Mundane Demon Hunters

To gear up a demon hunter (post creation):

  • item of quality

  • Charged item from Rusticani (not necessary Ex Miscellanea but simple edge wizard)

  • animal of virtue (bloodhound to track demon), or plant7tree of virtue for protection or to harm demon.

  • Formulae (A&A p70) can assist a demon hunter - it will never match the ability of a magus, but it gives access to semi-magical items without need to contact hermetic magus:

    • Astrological inceptions can help uncover evil at work (if you consider that stars are beyong the lunar sphere and close to the realm of God, it may overcome the demon's ability to remain hidden - if you opt for that, make sure that the difficulty of the inception is high enough to remain a challenge for players - this is really a YSMV)
    • Alchemical reagent can make alternative weapon to holy water
    • Ligatures to assist in demon hunting (just before a fight, or to boost investigation roll)

Finally, initiation by Learned magician can grant (painfully because of the major flaw involved in each initiation) some limited magical powers.

If a demon hunter wants magical powers of their own, the best solution is probably Ars Goetia, which also doesn't require an Initiation. (It does involve committing mortal sins, but surely a demon hunter will survive to spend their final years in penance and die under extreme unction, right? :smiling_imp:)

Pay a hermetic mage to make you a DEO wand and/or an amulet of warding vs. demons.

...of course, that might run afoul of the whole "don't taunt the demons" rule in the Hermetic code - but a sufficiently-motivated/vengeful magi could be using the PC as their catspaw to get around that particular issue. "Hey, I'm not the one poking the infernal with a stick. It's that stupid mundane over there. How was I to know he was planning on storming the Gates of Hell with that Rod of Demonic Smiting? I just sold it to him for recreational/self-defense/ah, who am I kidding/entertainment value!"

That being said, you can probably get a nice discount on the expiry. I mean, it's not like you're going to need it for more than a couple of years...

Get any number of supernatural folks to buff you. Holy magic is the most obvious, mainly because they've got access to the Ceremony skill, which is crazy-good at stacking with itself. So it's really not all that hard (from a game mechanic standpoint) to get, say, a year-long blessing (or longer - they have access to the "until you commit a mortal sin" duration) out of those people.

And if you're a demon hunter, the holy magi of your relative religion will probably want to bless you - at least in theory. So from a story perspective, it's really all about finding them.

Prayer (for anyone) or Intercession of the Saints (for a Christian) as outlined in RoP:D. While it works a lot better if you've got True Faith, technically speaking anyone can do it. It may take a bit of preparation to make it likely to pull off, though.

Probably your best bet is going on a Pilgrimage to gain a level of True Faith - just because it acts like the Gift for Holy magic. As such, you could pick up 3 major and a minor (I think) Holy Virtues by osmosis, once you got it.

Take communion on a regular basis. (Again, from RoP:D) - it acts like a temporary point of Faith until you commit a Mortal Sin.

Know your Church calendar - Infernal power waxes and wanes according to the Holy days. Also, if you can time a prayer to a Saint on their Saint's Day, you get a bonus.

(And in looking over the Invoking a Saint rules) - OK, seriously: get your Charm ability up, and specialize in "Saints". Assuming you do the following:

Com +1
Charm +5 (Saints) +1
Minor Relic in possession +1
Minor Monetary Donation +1
Confidence +3
Faith (from relic or communion) +3

That's a +15 right there, vs. a target number of 15. Unless you botch the roll, you can call on the power of a Saint once per month. And assuming your Saint in question has the power to expel demons (Both St. Peter and St. Martin, two of the examples in the book, do), you can get an automatic lvl 75 or lvl 50 DEO strike against your target.

Also note that Faith points in a Relic renew every morning, whereas Confidence points renew...whenever. So Faith points are probably a bit better to spend.

This really doesn't work from an RP perspective.

Literally, in fact. Noble's Parma, but I recall the book explicitly stating that a pilgrimage taken with the goal to receive True Faith will never succeed at that goal. Of course, that's an RP limitation, so you could do it while it's your goal but not your character's, but I'm not sure how I feel about randomly ignoring your character's personality to get a quick power boost.

On that note, I disagree with everyone here. As strong as it is, True Faith is bad for a person who will be spending a lot of time in proximity to demons. True Faith is a thing characters have for the sake of itself; it comes from the only Realm where "I want to be powerful" can't be your reason for having it, and that makes it unreliable. Do you really want your power to leave you the instant you sin when you're constantly in proximity of, speaking to, and fighting creatures whose only real unified specialty is making nearby people sin?

If you're willing to become your enemy to fight them, Infernal power can be very good for fighting the Infernal. Then you only have to worry about losing your power if you walk into a church and confess, which it's very near impossible to do unintentionally.

Alternatively, Faerie power is reportedly decently awesome and not hard to get. It doesn't contain any valid means of detecting demons, but I've known Hermetic magi who refuse to be shackled by that, so a dedicated enough Faerie wizard could try. Or even somebody who just has some Faerie gifts.

As others have also mentioned, holy initiation works and is a much more reliable (but far less powerful) conduit for Holy abilities than going and gaining True Faith. You might want to focus on getting Detect Holiness/Unholiness and Divine Second Sight, but there are other useful things to be Initiated into if you can handle it.

While those are valid points, they're also metagame issues. There are a LOT of things I want my character to do that, were I actually the character, I would have no interest in doing. As such, It's perfectly valid to say "I would like my character to become a demon hunter - he'll probably need True Faith for that, so I'd like a story arc whereby he's confronted by a powerful demon. Even if he's successful in fighting off the demon, it will shake his faith. Afterwards, he'll go on a pilgrimage to question his relationship to the Divine. Assuming it works, I'd like him to get a level of True Faith out of it." That's standard 'working with the Storyteller to set up a story arc'.

