ROF wants Hermetic.
I'm perfectly happy with either Hermetic or Hedgies.
If we go for the Levant there's the possibility of both - having a Hermetic covenant and a rival group, maybe Sahirs of the order of Suleiman from The Cradle & The Crescent, or Amazons (if we're near enough a body of water to hide their island in) or Soqotran wizards (if the Hermetic magi are near the Red sea and one group or the other wants to establish dominance over that sea), or Divine power users with holy relics unearthed in the Holy Land, or Infernalists seeking to desecrate holy sites, maybe even faerie magicians (The Ars Fabulosa are supposed to come from the middle east, and Yatus have a magic/faerie linkage).
If we want the connection to the Knights templar I don't think we can set it too far from a Crusader State...just at the very borders of it probably. The Order of Suleiman, could still be an enemy, and we could throw in other Hedges as enemies. New Crusades could be an issue. Also the Knights Templar's very different way of being organised could be an issue earlier than it was IRL
I thought I would just run an idea past you guys - as I think the idea is too...cumbersome, but let me know what you think.
A holy Magic magus. One who creates a Mystery Cult based on Holy Magic, and seeking to initiate things like Sense Holiness/Unholiness and the Powers and Methods needed for holy Magic to use the holy power guidelines as spell guidelines.
The cumbersome thing with this is IMHO, that the Powers/Methods are all Major supernatural virtues, that have to be initiated, meaning massive Initiation scripts - yes it is something to go for, but I am fearing he wouldn't have them until "late game", where as I would like for him to have some "mid game"; maybe I am mistaken and the math does add up to some "mid game" Power/Method shenanigans.
Is it done? tried and true? As he would start out with Holy Magic, all his spells would be holy, he would only be peripherally Hermetic, but in this Tribunal that is fine.
My concern would be less about the mechanics (although that might crop up), and more about the flavour - Mystery Cults tend to be about the acquisition of power, which doesn't fit well with the Divine.
Mechanically, there are some similar things out there already - have you seen the rules for Mysticism in The Church (page 19 onwards)? Those tend to be very much "focusing your life upon God, and acquiring powers as a side-effect".
I was thinking of a "Rote"/Hermetic Arithmetic magus, who might do a Mystery Cult with the Divine/Dominion/The Templars - just bugs that no kind of magic except the Holy Magic Virtue confers no minusses from Dominion Aura. But I guess it could be a researchable Major breakthrough (maybe, unless it is impossible).
Also would it be a Major breakthrough to integrate a Power spell guideline into Hermetic theory? Or impossible? I would lean towards Major, because it is already present in Holy Magic, and it is an amalgam of Hermetic and Divine IMHO.
3 years since we finished chatting about it and actually started! Anyway, we didn't develop rules for advancing mysteries. The best solution for this is to suggest the rules if you were the alpha SG for a saga, and outline what you believe is sensible and won't wreck your beloved saga. Everyone else can make suggestions based on their experience, and we can develop something that others can use as inspiration.
Mystery cults probably should be mysterious with their progression being uncertain and requiring strange tasks from their initiates.
For Holy cults - it's probably easier to either use the Pilgrimage mechanic from The Church, suggest what you're trying to achieve and then have the other contributors suggest how many seasons they think it takes based on your current skills;
or to use contemplative mysticism (good news - in the Levant joining a Crusade is very easy. Bad news - you'll really need to work hard at not being found out by Quaesitors).
Actually, using contemplative mysticism is probably quite easy if your character is really pious. Use the Major personality flaw Pious, and have a +6 Pious personality trait. Use the points gained from the Major flaw to buy the Major Virtue of a holy Method at character creation, and buy a holy Power.
Further Minor holy powers and supernatural abilities (like sense holy/unholy, premonitions) require a Path total of 15 (The Church, page 22). Your Path Target is your Path Total - score in Personality Trait Pious - so you only need 9 points.
9 points can be gained from one year on a Crusade; or a season preaching to heretics, pagans or infidels; or one season teaching and spreading the gospel (+3) and undertaking a minor pilgrimage (+6) - all of these are easily found within the Levant, it's the not getting killed doing it that's the hard part. Alternatively, nine seasons of serving the poor or in personal devotion to a saint could do the trick.
As an alternative to help you working in Divine auras, how about Entreat the Divine powers and Natural Magician as used by Learned Magicians (HMRE, P82 7& 83) and attempt to integrate it with Hermetic magic? Entreat the Powers requires a good knowledge of Dominion Lore, and Natural Magician a good level of Philosophiae - however these are probably quite doable.
Ooh, I'm now tempted to see how far I can push a Philosophiae-loving wizard.
Anything east of the empire of Nicea and south of the Caucasus basically... so the majority of Modern day Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Sinai, Egypt, even into Iraq/Saudi arabia, though I personally think we should keep it within one of the crusader states.
ArM5 page 200-201 shows a huge gap between Thebes and the Levant so a good deal of modern Turkey is outside the Order.
Southern border I eyeball at around Acre and the eastern border seems to reach maybe Damascus. But Jerusalem is outside the Levant’s south-eastern borders.
I was thinking of finding a place near a large body of water, to allow for an Aquam magus even though we’re in desert lands. I mentioned the Sea of Galilea earlier. That’s in the north end of the Levant.
Natural Magician explicitly doesn't require you to be a Learned Magician - "With the exception of Mythic Alchemy, Mythic Hermetic, and Natural Magician, the list of virtues below is only suitable for learned magician characters or characters from a related magical tradition". (HM:RE pg 80). Doesn't help with Entreat the Powers, of course.
I agree an Ex-Miscellanea tradition based off the Learned Magicians is also possible.