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Old 02-01-2011, 02:34 PM   #21
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Real world magical traditions

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Originally Posted by Tinman View Post
This is absolutly incorrect.

According to the Torah there have been only 2 places where sacrifices Jews were permitted to bring sacrifical offerings.

One was The Mishkan (the tabernacle) the jewish people carried with them through the desert. The other was The Temple.

It's also important to note that only the Kohanim (a subset of the priests - Levites) were premited to acctualy preform the sacrifices.
And yet Kapparot/Kapores is still practiced, and it still involves the sacrifice of a chicken before Yom Kippur.

There's Judaism according-to-the-book and then there's Judaism as actually practiced, which in a significant portion of communities still involves some animal sacrifice.
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Old 02-01-2011, 06:55 PM   #22
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Real world magical traditions

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Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
And yet Kapparot/Kapores is still practiced, and it still involves the sacrifice of a chicken before Yom Kippur.

There's Judaism according-to-the-book and then there's Judaism as actually practiced, which in a significant portion of communities still involves some animal sacrifice.
True enough.

In any event, the magic systems in my setting are explicitly defined as being reconstructed from older, more effective traditions. Modern practises and particularly religious rituals are not necessarily as effective as whatever was done during the early days of each mystical tradition.

Religious people often frame their magical system in terms of their mythology, but there is no evidence* that there are any divine powers who grant mortals abilities.

Research by the Catholic Church during the ages when magic worked suggested that certain rituals were effective regardless of whether they were theologically sound. Something might be against the strictures of the religion invoked in the mythology surrounding the magical tradition, but nevertheless thaumatologically effective.

That being said, the player character who learns the mysteries of Kabbalah receives his magical instruction from a devout Catholic. This man acknowledges the utility of Judaic magic as a tool, but the PC realises that even if there were Kabbalistic schools which taught sacrifices as part of magical rituals, it is unlikely that the Catholic Church would choose to allow knowledge of such traditions to be dissemnated.

This means, therefore, that the Kabbalah he learns is very much a 'white magic' version that features nothing that will offend the sensibilities of a Jesuit priest. He may be eccentric enough to prefer a mystical discipline originating in a different religion, but he nevertheless follows all the dogma of his own while using it and teaching it. This means, to him, emphasising the similarities between Judaism and Christianity and avoiding anything that could smack of pagan worship.

*Nor is there evidence to the contrary, you understand.
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Old 02-01-2011, 07:31 PM   #23
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Real world magical traditions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
And yet Kapparot/Kapores is still practiced, and it still involves the sacrifice of a chicken before Yom Kippur.
It's explicitly not a sacrifice, but described as more of a symbolic sin offering.
Quote:
There's Judaism according-to-the-book and then there's Judaism as actually practiced, which in a significant portion of communities still involves some animal sacrifice.
They are always careful to define it as not being called "sacrifice", however. The distinction might not be literally meaningful, but it is symbolically and thaumaturgy is about symbolism.
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Old 02-02-2011, 09:58 AM   #24
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Default Kabbalah, Overview

Right, I've worked out the Paths that fall under Kabbalah in the setting. Paths or Rituals marked with an asterix are not available to the PC who learnt it at present, as his instructor does not know them, but the PC can extrapolate their existence from other writings and perhaps develop them himself.

The Paths are:

Path of Blessings*
Path of Divinations
Path of Health
Path of Nepheshim [Spirits]*
Path of Protection
Path of the Soul
Path of T'zvaot [Hosts]*

It is not impossible that even more rituals and Paths exist that default to Ritual Magic (Kabbalah).

Qabala: The kabbalistic study of magic has had enormous influence on the Occidental traditions, but its origins are shrouded in mystery. Some Christians claim that it belongs to them every bit as much as to Judaism and that it is the true magic of God. Others claim that it is symbolic of the Judaic rejection of Christ.

Associated skills are Breath Control, Mathematics (Gematria), Meditation, Religious Ritual (Judaic), Ritual Magic (Kabbalah), Symbol Drawing (Hebrew), Theology (Judaic).

Does not allow bonuses from Sacrifices, except Self-Sacrifice and only in extremis. Mathematics (Gematria) and Symbol Drawing (Hebrew) both give bonuses for margin of success as with normal Symbol Drawing. These bonuses do count against the maximum +15 bonus and it takes the normal time to claim them. If the kabbalist has the Intuitive Mathematician Advantage, he can reduce the time taken for Mathematics (Gematria) by one step for free and by two steps at only a -2 penalty.

Bonuses for Purity affect both Meditation rolls to enter the Sephiroth and rolls against Ritual Magic (Kabbalah). As such, a kabbalist who fasts, prays and remains aloof from all wordly distractions can amass high bonuses. On the other hand, those bonuses also count against the maximum +15.

Sephiroth
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 Concentrates. 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.
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:19 AM   #25
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Real world magical traditions

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
The Church regards ultraterrestials as physical beings and has at points durings its history viewed them as without souls or free will. The progressive view, espoused by Pope John Paul II, was that they were simply pagans who had the same opportunities as human beings for good and evil and with faith could also be saved.
That's cool ... that's similar to how Islam view(s/ed) the djinn, as I understand it.


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The fey are conjectured to be the origin for Celtic magic as well as Nordic rune magic. Those who study Ogham or Rune magic are convinced that fey are beings entirely seperate from the ultraterrestials of Egypt, pointing to the very different magical traditions, but others claim that cultural differences among the fey account for these and that all 'human-like' ultraterrestials ultimately come from one place, which is Faerie, merely at different times in its history and with different attitudes towards humanity.
I like the ambiguity. Too many fantasy creation myths are given literally in the setting, "The Gods" objectively did this or that at the beginning of time, and "The Spirits" belong to well-defined and well-understood hierarchies.

Whereas a game that tries to mix magic with rationality needs to acknowledge the various uncertainties and disagreements about the nature of reality.

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
The precise start date of this conflict is hard to ascertain. The Catholic Church can trace Unseelie sentiment, in attacks against humans, back to the earliest records of interaction with the fey, but most scholars believe that large-scale warfare between fey didn't start under well after the year 1000 and probably not until after 1100.
Not too long before the formal beginning of the (Medieval) Inquisition, the Albigensian Crusade, and various efforts of the Church to root out "heresy and witchcraft..." (although I think the Witch Craze itself didn't take off until a few hundred years later).


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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
The thing to take away from all this is that the closer a magical tradition is to the 'original' teachings, the more powerful it should be. Hermetic magic, as a syncretisised system of magic, is supposed to be versatile and comparatively easy to use. It is something that mere ordinary scholars have a chance to learn and it includes most of the useful rituals that are known. However, disciplines which are older and more esoteric should have some benefits over 'bastardised' systems like that.
That's an interesting take on it ... based on that, I see why you'd like Kabbalistic magic to eclipse Hermetic.


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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
So the effect I want is that Hermetic magic is an excellent choice for all around magic use, but Kabbalah, while it has a much more narrow focus, is capable of more powerful effects within that field. Provided, of course, that the user has the requisite learning to make use of it.
Okay, that makes sense. A few thoughts...

Make the use of Mathematics (Gematria), Symbol Drawing (Kabbalistic), and other Kabbalistic support skills more effective than normal support skills, and usable only with true Kabbalistic magic. Maybe they add their full margin of success to the ritual roll.

Allow True Names to apply only to Kabbalistic magic, and make them worth a lot more than just +4.

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
[...] the Annunaki. [...] evil beings who live in secret among humans.
Arrgh, David Icke was right! :)

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Symbol Drawing (Ogham) and Symbol Drawing (Futhark) might actually end up as being not adjuncts to a Path/Book Ritual Magic speciality, but a magic system of their own (Symbol Magic, GURPS Thaumatology p. 168).
I like the idea of different magical traditions functioning differently. As I understand it, Norse magic is heavy on sacrifice, especially personal sacrifice -- Odin One-Eye was the god of magic, and Norse magicians supposedly put out one eye to emulate him, as a sacrifice.


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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Zoroastrian magic does not have a Symbol Drawing speciality associated with it. It is unknown whether using Vedic Sanskrit would be effective or not. The Sumerian blood magus tradition has a form of Symbol Drawing incorporating proto-Sumerian cuneiforms.
I'm interested in hearing more about your take on Sumerian magic ... it's something I know virtually nothing about. Is this your own creation/interpolation, or based on real-world tradition?

Last edited by CousinX; 02-02-2011 at 10:35 AM.
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:52 AM   #26
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Real world magical traditions

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
In addition, sacrifices in Sumerian blood magic are not capped at a +6 and all sacrifice bonuses for living things are added after the +15 maximum. This makes is very powerful and very dangerous, but obviously more problematic to keep secret.
If it ever shows up in the campaign, magic based on Aztec mass-sacrifice would also be a good candidate for uncapping sacrifice bonuses. And possibly, some of the more foul (and likely legendary/fictional, at least in the Really Real World) Satanic/Left-Hand groups.


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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
What Paths should fall under Ritual Magic (Hermetic)? I'm leaning toward all of them, unless there is something there that would be out of place. By all means, forumites, speak out if some of the Paths or rituals in Thaumatology would not fit Ritual Magic (Hermetic).
Hermeticism is by no means a unified tradition, at least not in the Really Real World. And, since most modern traditions are at least partially based on it (and many, like Wicca, were cribbed entirely from Post-Golden Dawn material, with "Ancient Tradition" back-stories made up whole cloth), having all paths be accessible to Hermetic mages makes sense -- with the proper connections, of course.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
The basic language of Hermetic thought is Koine Greek, but Latin also works.
Don't forget Dee's Enochian -- in modern occult circles, the language is used ubiquitously, and his Enochian magic has the reputation as being among the most potent and spectacularly effective kinds of magic.


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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
The Islamic version of Hermetic magic is mostly identical in game terms, but has Alchemy (Islamic) instead of (European) and the default language is Classical Arabic.
Most European alchemy came from Arabia as the Crusades petered out (and when Constantinople fell), so I'd think there should probably at least be a default between the two.

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Old 02-02-2011, 11:09 AM   #27
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Real world magical traditions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinman View Post
This is absolutly incorrect.

According to the Torah there have been only 2 places where sacrifices Jews were permitted to bring sacrifical offerings.

One was The Mishkan (the tabernacle) the jewish people carried with them through the desert. The other was The Temple.

It's also important to note that only the Kohanim (a subset of the priests - Levites) were premited to acctualy preform the sacrifices.

This is also compleatly wrong. The 'ritual slaughter' of an animal in kosher food preperation is no more a sacrifice that any other jewish ritual. For example the 'ritual washing of hands before eating'.
Well, I'm neither Jewish nor a Kabbalist, so I can't say for sure, but my understanding (and Wiki backs me on this) is that "Korban, in Judaism, is the term for a variety of sacrificial offerings described and commanded in the Torah. Such sacrifices were offered in a variety of settings by the ancient Israelites, and later by the Jewish priesthood, the Kohanim, at the Temple in Jerusalem.[...]"

So it's apparently not "absolutely incorrect," though it may be at odds with the strain of Judaism that you're referencing. In other words, YMMV.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
There's Judaism according-to-the-book and then there's Judaism as actually practiced, which in a significant portion of communities still involves some animal sacrifice.
Exactly. As I said, I'm an expert in neither "according-to-the-book" nor "as-actually-practiced" Judaism, but my understanding is that sacrifice has been historically very important in the faith, and remains theologically important among certain groups.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
It's explicitly not a sacrifice, but described as more of a symbolic sin offering.

They are always careful to define it as not being called "sacrifice", however. The distinction might not be literally meaningful, but it is symbolically and thaumaturgy is about symbolism.
Point well taken ... that's probably the most relevant perspective to take, when it comes to answering, "What should be effective in Kabbalistic magic?"
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Old 02-02-2011, 11:29 AM   #28
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Default Kabbalah Paths

Those are the paths and rituals of Ritual Magic (Kabbalah) in my setting. The Hebrew transliterations, grammar and the choice of Biblical, Mishraic or modern Hebrew is governed entirely by the Rule of Cool and my ignorance. Justified in that these are only some of the common names for these rituals, which will vary according to specific tradition and teacher, and the PC learned these from a person who is neither a native Hebrew speaker nor a Judaic believer.

Path of Blessings*

Parnassah Segulah [Journeyman’s Blessing]*
Effect Shaping: Path of Blessings-3; 1 hour.
Energy Accumulating: 8 points.
See p. 153.

