Middle Age magus visiting a XXIth century world

I have an idea of NPC from the XXIth century.
Born at midnight a 1st November, she will be 13 that night and unvoluntarily she enters a regio which opens at midnight of Haloween each year on that place (somewhere in the Alps maybe, I don't know yet).
It opens within her an unknown magical gift.
Arriving into Ars Magica world, she will meet the PC and I hope she will become a maga.
But I think that her Master would help her to get back into her World.
So both will be arriving through a regio into XXIst century, but :
As physics has changed (I mean the vision of physics of course), magic shouldn't work anymore
Possibly, magics still exists in culture where they still believe in magics
In some special places, regios can open at some times

So to come back the PC will have to get into a special place at the good time.

It won't be easy for the language, even if he is with his filia as languages have changed to much in 800 years...

I was thinking about having him to go to Australia at Ayers Rocks to find an opened regio which could send him (and probably her with him back)

Also I don't know yet about the time passing : the girl will come back home a second after she went into the regio? or 15 years or more have passed... When the PC and probably the npc will come back in middle age what time will have passed? It is not easy... but I could do like for faerie regios...

What would you do?

The first thing that occurs to me is that Hermetic magic cannot affect time, so there would be little direct action a magus of the Order could take in order to send a lost traveler home to the future. Its logical to presume that, if your traveler came back in time through a regio, going back into the same regio would provide a way home. A regio is like a little pocket world; apparently this little world has one door that leads to Mythic Europe and another that leads to some version of the 21st century. If you want the quest to return home to be more difficult, the regio might move, or close, and the traveler has to wait for it to reopen, get to it at a specific time, or even find an entirely different regio which does the same thing.

This is the sort of thing an oracle or seer could help with. No Hermetic magic will see the future or provide guidance, but there are folk traditions that might, and traveling to such an oracle would make a good story.

If your Hermetic magus finds himself in the 21st century, the argument that "magic works differently" would not apply to Hermetic magic, which isn't based on any historical method of magic in the first place. That is, Bonisagus's breakthroughs are still breakthroughs in any century. But there would be far fewer magical auras in the world and vis sources would be extremely rare. Fortunately for your magus, the presence of the Dominiom would also be much less strong. In game terms, he'd still be a pretty competent magus but lab work would be much harder.

At least, this is what occurs to me at first glance.

For physics changes versus ability to perform magic when time travelling, a friend suggested that the differences between the Ars Magica paradigm and modern physics could be achieved by having the changes be akin to breakthrough research. Instead of researching new magic, physicists through the ages have been researching new physics. So Newton changed reality when he researched his Laws of Motion.

Tricky to get consistent, but it works. The magus' spells would still work, but real-world physics would have to be applied instead, which would make some spells much more effective (would you choose to change the spell level too? Up to you...) and some useless. Pretty much every spell utilising 'species' wouldn't do anything, since they don't exist.


Obviously, the magic of Imaginem would be unchanged, because it affects the mystical qualities of an object, not just their physical ones. In the Middle Ages, the mysical and physical were understood to be much more closely intertwined, but modern science has separated the two. This wouldn't stop magic from working, because Hermetic magic was never based on modern physics. Why would it rely on modern physics at any time?

The real problem (as another commentor has said) is that the auras would probably be very different. In mystical terms, I would imagine that there would be many more Infernal auras in the modern world (worship of money, vice, petty corruption, jealousy, etc). Vis would be much rarer (although some would be much more common, like rare spices, gems and minerals in the Middle Ages (like rubies, gold and cinnamon) would be easily accessible in modern times. Interesting what the fate of many Hermetic (and other) artifacts, spirits, and old magic sites would be. Also, how would Hermetic magic interact with the rituals of the Golden Dawn, Masons, etc? Would a Hermetic mage understand or recognise these?


At risk of dredging up a much hated past, 3rd edition (unpopularly) introduced the aura of Reason which was determental to all supernatural powers. While unpopular in Mythic Europe it might be very appropriate for this kind of a setting... a modern world where science and logic has surpressed and overwhelmed the supernatural. That was, after all, the point of the concept.

Assuming that this is in response to my post above it, the idea I suggested would in fact stop certain magics from working. I'll explain: an invisibility spell was invented to destroy species. Moving into modern times, that same spell fails to do anything because there are no longer any species - they've been 'disproven'. Whether you'd want to use the idea that the world/universe has actually changed is up to the SG in the saga. As a method for accounting for the differences between Aristotelian physics and modern physics, it works. It also allows for going even further into the future - "sure, FTL travel exists, so-an-so invented a way of making it work, Einstein was simply wrong." ie the way the universe operates has been changed by the action of researching the new idea/method.

There are, of course, alternative ways of handling time-travel. Would a story be more fun if the magus' magic worked exactly as he thought it always did? What would happen if he learns modern physics? Would it stop working properly? Would a modern person learning Hermetic Magic have to believe in the magic, a bit like having True Faith, for it to work?

As far as the Aura problems are concerned, if you have lots of infernal ones, but almost no other ones, then the demons win - I'd have them all be very rare, fading away.

