TMRE first Look

I had a bit of time last night to look at the new mysteries book.

I read the introduction and lightly scanned the chapters on mystery mechanics and the chapter which provides the general toolbox full of virtues and flaws.

I read the chapters on alchemy and astrology. When reading the alchemy chapter I slipped to the back to study up on imortal magi becasue, like in fourth edition, the elixer is a product of alchemy that produces imortality. This morning I looked over the chapter on talismans.

The mystery inititation scripts are not as explicitly defined as we saw them in the mystery cults book because the complete rules for developing initiation scripts are up in chapter two (which I sort of scanned breifly before I dove into reading about goodies for the characters).

Alchemy has several virtues associated with it. There is vulgar alchemy that lets you add additional shape and material bonuses to items via the experimentation rules to pump up your lab score when enchanting an item. (vulgar alchemy and planitary magic are both minor virtues that give lab bonuses, a character with both could give a fair run to a verditius who hasn't learned too many of his house's inner mysteries)

Hermetic alchemy allows accelerated distilation of vim vis and slow distilation of other sorts of vis.

Philosophical alchemy (both major and minor versions of it) allows for vis distilation and for the opening of items for enchantment on auto pilot.

The Elixer has major and minor versions as well. The minor version allows a magus to supercharge a longevity ritual tha thtey create for themself. The major version grants imortality in a form that's not too different from a magical version of the merinita becomming mystery.

Going faster, Astronomy... + 5 to darn near anything magical that you want if you spend the time to do your homework first, myriads of charged items, astronomically influencing your enchanted devices, and the most flexible, utilitarian, powerful set of spell durations that we've seen to date.

Talismans... a minor virtue for attunement s galore and a major virtue for being able to set up muto vim powers in your talisman to target spells that you cast (this can be incredibly huge) with some other bonus rolled in that I don't recall because I didn't look up the reference.

The example mystery cults that I looked at seemed to have thematically strong collections for virtues and intiations. The cult in the astrology chapter initiates the astrology virtues, divination, and magical potencies associated with the character's birth sign and planet. The cult in the Alchemy chapter initiates the alchemy virtues, planetary magic, and something else that I've forgotten.

Just listing the goodies doesn't really do the book justice though, don't be scared off just because I'm excited about min-maxing.

I think it's fair to say the book is VERY crunch heavy --"new options on the road to greatness", and is designed to allow one to have ideas for the long term development of your magi. The Mystery Cults given are exemplars, vary greatly in tone, and should be selected to fit your saga, and there are rules for creating your own.... as a SG or in character!

I also recall writing a chapter on running TMRE based games. Did it feel VERY different from The Mysteries 4th Erik?

cj x

Feel different?

The biggest change of feeling is the feeling of structure. The first mystery book had crazy broken mechanics (magical music = affinity everything) and the feeling that it held together with bailing wire, duct tape and eight cubic meters of refrences.

This version clearly knew what it was doing before it started. It's like the difference between V&V and Hero fifth ed. This isn't to say that the mechanics are as clinical as Hero fifth ed., they're as rich as anything I've seen. It just feels like a second edition (perhaps Exalted 1 and Exalted 2 would be a better comparison, or L5R 1 to L5R 3).

Each coolness-oozing new virtue, flaw, and ordeal has a place and a function within the framework of the mystery mechanics.

Erik, thank you for the heads up on alchemy and astrology. Just out of curiousity, what are the example cults that are given? Am I correct in my impression that only one is given for each type of mystery?


There is was one cult in each of these two chapters. I believe that there is a chapter of example cults near the back of the book.

The example cult in the alchemy chapter is the green cockerel (arabic influenced, not particularily secretive). The example cult in the Astrology chapter is the Magoi of the Star (I think that they might have shown up in the fourth edition book)

Thanks for the alchemy and astrology spoilers. Can you give me some overview about the numerology and theurgy virtues, esp. the latter ? Thanx.

Can you tell me if Sacred Architecture is present in the book? Is it very different from the previous edition?


I'm pretty sure that it is in there I haven't read it yet and I don't really remeber much regarding how it worked in fourth.

Holy Crap!

I actually understand ALL OF THIS!

Holy Crap! I didn't really expect to be able to get my feelings across.

So what's the deal with Theurgy? My Jerbiton's been twiddling his thumbs for the past 5 (game) years waiting for this book to come out.

After we moved from fourth to fifth I changed the Theurgy virtue to be a focus with spirits, and demons and such and that works well so far. But... where do I go from there?

I share the mad urge to know more about Theurgy to complete a character (Merinita, in my case) but while we wait for our geografically-advantaged :frowning: pal to read that chapter, give a glance to the Sacred Architecture thread, where I've posted a little spoiler bit about some theurgy virtues, which I acknowldeged from another source.

Please Speed-Read, Erik. :wink:

I can not wait for this book, the last one was so good, and it was rather acurate in several sections. As a real life occultist I appricate the effort made to make the mysteris and such realistic, it is wonderful. Want book, want book.

Boooooooooooooooks boooooooooooooooks --the book zombie

First of all, according to my calculations writing this post should be the last ordeal in my quest for [size=200][color=red]Grand Mastery!!!![/size]
Bwah ha ha and so on.

The chapter on theurgy is separate from the chapter on Hermetic Spirit magic.

Names of power is a minor hermetic mystery virtue that allows a character to research spells that invoke the names of powerful spirits. Which is cool as far as it goes but the downside to this virtue is what the character can do with these spells. The answer is nothing. That's not hyperbole the answer really is, nothing, at least not without another virtue. At first glance this seems pretty lame. Perhaps CJ can explain something I've missed or why it is cooler than I'm thinking.

Invocation magic is a major hermetic mystery virtue that allows you to use all of those names that you found with the "names of power" virtue. It allows you access to muto vim spells that give you bonuses to your casting totals. Each spell covers an area of focus similar to a minor magical focus. This gets around the problem with muto vim spells having to be pretty high level in comparison to the level of the spell that they are modifying. Here's an added benefit. You can cast multiple booster spells and stack up the bonuses (until they equal your magic theory score). And here's the big prize... they work on spontaneous magic with enough prep you can add your magic theory to all of your spontaneous magic.

Hermetic theurgy is a minor hermetic mystery virtue. It involves fairly complex mechanics so if you aren't a rules gear head this might not be the mystery for you (of course if you really want to avoid rules wackiness there is a great deal of power to be gained from just studying arts and spells and you can ignore mysteries all together). This virtue allows the caster to develop spells to summon spirits who cast spells for them. It sounds all well and good, a sort of arcane subcontracting arrangement. Say for example your character believes that casting frosty breath of the spoken lie is beneath him. He can instead develop a spell to summon Heinrich the inquisitor to cast his spell for him. But Summon the spirit of Heinrich is at least as hard to cast as frosty breath of the spoken lie so the payout is not as great as you'd hope. the advantage is in some ways similar to bundling slow caster and flexible formulaic magic for that particular spell but the spirit doesn't get more powerful as your arts increase which is a drawback, while you can also develop spells to have the spirit stick around for a while so you can cast the spell in an advantageous environment and then have the spirit set off their spell later when actually doing the casting might involve lots of botch dice or some other difficulty. You can summon spirits who can do spontaneous magic for you too which after you go through all of the contracting and rigmarole ends up letting you do the equivalent of sponting spells as if you had fatigued yourself without actually spending a fatigue level (but not quite that powerful). This spell also lets you invoke daimons (the powerful spirits we heard about in the names of power virtue) which involves rituals.

Theurgic spirit familiar is, I've read, darn near exactly the same deal as spirit familiar from the spirit chapter, (which I haven't read). The Theurgy version has the added bonus that you can, potentially, if you're buff enough, bind one of those very powerful daimon fellows as your familiar.

Ascendancy into the hall of heroes is major hermetic mystery virtue. Remember those daimon chaps with all of the names of power and spiritual might? You get to join their club.

Hermetic Synthemata is a minor hermetic mystery virtue that allows you to research a muto vim spell that gives you penetration against a particular foe equal to that foe's might. So a particular synthemata spell gives you penetration against a specific creature with might such as George the faerie who lives down the road a piece and often annoys the redcaps but might not do so as frequently once he figures out that even you non fatiguing sponts can penetrate his might.

Sythemata Magia is a major supernatural mystery ability that allows you a shot at getting some of this synthemata true name bonus without having to research any spells (but you need to roll quite high on an ability check).

So that's what you sold your soul to the Devil for. I see.

Sounds like an easy way to get rid of those pesky Monster hooks. Are there prerequisites to the invention of such spells, or can you make one for any random critter you've heard about?

There is a chapter entitled Arithmetic magic

It contains three minor mystery virtues

Hermetic numerology lets the magus get big bonuses for researching piddly little spells called rotes. He can then cast the rotes without rolling a die and as if he had the quiet and subtle spell mastery virtues. I can't see this one being too popular among the min-maxers but weak exceptionally reliable magic might be a good choice for very old magi who fear twilight. (It'd work really well for someone who had holy magic and thus couldn't do gestures and words as well)

Interestingly, there are a few non-mystery spells at the end of this section that can be used to count objects instantly. These don't seem to relate to anything else in the chapter. CJ, Do you know what the deal is with these?

