To become powerful in a short time

The end goal I have touched upon in previous threads of mine is for a magus to go from freshly gauntleted to being able to advance in arcane power as quickly as possible. The problem is, I don't really know how to accomplish that goal, hence this thread. Namely, how would a magus achieve the fastest rate of advancement that they can, with what arts and/or virtues and whatnot? I had previously had the idea of temporal manipulation shenanigans via hermetic breakthroughs and regiones, but I feel that someone more knowledgeable than I would be able to pull off the goal of accelerated gaining of arcane power better than I.

Why would you want to? For most people, the fun in gaming is dealing with challenges. Cgallenges quickly stop exiasting once you out-power them. So by gaining power as quickly as you can, you only reduce the fun for everyone involved.

Having said that, I suppose finding a way to have no penalties in Faerie Auras is a start. Find a faerie regio that has time contraction, then set up a lab there while almost no time goes by in the outside world. Keeping up to date on mundane affairs might be problematic, though, since communication with the outside world is likely complicated.

Having just finished a high powered saga, I have to say that problems do not disappear. They just change. A small dragon or a mundane army is no longer a problem, but you get the attention of powerful faeries and political rivals that you just can't blast to bits. THe game changes, but the game is still on. :smiling_imp:

Now, for raw power: time contraction regio, large amounts of vis (hermetic currency to buy what you need) and large access to high level tractatus on arts AND abilities as well as spell lab texts. Having friendly verditius to get items to conver your needs in areas where you do not want to invest timne studying (useful, but hardly ever used) spells is also a bonus. Get sure to get a familiar soon as well for the added lab bonus.


I agree. High powered characters just have different problems. Or, sometimes, the same problems on a bigger scale.

Of course, the easiest way to get a high powered character is just to make one up. There's nothing to stop you (apart from your troupe, of course) from making up a magus character who is 100 years post-gauntlet when the saga begins, instead of the "normal" few years post-gauntlet.

If you want to advance quickly in game, then it really just comes down to having access to high sources of XP (usually high quality books) and possibly more opportunities to spend XP (i.e. someway to get "additional" seasons in a year), along with Virtues like Affinities, or Study Bonus that make your XP expenditure more effective. You generally want to avoid "wasting" seasons inventing spells or items, or writing lab texts, or writing books, or extracting vis from the aura. So make sure that these jobs are covered somehow by other characters.

The other thing to consider is ways to advance in "power" without needing to acquire XP. Acquiring Virtues, usually via a Mystery Cult, or perhaps by making deals with demons or other supernatural creatures, lets you advance in "power" without needing to acquire XP. Especially, if you acquire Virtues like a Focus (if you haven't already got one), or Puissant Arts that give you a bonus without needing to spend XP --- and you'll probably get XP while doing the quest bits of Initiation rituals, etc. Having access to lots of vis tends to make a magus more powerful too. Getting an apprentice (who can act as Lab assistant) and a familar (who can do the same) increases your "power" too.

If you have a group of magi characters who want to become powerful quickly then invest in Leadership so that you can achieve great things by all working together (with familiars, etc) on Lab projects, and invest in Wizard's Communion for co-operative casting. Also, a group has less problems with over-specialisation (unless you all end up specialised in the same thing).

Regardless of the method(s) that you choose, you need the co-operation of your troupe. You can't study from high quality books if no-one will trade books with your covenant, you can't do Mystery quests if your Mystagogue is useless, you can't gain extra seasons by going into a regio where time advance rapidly if there isn't such a regio available, you can't do a deal with a demon if there are none offering, etc.

Also, I'd be clear about what your goal, as a player, is. Are you interested in telling stories about your character trying to advance quickly (and sometimes succeeding, and sometimes failing), or are you interested in telling stories about a character who is powerful. Either is fine as a player goal, but they are quite different.

Finally, be careful about what you mean by powerful. A character who has a few really high Art Scores can certainly do impressive things, but if you are not careful, he will run into severe problems when he suddenly encounters a problem that cannot be solved with his optimal set of Arts --- and he runs the risk of being a liability in Certamen if he is known to be much weaker in certain Arts. Of course, this is not necessarily a problem from a story point of view.

Excellent responses, I have to say.