You could even have either of the time zones simply be regios - no actual time travel (even if the players think it's happening), just travel in and out of regios. Physics and magic can behave differently in regios without needing time travel. Both settings could be regios within a much bigger game universe...


Plenty enough theories around already about potential ways of FTL, without anyone being wrong about the underlying basics. Just because you cant physically move FTL doesnt mean you cant effectively move FTL.
Common variants are based on bending space in such a way that you end up having traveled FTL if you distance/time, but if you look at the actual speed of whatever moved, it never came close to FTL.

Personally, i would strongly advise against this kind of changes. To be a bit silly and blatant about it, ~"Oh my i just realised the moon is made of swiss cheese...".
Simply put, there is far too much risk of a player(or even an SG) to abuse it, one way or another.

On that basis, there would be no magic at all, because all magic has been "disproven". On the basis that magic works in the 21st century, then it uses mystical concepts (species, vis, Arts, etc) that don't rely on modern physics and other scientific concepts. In a mystical sense, Artistotle is still correct, even if it doesn't accurately describe the physical world.

I'd also suggest against the idea of "True Reason" on the basis that although technology predominates, much of the modern world (including 1st world) is enormously superstitious, with many holding firm beliefs in God, the Devil, or many faiths. In the Ars context, there definitely would be Dominions and Infernal auras abounding (and Faerie auras in non-Judeo Christian faith areas). (Obviously this becomes more potentially controversial.)


Yes, I only mentioned it as simply one way to play the game. It isn't necessarily the best, but it does appeal to some people. (If someone managed to prove* that the moon is made of Cheese, then by this rule, it would become made of Cheese! Would that game be fun? If you/your troupe/SG think so, have fun. If not, use other rules!) (PS I do know about some of the current theories in making FTL travel work, although I'm not an expert.)

*How you'd 'prove' this, I have no idea. Just going there wouldn't change anything, it needs the breakthrough points from research. How many are needed? That's up to the SG.

All this may be true in most games: it isn't, in the suggested way of handling the differences. eg Rego Corpus flight spell: hasn't been disproven - the spell uses the power of magic to make a body move. There is nothing in modern physics to say that magical energy can't do that. Of course, modern physics hasn't been able to detect/find magical energy, but that's a different problem - failing to find something doesn't have to disprove it. Other sagas will disagree.

You don't have to use this idea. It is only one possibility!


Thank you, you give intersting ideas

Rather than time travel, why not have them move into a parallel universe? There, the history of science could be different (Rome was not sacked by the Germanic tribes, or Greece maintained its empire), leading to 21st century science in the 13th century AD.

It gets around the time travel prohibition, as well as the need for a non-Hermetic means of probing the future or the past. It also gives you more latitude to play with the nature of scientific understanding.

As I understand it (and I am more than happy to be told that I am wrong), it's not that things can't travel FTL; it's that nothing can accelerate to the speed of light (light, obviously already travels at the speed of light). The problem is that things have mass. Now, couldn't one make a MuCo spell to remove a person's mass?

I thing a story that could be created from that point is the one of the magus noticing how horrible the XXIe century is (hermetic magic is just plain dead, fairy too, etc.) and try to find the starting point for that disaster, in order to avoid it in his timeline.

If you refers to Einstein relativity theories, then the light speed is indeed a limit in a space/time continuum (and no the real speed of light but the maximum speed of light in perfect vacuum) : between two points no object, or even information, can move faster. That's why most FTL travel representation in fiction use "shortcuts" such as black holes or "tricks" like tachyons particules.

However I don't think this technical point is too important: to me the most important is that game reality is understood and accepted as such by the players, not that it is really scientifically accurate.

There might be a few loopholes even in that generalisation, but overall it should be true.

Well, PeCo base 40 has "Destroy one property of a person" already...
OTOH, would it be enough to remove mass? Even without mass, a physical "you" is still there, question is if it gets affected.

Actually, the part about information is somewhat uncertain due to the existence of so called quantum entanglement where distance to some degree seems irrelevant between 2 entangled particles.

You're more right than wrong here :slight_smile:

Yes, well, yes...PeCo, that's what I meant, obviously. :blush:

Meh, i would probably prefer Muto as well... :stuck_out_tongue:

I am not sure hermetic magic is dead in the XXIth century : look at Harry Potter from Rowling, it could be interesting to imagin the progressive transformation of hermetic order into the hidden magus of Harry Potter World (which is a parallel world to our, as mythic europe is).
I don't think about real time travel, I imagined that at first the character passed through a magical regio which opens at a certain place at the certain time, and for certain people... so who knows if it is real time travel?

Yup, certainly a possibility. HP among others, or for that matter crossovers and variants galore are very much possible.

Anyone liking HP might find this little fic amusing: fanfiction.net/s/6864150/1/
The HP gang gets a new defense against the dark arts professor, miss "stay in the fight 5 minutes or get a hit on me" Nanoha, and much hilarity ensues... :mrgreen:
(some fans read the name of the series not as "mahou shoujo..."(magic girl) but instead as ma ho shoujo(demonic cannon girl)) :smiling_imp:

And im currently working on a request to add some stuff from the series to AM, looks like it could get neat, even if a bit hard to balance.