Hermetic Mage

To Medieval Classes To Witchcraft

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Liber Mysterium

The Netbook of Witches and Warlocks

By Timothy S. Brannan and The Netbook of Witches and Warlocks Team

Full netbook can be found on the followng website

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Hermetic MageThe Mages of the Hermetic Orders are prestige classes in the purist sense. Their lodges are open to anyone who can aspire to their own heights of potential and their secrets are the reward. Their name comes from the Egyptian philosopher-god Thoth, whom the Greeks associated with their own god Hermes. In the world of occult teachings Hermes-Thoth became, Hermes Trimegistos, or “the Thrice-Great Hermes”. This entity is believed to have gained the secrets of the universe and thus became a God, or part of the God Mind.

To become a member, a full lodge member must sponsor the Probationer. This lodge member is responsible for teach the Probationer what they need to know to gain an audience with the Inner Lodge, or ruling body. The Inner Lodge will vote on the Probationer’s qualities (a fine opportunity for role-playing and clever Game Mastering). If the Probationer is accepted then she becomes a Neophyte (1st level Hermetic Mage). Neophytes learn from the books of the Lodges libraries. An unsuccessful Probationer may come back in one year’s time for re-evaluation.

Members refer to each other as -Frater- brother or -Soror- sister. The head of the lodge is called Pater, if male, or Mater, if female.

Hit Dice: d4

Hermetic Mages believe that humans have the potential within themselves to know and be all things, in fact becoming like gods. To do this Hermetic Mages require significant Intelligence and Wisdom.

Requirements

To qualify as a Hermetic Mage, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

Alignment: Any, but most are Lawful
Feat: any metamagic feat.
Skills: Knowledge (Arcana): 7 Ranks or Knowledge (Witchcraft): 7 Ranks, Alchemy: 3 or ranks 3 Craft (alchemy)
Spell casting: Ability to cast 5th level spells
Special: Speak at least one "dead" language
Class Skills: The Hermetic Mages's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Alchemy (Intelligence), Appraise (Intelligence), Astrology (Intelligence), Concentration (Constitution), Decipher Script (Intelligence, exclusive skill), Gather Information (Charisma), Knowledge (all skills taken individually) (Intelligence), Meditative Trance (Constitution), Perform (Charisma), Profession (Wisdom), Scry (Intelligence), Speak Language, Spellcraft (Intelligence), and Use Magic Device (Charisma, exclusive skill).

The Qabalic Tree of Life

While not a hard-fast rule, most lodges are somewhat prejudice of the other humanoid races and generally only seek humans for admittance.

Frater C.R.C. - Christian Rose Cross (symbolical representation)

Frater C.R.C. - Christian Rose Cross (symbolical representation)

Hermetic Mage Progression
Class Level Title Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special Spells per Day
1st Neophyte +0 +0 +0 +2 Hermetic Arcana 1 +1 level of existing class
2nd Junior +0 +0 +0 +3 + 1st level arcane spell +1 level of existing class
3rd Theoreticus +1 +1 +1 +3 Hermetic Arcana 2 +1 level of existing class
4th Practicus +1 +1 +1 +4 + 2nd level arcane spell +1 level of existing class
5th Philosophus +2 +1 +1 +4 Hermetic Arcana 3 +1 level of existing class
6th Minor +2 +2 +2 +5 + 3rd level arcane spell +1 level of existing class
7th Major +3 +2 +2 +5 Hermetic Arcana 4 +1 level of existing class
8th Adeptus Exemptus +3 +2 +2 +6 + 4th level arcane spell +1 level of existing class
9th Magister +4 +3 +3 +6 Hermetic Arcana 5 +1 level of existing class
10th Magus +4 +3 +3 +7 + 5th level arcane spell +1 level of existing class

Level: Hermetic Mages make the most use of levels and titles. They will refer to themselves by level number and title. While these can and do vary from lodge to lodge a rough estimate can be used. The title "Probationer" applies to anyone who wishes to join a Hermetic Lodge, but has not yet been accepted.

The Rose Cross Lamen, as worn by Adepts of the Roseae Rubae et Auris Crucis, the inner order of the Golden Dawn, for general use in magical working. To be worn suspended from a yellow collarette of silk.

The Rose Cross Lamen, as worn by Adepts of the Roseae Rubae et Auris Crucis, the inner order of the Golden Dawn, for general use in magical working. To be worn suspended from a yellow collarette of silk.

Special: The Hermetic Mage gains special powers at each level of their progression. These special powers, spells or feats are only granted after a ceremony to confer a new level title. So a Hermetic Mage may have enough experience points for their next level, they do not actually become that next level until they complete their ascension ceremony. This ceremony is only symbolic and will differ from level to level and lodge to lodge.

Since their screening process for admittance is so exacting, most Hermetic Mages feel that they are above the rest of society as a whole and other characters in general.

Hermetic Arcana (Ex): Starting at 1st Hermetic Mage level and every other level after that (3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th) the Hermetic Mage gains access to the Lodge's vast resources. The Hermetic Mage can add +1 for each level of Hermetic Arcana (+2 for 3rd level, +3 for 5th level and so on) to any knowledge skill check they make that day. This is useable a number of times per day equal to the Hermetic Mage's class level.

For each level Hermetic Arcana the Hermetic mage can also choose a bonus feat they have the prerequisites for. This includes all standard, metamagical and witch feats.

Bonus Arcane Spell (Ex): Starting at 2nd level and every even level afterwards (of Hermetic levels) the Hermetic Mage gains a bonus arcane spell. This spell is from whatever arcane spell list the Hermetic has access to (sorcerer, Witch or Wizard). The spell itself comes from the vast library of the Hermetic's lodge. This spell can be learned above and beyond any spell slots the hermetic might have, but are treated as any other spell, say for the purposes of meta-magical feats.

Spells per Day: The Hermetic continues training in magic as well as his field of research. Thus, when a new Hermetic Mage level is gained, the character gains new spells per day as if she had also gained a level in a spellcasting class she belonged to before she added the prestige class. She does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (improved chance of controlling or rebuking undead, metamagic or item creation feats, and so on). This essentially means that she adds the level of Hermetic Mage to the level of some other spellcasting class the character has, then determines spells per day and caster level accordingly.

If a character had more than one spellcasting class before she became a Hermetic, she must decide to which class she adds each level of Hermetic Mage for purposes of determining spells per day when she adds the new level.

For example, Katrine is a 10th level witch and 3rd level wizard. She decides to join a Rosicrucian lodge. She is sponsored, gains admittance and gains a level of Hermetic Mage. She is now known as Soror Katrine, and is a witch 10, wizard 3, and Hermetic 1. She opts to continue receiving witch spells, so she gains spells as an 11th level witch/3rd level wizard, if she goes up a level in witch or hermetic mage then she will cast as a 12th level witch/3rd level wizard.

Hermetic Mages use the same spell lists as do Wizards.

The Hermetic Orders

There is no single class of Hermetic Mage, but rather several sub-factions and lodges. Whether they practice Qabala or Enochian magic, all consider themselves part of the Goetia or Order of the Rosy Cross (Rosicrucians). All Hermetics share a common goal: to understand the mind of God – not any god, but the source of all creation, magic and mystery.

The variant orders all believe that their version of the truth is the only true one. They differ in the means they cast spells and perform magic, to their basic philosophies and beliefs. Although if hard pressed the various lodges will agree that they have more in common with each other than they have differences.

Spells taught in the Orders are usually very complex and ritualistic. Therefore it is next to impossible to learn their magic without being a member of the
appropriate Order. Even other lodges that have similar backgrounds and skills find it difficult.

The base chance for another arcane spellcaster to learn a spell from the Hermetic Lodge’s library is DC 20 + spell level. This is with the benefit of the Spellcraft skill.

Greater Orders – having the largest numbers of devotees and a tradition that dates back centuries.

Enochian – Enochians believe that their system of magic was handed down straight from the mind and hand of God, through the great sage Hermes and reintroduced to them thousands of years later by the Archangel Raphael. The Enochians are said to have the true names of all of the demons and angels locked away in their lodges. Enochian magic uses the Enochian language, which makes their spell books impossible to use unless one learns this language. Enochian Neophytes must spend a skill to learn this language or be unable to cast any spells.

Goetics – founded by King Solomon the Wise himself. Goetics follow the written history as laid down in the Lesser Key of Solomon. Goetics have been known to converse with angels and summon demons when the need arises. Their magic is very ceremonial and has strict rules of conduct For example, one must not ever wear a head covering when summoning the prince of Demons. Despite of, or because of, that, their lodges are less strict and structured than the other Hermetic Mages. Magical texts are typically written in Latin or Greek (or other language appropriate to your campaign).

Title page of first edition of the Zohar, Mantua, 1558. Library of Congress.

Title page of first edition of the Zohar, Mantua, 1558. Library of Congress.

The Zohar
The Zohar (radiance), or “The Book of Splendor,” is the
greatest classic tome of Jewish mysticism. It is a mystical
commentary on the Torah, written in Aramaic, and is
purported to be the teachings of the 2nd century
Palestinian Rabbi Shimon ben Yohai. Legend relates that
during a time of Roman persecution, Rabbi Shimon hid
in a cave for 13 years, studying Torah with his son;
During this time he is said to have been inspired by God
to write the Zohar. It is considered to be the greatest of
the qabalistic texts. Unfortunately, there is no real
mention of this book in any Jewish literature until the
13th century.

Qabalists – Maybe the oldest of the Hermetic orders, the Qabalists follow the qaballah, the magical tree of life, an ancient magical philosophy that combines religion, philosophy and science with mysticism and sorcery. The qaballah is a mix of traditional Egyptian Hermeticism and ancient Jewish philosophy. All of their magical texts are in Hebrew (or other language appropriate to your campaign).

Qabalisits follow the Qabalic Tree of Life and look for connections in everything to this mystical symbol.

Rosicrucians (Order of the Rosy Cross) – The Rosicrucians are the newest of the Greater Orders, only a few hundred years old. Their name comes their founder, Christen Rosenkreuz, a high level Hermetic and priest. They combine the teachings of Qabalists and other Gnostic traditions, with mainstream religions. Texts are written in Hebrew, Latin (or other older language appropriate to your campaign) or common German (or another common language).

Lesser Orders – These orders are smaller in size and/or newer orders. They are typically located in one spot and had limited life spans. Game Masters will need to determine where these smaller lodges are located and what direction might be taking.

Golden Dawn – The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (GD) was created during England’s occult revival at the end of the 19th century. Claiming to have roots that date back millennia, the Golden Dawn is a mix of Rosicrucian and Enochian systems with bits of Qaballah and Thelema. Many of its members were also members of other lodges. Heavily influenced by the imagery of ancient Egypt, the Golden Dawn claimed to have in its possession an original copy of the Egyptian Book of the Dead. They were one of the first orders to successfully synthesize the various traditions in to a unified whole, instead of a muddled mess. The Golden Dawn was also heavily influenced by imagery from the Tarot, attempting to align it with various constellations and the Enochian Tree of Life. Members of the Golden Dawn who can read Tarot cards have their own specialized set. This is the quickest way to discern if someone is a member since other lodges and witch covens disdain the use of the Golden Dawn Tarot. Members also use the ritual tools of witches.

There are many sub-orders and offshoot orders related to the Golden Dawn, including the Order of the Morning Star and the Order of the Gold and Rose Cross.

OTO – The Ordo Templi Orientis, or the Order of the Eastern Temple, was built on the ashes of the original Golden Dawn. It was similar in organization and purpose as the Golden Dawn and shared many of the same members. The OTO had great ties with mainstream Rosicrucian Lodges until many of its members (Aleister Crowley in particular) began to tamper with both sex magic and black magic. Like their Golden Dawn predecessors, the OTO also uses it’s own set of Tarot cards.

Thelema – Also a newer order, Thelema (from the Greek, meaning ‘Will’) combines many of the west’s Qabalistic traditions with teaching of great philosophers of the east. This route has become first choice among monks and others seeking spiritual enlightenment through magic. Unlike other lodges, Thelema requires the probationer to be lawful in alignment. Thelema believes that every man and woman is already a god, it is a matter of discovering it into one’s self. Among the lodges, Thelema is the most open with their acceptance of other teachings.

Theosophical Society – Predating the Golden Dawn only by a matter of months, the Theosophical Society was founded by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. A mystic of some renown, Madame Blavatsky combined western occult practices with eastern philosophies. The result was different than what would later occur in Thelelma. The Society encouraged open discussion between all members of society on topic of race, gender, religion and science. The ultimate goal of the Society is to discover all of the interconnections of all of the world religions and science, much like the Qabalic Tree of Life. Like Thelema, the Theosophicalists attract a fair number of monks among their ranks, but also clerics and other seekers of Wisdom.

Hermetic Lodges

The Lodge is the meeting place, sanctuary and library of the Hermetic Orders. Each order has it’s own lodge. Lodge meetings take place for all members on the Solstices and Equinoxes. Typically this is when new probationers are admitted. The ceremonies are very formal and full of rote and ritual. After the main ceremony follows a grand feast where matters mundane and magical are discussed.

Lesser ceremonies, such as level advancement are also held at the member's lodge. These ceremonies do not require the full attendance of all members.

Most Lodges are located in cities, with the largest cities having many lodges. Lodges are usually clearly marked and identified. Knowing where a lodge is and gaining admittance are two very different things.

Philosophy

All Hermetic Mages share a certain basic philosophy: That all humans are like unto gods. That by knowing what we are and what we can become, we can become gods ourselves. This philosophy has certain ramifications. First, most Hermetic Mages believe that all the “gods” of the campaign, such as Zeus, Odin, or Ra, were once human themselves. The fact that they are now -god-like- is only a testament to their own belief system.

This also generally puts the Hermetic at odds with various clerics and paladins mostly and even druids and other witches to lesser extent. The cleric or paladin, if very pious (as most are), will treat the Hermetic with a -2 penalty with regards to any reaction that requires Charisma. druids and witches, who might have a more flexible viewpoint on divinity, or any other character that might be religious will grant a –1 penalty to the Hermetic. The GM can decide in what situation a -2, -1 or no penalty should be given. Even in cases where the Hermetic is dealing with a non-religious, or irreligious person, the general attitude of the Hermetic will come off as arrogant or egotistical.

clerics, druids, Witches and monks who join the ranks of the Hermetic Mages are assumed to have reconciled their version of their religion with that of the Hermetic Philosophy. This is not to say that the Hermetic Mages are irreligious or atheists. On the contrary, many feel that this route is the best way to get in touch with their god

“Be thy Mind opened unto the Higher,
Be thy Heart a Center of Light,
Be thy Body a Temple of the Rosy Cross”.

-Motto of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn

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