For my money - the key to quickly gaining power is to find and maximally utilize high-Quality sources on a few (ideally two) Arts. You'll also want to invest seasons into making a familiar and perhaps initiating Mysteries and so on, and of course for learning spells etc; but that's on the side. The main point is to raise those Art scores as high as possible as quickly as possible.

You should choose one method of advancement and optimize it. Select Virtues and arrange in-game circumstances to maximally exploit it. While books are the obvious choice, I think studying raw vis is actually superior in most sagas. (It depends on raw vis and aura availability, compared to book availability.) Assuming an aura of 10 is available, average Quality is about 16. Realms of Power: Magic offers variants of auras that might even be superior, but I don't remember the mechanics; either Aligned auras or auras within the Magic Realm itself may provide a greater bonus, I think you can get as much as a +20 aura for Quality 26. Now pile on Affinity with Art (x1.5), Free Study (+3), and Study Bonus (+2); this brings you 31.5 XP on average on aura 10 or 46.5 XP/season in aura 20. I'd also get Secondary Insight for extra XP, especially if you can get some of your virtues to apply to increasing the effect (e.g. +3 from Free Study). You'll want to invest heavily in a good familiar Golden Cord, and if you can get your troupe to agree that studying in the lab allows you to apply Safety to the rolls then you'll also want to personalize your lab to increase its safety as per the Covenants rules.

Note that as a starting specialist you might get about 90 (post-Affinity) XP in the Art, and Art 40 requires 820 XP. So you need to gain about 730 XP to reach top-Hermetic power levels, which at 31.5 XP/season comes down to about 23 Seasons and at 46.5 XP/Season to about 16 Seasons. You probably won't get to do nothing but study so efficiently for 40-odd straight seasons (enough to raise the two Arts to 40), but finding the necessary time and resources within 20 to 40 years should be doable with an accommodating group, with time spare to invent spells, set up laboratories, and get into all sorts of adventures.

I would also strongly recommend aligning with the Infernal. Picking up Cthonic Magic is easy, and opens up using Infernal auras as well as applying a second Focus to your magic. The advantage of Infernal auras is they are very easy to build-up - using the RAW, you could fairly quickly and easily ratchet up an Infernal Aura of 10. Furthermore, using potent Infernal vis ("vis prava") can add bonuses to the study total for studying from it; as much as +8 by level 40! (i.e. +12 with Affinity), and as a side-benefit you also get +5 XP for using Corrupted Arts. Infernal magic comes with other benefits too, like the Forsaken duration. Granted, there are certain, ehm, side effects to such practices. But if you really want a power-boost, and can weather the storm, the Infernal can give you that extra push.



Oh yeah! If we are going the infernal way, using summoning and ablating combined with Chtonic magic (and a few black cat and innocent human sacrifices) can rake you up a high casting total. That in turn translates into a powerful being summoned under your control. Then use ablating to basically torture and extract his essence and convert it to XP. The infernal ain't pretty (I was quite horrified reading bits of the book, specially the part on sacrifices, but then, it is infernal) but can rake you up A LOT of easy XP. Until you botch and they eat your soul, but that is just secondary stuff. The Order does not look too keenly on infernalists either (morons...) but if you can avoid the attention of the quaesitores and trigger-happy hoplites and keep on summomning and ablating spirits you can get a lot of easy XP in a season. It also allows the use of Forsaken duration, if I recall correctly, that is just a cheap trick to permanent spells without having to invest vis. And still, getting infernal vis is extremely easy ("easy as hell" doesn't come from nowhere :wink:).

All that, for the meagre price of your soul. Ain't that a bargain?

Don't forget the issues with any kind of church - those Infernal 10 auras are pretty obvious, even in the wilderness. Chances are, you'll end up with ongoing battles against the mightiest servants of the faeries, the Divine and everything else the world can gather. Shooters are best played on the computer - they rarely lead to good, you know, roleplaying.

I find that Incantation/Diablerie is the better method for gaining power at high pace, simply because making your own vis Sordida/Prava + Chthonic Magic is ridiculous. That and giving yourself Infernal Blessings is also really good as you don't get warping from them, doubly so as with a bit of Infernal Lore you can give yourself Summoning and Ablating. Then again, being a Witch of Thessaly is a bit easier to justify than something like say a Dark Gnostic (to get the benefits of an Infernal Tradition and thus eliminate the Virtue tax for the trick).

