Obsessed Specialist: Likely Candidate?

I'm introducing an Unknown Resource in my group's covenant, which will be a hidden chamber holding a heavily warded (& warped by this point) epitome, possibly even a huge codex. Within is a lab text, a spell mastery summae of said lab text, and a handful of commentaries on said summae. The author made a deal with an entity to temporarily gain Good Teacher and Major Essential Virtue (Communication) for the sole purpose of making this tome.

What spells are most likely to be subject to this monomaniacal focus, & what House would they likely be from? What kinds of entities are out there who would/could make deals with a magus to provide them such a boon?

One likely Daimon to make such a deal would be Prometheus. (Since Daimonic Aspects can throw around permanent Grant blessings like candy, all that this requires is that the specialist or one of his cohorts be a theurge.)

A magus who wanted to make the definitive Spell Mastery summa for a single spell would archetypally be a magus Bonisagi, but given just how quixotic this is, the dude could be from any House (Criamon in particular might just be that loopy, and a Tytalus would be more likely to be able to make contact with the right kind of Titan).

What spell this is is entirely up to the summa-writer's discretion. Logically, the kind of spell that would benefit from this would be Hermes' Portal or a similarly high-powered ritual that has a lot of botch dice (depending on whether you rule that all rituals are stressful; the RAW on that is unclear). However, maybe this wizard really really wants to write a summa detailing everything that there is to know about Eyes of the Cat.

I heartily agree with Prometheus, as a sponsor, but will throw in Pandora as an alternative...

For the Spell, how about Aegis of the Hearth, or any of the Stat raising spells.


Depending on how much political consequence you want to link to these spells & arts, you could look at:

  • Intellego spell with a bonus to Penetration, to make possible to spy even through high RM: a Guernicus, who wanted to monitor "suspicious" magi, even if it means breaking the law (inspire yourself of the US program to monitor all emails and similar abuse "for the Greater Good" - a misguide Quaesitoris if you prefered, then the origin of the virtues could even be infernal - no tainting the spell, it was invented in good all Hermetic theory, but the Demon seeing the potential of chaos, happily granted the virtues to allow people to easily access, use and abuse the spells). Maybe the Intellego spell has even a PeVi requisit to prevent usual detection and warning to be triggered. The real invention was to find a way to tie a "non-detectable" feature to any spell, and the authors used it on investigative spells. This would completely shatter the "confidence" magi have in their Parma to alert if not prevent spy spells.

  • PeVi shattering the Parma with a duration longer than Inst (thus preventing the magus to erect it again - it probably requires some Original research as well) - maybe integrating elements for a non-hermetic tradition. An infamous magus (maybe a Tremere from before the Sundering) who triggered and won a very large number of Wizard's wars.

  • CrVi ritual granting the Gift to anybody (whether the duration is Year or Inst and what kind of side effect does it comes with is open to negotiation for balance/unbalance: flaw like Prone to Twilight, Blatant Gilf, Curse by the Supernatural, Deficiencies/Weakness are all appropriate). A Jerbiton, keen to spread magic everywhere or a Mercere desperate by the small number of gifted children from the Bloodlines

  • Integration of some Mercurian rituals of the Quaesitors. Possibly an Orbus of the House, or maybe even marched, but managed to hide his work before his demise.

Alternately, the Lancea Magica (HoH:TL 11).

It's implied that you can only raise your Parma once per Sun duration anyway.

If you want a spell that's worth Mastering...

Tales of the Ashes!

When I created my first character I didn't understand the magic systme that well, and took many low level formulaic spells (way under what she could cast safely), and so in most combat situations she was pretty useless

About all she could do was cast Tales of the Ashes, and the SG would give great delight in telling me that she had discerned the fact that "wood had been burned" or somesuch.

It's now a running joke, and I suspect that someday great things shall become known by a judicious application of Tales of the Ashes....

Or maybe not

It is stated outright that you can re-raise your parma, the same day:

Indeed the referenced quote from HoH: TL, appears (to me) to refer specifically to the earlier section on the same page (Parma Magica Folds), and (perhaps specifically) to the note that a magus cannot change folds as needed.

My first thought was something along the lines of Ball of Abyssal Flame. I'm not fond of the idea of using a spell that breaks/advances Hermetic Theory. The tome will have value both monetarily and story even if it details a known spell, and I'm not sure if I want to handle the political complexities of a spell that introduces Lancea Magica or bestows the Gift (players are all new to the system).

Here's a question. Can you put XP toward Spell Mastery on a spell you cannot cast yet?

Perhaps a spell that will produce an immense amount of vis? It's not breaching Hermetic Theory, but it's certainly a game changer for anyone with the chops to cast it...

Wizard's Migratory Harvest 70* CrAn(ReVi)

  • R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Group, Ritual
  • Base 50, Touch +1, Target +2, Rego Behavior +1
  • Create 10 butterflies of Might 70 each, who promptly kill themselves.
    The spell costs 14 pawns to cast, but creates 140 pawns that can easily be harvested.

Think Name That Tune...
I'll cast that spell for 7 pawns of vis...
Cast that spell.

No way. A ritual spell that creates more vis than it takes to cast? Get this spell to the Mercurians, stat! They will solve all of the vis problems of the Order (mainly Rome and Normandy and any other areas that are urbanizing), by themselves.

