To become powerful in a short time

LOL. callen, put a spoiler before your message: "not to be read while drinking coffee if you want your computer screen and keyboard to remain safe". Damn you! :mrgreen:

God: Awesome :laughing:

There's your way: Prayer, and miracles :smiley:

OTOH, I love it.

Sure, there are similar abilities, but these are clearly less powerful. This makes the infernal ones all the more tempting, which is, IMO, great.
And I can't help but notice that, when people try to munchkin their way out without suffering consequences, one of the first thing I see is "having infernal abilities as non-infernal".

How is the infernal gonna tempt magi if you can do just as well, or better, with other realms? :wink:

Emphasis above mine.

Please note that according to the **** note in the Sympathetic Magic box, you have to carve the statue yourself, as the representation only works for the person who made it.

Yep. I guess that my "problem" is that I envision Tytalus and tremere as summoners. One with Ablating andf the other with leadworker. Tytalus could simply not resist using ablating and they fell (hubris and thinking that ablating and summoning, controlling and binding demons is a good idea). Commanding spirits and binding them to items as well as summoning them (as opposed to torture and eat the remains) are basic abilities of spirit master in fiction, and I do not see that as infernal. Ablating for sure, but the other 2 as well? I have problems buying that. Remove ablating from the equation and a spirit master is not a powerhouyse. Poweful, sure but I find it a lot more difficult to abuse him than your average hermetic.


That'd give you effective q12+ tracatus {6+3+3+comm}. That's no better than a 31 BP summa which is at least effective q14 with Book Learner.

I think you miss the point of the "writers'/teachers' circle." Let's say you have five beginning magi with Com+3, Book Learner, Good Teacher, (optionally Apt Student), and some Teaching. They each begin with three Arts at 11. They spend some time teaching each other, trading off. Now they all have 15 11's. (Yes, this works better with Abilities.) Now they each write three tractatus on each Art. They each study all the tractatus in only three Arts. That's 12 tractatus of quality 15 (equivalent), for 180 more experience, in each of the three Arts for a total of 244 (level 21) in each. Back to teaching. Back to writing 2 more in each Art each. Now switch up who's doing which Arts. They can study 20 tractatus (they didn't read the earlier 12) at quality 15 for 300 experience in each Art, so they're at 544 (level 32). Continue this onward.

Yes, you can be more efficient time-wise at the expense of the upper cap. But you should be able to see from this that a small group of very book/teaching-focused magi can get extraordinarily high Arts (or even Abilities) with ease without having Affinities. If you want to see this really take off, have the five magi each focus in an Ability to start with. Let's say Parma Magica, Finesse, Penetration, Magic Theory, and Teaching. Now you'll see them rise pretty quickly because they can teach groups instead of individuals.


Don't forget to keep up your correspondence for an additional few xp every season and spontaneous generation of additional tractati for the rest of the circle. Also, if you feel good about the rules in this matter, it behoves you to develop a target circle creo mentem ritual to raise everyone's communication score to +5.

Maybe it would help to think of Binding and Commanding as being just like Ablating, but long-term instead of short-term? That is, you stretch the torture out over a prolonged period? :slight_smile: Thematically, they are evil arts because they enslave the being, allowing the summoner to rip its power and will away from it and use it as his own. They might not destroy the being like Ablating does, but they sap it just the same.

The biggest reason Binding and Commanding are infernal is because they can give the summoner Magic Resistance. Besides Parma Magica, the Magic and Faerie realms aren't supposed to do this except by becoming a supernatural creature.

Ok, if have high Communication, you add teaching and only the future teacher reads the tractatus, you can easily go past level 20 in an Art if everyone wants the same Art.

Lets see... q12+3 tractatus and q21 teaching

  • 3 seasons A -> B {CD free}
  • 3 seasons AB -> CD (all level 11, 55 xp) <-- oops, 66
  • 3 seasons 9+3 tractatus
  • 9 seasons A reading (A level 19, 190 xp) {BCD free} <-- oops, 206
  • 7 seasons A -> B {CD free}
  • 7 seasons AB -> CD (all level 19, 190 xp)
  • 1 season 3+1 tractatus
  • 3 seasons A reading (A level 21, 235 xp) {BCD free} <-- oops 246
  • 2 seasons A -> B {CD free}
  • 2 seasons AB -> CD (all level 21, 231 xp)
  • 1 season 3+1 tractatus
  • 3 seasons A reading (A level 23, 280 xp) {BCD free} <-- oops 296
  • 2 seasons A -> B {CD free}
  • 2 seasons AB -> CD (all level 23, 273 xp)
    {total 48 seasons, change teacher, need q23 teaching} <-- oops, reduce by 2 seasons but we're back on track
  • 15 seasons B reading (B level 31, 498 xp) {ACD free}
  • 10 seasons B -> A {CD free}
  • 10 seasons AB -> CD (all level 31, 496 xp)
  • 2 season 6+2 tractatus
  • 6 seasons B reading (B level 33, 588 xp) {ACD free}
  • 3 seasons B -> A {CD free}
  • 3 seasons AB -> CD (all level 33, 561 xp)
    {total 97 seasons, change teacher, need q22 teaching} - 25 years to level 33
  • 21 seasons C reading (C level 41, 876 xp) {ABD free}
  • 13 seasons C -> B {AD free}
  • 14 seasons BC -> AD (all level 41, 861 xp)
  • 2 season 6+2 tractatus
  • 6 seasons C reading (B level 43, 966 xp) {ACD free}
  • 6 seasons C -> B {AD free}
  • 6 seasons BC -> AD (all level 43, 946 xp)
    {total 165 seasons, change teacher, need q22 teaching} - 41 years to level 43
  • 27 seasons D reading (D level 51, 1351 xp) {ABC free}
  • 17 seasons D -> C {AB free}
  • 18 seasons CD -> AB (all level 51, 1326 xp)
  • 2 season 6+2 tractatus
  • 6 seasons D reading (D level 53, 1441 xp) {ACD free}
  • 5 seasons D -> C {AB free}
  • 5 seasons CD -> AB (all level 53, 1431 xp)
    {total 245 seasons, change teacher, need q22 teaching} - 61 years to level 53
  • 18 seasons A reading (A level 57, 1701 xp) {BCD free}
  • 10 seasons A -> B {CD free}
  • 10 seasons AB -> CD (all level 57, 1653 xp)
  • 1 season 3+1 tractatus
  • 3 seasons A reading (A level 58, 1746 xp) {BCD free}
  • 3 seasons A -> B {CD free}
  • 3 seasons AB -> CD (all level 58, 1711 xp)
    {total 293 seasons, change teacher, need q23 teaching}
  • 15 seasons B reading (B level 61, 1936 xp) {ACD free}
  • 7 seasons B -> A {CD free}
  • 8 seasons AB -> CD (all level 61, 1891 xp)
  • 1 season 3+1 tractatus
  • 3 seasons B reading (B level 62, 1981 xp) {ACD free}
  • 3 seasons B -> A {CD free}
  • 3 seasons AB -> CD (all level 62, 1953 xp)
    {total 333 seasons, change teacher, need q22 teaching}
  • 12 seasons C reading (C level 64, 2133 xp) {ABD free}
  • 5 seasons C -> B {AD free}
  • 6 seasons BC -> AD (all level 64, 2080 xp)
    {total 356 seasons, change teacher, need q22 teaching}
  • 6 seasons D reading (D level 65, 2170 xp) {ABC free}
  • 1 seasons D -> C {AB free}
  • 3 seasons CD -> AB (all level 65, 2145 xp)
    {total 366 seasons, change teacher, need q22 teaching}
  • 3 seasons A reading (A level 65, 2190 xp) {BCD free}
    21 xp short of the next tractatus batch...

More than 90 years to get an Art to 65, and then fight on who will write the L23q21 summa. :laughing:

yeah, I was bored...

EDIT - should be 66 xp, same end result

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Since ownership of human beings is legal in quite a few christian and muslim places in the XIII century, that seems somewhat modern thinking... Yes, slavery is really bad for us, but in the 1220s I have more problems seeing slavery as a problem. As I said, I see this kind of magical tradition as something quite common in literature (no idea if it is historical or not; not caring much about that detail either since it is cool to have around in Ars) so I find it a little bit sad that playing one puts you in the soccer team of Satan immediately.

Ripping an eternal being apart and utterly destroying it (BTW: as pointed out I would also prefer Ablating being less definitive in that aspect as well, and DEO for that matter) to me is definitively NOT the same as using his powers allowing him to recover power and having him following me for a while (200 years maximum for an eternal being). Might not be to everybody's taste, but then I would make Mentem and rego infernal abilities as well and detectable as such by any powers, including hermetic magic. And I would not like that either (even if we have a story hook right there).

I think spirit masters are some of the coolest magicians out there. one I can believe to be around in 1200 without a stretch of disbelief. That is something harder to do with Hermetic Magic. As a consequence, having them be bad guys as default is something that makes me say "meh". Amazing concept and quite strong rules except for the detail of them being infernal and (if you want) MR. As a matter of fact I do not find them having MR to be a problem.

Now we are talking :wink: I can see that. The easy bit here for me would simply be remove the option of getting generic MR. Make each spirit protect against a single spell (then he is free) or be able to protect you from magic only up to his Might each day. Or something like that, so "generic" MR is quite easy to overcome for dedicated MR hunters and only granted by Ablating, for example. Or as a subset of powers of binding/commanding that are infernal. But not all of them as a carpet infernal definition. I think this could work better. It makes the spirits of fudarus cool instead of demons in disguise or rape victims. I prefer the former instead of the later, and I think it also fits better the setting.

I guess that for me it seems a pity that such a great work in spirits is thwarted by a few sentences. INfernalism is not such a follow-up of what the abilities of commanding and binding do. Specially biding, where the spirit might even fully AGREE to you (not forceful slavery if you do not want it!).

Yes, I know it is easily editable and all that. Pralix certainly will NOT be an infernalist in our starting War vs Dave minisaga if she does not want to (Off topic: just played the Carnac battle this weekend and man, he is TOUGH) but I think there were better solutions than that for the coolest supernatural tradition in Ars since gruagachan (3rd edition and up). For me RoP:tI is the best Ars supplement of the line (I think it was Alex White the first to utter such high prise, and I fully endorse it) since it is full of story hooks, characters and potential rules for a multiplicity of stuff, but I think that this could have been handled less harshly while still making the "full package spirit master" a guy that is really happy ripping apart the rib cage of innocent victims.

The player (Laura) that wants to play a spirit master is not a powergamer, BTW. There are better traditions to chose for that. She just wants to tinker with spirits as a cool magical concept in a tradition that does not make you into Hercules Pierrot at the same time automatically. I believe her in that. And she wants to be Pralix as well just to rise her middle finger at the Order of Hermes in a climatic tribunal :mrgreen:


Of course! :smiley:

But as you noticed, you can do it through other means (Hermetic and Non-Hermetic Sihr, Faerie Summoning, Elementalists...), even through hermetic magic (theurgical or not). You just don't have the more powerful options of the infernal :wink: Meaning that if you want them… ^^
I think that, as much as you can read about spirits being bound and commanded, you can read references to spirits being bargained with, which is also perfectly modeled by some of these rules.
I may be wrong, but maybe your problem is that, when thinking "spirit master", you go right to the Infernal (which is normal, since it was the first instance of such rules in 5th) without looking at alternatives? Which is, by the way, exactly what the infernal wants you to do :wink:

For exemple, I can very well see a Tytalus lineage as having grimoires of True Names you can learn for 05XP to invoque specific spirits at AC range, commanding them afterwards, all with "normal" Rego Magic".
Sure, the summoning spell will be lvl 40. So most magi won't get extra penetration, which is great IMO
Say, you learn the spell (1 season), master it for ceremonial casting (1 more). Assuming that Die + Aura + AL + Phil = 15, that means a Rego + Vim of 25. Not that high. Now, you take your Penetration skill, times the AC bonus and any other additional multipliers, meaning that you could reasonnably summon a might 10-15 spirit (instead of might 30 beasties)… Which is about what RAW assumes to be normal for a relatively young magus.

Likewise, creating an enchanted item that can hold and control a spirit is not that difficult.

And just think of how many tractatus you've left behind - in addition to the best summa ever, someone can go beyond the 23 levels of the summa and use all those tractatus to cruise up to level 40 in an art rapidly and risk-free (unlike all the vis-studying types). By the time you build this library of doom you'll be a winter covenant, but you'll get an awesome reputation within the order and can jumpstart new magi to archmagehood. You'll not go from winter to spring - you'll go from winter to high summer!

While in practise you never actually pull off the perfect writing circle as people's interests won't match, people won't all minmax their communication, spells will overlap, people will spend time writing spells and binding familiars etc., you can make up for this by taking some of the tractatus you've read and don't plan on keeping and trading them to other covenants.

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Historically, based on the research I did for the books, any sort of magic involving spirits generally was considered wicked and dangerous. The only instances I could find where that wasn't the case were divine invocations of saints and angels, conjuring things that were not really considered spirits per se like rarefied elementals or faeries, or middle eastern legends where it seems the morality of magic depended more on what you did with it than how you did it. For most of medieval Europe, though, I came to the conclusion that calling upon spirits to do things for you was scary and not something God wanted His followers to engage in.

So, a strong theme of RoP: The Infernal was that summoning spirits was definitely not playing for Team Divine, to continue your football analogy, and thus the (Spirit) Summoning power is tainted. The distinction between a tainted power and an infernal power is basically a mechanical one, though. Summoning can be part of the Magic realm, because what it does is possible for the Magic realm; Commanding cannot. But as far as the Divine is concerned, even just using Summoning is still playing for Team Infernal, because there's only two teams. If that doesn't bother you, why does it bother you what side your character is playing for if he were to use the other powers? If Summoning, Commanding and Binding seem like the sorts of things the characters you are designing would do, why not embrace them?

There are lots of traditions in the Infernal book that use the various Goetic Arts, and I think they highlight how the different applications are infernally-aligned pretty well. For example, the Witches of Thessaly have Commanding, and in their case my recollection is that their spirits are treated as armies sent against their enemies to fight and die for them. Or the Dread Host has Binding (right?), where they use spirits to extend their lives like vampires or liches, becoming almost walking corpses themselves. And the Mulhidin are the only "full spirit masters", who are given over to all of the deadly sins because their spirits have become their unnatural economy. These traditions show how these powers change a character, lead them away from righteousness and into temptation in ways that other summoning powers do not.

Of course, there's no reason that a spirit summoner couldn't just take Summoning and not any of the other Goetic Arts (that's how the generic spirit master is designed, if I recall correctly). If the character is more about coercing the spirits, trapping them in a circle is a great bargaining chip. "I will free you if you agree to serve me for a year and a day. Or you can rot in this circle for eternity." If they break their word, you can just summon them again and not let them out this time. Or you can offer them vis, or to exchange services, or convince them by the merit of what you want them to do, and so on. You don't actually have to force them with sorcery. Summoning is pretty awesome just on its own. :slight_smile:

Very interesting. Thank you for sharing :slight_smile:

Now, the problem might be a comparative one. Other traditions (including hermetic magic) can do EXACTLY the same without it being tainted in the slightest. Tainted is one thing, but the Goethic Arts of ROP:tI are infernal (Noble's Parma). Not tainted, but full fledged infernal. That makes them less than optimal here. As I said I see the tradition of Guorna the Fetid to basically be European spirit masters, so they should be using the Infernal book rules, right? That also links very well with the fall of Tytalus and why leadworker is extremely useful to the Tremere (full pack + Chtonic magic for Tytalus; full pack + leadworker for Tremere). I have issues seeing those 2 as infernalists as default. Don't know, it doesn't "click" right to me.

The fact that Hermetic magic does the same at no cost at all for your soul (and with holy men looking at your magic and thinking it is perfectly OK) just feels wrong to me. I would have no qualms with all the abilities except ablating being tainted (the fact that Divine guys are just binary in their impressions), but fully infernal? That is a degree too much.

