Which Hermetic Breakthrough is the most saga-changing?

So, this Saturday the crew is getting together to play the Second Schism War. We've been playing our Redcap Saga for about a year and a half real time and developed several points of conflict between various Houses. Two of the players' characters are primi, and as a result we've had a very high powered (politically speaking) game. Unable to overcome these conflicts, the Order breaks down and goes to war. Using ad hoc rules from Greg Stolze's Reign and the board game Diplomacy, I've concocted a method to play through the Second Schism War in a single (albeit long) session.

Now, the point of this is to set the stage for our next saga, which will happen a (Hermetic) generation after Schism War II. Once the ashes have settled, determined by how this Saturday goes, we'll take a look at our Order of Hermes and make characters based on that. Will all the Houses still be available? Maybe not.

Anyway, a second point of interest is to change Hermetic magic just a bit and incorporate a Hermetic Breakthrough into standard Hermetic magic. I'm wondering what you, my esteemed colleagues, think would be the most saga-changing breakthrough already described in published books. Magically refreshing fatigue? New Arcane Ranges? Magically grafting body parts?

What do you think?

Matt Ryan

I like integrating all of the Bjornaer sensory magic targets. I'd use those suckers for half of my spells if they were available to me.

Great question. And every reply will list something different.

Free rein? I'd say aligning Hermetic Magic to the Divine. Find a way to truly do that and you no longer rely on "magic".

As a saga point, I'd say that the implications are huge. You move from a sheltered set of magi hovering around these magical places at the edge of humanity's influence to suddenly being front and centre. The magi start to share the stage with the Church, maybe even start to fall in line with the Church. The Order becomes just another order...

Most things I can think of, like rituals without vis, or enchanted items without vis, or restoring fatigue, for instance, don't really have an impact on the saga except removing a few plot points (vis sources and bartering) or removing the need to rest.

I think the only one that I can think of that comes close would be the lunar sphere; that allows you to really play around with the natural order. To not just use horoscopes to aid magic, but to actually create "new" horoscopes; or change what they mean, or work magic through horoscopes.

So are you thinking something that makes hermetic magic OK with the divine like realm aligned spells from HoH:TL or a more significant change such as giving all of the magi something close to the Holy magic virtue?

I like that idea.

Along the same lines but even less drastic is a passage from Guardians of the forrest that the order has a few items that create a magical aura that travels with the item (IIRC verditious himself made them and no one else has yet been able to duplicate the effect) making this trick a part of standard hermetic magic will integrate the magi with the rest of the world as well.

A spell that eliminates the delterious social effects of the gift. Either a spell to cast on the magi (increasing the speed of warping in the setting) or alternately a spell that needs to be cast at the targets (making it more difficult to implement, arguably mentem can do something similar to this now).

I like that: traveling auras.

My initial thought was that magi need to be even more secretive after SWII. Hoping that the Second Schism War takes about ten game years, the next saga would be set in 1260 or so. As we creep towards the fourteenth century, I can bring in the medieval Inquisition, more universities, large-scale plagues, and all sorts of fun things. I guess my rough idea is that the war wipes out a bunch of wizards, hopefully some of the Houses, making the survivors fairly powerful. I've always liked the idea that magic is power, but have (mildly) railed against all the goodie-two-shoes rules of the Order. Can't spy on each other, have to warn your neighbor a month in advance before you fry him, what fun is that? (I'm being a little tongue in cheek here.)

I've gotten used to powerful PCs because two of my players can munchkin the hell out of the system. (I don't dare show them the thread that talks about natural magicians and Greater Powers.) So, what would really, really make magi powerful? Realm-aligned spells are a good idea along those lines.

Matt Ryan

Removing the penalties from the gift basically renders companions as useless in a saga. Fine if you want to run around only with mages, but not that great if you want some troupe variety

I would say that allowing magi to benefit from the divine auras would be really ground breaking from a POV of the game setting, yep. Destorying Parma would be pretty nice as well to highten paranoia, and making magi vulnerable. Do you recall the Diedne ritual that removed Pictish from the woerld? What if the Diednes return and strike against Parmae from hidding? Accusations fly high and WAR! :mrgreen: Magi are no longer protected from the effects of The Gift, so paranoia returns and the OoH breaks down as an institution.


Should the Hermetic Breakthroughs be related to the Schism War 2? There are several breakthroughs that Magi might be desperate to accomplish to give them an edge in Wizard's Wars, Marches, and Schism calamities:

Add ways to affect a target outside your immediate perceptions but without an Arcane Connection. Say, a new range: Sympathetic Connection. If you know your target's name and birthday, you can hit him from across the continent.

