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  • Grimoire - What do they look like

    Hello there

    So, the mechanics for creating and using a Grimoire is pretty strait forward;
    * Cast Scribe Grimoire on a subject
    * Have the right arcana to cast it (and spend extra time)

    But I am about to introduce my players to Grimoires, and now those mechanics has opened up some questions for me about Grimoires since this would mean:
    * There is no need for any writting when creating them
    * Runes Isn't needed either
    * No need for mage sight to identify it
    * Don't need to know high speech to understand it

    With these things missing;
    * what does a Grimoire look like (not the subject of the spell)?
    * How identify something as a Grimoire?
    * How do a mage with to low arcanum (or wrong arcanum), see the Grimoire compared to some one who has the arcanum?

    Hoping to get people's take on how to do this so I can introduce it to my players.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Neros View Post
    * There is no need for any writting when creating them
    It doesn't precisely spell it out but the implication is that you are writing or somehow recording the Mudras for the spell. It directly mentions that the size of the recording medium as a limiting factor.

    * what does a Grimoire look like (not the subject of the spell)?
    Pretty much anything that can store information.

    How identify something as a Grimoire?
    It's still a spell.


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    • #3
      Originally posted by Neros View Post
      Hello there


      * How do a mage with to low arcanum (or wrong arcanum), see the Grimoire compared to some one who has the arcanum?

      Hoping to get people's take on how to do this so I can introduce it to my players.
      Probably like a very complex science/maths paper. They might know all the words involved but still have no idea what the hell is going on and cant understand it.

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      • #4
        You do need to record the information somehow, and there's no reason you couldn't do it in High Speech if you wanted.
        And, if you want to, you could also add recommendations and warnings relating to the enscribed Rotes. If you enscribe Ban you could include a warning about using it for detaining people or using it for nighttime protection while you sleep without using Matter to allow air passing through.


        Bloodline: The Stygians
        Ordo Dracul Mystery: Coil of Smoke

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        • #5
          While writing responses, I realized that I might be doing this wrong, not formulating the problem I am having.

          How would you in an example with setting and rules, have a player:
          * Reconize a Grimoire
          * Learn/cast from it
          * Scribe their own Grimoire

          Because I am having a hard time seeing how this is done with how the rules are.. it feels very wonky and incomplete.

          My biggest issue so fare I think, is the Scribe Grimoire spell. Do you cast it before or after you have written/crafted the recipient? Or do you cast it with a duration that lasts for the writting/crafting time?

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          • #6
            There's a sourcebook from 1E, Grimoire of Grimoires, which includes a lot of examples of what they look like. Most of them are along the lines of a full book discussing the author's ideas and Obsessions and approach to magic, with a few rotes encoded throughout the text. It's often primarily a memoir or manifesto or treatise, just like any other book a person might write. Even once it's encoded, you can't just pass the rote directly into someone's mind; the reader needs to read and understand the spell and how to cast it. You're teaching the reader how to do something.


            2E Legacy Updates
            Brotherhood of the Demon Wind
            Choir of Hashmallim (plus extra Summoning content)
            Storm Keepers

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Neros View Post
              My biggest issue so fare I think, is the Scribe Grimoire spell. Do you cast it before or after you have written/crafted the recipient? Or do you cast it with a duration that lasts for the writting/crafting time?
              Casting Scribe Grimoire translates a copy of a rote you know or have available to you via another grimoire into an information state on another medium and will remain in that state until the Duration expires.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Neros View Post
                While writing responses, I realized that I might be doing this wrong, not formulating the problem I am having.

                How would you in an example with setting and rules, have a player:
                * Reconize a Grimoire
                * Learn/cast from it
                * Scribe their own Grimoire

                Because I am having a hard time seeing how this is done with how the rules are.. it feels very wonky and incomplete.

                My biggest issue so fare I think, is the Scribe Grimoire spell. Do you cast it before or after you have written/crafted the recipient? Or do you cast it with a duration that lasts for the writting/crafting time?
                * Reconize a Grimoire: Pick it up and start reading it, they should recognize a rote and if there are able to cast that spell then they would be able to use that spell in the Grimoire.
                * Learn/cast from it: It they are able to casst that spell then they are able to use that spell from the Grimoire
                * Scribe their own Grimoire: The Scribe Grimoire spell will take a Rote that you know or a copy of a Rote in another Grimoire and copy it to the new Grimoire. For a +1 reach and a Mana it can be lasting (the medium that you copied it to will remain a Grimoire until dispelled).

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Neros View Post
                  While writing responses, I realized that I might be doing this wrong, not formulating the problem I am having.

                  How would you in an example with setting and rules, have a player:
                  * Reconize a Grimoire
                  * Learn/cast from it
                  * Scribe their own Grimoire

                  Because I am having a hard time seeing how this is done with how the rules are.. it feels very wonky and incomplete.

                  My biggest issue so fare I think, is the Scribe Grimoire spell. Do you cast it before or after you have written/crafted the recipient? Or do you cast it with a duration that lasts for the writting/crafting time?
                  Examples adapted from actual stuff in my home game:

                  Samson, an Obrimos of the Free Council, has just helped his mentor clear out some ghosts from an old sanctum. His mentor rewards him by giving him a vintage pamphlet from the 60s titled Invitation Transcend, which is a Libertine-authored Grimoire containing the spells Know Nature (Empathy), Words of Truth (Persuasion), Stealing Fire (Larceny), and Apocalypse (Streetwise). I as the ST directly tell my player "this is a 2-dot Grimoire, it contains these spells using these skills, here's a flavor handout I wrote with some excerpts from the text."

                  The next day, Samson is going through the old sanctum with Prime+Forces Mage Sight active, looking for any leftover magical dangers. He passes a Wits+Investigation roll and finds a chest with some books. I tell him "you can see under Prime Sight that one of the books has an enchantment on it." He can infer from context that it's probably a grimoire, but he wants to be sure, so I assign this Mystery an Opacity of 2 and let him Scrutinize. Surface Information: "it's been enchanted with a Prime spell." Deep Information: "it's a Lasting-duration Scribe Grimoire spell." I don't tell him what spells it contains. He grabs the book and takes it home.

                  Later, during downtime, he reads the book and finds that it's a very esoteric Latin text titled Ars Magica Bonisagi about the nature of forms and stuff. I tell him that it's an Intelligence+Academics extended action, 1 roll per day, 20 successes needed to comprehend it. I note to myself that it's a 3-dot Grimoire containing 6 spells, and I'll reveal a spell when he hits 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, and 20 successes. If he gets an exceptional success, I'll warn him about the curse that's setting in as he reads. After his first three days of study he has 8 successes, so I tell him it contains the spells Platonic Form (Academics) and Celestial Fire (Expression), and remind him that there are others he hasn't figured out yet.

                  Samson decides he wants to cast Stealing Fire on some Sleepers in his jam band, and he's gonna do it using the pamphlet Grimoire. He does not know the rote. He has Gnosis 3, so his usual ritual casting time is 1 hour per roll. When he casts from the Grimoire, it becomes 2 hours per roll. He does a ritual where his band plays while he reads aloud from the text and mixes it with High Speech and exhortations. He takes some penalties for spell factors and ends up rolling just 2 dice, but with the rote action quality because he cast from a Grimoire. He succeeds and the spell takes effect as normal.

                  The Sleepers got into some trouble while under the spell's effects, and now they've been taken hostage by a local Seer. Not only that, his copy of Invitation Transcend was stolen. Because he didn't spend any Experiences to buy the Grimoire, it's not subject to Sanctity of Merits, so he's out of luck and he can't learn any spells or cast from it. Instead, he returns to the Ars Magica Bonisagi and spends 1 Experience to learn the rote Celestial Fire using Expression as the rote skill.

                  After the whole adventure is complete, Samson's mentor asks him to scribe a copy of that handy Celestial Fire rote for the local Lorehouse. Because Samson didn't create the rote, he can only copy it from another Grimoire. I tell him that it will be an all-day Intelligence+Academics roll to copy out the relevant section of the Ars Magica Bonisagi to explain the rote properly. He succeeds. Now that he has a physical book describing the rote, he instant-casts Scribe Grimoire with the original book and the new book as his targets, and spends a Reach to make it Lasting. The spell succeeds, and now he has a second Grimoire containing Celestial Fire (Expression) which anyone can cast or learn from.


                  2E Legacy Updates
                  Brotherhood of the Demon Wind
                  Choir of Hashmallim (plus extra Summoning content)
                  Storm Keepers

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                  • #10
                    Thanks, Caladriu for the example. It gave me new ideas for creating different grimoires in my games.

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                    • #11
                      That was a great example Caladriu.
                      It is exactly how I would imagene studying and scribing would work in mage.

                      Only thing that seems outside the rules is the need to research the spell, which isn't mentioned for some reason.

                      So what I got so fare from most of the examples:
                      * The text of the grimoire is irrelevant (you just need the arcana to understand it).
                      * It is the Scribe Grimorie spell that actually does the scribing (no time needed to make the grimoire).

                      So to me, the real problem seems to be the spell itself, which ruins the whole "study/write arcane texts".

                      So I don't see any reason not to scrap it and make it a roll to create a grimoire and copy it. It feels much more canon and gives a sense of having to work and study to gain knowledge.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Neros View Post
                        So to me, the real problem seems to be the spell itself, which ruins the whole "study/write arcane texts".
                        How do you figure?

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                        • #13
                          Researching spells like that isn't mentioned outright in the rules, but I sometimes like to do stuff like that to make grimoires more interesting as objects in the game world. It also might have been guarded by a jealous spirit that had to be convinced to reveal its secrets, or poisoned in some long-forgotten assassination plot, or just written clearly and easily for apprentices to learn from.

                          I think the Scribe Grimoire spell mostly exists to explain how Grimoires come to exist in the setting. It's not something that PCs will frequently be using in most games, unless they're Masters who created their own rotes. The thing about an NPC requesting a grimoire be copied as a favor is a real thing I've done though. I also had a fun scene once where the PCs entered an Athenaeum under false pretenses and "stole" some grimoires by copying them, that's a good practical use.


                          2E Legacy Updates
                          Brotherhood of the Demon Wind
                          Choir of Hashmallim (plus extra Summoning content)
                          Storm Keepers

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                          • #14
                            I can totally see the Mysterium making grimoires out of the biggest, fanciest looking books they can find.

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                            • #15
                              I believe you can make them out of ephemeral beings, it said something about that in the core or maybe the grimoire book. I had a copy of the Suspire encrypted into a ghost.

                              Here we go, in the chapter summary for Signs of Sorcery.

                              'Chapter Four: The Wealth of Knowledge is about the vast legacy of Obsessions past a modern member of an Order inherits; rotes and advanced rotecraft, Grimoires (including Daimononika, palimpests, ephemeral Grimoires, living Grimoires and more), and soul stones'
                              Last edited by nofather; 08-05-2017, 05:05 PM.

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