some questions from someone new to the game.

ok, a bit of an introduction first. i am mostly a mage ascension guy but i thought to try this game as well. i already had some ars magica books( a gift) so i looked them a bit and thereare some things i do not understand. now as for the questions

  1. how does a laboratory help a magus? for instance i read that the success of a lngevity ritual depends on your lab total. but the same group gave a different system for rituals a bit beforeIIRC it was" technique+form+ a die + ars liberales+ philosophy. which one is correct?

  2. it is my understanding that unlike ascension magic in ars magica is a lot more "rigid" right? for instance the 10 limits exist because no mage has figured how to break them. just as no one had managed to create an airplane until the 20 century. differerent magic groups may break different limits but that's because they made different discoveries ,,right?
    i mean the limits are not self imposed unlike ascension .

  3. what is the difference between arcane and supernatural abilities? also why do they exist at all for instance why can't i use a normal spell to create parma magica?


I also came to Ars from Mage. The whole Old WoD was descended from an earlier edition of Ars Magica, and I discoverd Ars Magica when I tried to home brew a version of AD&D and Mage, then someone told me there was already a game like that.

  1. how does a laboratory help a magus? for instance i read that the success of a lngevity ritual depends on your lab total. but the same group gave a different system for rituals a bit beforeIIRC it was" technique+form+ a die + ars liberales+ philosophy. which one is correct?
    A Magus needs the Lab for everything he invents. Rituals are spells. You need a Lab to invent the spell before you can cast it. You start off with a few spells your master taught you, but it is expected you woill rapidly progress beyond that.
    A Longevity Ritual is a special case. It is very personal so it has to be invented from scratch. It can potentialy fail when you have a really bad aging roll. But you can "rebrew" it in less than a day and don't have to spend a whole season in the lab again.
    The Lab is needed for everything.

That is correct. There are Hard Limits and Soft Limits, and limits you might make up or disregard as pleases you for your group.

Arcane Abilities are available only to magi and those with an appropriate Arcane education. They are intended to work in conjunction with spell use and arcane interaction. But more so it is a catagory of restriction. Only certain characters may take them.
Supernatural Abilities are individual special powers. They are the basis of Non-Hermetic magic. There are other Traditions out there. The Order of Hermes is all one Tradition (capital "T"), with various cultures and subdivisions within it. All Hermetic Magi, and only Hermetic magi, use magic this specific way. Other traditions (described in other sourcebooks) use totally different rules. Some are based on a set of Supernatural Abilities.
And not all characters are wizards. Some people simply have a magical talent or two. And not all Supernatural Abilities can be duplicated by a spell.


Welcome to the game and the forum. Hope you have a blast with this.

Longevity Rituals are not spells, they don't use the p81 Ritual Casting Total. Take Lab Total from p94.

Also read 'Creating a Laboratory" there, your Lab Total is penalized if you don't have a standard laboratory. And if you have Covenant, it details around p111 how a gallery or specimens might improve your lab.

Ultimately it comes to good stories, but Parma Magica and Aegis of the Hearth are examples of breakthrough that step outside of hermetic theory. In the past, Conciatta of Bonisagus merged the 4 realms (magic, faerie, infernal, divine) into Vim (more or less). Those limits won't stop you from living in Laputa, Castle in the Sky.

Moreover, Mythic Europe physic differs from modern days'. Things moved by magic will stop when you stop pushing. You can Perdo Ignem a window to stop light but not images (aka you can see through but you cannot illuminate beyond it with your maglite).

Arcane is knowledge whereas Supernatural is limited magic. Also see p166 Learning Supernatural Abilities for another reason.

1if longevity rituals are not spells,, then what are they exactly?

2also concerning abilities how could parma magica be outside hermetic theory? i mean it was made by bonisagus right? just as in mage. and in both games he is the one who created a standard magic theory. it makes no sense to me that his parma magica would be outside hermetic theory. also does this mean that magic abilities like that are effectively not understood by the mages doing it? also is it possible for a hermetic to learn a "foreign" supernatural ability? and can these break the 10 limits of magic? even if the mage has no idea how he did it.

3for instance since it's a magic resistance couldn't sth like :
"perdo vim corpus " do it?( you can combine forms and techniques right?) the idea being that you are enchanting your body(corpus) with a spell that destroys enemy magic(Perdo vim)
perhaps with muto as well? i don't know if this makes any sense but as i said im very new to the game.

4a few more things, concerning the divine.. as i understand it pagan religions are not part of it right? if so this means that before christianity you would only find it in israel and the persian empire? does any mage tradition in the game truly claim that they know tha the god exists as an absolute fact? i know there is this limit of the divine, but if(for the sake of argument) we had an ancient mage somehow not limited by the limits of aging and warping who cancelled your spell would not it be the same? how would a much weaker mage tell the difference?. old magi are stronger right? youd still would not have a way to resist him. but he would not be literally omnipotent.

5)is a hermetic breakthrough only related to the 10 limits? for instance let's say i managed to make magic range independent of my voice would this be just a major one?

6finally other than these 10 limits( as well as voice range and the 2 major) can hermetic magic(forms and techniques) do literally everything else? for instance let's say i move my mind to another body. can i do this?

Longevity Rituals are more like an enchantment than a spell; that is, they share more in common with making a magical item than casting a spell. But they are their own thing; they have their own rules.

Parma Magica is an ability known to Hermetic magi, but the result is not an effect you can achieve using standard hermetic magic. That is: there is no technique/form combination that results in an effect like what Parma Magica does. It has not been integrated into general hermetic theory as of 1220.

A magus can learn supernatural abilities that aren't reproducable via standard hermetic magic, and indeed some hermetic traditions come with such abilities by default (house ex miscellanea often do, for example). There are rules in various splatbooks for incorporating such things into hermetic magic, but in the 1220 setting such things are not (yet) integrated into hermetic theory.

Spell design is based on the effect they have on the world. If a spell is designed to destroy magic it'd be Perdo Vim, regardless of what you were casting it on. Corpus wouldn't get a look in. You could certainly enchant your body (or a glove, or whatever) with a PeVi effect that proc'd each time you touched something, but that'd be done as an enchanted item rather than a spell. Spells, as a rule, either apply their effect once and are done, or apply their effect continuously without any easy 'filters' for their entire duration.

Having a spell 'pass on' its effect within the spell itself is not standard hermetic magic. Some magi can do that, but that requires special virtues and is not part of traditional magic theory.

the divine has been around since the creation of the world; it, in fact, created the world. pre-judaeo faiths have followed the divine in a different form, but not a lot of them. it's worth noting that Mythic Europe was created by God in 7 days roughly 4000 years prior to the time setting. the existence of God is relatively easy to prove in the setting, with some caveats. Angels and Saints show up (and actually manifest) with enough regularity that they're documented, and miracles are a very real and sometimes quite spectacular thing. There's certainly groups within the Order who debate whether God is actually divine or just a really powerful faerie, but by canon setting they are wrong; God exists and is all powerful.

It's worth noting also that there is a difference between God and the Divine realm, just in the same way that there's a difference between Demons and the Infernal realm. While God himself is indeed all-powerful (he literally ignores everything the players do to stop him), God's agents are not. Angels might be powerful, but they have might scores like most other critters. God also pretty much never gets involved directly in anything; the closest you come to direct Divine intervention is miracles. God himself never shows up; unless your Saga is going to feature the Second Coming...

Hermetic breakthroughs are anything that significantly changes the rules of hermetic magic. Adding a new range is probably not a hermetic breakthrough, unless it also seriously bends the rules of one of the limits or similar. Hermetic breakthroughs aren't limited exclusively to the 10 limits, but you're still looking at things that have a similar magnitude of effect. For example, working out that all four elements can be treated as one and essentially inventing the art 'elements' that works as any of the four elements (aquam, auram, ignem, terram) and then integrating it into hermetic theory such that a season of you teaching magic theory is enough for the student to start using your new 'elements' art would be a hermetic breakthrough. A canon example of this is Conciatta, who compressed what were essentially four arts (vim:divine, vim:magic, vim:faerie and vim:infernal) into a single art (vim).

Yep. See the Rego Mentem spell 'Exchange of Two Minds.'
Note that voice range isn't a limit, it's simply a range. I'm personally a big fan of having a bevy of sight-range combat spells; they're only one magnitude higher and they get rid of that pesky requirement to make lots of noise. They also work when you're hiding in a storm cloud at 4000' altitude with 'eyes of the eagle' and 'clear sight of the air' active.

The main thing to remember, though, is that each spell typically does one thing. If your spell starts looking like a swiss army knife with a half-dozen requisites, it probably wants to be two (or three) different spells each with clearly delineated results.

If I wanted a spell that, when my grog tocuhed someone, cast dispel magic on them, then I'd start with a PeVi 'dispel' effect, then I'd develop a whole new MuVi 'transfer control of spell' effect and another MuVi 'alter target of spell on the fly' spell...

The problem is that starts looking unnecessarily complex, so I'll likely scrap the whole project and just develop a voice-range or sight-range PeVi spell and be done. :smiley:

Something else. :smiley:

They were originally called "longevity potions", but then got renamed to "longevity rituals" to allow for the possibility that some magi might prolong their lives using other things instead of potions, which would generally be tied to their own magical idiosyncrasies. e.g., An ignem specialist might do a phoenix ritual, immolating himself to burn out the impurities which cause aging, then emerging from the flames a new man.

The important thing, though, is that longevity rituals are a lab activity and use your lab total, not a spellcasting roll.

It sits on the edges of hermetic theory, not understood well enough to be fully integrated into the theory and used in spellcasting.

Once again, this was different in earlier editions of Ars. However, having parma as a spell effect meant that it could be enchanted into items, which could then be given to anyone. Changing it to an arcane ability removed that possibility and limits it to only be usable by hermetic magi (or other Gifted individuals who might happen to learn it, but, if/when that happens, everyone involved will be hunted down and killed to preserve parma as the exclusive property of the Order).

Yes to all of these. There are rules in supplements for magi researching supernatural virtues to develop a "breakthrough" which will then allow the ability (or some part of it) to be fully "integrated" into hermetic theory and (at least potentially) extend the limits of (hermetic) magic.

Correct. Pagan deities are aligned with either Magic or Faerie, generally depending on their relationship to humanity. (Magic is unconcerned with humanity, while Faerie cares deeply about us and our stories.) Many mythologies have tales of a race of old, primal beings of unfettered nature who were overcome by more "civilized" gods, such as the Greek Titans being overthrown by the Olympian gods; in these cases, the older powers (Titans) tend to be Magical entities and the civilized gods (Olympians) are generally Faerie entities.

Yep. Ars Magica 5 core rulebook, page 152, "Exchange of the Two Minds" (Rego Mentem 55)

A Hermetic Breakthrough generally means it breaks a Limit, but not always. (Also, it's believed that the Greater Limits cannot ever be broken, though there are a couple of effects that do fudge Essential Nature.) It could also mean the creation of a new Art ex nihilo.

For example, Art & Academe mentions the possibility of a Technique based on metaphysical relationships and used to allow spells to create Sympathetic and Arcane Connections. Making a new Technique from scratch is a Hermetic Breakthrough.

If I may make a suggestion, don't worry about Breakthroughs for your first few stories. We talk about them all the time on the forum precisely because they're really interesting, but they're kind of advanced play for Ars Magica and you should probably get a handle on how the game works before you look for ways to rewrite the setting's laws of magic.

You can do that, yes, but not "literally anything else." Sometimes Hermetic magic doesn't have an effect for what you want to do, even if there's no Limit that says you can't do that.

ok so,
1the game assumes that religions like islam,christianity,zoroastrinianism,judaism etc are correct.
2, if i were a mage and found a mage who could,say break the limit of energy, and i learned it from him it would be an ability(supernatural or arcane?)
and i would have to go find hermetics and pass them the knowledge. and they would teach it to their apprentices like parma magica. separate from standard hermetic theory.
on the other hand if i managed to integrate it via a hermetic breakthrough it would become standart curriculum. anyone would be able to use it via a,say rego corpus effect?

  1. if i were to find a way to completely integrate parma magica that to would be a breakthrough. speaking of which can i assume that there is a limit of resistance or sth? for non hermetics.

4 does that mean that a breakthrough made on independent research has to be made twice? for instance in the first breakthrough i create an ability that allows me to make my self younger. but effectively i would not understand what im really doing. just like in real life some combinatios of chemicals in pills work..but the doctors have no idea why the hell they do so.

  1. concerning arts if, for the sake of argument i managed to take the 10 forms and combine them into 6(forces,matter,correspondence,life,mind, prime(as i understand it spirits in ars magica are essentially governed by the manipulation of magic itsself)) that would be a hermetic breakthrough.

  2. i don't have the book with me right now but this rego mentem spell,can't it let you live forever? use creo corpus to make a mindless body each time. though from what i read of it hermetics don't seem to be above using mundanes as lab rats.

7"having a spell pass on its effect within the spell itsself is not standard" uhm could you please explain what this means?

8finally i only have a few books other than the core(as i said they were a gift years ago). i have houses of hermes mystery cults,ancient magic,mysteries revised, true ineages,
is there anything else that is necessary?

Funny you should mention the Limit of Energy. The folk witches from Hedge Magic can make potion to recover from Fatigue or Wounds. On p51 they explain how the Energy Magic breakthrough would help hermetic magic. Compare to CrCo healing spells which are rituals, and ReCo20 The Gift of Vigor which is the best hermetic can do for fatigue.

  1. Correct.
  2. Yes
  3. I think so
  4. Exactly
  5. Your regressing to your comfort zone :laughing:
    Ebrace the Arts, forget the Spheres. Ars Magica runs on Aristotlean physics. The spheres are based on modern concepts. What are Forces? What does gravity and magnatism mean?
  6. The Mentem mind transfer spell wears off after a year. But there are other paths to immortality. In your Mysteries book, The Living Ghost. Just conjure new bodies to inhabit or possess people. :mrgreen:

Not much is necessary beyond the core book. The additional ones you have are pretty good for expanding the game. As your interests grow, you can find other books to tweek the game in ways you want. I reccommend Realms of Power-Magic to get a grip on beasties and the realm, then Covenants to expand ideas on how to run your hosehold and lab (don't use all of it right away, only the parts you like). For a Tribunal Book, the best one yet is Faith and Flame: the Provencal Tribunal.

  1. Yep! They're all considered "right enough" that God approves, but none of them are totally correct either (after all, if one was totally correct, that would by necessity make the others entirely false). Even heretics often stay in God's good graces. The most important thing is the honest, wholehearted worship of one true God... Basically, monotheism.

  2. Maybe, maybe not. It depends on how exactly the Limit is being broken, but most things that haven't been Integrated are Virtues, which may or may not give you a skill. It will be a skill if it's something you can get better at, while if it's just sort of there it wouldn't have a skill. For example, with the Parma Magica, you can train in that to get better Magic Resistance, so it's a skill, but if the Virtue the person teaches you just lets you restore Fatigue, then you wouldn't have a skill, you'd just have the Virtue, since you can't just train in restoring Fatigue. They'd be Hermetic Virtues, but if they do give you an Ability, that ability would almost certainly be Supernatural.

  3. Yes; specifically, in a splatbook called "Hedge Magic (Revised Edition)" they talk about what wizards outside the Order of Hermes are like. They have their own Limit of Resistance; their magic can't give somebody Magic Resistance and their Arts/Abilities don't naturally come with Magic Resistance. Any non-Hermetic wizard who the Order finds out has broken that Limit and developed Magic Resistance will be immediately hunted down and forced to either join the Order or die, because the Order of Hermes considers it extremely important to maintain their monopoly on Magic Resistance in the Magic community.

  4. Skipped because I don't know. I'm sure you need to achieve a Breakthrough to make it into a Hermetic Virtue, which you can (for example) teach to an apprentice, but I don't know the steps beyond that where you make it part of the Hermetic theoretical standard.

  5. That depends on you SG. Personally, I'd require SEVERAL Breakthroughs to re-divide the Arts that way (you're basically reinventing the magic system to an extent) but at the very least that's possible. On the other hand, "possible" doesn't necessarily mean "try hard and you'll succeed." There are three kinds of Breakthrough: Minor, Major, and Hermetic. Minor Breakthroughs are easy; they're stuff like making a simple Range or Duration change that isn't broken. In terms of the Hermetic lifespan (120+ years) Minor ones can be achieved relatively quickly, and a magus could make multiple in his lifetime, though most won't want to spend the time. Major is what you'd usually use for integrating Supernatural Abilities or pushing, but not breaking, a Limit, or using something that exists in a way it normally can't be. The canon example is the Aegis of the Hearth, a Major Breakthrough by the magus Notatus, which allowed the Parma Magica to be expanded to shield the entire covenant. These are rarely-accomplished, lifetime projects, requiring dedication and a huge sacrifice of time, but they're most definitely doable if you want that to be your character's life goal, or even with some relative expedience if you manage to get lucky (for example, by finding another Magic tradition that can do the thing you want; then you can steal those secrets from them and accomplish whatever much faster). Then, finally, there's Hermetic Breakthroughs. Um... Let me just summarize by saying that only one has ever been accomplished in canon, the Parma Magica. Only. One. And it's not like other fantasy games where legendary only-accomplished-once stuff is easy pickings for PCs because they're made of special; I've had three different characters life goals being Hermetic Breakthroughs, and I took it quite seriously. Every single one of them died of either old age or Final Twilight before they could actually pull it off.

For what it's worth? I'd probably make combining the Arts into a series of Major Breakthroughs. You'd have to get rather lucky to pull it off by yourself.

  1. Sadly, no. Hermetic magic does not, currently, have a guideline for spells with Permanent duration; the spell for switching minds lasts a Year at most. So in other words, you can't switch minds permanently, at least not with base Hermetic magic. Of course, you could fill a lot of stories with a magus's quest to achieve eternal longevity this way... Whether through a Breakthrough, or trying to find a long-lost magic artifact or ancient lore, or any other number of things. It'd sure have the potential to be fun.

  2. It's pretty simple. Spell effects can't be "passed" from one person to another. Whatever was the original target of the spell almost always stays the target for the entirety of the spell; not much you can do about it.

  3. I'd be sure to get Houses of Hermes: Societates. Also, you seem to be really interested in the possibility of breaking Hermetic Limits, so I might recommend Hedge Magic Revised Edition, though that's certainly not required, it just seems like something you'd like a lot. There aren't really "required" books; just get what seems interesting as you become able and willing to afford the cost.

ok, uhm a few more things(sorry for the many questions but the game seems a bit complicated to me)

  1. so if i were to go to china some of the religions there would be of the divine realm. chinese folk religion does recognise a "primordial divinity" so does taoism i think.)
  2. aren't pagan hedge mages aware of the divine realm? how do they view it? i wonder if gnosticism exists in the game . that would be fun.
    3(is there a max limit to your ars level? the way i see the longevity ritual it looks like to survive for 200 years or so youd need an enormous score in creo and corpus. and what is the "average ars total dots " per age?. assuming a talented magus(e.g a pc) for instance in ascension we have different templates. showing stats for the average disciple,master etc.
  1. aren't there any instantaneous spells? i must say i was surprised when i learned that moving your mind or healing your self needs isn't instantaneous. are fireballs and things like that the only spells needing no duration??
    on the other hand the hermes portal has a permanent duration. breaking this rule.
  1. can you improve a presented spell? for instance this rego mentem spell is lvl 55 right? so maybe at lvl 80 it can do better?
    6)is it possible that the reason one can't resurrect the dead is because no one has a high enough score? shadow of life renewed is lvl 70 so maybe at 90 or so..
  2. someone mentioned virtues and that they are weaker than magical abilities could anyone pliz explain the difference?
  3. if im a magus who for what ever reason finds a hedge mage and i teach him creo and ignem. effectively for him they would be 2 supernatural abilities right?(though creo on it's own is useless) he would be unable to combine them with what he knows and would have to teach them separately to his apprentices. integrating them would be like a major breakthrough.
    9)in that way hermetic theory was a breakthrough by itsself right?
  4. each house seems to have different perks. can you learn them all?
    11)aristotelean physics?

Mmmhh... instead of answering point by point your questions, I will highlight a few specific points regarding Ars Magica.

  1. Mythic Europe is true
    It means, the backround is Europe centric and christano-centric. It is part of the paradigm and "non-negociable". Specifically, there is only one God, it is all-powerful, and the monotheist religion from this side of the world are true. Humans interpretation of god's will of course differs, which leads to all this crusading and religion wars.

The consequence of that is should you want to stay true to the original background, any religions which differs significantly from the Christian tenants is wrong and probably heretic. It can be Faerie impersonating gods, magical entities or demons leading astray human beings to their damnation.
So exporting Ars magica outside of Europe requires major work regarding the background, virtues and flaws. The magical system is robust and could be used as is with a different background, but handle with care. Get acquainted with the system before experimenting :slight_smile:

  1. Magic is based on Aristote/Platon perception of the world
    Here again, it is embeded in the system. It comes with is own quirks, limits and flaws that are often discuss here. Because we have all the progress of science in front of us, very often we are tempted to have magus inventing spells based on our knowledge and forget that our character does not have this knowledge (if you search for keywords like Imaginem and species, you will find a good idea where you go when you try to figure out what was understood at the time and therefore what magic could do...) .
    So integrating the four elements into a single "Thermodynamic" forms would never enter the mind of even the brightest magus of the order.
    If you have character with Mythic Intelligence of +5, Inventive genius, Free expression, Affinity with Magical theory and what not, and possibly Prone to Twilight, maybe he can dream of such things. But he will be very lonely in his endeavour.

  2. Magic has soft and hard limits (Vincent explained it very well).
    The soft limits are there to be challenged and gives target for PCs who want to have magus looking for fame through sheer hermetic prowess.
    Hard limits are there to keep consistency with the paradigm of Mythic Europe, to prevent the system from collapsing and to give its unique flavour.
    If true Resurection was possible, why won't we have the first magi still leading the Order and probably the World ? For a mage, age=power. So we would be looking at a game not so different than Vampire.

You can deconstructed the game, the system, the background. But as it stand, the whole range of books present a somehow coherent world and a semi-robust system (yes, there is always statistical anomaly with Ceremony and other absurd loopholes).

It will be difficult (IMHO, not recommanded) to introduce a taoist mage in Ars magica, or a voodoo priest from Africa, or an amerindian shaman - the least of those would be where the heck do they come from ? most of those places have not been discovered yet.

Other people have answered the questions well enough, so I won't bother. But for someone who is new to the game, I would stick as close to the Core book and the Houses of Hermes books as possible. I wouldn't pursue a lot of (any) Original Research in the first saga you play through, or at least put it off for a good 20 years of game time. There is enough contradiction and ambiguity in those books that needs to be resolved by the troupe to determine the type of game you want to play. I've seen new players (and even veteran players) have vastly different assumptions and present character concepts that, if their understanding prevailed would effectively nerf or even make impossible some of the other magi character concepts.

  1. China may not exist. It's so far outside Mythic Europe that it may simply be some mythical faerie realm.
    But if we assume that in your saga it does exist (as it does in mine) there may well be some Divine worshippers there. For a religion to be Divine it must worship (and considers good) the One God Above All, who didn't just create the world but continues to rule it. A progenitor god is unsufficient, as they are part of the past, while the Divine is present.

