Original Research Idea - Opinions Wanted

Hi everyone

One of my magi in our saga is thinking of doing some original research. She is an animal lover and animal specialist, and I’ve come up with a concept that gives a mage a virtue that allows the user to draw vis from living creatures. My idea is basically a peculiar concept of combining modern day blood donation and the disenchanting skill from World of Warcraft.

Please can people offer opinions on this idea, and whether it fits the medieval paradigm or not? Our alpha storyguide is of the opinion that the vis does not appear in an animal’s body until after they die. I contest this, as it doesn’t seem right to be that the animal dies and then suddenly - ding - vis appears. I would suggest that if you whip out a living magical snake's tooth, it'll be vis just as much as if you took it from its corpse. The virtue I’m proposing that my mage research would play on this.

Quick note – the mage in question is a humane animal lover who would never hurt an animal for her own personal gain. If it is the opinion of the forum that this would hurt the creatures, it’s not for my mage, but feel free to pinch the idea! :slight_smile:



Vis Letting – Minor Hermetic Virtue
This virtue allows a mage to siphon vis from a living magical creature without hurting it. The yield of the vis is 50% of the total vis that could be harvested from the dead creature, and is of the same form or technique. The mage needs an hour per pawn of vis and is required to be in a meditative state touching the animal. The animal needs to be either willing or restrained so that the mage can touch it for the entire period. At a rate of 1 pawn per year, the creatures vis regenerates in a similar way to that of the blood of person who has lost blood.

Contributors to the line will undoubtedly have much more to say on this than I, however, to my understanding...

  1. Vis does just "appear" (bang) upon a mythic creature's demise, it is a more a case of the life essence (in this case the magical energies that empowered it) coalescing, much as substances in the blood (modern parlance) do in certain internal organs, upon the death of person or beast.

  2. In any event, even if a SG were to allow it (and mine certainly doesnt either) one could not "syphon" vis from the target creature without doing it irreparable harm to its Might Score, since its Might is a direct expression of the magical essence (that which becomes extractable Vis upon death) setting it apart from mundane creatures.

So the best you could hope for IMO (and would think according to canon) would be a Verditius-like ability to use a creature's Might points like vis for enchantment purposes. Raw multi-purpose Vis, unlikely.

Now, perhaps if you were to focus on plants instead of animals then you might have a worthwhile concept, although that too I would be interested to hear some official views on before I was confident of its viability.

I suspect that you won't get an answer to the paradigm question, as vis is ill-defined in medieval texts :slight_smile:

It depends what you consider vis to be, really. If it is a physical manifestion of the supernatural creature's Might, then I suspect draining the vis will (permanently) drain Might.

If you consider vis to be an expression of the vital faculty of the animal (that is, linked to its body rather than its powers), then draining vis might not be permanent, but it might leave the creature Enfeebled (as per the Flaw).

Note also the Verditius Mystery Virtue Bind Magical Creature which allows something similar (but in other ways very different).

Speaking from a personal point of view, I would have difficulty with the humane harvesting of vis from a creature. The only exception (and this would be open to all, not just those with a Virtue) would be if the animal freely donated its vis, thus leaving itself with reduced Might and/or less powers. Thus a unicorn might surrender its horn to a maiden in need, knowing that it is a sacrifice. This is more likely amongst faeries than magical entities, however.

I don't think this has helped very much, sorry! So, to try and find a way to make it work, have a look at TMRE, which has an Alchemical mystery for distilling vis from Shape and Material Bonuses. Perhaps you are still distilling vis (in the usual fashion), but with the presence of a supernatural creature you can make the vis something other than Vim. By feeding it grass grown in a magical aura, bathing it in water flowing through a magical aura (and so forth) maybe the Virtue allows the magus to gather the creature's bodily fluids or effluent as vis instead.


In paradigm? Sure, tapping "life energy" is something that is talked about frequently, both by period alchemists (mainly as a sought-after goal) and in genre literature.

But without any harm to the animal? A) this is ripe for abuse, and B) it would definitely weaken the Might, and therefore the animal, if only short-term. (In much the same way that "donating blood" does.) But this opens the door to make any and all magical animals into covenant/personal vis sources - bad plan, imo.

Find a magical creature, and that becomes an endless vis source? "Vis Zoos" would crop up everywhere, and a glut of vis across the land.

If that's what you want, knock yourself out. But if, as StoryGuide, you want to give the magi in your saga all they want, Monty, why bother making them work for it?

As for the " ding " effect, I'd say a definite "no"- the vis is there the whole time, certainly.

