Unfamiliar Ars M* Book - according to ChatGPT


TLDR: Is any of you familiar with the book "Hermetic Breakthroughs" supplement for Ars Magica 5th edition? ISBN-10: 1589781567. The ISBN-13 is 978-1589781565. The book was published by Atlas Games in 2012."

I had a conversation with the AI about ... things in Ars :smiley: It gave me reference about a strange book I've never heard of. Do you know anything about it? CahtGPT seemed to be pretty sure about its business.
My question was:
(Me) what is the best spell to supress magic resistance of an enemy?

There is no single "best" spell to suppress magic resistance in Ars Magica, as different targets may have different levels and types of resistance, and different situations may call for different strategies. However, there are several spells and magical effects that can be used to reduce or bypass magic resistance, depending on the circumstances. Here are a few examples:

  1. Piercing the Magical Veil: This spell from the Hermetic Breakthroughs supplement (p. 23) allows the caster to penetrate any magic resistance, regardless of its level, for a single spell or magical effect. It is a high-level spell that requires a significant amount of vis and an Artes Liberales score of at least 5.
  2. Suppressing the Wizard's Handiwork: This spell from the Ars Magica core rulebook (p. 160) allows the caster to suppress the magical effects of a target for a brief period of time, effectively lowering their magic resistance to 0 for the duration of the spell. However, the spell only affects a single spell or magical effect, and the target is aware of the suppression.
  3. Binding: This is a powerful and dangerous technique that involves summoning and binding a demon to do the caster's bidding. Demons are not subject to magic resistance, so they can be used to bypass a target's resistance to magical effects. However, using demons carries a high risk of corruption and other negative consequences, and is generally considered unethical by most Hermetic magi.
  4. Sympathetic Magic: By using a sympathetic connection, such as a piece of the target's hair or a personal possession, a caster can bypass the target's magic resistance and affect them indirectly. For example, a magus might use a spell to create a fire in a target's home by burning a lock of their hair, or cause them to fall asleep by placing a charm under their pillow.

Ultimately, the most effective way to overcome magic resistance will depend on the target's specific strengths and weaknesses, as well as the resources and abilities of the caster. It is always important to use magic responsibly and ethically, and to consider the potential consequences of any action before taking it.

(Me) what is this spell exactly: Piercing the Magical Veil ?

"Piercing the Magical Veil" is a spell in the Hermetic Breakthroughs supplement for Ars Magica that allows a magus to penetrate any magic resistance, regardless of its level, for a single spell or magical effect. The spell is designed for Hermetic magi who have achieved a breakthrough in magic theory, allowing them to transcend the limitations of normal Hermetic magic and pierce even the strongest magical defenses.

The spell has a base level of 50, and requires the magus to spend at least 10 pawns of vis, as well as have a high level of mastery in the spell. To cast the spell, the magus must make an Intelligence + Magic Theory roll, with a difficulty equal to the target's Magic Resistance, and also overcome any Penetration resistance that the target might have.

If successful, the spell allows the magus to bypass the target's magic resistance for a single spell or magical effect, and treat the target as if they had no magic resistance at all. This can be a powerful tool in situations where the magus is facing a particularly resistant opponent or needs to use a specific magical effect that would normally be blocked by magic resistance. However, the high level of the spell and the significant vis cost make it a difficult and expensive option to use.

(Me) Is this supplement for the Ars Magica 4th edition or the 5th edition? Hermetic Breakthroughs supplement

The "Hermetic Breakthroughs" supplement is for the Ars Magica 5th edition. It is a sourcebook that presents a number of new Hermetic spells, magical traditions, and rules for researching and developing new magical breakthroughs. The book is designed to provide players with additional options for their magi and to expand the Ars Magica magic system.

(Me) Can you give me that book's ID?

The ISBN-10 for the "Hermetic Breakthroughs" supplement for Ars Magica 5th edition is 1589781567. The ISBN-13 is 978-1589781565. The book was published by Atlas Games in 2012.

Chat GPT sometimes creates or extrapolates info from nothing (I'm not deeply familiar with it, but a few colleagues who have been exploring it have mentioned that).

Here we see that while having some semblance of truth, none of the four options given by the IA seem to be very accurate:

  1. The first mentions a spell which seems to be (based on it's name) the magical counterpart of Piercing the Faerie Veil and quotes a book that doesn't seem to exist;
  2. The second mentions a spell and it's correct source, but the effects of the spell are wrong;
  3. The third gives false information (demons are as subject to MR as any other Realm creature);
  4. The fourth makes confusion with Arcane Connection and Sympathetic Connection.

It's theoretically possible for ChatGPT to have found some obscure file deep into the Atlas Games servers (I mean... I guess it is?).... but i find it unlikely. =P


ChatGPT is not actually causal, nor does it do predicate invention. Afaict, It is a purely stochastic model that extrapolates from what was said previously based on training over a large body of "conversations". It is notorious for making up references and if you try to do it in an academic setting it will inform you that it can't do that :slight_smile:


There are some guidelines for suppressing magic resistance somewhere...The Contested Isle maybe, in an insert maybe? ToC preview I can see says page 63?

