't access it directly from my current location).

So, unless there was a recent addition, they only have access to (0.5*level)-10.

If you want to read it that way, no problem then. The magus invents a level-100 Aegis of the Hearth (may take a few seasons) and gets the same level WC. Now the magus and the apprentice can double the level fine since the don't have to cast it at that level. So we're back to the single magus with an apprentice.

But realize that this use of "know" is internally inconsistent. The spell doesn't say you have to cast it, just know it. How do you botch knowing it? Also, how do you rule the spell being used spontaneously?

I'm just going to suggest you reread the two things you quoted because what you quoted and what you got from it are drastically different. Just focus on those two points I quoted because those are what's way off.


Where does the 1/2 come from?


Do you routinely invent level 100 spells in your saga? :wink:

But yes, the description of the spell is... strange. Rack that up to it being a remnant of old Mercurian rituals. Note also that the spell states (third paragraph) that only one die is rolled for the target spell, and that one botch die is added for each participant. So yes, it could be interpreted as not having to actually cast WC. This would be discussion for a different thread, though, as it's peripheral to the current discussion, IMHO.

Yep, I misread there. Sorry again.

My overall point remain, I believe. It's a lot of efforts for a relatively small vis income.

It assumes this is your highest-level ritual that you are trying to cast using WC. Since you automatically learn WC at a level equal to the level of the ritual, and you must double the level of the target spell with WC, you are basically providing half of it already. (My position is that this is minus those 10 levels that were used to make WC at D:Sun.)

No, but pulling off a level-50 spell with someone who's got Arts in the low teens isn't so uncommon. So I figure by the time the TeFo total is closing in on 60 or so it shouldn't be that hard. I did pull off a lab total around 200 for one season with a maga about 10 years out of gauntlet, and that was prior to Covenants. She could do 120s or so regularly. So this wouldn't be so bad for someone whose lifeblood is in Aegis of the Hearth.

Which still brings up the question of how you botch it.

Hmmm... I'm not sure I buy that. So this magus is already a Mercurian and so already built toward ritual magic. As you mention, Artes Liberales, Philosophiae, Penetration, and Stamina have lots of other benefits. The Talisman does as well. If you're a Rego + Vim specialist, you're working on those anyway. So, assuming you're a ReVi specialist Mercurian, how much extra effort do you put in? You invent a few Aegis of the Hearth rituals (and get WC for free). You master Aegis of the Hearth (which also lets you design the others more easily - similar spell bonus can grow). Let's say you put 20 seasons into Aegis of the Hearth and mastering Aegis of the Hearth; everything else is aligned to anything else you do and so isn't an investment here. What is your return on those 20 seasons? Let's say you get four (one per equinox/solstice) covenants (your own included) in the entire Order who essentially pay you 2 pawns of vis per year to cast this ritual. This takes essentially no time from your laboratory since it's only one day per season and doesn't even cost you long-term fatigue. So after those 20 seasons of investment you get 8 pawns/year on top of whatever you do in your seasons, and your covenant saves a little too. Forty years later those 20 seasons have netted you an average of 16 pawns apiece. 16 pawns per season sounds pretty good to me. I think the issue is that there is a lot of up front work. However, it can be very worthwhile.

Oh, got it. Half of double the level, not half the level. I don't think it was very clear as written.


I still think there's a lot of assumptions there, on the amount of time needed to get there, on the market for a specialist casting a level 60 Aegis, etc.

It could happens, but by the time the magus reaches the point where he has those stats, he'll be mature and may want to do something else.

But let's come back to the original poster's questions. :slight_smile:

Possibly, but for the most part these would be few. Spring covenant with no one knowing Aegis (who would just want a level 20). Perhaps a well-established covenant threatened by strong supernatural creatures.

No token, for sure.

As stated previously, most customers would not want Aegis done on days other than the solstices or equinoxes, as this would leave them vulnerable. So you only have 4 days in the year where customers want this service. So quick travel is mandatory.

What he would do the rest of the year depends on his interests. Probably something to do with rituals, Rego and/or Vim, as these need to be his specialties.

Cautious Sorcerer is very valuable for someone who casts rituals. A relevant Minor Magical Focus makes it easier to get into a position where your services are valuable. Good Bargain skill, raw vis trading (he's not neccessarily paid in Vim). Free Study, Inventive Genius, Magical Memory, Personal Vis Source, Mastered Spells, Puissant Art may all be interesting in their own way for this specialist.

Provided that the magus has access to a mean of quick travel, his lifestyle wouldn't be impacted much by this. So his actual personality and interests can be wide-ranging.

For example, I currently have a Bonisagus Rego Terram specialist with Mercurian Magic. He will be doing original research into Hermes Portal to develop something more flexible and useful. He plans on offering his services as a ritual-caster (though mostly in Rego and/or Terram). Spells like Conjuring the Mystic Tower (and variants), laboratory creation, covenant-building spells, etc. But that's just a way to fund his research.

That's right - but see below for the problem.

So the expert can cast a maximum of four Aegides per year - provided he can find for each solstice and equinox a covenant, where the Aegis expires at just that time and the magi are willing to contract him.

This is very campaign-dependent - but does not look like a full time occupation.


I think you missed the point that it was an example. That point is that it is a reasonably fixed investment that will continue to yield future returns at essentially no cost. Eventually this will be worthwhile.

Let's say you only do this for your own covenant and it takes 40 seasons. 40 years later you have gained 80 pawns and have saved you own covenant 160 pawns. Let's say you get 10% of your covenant surplus. So with no foreign buyers those 40 seasons are already worth 2.4 pawns each. Let's now say you find one covenant (spring figuring the can get a level-30 for the price of a 25, barely over the price of a 20) per year willing to pay you 2 pawns for a level-30 ritual with good penetration. Now your seaons have earned you 4.4 pawns each, and that is if you spend 40 seaons on stuff you might not have and only find one buyer. People seem willing to distill vis for returns worse than this.


I do not follow. Sure, the contract is necessary. But the seasonal part is not a problem except for the first time, and you could offer a 1-pawn discount on that one. But 4 maximum? They only take 3 hours and aren't very tiring.


Speculating that Magi would never agree to go without an Aegis for any period of time, so the only way the magus who does this to make a living is to cast it on the Solstice, as the previous one expires... These would be some awfully paranoid magi... And of course, those who want such high levels of service should be willing to pay extra for it, or learn the darned ritual themselves. :smiley: