Sahirs, and war with the Order.

So Sahir's can extend their lifespan in a couple ways. First, they can reduce their age, which allows them to keep their penalty to a minimum. Secondly, they can improve their arts, further lowering their penalty, and in fact giving them a large negative bonus. Finally, they can remove aging points so the only thing that matters is a crisis.

Now the book says that a Sahir will eventually die as decrepitude builds up, since they can't remove it. Not true. Sure, (most) can't remove decrepitude or freeze the aging process wholesale unless they win the summons lottery, but that doesn't mean they will die. Assuming they spend a constant fraction of their time learning their arts, specifically alchemy and medicine, the chance that they will get crisis exponentially decays over time. Which means the total chance that they get enough decrepitude to die converges to a number less than one. So barring a violent death, or slacking in their studies some Sahir's will live forever.

Next they have warping. This gets even more out of hand. With enough confidence, the Travel Art, or Faith they can ensure its a good experience. So they come back with a higher confidence score, more virtues or a higher social ability.

What this means for war with the Order: The oldest Sahir's are 400ish, have obscene casting totals, can bind the most powerful of jinn. You really better hope one of them didn't found a mystery cult, because they'll be able to initiate themselves, and everyone else with... anything they feel like. Their best attack spells don't actually need to penetrate magic resistance being a natural change. Just a finesse roll which is rather trivial when you have a bonus in the dozens. They will go first in every fight. Oh and they might even have magic resistance courtesy of the Infernal. Speaking of the Infernal, you can't detect their soldiers. Period. I hope a demon didn't sneak in to your sanctum and murder you while you sleep that would be just awful. Is that friendly Redcap a demon? Is there a demon looking over your shoulder while you study Parma? The worst part for the Order? Sahirs can get into the Magic Realm and strike at vestiges. People or covenants, or whatever can be destroyed with no discernible cause.

So if the Order actually goes to war with the Sahir? Underestimating them would be a very painful mistake. If the Sahir go to war with the Order instead? The Order first needs to find out who is behind the demon attacks. Also that there are demon attacks, I hope they didn't try to rely on magical investigation. Either way you can make this an utter horror story for your players.

1 Like

For starters, I don't know if you've seen the previous thread on the topic, but I think it covered the matter pretty well.

I've never run any detailed sims of Sahir aging and, in fact, lack the math skills to do so, but I will point out that a character doesn't neccessarily need to fail a Crisis check to die. It happens more or less automatically once the character acquired a Decrepitude Score of 5 or greater.

Also, unlike Hermetic Magi, sahir must support themselves (at least one Season/year) as well as making their annual contribution of Vis/Time, etc in service to the suhhar - the time they have to devote to vanity projects is correspondingly less than their opponents within the Order of Hermes.

Finally, it strikes me as mildly sad to think of the aged Sahirs, frantically trying to extend their lives a few more measley years by the sort of treadmill-like mechanism described. Especially when their are so many other ways to achieve immortality. I know players are generally dismissive of Might-granting methods of immortality, but given the suhhars' facility at acquiring vis it seems like a lateral move in comparison to the alternative.

PS. while the Sahir tradition has no equivalent to Final Twilight, it would be a mistake, I think to ignore the negative effects of cumulative al-Iksirs and the corruption points gained automatically with increased Warping. While not necessarily fatal, the resultant flaws can potentiall prove quite debilitating.

I have zero problems with an antediluvean Sahir being a major story threat.

Such a sahir is probably not going to be launching an all-out assault on the player's covenant unless he has a reason to, or unless they start bugging him in some way. Either way, its an excuse for a story that could be fun for even the more powerful of magi.

As Gremlin44 says, though - chances are someone that ancient has already worked out an immortality trick. There's enough of such tricks around.

I also lack the math skills to do a perfectly precise analysis, but it can roughly be approximated by noting:

  1. The sahir has a x chance of getting a decrepitude point in the time it takes to double his aging bonus. Doubling his aging bonus cuts his chance to die into a tenth. (Since you need to open end one more time.)
  2. The next time through the cycle the Sahir takes 4 (3?) times as long to halve his chance of getting decrepitude, so on this round of study he has basically a 4x/10 chance of dying.
  3. By the time we get to say... only a 10% chance of decrepitude, if we take the cycle out to infinity its a geometric series. (Well bounded above by a geometric series.)
  4. Therefore the Sahir has a little less than a 20% chance of getting any decrepitude, if he makes it far enough along.
    Anyway that's the behavior if the Sahir lives long enough. A full proof would require some assumptions, but I could still get the "upper bound" on the Sahir's decrepitude chance.

