Mystery Cults and Game Balnace

Rinse and repeat for residual Aura everywhere. :slight_smile:

Or just summon an Aspect to live somewhere, creating a tether. (Or to just use Presence power.) Summon another Aspect tomorrow for another tether somewhere else. Keep going.....

Well in the case of one character I am thinking of 1096–1099 (the first Crusade). It strikes me as the best fit for a cult is one that asks for a price something the character might do anyway. Convincing a Flambeau to go on a Crusade, not that hard. Keep in mind a cult is, if limited to hermetic magi, probably at best ten or twenty members (1-2% of all hermetic magi). That somewhat cuts down on how high a price you can ask.

Best read HoH:TL p.51 Mundane Interference and HoH:S p.18f Crusaders with your troupe for this. A magus might be allowed to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem at any time. But if, without serious provocation, he actively takes sides in a major conflict between mundanes, this reeks of Mundane Interference. Depending on decisions of his Tribunal, he might be marched for it. Have your magus hash this out with his sodales in time.

Your troupe will decide about the existence of such a convenient cult.

Provided, that there is a - likely very secretive - cult asking magi to go on a crusade, what it may offer depends on the risks an applicant magus runs with his sodales at home as much as with enemy soldiers and sahirs (TC&tC p.19ff).

The ArM3(!) Iberian Tribunal sourcebook had the 'crusading' Shadow Flambeau participate at the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa 1212, and the tribunal take action against them in 1214. Such Shadow Flambeau are not part of ArM5, but your troupe might well decide to have some as a Mystery Cult before 1100.


EDIT: The logical Mystery Cult for Flambeau Hoplites and HoH:S p.15f Milites is the TMRE p.118ff Legion of Mithras. In some form it may have existed already before 1100.


Since we're off on that tangent....

If a Flambeau goes to Jerusalem to Crusade, and stays there, what Tribunal is going to bring him up on charges? Probably not his own, way back in Europe. Probably not the Levant Tribunal, if there is one in your saga, because they live and die right alongside the Crusaders. (I would expect the Peripheral Code of that Tribunal to rule that there is nothing mundane about a Crusade, that magi have a right to be religious, and so on.) Grand Tribunal? People have better things to do.



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That's again a troupe decision. After all, the last Tribunal book for the Area is ArM4(!). This book has a box (p.13) on magi participating on both sides in the very first Crusade, followed by general lawlessness and chaos in the Tribunal. It also has the Treaty of Baghdad since 1193 (box p.15), which forbids members of the Levant Tribunal to take part in the Crusades on either side.

For ArM5 we have TC&tC p.12ff Building Sagas, which provides options. But "they live and die right alongside the Crusaders" is not one listed for the Levant Tribunal.


Well I did say the First Crusade. That's over a hundred years before the start date of the game and Magi are said to have taken part in at as per ArM 4th Blood & Sand. Now personally, I think the order might have gotten a lot more serious about interference when they saw what happens when you put Magi with the gift in with a bunch of heavily armed mundanes. Given some of the pressures put on leaders to go on the early Crusades, I have to wonder if the Order didn't find itself in a situation where not having some magi join the cause would bring it into immediate conflict with Mundanes. By 1220 when the Crusader movement has become a many headed hydra with Crusades in Southern France, Iberia and parts of Eastern Europe into war zones, plus the sack of Constantinople. I can see the order deciding that crusaders are an affront to civilization itself and cracking down hard on magi who participate.

That said, a Crusading order with mystical secrets isn't exactly foreign to the source material. I think the issue with cults that seem too convenient is to ask how many magi would find them so. If a substantial part of one or more houses or tribunals would be interested then it might exist. Some form of martial art derived from the Flambaue fighting styles, sure. An Arthurian cult, sure. A cult for some magus's odd specialty, probably not.

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Note all the "ifs" and "probablys" and "expect" and "in your saga."

I also didn't realize that the only options are those found in the box!

Utterly ignoring AM4, I did notice the bit in TC&tC about magi coming along with the crusades and blowing away sahirs, who could do nothing in the face of Parma. So I'm comfortable associating magi and crusaders.