But, to answer your question, I don't see how you can have spell mastery for a spell you do not know... While the study process is vague, I have to imagine that there is some guided practice involved to figure out what really works for the magus learning the mastery ability...

I'm guessing that you're suggesting more than just not introducing the lab text for such a spell? Because it's perfectly valid within the rules.

Given the context, this is a situation where you have a literal manual on how to get mastery in it, so I can certainly see how you can. What I'm asking is if the rules forbid this activity.

Not sure it's being RAW is relevant. If it is an explicit do C and it always works, then I wouldn't be concerned. I don't imagine mastery works this way, thematically speaking. This, being it comes from a daimon, gives you some license to make it what you want.
As to the ritual, yes it's a legit spell by RAW and then it isn't if you refer to the central rule.

As I was asking a rule question, I think it's quite relevant. I'm not against ideas, don't get me wrong, but I tend to want to know when I'm deviating from said rules.

[researches what Central Rule is]. Oh, the equivalent of D&D's Rule Zero; something I don't acknowledge as relevant. The spell is legit by RaW, and the fact it brings about an undesirable result does mean that the rules are failing at some stage. If something receives a house rule, then it will be with the explicit understanding that it's a patch for a failure in the rules themselves. Any patch I throw at it right now will be a slap-dash one, as there looks to be something fundamental about the system to create this feature.

I have to agree with Jonathan on this. You use vis to create permanent things, and if you use less vis to make more vis, I would say, like him, that thematically you are missing the point. This seems like something that doesn't have to be "in the rules" to make sense. If vis is currency to magi, it has to have a level of rarity (how rare can depend on your saga), but this would be the equivalent of being able to print money. Not counterfeit money, but real money! If even 1 magus could cast such a spell, it would change mythic europe incredibly.

However, to be fair, you did post it as a possible "game changer," and perhaps if an ST wants a massive mercurian spell or ancient magic to upturn the Order or the Saga, I think this would fit the bill. And even the Central Rule would cover that ruling. :slight_smile:

The setting already has a canonically-possible set of integrations to make permanent vis-less things, you know. We call them Hyperborean Magic. It's a pair of Hermetic Breakthroughs.

I definitely think that the spell you proposed should be considered a bug, however. I as a player or SG would not be comfortable with a perpetual motion machine that's this efficient, being developed by the players from starting Hermetic guidelines. However, if the spell is meant to be a secret codex at the end of a quest, then just like a Breakthrough, the former consideration doesn't apply, and instead the question becomes "do the stories that will result from this discovery fit the saga we want to tell?"

I like how, on this forum, Breakthroughs are considered a casual thing that happen every Tuesday and possibly on Friday if the weather is good.
You need to find sources of Inspiration, which each one of them could in itself be an adventure, then you need to invent spells/items with the appropriate level of success during the experimentation and at some stage, you can try to integrate into the magic theory.

The best I have seen in my sagaS was a single minor breakthrough and even then, I made the research easy (over about 20 seasons of lab work) for the player.

Sorry for this off topic rant.

That spell creates a lot more than 10 butterflies. Target: Group creates a number of animals whose combined mass is equal or less than the mass of 10 standard individuals. Taking Insects to be the standard Size -15, that makes 20 million butterflies (equivalent to Size +4).

The fact that the Order is not awash with vis suggests to me a few options:

  • Magic Animals created with a spell do not contain vis other than that used in the spell. There is no rule that a creature contains one pawn of vis per 5 Might; just that this is a common economy. Perhaps the 20 million butterflies contain 14 pawns of vis between them
  • The butterflies all share the Major Magical Quality of Greater Immunity (spells to control them), along with a host of other powers and Virtues, and a thirst for human blood...
  • Any other story idea you can think of


This brings up a very concerning question: what stats do you or can you give entities created by Hermetic Magic? Is it really as open to abuse as I think it is?

I personally think the key here is the Limit of Essential Nature. Yes, you can create permanent stone with CrTe magic. Yes, you can make stone weightless with PeTe magic. But no, you can't make stone that's permanently weightless with CrTe(Pe); the stone must still be of the nature of a real thing when the momentary duration has passed, or else nothing is actually created. Similarly, if you're creating a Might 70 creature, it's nature has to be consistent with that of a "real" Might 70 creature, including mentality and powers, or else it blinks out of existence when the magic ends.

Powerless-but-Might-70 beings that immediately attempt suicide don't qualify as "real" enough to persist after the Momentary duration, IMO. So if the spell manages to create anything, it's a bunch of butterflies that shrug off the ReVi bit of the magic (unless you managed a 70 penetration against their Might 70), at which point you have Might 70 butterflies with Might-appropriate powers angry at your attempt to make them kill themselves.

Well, a "real" Might 70 creature has a bunch of vis inside them. The spells mentions nothing of the idea of having to preemptively penetrate their magic resistance for the control aspect of the spell, and nothing 'naturally' obeys your command as soon as it's created (and yet control is an explicit option for created entities). If magic resistance and/or control is actually a concern, then summon them inside an area that will kill them before they can do anything. The magus certainly knows and would summon something with extremely exploitable weaknesses.