Managed properly the automatic points come in one point bursts which means no flaws. The worst part is the hilariously bad reputation they might get. They'll be like the Hitler of the spirit world. Although if they use their mad social skills they can probably fix their rep. Similarly Sahirs can get sufficent confidence/Faith/Travel to avoid non-automatic corruption points.

Every so often they eat some might and vis. ... So? You eat food right? Its like their semi-decade physical.

I don't know... they could have to talk to dozens of Sahirs before they found one with Binding. Not ever NPC is cut out for epic quests like that.

Any magi really. Power doesn't help investigate demon strikes.

Using Al-Iksir to remove Aging Points or Reduce Age does have a significant cost, though. Taking away ten years adds ten Warping Points, or other negative effects to the character. So unless the sahir wants to take that penalty every ten years, the years will eventually catch up to him. :slight_smile:

Also, the beneficial modifier to aging rolls is only one-fifth of the sahir's scores in Solomonic Alchemy and Physic. Once he has reached scores of 25 or 30 in each it seems like it's impossible for him to increase them fast enough to offset natural aging, and even then I don't think the bonus to his modifier would be high enough to make a crisis impossible.

What do you mean by "win the summons lottery"?

And more Warping Points, of course. Plus they are gone for a whole year, which means they don't get to study during that time, and also need to work extra seasons when they get back, to make up their lost service to the Suhhar.

That sounds like a fun antagonist, but what naranjs are you thinking of when you say they "don't actually need to penetrate magic resistance being a natural change"? Solomonic Rituals are active magical effects and still need to penetrate, and remember that they use the spirit's Penetration and Finesse scores, not the sahir's. Are you thinking of effects like Summon forth the purest flame?

I really like how sahirs can use demons with their magic without automatically gaining the wrath of the Suhhar (though of course the Divine isn't happy). For the most part, they are judged on what they do with their magic rather than how they do it. It takes a crafty sorcerer to keep a demon doing what he wants it to do, but that's just part of the challenge, right?

A penalty of having to get spirit points? ... That's like the best penalty ever. "Oh sorry, you need to increase your confidence score." Yes the occasional corruption point will land, but unless the storyguide is out to pick the worst option it will roll right off like aging will. (And even if the Storyguide does reputations can be repaired when you have +20 to your social rolls.)

You need to keep your age down with potions. If he does do that though he can increase his bonus fast enough to mean he has a good chance of never landing a crisis again. (See math above)

Get something with a decrepitude removing power. One of the Malifica combo's can.

Eh, its four free seasons for one of those many wonderful results. Assuming the GM isn't going out of his way to pick the worst result you'll get something good. (Buckets of xp, spells, or vis. Or a big reward of confidence score, virtue or +social). Worth it. Also don't forget after the Sahir has lived a long enough it will have been trivial to get high profession/craft and reach wealthy status.

That's one although its not the greatest, but that is the right idea. The alchemy changes are natural. So if a Sahir decides to say, enhance the acidity of the air, its just a finesse roll to hit the magi. And since at starts at 4 (3+minor) before you start adding sizes, obscene sizes can be added. Nothing like 10^10 cubic paces of acid covering Europe to ruin everyone's day. (It is strongly recommended you have some manner of protection.)

Indeed. That's a nice fat advantage they have.

Oh, no, I mean the penalty of having to take two Warping Points and check for Fatra Bayna for every point spent on the Al-Iksir. So if a sahir reduces his age by 10, he takes 10 Warping Points and checks five times for Fatra Bayna.

Or are you saying that is a benefit? Going into Fatra Bayna gives him another 10+ Warping Points if he goes for the year version, and an automatic Corruption point each time his Warping Score increases (so two points that first time, since he gains Warping Score 2). Sure, he gets something cool after he gets back, but he loses a year of time. Do you really want to trade 20 Warping Points, a bunch of vis, and a year of study for a -1 to aging rolls and a Minor Virtue equivalent?

So, basically, doing this trade again every ten years?

They can? I didn't remember that. Ah, Infernal realm, what can't you do?

I am still skeptical that it is worth a year of study. Certainly if it were a player character it wouldn't be worth it, since you wouldn't be able to play him for a year. :slight_smile:

Ugh, this is a peeve of mine, sorry. I know the Hermetic guidelines refer to changing air into poison, but I prefer in my games that characters cannot affect air. They can affect weather phenomena like winds or clouds that in turn affect the air, but they can't affect air as a target, because that's not how medieval philosophers perceived air. So many problems are introduced when characters start transforming air as a substance! And what Target is "the air"? Individual? Part? Group? (cleans foam off mouth) er, excuse me. :slight_smile:

Anyway, what sort of effect do you imagine momentarily increasing the acidity of the air would have? Straight damage? How much? The fire one works because it ignites something natural, but I imagine most non-Ritual alchemical effects would just wear off immediately, alas. Good for a quick damage spell, though, maybe?

