Spirit Magic

I can see why the spirit magic in Infernals is explicitly infernal, given its history. Ars Goetia and all.

However... why is it that there is no 'clean' version of these arts? There are similar traditions for summoning elementals (both spiritual and non) and faeries (technically all-spirit but not always counting as it) and one for al-Jinn (specific type of elemental spirit) but none for plain old spirits.

Why is this?

I know there's a lot of flak in the Bible about spirit masters... but since when has that informed Ars Magica? There's all sorts of 'evil' magical traditions present in Ars that are perfectly safe, and this is a medieval Europe that gets along fine with its magical friends.
Hell, Paganism isn't even evil in Ars.

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There is a clean version of summoning in "Faeries" (Ars Fabulosa), along with Bonding, Captivating and Dismissing,

I think that even "Infernal" notes that there are 'clean' versions of summoning for each or the realms, but that Ablating, Binding and Commanding are inherently evil (and given what they do, that seems pretty reasonable),

Yes, I pointed this out in the very section you quoted.

And yeah, it's obvious that the powers mentioned are too (unbalanced), ahem, I mean, grossly powerful in a way that's not acceptable, but there's a mention in Hedge Magic of the Spirit summoning always being infernal, in a side bar.

So you did - my bad... Put it down to being early in the morning :wink:

I must have missed that, certainly I am pretty sure that RoP:I infers quite strongly that not all spirit Summoning is Infernal... And Faeries version sort of backs that up, so I would be inclined to ignore the sidebar in HM,

To be honest though, most (if not all) spirits will belong to one of the four realms, so it would be pretty easy to create a "Magical" version of summoning (using the Faerie and Infernal guidelines), then all you are missing is a divine version (and there are lots of reasons why that might not exist - I can't see summoning divine beings up being too popular...),

Many thanks for pointing that out, guys. It's always good to know one isn't mentally unbalanced.

Now, imagine someone applying a magical focus to a 20 in both the goetic ability and the "mundane" ability (Artes Liberales?) required... With Cthonic Magic on top... You don't quite get the "inherently evil" and "grossly powerfull" thingie :unamused:

And yes, Gareth is right, Summoning can be magical (albeit tainted!), there's even an exemple of a Summoner with the magical version (a re-take of an old hedge magic character).

Do magical foci apply? It would certainly be reasonable, just not sure they do.

As for the Infernal part, we play with them being Infernal only, except Summoning. However,

  1. you can do Summoning with regular Hermetic ReVi,
  2. you can do most of the Commanding with regular Hermetic ReVi,
  3. you can do a large portion of Binding with Hermetic Magic + a mystery, and
  4. you can do the lesser half of Ablating with regular Hermetic PeVi, probably a little more with some sort of Pe(Re)Vi variant to steal their Might as vis instead of just destroying it.

So, even if not as broadly at it, non-Infernal magic can do most of this stuff. So why can only Summoning be non-Infernal. Even then, non-Infernal Summoning is still tainted. Yet not one of those four equivalents above is even tainted.


Looking at the version of summoning presented in RoP:I, it doesn't just summon up demons, it can be used to summon any "incorporeal creature with might" (though a name helps if you want something specific),

So you don't strictly need extra "summoning abilities" to be able to summon up magical or faerie creatures, just those written,

That's not necessarily true.

The guidelines often use words like "any" to imply that different nearly-identical spells can cover anything you want, not that one spell covers any and all. (Specific (mis?)interpretations in supplements notwithstanding.)

Look at the InCo Guidelines, and Inexorable Search. Finding living bodies and dead bodies is not the same spell.

It's never specified what is or is not covered by one spell effect, how "flexible" one Formulaic Spell is - that's up to each SG/Troupe to interpret for themselves.

But for me, for my money, one "summon magical stuff" spell isn't enough. The Fae don't care if you have a demon whistle, and vice versa. ysmv. 8)

I suppose it wouldn't be too hard to devise a clean version on my own (for a hedge tradition, or, more accurately, an ancient one), it's only four abilities, and I have all three books for inspiration.

Edit: Wow, a lenghty post. Guess I'm still ranting :laughing: Really sorry, guys :confused:

IMO, they don't, but let's not go there, please.

As for the Infernal part, we play with them being Infernal only, except Summoning. However,

  1. you can do Summoning with regular Hermetic ReVi,
  2. you can do most of the Commanding with regular Hermetic ReVi,
  3. you can do a large portion of Binding with Hermetic Magic + a mystery, and
  4. you can do the lesser half of Ablating with regular Hermetic PeVi, probably a little more with some sort of Pe(Re)Vi variant to steal their Might as vis instead of just destroying it.

So, even if not as broadly at it, non-Infernal magic can do most of this stuff. So why can only Summoning be non-Infernal. Even then, non-Infernal Summoning is still tainted. Yet not one of those four equivalents above is even tainted./quote]
Well, yes and no.

  1. Yes, although you can't scour. For quite some time, it is also more effective than hermetic magic.
  2. Yes, although you're limited to giving orders, like fight, or use your power. Specifically, I'm not sure you can force a spirit to advise you (Although this seems reasonnable, save that this works on demons and forces them to answer truthfully, which breaks hermetic limits), nor force it to teach you (although, then again, this seems possible to me). You can't make the spirit increase one of your characteristics, commune with you (giving you visions of both past and future), glorify you (giving you an infernal reputation which helps goetia), nor grant you their MR.
  3. Yes, although I doubt hermetic binding would give someone or something the spirit's MR (save the special case of a spirit familiar. You can't do this with any spirit). IIRC, it can't hold spell effects in a bound creature. It surely can't teach someone in who he's bound abilities as if he had an affinity in them, including supernatural abilities. It can't make the spirit's powers available to the person or item holder (the closest we've got to this is Bind Magical Creatures). And it doesn't protect from twilight like a bound spirit protects from vituperation. Basically, although I may forgetting something, all it can do is trap a spirit into something, use it to make an effect last longer, and use him for vis.
  4. Yes, although you can't gain confidence, increase your characteristics, heal yourself (A generous SG might allow you to drain their might as vis, but, at its core, this is something hermetic magic can't do to a "living" creature, it needs to be dead for its might to coalesce into vis. The closest to this is the Bind Magical Creatures major virtue, so, IMO, that'd need a special mystery virtue, too), increase your longevity (not a big deal IMO, LR are better), give you insight, experience points in an ability, give you might, give you a spirit's power (then again, only the Bind Magical Creatures Major Virtue does something like this), or extract vis (again, based on precedent, this'd need a virtue, and is more powerfull and flexible than Bind MC).

All these additionnal bits are what make these abilities frighteningly powerfull IMO.
Cause yes, Hermetic Magic can summon a creature. It can order it around. It can imprison it into something. With the Spirit Familiar virtue, you can gain it's MR (and only that). but every other thing is non-hermetic.
And, just to compare Bind Magical Creatures and ablating: Both can be used to gain a creature's power and create items. Both are major virtues. But ablating can also grant confidence, increase characteristics, heal, grant experience points in an instant, and give vis useful for rituals or spell casting. Sure, for item creation, bind MC is more efficient, but let's get real: you can always scour for more spirits to drain for vis. And the vis is infernal, but if you're a real infernalist, it just means it's more potent for spell casting.

So hermetic spirit magic? A pale shadow of the Goetic Powers, IMO. This may at least partially vary in your saga (like, allowing Pe(Re)Vi effects to drain vis), of course.

In Mythic Europe, summoning spirits is generally considered wicked and scary, something good and wholesome people don't do. Even before the rise of Christianity, dealing with ghosts and spirits was generally considered magic associated with dark gods and witches. Thus, the most common forms of spirit summoning-- and they aren't especially common to begin with-- still have these Goetic connotations, and are always tainted with a bit of the infernal realm. If there ever were purely magical forms of spirit summoning, they probably have been incorporated into Hermetic theory by the magi who possessed them during the Founding (Guorna the Fetid, maybe?), unless they were too area-specific (Sihr), weak (Elementalists), or hadn't been developed yet (Ars Fabulosa).

I'm not sure what you mean by "perfectly safe." :wink: Even vanilla Hermetic magic can be used to sin. Such activities don't turn the heavenly host against you immediately, but that doesn't mean there aren't going to be consequences after you die. And paganism might not be evil, but it's certainly wrong, at least as far as the Divine realm is concerned.

I think you misunderstood me. I, too, think it's very powerful and interesting. I was just pointing out that a sizable part of what Goetic Magic covers can be done magically without taint. If so much of the same stuff can be done without any taint, why couldn't many of those be available from other realms, even if with taint?


Logically it should be available, without taint, as magic realm hedge tradition... we just don't have a canon example of it in the books so far. This is pretty much what Tytalus is described as having been in the fluff/history material of 5th ed, however we are left with hermetic theurgy and infernally tainted ars goetia as the rules mechanisms by which we can emulate their tradition. Hermetic Theurgy is just that, hermetic, and not hedgie or 'throwback' feeling, it is an integrated hermetic idea/tradition with a very different feel. Ars Goetia is the rules system in RAW that we have that adequately portrays the classical 'summoner' ideal. It is perhaps, as Fixer has noted, a bit overpowered as a hedge tradition... but not, IMO, terribly much so when things are viewed in full context. ( For example if you start eating spirits regularly with Ablation the ASG is well justified in having a small group of decent sized spirits gang up on you to put a stop to it. Summoners should -not- want to get a bad reputation with the spirits. ) IMO the biggest drawback of those rules at all is that they label all summoning so negatively and slap it with the infernal taint etc. Otherwise I find them to be rather inspired, if you will.

Now, we do have various other methods of summoning that are out there. Indeed even divine realm summoning is out there. Maleficia, Ars Fabulosa, and standard Hermetic. So the only realm that doesn't have rules for an independent ( non-hermetic ) summoner tradition at this time is the magic realm. That is a gaping big hole, to me.

I don't understand why you don't want to use (Spirit) Summoning for this. It's a Major Supernatural Virtue, it can be magical in origin, and it embodies the creepy mythic feel of a summoner of spirits. Once you summon one, you can use Hermetic magic to bind and command it without venturing into any of the more diabolical arts. What do you care if some goody-good thinks you're unholy when you perform a summoning? All that sounds like Tytalus the Founder to a tee, to me. :slight_smile:

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Indeed, the (spirit) summoning embodies the summoning and then you can neogiciate and talk. There is the elementalists, the sihrs, the ars FAbula, the standard hermetic. I could even see the summoning virtue work for magic realm.

It is when you combine the Ars Goetia with cthonic magic that it really gets abusive. Then you can pump all your arts into Rego and Vim and its works for Ars Goetia as well as hermetic magic. Summon spirits of high power to do all the effects you want to achieve. Bind a horde of spirits into an army.

Essentially because it doesn't quite meet what I really desire, which is something I suppose that hasn't been addressed very fully in the published material. Namely I really like the idea and feel of a lot of the original pre-hermetic magic of the founders and try to really show the differences in the magical practices/lineage of the Houses more pronouncedly in a lot of my characters. I want something that feels like a more fully developed hedge tradition for each founder ( A book, or series! of books, that I would readily buy. ), and in 5th ed the 'hedge tradition' that is indicated for the Tytalus is Ars Goetia... so, I do my best to make it fit. And, despite that one rather substantive dislike with the 'tainting' etc, as I said before, overall I'm very much a fan of the writeup.

In "Faery Realm" tell that (Spirit)Sumonning and (Elemental) Sumoning have both Faeric, and Magical Versions. It's important remember that Sumoning however is "infernal" with Infernal and Divine views, without importance for the realm to that alignes really. The others Goetics Arts, are ever, Infernal and the same with the other elemental and fabulosa Arts, are ever faeric and magic respectively.

Wasn't only mandatory for Ablating to be infernal? I thought the others could belong to any realm. Command, Summon and netgotiate with spirits appears to be infernal if you use sense holiness and unholiness (the divine/infernal version of Second Sight... basically because your point of view is totally tained itself), but besides that they are perfectly OK.


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No, by the book only Summoning can be of another realm and is still tainted. The other three are only infernal.


I might be missing the point of this post but...

I have to ask about the Titanoi? they command summon spirits and Daimons.
Though looked on with suspicion i don't think its tainted is it?

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