Allow Hermetic Magic to view the past. Maybe there's a Trianoman Maga, a survivor of the Schism War 2. She was horrified at what the SW2 did to the Order. She's accomplished several minor breakthroughs involving scrying into the past, but she has one lifelong, Hermetic goal: Go back in time and prevent the war from erupting.

Find ways to grant Magic Resistance to non-Hermetics. This would be a reaction to the SW2, a desire to make defenses more powerful than offenses.

Let Hermetic Magic affect souls. Ghosts of Magi are available for summoning and will never stop re-fighting the SW2, even in the afterlife.

Allow enchanted items to mimic some ritual spells.

I like the Holy Magic direction, in two possible avenues: (a) a push towards integration with mundane society, with the Order becoming a religious order as noted above, or (b) magi leading a new Divine religion, contesting Christianity and Islam, with themselves as its high priests. An alternative along similar lines would be for magi to be able to effectively combat the Divine, e.g. assigning an Effective Level to divine miracles so that they could be dispelled and resisted; with such tools, magi would be able to fight the Divine for terf, either by encouraging mundane Magical and Faerie religions or by cleansing them from the land.

Making the Order more secretive is best achieved, I think, by mastering the creation of magical regios, perhaps through Mythic Architecture. This allows the Order to slip into becoming a secret society living in a hidden world just outside mundane society.

Making magi more powers, now... Well, they're plenty powerful now, if you ask me :smiley: But two aspects can be upgraded: raw power, and penetration. Raising penetration can be done with integrating Hermetic Synthemata, and all the uses of True Names and o on. Increasing raw power is more tricky; inventing a new means of high-Quality instruction in high levels is critical here, I think - perhaps by summoning dead wizard spirits, or visiting some special place in the magic realm. A good option here is a high-Communication high-Teaching Good Teacher ancient ascended-wizard ancient daemon, which could teach anyone that wants to summon it huge amounts on Magic Theory and the Arts, with very high source quality. Along similar liners, if the Children of Hermes cult is true, spreading lots of initiation scripts and absurdly-high-level summa and teaching by Hermes himself can serve a similar role.

Beyond that, affecting without an arcane connection lifts one major limitation, and is possible with the Symbol range. Changing something's essential nature with a Muto effect would be a nice touch, as would allowing unlimited Fatigue, but doesn't ultimately do so much. Magi are limited, effectively, by their lifetime, so spreading some effective form of immortality would allow increasing their power immensly, but only by slow, slow progress, so this isn't too much fun.

As you suggest, there are variations on a theme, but I was indeed thinking of the more extreme end of integration with the Divine. It sounds like Matt's game is really playing at the high-power mover and shaker level, which means that the real meat in a breakthrough that brings the Order closer to the Divine (or Infernal depending on who "wins") is the political ramifications. One magus aligns his spells to the Dominion, he gets a bonus. But the whole Order shifts from Magic to Divine, now that's a completely different paradigm.


The most game changing Hermetic Breakthrough?

IMO, unifying Hermetic Magic and Natural Philosophy, allowing people without the Gift access to the full panoply of Hermetic Magic, and removing Aura as a positive or negative consideration. Magic becomes an academic discipline, open to everyone able to make it through a 15 year course of study. Within a generation or so, most magi will be Giftless, and there will be lots of magi.



Ouch. That would be nasty.

The other, of course, is a variant of what did change the world here and now. The information revolution. It's also plausible as a goal for a Bona magus to want to bring about.

The ability to read and copy books easily? Or even just produce books easily. Admittedly, if it got outside the order, you'd see the entire society begin to reshape quite sharply also (hence universities becoming more common)


That's a matter of inventing the printing press a few centuries early, no Hermetic Breakthrough required.



Here's a question...

What breakthroughs made by other traditions would be the most saga-changing?


Goetia working on angels! Mwahahahaha!



Nice! Or rather, not. ::grins::

No, I mean some equivalency to the internet. It's do-able with current hermetic theory, TBH. Creo Imeg to reproduce an image of a book with a Rego Imeg with an Intele and Herbem req to actually memorise the book you show it allows you e-book readers. Combined with arcane connections TO the books, which can be done, and you have a long distance wireless connection to the entire library, and the tech can be expanded outwards. The printing press might be useful, but the ability to just write out what you're thinking and send it to someone you trust who is in a similar field (like a co-developer) is what has completely altered our society over the past 12 or so years (Commonly available internet access. This forum is an example.)

Breaking the limit of Vis would seriously change the game balance and the order economics.

If every single point of vis was equivalent to any other point of vis, you would see some tribunals getting stronger, and others weaker...

I think that's one small change that has a lot of repercussions too.


Limit of Essential nature. Isn't it the one where you can't remove aging, decreptitude and warping? If the magi can ditch this, they'll live for bloody ever!

That game already exists: it is called Vampire.