spontaneously cast ritual magic - diedne house virtue free


I was wondering which hermetic limit (if any) prevent magi to cast ritual spells spontaneously.

I'm thinking about a minor house virtue for diedne magi before the schism war to overcome this. I think it would be a good choice for Diedne free virtue (my last try, after one week of characters creation (...) was deceiptive) because they were known as masters of spontaneous, and they already have the mandatory virtue (in my opinion) diedne magic, with the free flaw (apart dark secret which come with diedne magic) pagan (so they are like Ex Miscellanea 14/13) which let them cast good spontaneous spells.

I see rituals as the "last barrier" for their spontaneous magic. And if they were able to cast ritual spells with a ceremonial spontaneous casting (thus taking the same duration as ritual), i'd see why Tremere could justify a war against their power AND the free flaw pagan also justifies the "christian" alliance against them.

If such a minor virtue, not fully integrated (but for mystery cults, it's not a problem as the heartbeast is not fully integrated either), would have been their, do you think it would have been a good one? Do you see issues? (apart from game balance because Diedne are NPC and were wiped because of their power...)

Perhaps such a virtue already exists? if so, can you redirect me to the book in which it was published?

Thank you for your time and thoughts!




I suspect that most people would consider this a Major Virtue. Most virtues improve existing capabilities rather than provide an entirely new ability not available elsewhere, and this is something cool that no magus can do. On the other hand, rituals cost vis to cast so they don't happen very often. They are also very difficult to cast spontaneously, since they start at level 20 and the interesting rituals are much more difficult.

So... maybe.

In a pre-schism war setting, Diedne Magic would not contain a Dark Secret, so Pagan would be part of the DM virtue, in a translation that assumed, as does canon, that the benefits of Diedne Magic are so good that a Major Flaw is needed to balance it.

No issues that I see. A Diedne whose Arts are all 30, with AL and Philosophiae 10--the best Diedne there is, hundreds of years old--sitting in his +6 Aura, can muster a Casting Total around 60. That's impressive, but a nasty ritual is not likely to penetrate. Of course, said Diedne can bring 60 pawns of vis to this party, use 12 to cast the ritual and another 48 to boost the Penetration by 48... and if he casts when his target's Parma is down, will Penetrate. Of course, if he rolls a zero, that's 61 or more botch dice. Still, this example illustrates more what happens when a magus has lots of vis to spend than any problem with spontaneous rituals. After all, a Mercurian magus with similar scores can do much nastier things.



I wouldnt say so at least. Needing the vis balances it out reasonably well i think. Simply cant afford to use it all the time.

I do indeed think that this should be a Major Virtue/Mystery. I also think that using this power should require some kind if special effort, such as human sacrifice. I would also be a bit generous, and allow that a Diedne who makes a human sacrifice in a Ritual (formulaic or spontaneous) needs to spend only half the normlal amount of vis.

That is far FAR too harsh. Such an over the top requirement AND make it a major? I would even question calling it a virtue at all with such an extreme requirement for usage.

I dont even think its a suitable requirement.

Bah. Not harsh enough! I was being lienient. Rituals should never be spontaneous to begin with. And human sacrifice is what the Diedne are best known for. A little human sacrifice to spont a ritual is not asking much at all, and I would also be generous enough to cut the vis cost in half for regular & spont rituals for making the appropriate magnitude of sacrifice (a low level requires simply stabbing a guy on an altar, a high level requires burning a dozen or so in a wicker man).

Well, at the very least, if a Ritual takes 15 minutes/magnitude, Concentration should come into play. So that alone could be an (additional) legit obstacle.

Those Concentration rolls would be quite difficult, what with the screaming sacrifice victims burning up in that wicker man...

(That's why wax is an important laboratory item.) 8)

After some thinking-phase, i have made a great decision: taking all my work (8 (or more) complete magus over a 270years period...) didn't make me happy because something lacked.

I decided to keep this work as "magi's tank" file or for a future "twililght" alternative Europe.

Now, i have gone with only Diedne magic, but this virtue being no more a major virtue, but only a double minor.
The great advantage is, while being always the most "diedne flavor" virtue and simplifying things by not making necessary the need to find another minor virtue, that being NOT a major hermetic virtue (but a double minor, follow my ideas!) you CAN take another major hermetic virtue without penalties.
And THAT is, IMO (but it's logical as i invented it ^^) truly brilliant.

And with that model in mind, and my saga (me being one of the BetaStoryguide, but in charge of self qualifying "long term saga") was centered on a very interesting maga of house Diedne.

I have made her profile up the years 1170 (because i'm at work for the morning... but will continue it this afternoon :smiley:) and i must say she is truly impressive. But i admit she is very saga-depending, because a lot of features are based on saga plots :wink:. I come to think she is very interesting...

For now, i'm really happy with her... her "character sheet" is 9 pages word... and her background takes 5 of them... She has an interesting life, with interesting focus of interest.
I would be happy to share it after i have finished but only by pm as i don't want some of mine players to read her background... because you know, it's a very plots-spoiler ^^.

ExarKun, Eversor Mundorum.


Finally, the last Diedne archmagus is finished. 285 years of gauntlet. 122 spells invented (only 41 were invented before the Schism war), a talisman invested with 23 effects and 177 pawns of Vim used by them (for a total +- 1770 levels of effects) attuned to 26 things, a familiar who is the spirit of the archmagus from who he took and successed the challenge before the Schism War (only 2 years before it ^^), and the best longevity ritual in all the history of the order... 5172 px of abilities, 3349 px in arts, a false hermetic identity and a false gauntlet (without speking about the false opening by a very young magus 100 years post schism war ^^) and an excitating laboratory in one of the ten most magical places in our Mythic Europe ........

I can say, it was a true pleasure to work on his sheet (which is 5 "charac" pages and 5 "background" in the final phase [but the whole doc document is 35 pages, because i have many "intermediate" sheets for reverse engineering ^^). :smiley:

Exar, happy.

Edit: as i said, very dependant magus (because IOS no warping from LR eg ^^ but other things also :wink:)


I would never let spont. ritual casting fly in a game I was running. If you want ritual magic, you don't go and make yourself a Diedne... that just isn't what they were all about. Honestly, human sacrifice or not, I don't think I would let that happen. If I did, it would be a major virtue.

That and I'm rather dubious about making Diedne magic 'two minors' instead of a major virtue. My counterpoint to that would be to ask if you intend to do the same thing in your game with Mercurian Magic? If not, I would question the logic behind this.



I don't think that both Mercurian Magic and Diedne Magic need to be the same amount of virtue/flaw.

What if there were a consensus that one of the two is only worth a minor virtue? What would break by then making it so? Nothing that I can see. Heck, I can imagine an edition of AM5where one of the two could even be written up as a net flaw!

That said, IIRC, the OP's purpose was to allow Diedne magi--the ones from House Diedne while it was still around--to be able to have a Major Hermetic Virtue in addition to the one they have to take. The OP didn't want to break the rule of "only one Major Hermetic Virtue." He might have simply handwaved the rule and say that House Diedne gets Diedne Magic as not counting against the limit, in the way that Ex Misc get a major virtue.

Note that I don't consider either Diedne Magic or Mercurian Magic to be solid virtues. As minors, both are gimmes. As majors, feh. Making Diedne Magic two minor virtues is weird but hardly game breaking.



I agree that they're a bit marginal as Major Virtues in terms of power. However, I think that they need to both be Major Virtues for character design reasons.

Major Hermetic Virtue isn't just a measure of game mechanics utility. It is a metric of the (very vague) measure "importance of the concept to the character design". You can't have two Major Hermetic Virtues so if you are a Diedne you cannot also be a Mercurian (or an Elementalist, or have the Gentle Gift, etc). Major Hermetic Virtues (like Houses) are there to force a clear distinction between different characters. If your character is one of these, he is not one of those. They actually play a similar role to "classes" in one of those other games.

Which means that maybe Diedne and Mercurian Magic (and some of the other Major Hermetic Virtues) should do a little bit more, rather than that they should be demoted to minor Virtues. Although, I'm pretty happy with the way that they are. Some Major Virtues are just more powerful than others. That's no big deal.


This may have been the intent, but I don't think it works well in practice.

For example, suppose my concept is "magus of mythic lineage." Clearly, I ought to take Mythic Blood, right? And then I don't get to also take something good, like Flawless Magic or Major Magic Focus. Except no. Instead, I declare the same concept but implement it using different virtues and flaws. Perhaps I take the Major Magic Focus I really want, in Spirits or Saturn: I'm from a famous Spirit lineage! (Or the blood of Saturn runs in my veins...) Hermetic Prestige too, because of my mythic blood (small caps). Maybe my lineage is so storied, so mythic, that even faeries pretend to partake of my heritage, to the extent that I have Strong Faerie Blood! Ok. So there I have achieved the same "importance of the concept to the character design" and also have a different Major Hermetic Virtue. Note that I could have excluded the Major Magic Focus from the above explanation. Perhaps that's just uniquely me, and has nothing to do with my lineage.

For example, suppose my concept involves being good at picking things up. I'd never take Secondary Insight! I'd find some other way to represent that.

More to the point, for me, is that very few Major Hermetic Virtues anchor a character. Diedne Magic does--but only because it includes a poison pill. Consider a character with Secondary Insight, a minor focus in creating fires, Puissant Creo and Ignem, Affinity with Creo and Ignem, Life Boost and Fast Caster. Is Secondary Insight really playing "a similar role to classes" or is it just a (very inefficient) pimple on the face of the actual character concept? What if I swap Secondary Insight for an excellent Major Hermetic Virtue, like LLSM?

Indeed. A player who doesn't want one of these, need only choose not to take it!



That's not quite what I mean. The process you are describing is more "I have a concept, now I am picking a set of game mechanics to implement it...". Which is absolutely a fine way to design a character. It's what I do often myself.

However, what I am talking about here is almost the reverse process. I mean something more like: "Here is a Major Virtue. Now, that inspires me to develop a character who is like this...".

If you already have a character concept, because you have been inspired by something else, then all game mechanics are almost always disappointing. The game mechanics never quite seem to let you design the character the way you imagined it. What I am talking about is using the game mechanics as a way of generating inspiration.

This just shows that there are lots of other tools that can also be used by the players to ground their character concept.

For my money, Diedne, Mercurian, Elementalist, Gentle Gift, Major Focus, Flawless Magic, and Mythic Blood are excellent at helping to develop a character concept. Even if some are a bit disappointing in terms of game mechanics. Even Secondary Insight can be really good for a character concept; it's just rubbish if you sit down and calculate the cost vs benefit relative to other Virtues and Flaws.

The thing is:

  • why a "Diedne magus" before the schism => which has some virtue/flaws inherently, can't keep them.
  • the same remark go for gentle gift: how does it come NO gentle gifted magus can be diedne (and vice versa), life linked...

As a house, Diedne magic caused me much more problems: for gentle gift, for me, as gift could go for companion who has no hermetic magic, thus no access to hermetic virtues, but could have gentle or blatant gift, i stated this is a supernatural virtue rather than hermetic, for the NPCs. The ASG don't want it for PCs but as i don't like to be a social character, no problem for me.

But NPCs from house Diedne will be the main plot for the next 60 years, so, i needed to develop a true "free" virtue, and Diedne magic as double minor was the only thing i agreed on (with myself, which is quite strange ^^).

Just stepping in to point out that sacrifices is not necessarily what the Diednes are famous for. Spontaneous magic is, in canon. And then we also get that druids were important as judges and performers of rituals. No human sacrifices necessary. That might be the truth of it, or it might just be Tremere propaganda. I consider both positions to be valid... And true, in my case, but not all the members of my group think likelwise :slight_smile:

I also tend to agree with Richard on the Big and Small virtue discussion :slight_smile:


As written, Diedne Magic should probably be either a minor Virtue or a minor Flaw depending how nasty the SG is regarding the inherent flaw.

The fact that as written, it would also completely prevent taking ANY other major hermetic Virtue, of which the only ones really unlikely being Mercurian Magic and Flexible Formulaic Magic, to me that makes the "only one major hermetic" a "disregard by default" rule.