Name Magic guidelines from TMRE author

I found this on the berklist and since I found it exceptionally useful and likely of interest to gamers that do not subscribe to the list, I reposted here:

Morning chaps.

I still have not seen TMRE as a book, but as one of the authors I thought
I'd re-read the Name Magic (aka Hermetic Theurgy) chapter last night. It is
a"crunch" heavy book, and there is much in it which may remain mysterious
until you use it in play. I have seen two characters using Hermetic Theurgy,
including my own character Raymond who I get to play this Sunday. :slight_smile: Note we
had to cut large amounts of text to fit the stuff in the book, so in places
it may seems a bit thin on examples, and I am saddened by how much had to be
excised... Anyway this is NOT a full description of this chapter. It's
mainly a few thoughts, and strategies I devised for using the magic therein.
I have given a few descriptions...

Anyway, re: Name Magic, a few thoughts, but note Neil is the true authority

First up - "schools". A school is just a game term for a collection of
associated Mysteries. Fort hose who remeber 4th ed Mysteries, Theurgy,
Astrology, Alchemy etc were in our terms "schools of thought". Mystery
Cults do not in fact draw from one school only: in fact most, though the
"example cults" in the chapters tend to for obvious reasons. So a mystery
may teach virtues assocuiated with Name Magic, Astrology, Spirit Magic and
Talisman Magic for example. You can use the crunch to write any mystery
cult you want, at leas that was the plan. Furthermore not only can SG's
create new mystery cults for their game to fit their story need s - the
default, preferred option - player characters can create a new mystery cult,
and set themselves up as cult leaders if charismatic enough. The example
cults are just that - examples of ideas you can use if you want, and vary
widely in tone and atmospherre. I think it highly unlikely any SG woiuld
find all of them suitable for their game! I deliberately tried to cover a
wide spectrum.

We also tried not to be dogmatic in our approach to how the ultimate
cosmology works. the default assumption was Ars 5 Dominion trumps all, but
those interested in pagan and heretical :slight_smile: ideas can easily I think fit them
in. There are plenty of explicitly non-Christian paths to power in TMRE,
not least Apoteosis and Ascendancy to the Hall of Heroes. If that conflicts
with your vision of the game, you can of course drop it. TMRE was designed
to be a toolkit to allow you to tinker with your saga.

So let us turn to the School of Name Magic, or Hermetic Theurgy. I was
heavily influenced by what I knew of medieval collections of Names, and
Gnotic Synthemata which appear in garbled forms in later grimoires here, and
Neil stayed true to that with the mechanics. This comprises the following
Mystery Virtues, and here I have listed them in the order I think they are
most likely to be initiated, along with a few basic hints for creating a

Hermetic Theurgy (minor). This is really the base virtue, giving you three
options, involving summoning spell spirits and making pacts with potent
named entities for various realms to further your "spiritual ascent". It's
great fun to my mind, and allows you to do odd things with having spirits
hanging aroound, but don't forget to invite them in to the Aegis when you go
home. :slight_smile: Always carry a "casting key" or token to allow you to invite them
in th first time you pop back after summoning them, and mention to the SG
you are inviting them in ot the Aegis when you try and summon them! Don't
forget whjen casting AotH to create some of these tokens - see the spell
description for details. Form/Technique and Spell Spirits do have great
utility in play: you can build penetration in like a LED, and they also get
Flex. Formulaic Magic. I doubted how useful they would be till I tried the
rules out in the writing period, and the answer is very useful.

When you summon the spirit for the first time, you will need to oevercome
it's magic resistance. If you fail, you can retry though by casting the
spell again, but failure is unlikely with any decent level of Penetration
ability - both these types of spell explicitly give you an Indefinite Arcane
Connection, so you are on at least Pen x 5. You alos know the magical name
of the spirit you are summoning.

One oddity here is that spirits can only be in one place at a time. Copying
other magi's lab text si not ideal therefore: the spirit may be
unavailabkle, particularly if they have chosen to bind it at moon duration.
Personally my character always bound Spirits at Sun duration minimum - I
therefore only had to spend one round instructing them to cast. Bear in
mind also that Spirits are visible to Second Sight. The rules allow for
Spirits of any relam you have an association with to be contacted . I'm
not sure personally about Divine Spirits (SG call) , but evil spirits,
faerie spirits and plain old magical spirits can all be called up.

The last part of Hermetic Theurgy is the ability to make pacts with Daimons.
This does not unlike the other two parts count asan Indefinite AC, so you
are going to have to find a way to get through the magic resistance to
ensure you can call up the potent entity you wish to bargain with. Creating
pacts is ReVi: however fi you are considering a careerin Theurgy/name Magic,
I'd personally advocate a high MuVi score. If you intend to make full use
of the spell and form spirits, being a generalist helps. there si something
for a mage with any combination of Arts in here though... Anyway, dealing
with that pesky MR, to llow pacts. Well if you are insanely powerful you
might pounch through - if not use the Minor Virtue Hermetic Synthemata (see

Names of Power (Minor Virtue) There are very few Virtues in the book which
do not work at all except in association with other Mystery Virtues, but
this is one. It gives you the ability to learn Secret Names fo Power of the
great magical (etc) entities. Normally it is dealing with pagan gods, be
they Faerie or Magical. You know can invoke these Names in your magic, to
give you bonuses to spells with in the scope, which are actually quite
potent - they are always capped however by your Magic Theory, so Bonisagi
and those like my character with "Affinity with Magic Theory" are going to
benefit most. Raymond has MT 12, so was effectively getting +12 to Theurgy
lab totals by researching apprpriate Names of Power. Each one takes a
season, and is a MuVi spell - remeber I suggest MuVi as a speciality? This
works well with the Talisman Mysteries, and can be used in Hermetic
Theurgy,and with Invocation Magic (see below). An example of this virtue
use might be invoking the Secret Name of Chaaron in a Necromancy ritual. I
imagine the season spent "inventing a spell" as actually spent in bizarre
meditations, reading ancient fragments of grimoires, or talking to minor
spirits to try and learn the Name of Power. Whole Grimoires exist filled
with these names, though knowing exactly which realm the creature you are
invoking is allied with may require rolls from a sadistic SG? The problems
with Names of Power is they are clearly not Christian, and may well attract
unpleasant attention from those who can't tell a demon from a daemon at
voice range - ie. pretty much everyone in Mythic Europe, I'm guessing?
Still, although you have to shout them out nice and loud, you do get +2
rather than +1 to your CT for your efforts. :slight_smile:

(more follows if anyone interested)

To the author: please by all means, do. I've already found these explication notes of yours exceptionally useful (Name Magic is my preferred magic school), and I would absolutely love to see your insight about the other theurgy mystery virtues (and eventually, any other TMRE magic school for that matter). A couple question bits of mine: some virtues from other magic schools (e.g. the Great and Consummate Talisman and Inscription Over the Soul) really look like thematically complementary and pragmatically very useful to any theurgic magus walking the path towards immortality. Shouldn't they have theurgic versions, just like Spirit Familiar ? Just the same might be said for having Puissant Ability or Potent Magic (I'm unsure of what would be most appropriate, though I'm leaning towards Puissant Ability) in Synthemata Magic. Synthemata Magic looks like theoretically very useful to theurgists but hitting an hard cap very soon, while I'm dubious about the general effectiveness of Hermetic Synthemata, except for summoning Daimons (and demons...) and very occasional dealing with a powerful long-term supernatural enemy.

Another magic school that I see as very thematically complementary and pragmatically close to Name Magic is the Folk Magic Merinita subtradition from HoH:MC. They just seem like the other half of the sympathetic magic school to me, using the power of the sympathy in stories and creativity instead of names to empower magic. Shouldn't there be some mystery cults that would purposefully try to combine Name Magic and Folk Magic (really, I think the name is not appropriate... Sympathy Magic or Story Magic would be more fitting) ?

Also, what is the relationship between Angelic and Demonic True Names and the Synthemata ? Could you please shed some more light on this issue ?


Your efforts are much appreciated. I would hate to miss out on "should have been part of the book" material like this.

//Fredrik Hertzberg

Hi chaps, it's not really "should have been" - it's just my thoughts on the chapter, and Neil is the authority on how the mechanics work. My opinions may well be wrong - i'm notoriously slow. :slight_smile: It was just my thoughs this morning.

There was not much interest in the berklist in relying, so I did not really pursue it. I will try to give my thoughts later, but they are NOT official rulings or hints - just my understanding, which I must stress again may well be wrong!

I'll try to write some more tomorrow - I'll just have a quick look at the questions raised...

cj x

Well they have really, beacuse theurgists usually will initiate them I suspect. However the Virtues work exactly the same way as the other Virtues, so yes, they are as given in other chapters, modified by the rules in this chapter - such as the inclusion of Names of Power!

I'll post my comments on that one tomorrow. I think the Supernatural Ability version is extremely potent though, though rare I think. However Synthemata has several interesting uses, especially I suspect with other supplements like The Divine and The Infernal. :slight_smile:

Thats ounds interesting. If you do develop one, post it here. I'd like to see a group of Merinita Theurgists, and am sure they exist in the Order somewhere. Doing up a cult description would be very interesting!

I would need to check, but synthemata were originally envisaged as True Names by us, but in fact are NOT to my understanding, as we read the Divine and found that was already cobvered. I'll address it in my post tomorrow.

Hope this is useful - caribet (neil) really knows the book far better than I do, but I would like to try and help as much as I can

Please note: once a book is published, the authors intent is really not important, and my interpretations may be way off beam. Always go with what works for you, and I personally always defer to Neil who created most of the mechanics, with me aiding and abetting. the only person who can make definitive statement si the line editor, David Chart, but as far as possible I will try to answer questions. In many cases though it comes down to what people decide works best. In something as complex as TMRE there are going to be ambiguities which come up, some of which maybe not for years. Your opinion is as valid as ours on those!

Hope you enjoying the book!

cj x

Wanderer, or anyone, can you give me a page reference for where True Names are discussed in The Divine? Sorry to be a nuisance. :frowning:

cj x

There could be others, but page 20 and 139 are definitely important. They explain how true names are used and how to get them, respectively.

// Fredrik Hertzberg

Thank you! Yes, True Names are I suspect names uttered at Creation, and are different mechanically, and are associated with the Divine (and presumably Infernal for Demons) realms. Synthemata are NOT the same; they are a kind of magical word/name, applying as well to creatures of all realms, and very similar to True Names, but Synthemata were historcially "passwords" which gave power over entities, possibly by magically divining their secret weaknesses. I would not push the anaology, because think they are really very similar to True Names, just not words alone, more a series of correspondences in the occult sense - sounds, colours, scents, and gestures may all be involved, but usually they usually summarised an applied as a word or phrase.

Mechanically, a character could employ both, but I think that is very unlikely. Either should render the other unecessary anyway, but yes they do stack as far as I can see? :slight_smile: Synthemata are coercive and annoy the entity, and the "names" gained are not going to win you any tfriends.
Be interested t hear your thought on this!

However I am certain of one thing: a Synthemata is NOT a True Name. they are distinct. :slight_smile:
cj x

In the light of the fact that the books feels really constrained by hard space limits, and looks like it could have used one and the hlaf the page count in examples and explanation text (I especailly miss the lack of at least one example of Initiation Script for each Virtue as they have in HoH:MC, if you have some please share), I think that you insights, personal as you humbly state them, are still exceptionally useful to any gamer making use of TMRE.

Then it is as I assumed. I suspected that theurgy-focused cults like the Philosophers would initiate Spirit and Talisman virtues a lot, too.

Synthemata make a wonderful tool both for the Hunter, the Warder, the Commander, and for the Bargaining Summoner. Therefore I doubt it would be rare. I wait for your insights, since I plan to make heavy use of this virtue, too.

For now I have some ideas for this character that falls some place between Diedne, Merinita, Name Magic (Children of Hermes or Philosophers in Rome), and the Daughters of Thessaly (do you see the themati affinties ? I do). For the Merinita-theurgy bit I'm persuaded the basic concept should be to expand the Merinita idea about balancing faerie and magic into getting in touch with the powers and entities of the magic and faerie realms equally. Balancing bright and chtonic, creativity and truth. I'm uncertain whether to build the various influences in a custom house mystery from the start, or (more likely) have him develop background contacts with all of the above groups, and let the character build up personal philosophy and the various influences in the core of a personal cult as he gets experienced. Also developing custom initation scripts for his various virtues. In that light, it's one reason wny I miss the lack of more Initiation scripts in the book. It would be easier to modify instead of building from scratch (I susepct the analogy with the IC situation is quite to the point).

