Permanent Effects

There are a few things I liked from previous editions of Ars, but one of them was that casters of Creo and Muto spells often had a choice: they could make the effect momentary or, for the same level of spell, spend vis equal to the magnitude of the effect to make it permanent. While this has many ramifications, what I liked about it was that magi who were using Spontaneous Magic and could only manage low level effects still had a way to make long-lasting effects, if they were willing to pay the price. There's other nice benefits to this effect, like spells that turn people to stone indefinitely.

I've been thinking about how to re-introduce this effect into my saga. Some possibilities:

  • A new Mastery ability. Let's call it "Permanence." It can only be applied to Muto spells. When you cast the spell, you can choose to spend vis equal to the magnitude of the effect to make it permanent. This seems like the least disruptive way to get permanent Muto effects, and we introduce new Mastery abilities all the time, but it wouldn't be usable with Spontaneous Magic.
  • A new Virtue that would allow you to spend vis equal to the magnitude of a spell to make it permanent. This would allow magi to do this with Spontaneous Magic, which is nice, but a Virtue is definitely going to require a Breakthrough.
  • Just make it a feature of Hermetic Magic, like ArM4 did.

One problem I have considered is that Creo Ritual spells use ritual magic to overcome this exact limitation. So, if you can just spend vis to make your CrCo healing spell permanent, have we just made the ritual spells pointless? Not entirely, as you get to add your Artes Liberales and Philosophiae to the ritual version, but not the formulaic version. Does that matter?

So I turn to all of you. I'm not asking, "Should we allow magi to create permanent Muto effects." I've already decided I need a way to do that in the game. But I am interested in your thoughts on how this should be done in a way that creates as little disturbance to the RAW as written.


If you only allowed the "Permanence" mastery special ability for spells where you had already gained the "Ceremonial Casting" special ability, you can require that all uses of Permanence must then also use Ceremonial Casting, which essentially turns the spell into a ritual. (Though not precisely a ritual, so that the same specializations to Artes Liberales and Philosophae would not apply to both.) At the cost of learning 2 levels of mastery of that spell, which seems fair when attempting something not otherwise possible under current rules.

Requiring some story or research to develop that mastery ability is also possible if simply adding it to the basic rules seems too easy. Though I might still throw it in automatically for gifted Mercere of the Mutantes line. Because there are maybe 4? of them in the order at any given time, why not?

4 total in the order and 5 in the average game...
which is exactly why you shouldn't give them more free effects- they are already, judging by demand, overly powered for their price.
That being said, I think the simplest method would be to use the same loophole as was used for creo- I get the point of not doing it with muto regarding the idea of things having an immutable essence, but that seems like a flaw to me- maybe a limitation due to that belief rather than being real- perhaps a hermetic breakthrough that allows permenant ritual muto spells, which can either be distributed by the Bonisagus publication or be a plot line as it is released less evenly and those with fewer connections have to vie to get ahold of a copy of that tractatus.

I suppose that's fair. They've never shown up in any of the games I've played or run, but my friends are weird. I shouldn't make assumptions about how many of a thing show up in a given game based on how many exist anywhere in the entire game world, I thought I'd learned that lesson with the Gurahl book for Werewolf: The Apocalypse:

Some friends and I had run into WW developer Rich Dansky at a convention in the early 90s and had gotten along with him, and ended up taking him out to IHOP late one night. While chatting, he said that WW would never put out a Gurahl book, because the couple pages of templates that came in each of the splatbooks might as well have full stats and a name, that's all there were anywhere. No point in examples, no "angry bear" or "mystic bear", just use "Steve" and "Dave", and still have page count to spare. It just wouldn't make sense, WW would never stoop to such a cash grab.

Fast forward a few years...

Also, Dansky had the most amazing Babylon 5 blooper reel I'd ever seen or heard of. If you ever run into him, ask him about it. 10/10, would watch again.

An important question is, whether Muto magic made 'permanent' this way can still be dispelled with PeVi.

I would be very careful about house rules, from breakthroughs of player characters or just new Mastery abilities found with some obscure lab texts, making Muto effects impossible to dispel. Muto magic is there to suspend essential nature and provide most kinds of unnatural properties, after all.