Now, Fudarus seems a perfect example of the use of Binding on willing spirits. Since spirits (not just demons, mind you) can AGREE to be bound, it being infernal without possible counterargument seems a little extreme. (BTW: given their descriptions I think that the witches would have been better served with Binding than Commanding since it is explicitly stated that they have bound spirits protecting their homes, but nowhere does it say that they use armies of spirits. :wink: )

As I said I think that ROP:tI is the best Ars book of all time. It is swelling with all kinds of useful stuff, story plots, character concepts and cool powers for your antagonists and allies, but I feel that the drawbacks of dealing with spirits have been given too harsh a treatment here. Specially Binding since ther eis no other way to bind a spirit even if it agrees to it.


Aren't you sort of arguing against yourself here?

You say that Ablating, Binding and Commanding had to be infernal, because the Divine (well, not even necessarily the Divine, the Church really) see them as a Bad Thing[sup][size=85]TM[/size][/sup] - and then you proceed to point out that the Church only really accepted the existence of 2 teams "us and them", that is, the Divine and the Infernal, and then just lump everything non-Divine into the Infernal box?

And further:
How is Ablating any worse than Bind Magical Creature (Major Verditius Mystery, HoH: MC, p. 134-135)?
Or Hermetic Empowerment (TMRE, p. 64ff)?
How is Binding worse than Spell Binding (TMRE, p. 27ff)
And indeed, how is Commanding any more evil than any of the methods for hermetically commanding spirits, ie spells based on the guidelines found on TMRE, p. 28 and again RoP: M, p. 133. Or for that matter than Coerce the Spirit of the Night (ArM5, p. 152, based on guideline ArM5, p. 151). And the Hermetic methods are typically safer to boot.

The argument with MR though I can see. It's a bit gamist, but it works.

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(Spirit) Summoning, Ablating, Binding, and Commanding are all Unholy, in Sense Holiness/Unholiness terms. The Divine (and The Infernal) can detect the infernal realm's involvement in those powers, and that means they are a Bad Thing[sup][size=85]TM[/size][/sup]. But agents of the Divine are generally willing to let people sit on the sidelines for the most part (going back to the football analogy). It's only as soon as they come out onto the pitch, by using powers affiliated with one side or the other, that there's no more claiming neutrality. If you are using infernal powers, even for apparently good ends, you are playing for Team Infernal, as far as the Divine realm is concerned.

All true. :slight_smile: The biggest difference is that the Goetic Arts are affiliated with the infernal realm. They are powered by Evil Inside[sup][size=85]TM[/size][/sup] (dun-dun dun-DUN!), and they are demonstrably unholy. But that doesn't mean that the non-unholy means you describe won't raise eyebrows among Divine agents! If you're using Hermetic magic to summon spirits, bind them, or command them, I think any medieval holy person would fear for your immortal soul. And, I don't imagine a typical quaesitor would shrug and say "Well, it's clearly not infernal, so this is not a Magus of Interest." Among the sahirs, enslaving jinn is also against their Code, so to speak, and will get you thrown out and challenged to a bunch of duels if they discover it.

Yeah, I'd rather not argue game balance when we have such rich sources of myth and history, but it was admittedly a factor in the design of those powers.

Can't Djinn provide ridiculous amounts of x.p. teaching (equal to their might). I've never really crunched the numbers,but it shouldn't be hard to build a Hermetic Sahir straight out of gauntlet who could reliably summon and score a few seasons of service out of might 15-20 Djinn.

In a decade or two said Magus will be summoning up might 50 Djinn to run his errands Barbara Eden style.

Source? Because the only one I can remember was 3*Magnitude of Might (from HoH: S), and that looked like each Djinn could teach each magus only once.

I don't remember if tC&tC has different rules though

Not as far as I remember, but I claim serf's Parma here.

I found them myself - or rather, didn't.
tC&tC, p. 71, Learning from Jinn:
Source quality is 3 x Magnitude of Might (same as in HoH: S) and each is the equivalent of a tractatus on each of a number of subjects, meaning it can be studied once (for each subject as I understand).

Thus they are useful, but hardly ridiculous - especially when considering how expensive it can be in Vis!