  2. Pagan hedge wizards are generally aware of the Divine, with the exception of those from distant lands where the Divine religions aren't present (some Norse wizards have yet to meet Divine auras).

Their opinions on the Divine are as varied as their religions. If you can think of an opinion, someone probably has it.

  1. There's no limit to your arts. There are some sample magi in the books. Living 200 years is very unlikely to happen, no matter how good your longevity ritual, because you will eventually succumb to the warping effects of your own magic.

  2. Permanent healing/creation requires a ritual. Permanent anything else (other than destruction) is impossible in hermetic magic.

Hermes Portals are impossible in hermetic magic for other reasons as well, it just happens that they are a surviving fragment of non-hermetic magic.

  1. Sure, spells can be invented with better properties. But they still need to fit the limits.

  2. Nope. It's impossible in Hermetic Magic. It might be that it can be done by magic (though no known tradition can do it), but getting better at the arts won't make it possible.
    You can't invent the aeroplane by getting better at car manufacture.

  3. Some abilities come from Virtues, like Second Sight. These are generally weaker than Hermetic Magic in almost every way. However, for character generation purposes they're also much cheaper.
    And sometimes they do things that Hermetic Magic can't do.

  4. You actually wouldn't be able to do that. Arts, unlike abilities, can't be taught from zero. You'd have to either open his arts (like an apprentice) granting him all 15 arts, or invent a way to grant him just those two (there are no rules for doing this, but The Mysteries is a good starting point).
    However, you're right about what would happen once you did so.

  5. Hermetic Theory was a very large number of Major Breakthroughs of integration. All the founders traditions got combined into one.

  6. ... If you want to piss off all four mystery houses, and large numbers of different Ex Miscellanae mystery cults you can try. But you'd end up dying first, even if you didn't get killed. Everything from the non-mystery groups is fair game for any character, but the mystery traditions defend their mysteries vehemently.

  7. That's a long topic. Essentially, the laws of nature in Ars Magica are what the educated class of Medieval Europe believed to be true, largely based on the writings of greek philosophers.

On raising the dead:
Limit of the Soul kicks in, and says no.

On permanent / instant spells:
Read and re-read the magic chapter that describes what the arts do, especially the tecniques. There's lots of instant spells available to a hermetic magus, and many leave lasting results behind. However the logic on what does and what does not is consistent.

For example, Pilum of Fire does not, in fact, leave a lasting result directly. It creates fire, which a moment later ceases to exist because the magic powering it is gone. However, while the fire is gone the wounds and burnination it caused remains.

Similarly, if a magus casts Wizard's Leap and teleports 15' in an instant, the spell doesn't have to have a duration; the magus moved by magic and now he's over there. End of story.

so basically one can also discover and cast a spell without understanding it? like that hermes portal. if that's the case what if one finds a resurrection spell hidden somewhere?

No, no. People can discover and figure out how to, say, use pre-existing enchanted items that they couldn't themselves enchant, or utilize existing supernatural phenomena they couldn't themselves cause, but you can't just cast any spell you find information on or enchant any effect you've seen; Lab Texts only work within the same magic Tradition. On the other hand, if you did miraculously find a lab text from a Magic tradition that had a way to truly resurrect the dead, you could probably use that as Insight to make the (Hermetic) Breakthrough a little easier, but it'd still be a Hermetic Breakthrough, not "I found it, now I can cast it!" In the most technically theoretical examples, the potential exists that you could find an enchanted device made by another tradition that could resurrect the dead, but in practice, Hermetic magic is already the strongest and most versatile magic in the setting by a gigantic margin, and such an immensely powerful device would be beyond any other tradition's ability to make even if they had a spell guideline for it (which they don't).

ok last thing i wish to know. whch books describe other traditions? or hedge wizards
i enjoyed playing a lot of magic croups in ascension and i was thinking of doing the same here

Hedge Magic, Ancient Magic, and Rival Magic each offer something interesting along the lines of non-Hermetic magic. Nor non- Magic traditions refer to the Realms of Power books - Infernal, Divine and Faerie.