That being said - yes. If the CHARACTER decided "hm, I need True Faith to be a demon hunter. I know! I'll go on a pilgrimage to get more power from God!" Yes. That probably won't work. It would certainly be an interesting story of hubris and failure, (and I assume being attacked by demons along the way), but doesn't have anything to do with the PLAYER's desire to get True Faith for their character.

I agree with you Kevin.

Also, I'm not convinced that True Faith actually gest you much of significance, in play, for a demon hunter, that having a relic doesn't also get you?

Having a point of actual True Faith allows you to learn Holy Magic by osmosis, rather than having to be Initiated into it. (ie, you can learn 3 Major Holy virtues + 1 minor Holy virtue) - or at the least makes them SIGNIFICANTLY easier to learn.

Just because I'm aparantly dense, could you give me a page reference for this?

I'll look it up when I get home - I believe it's in the Holy Magic section in RoP:D, where it talks about how characters learn Holy Magic traditions.

Is Holy Magic really that significant for the practical business of a demon hunter?

If you can conduct an exorcism, gain Magic Resistance, Faith Points and scourging from a relic, and potentially gain a handy power (or several) from a relic...what does Holy Magic really add?

You might be better off spending your XP in weapon abilities, infernal lore, awareness, etc. rather than sinking XP into holy powers.

Ah - here's the last time I had this discussion. No explicit page numbers, but it seems that everyone agrees that you can use TF like the Gift when it comes to learning Divine-backed supernatural abilities. (ie - you can learn the Supernatural ability like a normal Ability, albeit with a minor penalty.)

https://forum.atlas-games.com/t/so-ive-decided-to-found-my-own-cult/7676/1

I'd say that the main abilities you could gain from True Faith are Sense Holy/Unholy, Detect Magic, and Ceremony. You also gain the option of easily absorbing other Divine-backed powers, in the same way that a Gifted individual can more easily learn Magic-backed supernatural Virtues.

I do agree that the actual Holy Magic Power/Methods are a bit pricey, unless you min-max your way around them with Ceremony. ie, only take a single level in each one that you study, thereby allowing you to study a multitude of them (assuming you have Sources for all of them) - and then use Ceremony to boost your skill roll. (Which admittedly does require that you know multiple people with Ceremony, of course.)

Which is the main reason why I tend to go Kabbalah when I do Holy Magi, as they DO have access to Sources for all of the Holy Method/Powers.

I've got it on RoP:D (1st printing, apparently), pg. 47, center column.

So, basically they can learn a Tradition's Supernatural abilities as though they were normal Abilities, rather than being Initiated. The whole "3 major, 1 minor" is just a reference to how Holy Orders are constructed - they almost all have 2 Powers and 1 Method (all Major virtues) and some Minor ability. The exception is Kabballah, which allows you to choose any 3 Powers/Methods that you want, at the expense of not having a minor virtue.

The whole "learn by osmosis" thing was implied by now a Hedge Witch figures out if she's got a Gifted student - they suddenly seem to know how to do a LOT of the arts, without being officially Initiated by them.

..which I must admit I thought of as distinctly different from 'may learn 3 major and 1 minor ability', to the point of the generalisation being misleading, in my eyes.

A Gifted Hedge Witch still needs to have her Gift Opened by her tradition to have favoured abilities; this replaces individual initiations. If she doesn't get her Gift Opened she is without favoured abilities, and takes a big penalty to learning new Supernatural Abilities (ArM5, page 166). So, if her Gift is never Opened she will really struggle to learn new hedge Arts/Supernatural abilities without being initiated (like an unGifted character) in those individual Arts/Abilities.

Hm. Well, htat's a -1 per level of ability to the Source quality, which must be Teaching or Training, and they'll have to get at least a 5 on the quality. If you assume the penalty from the Gift, that's a -3; a Gifted instructor would be an additional -3, and would likely drive the apprentice away with the combined lack of trust.

So it's probably going to be a -3 penalty to start, and working up from there. Average Quality from 1:1 Teaching is going to be (Com 0 + Teaching 3 + 3 + 6 solo) = 12; with a -3 penalty, that's going to be enough to learn 5 new Supernatural Abilities, assuming that the instructor teaches 5 different ones sequentially. Doesn't seem too difficult to me.

The discussion of teaching gifted Folk Witches is on HMRE, pg 44. There, it pretty much says the same (ie, the way you identify a Gifted student is by those that just learn Supernatural abilities without being Initiated, and then you hand them over to ungifted teachers), although it does re-iterate your comment about how being taught by Ungifted teachers is "difficult" due to not having Favored ablities - Meh. I'm not seeing it. There are only 7 Abilities anyway - assuming a moderately competent teacher (Com +1, teaching 3(+1)), they could learn the entire thing without having their Gift Opened, anyway.

Yes, it does require that you teach each skill sequentially, and only at 1 level each to start; but that's kind of how I imagined it would be taught by default, anyway.

The point of the discussion in Folk Witches is that if you don't know the girl is Gifted, you probably wouldn't teach her like this. You would probably teach her two or three Abilities to significant level: because if she's not Gifted (remember the witch thinks her apprentice is not Gifted) then each new Ability requires a new (relatively debilitating Flaw) to be inflicted. An individual UnGifted Folk Witch probably doesn't learn all her coven's Supernatural Abilities for exactly this reason: to learn them all she'll become a decrepit, cripple.

If you know that the girl's Gifted, then you Open her Gift and she gains all the coven's Supernatural Abilities while bypassing all the Flaws --- and therefore she becomes a much more powerful Folk Witch.