Settuten much better at divination than Hermetic magi?

So I was reading in Between Sand and Sea when I noticed an odd thing.

The Settuten magical tradition described there have access to a Major Supernatural virtue Divination which is described as a variation of the virtue found in the Divination & Augury chapter of The Mysteries: Revised Edition.
There are however a couple of major differences betwen the two virtues:

The Settuten Divination Major Supernatural Virtue gives you a starting score of 0 in the Supernatural ability Divination, which is an Accelerated Ability. They know one divination method for each point of their Divination Ability.
(BSaS, p96, p102-103)

The Divination & Augury Major Supernatural Virtue gives you a starting score of 1 in the Supernatural Ability Divination. It includes one method of divination. Further methods can be learned, each counting as a Minor Virtue.
(TM:RE p58-62)

The actual way the abilities are used seem to be almost exactly the same, with the same Ease Factors.
The Settuten ability can't get the Magical bonus that a Hermetic mage can get for their ability, but that is just about the only difference.

With the Settuten Divination ability being an accelerated ability you can obviously get much higher totals than with the Hermetic Divination ability which appears to be a normal non-accelerated ability. The settuten also get access to additional divination methods much easier, not needing extra virtues to learn them.

Is it intentional that Settuten should be so much better at divination than Hermetic magi, or is it a mistake by one of the writers? And if it is a mistake, which version of Divination should be used?
Or have I missed something which explains the differences.

The Order of Hermes and Hermetic Magi might be the "best" all around magic users, but they are not the best at all specialized types of magic. The reason the Order of Hermes is the best all around is because their style of magic is designed to study and integrate other forms of magic into their own.

Those integrations are not always completely successful. They are not always done on the best form of a magical discipline. Even when done successfully on the best form of a magical discipline (such as Columbae Ring/Circle & Warding magic), they have to make trade offs since theirs is a generalist rather than specialist form of magic.

That last point is a big one since almost every form of highly specialized integrated magic you will find across the line is weaker than the original. Not all Settuten can gain Divination, it is specifically for the subtype Tineqiqqit. Their version of the Divination Virtue is specifically listed as a variant of the one in TMRE. However time wise their version is older than the OoH which would mean that theirs is the original and the version in TMRE is a Hermetic version of it.

That it is better than the Hermetic version is perfectly acceptable.


I can't speak to authorial intent, but I will second Troy above in saying that it's perfectly fine to use the rules as written - allowing the non-Hermetic tradition a better divination.

That said, I'd like to add that I think Divination is rather weak for an Hermetic magus, as (IIRC) it just allows him to cast spells using an Ability instead of two Arts. I'd recommend allowing him to add the Divination Ability to Intellego spells designed as divinatory spells (using an appropriate method). For a Criamon initiation, I'd even allow the use of Enigmatic Wisdom (instead of a whole-new-Ability of Divination). Alternatively (or in addition), consider relaxing the need to Penetrate for divination; as you're not really examining the "target" directly, but rather observing related phenomena.

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It's quite ok that Hermetic Divination is weaker than Settuten Divination, for the reasons stated above.
The problems with Hermetic Divination, however, in my opinion are two:

  1. It is a very weak Virtue for a Hermetic magus, as stated above; they only reason you might really want to use it is the Boundary-without-a-Ritual advantage. It becomes somewhat better in some specific cases, and if you really push it for all it's worth, ceremonially it can probably equal a Settuten's for almost all Ease factors used in practice. E.g. Dream Interpretation (+5 in all circumstances) used by a Criamon (+Enigmatic Wisdom, let's say +6 including a specialty) with a spirit familiar (+Hermes Cord, let's say +3) with a powerful enchanted device (let's say level 51, for a bonus of +6), yields a total bonus of +20. Adding let's say Intelligence (+3)+Aura(+3 safely in your lab!)+the Divination Ability (3+1 Dream Interpretation as a specialty) yields a total of +30, to which you should add a stress die AND any bonus due to sympathetic/arcane connections.

  2. It has very little synergy with "standard" Hermetic Magic. This is a pity, in that something that's integrated into Hermetic Magic should benefit from the Hermetic Forms and/or Techniques. Personally, I would change the Hermetic Divination Virtue so that instead of using a separate Supernatural Ability, it gest to use the Intellego+Form Spontaneous Casting total, without any bonus from other Hermetic Virtues applying specifically to Spontaneous magic.

Enigmatic Wisdom is not a bonus added to Divination totals according to RAW - though it probably ought to.
A bonus from an enchanted device only applies for the Forms used as requisites, so it generally only works for some types of divination questions unless enchanted for all Forms . in which case you are unlikely to get a very high Lab Total for the effect.
Settuten have access to all the same methods of divination (like Dream Interpretation) as Hermetic Magi do, but will generally know far more methods.
Intelligence, Aura, and bonuses from sympathetic/arcane connections apply just the same for Settuten.

But sure, a Hermetic magus really putting effort into improving his skills with Divination can get about equal or perhaps even slightly better than an average Settuten with the Divination ability. If the Settuten put in the same kind of effort on the other hand....

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It " is added to rolls to interpret dreams and riddles, and to understand phantasms and arcane or mysterious situations." So I assume it does add to Dream Interpretation totals!!

The description of the Divination ability has a list, which appears to be exhaustive, of what bonuses can be added. (TM:RE p62)
Enigmatic Wisdom is not on that list.

I disagree on the exhaustiveness, which is not made explicit anywhere.
Any modifier that explicitly applies to such a situation should be counted.
For example, an appropriate Faerie Simpathy would definitely apply, even if it's not on the list.
A wound penalty would also apply, even if it's not on the list.
And so on.

Faerie Sympathy only applies to non-supernatural Abilities while Divination is a supernatural ability, so it would definitely not apply in any case.

Oh, good catch. I always forget about that.
Well then, let's say ... the bonus from the Undying Vitality of the Cult of Dedun would apply!
A bonus from a miracle would also apply.
And so on.

What I am saying is that there are many sources of "bonuses" that would apply to a supernatural activity such as divination, and they would apply because they apply explicitly to all such activities. These should not be confused with the specific bonuses listed in the description of divination (ceremonial bonuses etc.), that are bonuses nobody would think of adding unless they were explicitly stated as applying.

I had to look up that one, but no - that bonus does not apply either. :slight_smile:
The bonus from Unying Vitality applies to casting totals and lab totals - a Divination roll is neither.
Indirectly it could help, since Undying Vitality also works to remove penalties from auras, but it would not give a bonus in that case, just reduce the aura penalty.

There are some unlisted bonuses that would clearly apply - any bonus that applies directly to the Divination ability (for example Puissant Divination) would apply, since the Divination ability itself is already part of the listed total. Same with any bonus or penalty to Aura modifiers.

Call it as you wish, for me it's a bonus capped by the aura penalty :wink:

Is it intentional that Settuten should be so much better at divination than Hermetic magi, or is it a mistake by one of the writers? And if it is a mistake, which version of Divination should be used?
Or have I missed something which explains the differences.

It was a long time ago now, but.... it was an intentional difference. Hermetic Divination is an addition to their already-strong magic system, but Settuten Divination is one of the central magical arts of a much-more restricted tradition.



Supernatural Abilities produce Casting Totals. HoH:S has an entire page about that, and it shows up in a bunch of other books. For example:

I see.
I was basing my statement on the chapter on Divination & Augury in TM:RE (since that is where the Divination ability I was talking about is described), and there the words "Casting Total" are never used.

Everyone forgets about the Supernatural Abilities "Casting Totals" rules in HoH:S at some point or another. I have had to direct people to it a couple of times on the forums.

Given that the Divination ability is not only more widespread among the Settuten than Hermetic Magi, but one of their few supernatural methods for gathering information. No Intellego form means that the Divination ability is more likely to be the focus of any attempt to advance their understanding.

Or in other words, the Settuten are more likely to perform research to more closely integrate the supernatural ability. I honestly assumed it was why other traditions had Accelerated Supernatural Abilities which don't advance as quickly for other traditions.
Slow Arts are literally under issue with this paradigm. But in theory, if a Magus performed the research, Divination (or any other Supernatural Ability) could be turned into an Accelerated Supernatural Ability for the Hermetic tradition, assuming it has already been integrated.

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