Which seems kind of odd. Parma can cause a Sahir problems, but a Jinn with a mundane sword can run a magus through quite well. The rules have Jinn as a form of compensated servant (especially for Faerie Jinn who are gaining vitality and vis through the role) not a bound servant that is going to be banished when the Sahir dies. If you kill a Sahir, that doesn't mean that his spirits aren't still going to hunt you down and try to kill you. If the decide to bring friends it might be a way to described the Plague by X flaw...


They might decide to kill you, but they also might decide to help you kill other Sahirs, or who knows what else.

Still, I generally agree with your point about Parma, which doesn't help at all against quite a few Hermetic and other magical effects.



Sahirs make really good ninja death squads. I'm just saying.

Anyway, like I said, the best reason to create a cult is a theurgic cult - but that brings to mind the question of "what are you trying to do as a theurge?" More powerful spells than usual at the price of jumping through some hoops? Are you trying to get a couple of F/T combinations that you can effectively use non-ceremonial (and powerful!) spontaneous magic in? Do you want a cheap Flexible Formulaic Magic at the expense of Slow Casting with the option to turn both off? Names of Power that can be used in the lab? Did your troupe let you Focus in theurgy? (cheat :stuck_out_tongue:) Or do you know some daimons that can help you in exchange for vis?

If you want to do some of those, then having a cult of fellow theurges aids in the first invocation of a spirit.

I was so very close to making this character instead of Bausas. I still wonder if that was a mistake.

Which, a theurge or a ninja sahir?

If their spells-with-penetration fail, non-hermetic wizards will move to spells that don't rely on penetration rather quickly. After all, everybody has to deal with creatures with Might, which have Magic Resistance. Parma gives hermetic magi a free hand for a round or two, unless the opposition is entirely unable to deal with MR.

Sorry, didn't mean to keep the ninja sahir in there.

A hermetic theurgist.

Ah, yes. It is one of the more interesting Mysteries.

I'm not so sure about the conclusion you've drawn regarding non-Hermetic wizards. First, in terms of MR amounts, my understanding is that in all but the most Mythic of Mythic Europes, creatures with MR matching that of even most younger magi are quite rare to encounter by chance (though this doesn't apply quite as much to Sahir since they do actively seek potentially powerful beings), so many hedge wizards may not have dealt with anything Might-y enough to warrant a very large array of alternatives.

In addition, given the typical hedge/rival approach to defense, attacks with common attack types that fail might be attributed to magical defenses; I mean, for example, if I were an elementalist who had never encountered a magus before but knew my foe had magic themselves and my fire failed to hurt them, I'd probably assume a fire resistance ability before I'd assume general magic resistance. So that's at least another round I'd probably waste on something subject to MR.

Of course, all else aside, these are Hermetic magi against opponents without Magic Resistance. When you get right down to it, for almost any magus who would actually put themselves out on the battlefield, a round or two will be all they'll need.

Agreed - hence the greatest threat being sahirs, whose militant wing already operates on a doctrine similar to the School of Ramius, because they know their Penetration sucks. Magic Resistance is no defense against a dagger of Damascus steel (ReTe robes aside), nor against the Purest Flame (for those without the book, that's an alchemically-enhanced fire) being touched to a magus' robe. (The magic of Islam is wonderfully subtle.)

A non or gently gifted hedge wizard could see about obtaining mounted, mundane, allies. Getting charged by even a small group of mounted knights will ruin just about anyone's day.

Well except that the target magus is getting +3 to soak from his familiar bond score and another +2 verse most weapons from Terram and +3 vs fire from Ignem. It can get worse for there if the magus uses that entire "enchantments in the familiar bond don't cause warping" rule.

Pure Flame does +20 damage nonmagically, just so we're clear. That +3 vs Fire is not much comfort in the face of that.

Sahirs don't have the variety of effects a magus can deploy, but they can be fairly scary as a threat to magi, especially when there's five sahirs to every magus.