Creo rituals allow for permanence and make their effects impossible to dispel especially because their effects are natural.

Faerie Magic rituals have a tricky way around this - with ArM5 p.92f D: Until - and also work for Muto effects. But they are bound to fail over time.
This is a main benefit of Merinitae, and I would not make it generally available. After all, Merinitae initiating the Arcadian Mysteries (HoH:MC p.92ff) are often quite approachable by player characters, and I don't see a reason to cut them out.

There is a "canon" way to make muto effects permanent-ish in 5e, the Perpetual duration from Soqotran magic in Rival Magic. It is a duration equivalent to year which only ends if dispelled by more powerful magic or divine powers. This avoids the issue of the essential nature, because a perpetual muto spell is not a true change, just a very long lasting one. It would also cover the creo thing a bit as well, because perpetual spells do not have to be ritual spells. It is a hermetic breakthrough to integrate it fully, but individual spells could be created with original research and it is suggested in Rival Magic that a few spells of this type might already exist as it's a pretty enticing area of research that others might have tried in the past.

You could possibly add a Mystery Cult or the like to the game which has partially integrated the above, with a major virtue granting the ability to use perpetual duration on select spells (only Muto maybe?) or which grants it as a new mastery ability for existing spells ala the Neo-Mercurians.

Even if that doesn't appeal it definitely seems like something that should require a hermetic breakthrough, as it violates one of the major limits.

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I remember that. For the Creo effects, it became the current Creo Rituals.
For Muto... Well, more on that below.

No. That was explicitly only an option with spells, not with spontaneous effects.

Spells. Not spontaneous effects.
And you can still turn people to stone indefinitely, though you'll need a non-standard Duration, or simply use a device.

However. Why do we need it?
And how does it not violate the laws of magic?

Here's the thing. The whole "dual parameter" thing from previous editions worked because, in the first 3 editions, the only way to determine spell level was by discussing it with your troupe and finding agreement.
However, once we reached 4th edition and got a mechanical way of simply calculating spell levels, it turned out that these "dual parameters" broke the game in (sadly, very) predictable ways.

There have been efforts to re-create them (Mutantes magi spring to mind), but these all have their own problems, and are still better balanced that the dual parameters model, once we're using derivable spell levels.

Pardon me, but eww.

There are not a long of things I miss about the 4th edition.
And this is not one of them.

Artes Liberales + Philosophiae is a fairly small number for most magi.
The much longer casting time is a vastly more significant issue.

No, it violates the Hermetic Limits - specifically Essential Nature.
However, the idea that permanent Muto effects are impossible is already a falsehood. You just have to be slightly more circumspect to do it.

Along this line of thinking, there's also the possibility to expand (with a Breakthrough or similar) the usage of an already integrated Hermetic Duration, the Until from Merinita Faerie Magic. It would be subject to the same limitations of the Permanence, and it's not Momentary so it would inflict Warping on the target, but it could be a compromise maybe.

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Faerie Magic is - in the sense of HoH:TL p.29f Hermetic Integration - not integrated into regular Hermetic magic. It is just the 1220 Outer Mystery of House Merinita.

Just saying ... though you might not have meant such 'integration'.

I honestly thought it was, given that it could be used in regular Hermetic spells, ritual and object, and it was "only" subjected to being initiated to Outer Mistery of House Merinita. I always tought it as "partially integrated".

Anyway, what I was pointing out is that maybe with a Breakthrough it could be fully integrated, so that the Outer Mistery is not a requirement anymore. I'm not sure how House Merinita would take this, though...

The main point is that I see the Until Duration somehow closer or easier than the Soqotran Magic for the purpose of Hermetic Integration

I agree that fully integrated Faerie magic durations would achieve roughly the same result. The same end from two different directions. Probably easier in the sense that it would be a much smaller breakthrough, but much harder in terms of story ramifications (I think the Merinitae would be a bit peeved at someone 'stealing' their mysteries, to say the least).

I would also think such a breakthrough would require you to already have faerie magic, or a willing assistant who does, to perform the research. Which is easier said than done when dealing with a Mystery Cult.

Durations like Until or Bargain are very much tied to faerie tales and stories. Fully integrating them with Hermetic magic (in the sense of RoP:TL p.29f) makes Hermetic magic much more Faerie.

Their Outer Mysteries are also very much defining the Mystery Cult Houses. Making some available to other Hermetic magi sets a saga well apart from published material, thereby committing quite some future work by alpha SG and troupe.

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I've produced permanent Mu effects via enchantment before, using the Sun Duration/Environmental Trigger trick, but having them as a general Hemetic thing just feels a bit broken. Never mind the damage it could do to both the fabric of the world and the local economy.


Thank you, everyone who chipped in with constructive solutions.

If I was to try to reintroduce making non-Creo spells permanent, I would probably do it by way of Form-specific Cr(Mu)Vi rituals to increase the original spell's duration, similar to Wizard's Boost.

The guideline would need to be harder than Wizard's Boost, which uses the "Significantly change a spell" guideline. I would probably go with the "Totally change a spell", as you are basically changing the spell to a Cr ritual.

So, this would look like this:

Wizard's Eternal [Form] (CrVi gen, Mu requisite)
R: Touch, D:Mom, T:Ind, Ritual
You cast this spell on a spell that you have already cast to make it permanent. The level of the Eternal spell must be twice the level target spell, plus 5 levels. There are ten versions of this spell, one for each Hermetic Form. The duration of the target spell must be longer than the time it takes to cast the Eternal spell.
(Base effect, +1 Touch)

That makes it difficult and costly vis-wise, which to me is not a bad thing. It is also within the spirit of 5th edition guidelines and constraints for Hermetic magic.

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When it comes to permanent Muto effects I would want a way to emphasize that these can't be used for combat purposes. For example, a Muto effect that would permanently make a person's hair a different color could work but one that transforms a person into a cow could not be made permanent. Thankfully, the law of essential nature helps to protect such things.

It also leads me to thinking of two ways to think of permanence. One is what I call the instant permanent - the magic comes and go, the changes are made, but when the magic leaves the effect remains. This is how Creo magic works. The tower summoned is not magical once the ritual effects. The second one is where the magic remains there even after casting is finished, which means given effort it can be dispelled.

Soo that said out of your options I like either a new Mastery ability or the option to just make it a feature of Hermetic Magic. Maybe add a Duration equal or plus one magnitude from year that can be applied to Muto spells.

OR have it so that the Year duration can be applied, with all magnitude restrictions, to muto spells without it being forced to be a Ritual.

OR you could have it so that the whole ritual Creo effects with instant are permanent is something that is also applied to Muto. Which, in some ways, I personally like. Just add something like negative effects or changes to a person's soul pattern can be innately resisted and I think your good to go.

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In my current game, the maga I'm playing spent ~40 years or so producing a Hermetic Breakthrough called 'Perfected Human Transmutation'. It provides a minor hermetic virtue that allows the owner to invent (Momentary) Muto Corpus rituals with permanent effects.

So far, she's used it to give herself some permanent minor abilities, like a tongue with a superhuman sense of smell, or hands that can twist into claws, but her primary usage is to transmute people into their most beautiful selves. :blush:


In my current game, my Bonisagus Magi started as a Technique Generalist, though he has developed a rather high interest in Memtem and Memory Palaces. He has researched a Breakthrough to allow the MuTe "Stir the Slumbering Tree" effect to be made permanent by Ritual instead of enchanting the plant. Pretty much combining the MuHe(Me) awaken a plants mind effect (base 4) with the Ritual CrMe create a mind/mental construct (base 5) effect.

This was allowed as a Minor Breakthrough because by the way things are written, plants already have "minds" (they are just normally sleeping).

They are Cr(Mu)He(Me), with a base level of 5 (Types of Plants "Trees"). A big limitation is they only work on living plants, with the mind only lasting while the plant is alive. So now he has Rituals that effect Rose Bushes, Trees, Vines, and all manor of other plants.