Muto rituals

To what extent, if any, should muto rituals be allowed to be permanent?

  • Balderdash!! The very idea is repugnant to me!
  • Allowed, but only after a Hermetic Breakthough in original research.
  • Allowed, but only after a Major Breakthrough in original research
  • Allowed, but only after a Minor Breakthrough in original research
  • I would (or currently) allow it anyway
  • I would (or currently) allow it under special circumstances (e.g. only imagonem, only elements, etc)
  • Ooops! I misunderstood the rules! Boy, are my players going to be ticked!

0 voters

Just a quick question:

It was recently pointed out to me that only Momentary Creo Rituals do anything permanently (as well as any Momentary Perdo spell). Honestly, though, it would make sense to me, however, that the Order has since figured out how to make a blue rose "stay blue and breed true." A counter arguement would be that this violates the Limit of Essential Nature.

Just curious where everyone out there stands.


Okay, first (and I say this because "I" am usually guilty of it!), IF(?) we are to discuss this by 5th ed RAW, it's important to shake off any preconceptions from earlier editions, especially about what a Ritual is and does. It no longer has anything to do with permanence, necessarily (See p81 "Ritual Magic", and etc.)

Under The Limit of Essential Nature (p 79), it explicitly states..."Any magic which violates a thing's essential nature must be maintained, and when power is no longer supplied the thing returns to its natural state. Thus, Muto magic must always be maintained..."

(I don't like that word "thus", because Muto and breaking Essential Nature do not always go hand in hand.)

However, it goes on to raise the issue of what, exactly, is "Essential Nature" and what is not..."A thing's essential nature varies depending on what it is. All human beings are essentially human... The basic shape of a human body is also part of the essential nature, tho' bits can be cut off..."So, the question in your specific example would be- "Is a rose's color part of its essential nature?"

This was brought up tangentially in another thread. Is skin color is part of a human's essential nature, or fur color part of a beast's? If my mage wants a bright red hound or truly blue horse, can they make that a permanent change? What if the color is within the "natural" spectrum, even if not natural for that breed? What if it mimics the color of a (similar?) animal, or exaggerates that color? (A fox is close to red, and I've seen very blue-grey dogs...)

It's clear that, in 5th, you can't change an animal into a human (or vice versa) for longer than a year, because that IS, specifically, part of their essential nature. Other changes are variable, depending on that E.N., and that, ultimately, is up to each Story Guide and Troupe.

Now, for me, the classic "permanent mark" from an angry mage is very in-genre, and a scar or brand or birthmark added to a human target is just too traditional (imo) to be deemed "against EN". This could possibly run even changing their skin-color to bright blue, altho' that might starting to push it for some- or not.

Now, if you change one thing "permanantly", does it then breed that trait? Ugh... that does sound more like the realm of "Essential Nature"- tho' it is also a classic bit that should not be ruled out too quickly.

I think it's also fairly clear that with such a subjective (and ultimately arbitrary?) limit, that Hermetic Research should allow one to push that limit, if never remove it entirely.

Ymmv, but that seems to be how the rules read.

(So, my Vote would be... "None of the Above"*, because, imo, Muto can already be legally permanent (or should be), but only within the limits of EN)

(* I feel like I'm voting for President!)

I would allow it after someone makes the appropriate Minor Breakthrough for the "Permanent" Duration (+1 magnitude over year, effect can be dispelled, required to be a ritual spell, und so weg...).

Of course, there are other ways to get around it; Say someone makes a certain Merinita maga (whose name may or may not be Mab, for the purposes of this example) very upset, so she spends the next 90 minutes and some vis casting a spell, and the poor fellow is now a frog, until someone can prove that, say, the Earth revolves around the Sun (or some equally unlikely condition). That makes the spell, for purposes of this example, effectively permanent, and the poor fellow spends the rest of his days in Lough Caillte's pond, catching flies... And leaving everyone else doing cleanup afterwards...


To allow Muto spells to become permanent is to lose a bit of flavor. There currently are ways to have them last almost permanently, whether using a "simple" continuous-effect invested device or some Mystery duration that let the spell last until some condition is met. Such imperfect solutions force players to be creative, as well as connect magi to mythological and fairy-tale references.

As others above have hinted, I really like taking the limitations of Hermetic Magic and treating them as... opportunities.

Whichever way you want to solve this muto problem, you're going to have to think around it. Of course, like many things in this game, it probably means you won't be tripping permanent muto effects off with any speed but it does give your magus something to aim for.

Serf's parma, but isn't the main points of muto that it goes against EN?

And for Cuchulainshound's remark about permanent marks - scars are damage, not alterations...

I'd say it's a Hermetic breakthrough to make a Momentary or Permanent Muto Ritual. By doing it otherwise you take away some of the power of certain Mysteries as well as possibly Warping.

And even if the change was in the spectrum (changing a human's skin color or hair color to another aceptable color) that's still not in that particular human's essential nature. It might seem minor, but that's the way rules (and magic IMO) are.


I changed it to a Hermetic breakthrough because the esential nature is one of the only 2 real rules of magic, the other being the Divine. All other rules are lesser limits derived from those two and could possibly be beaten with a Major breakthrough. If someone could get by the Essential nature (even for something as minor as hair color) it would have huge ramifications.

As far as major vs. hermetic I agree that breaking the limit of essential nature would be a hermetic breakthrough. Yet I still voted major because there are ways to pull it off more sneakily.

I can imagine a breakthrough that lets a magus design an enchantment which then enchants leseseer enchanted device as a ritual (making the device quite vis inefficent in regards to creation but allowing fantastically quick item creation if you intened on creating more than one device). Using a lesser enchanted device that sports a constant duration muto effect I think really does count as a permanent change with a ritual.

There is also the Faerie duration of until and similar long duration spells that come awfully close to permanent.

Here's a thought: An elder merinita throws off a whole mess of spells with a duration of until. She then undergoes the becomming and turns into a faerie. Do the spells expire immediately or do they last as long as the eternal faerie that the Merinita has become?

And why would they have to expire at all, even if a giant newt eat the merinita? Or is that a condition on fae magic? I can't recall that all magi have the life duration magic hermetic flaw as default....

It's a limitation of the Until duration and some others.

This isn't a breakthrough at all though. One can already get a more or less permanent Muto effect through a magic item that affects its target constantly. It will also likely Warp the hell out if it too.

Your mage uses "scars" for marking enemies and such? phhht! :laughing:

The whole question of exactly how superficial a thing can still be "essential nature" still nags me.

If hair color is EN, then I guess getting hit by lightning and old age can change one's essential nature? Do foxes change their essential nature in the Winter when they change fur color? Myself, if I spend a year out of the sun, I can look like a pasty Germanic guy, but a full year in the sun and I look like your typical swarthy Hispanic type - I even get stopped at the Mexican/American border more than my buddies - has el sol changed mi Essential Nature?

I think that EN covers things a little less superficial than some of that, altho' I have nothing in the RAW to support that. On page 206, in the sidebar on "Miracles" (the only reference under "Essential Nature" in the Index! :confused: ) it speaks of... "A character with a serious problem finds that the magi cannot help, as it is part of her Essential Nature..." So, while I hope no one would argue that every "serious problem" is essential to a character's nature, it's also clear that EN can cover a lot of ground, and often unexpectedly so.

What, then, can Muto change? It depends. No hard and fast rules- I'd say that a striking red-headed beauty might, indeed, have hair color as part of her EN, and a pale child might have his skin color be likewise- while their siblings don't bear the same claims.

Does a rose claim it's color as EN? Depends on the rose. Some roses are RED, some just smell nice, others just have thorns (your metaphors may vary). Would it "breed true"? That may well in fact be EN, and certainly is a separate question.

The breakthrough would be making a lesser enchanted device as a ritual rather than as a lab activity.

The question concerned permantent muto effects as a ritual spell.

Yes, it would warp the subject.

I understand your point qc, and it is a good one. And I agree that a device can accomplish the goal "Thou Shalt Be A Blue Rose" but it may not be that a cutting from the plant will stay true blue when put unto another plant or planted somewhere outside the influence of the device.

Hence the desire for a permanent, momentary, Muto ritual for our florally-oriented magus. The point is a "fire and forget" kind of spell. Whether it is kind of grafitti ("Ahh, I see the rose-magus -- who died 100 years ago -- was here") of more ostentatious ("Ahh, I see that this bright purple stone used in your covenant is actually a kind of granite. Funny, I never knew that there were granites of such homgeneity in color..."), either way the desire is to cast the spell once, and have it stick without support.

Again, good point on the device and related Warping, though.


Ah, I see.

This might do it then, it's definitely got some merit. I wouldn't say it's a Hermetic breakthrough, but a high Major Breakthrough.

Natural exterior changes, such as sun exposure are also part of one's essential nature IMO. Some are destined to get tanned, others will get freckles, others will burn. But all are natural.

When an unnatural force acts on the person, their essential nature is not changed, they can be restored. Hence damage can be healed, but you use Creo not Muto.

I see the point that Muto seems a bit more limited due to the Duration on it, but I also think it adds consistency. I also don't in general see the need to make Muto permanent for most of my needs.

The basic problem is that either Muto is too powerful, and can take the place of mutliple Techniques, or it seems weak because it stays true to its definition of enacting a change in a rather unnatural fashion.

I think Steve from Iowa hit on the exception to 5th ed's one year limit. A conditional spell is performable within a year as long as the condition can occur within that time. In the law, this arrangement appears in an area of law called the Statute of Frauds, which states that any contract that will take more than a year to perform must be written (a simplistic description, I admit). But if the contract can be performed within that time, it does not have to be written to be enforced, even if it is not performed within a year due to delays of some sort.

Thus, if the condition can be satisfied in less than a year, then the faerie magic "until" duration should allow it to last until the condition is met. I think curses may also work in a similar way.

Bargain (duration) specifies, explicitly, max one year. Until (duration) specifies no time limit, only condition fulfilled, caster twilight or death - and I can't find any errata stating otherwise.

So I'm assuming that's intentional...

No book on hand to give the exact page but...there is a line about muto corpus dealing with altering your appearance, that says if you keep this effect going for a long enough time it may become permanent.

Based on that I would be inclined to allow vis to be used, make a ritual, and apply warping to create a permanent effect.

Sure that wasn't your mom? 8)