Sanctum Hermetica

I've had an idea for a breakthrough of sorts buzzing round my head for a while, but i have no idea how to flesh it out. Input is highly welcome.

Basically the idea is related to Familiars and Talismans. With these two enchantments you make an animal and an item a part of you (magically speaking) and reap all kinds of funky rewards. Now what about doing the same kind of magical bonding with a place?

This obviously would transform a sanctum from a legal concept into a magical relationship.

A mage in his sanctum (lets call it a Sanctum Hermetica to distinguish it from the legal version) should be able to do certain things better, e.g. similar to a talismans casting bonuses.

Also a system of waiting magic, spells that are available to magi in their sanctums, almost like the old D&D mythal concept. So a magus in his Sanctum Hermetica could call upon waiting effects for say, light, fire, teleports, etc.

I'm not sure how this could all work, it would certainly be a series of breakthroughs rather than just one. I'd like a system of casting bonus like the talisman ones but obviously most of them are inappropriate for a place rather than an object.

What do folks think?

A simple (rules wise) implementation would to be to enchant your lab as your taliman. You wouldn't need to change anything for this. A small change in rules would allow you to enchant a location as a talisman or familiar.

Another thouht if you didn't want to change rules would be to initiate guardian of nature (from the true merinitae in Mystery cults).

As far as making a third enchantable entity akin to talismans and familiars the sky's the limit. What would be apropriate for it to do?
here's my thought: the area and the magus reflect one another's state.
Hurt the area and hurt the magus and vice versa
The magus can cast range personal target (area) spells on the area
Ring circle spells that encircle the area affect the magus (OK probably with a special really tough target so that they aren't so exploitable)
The magi's parma acts as aegis of the hearth in the area?

Salvete Sodales!

Basically I like this idea of a place specifically attuned to your magic, but I am not sure whether a breakthrough is even necessary for such a thing, as there are already several options:

  • There is no real limit on for your talisman's size, so enchanting a sturucture should work - Serf's Parma, but it might require a formidable MT score and tons of vis. For many magi such a immobile talisman would be a great problem, but there might just be some dozen lab-rats in the order who do not plan to leave the place anyway and like the idea of having their hands free while using the talisman's power. There is a form bonus of a room for affecting anything within a room if my memory serves me well, quite handy if you ask me.
  • 'Conveants' includes many options to personalize a lab by installing special features. Generally those give usually boni to some lab-actions and might penalize others. To achieve this you can also enchant some parts of your lab as lesser or invested devices. 'Warping' is mainly a flaw in a lab, but surely could add flavour.
  • Anyway, the preview of RoP:Magic includes a chapter about magival auras. As this will be published within less than two month, I'd surely wait for the options presented in this chapter.

Alexios ex Miscellanea

Wooooo!, threadomancy!

Well, its been a while since my first post and i've finally come up with hard rules. Feedback welcome.

Also, please note that i've done the rules using my sagas house rule about being able to use 3 times magic theory a season rather than 2 times.

Sanctums are a new form of enchantment, similar to binding a familiar or enchanting a talisman. As binding a familiar binds you together with an animal and enchanting a talisman binds you to an item, Sanctum enchantment binds you to a place.

A sanctum is a place of power for a magus. It is a place of safety, providing shelter and magical defense and it is a place of strength, aiding a magus to strike at his enemies. Furthermore it is a place of comfort, where a magus can feel relaxed and where his magic surrounds him, dripping from every wall and wrapping tight about him.

Enchanting a sanctum follows a series of steps.

First a suitable place must be found. Given the effort that this process takes, a magus is advised to choose somewhere solid and suitable that he can imagine staying in for decades. A wooden hut is not appropriate (although it certainly could be done), a complex series of catacombs, or a tall stone tower are.
The amount of vis needed to enchant the area is worked out according to the chart below.
Wood – 2
Soft stone or earth – 3
Hard stone - 4

Size multipliers
Room - * 6
Structure / huge room (30 paces by 30 paces) - * 7
Boundary / structure * 10 / immense room (100 paces by 100 paces) - * 8

Therefore a wooden room would be 12 points, where as a stone tower would be 28 and a small monastery made of stone would be 32

Boundary is the largest size that can be turned into a sanctum. The personal nature of a place is just too hard to stretch over vaster areas as they necessarily become less personal.

Second, the enchanted of the sanctum must prepare the ground work and open the sanctum for enchantment, spending a season memorising every facet of the area, exploring it down to its smallest detail. This requires a number of pawns of vim vis equal to the size points (calculated above). It also requires a magic theory of one third that value (round up). During this time, no other sentient soul can be allowed into the area or their presence will contaminate the personal connection the magus is building. This is an exception to the usual rule that items to be opened or enchanted must fit in the lab, although the magus’ lab must be within the sanctum to open it.

Third, the magus spends a season attuning the area as a sanctum. During this season the magus attunes the whole area, sharing his soul with the place and binding himself to it intimately. The area becomes an arcane connection to him and he becomes and arcane connection to it. In practice, a foe with an arcane connection reach spell would only have to cast the spell in the sanctum to affect the sanctums owner, likewise the sanctums owner could scry or teleport to his sanctum without further arcane connections, using himself as the connection. After the sanctum is attuned the magus doubles the aura bonus on all spell casting roles, while in his sanctum. This applies only to spell casting and not to lab work or any other activity that would use the aura.

Attuning the sanctum requires the magus to place a number of magical “place holders” throughout his sanctum, one for each point of size. These can be made of anything but typically must be fairly large, the size of a shield for a size 6 area, the size of a door for a size 7 area and the size of a Great hearth for areas of size 8. These place holders are focuses for the magic of the sanctum and typically are appropriate to the magus’ magic. Pillars, columns covered with glyphs, gargoyles, heraldic shields, thrones, stained glass windows and statues are all popular choices for these place holders and it is far from rare for these items to be separately enchanted with defensive spells and effects to protect themselves and the greater sanctum. These items are placed somewhere of significance in the area but where exactly is not important. They are focuses of the sanctums magic but are not themselves enchanted during the process. If they are all destroyed the magic of the sanctum binding is shredded and the sanctum destroyed. This is always a deeply painful event for the owner of the sanctum and they are always aware of when it happens.

In further seasons a magus may further enchant his sanctum, much as a magus binding a familiar or enchanting a talisman can. The total level of effects placeable in a sanctum is equal to the number of pawns of vis used to open the sanctum initially * 10.

A magus can at any time go to his sanctum and spend a season to expand the initial binding. The maximum that it can be expanded to is the combination of the magus’ highest technique and form. The magus can open further capacity a bit at a time if he wishes. i.e. a magus enchants a tower of stone as his sanctum (28 pawns of vis). Many decades later when he is a formidable master with his highest technique and highest form both at 20 (given a combined total of 40) he decides to increase the capacity of his sanctum. The difference of the initial opening and his current scores is 12 so he can put and extra 12 pawns of vim vis to open the capacity up. He could put one pawn in a season if he wanted (although that is very inefficient) but chooses to open it all in one season. His sanctum now has a capacity of 400 levels of effects.

A magus always gets a flat +5 bonus to his lab total to enchant effects into his own sanctum.

As a magical item, the sanctum can sustain permanent effects (using sun duration and the environmental trigger of sun up/sun down with 2 casts a day). Furthermore, the sanctum is always considered to have magical line of sight to permanent fixtures within its bounds. A magus could thus trigger an effect to light all the lamps in his sanctum, even if he can’t see all the lamps. He could also activate magical traps, as long as those traps don’t need to be specifically targeted at their foes (filling a room with gas is fine, firing a dart at an intruder in the next room over is not). A magus may target effects within his own line of sight. For instance, he could enchant a pilum of fire effect in his sanctum but could only target on things he could directly perceive.

Two special rules apply when enchanting effects into sanctums.
Firstly, boundary effects can be used but only to affect the entire sanctum.
Secondly, effects to affect something within the sanctum are at touch range. This applies whether lighting lamps or blasted intruders.

Example Sanctum effects

Evenings Bright Banishment
With a word the magus conjures light in each and every brazier in his sanctum. These lights burn until sun up but the magus has the option of turning them off at will, whether individually or as a group. This spell allows lighting for up to 100 lamps, torches and braziers. The magus must be aware of where braziers are to light them although he does not need to actually be able to see them.
(Base 3, +1 touch, + 2 sun, +2 group, +1 size)
+5 maintains concentration

  • 10 unlimited uses
    Total level for enchantment = 40

Zeus’ Fury at the Ignorant Burglar
This fearsome defense has been employed more than once as a means to obliterate intruders by masters of the art of Auram. At the command of the caster, usually observing his hapless target by scrying devices, bright bolts of lighting leap from the walls, floor or ceiling of the sanctum blasting the intruder apart. This does +30 damage to the target and others near the target must make size stress rolls of 6+ to remain standing.
(Base 5, +1 touch, +4 unusual effect)
+3 for 6 uses per day
Total level for enchantment = 33

The Wizards Doorway
A clever effect developed to allow a magus to easily move around a sprawling sanctum. This effect teleports the magus wherever he likes within his own sanctum instantly. Handily the arcane connection that the magus and sanctum share allows the magus to simply visualise where he wants to be and there he is. No further clumsy arcane connections are needed.
(base 35, +1 touch)
+10 unlimited use
Total level for enchantment = 50