YR7 you are all kinds of madness :open_mouth:

That post is insane.... I have never seen the likes before. hahahah well done

Obvious? I don't see why the torture chamber in my underground, magically-sealed and heavily protected sanctum is that "obvious". Its Infernal aura may be intense, what with 10 years'-worth of ritually sacrificing innocent humans under my belt, but the sanctum is structured to "geographically" limit the physical extent of the aura like the RAW suggests, and I can assure you that no one gets in there except me - well, no one that gets out, not alive, not even as a ghost.

Now, more seriously - playing a Cthonic or Infernal character is a matter of game contract. You can play a full-infernalist in a "shooter" game, and burn for it (or, perhaps, pull it off!). You can play a more subtle infernalist, that hides his Infernal nature very well, without losing a lot of extra power (at least, assuming a demonic familiar). Or you can play a Cthonic character, without ever dipping into serving the Infernal, and do things like scour for demons and ablate them for raw vis. Either way, to be fun it must be fun for other players. If your group is cool with it, any of these concepts can work in the saga. How useful Cthonic magic is for pumping XP in your Arts depends on your saga, but it can be quite useful, which is why I brought it up.

Yeah, that's highly effective. On a personal note, however, I hate ablating. Specifically, I hate the fact that you can truly destroy a demon. An eternal soul that was present at the time of Creation - gone. A powerful demon, perhaps even Satan himself - gone. Because an insignificant mortal wizard learned its True Name and summoned it.

How much more fun is it if such beings cannot be killed! If instead of being killed, they are bound and imprisoned. Or perhaps made to serve their masters. So much more story potential. So much more majesty.

But all that's besides the point. On-point - well, if you've been initiated into summoning and ablating you would probably be better off ratching up your Rego (and Vim) to summon a powerful demon. Regardless, the problem is that you'd need his True Name, as high-Might demons aren't likely to be around to be scoured. And you need high-Might for those bonuses to study from the raw vis. You can still scour the place to gain lots and lots of minor demons and ablate them for lots and lots of raw vis, though, yes. Ironically, that would really cleanse the area from demons.... so altruistic of you...

I note, however, that practically the same result can be obtained by acquiring Second Sight or a high-penetration InVi demon-seeing effect (something you'd be wise to do anyway), and simply marching off to capture (Rego) and kill demons in the local Infernal aura of your choice. Or auras of other Realms, for that matter. I prefer this way, as it leads to more adventures... The "harvest" may be meager when compared to your way, however, and the troupe may not like to throw so many vis-hunt adventures (then again, they could simply be resolved in the background).

While that's true, achieving the level 35-40 maleficia required is quite difficult. If you can somehow pull it off - getting so much vis parva will indeed be ridiculous, and be a definite boost in power :slight_smile: The set-up required to do so, however, will probably take a lot of time and resources.


If you liked that, check this spell out.



I thought RAW specifically rules out using InVi to detect the Infernal.

RAW is that you can use InVi to detect the infernal. However, it is considered dreadfully unreliable because due to the Limit of the Infernal you only see what the demon wants you to see. RAW is silent on whether this is something that all demons can actually do, and whether demons need to consciously manipulate the magus. It is certainly implied that generally the Order believes this is a definite risk with all demons, all the time, but the Order's ideas around this are presumably based on the Order's interactions with demons, and the demons may be deceiving the Order! Also, RoP:I has demons with specific powers to do this (Shroud the Stench of the Pit) which tends to imply that demons lacking those powers cannot (or at least cannot do so as easily).

It is also less problematic to detect infernal but non-demonic things with InVi. For example you can detect infernal auras, magi/cultists using infernal effects, and infernal items just fine. Unless, of course, a nearby demon is spoofing your attempts.

I do not like ablating, but for something more fundamental, basically that all abilities except summoning must be infernal. Not that the abilities APPEAR to be infernal but that they ARE infernal. I do not buy it since Sahirs (for example) can do the same and they certainly ar enot infernal. Ablating is less interesting than other slavery options, I fully agree here. It is "cleaner" than having to keep track of the 280-ish demons that the player summoned and enslaved, though. :slight_smile:

With Summoning and Ablating you can get demons pumping XP into your infernalist abilities, so reaching 40 should be fairly easy in a month or so. If you capture and rip apart enough demons, that is. It might be a good idea to unleash a deadly plague in a city (demons of disease!!) and then scour the whole area, earning the gratitude of the city and lots of XP at the same time. You might even appear to do it to exorcise the town and appear as a Saviour.