Yes. Contested Isle describes the School of Raghallach, which includes spell guidelines for stripping a magus of Parma, for removing the Magic Resistance gained from a Form, and even cancelling Aegis of the Hearth.

These are all excellent ways to remove magic resistance.


I just tried to seek out some sources about Blaise Pascal using chatGPT, and it invented some whole cloth. Including academic citations of works that don't exist.

It's horribly unreliable. As this thread demonstrates.


Blaise pascal was a member of House Jerbiton, who focused on the mundane rather than hermetic arrs, iirc


ChatGPT is designed to generate plausible text, and one has to admit that the published ArM books are neither more or less plausible than many others that have never been written.

As my economics lecturers used to say, the real world is only a special case of no particular interest.


I’m having a really hard time believing economics professors being this honest and self-reflective of the field.


You don't confuse economics professors with business and management professors, by any chance?

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Economics departments are often under the B-School here in the US. But even when they aren’t there are only a few heterodox econ departments here, history of economic thought is largely ignored, and the worrisome aspects of economic methodologies is also largely ignored. There are a couple econ depts in this country that have courses on other theoretical models such as marxism and institutional economics but other than that neoclassical theoretical models are largely taught as fact rather than model or map. Far as I am aware this is an international problem in the field and in the late 90s or early 2000s the French students revolted and demanded history of the field be taught, alternat theoretical models not be ignored, and methodology actually be critically approached.


Just please, for the love of everything hermetic, don't have us review Chat GPT generated spells.


Now that you mention this I actually do want to feed it the result of you alls’ compilation of spells and see what it comes up with in line with those but I would never try to pass those spells off as reasonable or workable spells.

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It helps to look up and read Jorge Luis Borges:


If reading in English, I would definitely recommend the compilation Labyrinths as opposed to Ficciones if you can find it. Ficciones has more stories and everything in Labyrinths but the translations don't have the the same poetry. Labyrinths should be available through interlibrary loan if your local doesn't have a copy.

The creation of sources and statements whole cloth from nothing is a problem found in all chat bots, not just ChatGPT. They are not "lying" per say, since deception is not actually the intent. Rather it is attempting to generate plausible textual conversation based on its learning module and data set. This has been the case since before I first messed with them back in the early 90's in college.

I find it rather funny the explosion of videos and articles talking about how ChatGTP is "lying" or "biased" when anyone with even a little experience with chat bots knows that the results are only intended to "seem plausible" rather than be "factual".

Part of the issue is that many consider Virtual Assistants to just be Chat Bots, without taking into account that while their origins might be the same you are comparing something like a city bus to a privately owned car. They have experience with Alexa/Siri/Google Assistant and expect ChatGTP to function similar to them. A Chatbot is relatively simple and you can run very "powerful and complex" ones on your home computer with no issues. If you have a decent home computer it could actually be interacting with dozens or hundreds of people at once. A Virtual Assistant on the other hand requires a great deal of hardware and complex software, such that only a terminal can be operated on a given computer/device/phone and requires a connection to a massive back end of servers to function.

[Yes I know there are Virtual Assistants like Bestee and Saiy that "work" without an internet connection. They are little more than voice bots, with steep learning curves and very little capability.]


I agree that «lying» is nonsense, taken out of any meaningful context.
«Biased» on the other hand, is an accurate and fair allegation. Any machine learning system is biased by its training data. For better or for worse, it is biased towards the population and culture that provided the training data. This is important, because it is a problem which can, in principle, be corrected. It will always be biased, but one may choose the bias, and should choose it wisely.

The lies on the other hand, cannot be avoided without a very different kind of technology, because, as you say, it is concerned with plausible statements (within its cultural frame) and not at all with fact.

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True, I was not trying to state or imply that a Chat bot is not biased. They will in fact always "lie" and always have some form of "bias". ChatGTP is actually very pro-Democrat/anti-Republican biased, which is actually to be expected given the political leaning of the people who created it and served as the initial training group. You can find many videos showing it downplaying any wrongdoing by one party while implying the other is near criminal. [I am Libertarian and dislike both big parties, so have no dog in that fight]

The part I find funny is that people are actually shocked by this. However the designers were looking to create an improved Chat Bot rather than some unbiased fact provider. There was very little effort put into avoiding any bias other than those that are culturally accepted as bad (Nazi, racist, sexist, etc) since they wanted to avoid a repeat of things like Tay. It has repeatedly been shown that if you give the Internet a chance to train a chat bot without restriction then they will teach it every bad culture is "good" for the lolz.

As soon as you add European litterature, ChatGTP will move away from extremes. You know what they say: reality has a liberal bias. :wink: