Mythic Blood? (And language magic)

Hello! I am hopefully going to be running my first game of AM5e soon. One of my players took the Mythic Blood virtue, but I'm a bit unclear on how to interpret it, as my experience with the game is next to none

Additionally, you may choose one special magic feat which you can invoke at will and cancel at will, as often as you like... ...The effect should be designed as a Hermetic effect, with a level + penetration limited as below. The penetration of the effect is not modified by the magus's penetration ability score, and cannot be negative, so the highest possible level of the effect is 30.
(AM p47)

Can someone a bit more well versed in the system please explain to me what exactly this means? As far as I understand it, this special power does not require rolling to cast. But does "designed as a hermetic effect" mean that it should be a combination of two hermetic arts? Is the process for designing it the same, and if so why is the level already given? An example would be very helpful, I think.

Additionally, the same player also decided that his magus's distant ancestor was a Babylonian architect who worked on the construction of the Tower of Babel, so we figured it would make sense for him to specialise partially in language-themed spells. Is there any way to create a Hermetic spell that can translate a book to a language the magus can comprehend? My only idea involves a variant of Thoughts Within Babble (AM p 149), with a range of Arcane Connection that can read the thoughts of the author of a piece of writing in order to get meaning from it, but this has too many limitations to be all that practical.

The "special magic feat" is equivalent to a Hermetic spell and the Harnessed Magic feat, that you don't need to learn, nor can you teach.
You still need to gesture and incant (unless you bought off those requirements), but you don't have to have the Art scores normally needed to cast this "spell". There is no Fatigue invovled, not even in a hostile aura (to my understanding).

This is a good way to have a single, reliable spell (effect) outside a character's speciality.

I am not certain you can apply InMe to writing. I don't know how long it would remain an Arcane Connection, and would it be an AC to the author or the inkpot?

As it stands, written language is really outside the ability of Hermetic Magic. Sure, you can write it with Rego or Creo or maybe Muto but deciphering a language you don’t know can only be done with spoken word and a sort of mind reading as per Thoughts Within Babble.

If you are feeling generous you could allow the character’s Mythic Blood effect to be something that Hermetic Magic can’t do, like decipher unknown written things. For a comparative level for the base guideline I believe there is a Holy Power that can understand the written word… yes, here is the Intervention Guideline:

Level 15: Read meaning into unfamiliar writing; you see the symbols as an alphabet you know, with some semblance of the orig-inal meaning, though the effect may include divine messages and censor profane or evil thoughts. (Meditation)

I’d probably alter the odd side effect to be related to the magic realm somehow rather than divine. Also, as allowing this is a pretty large benefit, to start with a very non-Hermetic effect, I would require them to use words and gestures even if the resulting level of the effect was less than 30 but with a base of 15 the lowest I could possibly conceive it being is Touch and Concentration making it at least a level 25 effect.

If you don’t want to go that route or they decide to additionally do it more mundanely important virtues would be Linguist (from Houses of Hermes: True Lineages p25) and Affinity with Artes Liberales in order to learn more scripts, though Latin covers many European languages and Arabic script and Greek script covers most of the others. IIRC, Hebrew was not widely known at the time, Coptic if you travel to Egypt, and I forget the name of the Berber script used in Western North Africa but that’s almost all the scripts in wide use in the game world at the time.

Side note: those who built the tower seem more linked to architecture to me. The language linkage was due to them being cursed after trying to build the tower. Though it could be a linkage to someone who tried to reassemble the language after God broke the ur language apart.


Quite. A text might be for a few days an AC to the one who copied it (ArM5 p.84 box Arcane Connections). Reading the copyist's mind about just it's title requires a base level 15 InMe (ArM5 p.149 box), which needed to be cast at AC range for a spell of at least level 35 or more. So this is clearly beyond the pale of a special magic feat for p.47 Mythic Blood.

Nice idea. Such a generosity of the Divine implies likely more than the blood of a saint in the character. Perhaps there are specific plans of the Divine in your saga - like making a young scholar see the Divine truth in Plato's works, or such?

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translating ancient texts is one of the better uses of necromancy. Summoning a spirit that can read the book can be very useful.

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For my saga I would really lean away from it actually being a divine power. It stands to reason that Mythic Blood (Thoth) or related to some other god or spirit of writing would be able to have a similar power without it being divine.

A god of scribes making the need to learn their profession superfluous?

Only for that one person. That one person can make multiple copies of books across multiple languages. A human rosetta stone. I'm thinking Thoth would like that.

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Makes sense for someone descendent from Thoth.

I don't know if it's balanced to have a non-hermetic power as part of Mythic Blood, but yes, the bloodline of Thoth does sound fun and flavorful.

I don’t think it’s that unbalanced. It’s one effect, can’t be taught, is obvious to use. Could possibly be used for inspiration for a breakthrough to allow that sort of thing either as a new guideline using Mentem or a whole new Form around knowledge itself but you’d need at least a Major Breakthrough either way I think and so would need a whole lot of other sources of insight or effects created with OR.

EDIT: though I did say “If you are feeling generous.”

Just to clarify. I think it's a splendid idea, and might allow it into one of my games, but I don't know whether it's necessarily a balanced precedent to allow access to non-hermetic guidelines that belong to traditions from another realm as part of that virtue, as a rule.

I have been thinking about this. I am beginning to suspect that the process of initiating Hermetic Magic forces all your supernatural virtues that directly affect your Hermetic Magic to conform to Hermetic Magic parameters.
Since Mythic Blood changes the parameters of fatigue during casting, the rest of the package has to conform to Hermetic Magic, or be lost.

For example, the Mythic Blood of a warlock who focused in cursing people with sickness, and whose signature curse caused people to forget him, would, when initiated into Hermetic Magic would change from a focus in sickness cursing to a MMF in Corpus diseases, and the special power would change to a PeMe effect that suppressed memories.

Sort of like you have to have a high enough Initiation Opening score to retain non-Hermetic supernatural virtues, or how the Familiar Bond can only retain the Familiar's powers in a Hermetic form.

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Way too logical. It's magic, logic is for other things. :slight_smile:

If it's not something that would cause huge political shifts in the order, or make someone an overpowered death machine, I say go for it. I'm of the opinion the rules provide a framework, never let them get in the way. Will not allowing this interpretation get in the way of a character making a fun thing? It looks like it.

If the rules get in the way of a character exploiting virtues to such a degree the character is so overpowered it dominates the group, then throw the rulebook at the player.

It will still take a season to copy any book. It means instead of summoning an ancient ghost to read a text one can't understand, you skip the ghost part. I can't see anything that yells out "game breaking".