Question about Learned Magicians

(Long time no post...)

I'm pondering a Learned Magician centered game, and I'm wondering about how the variant Learned Magician traditions can interact mechanically...

Could a Cunning Man learn Arts from a Mathematicus teacher? Could a literate Cunning Man use charms from a Forumlary written by/for Mathematicus? Could a Mathematicus make an amulet using a lab text produced by an Alchemist?



An excellent choice!

My take on Hedge Traditions is that they are sketched out, rather than fully developed. No slight on the developers here! HMRE describes a series of magical traditions, cramming rules and fluff for each into a short chapter. These traditions are not played very often. By contrast, Hermetic Magic has undergone 5 editions of refinement and enjoys thorough and ever-increasing coverage.

This means that you both get to and need to decide a lot for yourself. BTW, if you successfully pull together this saga and run it, you may soon become a better Authority on LMs than the people who designed it. Even if not, the usual GM prerogatives hold. So your answers to these questions are the best.

That said....

I like the idea of LM. I imagine diverse traditions with a lot in common. Since the liberal arts and philosophia are supposed to be universal, there may be LMs of some sort wherever there is advanced education, from Egypt to India to China, all using magic based on a common foundation. Of course, the (not canonical) LMs of Salamanca use AL(music) for their magic, and their common major virtue reflects their ability to bolster their magic with music (and maybe have Duration: Performance) rather than the ability to reduce hostile Auras; it is not for nothing that the University of Salamanca offers a degree in music!

I suspect that LMs of different traditions would have to put some effort into understanding the others' methods and texts. Perhaps some LMs can easily understand each other, but other LMs have experiences that are too different to even allow recognition that their magics are the same under the skin. All up to you.

Do LMs of some traditions form an association that is far more widespread than the OoH, though less powerful and less formally organized? Do some academic institutions have so many LMs, that there are enough to have antagonistic factions and sub-traditions?

So many things to decide.

You also get to decide how powerful you want LMs to be; the rules technically allow LMs to be very, very powerful, though I suspect RAI would have them be pretty pathetic. For example, the best way to obtain protection is usually to use Fo or Ma Forms to grant appropriate virtues (major immunity ftw) rather than the expected way. Similarly, although LM cannot itself directly do stupendous things, it can grant major and minor virtues that allow LMs to use Powers, Shapeshift, and so on. Magicam is a fantastic Form. I like LMs strong, but YMMPV.




Going from the rules as written I'd say Yes, Yes and Unclear (Alchemists don't technically make amulets)

Going from what makes for a more fun game I'd personally go with Yes, Yes and Yes; but possibly with penalties if they don't have the relevant magic theory for their source material. Given as none of them have a magic theory, this could be harsh but would also be fun as it encouraged the players to formulate a common magic theory for the traditions.

IMS most Learned Magician variants are actually descended from the same core root, an ancient tradition that splintered into factions (like the hermetic houses) before falling. Learned Magicians themselves have access to a purer version of this ancient tradition through their study of mystical texts. This ancient tradition had a magic theory, but it's been lost (fragments of it were used in producing Hermetic Magic Theory, but Bonisagus didn't advertise his sources :smiley:)

I will be the dissenting voice here. I would say no to all.

Despite the fact that their powers are similar in what they can do and, as a consequence, mechanically they have the same rules, the diverse traditions have very different approaches. A cunning man will never consider the alignment of the stars or written text, relying instead in the interaction of natural elements like roots and adder eyes to build his magical features. It is hard to reconcile that with a reliance on horoscopes and the stars that are so central for the matematicians.

So I would say similar results, but very different traditions.

<the idea for the saga looks great in any case :smiley: Go for it. I have played some hedgies lately and they are really cool.

I'm of the same opinion as Xavi. The way I see it is that Learned magicians, Alchemists and Cunning Folk are profoundly different, incompatible traditions; they are just similar from a meta-game point of view, in that the mechanics modeling their behaviour are very similar.

I don't see why that has to be true.

It seems like a saga dependent thing to me, whether or not the traditions come from the same source (as in my saga), whether they're similar due to relying on the same mystical principles, or whether they are actually completely separate and only mechanically similar for the sake of game simplicity.

I'm hearing "saga dependent" in the lack of general consensus. Plus, I like Ovarwa and kingreapers interpretations. They fit with the general tone and concept of magic that I'm looking for in this saga... that magic is simply magic, a single ancient tradition with it's roots in lost antiquity and which can be found equally in the astrology of the East, the philosophy of Greece and the wisdom of the Druids. It fits with the concept of the great wizards of folklore who traveled the world, studying magic from many different sources.

A concept I had was using Magicam to great the Lesser and Greater Power virtues from RoP:M as a way to handle Theurgy... mechanically, the charm or amulet just grants the relevant virtue but in terms of roleplay they are interpreted as a spirit pact or binding through which the magician gains access to the powers of a spirit.