Variant Spell Spirits

The standard spell spirits, and their rules, as given in Hermetic Theurgy seem a bit different from the spirit design standards of RoP:M. Would there be any concerns with treating spell spirits as something that follows a form not unlike the one below?

Astrapi Xorki: Spirit of the Incantation of Lightning
Magic Might 5 (Auram)
Characteristics Cun +1, Per +1, Pre +1, Com 0, Str -2, Sta 0, Dex +1, Qik +3
Size 0
Season Spring
Virtues and Flaws Magic Spirit; Puissant Penetration, Keen Vision; Limited Gestures, Short Attention Span, Wrathful
Magic Qualities and Inferiorities Lesser Powers x5, Personal Power
Personality Traits Angry +3, Curious +2, Incantation of Lightning +3*
Abilities Athletics (flying) 3, Awareness (vision) 3, Brawl (evasion) 2, Leadership (inspire terror) 2, Penetration (Aurum) 3+2
Powers* Incantation of Lightning, 0 point, Init 0, Auram
CrAu 35: Lesser Power x3 (35 levels, -7 Might cost, +1 Init)

  • Donning the Corporeal Veil, 0 points, Init 0, Auram
    CrAu 25: Lesser Power x2 (25 levels, -5 Might cost)
  • Flight of the Hummingbird, 0 points, Init +1, Auram
    ReAu 15: Personal Power (15 levels, -2 Might cost)
    Vis 1 pawn
    Appearance A thin, androgynous human with stark white hair with metal gauntlets for hands.

IIRC (noble's Parma), spell spirits always have a Might score equal to the level of the spell they emit or higher.

Only by the standard rules for Hermetic Theurgy, which I'm explicitly ignoring. Unless there's something mentioned about it in RoP:M or there's some practical reason to be behold to such a rule.

You could get away with lower-level spirits with sometimes ridiculously high Penetration scores and low-cost powers to try to get them in agreement. The nice thing about the Might matching the spell's level is that the regular-cost power then has 0 penetration by default, which is also the default for Hermetic Theurgy.

In agreement with what? I've already said that I'm ignoring Hermetic Theurgy. Why is zero penetration important? If it is, then I can set the spirit's Might to 0 and remove a few Qualities and its Penetration.

In agreement with ArM5 and RoP:M and Hermetic Theurgy. Penetration=Might-5*cost. So if Might=Level and the cost hasn't been reduced, Penetration=0.

No, you didn't. You've said you want to design the spirits as per RoP:M, not designing them via Hermetic Theurgy. You didn't say you were going to completely ignore Hermetic Theurgy (meaning not allow magi to use Hermetic Theurgy with your spell spirits). Did you mean to? Or do you want Hermetic Theurgy to work via your newly designed spirits? Or are you throwing out part of RoP:M to get agreement with RoP:M?

Yes, I did.

So, yes, this is for spell spirits that aren't going to be used by Theurgists

Serf's Parma, but I thought there was a limit on what you could do with lesser power in terms of stacking it for maximum spell level - and you needed greater power to do the more funky things.

I'm also not sure whether a spirit can have a might score of 0 without ceasing to be magical and becoming an entirely mundane thing. But again, Serf's Parma.

If I may ask, what is the intended use for the spirit? This is probably the best way to get useful feedback on how to best build it for its role in the saga.

I haven't been able to find any such spell level limit for Lesser Power. The advantage Greater Power has over Lesser is that spells bought with Greater are inherently cheaper base Might cost and Initiative, which does mean I need to revise the Initiative modifier for the sample spirits above.

I'm not sure either, which is why I was originally setting it for Might 5. The 0 score was in response to the idea that it somehow needs to have zero penetration.

Same purpose as the various emotion-based eidolons, a spirit that exists because of it, and I find the spell spirits of Hermetic Theurgy annoyingly bereft of detail. A Theurgic spirit of IoL is apparently Might 35 with not a single Quality other than barely enough to cast Incantation of Lightning a single time; not even any Abilities.

See, that's the first time you explicitly mention ignoring those rules. It is not in the original post.
Is there anything else you are spicifically ignoring, and would like to explicitly ignore? Because the rest of us are not mind readers, and if you simply ignore the elements the rest of us are refering to, we can't help you much.

Now, the first reason giving these spirits low might would change things, is that they still have to be summoned, meaning you still need succesful penetration against them. Only the first time you summon each, granted, but still.
Obviously, it would also affect the ability of the theurgist to bring his/her power across wards.

Now, is there any particular reason why you desire these changes, or are they just willynilly "everything should be statted!" thoughts?

They made the comment I hadn't after I had. That doesn't show a lack of mind reading skills.

You can achieve 0-penetration without having a might score of 0. A power that has a 0-might cost typically has a penetration equal to the might of the critter, but there's no reason a spell-spirit has to have a 0-might cost for whatever it's doing.

My personal interpretation of that is the spirits summoned by Hermetic Theurgy are given statistics as much as is required for the use the magus is putting them to. Any other capabilities of the spirit are irrelevant; it isn't ever going to use those abilities so from the theurgist's perspective they don't (need to) exist.

The alternative is they simply took 'improved might' as a virtue enough times to meet the might requirement. Not all spirits are created optimally.

A theurgist could easily end up with a lot of spell spirits. Putting the onus on the SG to design a fully-fledged critter for every single one sounds like a huge amount of work for pretty much no gain.

There's also the mechanical aspect: if a theurgist can cast IoL for a far lower arts total requirement than a straight up CrAu magus, it's going to make theurgy very imbalanced. As it is, theurgy already has some nice advantages for a few fairly minor disadvantages; it provides an interesting hybrid of spell and magic item.

If the theurgist in question does try to get extra mileage out of a spell spirit, that's when I'd make the decision about how to stat it up. At that point the SG can decide whether it's got the 'extra might' approach (making it actually useless for everything else) or it's actually a more potent spirit that the theurgist just broke contract with. I'd probably even vary it per spell spirit. :smiling_imp:

It seems you mostly want "real" spirits as the spirits-related-to-spells, instead of just the spells-described-as-spirits that Hermetic Theurgy works with. With this in mind:

The fact that the above spirit has a low Might means that it can be summoned and controlled relatively easily (using the spirit-summoning and commanding guidelines from the TMRE, at least!), i.e. at low Casting Total, and then be used to create spells much more powerful than the Casting Total would normally allow. And you can use virtually any Art, too. So the result is that a magus with a Rego Auram Casting Total of 5 can suddenly "cast" a level 35 Creo Auram spell, with does not seem very balanced.

This is a problem with spirits in general, of course - if you can summon them, they can do things you can't. But as long as this is restricted to Daimons that you can only summon by knowing their True Name and casting a Ritual-spell Invocation of Summoning the Spirit of X with a huge investment in raw vis and botch risk, doing this sort of thing is rather special and fitting. Once you allow lowly spell-spirits, in contrast, you allow the magus to cast virtually any spell much more easily.

Having a spirit also confers other advantages. Such as being able to command it to take its own actions in combat (e.g. to deflect a blow about to hit you on its own), being able to see other spirits (IIRC, that comes with the Magic Spirit package), fly through things to act as a scout, and so on. You can also develop a host of such spirits, in huge numbers, at your service.

Making good use of such spirits would require specialization as a theurgist (requiring ReFo and ReVi spells of various sorts, mostly). That's fine. The problem is that even casual theurgists could get access to spells they "shouldn't" be casting, and that a dedicated theurgist may eclipse numerous Hermetic specialists in their own specialty by developing a wide repertoire of spell spirits.

I would suggest allowing Spell Spirits simply as lesser Daimons. Theurgists could then invest in developing each spell as a separate Invocation ritual, with a long duration, typically one that binds the spirit to an item (using a Ring duration) and forces it to obey the caster; the magic also forces the daimon to maintain the aspect. This should at least restrict the number of spell spirits at the caster's disposal. Furthermore, the Might of a spell spirit should be proportional to the spell's level, at Might = Level/5 or Level/2.

I should add that having played a theurgist character in a very long-running saga, there's a few key things to consider:

  1. Hermetic Theurgy is GREAT for what it does; the binding is solid and the resulting effect gives you a bunch of interesting benefits that regular formulaic spells don't have. When combined with a little bit of extra magnitude and some clever spell-stacking, you can have an army of spell-spirits at the ready with a few minutes preparation - giving you a real edge in situations where concentration, aura or similar are going to otherwise impede you. It does start to look a little bit Vancian, but hey.

  2. Spirit Binding lets you have a handy stable of pet spirits you can call on as well. These are far more likely to give you access to magic outside of your area of focus. The problem with them is the binding is typically much more fragile. When your spirit-binding spell that's coercing your might-35 storm spirit gets dispelled in the middle of a fight, it creates complications.

The two virtues do stack for some really interesting synergy.

Since you want to point out when I wrote and what was there, yes, I did read that. And, here's the full quote instead of the partial one:

You directly responded to how the Might Score is determined with a sentence fragment, thus clearly linking it to what you were responding to. There is nothing here to imply you don't want functional Hermetic Theurgy. There is just a statement that you don't want to use the Might Score rules from Hermetic Theurgy. And you'll see that was understood in my post: I discussed what would have to be done to handle the Penetration if you use lower Might Scores than Hermetic Theurgy uses.

Now, with the new specification of completely ignoring Hermetic Theurgy, Penetration isn't an issue. I would say the key to gauging Might Score from RoP:M should probably hinge on the Might Scores of other spirits. For example, Eidolons commonly have Might Scores higher than 5. Those are typically Personality Trait x5. Now, such Eidolons are spirits of things that are longer-lasting than a spell, so they should have higher Might Scores relatively speaking. From that perspective Magnitude x5 seems high, but Magnitude coming into play seems quite relevant. There is then the question, though, if this spirit is one of a general Incantation of Lightning or of someone's Incantation of Lightning, just like the difference is explained with Eidolons. So perhaps Magnitude x1 for the spirit of someone's spell and Magnitude x2 for the spirit of a spell, or x2 and x5, or something like that? Or perhaps x1 for one person's spell, and then if the spell is known more widely the multiplier goes up for a more general spirit? Still, YR7's warnings should be heeded, even though I think those warnings might have overlooked some issues Hermetic magic has with summoning.

That's kind of a problem sometimes with Sihr-focused Sahira, where they get more bang out of summoning djinn to do stuff for them than summoning them to fuel their spells. But since they are underpowered when compared with Hemetic magi, it's all well with me.