The Pleasant and Airy Home
This spell affects the whole sanctum, providing clean, cool and breathable air to the every nook and cranny all the time. This is of especial use in underground cave system sanctums or areas that might be less than pleasant smelling such as dungeons or necromancers labs. This version is designed to work on structure sized sanctums, other versions exist for different sized sanctums.
(Base 1, +1 touch, +2 sun, +1 unnatural, +2 group, +1 size)
+3 environmental trigger (sun up, sun down)
+1 for 2 uses a day
Total effect for enchantment = 24

The Spaniards Homely Hearth
Designed by a Spaniard living in the Stonehenge area, this effect keeps the whole sanctum at a suitably Mediterranean level of warmth. This version is designed to work on structure sized sanctums, other versions exist for different sized sanctums.
(Base 2, +2 sun, +3 group, +1 size)
+3 environmental trigger (sun up, sun down)
+1 for 2 uses a day
Total effect for enchantment = 24

That's a Santiago spell! I, playing the part of another Saniard whose mentor is also Santiago (different Santiago though), shall adopt and rename this spell, "Santiago's Splendid Hearth"!.

I like the enchanted Sanctum idea, not as an alternate to a Talisman, but indeed as a new option for specialized enchantments. I myself am working on a proceedure to awaken special Qualities in the Familiar, kind of like the old days, but with a 5th edition flavor.

I really like this idea Gribble. This should become a core concept in the future. Maybe people can argue over the math, but this is really something I think is a perfect addition to the game and in fact enhances some of the flavor of sancti in keeping with the rest of Ars. Bravo. Wish I had come up with it myself.

I'm quite taken with the concept aswell, bravo!
I think you can do these things with current magic already, but this sanctum option makes it a lot more interesting (and easier to enchant). I also like the mystical connection to the place. That is what makes a druid's grove so special, even though his hut is only a small part of it...

Those offensive defense effects don't have any penetration in your versions, might I suggest adding that.
Also the wizards doorway only functions if you lower parma at the time of leaping, which needs concentration as if concentrating on a spell. (not too much of a problem, but it could sometimes get troublesome)

I know Covenants already allows some degre eof the enchanted lab, and I know some magi move around a fair bit. I would reccomend something along the line of a lesser feature of the Lab being the 'thing' invested.

This would mean that if the lab moved, the items would move with it. I would say that this would be a lesser discovery research wise, and could indeed be something a Bonasagous would have already investigated and copies of the folios could be being made available*.

This would normally be like the adding the Lesser or Greater feature virtue, but also involve opening it for enchantment. As this item should be static, I see no real issue with it acting in much the same way as a 2nd Talisman. With rules such as it can hold as many pawns of Vis as the characters Creo Vim score (or equvilent). The Magus has an arcane connection to it (and therefore his own lab). The focus could grant S&M bonuses to the Lab Total (or casting total for spell cast in the lab).

Of Course this may all be unneccessary. For example Orsinio Mercere a Gifted Redcap (specialising in Muto) from the Levantine Tribunal has a small Stone Obelisk installed as a lesser feature granting him the bonuses of a lesser feature whatever they are(Serfs Parma). Nothing then stops him instilling X pawns of Vis into the stone obelisk and putting events into it. I would say a Lab Feature would probably have a S&M bonus +3 (say) Effect Lab. He could then install a whole bevy of effects into his feature which under the rules in covenants not only add to your lab total, but have nifty effects to.

Some ideas I've thought up.

Fire That Burns only Wick

MuIg 20 T/Diam/Room

Orinsio likes Ignem for its sheer utility, but his absent mindedness has led to more then one accident. This will when activated, this will change all fire in the room so that it will only burn candle wick (so candles remain lit). Fires soon splutter out of existance.

This only works with fires of up to +5 Damage in an average sized lab.

(Base 4 Change Fire in a way that is Wholy unnatural + 1 Touch, +1 Diameter + 2 Room)


  • I think that small power 'tweaks' could be occaisionally entered the game this way as afterall there are a fair few lab-rat bonasagian magi making occaisional breakthroughs.

I like it too, gribble!

Maybe you could work a little more on it, perhaps with exemple sanctums too, and submit it to subrosa?

I think it's great - definitely rework it a bit and submit ti to Sub Rosa.

I'd echo Vortigern's comment - this is something that could well become core in future editions (I remember some of the revised familiar rules making their first appearance in a previous incarnation of the Ars fanzine...).

Run it past Alex and then perhaps take up Timothy's generous offer to provide feedback: