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Old 02-27-2011, 10:11 PM   #31
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Real world magical traditions

Thanks for sharing all of your hard work. This will be very useful for my own projects.
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Old 02-28-2011, 07:20 AM   #32
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Real world magical traditions

I don't know if this is a bit OT but in a "Real World" setting I always found interesting the "old woman" magic path. You know: the strange old lady in the complex from where all the other women seek advice; it's fashinating how tarot, kitchen witchcraft, generic superstitions, catholic dogmas and tv shows mix in a own coherent form. In Italy that kind of figure it's quite common, some are nice old ladies, other are profiteers that end up charged with fraud.

I used this concept only for a NPC in a detective campaign long time ago but it could work well for a fully (abeit smaller) magic tradition.
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Old 02-28-2011, 07:35 AM   #33
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Real world magical traditions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Opellulo View Post
I don't know if this is a bit OT but in a "Real World" setting I always found interesting the "old woman" magic path. You know: the strange old lady in the complex from where all the other women seek advice; it's fashinating how tarot, kitchen witchcraft, generic superstitions, catholic dogmas and tv shows mix in a own coherent form. In Italy that kind of figure it's quite common, some are nice old ladies, other are profiteers that end up charged with fraud.

I used this concept only for a NPC in a detective campaign long time ago but it could work well for a fully (abeit smaller) magic tradition.
In my humble opinion, most of those women have some combination of Fortune Telling, Pharmacy (Herbal)*, and Physician (Optional Specialty: Women's Health)*. Oracle and Esoteric Medicine would fit some non-fraudulant depictions.

*Both no higher than TL 4.

A Path for them should include rituals from Luck, Health, and Protection, if you wanted to go that route.
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Old 09-22-2014, 08:28 PM   #34
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Default Zoroastrian Ritual Magic

Right, so I'm now getting back to putting these systems down on paper... or the electronic version thereof.

I think I'm supposed to have some notes....

There they are:

Code:
Mazdayasni ahmi	I am a worshipper of God
Mazdayasni Zarathushtrish	A Zarathushtrian in worship of God
Fravarane astuataascha fravarotascha	These pledges and intents I do declare:
Astuye humtem mano	I pledge my thoughts to good thoughts
Astuye hukhtem vacho	I pledge my speech to good words
Astuye hvarashtem shyaothanem	I pledge my actions to good deeds
Astuye daenam vanghuhim Mazdayasnim	I pledge myself to the highest discerning belief in worship of God
Path of the Light of Wisdom
Personal journey. Ushta as the goal of a virtous life. With enlightenment comes khratu or wisdom. Divination and dream journeys.

Path of Good Purpose
Vohu Manah, Lord of Animals and Cattle. The good mind.

Path of Righteousness
Asha Vahista, Truth and Righteousness, Lord of Fire. Law.

Path of Dominion
Kshathra, Lord of Metals and the Sky. Associated with Air. Sovereignity over ones life.

Path of Serenity
Armaiti, Mistress of Serenity and Devotion. Associated with Earth.

Path of Life
Ameretat, Immortality, Mistress of Plants and Bounty.

Path of Integrity
Haurvatat, Wholeness, Mistress of Prosperity and Health. Seeking excellence in all one does. Associated with Water.

Somewhere, I found a list of what believers in Zoroastrian magic believe that rituals can be good for. Here it is:

Purifying corpses.
Fire (Holy Fire).
Banish.
Bind spirits.
Bind people.
Getting a job.
Helping in job.
Helping in school.
Financial assistance.
Healing sickness.
Healing wounds.
Protecting against the Evil Eye.
Blessed Water.
Scrying in Fire.
Divination, finding out who committed a theft or murder.


Now, I'm reopening old notes, so I don't really know if I had finalised that these were all the Paths which were possible and that rituals for all of the above would each fit under one or more of them.

Do any forumites have thoughts?
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Old 09-26-2014, 01:57 PM   #35
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Default Sephiroth

It seems I wrote up the beginnings of a system for using sephiroth as techniques of Meditation to give bonuses to ritual magic. I seem to have failed to continue after the first three...

Any ideas for finishing it?

Etz Chaim (Tree of Life)


Before using kabbalah rituals, the kabbalist can attempt to prepare himself by entering a sephirah which has a connection with the magic he wants to work. If he successfully manages that, he enjoys a bonus to certain types of magic. If a ritual falls under more than one category assisted by a sephirah, use only the highest bonus which applies for that sephirah.

Entering the sephiroth uses the Meditation skill and can benefit from Breath Control, Religious Ritual (Judaic) and Theology (Judaic). Add +1/2 of the margin of success or failure for each supporting skill to the Meditation roll. Eath attempt to enter a sephirah takes an hour. The Time Spent rules affect this normally.

It is possible to enter more than one sephiroth in sequence. This can be done consequentially, with each hour representing the entry into one sephirah. In that case, no special modifiers apply and a failure at any stage merely has the consequences given for that sephirah. On the other hand, entering more than one sephiroth can also be done in a much faster sequence, taking no more than the normal hour (this can be reduced further with Time Spent rules). In that case, the success roll is the sum of all the penalties of the sephiroth being attempted, with an additional -1 penalty per sephirah beyond one. If the correct sequence is followed, that -1 penalty is negated by the +1 for maintaining the proper order.

If the kabbalist has entered more than one sephiroth, he uses the sum of all modifiers granted by them when he performs rituals in that state. These bonuses are subject to the maximum of +15 for ritual magic.

No matter how a sephirah or sephiroth are entered, the kabbalist can maintain the effects as long as he maintains concentration. If he takes any action other than Concetrate or if he is wounded or otherwise distracted, he must make a Will-3 to retain the effects of the sephiroth.

Malkuth (Shekhinah)
Average

Default:Meditation.
Prerequisite: Meditation; cannot exceed
prerequisite skill+4.

“The Kingdom” is the root sephirah, tied not only to matter and
to elemental earth, but to the material Earth. Its entrance is a
chamber, deeply hidden somewhere on the material world, but
most travelers enter even Malkuth astrally.
Entering Malkuth gives +1 to rituals which affect the material world,
including rituals that affect the kabbalist‘s own physical body.
Failure to enter Malkuth has no negative effects, beyond wasting the
time spent on Meditation.

Yesod (Iesod)
Hard

Default:Meditation-2.
Prerequisite: Meditation 12+; cannot exceed
prerequisite skill.

“Foundation” – here referring to structures underlying the visible,
not to the physical act of founding – relates to the subconscious.
It’s a realm of hidden passages, hissing pistons, and levers;
the motors of the world. Its ever- turning, unmappable nature
reveals its ties to air; its deep purple light shines down through a
million gratings and kaleidoscopic skylights from the sphere of the
Moon.
Yesod is entered after Malkuth and a kabbalist who is in Malkuth while
he attempts to enter it receives a +1 bonus to his Meditation roll.
Entering Yesod gives a +3 to rituals relating to the kabbalist‘s own
subconscious and dreams. It gives a +2 to rituals involving the dreams
of others. Finally, rituals involving either fertility or understanding of
machinery receive a +1 bonus.
When a kabbalist attempts to enter Yesod, he delves into his subconscious.
This exposes him to true knowledge of himself. As humans live their lives
in a cloud of protective self-delusion, such clear vision can be dangerous.
A failure on the skill check results in a roll on the Awe and Confusion Table
(GURPS Powers, p. 85), using the Confusion entries. If the kabbalist is prey to
dark urges or terrifying repressed memories (determined by the GM with
referenceto mental disadvantages), this roll can instead be a Fright Check,
possibly with negative modifiers.

Hod
Hard
Default:Meditation-4.
Prerequisite: Meditation 12+; cannot exceed
prerequisite skill.

“Splendor” shines from orderly lines and figures drawn within
an infinite latticework of deep orange cloth- of- bronze, shot
through with fractal, threaded patterns. The patterns ultimately
resolve into the gateway to the sphere of Mercury. It holds the nodal
point where the four elemental corners meet, somewhere at its center,
and relates to intellect, logic, and language.
In the normal sequence, Hod is entered after Yesod. A kabbalist who
has entered Yesod therefore receives a +1 to enter Hod.
When working rituals that relate to rationalism or intellectual analysis (History,
Perfection of the Soul, See the True Face, Thicken the Walls of the World),
Hod gives a +3 bonus. For anything relating to knowledge or astral travel,
it gives a +2 bonus. Any ritual that makes use of language receives a +1 bonus.

Netzach (Nizah)
“Victory” hangs in space, a pillar of cloud and storm lashing an
emerald- green sea, powerfully tied to water and related to emotion.
Across its waves lies the sphere of Venus.
Verb: Control.

Tiphareth (Rahamin)
“Beauty” is suffused with a golden lambency, and relates to balance
and moderation. Guarded by lions, it resembles ancient
savannas. Its dry, shimmering heat denotes its fiery nature; its golden
light emanates from the sphere of the Sun.
Verb: Heal.
Other Associations: Balance; Wholeness.

Geburah (Pechad, Din)
“Severity” appears as an arsenal of iron chariots; the weapons,
walls, and armored figures all glow with ruddy fire. It relates to violence
and destruction (which can be used for good, but must be controlled).
Obviously, it’s associated with Mars.
Verb: Weaken.
Other Associations: Strength; Justice.

Chesed (Gedulah)
“Mercy,” the sephirah of generosity and protection, appears as a
brilliant blue temple mirrored in blue airy skies. It abuts the sphere
of Jupiter.
Verbs: Protect/Guard; Warn.
Other Associations: Love.

Binah
“Understanding” is crucially concerned with comprehension. It
can be seen as a black cave full of rich food smells. It touches the
sphere of Saturn. Deep within it are the true spring of elemental
water and the lush cornucopia of elemental earth.
Verb: Communicate.
Other Associations: Femininity.

Chokmah (Cochma)
“Wisdom” – related to the most basic of insights – resembles a
rainbow star field, a mosaic of all colors. It comprises the entire
zodiac, and is the root of elemental fire and air that form the fixed
stars.
Verb: Sense.
Other Associations: Masculinity.

Kether
“The Crown” comes closest to the Godhead, and manifests
as a brilliant white light. Relating to perfection and the
infinite, it’s the “Primum Mobile” above all planetary
spheres, the unification of all the elements.
Verb: Create.

---

What do forumites think ought to be the stats and effects of the remaining sephiroth?
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Old 09-27-2014, 06:56 AM   #36
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Real world magical traditions

If you're interested, I have lots of notes about spirit possession - that being a 'sickness' that comes upon a person when they are possessed by a spirit. Rather than exorcising them, the thing to do is to accommodate the spirit, which normally only wants you to observe a few taboos, in return for which it grants special abilities. This kind of thing is VERY common in the middle east. In fact, there are proper 'muslim' spirits, which require the person to observe the various Muslim cultural avoidances. In Africa, they are called majini or mashetani, depending on their nature.

Also, Muslims and other Peoples of the Book like to do book sorcery, using phrases from their holy books to procure certain affects. These phrases can also be made into amulets or medicines.

Here's the thread where I tried to work Similarity and Contagion into RPM.

I rather like your ideas, BTW. In my Refugium setting, I'd planned on having a continent called where the Zoroastrian religion survived and flourished. Bundahisn is the Land of Prophets and is regularly swept by waves of fairly peaceful religious fevor. The underlying culture is Persian mysticism, but there are sects that resemble Yazidis, Zurvanism, Madaeism, Manichaeism and Mazkadism.
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Old 09-30-2014, 01:38 AM   #37
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Real world magical traditions

Quote:
Originally Posted by tantric View Post
If you're interested, I have lots of notes about spirit possession - that being a 'sickness' that comes upon a person when they are possessed by a spirit. Rather than exorcising them, the thing to do is to accommodate the spirit, which normally only wants you to observe a few taboos, in return for which it grants special abilities. This kind of thing is VERY common in the middle east. In fact, there are proper 'muslim' spirits, which require the person to observe the various Muslim cultural avoidances. In Africa, they are called majini or mashetani, depending on their nature.
For my setting to be complete, I have to have individuals and groups of many cultures and religions aware of the return of the paranormal, so that would be welcome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tantric View Post
Also, Muslims and other Peoples of the Book like to do book sorcery, using phrases from their holy books to procure certain affects. These phrases can also be made into amulets or medicines.
In previous 'seasons' set in this game world, while religious symbolism often surrounds use of magic, the actual effacious bits aren't the religion, they are remnants of working magic that works for anyone, of any religion.

That being said, I don't see any particular reason some form of Islamic book sorcery couldn't work. Just that the incantations themselves can't be too widely known*, because that detracts from their power.

I am statting out several groups of supernaturally-aware people in the modern Islamic world (Mid-Euphrates area of Iraq at the end of 2011). I want them to have several different flavours and belief systems. There's Assyriologists, those trying to recreate Chaldean astrology, the aformentioned proto-Sumerian demonologists and a group of djinn-summoning sorcerers. Ideally, I want to reflect more modern beliefs as well.

Of course, anyone with the Medium Advantage has a huge advantage, in that they can learn their rituals from spirits who remember the last time magic worked in the world. That heavily favours those whose mythology is already based on magic as a system for contacting and trafficking with spirits.

Groups of ritual magicians tend to be concentrated around the teachings of one spirit or another, as just experimenting on their own hasn't been yielding anything useful and the overwhelming majority of rituals which living people practice either never worked or have been corrupted into non-working versions over the 100+ years that magic has not existed in the world.

The other alternative is to be a scholar of an ancient culture and language who undertakes the massive work of reconstructing their mythology, religion and various rituals into functioning Path/Book ritual magic rituals.

That's what one PC, a Harvard professor of religious anthropology, is doing with Zoroastrianism and ritual magic.

*Which does tend to argue against any passage that comes directly from a 'popular' holy scripture, in the language which that scripture is usually read.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tantric View Post
Here's the thread where I tried to work Similarity and Contagion into RPM.
Cool. I ended up just using Path/Book Magery instead of RPM, but it bothers me a lot that there is no way to come up with new rituals except by eyeballing things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tantric View Post
I rather like your ideas, BTW. In my Refugium setting, I'd planned on having a continent called where the Zoroastrian religion survived and flourished. Bundahisn is the Land of Prophets and is regularly swept by waves of fairly peaceful religious fevor. The underlying culture is Persian mysticism, but there are sects that resemble Yazidis, Zurvanism, Madaeism, Manichaeism and Mazkadism.
If I had endless time and learning, I'd have fully realised groups (of varying size and importance) of supernaturally-aware people in Iraq that belong to each of the minority sects there.
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Old 02-25-2020, 05:10 PM   #38
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Default Updating for RPM

I set all my urban fantasy / Monster Hunter campaigns in the same world where the supernatural started returning to the world in the 1980s, but so subtly and gradually that the world is virtually identical to the real world until the mid-90s and even in the 2010s, most Western, secular people in my campaign setting still believe they are living in our real world.

I like the feel of Path/Book magic, but the inability to design rituals that weren't already published eventually drove me to switch to Ritual Path Magic. In-setting, the gradual rise in mana levels from No Mana to Very Low Mana and now sometimes Low Mana within the Vile Vortices means that magicians who were confined to only the subtlest Path/Book rituals in the 2000s can perform RPM rituals in the 2010s, as long as they are subtle enough so that they can still be explained by skeptical observers as anything other than actual magic.

I'd like to use port the feel of Mandatory and Significant Modifiers over to RPM as much as possible (also useful for overcoming the -8 to -10 Mana in most places where magic works at all). I'd also like real-world magical traditions to be distinct from each other, even though the best thaumatologists theorize that the outer trappings all obscure one, as yet undiscovered, universal system of magic.

Any thoughts on how to accomplish what I was trying to do in this thread with RPM instead of Path/Book?
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Old 02-25-2020, 11:54 PM   #39
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Real world magical traditions

On p.19 of Thaumatology: Ritual Path Magic, there's mention of Traditional Trappings. That's the RPM equivalent of Mandatory and Significant Modifiers. There's even a variant of it called Decanic Trappings on p 36.
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Old 02-26-2020, 04:06 AM   #40
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Real world magical traditions

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Originally Posted by dataweaver View Post
On p.19 of Thaumatology: Ritual Path Magic, there's mention of Traditional Trappings. That's the RPM equivalent of Mandatory and Significant Modifiers. There's even a variant of it called Decanic Trappings on p 36.
Traditional Trappings make rituals that you can already cast slightly cheaper and faster to use. They don't make the difference between being unable to use magic in Very Low Mana (-8 to -10) and being able to accomplish them because you amassed +10 or more in Mandatory and Significant Modifiers.

Also, I'm looking for guidelines for every real-world tradition to have its own system of modifiers. Afro-Caribbean traditions rely heavily on sacrifice, usually of fairly mundane things, like rum, tobacco and the like. Most of its magic is also Spirit-Assisted and requires extensive ritual paraphernalia. Which in game terms means casting with the appropriate modifiers is slow and obvious to anyone with Anthropology or Occultism.

Pyramid #3/66 The Laws of Magic mentions using 'Mandatory and Significant Modifiers' with RPM. I'd like to do that, but without necessarily switching to an Effect-Shaping model (largely because I've already established Energy-Gathering as the standard magic and the phenomenon of magicians posing serious risks when they amass a lot of power, which they might then lose control of, is central to a lot of events in my campaign).

Traditions I'm heavily featuring so far include a variety of Western Hermetic mysticism (and one Arabic equivalent); a simplified version of it including only approved magic employed by those within the Catholic Church who know about the re-emergence of magic; great numbers of Afro-Caribbean houngans, mambos, bokors, chevals, santero/a, brujo/a and obeah (wo)men; various conjure-(wo-men and rootworkers from Louisiana and neighbouring states.

Then there are more unique traditions, like the PC Cajun conjure-man who made a pact with the spirit 'Papa Mangrove' to protect his part of the Atchafalaya Basin and now regards himself as a 'druid'. Or the NPC cult 'Keepers of the Last Hearth', who worship the Lords of the Last Waste, some kind of personification of the inevitable End of Everything. Both of these are seemingly new beliefs, constructed from imaginary or fictional elements, but work in the new world of the 2010s (both also use a ConLang of their own invention to cast spells).

Some of the people associated with the cult are/were practisioners of traditional South American magical traditions. Examples encountered or heard about in play include Ayamara laiqa and paqu and the Quechua paqo, hanpeq, layqa and watuq.
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