What does it take to "participate" in the Aegis of the Hearth ritual?

I have been looking at A Guide to Aegis of the Hearth and I am wondering a few things.

  1. What do you have to do to "participate" in the casting of AotH?
  2. How many tokens can be created/designated?

Basically, one of my players is trying to get rid of the Covenant hook - Monster in the Covenant. Essentially a Bjornaer mage from the previous NPC covenant on this site turned Great Beast and his using his former sanctum as a lair. My player's beef is that right after the transformation to Great Beast, it slaughtered a dozen of so covenfolk it thought was threatening its lair, and the PC mage wants to avenge the dead.

Since the Great Beast has been using effects in its (former) Talisman to do most of the killing, the player wants to cast an AotH and blunt this threat. He has voiced concerns about Enchanted items working in the Aegis, allowing an enemy strikeforce with magic kill wands to enter an Aegis and slaughter all the covenfolk.

So I am intending ruling that the AotH would do the following:
a) the Penetration of the Talisman or other enchanted item effect is reduced by the normal Aegis modifier.
b) Tokens used as part of the Aegis ritual, when officially handed to a mundane person in the Aegis will grant that mundane an effective Magic Resistance of zero while in that particular Aegis.
c) I am claiming there is a limit to how many tokens can be designated in the Aegis ritual. Still working out how many. Perhaps each participant who contributes to the Aegis Ritual can designate a number of tokens equal to the magnitude of the Aegis ritual. Participants in the ritual do not need a token.

At this point, I have to define what "participate" in the ritual means. I am thinking there is 3 classes:

  1. The Ritual Master, the mage actually casting the spell.
  2. Magi using the Wizard's Communion to help empower the ritual.
  3. Other celebrants who perform the correct ceremonial actions under the command of the Ritual Master.

The first two classes can designate a limited number of tokens.
The 3rd class simply get the benefits of the Aegis (including MR 0 whilst in the Aegis).

Now, to avoid too many optional rules, I have limited this Saga to using the Main book, the 2 House books, and the 4 Realm books, and the Tribunal book they are in.
Hence, it is Wizard's Communion that boosts the Ritual - its casting is extended for the full length of the spell or Ritual being empowered, just like Circle spells can be be extended for the drawing of the circle. Otherwise what is the point of the Mercurian Magic virtue? None of these WC variants from other books. YMMV.

Presumably all Magi know how to perform the ceremonial actions required by the Ritual Master, it should be a side-effect of learning enough Magic Theory. I am thinking Latin 3 and Magic Theory 3 should be enough to participate in the Ritual and gain the Aegis protections.

Without my book in front of me... I think that if you are within the AoH boundary at the casting you are not effected by the AoH. I know it works that way for enchanted items. I would think that any magi who is within the boundary and not in the actual ritual is still part of the AoH. I am fairly sure it works this way if you have a "monster" within the boundary.

Can they make a boundary to exclude the sanctum? That would be the best. Even plan on casting a 2nd AoH once you defeat the beast to cover what was left out. Even a weak AoH would be a help in this.

Yup. There is a whole plot hook about that in Durenmar, with a faerie tree inching to destroy the covenant from within the aegis.

Here's the book quote you need:

The entire covenant usually participates in the Aegis ritual, which often ends with the participants walking around the perimeter of the protected area in order to define it. Quite often, the covenant holds a major council meeting, or perhaps a large feast, after the ritual of the Aegis. Magi do not need to be able to cast the spell to participate in the ritual, and, indeed, non-Hermetic wizards can participate as well.

regarding your rulings for the Aegis: A token isn't really needed, RAW, but it's a great symbol and I've always liked that interpretation that there's a physical representation of acceptance; That does leave more vulnerabilities to invasion than RAW (or at least different vulnerabilities. A token can be stolen.) And RAW, the talisman does need to be explicitly out of the aegis boundaries if you want it to be excluded, otherwise it's de facto part of the covenant's aegis.

A little off topic, but is a magus destroying a Great Beast a good idea? In theory, the entirety of House Bjornaer could bring a deprivation of magical power case, since Great Beasts are required for their Inner Mysteries, couldn't they?

Would they admit to that? they're pretty secretive. They would still want vengeance, but they might make it for reasons that obfuscate their powers more.

They would need to declare a wizard's war on the magus

It is the phrase "... and, indeed, non-Hermetic wizards can participate as well" that leads me to think the ritual spell description was only referring to the Magi of the Covenant, not the Companions (unless they are non-Hermetic wizards) nor the Grogs of the Turb.

My player is also asking, what protection does the AotH provide that prevents an enemy agent sneaking into the Covenant's Aegis with an enchanted device of "kill all the Grogs", that leaves the Magi with no cooks, laundry, or watchmen.

None. It means you should not make enemies of an entire house, Bjornaer, for instance.

When my player first suggested his character was going to find a way of Slaying the Monster, I sent all the players the following message:

... be aware that a significant portion of the Order of Hermes would consider Callum still a valid member under the protections of the Oath of Hermes (clause "I will slay no member..., lest I be slain myself..."). In fact, technically in the view of some he could be considered a member of this Covenant, while the rest of our Magi are not.
And a much larger portion of the Order would consider defending one's sanctum from (percieved) threat/encroachment to be a valid defence if a trial came before Tribunal.

