Alternate Magic Systems

NOTE: This page has nothing to do with the Andorra Saga.

It began as a thread on the Atlas Games Forums, in which I (the fixer) did several replies, replicated and codified here (or at least, that's my intend as of writing)

Many thanks to Argentius for his wonderful write up. I could never have done this. I'll try to put his writings and descriptions in italic.

A word of warning: All of this is untested, obviously, and written on the spur of the moment, without much thought given to consequences or how it may articulate with other options.
So sometimes, this'll be more inspired, and better thought-out, and sometimes not.
This is done for fun and inspiration, so if you use these as a basis for whatever (I intend to provide an example later), be careful.

1) Arts, Abilities, Methods?

You can use the rules below to tweak hermetic magic, if you want, for example, to adapt it to another setting, or invent a breakthrough.

But they can also be used to design a new tradition, be it hedge or rival. For that, you have 3 possibilities when designing that tradition's powers

1.1) New Arts

This is the most difficult method.
You must invent new arts from scratch, and then, either decide which bits of which guidelines apply, or write entirely new guidelines, which may, or not, feel fair in the end.

You can cheat a little, by mixing new techniques and old forms, or the other way around: It is easier to search the hermetic Ignem guidelines for Split Fire or Create Living Creature effects than it is to figure out Split Living Creatures base levels.

It is suggested that all arts of Hedge traditions be Difficult ones. For Rival traditions, you may have either the techniques (or equivalent) or the forms be normal arts.

1.2) New Accelerated Abilities

Figure out the equivalent of major foci within existing guidelines, or slap together up to 3 minor foci united by a common theme. This forms the basis of an Accelerated Ability used by that tradition.
For example, in a mock write-up call "The Black Wizards of Cathay", I invented the Darkness Accelerated Ability, which comprised Perdo Ignem effects to dim or extinguish light and Rego Vim effects related to dark faeries.

1.3) New Methods, old powers.

Probably the easiest way to design a new tradition.
Take an existing, published form as a Power
Couple it with a new Method, named after the casting process described below.

For example, a tradition could use hermetic Ignem guidelines, coupled with one of the 2 following Methods: Blood Magic, or Vancian Magic.

Once again, all arts of Hedge traditions be Difficult ones. For Rival traditions, you may have either the Methods or the Powers be normal arts, the other being difficult ones.

2) Inner Power

Some rules below use what I call "Inner Power", which I define as magical power inherent to the sorcerers.
If you use these variants, you'll have to define how that inner power is calculated.

Listed below are some possibilities.
Although not supposed to, you may, of course, combine them if you want. Likewise, I call these "Base Inner Power", because you can apply a multiplier to them.
In both cases, you get a final Inner Power, which will be later referenced by just "Inner power"

As a rough guideline, being used as a bonus to casting total or a substitute for vis, final Inner Power should be on the same scale as magical auras or, at most, twice their value.

Option: Only human: Put a ceiling on final Inner Power for mortal wizards. This should be below what creatures of might can achieve, obviously.

2.1) Inner Power based on Warping

Your base Inner Power is equal to your Warping Score.

2.2) Inner Power based on Arts or Abilities

Arts and Accelerated Abilities: Your base Inner Power is based on 1/5 of your highest rating, rounded down. So if your highest score is 26, you'd have an Inner Power of 5 (or a multiple of it)

Accelerated Arts and Abilities: Your base Inner Power is based on 1/3 of your highest rating, rounded up. So if your highest score is 5, you'd have an Inner Power of 2 (or a multiple of it)

Option: Multiple Powers: Instead of using your highest rating, you have severals, one for each form / ability. So, for example, when casting an Ignem spell, you'd use your Ignem Inner Power rating, which would be different from your Terram Inner Power rating

2.3) Inner Power based on Virtues

This is the "Strong Gift / Weak Gift" variant.
Add together the point values of your Supernatural and Hermetic virtues, counting them as xp on the Arts table to determine your base Inner Power.

Option: Stronger Gifts: Hermetic Virtues count double

2.4) Inner Power based on a fixed value

Inner power is a fixed number, probably depending on whether you have the Gift or not.
It should range from 1 (weak) to 10 (very powerful).

If you use this in combination with other Inner Power variants, it may take negative values.
For example, Gifted People may have a base rating of 3, people with realm-appropriate supernatural abilities might have a rating of 0, while ungifted casters would have a rating of -3.

2.5) Inner Power based on Might

These rules often treat might differently, but this may have its use. In a similar spirit, some sagas may disallow Inner Power for mortals, but use it for supernatural beings.

Base Inner Power is 1/5 of the creature's Might Score.

This means that, unless using a multiplier to base power or combining multiple sources, powerful supernatural beings should have a lot more raw power than mortal sorcerers.

3) Any magic

3.1) Magic Limited By *Rare Stuff*

This is the category vis is in already - you need some thing to do certain magic, and that thing is hard to get and/or limited in quantity. Other variants might include:

3.1.1) Magic requires appropriate ingredients or catalysts

Magic requires appropriate ingredients or catalysts, and the more powerful the magic the more rarefied they need to be. e.g. Level 10 CrIg needs a mundane ruby, while level 50 needs a dragon's egg. Same concept as vis but less generalised

Option: Potent Magic: Make the requirements of Potent Magic a requisite to cast spells. However, unless you have the virtue, you don't get any bonus whatsoever. If using this, I'd limit it to formulaic magic: ritual instead use vis-analog.

Option: Ingredients as Vis: Mundane items, like a ruby, can contribute (half of the highest appropriate material bonus) as pawns of vis

3.1.2) Magic requires life force

Magic requires life force. Sacrifice (voluntary or otherwise) is a necessary component of powerful magic. Magic makes you age

Each season, make an aging roll with a penalty equal to the highest magnitude of spell you've cast.

Option: Cumulative Drain: Each spell cast require an aging roll

Option: Beneficent Auras: The penalty is reduced by the Aura's bonus to spellcasting

Option: Hostile Environment: The penalty is increased by any aura malus to spellcasting.

Option: No Cheap Tricks: The aging roll doesn't take into account any modifier other than the spell's magnitude.

Option: Tough Lad: Subtract your stamina from the aging roll

Option: Fount of Power: Subtract your Warping score from the aging roll Blood Magic

Casting a spell requires a sacrifice of fatigue and/or blood for *each* spellcasting.

1 short-term fatigue level is enough for 10 levels of spells. This can only come from the caster, and you can only spend one level.

You can add to this spell levels provided by wounds, knowing that you can only take one wound per spell: To cast more powerful spells, you must cause a greater wound.

A wound provides fuel for 10 levels of spells per -1 penalty (so, a medium wound can power 30levels of spells)
An Incapacitating is good for 75 levels
A Deadly wound provides 100 spell levels.
Divide all spell levels by 2 if the life energy doesn't come from the caster.

The person suffering the wound may be you, or someone else. Obviously, if they are neither willing or immobilized, you must successfully inflict a suitable wound to cast a spell.
If you take the wound, you can cast the spell in the same turn.
If you inflict it on someone else, you must cast the spell in the turn following the wounding.

Yes, this would likely mean that magi would have "blood slaves" to fuel their magic.

Option: Power in Blood: Double the spell levels provided when you take wounds.

Option: No blood Slaves: The energy must come from the caster.

Option: Killer Magi: Taking wounds is not an option, you must kill the source.

Option: Mass Sacrifices:When wounding others, you may cause wounds to several persons to gain spell levels. Each turn, you must wound one of the victims, until you've amassed enough power. Spell levels provided are equal to 1/5 the ratings above.

3.1.3) You can't do magic, and must summon & bargain

Powerful magic isn't something mortals can do. For that, you need to summon a spirit/god/demon and bargain with them. This requires true names, specialised rituals, maybe gifts etc. Core Summonings

Scrap most magic systems, and only use the variant flavors of summoning traditions present in the line.

As an alternative, you could have a world in which you have magic, but it comes from whatever.
You could model this using the Spirit Votary rules.

If you want something closer to Hermetic Magic, you could also do it by using the hermetic theurgy and spell spirits rules Bestowed Powers

For a world in which you gain magic from spirits/gods/whatever and then it's done, I'd give these beings a Ritual Power allowing them to grant a Personal / Lesser / Greater power, from RoP: Mp44-47.
IIRC (and Serf's Parma), you can use a Ritual Power without a permanent expenditure of might, but the points can't be regenerated or else the effect ceases, . This would allow a Fire God to, say, give a follower the Shaper of Fire power, knowing that, should it want so, it can just take it back by not dedicating its Might. Channeling

This magic variant uses an existing magic system, combined with the "Golden Chain" rules from Dies Irae: To cast magic, you need a Patron, who'll channel you the requisite power. Without a Patron, you lose access to your powers. Your Patron's might also limits the level of spells that you can cast.

Option: Focused Channelling: Magic use is only allowed if its form aligns with the Patron's Might or, at the very least, one of its Powers.

Option: To serve several Masters: A variant of the "Focused Channeling" option above, in which you can have several Patrons, allowing you to cast spells from different forms.

Option: Invested by a Pantheon: You can have several Patrons of the same Might. Take the highest Might, and add one half of the remaining Mights to determine the maximum level of spells you can cast.

Option: Limited Power: Your Patron's Might limits your Casting Total instead.

3.2) Magic Limited By Location

Magic is restricted to places of power or similar. Sort of exists in Ars already with auras and regiones, but as a bonus/malus rather than hard requirement.

3.2.1) Leylines and places of power

Magic taps into leylines or nexuses of power or something similar, which may vary in power (making powerful magic possible only in very select places)

To cast a spell, you must be in a friendly aura.
Its "bonus to spellcasting" limits the magnitude of spells you can cast (Someone aligned to the realm of magic could still cast spells in a Faerie aura, but these would be of a smaller magnitude than those cast by a Faerie wizard)

It is suggested you use one of these:
- Spell magnitude is limited to 10 * aura bonus to spellcasting
- Spell magnitude is limited to 5 * (aura bonus to spellcasting + Inner Power)

3.2.2) Magic doesn't stick around at ground level

E.g.cthonic energies are heavier than air and sink deep below the earth, while astral energies are lighter than air and float towards the sky. Powerful magic requires being deep underground, or high up in the air (that's why wizards like towers so much).

Not much to add.
Well, actually, that's not totally true. You'll need to decide what counts as Chtonic energies, or astral ones.

For elemental magic, you can rely on elemental spheres: Earth is the lowest, then comes water, air, and the highest, Fire. How do other forms fit into this? I don't know.

It is probably easier to divide magic into material and immaterial: Earth, Water, Animal, Corpus… would belong to the ground, while Auram, Ignem, Mentem and Vim would require you to be up high.

How high, how low? Your mileage may vary, but you may consider, as an exemple, 10 meters per magnitude.

3.2.3) Magic Requirement

Powerful magic requires an environment attuned to the magic and that becomes more intense as the magic gets stronger. Think of the study requirement flaw, but it applies to spells and lab work too.

3.2.4) Astral Magic

Powerful magic is not possible in the terrestrial world at all, and requires accessing higher planes of existence (think astral projection or trances)

Once you've selected a level after which this happens (like lvl 30, or "only ritual magic", you've got 2 questions IMO:
The first question is "can magic affect the physical plane?"
The second being "can you enter this trance quickly?"

This gives 4 cases:

a) Yes and Yes: Magic can affect the physical plane, you can enter this trance quickly.
This is shadowrun, mostly.
I'd just go back some editions: When casting a spell, you spend your entire turn into a trance. The spell goes of at the beginning of your next turn. If interrupted, roll Concentration or the spell fails.

b) Yes and No: Magic can affect the physical plane, you can't enter this trance quickly.
Make all formulaic magic Ceremonial.

c) No and Yes: Magic can't affect the physical plane, you can enter this trance quickly.
Like a), but this will cripple most spells, although you can cast, say, a Pilum of Fire, but only against spirits. Likewise, terram affects "Astral terram", and spirits(or demons, or faeries) with Terram Might.

d) No and No: Magic can't affect the physical plane, you can't enter this trance quickly.
Like b and c

Now, you also gotta answer if something can happen when you access those higher planes, and if you can visit them or not.
If so, I'd just give the magi's spirit the ability to visit the realm of magic as a spirit, with a Might Score equal to their highest form.

If you want "astral traveling" in the physical world, I'd also use this in conjunction with the rules above.
If so, you need to decide if the Range starts at the spirit (which makes magi more frightening) or at their body (so, if going with yes and yes, an insubstantial magus could fry you with a PoF while his body is miles appart, but he'd need AC range while his spirit is with you)

3.3) Magic Limited By Time or Complexity

Magic takes time, and that time increases exponentially as it gets more powerful. Complexity is similar, in that powerful magic is simply too involved to do without a lot of prep and a good reason.

