Theurgy is one of the six Schools of Magic. It is compatible with almost any character concept and most skills, though may not be taken alongside another School. It has a highly structured spell progression, and there are several Paths which practitioners can choose to follow as they expand their spell repertoire.

What is Theurgy?

Theurgy is, at base, the practice of communion with beings which appear, by all accounts, to be angels. The dedicated Theurgist might choose to use this communion to ask the Angelic host for aid in his own projects, to enhance his own knowledge of the Celestial realms, to understand the true nature of Angelic beings or to develop his own self and substance to become holier and more pure.

The basic theory of Theurgy is much like the theory of Sorcery; there are many disputes within the Invisible College and the Clergy as to whether this is due to the nature of human research and tradition or a more profound effect of the nature of angels and demons. A Theurgist creates Circles, into which he calls - the technical term is Entreats or Supplicates - beings from the Celestial realms. Unlike Sorcery, however, the purpose of a Circle is not to bind the angel but to allow it a doorway into the mortal realms and the ability to act while it is there, protected from the corrosive effect of the human world upon its purer substance.

Why Theurgy?

There are as many approaches to Theurgy as there are Theurgists. The following might be IC reasons your character has become interested in this School:

  • Vice - Angels are powerful beings, and a sufficiently dishonest Theurgist might well feel he can trick or manipulate them into serving his own aims.
  • Virtue - many believe that through communion with angels they can better fulfil the demands of their Faith.
  • Knowledge - both through study in libraries and speech with angels, the curious scholar can discover much about the nature of the earthly and Celestial realms.

And the following are OOC reasons you might find Theurgy interesting:

  • Structured paths - Theurgy, like Sorcery, has a clearly structured set of spell progressions to explore. As you progress higher in each path, more spells will become available to learn.
  • Risks - Rituals can go awry, through poor luck or interference. Such dangers will almost inevitably create new and interesting plot hooks for your character.
  • Rewards - When rituals go right, they can go very right indeed. With an Angel on your side, a great many doors will open.

In addition, Theurgy in the Archipelago can have great effects in maintaining civilisation above the Floodwaters. Angels can be Entreated to raise sunken cities from the waves, empower a mortal holy man to breathe beneath the waters, or even (as in the case of Rome) to provide sanctified and ethereal barriers between a mortal city and the ravages of the Deluge.

In more mundane terms, Angelic assistance in matters of existence around the Archipelago can be invaluable. Why pay extortionate Guild prices for courier services when you can entreat a minor Angel to deliver a hundred messages to all corners of the earth in the space of an hour? Why scrimp and save for a few acres of dry grazing land when you can ask one of the Host to drop manna from Heaven itself upon your hungry villagers?

Theurges are in constant demand, particularly in those cities which maintain themselves Magically apart from the English Ocean, and even a lowly adept will never find himself short of work.

Theurgy and Religion

Both Anglican and Catholic Churches, and the Jewish faith, tend to use the existence of the other's Theurgists as proof that a true faith is not necessary for the practice of the art. It is nevertheless true that no self-proclaimed atheist has ever publicly demonstrated a facility with Theurgy (the same cannot be said of Sorcery).

Theurgy is perhaps the School of magic most commonly practised by holy men and women of any cloth. Ordination or Appointment is not, however, necessary for its practice. Views on Theurgy within Church and Synagogue tend to vary widely, and while one Bishop may approve wholeheartedly, another might condemn it as heresy. However, the public practice of Theurgy is more compatible with a Priestly character than perhaps any other School of magic; and it should be observed that the Rabbis of Prague are generally known to count several Theurgists among their own ranks.

In system terms, Theurgy is more flexible than it might appear IC, and many of the rituals can be adapted, depending on your character and their beliefs. Be aware, however, that the prevailing environment in England sees Theurgy as Christocentric. If your character has a reason to approach Theurgy from a different perspective (most commonly Jewish, though theoretically from some stranger religion), please warn the GMs before requesting your spell list; we will establish together how your character's practice of the School might differ from the standard examples.

Experimental Theurgy

There will always be a few who choose the path less travelled, and it is in this vein that the Experimental Theurgy rules come into play. Theurgy is not quite so suitable for improvisation as, say, Conjuration or Invention, but minor modifications can be made.

Effectively, any Theurgist may attempt to modify any Theurgic Ritual. Tell the GMs how you intend to modify the ritual, what effect you are aiming to achieve, and what factors might affect your experimentation. The GM team give no particular guarantee that such experimentation will work, but factors which might make it less likely to fail include:

  • The use of relevant spells from the Cleric's or Celestial Paths.
  • An assistant, or collaboration from another PC or NPC.
  • A relevant Magical Library.
  • Relevant skills.
  • Training from Malta.
  • A particularly clever plan.

Experimenting with a ritual by modifying it not only increases the chance of the ritual failing, but also increases the dangers of such a failure. For the purpose of determining the consequences of Things Going Wrong, minor modifications to a ritual will make it act as a ritual one step up the same path; major modifications, two steps up.

Tokens, in general, cannot be modified. There may be exceptions; please consult the GMs if you have an idea.

Paths and Development

All Theurgists start with the two basic spells Rhombus Angelicus and Entreat the Angel.

By buying Magical Adept or Magical Expert, players may also gain either one or two additional spells from a set list. If you want to play a Theurgist, email the GMs and we will send you the spell list from which you may choose.

Theurgists may then research up to one more Theurgic ritual per turn, at a basic cost of 4AP per ritual. This cost can be reduced by various means including (but not limited to) use of a Library and outside tuition.

This AP cost may be split over multiple turns if desired. PCs may only research rituals which progress from Paths they already have. New Paths may not, under most circumstances, be gained during the course of the game.

Theurgists can only see details of the rituals immediately above them in each path they possess, and the lowest-tier ritual of any paths they do not.

Researching a spell does not merely give one the ability to perform the ritual; it also imparts a certain amount of knowledge about the path in which one progresses. Someone who is a devoted adherent of the Path of the Circle, for example, is likely to be able to tell more about another Theurgist's Circle - what type it is, when it was cast, even who cast it - than one focused on the Path of the Supplicant. Similarly, greater knowledge of a ritual may also allow one to change or alter it - though such original research often carries with it its own risks; see the Experimental Theurgy section for more details.


Summaries of each of the four Theurgic paths, and the first spells of the basic two (Supplicant and Circle) are shown below. Those playing, or intending to play Theurgists will receive more detailed briefings.

The Path of the Supplicant

Adherents of the Path of the Supplicant focus on entreating more potent and more holy beings from the Celestial Realm.

Once an angel has been thus entreated into a Circle, there is a certain extent to which a Theurgist may direct their actions. This is not the compulsion which many Sorcerers exercise over their charges, but rather a negotiation with a greater power - the Angel will frequently, in exchange for an understanding that the action they are being asked to perform is in line with the Divine Plan, aid the Supplicant in their endeavours.

There are those who have postulated that it might be theoretically possible to trick, manipulate or even compel an Angel, with a sufficiently advanced mastery of Theurgy. Such postulations tend to be depostulated in very short order as soon as the local priesthood gets hold of the postulant.

Most of the rituals on this Path require time spent in preparation of some sort, whether of the articles of magic or of the Theurgist himself, hence the time they take to complete. Even if such preparation is not explicitly mentioned in the Ritual section, players may assume that a deal of their PC's time when performing a spell is spent in meditation and ritual preparation.

Entreat the Angel

The most basic method of entreating the Heavenly Host. Calls an Angel into the mortal realms. Angels bless births, sing Hosannahs, help the lost and aid in prayer.

The Path of the Circle

Adherents of the Path of the Circle focus on creating theurgic Circles of greater complexity and duration. Powerful Theurgists trained in this Path can confidently entreat more powerful Angels without risking accident, and allow them to remain in the mortal realms for longer and with greater potency.

A note on Tokens and AP: Circles do not require AP, since they are effectively useless without an Entreaty (which does require AP). They do, however, require Tokens.

Rhombus Angelicus

An angel entreated into the basic Angelic Circle may only remain in the mortal realms for a matter of hours, unless supported by some external binding force. The Angelic Circle is suitable for minor servants of Heaven, but its substance is too fragile to safely sustain the presence of a being from one of the more potent Hosts. Angels summoned with this Circle can rarely move far outside the influence of the Circle before its protection wanes from them - barely a few hundred yards' distance, even when drawn by proficient Theurgists.

NB: It is possible to Entreat an Angel too powerful for the Circle you have cast. Just not sensible.

The Celestial Path

Adherents of the Celestial Path focus on their knowledge and familiarity with the Angelic domain. Particularly powerful Celestial adherents may even find their names well-known by Angels they have never before encountered.

Spells in the Celestial Path do not include “rituals” as such - once the caster has researched them, they take the form of permanent effects which are considered active at all relevant times. Similarly, however, because they are not solid rituals as such, they can be disrupted by things which affect the Theurgist's concentration or state of mind or heart.

The Cleric's Path

Most adherents of the Cleric's Path are priests or zealots. While the other paths focus, to some degree or another, on understanding and affecting fragments of the Celestial Realms, Clerics allow the Realms to affect them. The dedicated Cleric eventually finds himself becoming something more… or less… than human.

Cross-Path Spells

There are rumours that masters of more than one Theurgic path can achieve hitherto unheard-of effects. There is no doubt that these rituals would - theoretically - be immensely powerful; but they would also, if botched, be terribly dangerous…

theurgy.txt · Last modified: 2007/10/03 20:36 by helen