I too would consider raw vis to be representative of the creature's magical essence, and hence draining it would permanently drain his Might. This is very similar to the Hermetic Empowerment virtue in The Mysteries (Revised Edition) or Ablating in Realms of Power: The Infernal, both of which describe the process of draining Might Score as painful and causing the target much harm.

While in principle the creature could recover lost Might Score, I would not allow that in this case, nor do the above methods do and for the same reason - that would allow the magus to easily create sources of raw vis, which is problematic.

All that said, I like Mark Shirley's idea of allowing the nature of the creature at hand to influence the Art of raw vis extracted from the aura or through other, similar, means (alchemy, wilding [see Mystery Cults, the end of the Merinita chapter]...). A virtue that allowed the caster to harvest (Form) raw vis from an aura in the presence of an appropriate animal might not be too unbalancing - the magus still needs to invest a season to collect and harvest a small amount of raw vis, so a vis source is generally superior.

You could treat it like vis extraction: Allowing a season of vis extraction to produce a number of pawns equal to me creature's pawns, or your (vim vis extraction total)/2, whichever is lover.

The beast would lose 5 might per pawn drained, and recover only 5 might per season.

But Fixer, if you drain his essence then you are reducing that upon which his Might is based and thus it would seem more in line with the canon that the creature would have a permanently lowered Might score thereafter.

Otherwise as already stated the temptation for abuse is too great. Players would just stagger which animals in their farm they harvested from season to season and thus gain a constantly replenishing supply. Fine for power sagas I guess, but most SGs I should think would be hesitant to open such floodgates.

I'm cool with it. I'd clarify that you're using the animal as a vehicle to trap fluid vis (even if the magus isn't quite aware of it).

If it's original research, we're talking many many seasons of work. For what? A ton of animal vis? Many many seasons of work can do that anyway already.


It is a wonderful idea for a piece of original research; unfortunatly, in most sagas this should result in something less than was hoped for (much research does).

Some possible research results:

  • Able to bind familiars with less vis(by tuning the vis/might in the creature to match the bond).

  • Able to harvest vis without physically harming a creature, mearly leave it mightless.

  • Able to transfer might from one being to another

  • Discovering that by doing proper preparations before killing a being, you can harvest it's might twice (taking body and spirit). This could be a nasty and highly unnatural thing, so might be considered a discovery best forgotten. (At least the way you described your researcher...) (Story hooks gallore).

I would make the creature sick after vis extraction. If you drain more than half of his might, it might die. At least IMS and in case we allowed it.

The drain would be permanent: you are draining the magic-ness of the creature, turniong it more mundane. Some creatures might give you part of their vis willingly, but that would be along the lines of an ordeal, like a magical badger (castor? the animal that makes dams in rivers) giving you his testicles for fertility and creo vis, or a magical crow with Visions, removing one of his own eyes. Those do not regrow, and the creature becomes less powerful because of his ordeal. It is a permanent scarring.


Beaver =D


Or, like a Hermetic Mage, cutting his Arts in half to give a magical creature, because... um...

And what do the creatures get in return to prompt such, erm, generosity, aside from a cameo role in your Saga?

Hmm lifetime membership to Ye Mythic RSPCA?

Posthumously, if necessary!

A decent Hermetic burial otherwise :wink:

A ceremonial fling out the nearest window, with full military honors.

(Hey, I'm sure we've all seen magi get worse!)

So untidy! :wink:

Well, it is in period bestiaries, IIRC. Or Atlas Games bestiaries, at least. and who said he gave them for nothing? A crow might give you his eye because you saved his flock, for example. And 3 or 4 of tyour party members died in the process to save a few hundred bloody birds. :wink:

But yes, apart from cameo role IMS, he doesn't get much, to tell the truth.



I can see an "Androcles and the Lion" type situation, but... what is this, an organ donor program? I just can't see an average animal, magical or otherwise, having such a masochistic personal code of honor, or whatever that would take. Not that you can't find an example in some myths, but those tend to be truly exceptional (as in, involving "the gods" or such.)

As Woody Allen said- "My brain? But my brain is my second favorite organ!"

Drawing Vis from living beings?
Does any of you still remember "The Dark Crystal" ? (Ooooold film,...)

Yes i think this could be done, though it would definitely weaken (or kill...) the being in question, leaving it mindless, numb, apathetic.
But as it is not dead when you begin the process, there should be MORE essence to drain than from a dead being.

But this is stuff for evil necromancers (TM). Or vampiric mages. Or diabolists.
Probably for diabolistic vampire mages.