  • Casting times increase exponentially with magnitude. A level 5 spell takes a round to cast, but a level 50 spell takes a week (without breaks). you could simulate this using spell durations: a lvl 5 spell is cast as a Momentary action, a lvl10 one takes a Diameter, a lvl15 spell takes until sunrise/sunset…
  • Powerful magic is too complex for one person, so powerful spells need many magi working in tandem. double spell levels to deterrmine their casting difficulty. Wizard's Communion is a must
  • Powerful spells are as hard to master as entire schools of lesser magic. Think of Fenecil's rituals, which must each be learnt and advanced as an ability but if all ritual spells and enchantments were like that.
  • Powerful spells can only be cast *when the time is right*. e.g. spells require auspicious astrological factors, and such confluences for powerful spells are so rare they can only be cast rarely.
  • Powerful spells take up so much mental "space" that learning one requires you to forget a lot of smaller useful magic. Learning *really* big spells leaves no room for anything else (this is the case in Discworld).
  • Powerful spells require questing, or emulation of some supernatural being. Imagine if the system of mystery initiations was something that also applied to learning (and using?) powerful magic.

Ok, I've done examples rules that you could use for 1, 2 and 4 already. Let's see if I can whip up example on how to do the rest

3.3.1) Powerful spells are as hard to master as entire schools of lesser magic.

Let's be lazy.
To learn a ritual, you need to invest as many XP in it as the Ritual's level (or twice it, whatever).
If inventing by yourself, this is Practice for 5xp.
Otherwise, use normal rules for teaching.
Learning books from texts mean the texts must have a Quality.

Option: Rare Knowleadge: Formulaics spells require their level in XP. Ritual spells require twice that.

3.3.2) Powerful spells take up so much mental "space"

Actually, I've toyed with similar ideas for XP in general. Bear with me.
In RPGs, you can train a skill to its utmost, and then go to the next, and the next. In real life, you need to keep training to maintain physical skills, to stay up to date in science or whatever.
Even without staying up-to-date, you forget: If you learned how to code 10 years ago but didn't do anything with it since, I very much doubt you'd be able to do much with it.

You could, of course, apply the principle to all skills and xp. But let's limit that to magic.
You just need to limit the number of spells a character can learn.
You can put a total level cap, like "No more than 200 + 5 times your Art of Memory spell levels".

But, if I understand your original idea, I believe a slightly more complex system may fit the bill better.

Rate all spells on the Arts XP table, using their magnitude as a base.
So a 10th magnitude spell would be 55 points.
And now, chose a limit. I'd suggest, like above, a base rating, + a variable part based on a skill which ain't Magic Theory, thanks.
If you have, say, 50 points + twice "Art of memory" (for example), this means that you could have lots of small spells, but the bigger they are, the more room they take, and the aforementioned lvl 50 spell would take almost all your headspace.

Option: Shared Spells: Several magi can partially, or roughly, learn a spell, investing only some points in it. To cast a spell requires magi to pool their points to cast it, acting together for the entire casting time. So a lvl 70 spell (105 points) could be learned partially by 5 magi (21 points), who would only be able to cast it together.

This is fun! :)

3.3.3) Powerful spells require questing, or emulation of some supernatural being.

Hum… Gotta get back to work, do this quick.
Take spell level + penetration, noted in magnitudes.
This is the EF of the initiation to cast it.

Or you could initiate spells as Personnal, Lesser or Greater Powers (from RoP: M), combining this with your arts for casting and penetration. Just bring fatigue down to 0.

3.4) Magic Limited By *Bad Stuff*

Magic itself is corrupting, or maybe the intensity of studying magic wears on a person, or some other nasty consequence. Either way, magic is not good for your health and the more powerful the worse it gets.

  • Corruption, a la Warhammer. Magic draws on the power of evil stuff and taints the user, maybe also attracts demons/monsters. //
  • Magic is powered by your own life force and if you go overboard you get sick or die.
  • The god(s), elder beings, eldritch things from beyond, or what have you might start to pay attention to you if you cast magic. The bigger the magic the more likely you are to be "spotted". This is a bad thing.
  • Learning and/or using powerful magic strains the mind and drives people mad.
  • The caster is fine but magic taints or destroys the land. The pressure against going crazy with powerful magic is social rather than practical (think Dark Sun).//

Bad Stuff… Amber DRPG? :)

3.4.1) Corruption

Easiest way is to just to consider that all Arts are Corrupted (as per RoP: tI). I believe this would work nicely.

But for fun, let's try something new :slight_smile:

Hum… Ok, let's say you have this "Corruption" personality trait, which replaces Warping.
It starts at 0, and increases like an ability.
You gain Corruption points any time you'd get warping points from a botch, following the same mechanics.
Do you get them from being subjected to magical effects? If magic is corrupt, why not. This depends on how punishing you want this to be.
You gain XP in it each time you cast a spell. The number of xp is equal to the spell's magnitude minus your Corruption Score (min 0).
[u]Option: Corrupting Knowledge[/u]. Learning a spell also increases Corruption, as above.
[u]Option: Slow Rot[/u]. When casting a spell, you always gain at least 1 corruption XP.
[u]Option: Tempting Evil[/u]. Corruption adds its score to all spell casting rolls

The SG must also decide if magics which give Corruption (Warping, such as CrVi) exists or not. If so, these are foulsome indeed.

What does Corruption do?
One possibility is that you must take "free" Infernal-related flaws at least equal to your Corruption score. You may change these whenever your Score increases.
But this can multiply instances of Story flaws, which may be a burden. So let's try something else.

Corruption has several effects:
a) It acts as a malus for anything related to good impressions, gaining trust… In short, it is not very different from the Gift save if you want to frighten someone, things like that: It acts as a bonus to frighten or intimidate people.

Option: This looks bad You actually change physically, maybe depending on your highest art, like monstruous appearance, but think "demonic"
Option: Hidden Evil: As "This looks bad", but the changes are only visible through SS, sense evil, InVi…
[u]Option: Demon amongst Demons[/u]: You Corruption Score acts as a Hierarchy Score with Demons

b) It opposes virtuous personality traits, diminishing them or increasing bad ones. Check RoP: tI, I believe it may be of great help for this. You may want to limit that to some virtues, like Charity. At corruption 3, this acts like a Minor Flaw. At Corruption 6, this acts like a Major flaw.

[u]Option: Fighting the Taint[/u]. The return of the base version, with similar caveats. You may refuse Corruption. For that, you may take "free" Infernal-related flaws. Their act to decrease your Corruption Score, not unlike a reverse Puissant.
[u]Option: … Or at least trying to[/u]: An add-on to the option above: You can't really hold Corruption at bay. Add flaws points together on the Arts xp table to determine the malus to your Corruption Score (So you need 6 flaw points to apply -3 to your Corruption Score)

2. [u]Life Force[/u]

We did this above.

3. [u]Yummy for bad things[/u]

Hum… I'll keep this for tomorrow. Well, tomorrow tomorrow: We are tomorrow and I did a bunch of add-ons for Corruption.
Actually, I was interrupted, so we're the next week. Yeah!

Keep it simple.
I'd take a page from the Trollsynir, replacing Valkyries by fearsome beings.

But that's not the demand. Hum…
You could roll botch dices for the spell (1/mag). For each botch, the SG could either:
a) Attract right now beings with a combined Might of 10 per botch
b) Store the botch to add 5 might to a future botch result.

You could also roll a stress die + magnitude over a difficulty based on the Aura (Say, 12 - Magic Aura), with each point above the difficulty being handled as above. I'd put a cap on the result, obviously (This is an example about why, as a matter of taste, I don't like the explodey part of the stress rolls)

4. [u]Magic drives you mad[/u]

I suppose you're going for the cosmic horror vibe, à la Chtulhu. Can we do this? Hum…

Ok, let's posit a mechanism similar to Corruption, called Madness.
a) Your Madness score acts as a penalty on all Academic (and possibly Arcane) skills, as well as any XP source (teaching, books…) you may provide on these matters. That penalty is diminished by your audience's own Madness, to a minimum of 0.
[u]Option: Twisted Insights[/u]. Add your Madness score to the Source Quality of your teachings and books on magic arts and skills, if the "target" takes as many Madness points. Otherwise, it acts as a penalty.
[u]Option: Mad Genius[/u]. AS Twisted Insights above, but also applies to Academic (and/or Arcane, if concerned) skills.
b) You must take a number of points of personality flaws equal to your Madness Rating. You may take appropriate General Flaws
c) Each time your Madness score increases, you lose your mind entirely. Roll as per an episode of Twilight to know the duration.

5. [u]Magic taints or destroys the land[/u]

I believe I may have given an example of this before? I can't remember. Anyway.

You could use a mechanism similar to what the Trollsynir are doing anytime a Ritual spell is cast, or an Enchantment created.
Serf's parma, so I don't remember how this works, but this should fit the bill nicely.

Otherwise… Let's say
If you botch, reduce the local aura of 1 per botch. This lasts a season for Spontaneous and Formulaic Magic, a Year for a Ritual
If the aura is reduced to 0, the effect are permanent.
If the aura is reduced below 0, the place gains environmental hooks (as per Covenant), or maybe flaws (a place may be Tainted with Evil, for example)
Any Aura point below 0, the Aura is inimical to magic (use the Magic vs Divine realm interaction chart)

4) Formulaic Magic only

Oh, I forgot!!

There are 2 things we didn't do! Vancian Magic, and Energy Pool magic (where casting a spell takes energy from a pool).

Here they are, with options being mostly interchangeable:

4.1 VANCIAN Magic):

This is DnDMagic:you've got "spell slots" and must, in advance, prepare your spells and "store" them in a slot until the moment of use.
Characters can prepare spells up to 5 times their rating in a given art. Preparing a spell takes as long as a ceremonial casting.
[u]Option: Trading Arts[/u]: you can convert slots from other arts on a 1-to-1 basis. That is, you can use a rating of 10 in aquam to prepare 10 levels of Terram spells, not 50.
[u]Option: Long Prep Times[/u]: preparing a spell takes as long as a ritual casting
[u]Option: Dying Magic[/u]: Preparing a spell requires the expenditure of vis: 1 pawn per 10 levels. Double the cost of rituals

4.2 ENERGY POOL Magic):

You've got a pool of energy points equal equal to twice your total rating in arts. To cast a spell, spend energy equal to its level.
[u]Option: Fire for Fire[/u]: You have separate pools for each art, following the rules for Vancian Magic, above.
[u]Option: Building inner magic[/u]: Add 5 times your Warping (or Corruption! ^^) score to your Energy Pool. You can also use this as "free slots" for vancian magic, above
[u]Option: No Free Lunch[/u]: Spells are cast with Pen 0. If you want more penetration, you must spend 1 energy for 5 pen, up to your Penetration total
[u]Option: Places of Power[/u]: An aura contributes energy points equal to its bonus to spellcasting.
[u]Option: Dead Magic[/u]: If the aura gives a malus to spellcasting, you must spend as many energy points.
[u]Option: Items of Power[/u]: An enchanted item can store energy points. Use ReVi to build a spell container. Each EP takes 5 levels. Recharge may vary: 1pawn per 2 EPs, sunrise, season, year… You may want to tie this to an aura, like Aura bonus per day
[u]Option: Divine Magic[/u]: Energy Points must come from a god or spirit, who spends might. An interesting option is to make these come from the familiar only, making one a requisite for spellcasting

To regenerate your energy pool, you may spend 1 fatigue (gives 5 points of energy) or rest an entire night.

As a matter of taste, I like the No free Lunch option (One thing I'd love to see in a magic system is 2 pathways: raw force or skill, with some ways to trade one for the other. Arts mostly embody both, which, IMO, is a loss), Places of Power, and Items of Power.

5) Ritual Magic only

These rules assume that vis is replaced by something else. They are not designed to be used on their own. When I wrote them, it was under the assumption that you would use several, if not all, of them in concert. The fewer of them you use, the more power you should give them.

For example, if "vis" can only come from the Aura, you should not be afraid to consider that each point of aura rating gives 3 points of vis, if not more if using some options.

5.1) Magic Limited By *Rare Stuff*

This is the category vis is in already - you need some thing to do certain magic, and that thing is hard to get and/or limited in quantity. Other variants might include:

5.1.1) Magic requires appropriate ingredients or catalysts

Magic requires appropriate ingredients or catalysts, and the more powerful the magic the more rarefied they need to be. e.g. Level 10 CrIg needs a mundane ruby, while level 50 needs a dragon's egg. Same concept as vis but less generalised

Option: Ingredients as Vis: Mundane items, like a ruby, can contribute (half of the highest appropriate material bonus) as pawns of vis

Option: Required Ingredients: As "Ingredients as Vis", but such ingredients are required on top of the vis cost, for some part of it. For example, special ingredients might be required for a total material bonus equal to the vis cost.

Option: Temporary Vis: Keep vis as it is, but it only lasts a season, and thus can't be stockpiled.

Option: One Spell, One Source: All your vis must come from a single source, such as a dragon's claws. If so, double the number of pawns per source

5.2) Rituals require Places, Times, and People

Magic is restricted to places of power or similar. Sort of exists in Ars already with auras and regiones, but as a bonus/malus rather than hard requirement.
The Vis cost stays the same.
All options below may be used in a given saga, and add up towards satisfying the Vis cost. Note that these are designed to work together, and using only some of them will greatly hinder ritual casting.

5.2.1) Leylines and places of power

Magic taps into leylines or nexuses of power or something similar, which may vary in power (making powerful magic possible only in very select places)

If the aura provides a bonus to your spell casting, it provides a number of pawns equal to that bonus.
This means that there are special places (aligned auras) more suitable for some rituals.

The Athas Option: You may choose to use any part of the Aura as vis. If you do, it is decreased by that same number until the next season.
The Athas Option, dreadful version: Roll one botch dice for each aura point used. if a botch comes up, that aura point is lost permanently.

5.2.2) Special times
There are special times occurring through the year. The fewer, the more powerful, as everything needs to align just fine. For example, each month, there could be a date worth 1 pawn, each season something worth 2-3, once a year could be 5-6, once a decade could be 7-8.

5.2.3) Rituals require a long time to cast
Consider the ritual's magnitude. Add 1 point for each 5 points of maximum penetration (so Penetration up to 20 would be +4)
Look up the result on the Arts xp chart.
This is the Ritual Casting Magnitude (RCM)
Option: You may apply, or not, Mercurian Magic to this. If you do, you must consider if this applies before, or after, adding magnitudes for penetration. As this is not thematic IMO (I believe MM is supposed to be lenghty), I would not do this, but YMMV

Base casting time in hours is equal to the xp required to reach the RCM (so, without Penetration, a lvl 20 ritual is 10 hours, a lvl 50 ritual is 55 hours…)

If you lack vis, you just add the needed pawns to the RCM to determine the new duration. For example, if you need 2 pawns to cast that lvl 50 ritual, it counts as 10+2 = 12 magnitude, for 78 hours.

You can shorten casting time by taking penalties to your Casting Total: -10 to CT decreases the Ritual Casting Magnitude by 1, to a minimum of 1.

How to magi deal with these dreadful casting times?
There are several options here, not necessarily mutually exclusive.
For simplicity's sake, you can assume that one person is good for 8 hours per day of ritual casting.
If taking turns (most notably, for assistants), this means that, for casting exceeding 1 day, you need triple the people for the same bonus unless applying some options below:

a) If several magi know the spell to be cast, they can take turns. Use the lowest Casting Total. Should a botch occurs, it is on the final caster (simpler)
b) Magi can forestall using things like Endurance of the Berserkers. Use the Deprivation rule at the end of the ritual
c) Magi can have assistants casting the Gift of Vigor on them at regular intervals. This can be expanded to gifted assistants…
d) As option b above, but the rituals themselves sustain magi (and possibly assistants), without the need for further magics
e) This is the "I don't wanna bother" option: The magical energies keep everyone going, fed and all, for the entire duration. There is no deprivation, nothing.

Option: Disruption to the covenant
Mundane assistants may be entirely supported by the covenant, which increases its costs.
Otherwise, if you use your covenfolks to bolster your rituals, they can't do their everyday job.
I didn't really think about this (and don't have the time now), but you should penalize the covenant's finances and/or the Living Conditions modifier.
However, due to the long casting times, magi seasons will probably serve as a limiter alre

5.2.4) Magic requires assistance.

Gifted Assistance option: These are mostly people repeating the ritual with you. Each assistant from the same magical tradition counts as 1 pawn of vis. Otherwise, see Mundane Assistance, below.

Individual Power Option : add the assistants Form bonus in the form of the ritual. Divide by 2 to get the number of pawns they contribute. You may, or not, consider
Personal Power Option : The caster's form bonus count as that many pawns of vis

Mundane Assistance: Likewise, these repeat the ritual words, chant, meditate… Consider the number of assistants as XP on the Ability chart, the ability rating being the Vis contribution. Any gifted assistant from a different tradition contributes 5xp
gathering Power: If you're not using the "Lenghty rituals" option below, you can substitute time for vis: Each time you add the ritual's casting time (30 minutes per magnitude) to the base length of casting, this counts as 1 pawn of vis. It is suggested you put some limit to this, such as your highest form bonus in that ritual (For example, if casting a CrCo ritual with Corpus 10, 2 pawns)

5.3) Magic Powered by Quests

Mark Lawfor contributed this bit
Magonomia has the concept of Grand Enchantments… Now, Magonomia is Fate-driven, so it doesn't rely on any of the lab total concepts we have in Ars Magica, so there's a big difference to take into account, but Grand Enchantments can be rituals, magical devices, the gaining of a familiar, etc. They have the power to make lasting magical changes to the world, to the wizard, or to the target of the enchantment.

They are "powered" via quest. The wizard researches what's needed, which may be to visit a certain place at a certain time and offer a certain sacrifice, and if they do all that right, then they have the Grand Enchantment (I'm sure I'm paraphrasing to all heck). So these are all potentially unique effects with unique triggers.

Given the TTRPG engine differences, this probably doesn't help for things like rituals (healing, etc.), but could be used to empower enchantments, familiars, longevity rituals, etc.

6) New Traditions

as I said in introduction, you can use this and the existing rules to create new hedge traditions out of whole cloth, such as:

6.1) TheRed Black wizards of Cathay

I find difficult to invent new arts.(I can, for example, imagine the arts of Split, Merge, Accelerate, Slow, Living, Dead, Fluid, Solid) but the real problem comes with guidelines: Either we require people to, each time, look into existing lists to see if something fits under their combo, which ain't practical, or we have to write up guidelines for each pair. Urgh, please, no.

It's thus probably easier to instead use the Method and Powers version, with existing guidelines.
Each method becomes a type of casting seen above (For exemple, Blood Magic as a Difficult art, and Vancian Magic as a normal art, can coexist in the same tradition) that is combined with existing Form guidelines (so you could combine your Blood Magic Method with the Fire Power, directly using Hermetic guidelines)

Abilities are kinda between the 2. They require some imagination, like inventing new arts, but that's about it.
One can create supernatural abilities akin to magical foci, and give them to the tradition. You can even combine several minor foci for that purpose.
This is, in short, what I did belowwith, say, the Goat ability (Minor focus in animals associated with the devil + minor focus in infernal beasts + Minor minor focus -yes, that's a double minor- in Warping animals)
So… Here are

The RED Black Wizards of Cathay, an infernal tradition of bad guys doing bad things and worshipping satan because they think it's cool.

Being Evil wizards that do Bad Things, they use Accelerated abilities named… (looks up at some metal music… Ok, I got it):

Wintermoon: PeIg, as well as creating light up to moon level of illumination. ReIg wards.
Darkness: PeIg against light, ReVi against Dark Faeries.
Goat: Animals traditionnaly associated with the devil, infernal beasts. Also, CrVi warping guidelines on animals only
Evil : Mentem relating to destroying good emotions/virtues or promoting bad ones. So you can’t confer Brave to your grogs, but « Murderous Rage » will do.
Satan : Vim related to summoning demons and protecting against them. No control, though. Sucks, but they all love it.
Forest : Herbam related to woods and trees. Duh!

They must choose 4 of these abilities as Accelerated. The other are either barred, or act as normal abilities if you're feeling generous

Their abilities are all Corrupted, as per RoP: tI

They also use Corruption, the "something else" version, with the following options:
Tempting Evil (Corruption Score adds to Casting Totals)
Hidden Evil (Their corruption is visible to spiritual sights)
Demon amongst Demons (their Corruption acts as a Hierarchy score)

As an alternative, they can choose to use the Magic Requires Life force rule (point 2) with the No Blood Slaves option save if they use the Killer Magi option (In short, they must either take wounds, or kill someone)

EDIT: Oh, and obviously, they use Vancian magic ^^

To cast rituals, they can't use Vis, but use the following 5.2.1 Ritual Options instead:
Places, Athas option (Aura can give vis, but this decreases the aura)
Times (Special times provide vis)
Mundane Assistance (Flunkies provide vis)
Casting Time (spending more time on casting provide vis)
As well as 2.2 Ritual Options (Add Penetration/5 to the ritual's magnitude to known lenght of casting on arts XP chart)
This makes them Yummy for Bad Things (

6.2) The Moon Witches

Witches who draw power from the moon they can curse, change shapes, and can cast powerful rituals.

they add inner power based on warping to their Casting Totals
THey have 1 DIFFICULT art:
-Moon Magic, wich they use as a technique in most circumstances
and 5 normal arts:
- Full moon, hich they use as a technique under a full moon only.
- Life, which they useas CREO and Rego corpus, or animal on living beings only
- Death, used as Regocorpus, Mentem and animal on corpses and dead beings. They can also use it as Perso corpus or animal on living beings only.
- Bolster, used as CREo, REgo and Muto vim
- Enchant, used as REgo Vim For Vancian magic withthe"Items of Power" option

Allspells over lvl20must be cast as rituals under a full moon.
they use Vancian magic withthe"Items of Power" option

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