Alav Hashalom [Lay to Rest]
Effect Shaping: Path of Nepheshim or Path of Blessings-2; 20 minutes.
Energy Accumulating: 3 points.
See p. 162.

Chuppah Segulah [Love Charm]*
Effect Shaping: Path of Blessings-3; 1 hour.
Energy Accumulating: 8 points.
See p. 153.

Davar Bereth [Loyal Item]*
Effect Shaping: Path of Blessings-4; 1 hour.
Energy Accumulating: 9 points.
See p. 154.

Parnassah Berakhah [Stroke of Luck]*
Effect Shaping: Path of Blessings-1; 10 minutes; grants
one “benefit” per full 2 points in margin of success
(minimum 1).
Energy Accumulating: 3 points, + 2 per extra “benefit”
granted.
See p. 154.

Refuah Segulah [Vitality]*
Effect Shaping: Path of Health-3, Path of Blessings-5 or Path of Protection-4;
1 hour.
Energy Accumulating: 8 points.
See p. 150.


Path of Divination

Nigleh Ruach [Aura Reading]
Effect Shaping: Path of Divination; 10 minutes.
Energy Accumulating: 2 points.
See p. 151.

Sippur Davar [History]
Effect Shaping: Path of Divination-4; 10 minutes for a
general overview, 1 hour for a detailed history.
Energy Accumulating: 6 points for a general overview, 9
points for a detailed history.
See p. 151.

Nisah [Know Fault]*
Effect Shaping: Path of Divination-4; 10 minutes.
Energy Accumulating: 5 points.
See p. 146.

Chaqar [Locate]
Effect Shaping: Path of Divination-5; 10 minutes.
Energy Accumulating: 7 points.
See p. 151.

Tuwr Bether [Locate Spares]*
Effect Shaping: Path of Divination-7; 10 minutes.
Energy Accumulating: 7 points.
See p. 146.

Nighel Davar [Read the Manual]*
Effect Shaping: Path of Divination-7; 10 minutes.
Energy Accumulating: 5 points.
See p. 147.

Nahash [Scry]
Effect Shaping: Path of Divination-6; 10 minutes.
Energy Accumulating: 8 points.
See p. 152.

Yetser Emet [See the True Face]
Effect Shaping: Path of Divination-6; 10 minutes.
Energy Accumulating: 3 points.
See p. 145.

Sheker Tsammah [Veil]
Effect Shaping: Path of Divination-3 or Path of Protection-4; 20 minutes.
Energy Accumulating: 7 points.
See p. 152.

Goral [Vision of Luck]
Effect Shaping: Path of Divination-3; 10 minutes.
Energy Accumulating: 6 points.
See p. 152.


Path of Health

Refuah Sheleimah [Dose]
Effect Shaping: Path of Health*; 1 hour.
Energy Accumulating: 5 points*.
* Usually subject to modifiers; see below.
See p. 148.

Parah Segulah [Fertility]*
Effect Shaping: Path of Health-2; 1 hour.
Energy Accumulating: 7 points.
See p. 149.

Shabakh [Soothe]
Effect Shaping: Path of Health; 10 minutes.
Energy Accumulating: 3 points.
See p. 150.

Hachlama Mehira [Succor]
Effect Shaping: Path of Health-4; 30 minutes; effects last
for days equal to margin of success (minimum 1 day).
Energy Accumulating: 8 points, +1 per day for which the
effects continue.
See p. 150.

Refuah Segulah [Vitality]*
Effect Shaping: Path of Health-3, Path of Blessings or Path of Protection-4;
1 hour.
Energy Accumulating: 8 points.
See p. 150.


Path of Nepheshim* [Spirits]

Nadach [Banish]
Effect Shaping: Path of Nepheshim-4*; 20 minutes.
Energy Accumulating: 7 points*.
* Modified for target’s HT; see below.

Arar [Bind]*
Effect Shaping: Path of Nepheshim-3; 10 minutes.
Energy Accumulating: 5 points.
See p. 160.

Nepheshim Segulah [Charm Against Dark Beasts]
Effect Shaping: Path of Protection-6 or Path of Nepheshim-6; 1 hour.
Energy Accumulating: 11 points.
See p. 157.

Shalshelet Ira-Kabbalah [Exorcise]
Effect Shaping: Path of Protection-5 or Path of Nepheshim-2;
1 hour.
Energy Accumulating: 8 points.
See p. 161.

Sheol Cherev [Ghost Sword]*
Effect Shaping: Path of Nepheshim-3* or Path of Hosts-5*;30 minutes.
Energy Accumulating: 8 points*.
* Modified for weapon weight; see below.
See p. 161.

Alav Hashalom [Lay to Rest]
Effect Shaping: Path of Nepheshim or Path of Blessings-2; 20 minutes.
Energy Accumulating: 3 points.
See p. 162.

Pachach Nephesh*
Effect Shaping: Path of Nepheshim-4*; 1dĄ10 minutes.
Energy Accumulating: 8 points*.
* The GM may modify this for different types of spirits.
See p. 162.

Quara‘ Nephesh [Summon]*
Effect Shaping: Path of Nepheshim*; 1dĄ10 minutes.
Energy Accumulating: 4 points.*
* The GM may modify this for different types of spirits.
See p. 162.


Path of Protection

Maggid [Chaperone]
Effect Shaping: Path of Protection-5; 1 hour.
Energy Accumulating: 8 points.
See p. 152.

Nepheshim Segulah [Charm Against Dark Beasts]
Effect Shaping: Path of Protection-6 or Path of Nepheshim-6; 1 hour.
Energy Accumulating: 11 points.
See p. 157.

Tahorah [Cleansing]
Effect Shaping: Path of Protection-4; 20 minutes.
Energy Accumulating: 7 points.
See p. 157.

Shillumah Mazzikil [Curse Mirror]*
Effect Shaping: Path of Protection-3; 20 minutes on an
individual, 1 hour to create a charm.
Energy Accumulating: 6 points on an individual, 8 points
to create a charm.
See p. 157.

Mazzikil Segulah [Curse Sanctum]
Effect Shaping: Path of Protection; 1 hour.
Energy Accumulating: 5 points.
See p. 157.

Qetsat Ma‘asit [Dispel Ritual]
Effect Shaping: Path of Protection-6; 1 hour.
Energy Accumulating: 11 points.
See p. 157.

Haganah Halom [Dream Sanctum]*
Effect Shaping: Path of Soul-3 or Path of Protection-6;
20 minutes.
Energy Accumulating: 6 points.
See. p. 142.

Haganah Mezeg Avir [Endure Elements]*
Effect Shaping: Path of Protection; 10 minutes; grants levels of Temperature
Tolerance equal to 10 Ą margin of success (minimum 10
levels).
Energy Accumulating: 2 points, +1 per 10 levels of
Temperature Tolerance.
See p. 143.

Shalshelet Ira-Kabbalah [Exorcise]
Effect Shaping: Path of Protection-5 or Path of Nepheshim-2;
1 hour.
Energy Accumulating: 8 points.
See p. 161.

Sheker Tsammah [Veil]
Effect Shaping: Path of Divination-3 or Path of Protection-4; 20 minutes.
Energy Accumulating: 7 points.
See p. 152.

Refuah Segulah [Vitality]*
Effect Shaping: Path of Health-3, Path of Blessings-5 or Path of Protection-4;
1 hour.
Energy Accumulating: 8 points.
See p. 150.

Herem Parakot [Ward]
Effect Shaping: Path of Protection-4*; 1 hour.
Energy Accumulating: 9 points*.
* Modified for Power level; see below.
See p. 158.


Path of the Soul

Ha-Olamot [Astral Projection]
Effect Shaping: Path of Soul-5; 20 minutes.
Energy Accumulating: 8 points.
See p. 159.

Haganah Halom [Dream Sanctum]*
Effect Shaping: Path of Soul-3 or Path of Protection-6;
20 minutes.
Energy Accumulating: 6 points.
See. p. 142.

Halom Malakh [Dream Visitor]*
Effect Shaping: Path of Soul-2; 10 minutes.
Energy Accumulating: 4 points.
See p. 142.

Nistar Ruach [Dreamwalk]
Effect Shaping: Path of Soul; 1 hour.
Energy Accumulating: 5 points.
See p. 142.

Tzadik Neshemah [Perfection of the Soul]
Effect Shaping: Path of Soul-5; 20 minutes.
Energy Accumulating: 8 points.
See p. 165.

Yada Zikaron [Read Memories]*
Effect Shaping: Path of Soul-7; 1 hour.
Energy Accumulating: 12 points.
See p. 151.

Yada Eshtonah [Read Thoughts]*
Effect Shaping: Path of Soul-7; 10 minutes.
Energy Accumulating: 9 points.
See p. 152.

Qeshet Paroket [Thicken the Walls of the World]
Effect Shaping: Path of Soul-3; 1 hour.
Energy Accumulating: 8 points.
See p. 165.


Path of T‘zvaot [Hosts]*

Malakim Haganah [Ghost Shirt]*
Effect Shaping: Path of Hosts-7; 1 hour.
Energy Accumulating: 12 points.
See p. 158.

Sheol Cherev [Ghost Sword]*
Effect Shaping: Path of Nepheshim-3* or Path of Hosts-5*;30 minutes.
Energy Accumulating: 8 points*.
* Modified for weapon weight; see below.
See p. 161.

Kana‘ut [Tirelessness]*
Effect Shaping: Path of Hosts-5; 30 minutes; gives +1 to
endurance rolls per full 2 points in margin of success (minimum
+2).
Energy Accumulating: 9 points, +2 per +1 granted to
endurance rolls.
See p. 150.

Malakim Berakhah [Warrior’s Blessing]*
Effect Shaping: Path of Hosts-6; 1 hour.
Energy Accumulating: 11 points.
See p. 150.

Cherev Kodesh [Weapon Blessing]*
Effect Shaping: Path of Hosts-6*; 1 hour.
Energy Accumulating: 11 points*.
* Modified for weapon weight; see below.
See p. 155.
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Old 02-02-2011, 05:55 PM   #29
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Real world magical traditions

That's an impressive amount of detail for magic, nice.

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
What Paths should fall under Ritual Magic (Hermetic)? I'm leaning toward all of them, unless there is something there that would be out of place. By all means, forumites, speak out if some of the Paths or rituals in Thaumatology would not fit Ritual Magic (Hermetic).
If Hermetic is supposed to be wide ranging but weak, how about making its paths subsets? So any ritual with a penalty of say, -6 or worse isn't part of the hermetic tradition and can't be learnt or cast via it's ritual skill? Note that -6 is a WAG, picking the actual number depends on desired power level.
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Old 02-03-2011, 03:19 AM   #30
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Real world magical traditions

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Originally Posted by Puppetminion View Post
If Hermetic is supposed to be wide ranging but weak, how about making its paths subsets? So any ritual with a penalty of say, -6 or worse isn't part of the hermetic tradition and can't be learnt or cast via it's ritual skill? Note that -6 is a WAG, picking the actual number depends on desired power level.
I think that the current system is starting to look like it might do the job of distinguishing the Hermetic system from others while keeping them all useful.

For one thing, the maximum bonus of +15 to rituals is a hard cap in the Hermetic system. This means that the combined bonus for all modifiers, including Sympathy, Names, Contagion (themselves limited to a combined bonus of +6), Extra Time, decanic correspondances, planetary and zodiacal correspondances, materials, Symbol Drawing and sacrifices can't exceed +15. This is before any negative modifiers are counted.

The sole exceptions to this are bonuses from Sacred Architecture and Patina for places, in both cases because such bonuses actually modify the local mana level, and the bonus for Magical Languages. On the other hand, the most common languages available to Hermetic practisoners, Koine Greek and Latin, both top out at +0, so this is rarely a concern.

Combined with the -10 to -5 of the Very Low to Low Continious Mana levels, this means that it is exceptionally difficult to perform any powerful effects with Ritual Magic (Hermetic).

By contrast, attaining the higher level of the Sephiroth allows a kabbalist to increase the maximum bonus above +15. In addition, in Kabbalah, knowing a True Name for the subject of the ritual adds its +4 on top of the maximum +6 for Sympathy, Names and Contagion (though obviously no further name bonus may be claimed).

Similar increases above the +15 cap exist in most of the other older and more powerful traditions. This, combined with the fact that their magical languages may be +1, +2 or even +3 by default will tend to make them more powerful than Ritual Magic (Hermetic) for the rituals that default to them.
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