Hermetic Geometry is a pair of special circumstances virtues along with a nifty new target, range, and duration. They also have some proprietary rego terram spell guidelines

Hermetic Architecture lets you enchant structures by enchanting several small items and them placing the items around a structure and having the whole thing work as a compound magical device. This trick eliminates the need to fit a castle or sailing ship into your laboratory when you are enchanting it. Hermetic architecture also gives access to some creo muto and rego vim guidelines for raising the power of auras, enlarging or shrinking auras and regios and making gateways between regio levels.

That's fine, so you can begin questing for Archmagery!!! :wink:

Argh. OK, if you could report on that chapter, too, when you are done reading and digesting it, you will have earned a double helping of your very-well-deserved dose of thanks and accolades :smiley:

How does it feel to have to bear the whole curiosity of the forumite population more or less by yourself ?

The concept is quite cool, but personally I'm rather loathe of "elevator" crunchy bits that have no real benefit by thermselves, only in the one that they stand as gateway for. Maybe there's something in it that escaped your notice. Neil ? (As far as I know, it was him who wrote this part, not CJ, although of course both authors can ive meaningful insight).

Very cool and thematic. I can see several character concepts making use of this.

I trhink the main use of this power will be two-fold: 1) give access to powerful spont magic to characters (such as from Latin Houses) who don't have a Diedne or Merinita background. 2) Its main usage IMO wll be either to double the amount of spont magic a character can use (you summon a spirit, ask for a spell, then cast fatiguing spont magic yourself) or to access the speicalized services of daimons.

Am I the only one in perceiving a strong thematic parallel between theurgic (esp. Synthemata) Virtues and the Folk Magic Merinita path, and thinking a character pursuing both would be very cool ? Devling the ultimate depths of sympathetic magic...

Thanks you quite a lot for your divulgating efforts, Erik.

Of the chapters that are full of mystery virtues, the ones that I haven't yet read and summarized for you are: Dvination and Augury, Hermetic Spirit Magic, The Mysteries of Dreams, and Mercurian Magic.

I'll try and give you some spirit magic spoilers within the next few days.

Thank you a lot for reporting on these, too. I am beginning to perceive TMRE Mystery Vertues sets as rather parcelized : how many chapters and mystery types are there in the book: general initation rules, sample mystery cults, alchemy, astrology, dream magic, augury, spirit magic, theurgy, arithmetic magic, what else ??

If I may add a little bit to this

"Hermetic Numerology – This
Mystery teaches Rotes and Rote Casting, and allows
creation of the Numerologist’s Book, which gives a
bonus to Rotes, Numerology, and Hermetic Geometry.
Rotes are numerological formulae, similar to low-level spontaneous
spellsl. As mental exercises they benefit as if you
had the Mastery abilities of Quiet- and Still-casting. "

I rather think its main use will be for scholarly mages who wish to reap the benefits of quiet and subtle magic for their low-magnitude spells who don't want to bother with (or cannot) individually master them.

I may add a little more insight on this, too:

"Hermetic Geometry – Bonus for casting spells involving Circles, Rings, and Lines. You also have access to the new spell Range Line, the new spell Target Arcane Circle, and the new spell Duration Arcane Ring.
Line has similar reach to Sight, but allows any sense (not just vision) if you calculate the distance correctly. Arcane Circle and Arcane Ring allow you to trace a circle you can touch, but invoke a distant circle as if at Line Range. You can use Ceremonial Casting for any spell including
formulaic spells, if the spell involves a regular figure."

I can see mages from mundane-loathing Houses and covenants (say Wilderist Bjornaer) rushing to use this power to set themselves up in nice, comfy regios (even if I expect this just to allow to manipulate existing auras and regios, not creating them. Nonetheless, the power to enhance an aura is nothing to scoff at. Would it work on faerie auras, too ?

So far, Numerology, Alchemy, Astrology and Theurgy mysteries are aptly fulfilling my expectations. I'm eager to hear about the other Mysteries, esp. spirit magic, which is really the other half of theurgy.

Special commendations to the authors for making hermetic alchemy and theurgy something actually useful instead of an horrid morass of affinities.

ooooh! Mercurian....! Yummi!

tell me more, tell me more..!

Who's once more in Envy of the people closer to the lines of distribution.