Mercurian Magic Virtue

Hi folks,
I have two questions concerning the Major Hermetic Virtue "Mercurian Magic":

  • The description states that "rituals have only half the usual vis requirements". Unclear is if the vis costs are rounded up or down. Would a ritual spell CreTe 35 cost 3 or 4 pawns of vis?
  • What is the advantage of the spelle "the wizards communion"? If I was able to learn a spell, I normaly can cast it without further help. The only reason I can think of is that you can reach some really spectacular penetration values. Is it so?

And a last question about magic items: I want to make charged items healing a light wound (healing potions) permanently. Do I need to instill vis for this effect?

Thank you for your help!

That's about it.

You cannot instill rituals, ArM5 p 98, right column, 3rd para. There's a breakthrough for that in the witches chapter of Hedge Magic.

In answer to your questions:

  1. Noble's Parma on the exact page reference, but the general concensus seems to be that a magus should round up where Vis costs are concerned. Thus in your example the character would pay 4 pawns.
  2. Wizard's Communion can increase Penetration, but another benefit of the spell is that it can be used to cast spells in hostile auras by counteracting the Casting Total penalty.
  3. Unfortunately, magi cannot normally invest ritual spells into enchanted devices (there is a minor exception to this is spells that are "Ritual" solely by virtue of being 10th magnitude or greater). As Tugdual mentioned, however, there are Breakthroughs that can surpass that Limit.

To be the voice of dissent...

Wizard's Communion can come into its own for casting spells you've invented but that are outside your capability. While it's not likely you'll come across this situation as a starting covenant, it is definitely something that can happen when your covenant is more established.

When you factor in your intelligence, magic theory, familiar, apprentice and possibly additional lab assistants you can see some hefty lab bonuses. This is using just the core rules; if you add in the lab rules from Covenants this only increases.

Getting a bonus of +25 to your lab at ~30 years post-apprenticeship is entirely doable, and that's without spending any effort on getting a high lab total. Throw leadership and a lab assistant or two at that and you can double that.

Here's what got a character of mine drooling over Wizard's Communion.

He's Hermetic Theurgist, and would like to summon a specific might 30 Daimon.

This can be done slowly, via 6 castings of a level 35 spell, but that'll cost a grand total of 42 pawns of vis (he's not a mercurian caster).

Or, he can do it in one go, with a single level 60 ritual, for a total cost of 12 pawns - much cheaper.

Now, with a high Magic Theory score and a (somewhat) specialised lab, this can be invented especially if he can find a little help.
It'll take him a while, but it can be done.

Casting it is another matter. Normally you can cast many rituals with no penetration and it doesn't matter. 9 below level? No problem, you'll take 2 levels of fatigue,but you've spent 3 hours casting a ritual. No wonder you need a break.
But in this case, he'll need to penetrate might 30 as well. Brute force would require a casting total around 90 (pen 30 with a level 60 spell). Too much, even with a magical focus. But if he can find a few collaborators and share the effort around a bit?
With 4 people casting WCs, each will need an average level 30 (40 actually, D: Sun, see MuVi errata) which can be done - no pen needed.
But then his mighty level 60 spell is shared by 4 people, meaning effective level 15 - Thus going from "not gonna happen" to "just don't botch and we're golden."

Or ofcourse you can use it with thus casting tablets from Covenants, assuming your game uses them.

Thanks guys, that was very helpful!

Didn't think about the issue that a magus can of course invent a spell he can't cast if lab totals are consequently boosted.

That's too bad that you can't do any simple one shot magic items like you could in ArM4 (or so I think that it was). But magic is more balanced that way I guess.

You can still create charged items (one shot items). However, what you cannot do is put a RITUAL effect in them. Healing spells are rituals in 5th edition. An easy workaround is to create items that boost your recovery total A LOT, like +15 or +18. That quite ensures that your recovery rolls go well, unless you botch, and you recover in due time. You can do that with magic items.

Although I think there is a general agreement that Mercurian magic is a bit under powered for a major virtue. I would not work too hard to try and discover unexpected applications

If you've chosen it you would well try and do something with it.

I suppose as a GM I'd reward a player with Mercurian Magic with some easily accessible mercurians who would be happy to work with the character outside the immediate covenant.

I can see a Mercurian with three or four other Mercurians, each with a few ritual spells. Some of those spells would be personal boosters, such as permanent + stamina spells. The Mercurians of course would expect the character to learn and cast a spell in return, as well as pay for it.

I suppose combining Mercurian Magic with a magical variant of temporal influence could be nice. It makes sense (to me at least :smiley:) that Mercurians would stick together more than standard wizards.

Mercurian Magic is the only Virtue which includes a substantial negative flaw in it. In Bibracte, we removed the requirement for ceremonial casting (for spontaneous spells), and instead added a +5 to any spell cast ceremonially (spontaneous spells, or formulaics with ceremonial mastery). Also any rituals cast by a Mercurian act as if they have stalwart mastery on the ritual, but it's not reflected in a mastery ability score, it's implicit to their method of ritual magic.

The Dark Secret of Diedne magic is insubstantial or positive?
Oath of Fealty (part of Knight/Landed Noble as I recall)? :astonished:

Those are story flaws, and shape the saga or stories the character wants to go in, they don't impose a penalty, per se, but instead inform the SG of the kinds of stories that can pull him off of whatever else he might be doing at the time. They are not the same as a huge mechanical flaw that's going to enter play almost every single session with the Mercurian magus.

this is true - I was merely surprised at the choice of words

Well, I also don't consider Story Flaws to be negative as a whole, they just balance out the character and inform the SG about the kinds of stories he can't really object to, as a player.