I wait for it. Don't you have Infernal, too ? I feel the True Names are exposed a bit more there.

Don't worry, one thing this veteran gamer really lacks is excessive humility towards authors (and developers: I suspect the ears of various White Wolf developers still ring for the displeasure feedback I gave them for their "Play Our Theme or Jump the Game" artsy elitist attitude). I deeply respect authors and developers for their artistic creativity, and find getting insight about the reasons behind the dry rule or setting bit quite useful, but in no way I would deem my experienced gamer opinion as less valid than theirs, just because they got to write the book. :wink: As you can see in other threads, I have no timor in making one's own reasoned assumptions. As I am generous in appreciation when it's deserved, make sure that when I'm going to find a rule or setting bit badly done or harmful to gaming fun, I state my opinion in no humble terms.

So far, immensely. It feels like one of my best expenses of the last months. The only thing I really do not grok is the default paranoid ultra-secret and hierarchical approach. I definitely prefer the Merinita and Children of Hermes more "Open Secret" evangelical, fluid and laid-back approach, where if you go through the steps, then you are one of the boys, whether you display the membership card or not. Clever mystagogues should really pepper the Initiations with the Flaws that induce the right mindset and behavior and let the wanting masses come through, as these cults do, instead of going all anal about super-secrecy and hierarchy as the loser cults do (cfr. Bjornaer: no wonder these guys are somewhat of an endangered House: the few, the proud, the paranoid, and the extinct !).

cj x

That was exactly the case. We dropped a number of cults, then decided hey, let's drop the examples where we have them, and then slashed the whole Daimon/Bestiary chapter, figuring much of it would be better covered in ROP:Magic. More Daimons are desperately needed, byut SG's should just create as they feel necessary. It will be properly addressed in a future book I'm sure. We kept debating dropping my Storyguiding the Mysteries chapter, but I think it was eventually kep as useful. Chapter 2 explaining the mystery Mechanics could have been as short as the HOH:MC version I guess, but ended up in there in full more or less.

Ah! I'm talking about the Supernatural Ability, you are talking about the Mystery Virtue! It's the SA I think is rare in Hermetic circles. :slight_smile: I don't doubt every Theurgist tries to learn Synthemata magic.

Not yet. I don't even have TMRE yet. Hence so difficult for me - I'm working from files which may have been superceded.

Quite early in the writing the Line Editor said "this is too conspiratorial" and he was clearly right. I wanted to get away from 18th century Masonic style secret societies with clearly defined ranks etc as a default, and Neil at I at different times saw the Mysteries as sinister oriental cults (as many Romans viewed them in fact), clubs for the boys, academic research communities, religious groups, and altrusitic friendly societies. so we decided they were all those things, and deliberately designed the example cults to be all over the place. Our belief is do as you will with the cults, and not agree with the default? change it! I believe indeed I discuss this very issue of how secretive the cults are in one chapter?

I have spent over a year expecting to be lynched for the Children of Hermes, but no one seems to mind them so far. The optional nature of everything in the book perhaps protects me from the worst wrath of the readers.

I'm sure I have made many grievous errors in history and that we will be accused of nailing down chamberpots, but until that occurs, I'll just keep being happy it's finally out. :slight_smile: BTW on the Berklist someone implied we did not actually constrict or restrict Canon too much. :slight_smile: I had a yellow post-it note attached to my pc with a picture of a chamberpot with a nail through it, crossed out like a road sign, when writing. I may not say much, but I read and learn, and even 18 months before the great Criamon controversy, I had read enough over the years on the list to gather what would happen if we were too prescriptive about how to play the game.

"Do what thou wilt with the hole in the floor".
cj x

Yes, you probably still have a week or two until the Berzerklist nails you to a chamber pot. You are perfectly right that they are not for every saga, but as a counter-example from what people think of as Mysteries, it works out perfectly. The fact that you've left undefined precisely how scripts are transmitted within the cult after the first initiation gives wonderful latitude of interpretation, from an exploitative multi-level marketing scheme, to a free-for-all Initiation Script Bazaar, to a nutjob cult poised to take over the Order. Oh, my!

I also liked the Neo-Mercurians quite a bit. I need to go over the other cults in more detail.

Well, for now you have got at least one that sings their praises, for both thematic and gaming reasons. Aren't you happy ?? :slight_smile:

You cannot even begin to imagine how relieved and at home I feel when I get authors and developers with this attiude. Clearly, you never got to write for the WoD :laughing:

I think we can gladly forgive the line the one Criamon mistake, even if I wish to make it clear I do not want any more such mistakes, ever. Especially with my so-far uncovered favorite Houses <clutches Flambeau, Tytalus and Ex Misc protectively>.

I think that with this cult, the best attitude, unless you purposefully want it to be at least something of the real thing, as I do, because it fits your game like a glove, is to put them to the test of time and proof in the setting. If they are fraud, they will dwindle to insignificant footnote in OoH lore. If they can deliver, and really hold the Unified Magical Theory of Initiation Scripts, then the cult leader, nutjob or not, is really Bonisagus II and he ought to eventually take over the Order... amid cheering Primi.
I wonder who would got to be Trianoma, though. Such a momentous development would probably ental even some re-writing of the Code.

I'm resurrecting this thread two and a half years on, because I'm curious about that extra material. Few new cults haven't been published, and more Daimons are still desperately needed.

If this material isn't slated to be in a new book, could it be submitted as articles to Sub Rosa?

  1. Mystery Cults

There are already several mysteries detailed in Sub Rosa

  • Path of the Circle, by Timothy Ferguson and Mark Shirley (SR#2)
  • The Circle of the Cabeiri, By Ben McFarland (SR#3)

Hedge Magic: Revised contains several example non-Hermetic Mystery Cults and Initiations for unGifted members of the various hedge traditions detailed.

It is also a truly excellent book. Kudos to all involved.

Alex's Apotropaic Templars are another example of a Mystery Cult as are elements of his Mythic Zoroastrian article in SR#3.

I allude to the use of mysteries for the advancement of Jinn characters in my article in SR#3 but didn't have space to detail things more fully... yet.

I also wrote a somewhat flawed attempt at a Terra-magi Guernicus cult that extrapolated from the cut-down rules presented in HoH:MC. I'd probably do things differently now, but you might find it useful: ... intro.html

Note that the recent Polls Ben and I ran suggested that more Mystery Cults was not as high on people's favourite lists as other article types, which is why I wrote a Covenant location for submission to issue #5:

  1. Daimons

RoP: Magic contains more rules for Daimons and several statted examples.

Alex's Mythic Zoroastrian article in SR#3 is based on and extends several previous articles he wrote for Hermes Portal which contain sample daimons (albeit in ArM4 format). An index is located here: ... ntents.pdf ... ermes1.htm

Perhaps Timothy's "Faeries of Sub Rosa" might help inspiration somewhat?

Hope this helps,


Well, clearly the Path of the Circle doesn't count because its part of the Criamon Mistake that people kept carrying on about in this thread. :imp:

No, the Faeries for Sub Rosa thing won't help with this. Faeries aren't daimons. I mean you can convert on to the other with a fair bit of work, but no, if anything the ROP:M and F books make the distinction between magical creatures and faerie creatures clearer than ever.

I probably have the cults somewhere on my hard drive, but thye are just more exemplars, and i dropped them because i did not think they were very good I guess. :slight_smile: There are as has been pointed out excellent cults in Sub Rosa, and I may well try to submit something. :slight_smile:

I thought creating daimons from scratch now had rules in ROP: magic?

cj x

I'm sure many people would be interested in the cut cults CJ, particualrly from the point of view of examples of Mystery Initiations and themes.

I certainly would.

But then I'm a bit of a Mystery nut.

The inclusion of Mystery mechanics in HMR was a profound experience - I'd always thought that was the way to go and it was great to see a dream finally realised (even thought there were some hints towards it in the later ArM4 supplements).

But then I'm also a hedgie tragic.