Weaponising Hermetic Architecture

Hi all,

This is a long term project that I've been thinking about for my Verdi, and I'd like people's opinions on feasibiliy.
A few things :
Don't worry about the vis, there's enough I've managed to bank up that dropping say two hundred pawns on a feasibility study wouldn't do more than mean I needed to go selling stuff again. (amazing what you can bank with a personal vis source and book learner... never study the vis, use it to make stuff to sell at 50% profit.)
Cash is likewise not an issue, as my character has banked up >2,000 Lb of silver, and a wide variety of materials. (Yes there's a maximum permittable spend limit introduced in Stonehenge, but I have a warehouse of bits and pieces of stuff, and am a member in good standing of the Metalsmiths Craft Guild, so can pay off anything I need to on credit.)
I fully expect to get Marched as soon as other magi (including my own covenant) find out what I'm working on. It's the hermetic equivalent of nuclear artillery for crying out loud!

Plan Z
"Plan Z" is a multiple stage, mulitiple item delivery system utilising several distinct components.
The first component is an extra large metal wand or staff (small tree sized), mounted on a transverse mount (turret basically), mounted on a large floating vehicle. This is the launch/delivery system, and looses a large group (G+2) of staff sized rods, all identical. (Decoys and actual mechanism) It has integrated into itself a mechanism which determines the boundaries of auras, and can observe regio entrances. The launcher can place the rods with great precision (non-targeted spell/effect), and does so simultaneously.
The decoys are identical in appearance to the actual rods, including a Shell of False Determination, but can be destroyed with impunity.
The rods are staff height barbed steel, with golden vines and tiny gemstone flowers growing up them, with a skull-like head (with gemstone eyes) on the end.
Upon impact, the rods activate, forming a hermetic architecture device. (They are pre-ritualled, but activate upon arrival)
The effect included in the rods are :
Permanently reduce aura strength, for deliberate reasons this is an effect which takes time, one diameter per point.

Cosmetic effects include charging up effect on the launcher, crackling lightning around and between the steel rods, a humming that increases in pitch as the effect continues, and a gentle breeze that moves towards the rods from the centre of the circle, destroyed material is sucked into the mouths of the heads on the rods (including the decoys).

Further effects to be determined, but if viable to include :
Circle spell variants of Wind of Mundane Silence, Perdo (each form, in order), and Gather Essence of the Beast.
[ Issues here, AFAICT you still need to trace a circle, even if there's an existing physical one. I'll need to figure out some kind of way around that. ]
Pinch off any regios (regio's? regio? multiple regio anyway).

End result
THe whole point of this thing is to wipe out a magical aura, and anything else inside the circle, leaving a dead zone. Loosed at a covenant, or even a Domus Magna, this would obliterate absolutely everything within, from the living forms right through to the fluid vis. The raw vis would be extracted and sucked into the gemstones placed in the eyes of the heads on the rods. What you'd end up with is a flat(ish) area in a perfect circle, where there is nothing above the height of one foot. [ Height limitation imposed to prevent circle becoming sphere, and thus requiring a new breakthrough. ]

1/ The site needs to be scouted in advance by someone with Hermetic Architecture to determine the best places to put the actual rods.
2/ Destroying or even moving any of the rods will disrupt the effect completely. There are 10 rods, and 990 decoys however, so I'd say a 1:100 chance is reasonable as they won't have time to do more than a few.
3/ There are easier ways to strip mine a location for vis, but this does have a certain amount of style.
4/ While it's not for general sale, it is being made by a Verdi with Hubris, so all it takes is one person to appeal to his vanity and they can buy one. Assuming they can afford it...

I realise it's not up there with the tower of babel from HP, but what do you think? any solutions/suggestions/ideas/issues I haven't mentioned?


I'm not sure Hermetic Architecture allows you to do that. The first problem is that the text seems to imply, at least, that the effects are keys to one structure - all the talk about needing a number of items equal to "the structure's Size multiplier", "the structure they are intended to enchant", and so on. More problematically, the mystery culminates when the magus "casts the Mystery ritual" Bind the Mystical Structure. Unlike an Hermetic ritual spell, this "rite of the Mystery" cannot be enchanted into the devices, it has to be cast by the actual Hermetic Architect as if it was a ritual spell.

So the magus needs to come to the site and figure out how to place the rods. He then can use the device to place the rods, which saves time. He then needs to cast a high-level Ritual spell, which gives his enemies plenty of time to move all the rods (especially using magic), unless he simultaneously distracts them somehow.

There is also the slight problem that there is no PeVi guideline to remove the aura. Oh well, use the Muto ones with the Perdo requisite.

With regards to the problem of the Circle spells, the solution is easy - use the Boundary target.

The problems can be circumvents, I think. They should be - the project is way too cool to let such minor problems stand in your way.

I would suggest using the "decoy" rods as marking the Boundary of what you're enchanting. This solves all problems. You prepare the rods and the Launcher, and design the latter to put the rods into a perfect circle (regardless of terrain), so you can replicate the same "boundary"/structure regardless of the intended target site. This may be the trickiest part as you need to convince the SG that the contents inside the structure/boundary won't require a separate Geometry roll - that it's the same structure every time, just containing different things. Perhaps this would be more convincing if you actually form a dome around the intended target, a real Structure to affect (regardless of where it is set-up) rather than a fence marking a boundary.

You then pick some random set-up site, and cast the Bind the Mystical Structure on the circle of rods as normal.All the effects activate - to no affect, since there is no real target on this set-up site. You then have the Launcher pack all the rods (real and decoy) back up. As per the usual Hermetic Architecture rules, this only temporarily suspends the enchantment's effects - until the rods are put back into the structure.

The payload is now ready for delivery. On command, the Launcher re-constructs the structure/boundary at a location of your choice. As the structure of "decoy" rods along with the "real" rods is established, the Hermetic Architecture enchantments power up again and start manifesting. The aura is diminished and evaporated, a Wind of Mundane Silence howls throughout the boundary, lightning strikes everything and renders all to rubble (PeX effects), and the mouths leeringly gather the essence of the beasts.

[inset evil laugh here]

As for being Marched - well, I can see him being marched by Wilderists furious at diminishing Magical auras. On the other hand, I can also see them as ecstatically sponsoring further research into extending this technique to diminish Faerie and - dare I say it? - Divine auras. At any rate, the problem with the device isn't that it's a nuclear weapon - that's fine - it is rather that it diminishes the Magical aura and power, permanently, thus damaging the rest of the Order and future generations of magi.

Very nice device. Thanks for sharing.


Nuclear weapons are fairly easy. Take a bunch of huge rocks, and shrink them into pebbles. Have a enchanted item to keep them shrunk. Then if you want to kill something you stick the rocks overhead and drop them enmasse. (Also dispel the shrinking spell) Even better if we go by the medieval paradigm* gravity essentially extends out forever, at even strength, up to the edge of the lunar sphere. Which gets you an absurd amount of speed. You can even ward the rocks to protect them from heat and air.

*Note, I never would.

Edit: In case my point wasn't clear, I'm saying that this does the mass killing with style anyone can drop a pile of rocks on someone. Destroying an aura, and draining all the vis with a massive array of rods is much cooler.

Hermetic Empowerment?

There are much easier ways to destroy a covenant.

Perhaps, but not as funny :wink:

Careful not to Perdo the Form that the rods themselves are made of, if you want them to be vis holders for you.... :smiling_imp:

Newton is still a few centuries in the future, I think notions of gravity and acceleration are not even part of the medieval paradigm. They had crazy ideas like the air was pushing the arrow to keep it in motion or that a selenite rock would levitate toward the Moon. Even more recently there were hysteria about "man is not meant to move that fast" and how driving a car faster than a horse would make you sick. Therefore I don't think a stone can move faster than it "ought to".

Blarg, that's why I don't like the medieval paradigm. Things blatantly don't work like people thought they did back then. Plus they had contradictory ideas. If the air is responsible for movement then a vacuum would stop stuff. Nor would people fall off the moon. (Mentioned in A&A). If rocks had a speed limit much lower than their terminal velocity the falling rules would need to be reworked.

All of Newton's ideas, come more or less from looking at how stuff move. Now you can get away with being fuzzy on the location of celestial bodies and avoid problems there, but if you get down to Earth Newton being wrong means everything suddenly works on pseudo-physics, and is no longer what one would expect. I would never want to have to deal with that.

Except the pope (later) said vacuums don't exist. :smiley:

What did I say about contradictory. Besides the magi CAN create vacuums. Its mentioned in Core as an example of an attack that doesn't ping magic penetration. Destroy the air around a mage forcing a check for concentration and causing damage from the air rushing in.

When I was a kid I did this science day camp for a week. I have no memory at all of what I did for four of the days but the physics day is etched in my memory. Because that was the day I was taught that science is not intuitive.

The teacher was brilliant he started by saying he was going to lie to us. He proceeded to teach us how objects are naturally at rest unless being acted upon by an outside force doing plenty demonstrations showing this. Then he taught us the real law of motion and showed us how much harder it was to prove that objects actually remain in motion till acted upon. Particularly when your looking for the other law to be true. But as each demonstration was repeated and you knew to look for inertia it became more and more difficult to even imagine how you could ever see it the other way.

What I walked away with was just how much of our modern viewpoint relies upon our preconceptions. We see Newtonian physics everywhere because we've been taught to expect it. It's provable, logical, and easily demonstrable with a well constructed experiment but it is not really intuitive. On the other hand the classical models of physics despite being quite logical and internally consistent rely on a cosmology we know to be completely wrong. So Aristotelian physics sound completely silly to us. Nevertheless in many ways they are closer to what we casually observe day to day then the controlled experiments that prove them wrong.

BTW Aristotle claimed a vacuum couldn't exist in nature because all surrounding matter would rush in to fill it with something like infinite force. (see silly) Yes magi can supernaturally create a vacuum as per RAW. Yes that means that taken to it's logical conclusion a PeAu T:Part with any duration over momentary becomes an uberpowerful engine of destruction far INXS of it's magnitude. Up it's mag and throw in a bunch of requisites and it's a blackhole that can eat the universe till it chokes on something with MR it can't penetrate.