EDITED TO ADD: Though, hmm, lets say it was a body of water, like a lake, and the sahir were making the water caustic enough to eat through wood. It seems to me like that should change the water naturally, permanently, if the effect were powerful enough to target it. I think my dislike of air targets is affecting my interpretation of how alchemical effects should work. :slight_smile:

Pretty sure the change is permanent. Until something changes it back at least. (At least that's what I got from Art and Academe) Anyway a minor change would give the air a +5 damage for being caustic. Which when it engulfs someone conveniently jumps to +15. Which is a death sentence for any mundane who gets caught by it, and pretty close for any unprotected magi. Unless they get really lucky and take no damage they have an 18+ concentration check do something to not die. The best time to cast this is of course, during the Aegis of the Heart Ritual. I wonder how many covenants have that perfectly timed? Also if used on magi this also has the benefit of completely shattering the surrounding support infrastructure (farms, places to buy glassware ect. and probably ravaging their vis sources on top of it. )

The alternative is dying. Sure he might be able to find a better option, but that still means he won't age to death. Since ya know its a better option. This is sort of a baseline.

Yeah, I don't even try bothering wrapping my head around their philosophy/science. Their modes of thinking are just too different. Plus I don't think the medieval world even really had consistent views on physics and such.

Hi Lamech! Thanks for the interesting food for thought! I'm going to keep what you have written in mind as I have some Suhhar antagonists IMS.

Couple of interesting points -

  1. You assume because something is possible, it has already happened. Specifically, because it is loosely possible for there to be a Sahir that is 400+ years old, that it has happened and has happened in quantities. I think it's disputable - the maths dispute on this thread alone proves that.

  2. Hope they don't make a mystery cult - They already do, it's very much fitting that they do so in fact; thats how they get their legions of Ungifted followers.

  3. War with the Order:

Longevity being much easier for Order of Hermes wizards and all of the mystery initiation stuff being what it is, there's no reason to assume there isn't a 400 year old Hermetic wizard for every Sahir of the appropriate age. And I'd bet on the 400 year old OoH archmage for insane destructive potential over a sahir; A spirit of might 50 is a challenge to a magus of 30 hermetic years, but to a magus of 100 hermetic years its barely even worth the bother of havesting its vis. Any spirit showing its face would have difficulty penetrating the Parma, and there's a few spirit summoners in the Order who can make spirits do tricks the Suhhar wouldn't believe.

  1. Demon sneak into sanctum: Possible, but the Aegis will bar 95% of what most suhhar can throw at it. Recall that the Suhhar must spend 2 seasons working for a living (1 with wealthy) so are pound for pound just not up to scratch magically with those who spend all 4 seasons improving it. A Gifted OoS Sahir is far more limited than his OoH bretheren of the same age; even if the OoH magus focused on Spirit summoning, he'd still be better at it for most applications than the Sahir.

IMS might 30+ spirits are not particularly common, and 50+ very uncommon indeed.

Demonic stuff: How many Sahir would actively summon demons and go the binding route? I would say very few rather than the vast majority of them. Why? Because Sahir's invest in Infernal Lore as much as Magic or Faerie and they are almost always Muslim. There's probably more accidental devil summoning in the OoH.

If the Order went to War against the Suhhar: Mistake? Yes, but not from a sheer power problem. The OoH (hell any militant house alone) could lay waste to almost every person in the Suhhar if it wanted to. Don't forget the sheer utility of Intellego magics to find out things; the moment the Suhhar do anything suspicious it would unite the OoH like never before. The mistake would be in the loss of magical secrets that could be gained.

If the Suhhar went to War with the Order: The interesting factor wouldn't be the gifted, but Ungifted suhhar (And Mercere!) and how they could throw the mundane world into chaos. But if the Order doesn't fall for that, it'd be over within a decade. Get a single intellego focused wizard to scry, summon and interrogate the dead, gather and fix arcane connections.. and half a dozen warrior magi doing the grunt work, or even sitting in their labs and killing things via arcane connection. The Order of Solomon would only have an advantage if it knows the OoH... and that information advantage would last all of a year or two. Enough to make the Order of Hermes unify itself into a rather nasty war machine I'm sure.

Well, food for thought :smiley:.

1 Like

tC&tC p48, "Substantial: [...] make water as caustic as acid"

Remember also that Major is "no more than the extremes found in nature." I don't know how strong AL/Philosophiae believes natural caustic air can be (or water vapor hot enough to do harm), but it'd be a few order of magnitude below liquids.

Real-life physics: 1 mole of water = 18g = 18ml, compared to 22 liter of gaz... that's a factor of 1000 in "damage capabilities".

I actually went through the process of build a Sahir and running through seasons where he did work and the like. 2 decrepitude points and well into that escape curve.

Not quite the same, although its damn close. There are some disadvantages like... well not being able to self-initiate new major virtues. With a Mystery Cult you can give yourself 37 Greater Immunities of your choosing.

The problem is most of those initiations make learning fairly painful. The Merinita one is probably best, but that's only gonna be a handful of magi. The Sahir path to immortality comes standard for every gifted Sahir, and seeking out a virtue that grants immortality is also a simpler matter, when compared to all those quests. (Binding, I'm looking straight at you.)

Seferiel could crush the Order single handily in a round. There are lots of spirits with similar powers.

Eh, a Hermetic Magi who has lived that long is probably "more powerful" although probably not xp wise. If a Sahir can't bring themselves up to wealthy fairly early on they've done something wrong. Besides its still 25xp a year at normal wealth. And when they do get powerful and can call up the stronger jinn? Suddenly they get even better sources. Also don't forget that the Aegis is a spell just like every other. It needs to penetrate to keep a demon out. If it fails to penetrate? Demon floats right on in.

Probably depends on the Sahir. The Mulhidun Sahir's will probably be great with summoning infernal jinn. Even if they don't in actual war prep, I think quite a few Sahir's would be willing to bind an unintelligent spirit to themselves via their good friends the Mulhidun Sahirs. Sure its infernal power, but its not like they are even dealing with demons at that point.

True, but there are spirits with better intellego magic than anything the Order could muster. Regardless, the Sahir astrology is better. They can ask questions and get answers. Like "Is a magi going to attack me today?" or "Am I in mortal peril?" Intellego... not so much.

Summon the dead? The Muslim dead? Those members of a Divine religion who almost certainly had Divine burial rites? Plus anytime you scry an infernalist that has a major chance to backfire. Besides they have access to the magic realm which is fully capable of suspending and destroying arcane connections.

Indeed, I think one thing is that such a war will probably not be fought in straight up battles. Well, I'm sure some people would try and promptly get killed. Sending demons out to hunt, tracking down arcane connections, turning the Covenant water supply into acid. Especially the Sahir will want to avoid face to face fights. The Order could get away with hitting Sahir who don't have magic resistance though.

1 Like

As was stated before in the thread mentioned by Gremlin44, one can pay for eternal youth by losing xp -- effectively, this means a Sahir's rate of progress is slowed down by 25% or even less (e.g. if he's Wealthy etc.). And positive Fatra Banyas are generally worth the time cost they entail.

Ah, no. You use the al-iksir to remain forever in your late teens. So your penalty to aging rolls stays constant, while your bonus from the Arts steadily improves. The probability of getting a crisis obviously always remains higher than zero, but the chance of negative aging effects decreases exponentially with the bonus. So even if you gain xp at a constant rate, your art scores will increase as the square root of your age, and in expectation the number of aging effects accrued over time remains bounded by a constant. (it's a little like saying that you gain an expected 1 aging points the first decade, 1/2 the second, 1/4 the third, 1/8 the fourth etc. -- the total even after 1 million year remains less than 2)

Lamech's "exponential" analysis is correct. I also built a 400 year old ungifted Sahir (I even assumed that he did get 2 warping points/year from magical activities beyond any gained from the al-iksir), and he's also reached "escape" velocity.

True, but in the end it's worth it. The numbers are fairly clear in this regard.

Ultimately, however, I think that folks are underestimating the effects of "accidents". In the long term, that's what kills a lot of characters that are immune to age but not deathless; unless those characters are extremely reluctant to take risks. But characters who are so reluctant to take risks are the least likely to fight in a war. So I think there's a good share of ancient Sahirs around, but those are the most reclusive and the least likely to have an impact upon the world.

1 Like

That's actually a really good point. They could still influence the world by writing books, binding jinn for others to study from, mass producing unGifted Sahir's without flaws, or inventing arrays of spells. They could really screw with stuff if they got a lab with a positive safety score. Then they could perform original research without risk. You could average a breakthrough point a season maybe. Parma magic here we come!

this is an enjoyable thought experiment.

Sahir do not have a reliable way to get a hold of angels. Sahir can not do it (it is jinn specific). Spirit summoning can do it (IIRC)if you already have the angel in front of you or have some sort of connection to the angel but that seems to be a problem. The only tradition we've seen that can reliably do it is Ars Notoria and that tradition has some exceptionally serious drawbacks (christians only, huge xp costs, a season to summon an angel, and the angel is only there to do a very specific task).

I mention this because without the infinite replicate trick of angels something like"crush the Order single handily in a round" is I suspect a no go. "There are lots of spirits with similar powers" seems to me to be unsupported outside of the divine realm, specifically angels. Might 50 creatures are, as a general rule, going to get their rears handed to them by magi more than 90 years past gauntlet. creatures of greater than might 50 .. I'm not so sure that you can find too many of them. Deep in the magic realm or faerie perhaps

I think that you underestimate the power of intellego mentem. Posing the silent question has been a spell available to every covenant in every game I've ever played and I've most frequently played in spring covenants. Peering into the mortal mind is only level 30 and is also very common. What this means is that any information that exists in the mind of any human can be accessed by the order if they get an AC of that person (via opening the intangible tunnel) or they get the person in their vicinity. Does the order have magics to find AC's? yes they do (I believe the assassin chapter from projects has some and the Gurnicus chapter from true lineages has others). Does the order have magics to survey large groups of people to see who would have relevant information? yes they do (opinions of the masses from Magi of Hermes for instance). Could the magi grab any information present in the mind of a spirit that was sent to them? Yes, unless it is a demon, they could.

One intellego focused magus (I'm in the process of doing a magi of hermes style write up of a Gurnicus investigator, I'm doing the 76-90 years past gauntlet step at the moment, and he's scarily adept at learning everything that is to be learned) working with someone who can travel supernaturally quickly (assuming that they can't themselves, note that that the gurnicus investigation specialists are specifically noted in true lineages to have magical travel abilities ) and the entire order of suleiamn has no information not available to the OoH within a week

1 Like


Maybe the Secret War is already well-underway, with ancient Sahirs on one side versus immortal Criamon, Merinita and a few stray Zoroastrians (RoPD version), Living Ghosts, Ascended Magi, etc....

Nobilis rules might work better than AM rules for such a saga.



1 Like

I'd really like to see that calculated out... it seems to me that losing between 5 and 50 experience points every few years (as well as all the associated memories, ouch) would quickly reach a point where the sahir is removing points from his Solomonic Arts to put points in his Solomonic Arts. And what sources are you studying? Is this all from taqa, or are you expecting there to be books?

Yes, but how do you get high enough scores in Alchemy and Medicine to remove that many years? I'm not sure you have enough experience points to make a powerful enough Al-Iksar to get there, especially if you're dumping them. :slight_smile:

One of the Solomonic founders never seemed to age, though, according to legend, so maybe it's possible. I'd like to see what that character looked like though, with Detailed Character Generation.

I think straight up summoning could do it. (Stupid infernal realm), but you need an arcane connection to an angel, and the only tradition I know that can do that is a Divine Jewish one. Anyway, mugging angels is probably a good way to get smitten anyway.

I was thinking of the Magic power specifically. Nothing hits the Order where it counts like a 100 magnitude spell. Destroy the planet, Aegis the planet. Drop a glacier on every covenant in Europe.

Back on topic since I doubt they will get angel powers: Both magic and fae have access to focus powers. They usually can't mimic ritual spells though with them. Fae in particular are helpful since they are easy to "raise" if you've invested some time in an artsy craft. They suck up large amounts of pretense which they can exchange for a good array of virtues. Its not the overwhelming power of the magic power, but its still damn good. And most any magi goes down to having a tower dropped on their head.

They do have some cool information gathering tricks, but this isn't all that great for several reasons. First off getting minds from those sent to attack you? That's great. Unless the spirit is a demon. Or its mind was altered with Storytelling. In which case you're trusting what they sent you. ... Not exactly a great plan. On a similar note to intellego mentum magics Storytelling can be used to extract information, or Astrology can be used to get information about their mind. Finally, Spirits of Deceit can mimic any Intellego Mentum spell, AND get a bit of future knowledge on top of that.

The spells to find arcane connections... aren't great. First and foremost they actually require getting line of sight to the connection first. Which means heading out into enemy territory. And then you don't know which is a Sahir's hair, which is a demon's hair (BTW not an arcane connection, but Hermetic Magic can't tell you that), and which is actually a trap.