Wizard's Communion - why and when is this used?

As sort of a spin-off from the recent thread on Aegis, Wards & Penetration:

I'm not going to get into a lot of huff about whetehr or not this spell should work or not, especially for Ritual spells. It's in the book and it is non-standard in the Hermetic theory.
IMHO the D:Mom could be argued for as being ok, since the MuVi effect allows the casters to enter 'communion' - a cooperative state of casting magic. Entering this is momentary and this state lasts as long as casting the spell does. Be it seconds as for Formulaic or up to seveval hours for a Ritual. I know this isn't fitting very well into the standard but it is a legacy spell.

And of course Communion works with rituals. Otherwise why would the virtue Mercurian Magic give away free WC spells according to the highest level of ritual known?

But the real deal is: when, where and why is WC used?
Because I really think this is a nice effect, and have always wanted to use it. Being something of an old-timer I started out with 2nd ed. In 4th ed I envisioned the magi having to cooperate to cast a powerful Aegis, but a rules-savvy player merely had his magus cast it from text.
Nowadays in 5th I play a Jerbiton with Mercurian magic, who pursues healing spells and casts the covenant Aegis because of the vis savings. But still there is no reason to use WC, since penetration hardly matters in these cases.

So does anybody actually use Wizard's Communion?

Otherwise, it seems that half of what Mercurian Magic virtues does is wasted, and considering the drawback coincerning spontaneous magic included in this it is quite expensive and low in effect as compared to many other Major Hermetic Virtues.


  • to affect a ritual, you need a ritual. But I could totally see the "free" spell wizard's communion one receive because of mercurian magic being ritual. I could also (see last bullet) see that he receive a formulaic and a ritual version of it.

  • it's useful when you need high penetration only or are unable to cast the spell by yourself (like if you are a high theorician Bonisagus developing in lab spells double your casting ability!)

  • and yes, mercurian magic is without a doubt the worst major hermetic virtue of the corerule book. His drawback (spontaneous magic is ceremonial) is a major flaw per se, and his advantage is only worth a major one (not as Diedne which can be considered a double major).
    One of my characters had it during his gauntlet because his mater was one, and I curse the SG. I hate that virtue so much, it basically prevent my character to cast any spell in adventures since formulaic are narrowed and we never really have time to cast ceremonially.

If you make Wizard Communion a ritual, then it costs vis. And since you need to beat twice the level of the ritual you do want to cast with your communion level, the cost in vis ... well, in most cases you would be better off just using that extra vis to boost your spellcasting in the first place.

No, better to just hand waive the Communion as working, including with rituals and forget all the reasons why it shouldn't.

Actually, I have never used it. In one saga we considered it only to realize that only two of the magi ever bothered to learn it, and we simply could not get a middling spell off with it even if we tried. That's the real problem I think: unless all the magi in a troop have learned it at a decent level, it just doesn't help.

I suppose the best time to use it is when you need a high penetration on a high level spell, the magus with the spell could cast it on his own but without much penetration, with a communion he can achieve a good penetration. Arcane range attack spells, spells that have to penetrate an Aegis on the other end...

Wizards Communion doesn't really work in reactive situations, because you don't have time to set it up. It works better in situations where the participants are the ones driving the action, and they use Wizards Communion to enable a plan that wouldn't work otherwise.

For instance, suppose we wanted to sneak into the nearby monastery and search the abbots room. Zaccheaus knows the following spells, L15 Opening the Intangible Tunnel, L15 Maintaining the Demanding Spell, L10 Summoning the Nearby Image (Touch range version of summoning the Distant Image) and The Call to Slumber, which is also L10. Zaccheaus has a +16 casting total in the Opening the Intangible Tunnel and Maintaining the Demanding Spell and a +12 casting total in The Call to Slumber and Summoning the Nearby Image. If the party is just outside the divine aura caused by the monastery, and the abbot has a relic giving him base 10 magic resistance, with a +3 from the divine aura, there is no way that I can Open the Intangible Tunnel to the abbot, then cast Maintaining the Demanding Spell, then cast Summon the Nearby Image through the tunnel and then cast The call to slumber if the abbot is in his room alone. Whereas, Zaccheaus knows Wizards Communion at L30, and two other magi at the covenant know it at L15. This means that if the three of them join in, they can cast Opening the Intangible Tunnel on the abbot with it having an effective casting total of 5, and can feel comfortable that each spell will get through.

The other thing is that it allows NPC’s to get strong effects though while not requiring them to be as powerful. If the bad guys can only get though a players parma by using Wizards Communion, and they have to set up a situation to make that practical, that might make the game more interesting than if they can just reliably blast the magus and the magus has to hide or hit them first to survive.

As for Mecurian Magic being bad because of limits on Spontaneous Magic, I think half the spontaneous magic spells we cast in my former game were ceremonial.

Mercurian is only really usefull in groups. If you have four Mercurians in a covenant.... well, you can do some pretty impressive stuff.

This spell comes in handy with:

1.) High level Aegis.
2.) Mercurian Portals (setting them up.)
3.) High-level theurgy (summoning powerul demons)
4.) Special spells like Merinita or Guernicus super-rituals that, for example, let you curse or enchant an entire army, region, country or magical tradition (using symbol magic, for example)
5.) Getting aegis-busting high penetration on ritual spells.
6.) Other super-rituals (haunted forest, living forest, mysts of change etc.)

This virtue is greatly enhanced by Mystic Correography (rituals take 2 min/magnitude rather than 15/ magnitude.) This allows you to use the virtues more proactively.

Its also a great combo for a healer. A healer with Mercurian and M.C. virtues can cheaply and quickly heal up a troupe in lull in a battle (4 pawns and 16 minutes for the highest-level damage to a single character.)

One saga I was in used it with hermetic theurgy to summon daimons no-one could've possibly summoned alone.
And at a fraction of the vis cost.

Hardly! What would that make Lifelinked Spontaneous Magic then? Quadruple Major or something?
Without its Flaw, DM is an ok but not great Major.
DMs first ability, being able to cast non-fatigueing with /2 isnt really very useful because adding the botchrisk merely to avoid a slight amount of very much temporary fatigue, its just not a big deal.

I would say that Mercurian magic is useful even with out most of the covenant having it, as long as they also learn Wizards Communion. The Mercurian can always translate some of their Wizards Communions for others to learn after all.

Usually, the big advantage of Mercurian magic is being able to cast ritual spells at half price. Since using Wizards Communion with those that don't have Mercurian magic means the ritual spell is no longer half price, the magus would really prefer to be casting with fellow Mercurian magus.

Read this virtue again (HoH:Soc p56), it reduces time for Ceremonial magic, not Ritual spells!

I was always under the impression that Ritual Magic was a type of magic, and Ceremonial Casting was a way of casting magic. The two were distinguished not as different types of magic, but like a noun and a verb, a type of magic and a way of casting magic.

Is there a part of HoH: S that says that Rituals don't use ceremonial casting?

Am I completely wrong with this?

Ceremonial Casting is a sub-header of Spontaneous Spell, same as Fast Casting.

Even if it's not useful for rituals the Mystical Choreography virtue is not a bad choice for Mercurian Magi. It certainly mitigates there primary disadvantage and it makes sense for the character to be unusually good with Ceremonial casting.

Mercurian Magic may not be the best greater virtue but it certainly has some good points and a lot of character (no pun intended). It's the sort of virtue you have to build your whole character around you can't just tack it on willy nilly. I feel sorry for the poster who had it foisted on their character.

Why when they don't even need to know a single ritual spell to help.

Because that is what it says in the writeup of the virtue.

Story wise, I expect it is because those with Mecurian Magic have had their opening of the gift tweaked in such a way that it is different, (thus the restriction on spont spells) and you need everyone involved in the ritual to be tweaked that way to get the reduction in vis cost.

We use communions from time to time. We have one magus (Marie) that knows it, and casting tablets in our library just in case. We use it to:

  • arcane connection/sight range casting of Hermetic Artillery spells. (group, structure or boundary targets). Useful to achieve acceptable casting totals. Very useful vs the tritoiones that pester our covenant from time to time.

  • long range information gathering. Same reason (high casting total) to overcome magical nerfs like divine auras. We have never tried it, but I think we could get to see what happens in the Vatican if we worked on it.

  • beat down the Big Bad Guy like Termaneagh, a pesky dragon that bothers us from time to time. Generally combined with information gathering (where the damn is he?) and magical artillery. We have also beaten down a demon from arcane range that was bothering one of our companions on crusade from afar. Long range DEO artillery.

Our most recent plot to use this is to use information gathering (check on him, and sense through his senses) and a ReAn(Me) effect to control the dragon from afar. Nice little pet. Ther eis going to be a big battle soon on the is le of man, and we are not supposed to intervene after all, but we hate to miss a good show... :mrgreen:

No way we could achieve most of the listed stuff without Communion. The key her eis that you need collaborative magi to get this stuff out. If ytou do, you can get pretty impressive totals, and it is MUCH more mythic than using the trick of massive charged items IMS.


We use it for our Aegis, certainly. We tend to be a non-scrying group that hasn't had too many run-ins with Mighty creatures, so the need to use it more widely hasn't come up yet. I'm hoping the players in the game I'm alpha-SG in realize, once Mighty Creatures do start to appear, that the WC will be just as useful there as it is for Aegis.

I assume, since you say there's no using to use WC for Aegis, that you're of the "Aegis doesn't need to penetrate" camp, since my saga's resident Rego expert , who has a casting total around 30-40 inside the aura, certainly can't fire off a lvl 30-40 Aegis with sufficient penetration to matter.

Yes and no. To begin with I liked the idea of needing Penetration. If nothing else then to actually use WC, and secondarily to find a reason why everybody and their uncle don't just get one of the quite common high-level lab texts and just muddle throug casting the huuge rituel to always have the highest possible Aegis (unless lacking vis, but...Vim vis is easily refined, so...).
But I hear a lot of the arguments as to why not, and I find the potential for huuuge problems if enforcing this.

IMS we've debated if we would require Penetration for the part of Aegis where creatures of Might try to wade through. But completely disregard it for the part where it penalizes spells cast by non-participants of the ritual. That might work, although it seems like an odd compromise.

But with the exception that one cna take a 'Ceremonial Casting' mastery for Formulaic spells. With the note that it can't be taken for Ritual spells, since these already require that you use Artes Liberales and Philosophiae and allow you to add these abilities.

But hey - it would be cool if it could reduce time for rituals, then the Mysical Choreaograpgy would be a lot better.

The way I read it is that Ceremonial Casting is a thing for Spontaneous Magic only (wiht the exception that the mastery option allows the use for Formulaic spells). Formulaic spells is the second of the only two ways there are to cast magic. Ritual spells are a subcategory of Formulaic.
The way things are written, it could be interpreted that Ritual spells actually use the same mechanics as Ceremonial Spontaneous Magic, and thus is affected by Mystical Choreography. I just never saw it that way.