I was trying to subtly suggest there is Hermetic Politics out there, without railroading a plot.

Now I am wondering if I should spend some more time going through all the various clauses of the Hermetic Oath with them, using the Guernicus chapter in the True Lineages book.
Technically "deprivation of magical power" should apply to the player's plan to suppress the Beast's Talisman with the AotH.

Now I am wondering what the Great Beast will do on Midwinter's Day? I have given him the greater Power Master of Vim to reflect the former Mage's Flexible Formulaic Magic, had an interest in metamagic (to show he was just as good as a "Roman" mage, thankyou Oversensitive flaw), and produced more than his share of utility enchantments.
I can almost see the Great Beast showing up to participate in the AotH ritual. But would a Great Beast actually be motivated to do that?

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If your players have been playing Ars for a while, maybe reiterate what you've already said and then consider them warned. Though it sounds like they might be new to the setting, in which case perhaps a Redcap with some knowledge of the Code Might help them understand some of the ramifications... Or a Bjornaer could request Hospitality to commune with this Great Beast and help explain a few things.

By HoH:MC p. 24, Great Beasts should flee all human contact. So a Great Beast doing the opposite might attract a lot of attention by Clan Ilfetu and others (see also HoH:MC p.28f Initiating the Inner Heartbeast).

What about the next Ritual of Twelve Years being held at the covenant with that somewhat approachable Great Beast? Might clever magi still turn it into an asset of their covenant?

I am the player concerned. :slight_smile:

As a player I have some idea, however, it will take a lot for the character to not want him killed. My character is a Jerbition who has a strong belief in the importance of order in society. The peasants work to create the fundamental building blocks of society. The mercantile, artisan and clergy class help to provide a society that is worth living in by providing the finer things and spiritual nourishment. The martial and leadership class have an obligation to provide just leadership and protect the people. He takes that obligation seriously.

In my character's mind, this murderous abomination has lost any right to call himself a magus when he ceased to act like a human being, by letting his anger kill multiple innocent covenant folk. He also looks like a monster. My character doesn't have enough Bjornaer knowledge to think this is anymore than a messed up final twilight or a transformation spell gone horribly wrong. For all I know it may be a kindness to release whatever twisted tormented shred of the magi is left in the monstrous shell.

Every day the covenant folk see the abomination who killed workmates and family members. My characters accepts he can not kill this monster at the moment, but he can not countenance it's continued existence, and will attempt to destroy it at the earliest opportunity. If he does not, what right does he have to be a leader of a covenant?

Due to my character's belief in the correct order of society, I will report the monster to the Stonehenge tribunal, and see what the tribunal say. If they say he is permitted to stay, I may have to get my character to be more political to get the decision changed in a future tribunal ruling.

Easy enough. Create a charged item with powerful PeAn effects. Effects to destroy the talisman would also be good. PeVi maybe
or Perdo whatever is the main material of the item. Invest heavily in pentration in both items.

Declare wizard's war on the abomination and use a spell to deliver the message, so the messenger does not get hurt. If you have allies, they can declare war at the same time.

Have an awesome miniadventure.

Just out of gauntlet, taking on a magic might, I think it was 32, size 4 or 5 monster. I'm not confident of success.

Also, without advice from a tribunal, I wouldn't recognise the abomination had a right to be challenged to a wizard war as he's not a wizard.

If I had the power to kill him, he'd be dead, and I probably would have already created a potential political incident.

I fully support making bad in-character decisions with terrible repercussions for those around me as well as my character but I do feel, as a player, you might want to make sure that the rest of the folks at the table are cool with an action that will have long term effects for the whole covenant and sage, if they aren’t I’d ask my SG to bring something into the story that will let me know IC some of these wider issues, the Bjornaer option I mentioned is probably the better one though you know the character.

Whether or not there is a legal way to kill the Great Beast without breaking the Code, House Bjornaer might be so angry that a mass Wizard’s War is declared- still within the letter of the Code

I overlooked that bit from HoH:MC when designing the monster.
I used the presumption that the Mage's essential nature in the form of Personality flaws would keep it interested in its 'mortal' possessions for a couple of decades before it finally abandoned all its human attachments.

Not that anyone outside of the Covenant knows about the Great Beast. Yet...

Lets return to something a little closer to the original topic.

What protection does the AotH provide that prevents an enemy agent sneaking into the Covenant's Aegis and using an enchanted device of "kill all the Grogs"?

The AotH may give the enchanted device a significantly negative pentration, but does its effect still work?

The key rule is this.

What does «resisted» mean?
The wording is similar in the first paragraph about spells cast against it, and here it says

I read this as every effect cast against the Aegis or anything inside has to penetrate the level of the aegis as if it is an MR (unless the item was inside the aegis at the time of the ritual or whatever else makes the item a member of the Aegis).

If the Aegis does not resist, the target also has a chance to resist on its own merit, but the two MR effects are not added together. One or the other has to suffice on its own to block the effect.