Not that this doesn't work, but I thought Summoning took a fair amount of time, like on the scale of ritual magic. However, I also believe it need not be used on demons.


yep. But as long as the mini demons are already around, no need to summon them at all. This is why putting up a free plague meal for them might be a good idea. They flock to your net

Vis Prava is automatically extracted from an Infernal Aura by Hermetic Vis Extraction, Vim Vis Prava being the easiest to obtain this way. With a sacrifice, a positive Infernal Aura and Communication you can easily reach a +10, which means you need at least a 4 total between your Incantation and Diablerie so that you can use 4 pawns of Vim Vis Prava to be able to successfully pull off a Range: Touch, Target: Circle conversion ritual.

From my experience, obvious methods to power are:

  1. The "writers circle" - every magus in your covenant takes book study and good teacher virtues. All your books are +3 quality, all of you get +3 to study from books. You can easily write all your areas of knowledge up for each other, so you can all become obscene at techniques reasonably quickly.
  2. Have a "ninja" grog/companion who is a stealthy, unobtrusive master of disguise who can get you arcane connections to whatever you need while you draw up horoscopes, have statues of your enemies carved, etc. Requires very little magical power on your part other than NOT taking the flaws of Short-ranged magic or Weak Magic.
  3. Min/max the Heartbeast rules - so be a Bear with excellent Brawl skills (with Str+6 and claws you can do quite well at ripping people apart through their parma), or a Merlin (small bird of prey whose stats in Lords of Men gives them quickness +8, for when you have to cast first and be good at dodging), or a Humpback whale (with Size + ridiculous you're very hard to kill even if they can hammer you with wounds)
  4. Magic focus - as these allow doubling of lowest art, picking the right one for you beats years of study.
  5. Spell mastery - once you've learnt the one combat spell you really love, learn multicast and penetration spell masteries. Keep studying for other benefits and allow more shots and even more penetration.
  6. Abusing the Mystery Cult script invention/adaptation rules. Start with good presence and intelligence, modify the scripts of your cult to change the flaws from the ones you don't want to the ones you can live with when you're on the way up, and once you're at a decent level invent your own rituals. Start with ones for Great Presence, Great Intelligence and Puissant (mystery cult lore). Then proceed to give yourself every minor virtue you've ever wanted. Given enough years, you can give yourself multiple major virtues which can get extremely silly.
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Good idea.

Whether this is actually beneficial depends on the size of your writing circle. If your covenant has four magi in it, then you need to spend one season a year writing and three reading. So, you need a big enough bonus on those three reading seasons to compensate for the one season you "wasted" writing. On the other hand, if your covenant has twelve magi, then you only need to write one season every three years.

Of course, a writing circle can involve multiple covenants, or even the entire Tribunal. But, would the level of co-operation required last?

Not convinced about this. A pure heartbeast is not problematic (but also just an animal). However, once the Bjornaer starts casting effects on herself (more Soak, sharper claws, etc), she gets resisted by other magi, if you are playing by RAW. I play a Bjornaer in a saga, and as the magus gets older and older, I use his heartbeast form less and less for combat. He's usually better off forming into a group with the turb-grogs and hitting things with a mundane sword. The heartbeast form has degenerated into a fancy costume that he wears when going to Bjornaer Mystery Cult meetings.

Elder magi

Magi of advanced knowledge that can assit the characters advancement, teach them many spells, provide excellent books, and great plot hooks.
What is in it for them? Virtue United is Stronger. It matters not if the youngers grow nearly equal in your individual power in a shorter time. Their power is your power. And it is intended for them to do likewise for their juniors when it is time. Their power is our power. Virtue United is Stronger.

Remember the lessons of the wise Flambeau, a candleflame replicates itself by igniting a new wick, and inturn the flame can grow by igniting a greater fire that shines brightly with the light of knowledge.

God. He wills it. I think there was something about his will being paramount. Yes?