Vis and Exotic Arts

So I know that raw vis is always associated with a Form or Technique and I am also aware that hedge traditions have their own unique Arts. Does this mean that raw vis can be found associated with these exotic Arts? If not, is vis actually more general but where a Hermetic Magus can extract Muto vis a Hedge Mage would extract vis associated with their own, similar Art?

Or is vis just associated with the Hermetic Arts? If so it would certainly suggest that Bonisagus managed to strike a particularly fundamental cord in this regard. I also imagine it would put other traditions at a marked disadvantage since vis would be less useful to them.

This would also suggest, at least to me, that any other large, well-developed magical traditions probably have the same Arts as the OoH (or for some reason little interest in vis). I believe I’ve seen some mention of an Islamic tradition that rivals the OoH and presumably there are others further outside the scope of Mythic Europe. Given that these institutions are outside the current scope of the game I don’t know how definitely these questions can be answered but it’s still something I’m curious about. :slight_smile: (And discussions are always more fun than definitive answers.)

See Hedge Magic and ROP:Magic for details.

Basically, the approach taken is that hedge traditions generally know about vis. They may not be able to recognise some types of vis, or they may recognise some types of vis they are unable to use, or they may see different distinctions between different sorts of vis. For example, a hedge tradition might see both Animal and Herbam as "forest" vis and be unable to tell the difference between the two. Hedge traditions, of course, might (or certainly do?) also use a different word, other than "vis" to describe vis --- even if the players use the term vis.

However, generally (in canon) Hermetic magi are right and hedge wizards are wrong, because the Realm of Magic is true to Hermetic magic theories. Exotic Arts are not represented in the Realm of Magic. So where hedge traditions have an exotic form of vis, the hedge wizards are just making mistakes, from both the perspective of Hermetic magi, and the perspective of what actually exists.

So the Hermetic Arts are fundamental – and it would seem likely that comparable traditions (if ever encountered) would have basically the same Arts. I don't know the likelihood of that ever being dealt with in the game but I do find that interesting. Some day I’ll have to get the books for the Iberian and Levant Tribunals since they probably delve in to this a bit.

The approach with hedge magic does seem to make the most sense. It would no doubt be difficult to form associates between every Art in a hedge tradition and each Hermetic Art. Thanks!

Bonisagus was canonically correct about the ten types of vis forma ("Form vis")-- because there's ten provinces in the Magic Realm and ten types of Magic Resistance-- but there theoretically could be other kinds of vis tenta (Technique vis) that magi don't know how to use. I suspect all vis that is associated with an activity rather than a type of thing usually maps to one of the five Techniques, though, as they're pretty comprehensive. For example, what the different types of summoners might consider "Summoning vis" is probably Rego vis. Plus the Vim province is designed pretty much a catch-all, if there's ever anything associated with magic that doesn't really fit anywhere else, like Fortunam or Perth.

I disagree - Bonisagus searched for a universal pattern, not some absolute "truth" which then made all else "false". By his own account, much of value was lost in creating Hermetic Theory - that loss was not "wrong", just not "universally applicable".

Only "wrong" according to Hermetic theory and some Hermetic magi - if it works, it works, and if you asked them, they might say HT is "wrong".

Have you ever seen some of the Periodic Tables of the Elements that are organized by criteria other than molecular weight? Very interesting, and not "wrong", just another way of thinking of things - but while not always perfectly useful with traditional chemistry, they shed a new light on some narrow avenues of research, patterns that are not obvious with what we are accustomed to and have accepted. So with exotic vs. Hermetic - not standard, not "us", but not necessarily wrong or useless either.

I would suggest that just as some exotic traditions do not see distinctions that Hermetic Theory recognizes, some do see differences that Hermetic Theory discounts. Perhaps there is both Animal(Mind) and Animal(Body) vim, or perhaps there are 4 different Vim vis each associated with a different Realm (such as the infernal vis that (some) Hermetic Magi are aware of!). Rego-warding, Rego-summoning, Rego-movement - who knows? Perhaps... almost anything!

It's just that those differences don't matter in Hermetic Theory, which works perfectly(?) despite them. That's all Bonisagus worked to do, find a system that overlooked the apparent differences and tied everything together. And, admittedly, in so doing sometimes some power and leverage was lost, if only in some obscure corners of the Arts. After all, the actual goal was not power, but more a "Grand Unification Theory".

The issue of Vis' form correspondence is actually explained quite thoroughly in the Grigori chapter of "Ancient Magic".

Put simply, Vis does, in fact, correspond to the Hermetic Forms and only tangentally to the various Hedge Arts.

Except that the actual Realm of Magic aligns with Hermetic theory, according to RAW.

IMS we only have one type of vis. It is flavoured to certain activities (gives you more bang for your buck in certain narrow areas), but it is still vis: distilled and concentrated raw magical power usable for any magical activity and anyone with certain supernatural abilities. Vis is much rarer than in the RAW setting, though, with most summer covenants getting a pair of pawns per magus on average. We have toyed with the idea of ALSO having extremely NARROW vis types (vis to deal with ghosts only, or vis to affect wolves or self-transformation, or springs) but have not used it yet.


I've always understood Vis to be flavoured by the beholder.
To (most) mundanes, Vis is Vis - if they even understand the concept.
Same goes for many types of Hedge Magi and ofcourse Diabolists - except they see a difference in how 'Touched' (tainted) it is.

A fully developed rival Order might well view Vis through the lenses of their own Arts, eg. The Living (roughly An, Co, He); The Elemental (Aq, Au, Ig, Te); The Intangible (Im, Me); that stupid stuff which we can't use (anything else, they might not even recognize it as Vis), just to make a (slightly silly)example.
The Above tradition would then have 3 Forms, and Vis corresponding to those forms.