Hi there. We are currently playing in one of the highest powered sagas we have ever done. Battling dragons and going to duel Davnalleus when the sun rises are common events for us. This along with taking fleets and diverting them to the next country with a pair of spells, or moving a few inconvenient mountains. We are vis rich (around 20 pawns/year per magus right now and have used that wealth to become one of the powerhouses in the Order. The saga has already departed from the premises we had about we facing the last major crisis in 1235 (manx civil war) since we are so powerful and rich that we simply bought the English out of the equation before they invaded our playground. Currently we are finishing the last story arc of becoming a tribunal on our own right.
As you can see, small apprentice-level stories :mrgreen: we even have created a secondary covenant for when we want to run “small” stories with magi only 10-20 years out of apprenticeship.
Now we want a respite. One of the common things we have encountered is that the worst thing in ME to achieve suspension of disbelief is the Order of Hermes. The other presented traditions in the books have A LOT more character and good grounding in history than the OoH. We find the Order to be too powerful not to have a huge impact on ME despite all the clauses in the Code of Hermes against interference. They are too big not to be noticed and taken into MASSIVE account. At least in our opinion. YSMV
As a consequence we are going to remove the hermetic magi from Europe, but keep the order of hermes. Basically the order of Hermes will be formed by a few of the traditions published so far 8and compiled by yours truly in this list: https://forum.atlas-games.com/t/non-hermetic-traditions-a-compilation/5381/1 .
The idea about the order is based on several premise changes
Bonnie was a Wards expert. He created the Parma Magica. That was his chief achievement. It is an amalgamation of all the personal warding rituals against the supernatural of his magical tradition.
The Parma Magica is a virtue that grants Parma 1. it can only be acquired via Initiation. Swearing the Code of Hermes is part of such Initiation ritual, granting a bonus (something like +6) to the initiation total. As such, it is very important.
The Order is composed of what so far has been presented as Hedge traditions in the RAW. Well, they are not hedgies buyt full Order members now Not all hedgies are members of the Order, though, but the ones that aren’t tend to keep a low profile, since the Parma gives a definitive edge to the order guys.
COMMUNION & COVENANTS: the second big thing to be derived from old mercurian rituals is Wizard’s Communion. This is a first magnitude spell. No spell = no participation I communion. The communion is the reason of why covenants exist: several magi can cobntribuite to casting of effects.
a. The maximum number of participants is equal to Pre + Leadership of the main caster.
b. The main caster casts as normal. It can add ritualistic bonuses (phil + artes liberals for roman traditions, for example).
c. Each extra participant adds his main magic characteristic (generally intelligence) + lowest art or favoured ability to the casting total. If they belong to the same tradition as the main caster they contribute characteristic + HIGHEST art/fav ability.
This boosts casting total and allows people to cast big stuff. It also allows to achieve decent penetration, something that the lower casting totals of the hedge traditions tend to lack. The explanation about this is that everybody knows about magic energies, and even if they do not fully understand what the main caster is doing they can provide “fuel” to the casting ritual by channelling magical energy to the growing magical mass. Their lowest magical ability is their lowest understanding of the Arcane world and so it is the maximum they can contribute. Covenants tend to exist because of this: you want people to collaborate with you. You prefer people from your tradition, but other traditions can help you as well.
AEGIS OF THE HEARTH: The second big thing that the Bonnies did bring to the Order was the Aegis ritual. Notatus, the filius of Bonnie created this. It works as described, even if given the power level of the Order it tends to be lower in level than the level 30-50 rituals generally seen in current RAW covenants.
There are no formal houses. Most traditions are disparate and only locally available. A few adventurous magi that travel around and specially the tradition of itinerant redcaps keep the order together.
LIBRARIES: libraries are much more fragmented. Few traditions have huge stocks of books on magic. The best libraries tend to be in single-tradition covenants, and only for those that are literate or have a form of recording knowledge. The book cycle of current RAW does not exist. There is trade, but not at that level. The books exchanged tend to be on Lores, more than Arts. And they go for a hefty price, since most covenants do not want rivals gaining a lot of knowledge if they can avoid it. Books on Parma exist, but they never detail the Parma Initiation… or do they?
Apart from that, not big changes. The non interference clauses tend to be read literally, since quite a few traditions earn their living working for mundanes or faeries. Dealing with demons tends to still be frowned upon big time. However, the help to mundanes can only be restricted to minor enchantments and improved items in the area of War. No firebreathing magus going around roasting enemies of their lord allowed thank you, nor an Abrams tank rumbling through northern Italy or a city wall collapsing "just because". Extra cutting swords allowed only in limited amounts.
And here we are, with much smaller traditions and more centered in small scale adventures. Do you think the changes work? As you can easily see not all traditions have the same power level, but that is not a problem in itself. Anything I may be overlooking with this alternative approach?