Reaching the lunar sphere: how far is it?

Hy a there,

As well all know, hermetic magic cannot breah the limit of the lunar sphere. But can it transport you there?

This mad idea came out of an elevator device (a stone slate) in RARodger's covenant. I started to think what would happen if a magus had a similar (and larger) slate enchanted to keep going up. Standing there, the slate cannot breach the lunar sphere, but should get you to touch range with it. Since the magus is ABOVE the slate, he should be able to step 1 metre up (no magical help, but just muscle force implied) and reach it, right?

A well prepared magus to avoid catching colds et al should be able to get therem and talk with a star, then. Is this correct?



As to your question , NFI , mate! :confused:

So, assuming 1 pace x metre (ascenssion speed) it would cost the magical slate 122,222.22 hours to reach 1 pace below the lunar sphere. Or 12000 hours at a speed of 10 paces/second. 7 seasons to reach the lunar sphere. Doesn't seem much considering that a magus can easily survive that time without much mundane resources. Or transport himself to the slate via AC once the slate is already in its destination position.

Heheh, would make for a curios experiment. :stuck_out_tongue:

There does not seem to be much in cannon to prevent that. Am I missing something?


The [color=violet]Hall of Heroes will smite you! :stuck_out_tongue:
Various Daimons , Airy Spirits , Angels & Demons may take an interest.
Unlike a much better-selling and popular game , there are no Encounter Tables to roll on.

I was refering to canon reasons of why this would not be possible, not to random encounters with one (!) of those extremely common local frenzied dragons of doom that populate other gaming systems. IIRC it was a random encounter when we encountered a KAKEN in the middle of a forest pond. And I mean a pond, not a lake. The fact that he could hold his breath and run after us through the trees was SG fiat, but the presence of the kraken was not IIRC.

The hall is magical, not divine, but I can see Michael asking the magus politely (read: not using his Sword right away) WTF is he doing with that experiment :stuck_out_tongue:



As to a crunch mechanic , i do not have one as to why it is not physically possible , but i will check.
One could make a pillar of stone with CrTe that would reach to just below the height of the Lunar Sphere.
(a very thin pillar most likely , and not very stable , but it could be done)

Sure you can travel to the lunar sphere this way... Consider this part of the experiments to break the hermetic limit... (original research). If you're well prepared (have done the initial research), you might just find out what lies out there.... Othervise - you'd probably not be heard from again... (no story, just a missing character)

Questions like this worry me on a number of levels.

First off, this specifically is the type of question on a topic that stems from pure imagination, and as such, has no clear answer, nor could it ever. They're like asking "How many angels dance on the head of a pin?", a question that did indeed inspire (what passed for) intellectual debate in medieval times, but today falls somewhere between quaint and absurdly naive to even consider.

Also because, as a Saga Guide/Story Teller/Game Master, as a generally imaginative person (you DO role play, right?), you should be able to come up with any number of answers yourself. This is like asking "What should I name my character?", or "What should he have for breakfast?" You can get others' opinions/suggestions, but they will have far less to do with you, your character, and your saga than any answer you could provide.

Lastly, any answer depends on any number of variables that are personal to you, your Troupe, and your Saga. Questions of (medieval) world view, how you and yours view and play the Paradigm, and what you enjoy in a game. But to illustrate my point, I'll kick around just a few of these, in case you really need to get jump started:

In the core book, it says "The Lunar Sphere is the innermost of the Celestial Spheres, which carry the stars and the planets on their revolutions around the earth..." Now- what is this made of? Is it concrete, or magical? Probably neither- "Most magi think (the limit of the Lunar Sphere) derives from the Divine." What exactly is a "Celestial Sphere", as made by the Creator? Is it a boundary that we can comprehend? Are we, the earthly sphere, one thing, and beyond "our world" something other?

Now- what happens when you get really close to it? Is it concrete, is it moving, and how fast? Is it touchable? If you can touch it, is touching something purely of "the Divine" survivable by a human? By a mage? Is it intangible, or even perceptible? Is it penetratable by mortals? What lies beyond? (Remember, nothing in paradigm about "space" or "a vacuum"). What's the aura there, near or beyond a thing quite likely purely of the Divine and literally outside the Realm of men? When do the rules of Hermetic magic change- really close, or at , or just beyond?

Is this really something that a (sane) mage would want to try? How many angels can dance on the head of a pin, in my saga? What should my mage have for breakfast?

For more authoritative reference, I'd suggest you read Aristotle, Dante, Aquinas, and any number of other sages of the time who took it upon themselves to speak of how these things worked, or might possibly.

Have fun with your saga, and the decisions you make for it. Let us know how it turns out.

Chuchulainshound, I know all that. It is simply that it did strike me somewhat weird that the implications of the limits have not caused some magi to do just that: try tpo reach it, even if they do not break it. I want to know what other people think of the reasons of why this has not been tried, or if it has been tried, what happened.

it is a pure theoretical question. None of my players nor me is interested in doing it, buit it approaches a basic precept of the game setting, and so I am interested in the opinions of other people. If you feel that it is worthless to try to share your ideas on the setting, it is fine for me, but knowing more of the implications of stuff like this makes the game more lively to me. So, your first comment is quite unasked for IMO, but you are quite free to make it. Your arguments that follow are just what I wanted to generate, and so are great stuff in the game setting :slight_smile: Cheers.



In my saga, if you just try to fly to the Lunar Sphere, you are buffeted by powerful winds, and the closer you get, you are intercepted by air elementals aligned to whatever Realm the local aura is (magical, divine, etc).

Basically, in magical auras, there are powerful air elementals that have fiefs and domains high above the earth, and they don't appreciate interlopers.

In Divine auras, you have angels and holy air elementals that try to convince the magus to turn back and to avert the mage's sin of Pride.

In Infernal auras, you have devils and demons that lead the magus astray with illusions, so that the magus could eventually be led to an infernal regione.

In faerie auras, it is similar to magical auras: powerful faerie princes and queens that do not like uninvited and unannounced guests.

Effectively: the lunar sphere is home to a lot of powerful supernatural creatures, which crowd around the highest parts of the world.

  • Alex -

Ah- I thought you wanted us to tell you what "canon" was, what was "right", not just kick the ball around. Sorry, my bad. In that case, relieving to know (tho' that other type of question still worries me!), and happy to oblige.

First off, I might suggest that it is for the same reasons that sailors didn't sail to find the edge of the world- none wanted to succeed! If every mage who tried (the list might be singularly short) had never returned... well, 'nuff said.

Or, perhaps rather than a hard barrier, the aura begins to get more and more Divine (makes sense to me), and magic of all sorts begins to fail, thus the practical limit is not a line in the sand, but an infinitely increasing barrier to the task.

It's one of those things that, as a SG, I would "never" want to define, if simply because no one would ever actually get there, and so long as it remains undefined it cannot be abused, or my SG ruling twisted by some sophistic player. Like so many other great details of a world or city that may never actually interact with anyone, if someone wants to try, and actually gets close, then I'd put some serious thought into it and come up with a decision or three. Until then... thar be dragons...

Once you start leaving earthly bounds , you find yourself gravitating closer to the Axis Magica (page 47 , HoH:MC).
All Hermetic Magi do this as a result of being subject to Twilight (ref : The Hypostasis , page 46).
Deferent and epicycle
At the halfway point between the Earth and the Moon ,
you lose the benefit of the gross matter of your physical body ,
that prevents you drifting closer to the Axis Magica.
Stronger Hermetic effects are needed to keep you moving towards the Lunar Sphere rather than the Axis Magica.

(Thats all i can think of for the moment)

Interesting debate -even or maybe especially bc of its theoretic nature- I really like some of the responses to the matter at hand. So much I have a hard time figuring out what approach I prefer.

btw - this really makes me think of this illustration:

And it is quite right - no one wants to find the edge of the world - my players certainly had their trouble when they stumbled across it in a ship. They did make it back but only due to heave Auram winds to blow them away from the drag towards it.

I think trying to reach the moon is a wonderful idea, so much so that it is the focus of our current saga. The magi were all recruited by Durenmar, who provided them with a covenant and research material to be, "the first magi on the moon." Durenmar's aim is to bolster their House notoriety by having the players succeed.

This has led me to some fairly extensive research on the topic. Rather than St Aquinas or Dante, both out of period, I read Plato's "Timeaus" and Macrobius' "Commentary on the Dream of Scipio", both in period (and hugely influential to medieval philosophy) pieces. These gave me distances and ideas. It also explained the celestial heavens, as well as the elemental building blocks of reality.

And then there is Robert Grosseteste (around 50-years-old in 1220) writing about light. According to him, God used light to create everything, a divine, purer light than the light perceived by us. Bouncing around inside the celestial sphere, this light created the planets, stars, and earth, changing and becoming "denser" as it collected in the middle (earth). The lunar sphere is the boundary between the "changeable" (us and our reality) and the "unchangeable" (God, the stars, and the neoplatonic Forms). So whatever the heavens are made out of, it's not the same stuff that medieval reality is made out of. It's a corrupted form of it.

