Mercurian Rituals

Trying to work out if a Magical Focus in Mercurian Rituals is allowed, whether it would be major or minor, and what it covers.
I think they really want to cast a strong Aegis, and maybe Hermes Portal.

The apprentice of a Q who has learnt and mastered all the hidden rituals that the Guernicii keep. Experienced in casting rituals that don't quite conform to Hermetic design principles.

But there is only a limited number of Mercurian rituals, though of all different Forms. Won't be able to invent new ones? Not Formulaic or Spont magic, unless Wizards Communion counts?

You will have to define what is a Mercurian ritual:

  • In the core rulebook, there is only one Mercurian ritual: Hermes' Portal.
  • Aegis has been invented including element of mercurian ritual but is not a mercurian ritual since any mage can invent his own version.
  • Fenicil's rituals are: 1) not all mercurian rituals, 2) do not follow standard spell casting so you will have to define how magical focus works with them.

Trying to find a common ground for these three groups is hard at best. The only common point is their need for virtus... which is kind of covered with Mercurian magic.

All in all, although Mercurian rituals is a term that is used loosely, the body of spells available do not form a cohesive group in itself with enough common point to work with magical focus (minor or major) in my opinion.

Maybe your SG would be open to consider an Affinity with Fenicil's rituals ? It will make the XP uses more effective, and I would not consider those rituals broken with their vis cost, time requirement and overall hard-to-use effect.

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See TMRE p.114 The Neo-Mercurians:

No one alive in 1220 can claim a full understanding of the ancient rituals of the Cult of Mercury, and while the Cult of Mercury expresses one Mercurian tradition, there is also a distinct and rival group in the form of the Neo-Mercurians, a Mystery group.
As long as the Order has existed there have been those who have looked
back to the magics that came before, and marveled at what fable tells.

Shouldn't you talk over with your player, what kind of Mercurian Rituals their mage is interested in, and walk them through the different approaches to such magic of magi living around 1220: TMRE p.114ff Mercurian Magic, HoH:S p.16f Societates Flambonis: The Cult of Mercury, HoH:TL p.95f Mercurian Magi?

There are also some mercurian rituals listed in Mythic Locations page 97.

ML p.97ff lists Hermetic rituals which an Hermetic magus can invent, once he has recovered, decyphered and studied Lab texts for Mercurian rituals from an antique library.
The Mercurian rituals themselves have no stats or casting rules.

Well, isn't that true for all magic effects listed in the other sources as well? It's just that the decyphering effort have already been performed by the relevant mystery cults?

Not in general, no. The spells of most of the Mystery Cults we know of, have been invented specifically for a Hermetic context. Some of it may be based on older sources, but usually not directly.

Also, many of the Mystery spells require that you have been initiated into some specific virtue before you can learn or cast them.

After some back and forth, it sounds like they are asking for a focus in Hermetic magics that are a conversion of Mercurian rituals, where the magic doesn't quite conform to Hermetic standard effects.
The example given was how Aegis of the Hearth does not have a Perdo requisite.

Sounds vaguely like they want something like the mMF in Exotic Casting of the Ex Misc Pralicaans, but instead affects non-standard Hermetic magics. Though specified it is limited to magics derived from pre-Hermetic Mercurian magics.

A possibly huge range of Forms and Techniques, but an extremely small selection of candidate effects?
The only way I am wrapping my head around the concept is that it is kind of like a hacker who specialises in flaws inherited from MS-DOS?

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You can of course decide what you want for your saga, but I wouldn't allow that as a magical focus. The spells it would apply to are too disparate to be a proper area of magic to focus on.

I am with ErikT on that one.
Truth is, some of these Mercurian rituals exists because there is a need for such effect, but could not fit with the existing theory and guidelines. Game developers came with an interesting background to justify existence of such spells, but if you refer to older editions, they were just regular spells, if I remember correctly of 2nd ed.

A magical focus has to be defined simply, without too much explanation to work and "Quasi-mercurian-ritual-but-adapted-for-hermetic-magic" does not really fit the bill.
Maybe you should probe what do they want to achieve ? Integrate hedge magic tradition ? Comprehend magic would be perfect. Cast more efficiently Fenicil's rituals ? Negociate for an Affinity with Quaesitoris rituals, to help with the XP sink.

Instead of a pure Guernicus, maybe an Ex Miscellanea, Pralixian, with Quasitor virtue could be an acceptable alternative - but he very likely more senior than straight out of apprenticeship, as he must have earned his Quaesitoris privileges. He could be a Seeker trying to recover more old, forgotten Fenicil-type rituals, or trying to develop new guidelines to expand the capability of some Forms. But the SG must be quite familiar with Original research rules before dipping his toes there, because it is not straight forward. On the other hand, between exploration of forgotten cult site, meeting and negotiating with hedge wizards you don't have to worry about running dry on adventures seeds.

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OK I will nix this magical focus.

I don't have the books with me, and neither did they when they asked me about the older ritual that the Scrying Pool ritual spell was based off of?
That sounds naggingly familiar.

I think that is mythic locations

The Scrying Pool is a Mercurian ritual from Mythic Locations p98-99
Enchantment of the Scrying Pool is a similar, but not identical, Mercurian Ritual which has been adapted to Hermetic Magic. Core book p122

While they are similar, it does not appear that either of them are based on the other.

Why? If it is something wanted thematically and isn't broken, go for it.

If you want some half-baked justification for an unorthodox focus, there can be a backstory. There's a line of magi who are certain there is epic power amongst the old Mercurian rituals. They have relentlessly been collecting everything they can around Mercurian rituals, and teach any apprentices accordingly.

Flesh out the backstory if you want. They are purist Guernicus who believe the Schism war was ended with Mercurian Rituals, the truth, however horrible, must be known. They are Bjornaer, same schism war thinking, who are concerned their weirdness means they are probably the most disposable house if a scapegoat is needed, and want a defence against the Guernicus rituals. They are Bonsiagus with the classic pure search for knowledge.

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I agree. I would allow it as a Minor Focus. The various Mercurian Rituals - all spells that
a) come from the Mercurian tradition and
b) do not perfectly mesh with Hermetic magic
might appear disparate, but do have a unifying theme in common. The fact that a character might have a Focus in them - i.e. that he might be better than the average magus at both researching and casting them - can be easily explained as a natural knack for (or a lot of research into, or an extensive education about) that type of magical framework, some Opening of his Gift that created some connection to the lost Mercurian priesthood, etc.

However, note that such a focus would only apply to "Hermetic-ized" Mercurian Rituals, i.e. those assigned a Technique and Form and cast with the "standard" casting mechanics. Fenicil's Rituals would not count.

Pffft, that's about as reasonable as allowing a Magical Focus in Certamen.

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Some ideas to fit the theme:

Minor Magical focus:
Any one Roman God affiliated effects
Roman Roads
Summon Daimon

Major Magical focus:
Warding
Roman Constructions
Daimons

NB. Should be noted that both Magical Focus & Mercurian are Major hermetic merits and typically a caracter is limited to only one of those.

W

Actually, I think "Daimons" as a whole is a very reasonable Minor Focus. Compare it with the (narrowish) Major Focus "Spirits", with the Minor Focus "Elemental Spirits", and with the Minor Focus "Legendary Beasts". Also, "Summon Daimon" would be a very narrow subset of ReVi, while we know that anything that is even slightly smaller than a TeFo combination qualifies as a Minor Focus.

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Lets not forget canon Minor Focus in Ghosts, which is a subtype of Spirits, and affects Ghosts of all realms.

Going by this example Daimons would be a valid Minor Focus, as would Magical Spirits.

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The latter, of course, would not include Faerie Daimons (see HoH:MC, p.95).