Ancient Magic & True Lineage

Hi, everybody.

Ancient Magic says that new virtues resulting from Major or Hermetic Breakthroughs may be initiated and and initiation script must be devised per Mysteries Revised.

On the other hand, True Lineage states that virtues from Major or Hermetic Breakthroughs can be learned the same way abilities are learned.

This seems like a contradiction. Is there any official word on this--like errata? Or am I wrong, and the two rules are just different approaches?

My personal feelings on there matter is that, while mechanically similar, Original Research and Hermetic Integration are, in fact, two very different ways of accomplishing the same thing.

The former involves pushing the limits of hermetic magic to unlock hitherto unknown magical secrets that, once stabilized, are hermetic since they were developed using familiar hermetic arts and processes.

The latter, on the other hand, is essentially the reverse engineering of non-hermetic magical effects so that they can be successfully incorporated into Bonisagus' Magic Theory.

I see the problem and I like Gremlin44's answer, though I'm not sure that's quite how the words are used. I do think Gremlin44 has described what I've read in the rules well. I'll have to check for it, but I believe there are also cases in canon where you can do two stages of original research, the first bringing about a Mystery Virtue and the second integrating it more regularly into Hermetic theory. I'll try to find a page reference and edit it in here. I think the example will further back up Gremlin44's viewpoint.


I don't think that can be what was intended, because the books that give examples of learning from ancient or hedge magic suggest that one can supplement insights with HoH-style Original Research to get to a single goal.

The requirement that new virtues be initiated is a bit of a problem, since it brings Mystery mechanics into a more central role that I envision for the Order. There's never been any suggestion, for example, that Bonisagus researchers have the skills of Mystagogues. It's also tough to redo the process of finding insight from ancient magics a second time around to integrate that virtue that your Magus has spent a half century developing in the first place. On the other hand, allowing all developments to be freely teachable makes Hermetic Magic change too quickly for my taste, so neither approach seems perfect.

/Agree with callen. Working from memory, this is it: YOu make a breakthrough that yields a virtue, and can make another one to make it accessible to everyone.

For exemple, Flawless Magic is currently a hermetic major virtue, but, with a breakthrough, you could integrate it fully, so that it can be learned easily by any magus.

I may be wrong, of course, being away from the books

The answer is simple for Supernatural Abilities, which magi can be learn without gaining the Virtue. But there's nothing anywhere that explains how to teach or learn a Hermetic Virtue that has no associated Ability. They give no target advancement to reach. They don't explain how to learn their Life Boost example.

For opening the Gift, both Arm5 p107 and HM p8 require triple the score for Major, we could WAG and give them virtual Abilities:

  • "Quality 5 in 1 seasons = score 1" for Minor Virtues
  • "Quality 30 in 3 seasons = score 3" for Major Virtues.
    But this is outside the realm of RAW and boy would I love to learn Minor Hermetic Virtues in a season!

Yeah, I'd much rather say "learn" here means "initiation" but as HoH:MC came after (right?) they couldn't say that.

EDIT: HoH:TL p29-30, and yes Callen the first breakthrough creates the Virtue (and the problem above) while the second breakthrough is the Hermetic integration one.

(Edit - beat me to it, Tug!)

First, page references would be considerate, so we don't have to independently dig up where you are reading this. TL is p 26, last par -

...Major Breakthroughs are often Hermetic Virtues that can be taught to the Gifted...
But afaict that's all it says about that end of the process. It doesn't say "how" one teaches such a Virtue to another - how much time, etc etc. If so (i.e. if it's not hidden elsewhere and I'm just missing it), either path may lead to an identical Teachable Virtue, but Initiation may be the only way to actually teach such.

True Lineage p29 states:

So from this, even if the Virtue has no Ability, its still taught as if it had one.

Yeah, and as i have already put this question up on the forum a couple of times, noone seems to have found a RAW answer.

Which doesn't actually make any sense. How many XP does it take to learn an ability that doesn't have levels?

Although it says a minimum of 5 for Abilities, this was prior to Accelerated Abilities and prior to Arts learned like Supernatural Abilities (which need only reach 0). Also, as stated, this is based on a need for the Ability to reach 1 (which is where the Arts differ, needing to hit 0 and so costing 0), and with no associated Ability, need it reach 1? So I'm guessing the default was probably intended as 5xp, but I'm not very sure about it since if we follow the method those Arts use we could say there is no level 1 to reach so you only need 0xp (after penalties, so just non-negative).


It's a little hard to picture a researcher accumulating a second 45 points of insight to integrate a virtue if it can be learned for only 5xp, much less zero. Something just doesn't fit in the HoH text.

Well, remember that that is after the minimum penalty of 15 if you've had your Arts Opened. Since it's probably for a Hermetic Magus, the penalty is probably 15 or higher, maybe even significantly higher. So we're talking about 15 or 20 (instead of 0 or 5) or more in one season. That gets pretty hard pretty quickly.


"You do not have to subtract your total Hermetic Arts score from the Source Quality of the teaching source."

EDIT: HoH:TL p29 below middle right

Oh, wow, missed that one. Well, 5 xp for such an Ability does make it pretty easy then. Certainly 0 xp would not be a good choice for a non-Ability being learned.


Well, why bother teaching it when you can become famous for improving MT permanently?

If it's already easy enough to learn that one can pick it up in a season for 5xp, just write a tractatus and be done with it. Repeating the breakthrough points is another half lifetime's work better spend on another research project.

This is the difference between fame and eternal glory.

"Poor are those who are happy enough with writing of a tractatus. Happilly Bonisagus knew how to do this better, and all shall do the same!"

  • Bonisagus motto.

One Virtue obtained either Original Research or Integration can be taught fine Initiation or fine "witting" it, and that depends of the Owner/researcher: one Bonisagi'ld prefer the first but one Flambeau Magi that has a strong relationship with some Fiery deity and it's trying create his own Mystery cult would prefer the Initation process for the same research.

My own approach is to give three options when a Virtue is acquired through original research or Hermetic integration.

a.) The researcher can continue his project and fully integrate the Virtue into Hermetic Theory.

b.) The researcher can teach the Virtue using Mystery techniques, if he has the appropriate skills and can develop a script.

c.) The researcher can make available his Lab Texts for the entire sequence of effects that provided Insight and led to development of the Virtue. Other Magi can learn the Virtue by repeating the full set of spells and enchantments, with the aid of the standard bonuses for following Lab Texts.

Options b and c are sufficiently difficult that there's good reason for a researcher to continue with integration. This surely would earn fame and perhaps even eternal glory.