So, in our saga, Hermetic magic can only affect the "corrupted essences" of our reality, and can not affect the "pure essence" of the heavenly bodies.

Also, between the moon and earth are the spheres of fire, water, air and earth. Well, the sphere of earth is usually thought to be the earth. This means that a magus traveling to the moon has to travel through the spheres of air, then water, then fire before even nearing the moon. This should present a problem to the intrepid traveler. And, according to the Bible, there is a divine ocean 40 or so fathoms above the highest mountain peak. Is this the sphere of water? Does a traveling magus hit this, effectively arriving at the bottom of a divine ocean as he flies to the moon? I wrote about this ocean in "Living Legends".

More problems. The earth doesn't rotate. Taking an elevator to the moon means that the moon has to be in the right position, according to its orbit, when the elevators reaches its highest point.

I could go on, but essentially, there are tons of "real" (in paradigm) and mythic reasons to make this difficult. I don't, however, thing that it is a ridiculous premise for magi to try it.

Matt Ryan

Very interesting, Matt. Thanks. :slight_smile:

Is there really an edge of the world in the medieval paradigm? I was under the impression that the world was considered round (with Jerusalem on top).

Depends who you ask. The "round world" is, iirc, how the "known world" was represented in map form, a disk, not a sphere. But there are some few philosophers who believe the world to be a sphere, as was proposed in Greek times, and those teachings are not completely lost. However, no one will prove that you can sail around the world for some 300+ years, so ymmv, literally.

Historically, there are several paradigms, so you need to decide on which one fits your saga.

While the works were written after our target years (~1200-1220?), both Dante's Inferno (ca. 1300) and the various musings of Aquinas (b 1225, d 1274) reflect the advanced thinking of the day, and echo the seminal thought and philosophical advances of the past decades, which, it can be easily argued, would reflect in part the discoveries of hermetic magi, among others.

Which is to say- while those authors wrote after the time period, I don't believe the ideas contained therein spontaneously generated the year those works were completed; i.e. "close enough". ymmv.

More important than anything it is very mythical and that is why I decided on it for our saga!

Secondly you'll find many medieval maps to be round. This is not, as most modern eyes would percieve it, to show the world as a sphere - but as a circle. It is also important to note that a majority of the mappae mundi-stile maps of the period were not created with the same purpose as maps today. The are disportional or very distorted and often completely useless for navigation. In any instance navigation was more dependent on waypoints and knowledgeable co-travellers or shipmates. The maps were mainly to put order into the world and to make that order (created by divine providence) balanced and harmonious. The circle maps with Jerusalem as its center did that. And the world between the center and its edges is often divided in cathegories rather than geography, which is why many mappae mundi are described as O-T maps. O for the circle of the world and T for the dividing of the world into Europe, Africa and Asia.

But basically both theories of a flat and a spherical earth has existed alongside each other for millenia, and you can make of Mythic Europe whatever you'd like without being far off setting. It's just a matter of preference and I don't doubt what I prefer, to make our saga full of curiosities and mystery.

Two worthwhile sources on medieval maps:

Like Matt, this would be an interesting idea for an entire campaign. Indeed, your lunar journeyers may spend years in initial preparation, launch off and get beaten back by obstacles, return, learn more, try again...
The whole thing could take a century or more.

Indeed, chances are it'll consume their lives and be passed on to the next generation, who may be more or less enthusiastic. Ridiculed by some peers and held to others as examples of the finest exploring spirit of their kind. The church may have factions wanting representatives and others might try to sabotage the project...

As for the meat of what is actually there...
Well, that depends. I'd suggest preparing all this well before the players are even ready to launch for the first time.
All these people have given great inspiration from sources the average player is likely never to see, so you're safe from them guessing. ;D Though, hey, a little creativity never hurt anything. (That's a lie, but it certainly spices things up!)

This would be more of an expedition than a Moon Program, of course, as Columbo's 1492 journey, minus the negative connotations and more towards genuine exploration. Though I wouldn't put it past some canny politically minded Magi to put their weight behind it to bolster their political standing and in the hope of a big payoff in Vis or some such if it succeeds.

It's like the Odyssey and the voyages of exploration together.

Just, whatever you do, don't turn it into a D&D fest!

Darn - I forgot this in the last post:

Kudos to Mark for a very interesting read! I like all the in-setting and rethorical questions! And I envy your players. :slight_smile: