are there any alternate rules to learning hermetic virtues?

the ones i saw on apprentices don't make sense.
1)under that system even a virtue like the one that says"your master was a powerfur person thus you start with more xp"
would make other virtues harder to learn.
2) it really does not take into account breakthroughs. with that system even if the order had a 100 major breakthroughs in a day., they would be useless because no one would be able to learn them. besides does a virtue you create by a breakthrough count?

Hermetic virtues can be 'taught' via initiation, as per The Mysteries (Revised). This method does not get 'harder' based on the number of virtues the initiate has, but in return it's simply a much harder method overall.

So to boil it right down to as bare-bones as you can go: you buy virtues with stories. Go on an epic quest for a virtue, pass the challenges the SG throws at you, earn the virtue as part of the 'loot' at the end of the adventure. Of course, it might involve more than one adventure to get there, and along the way the magus may well (probably) have to sacrifice a few things too. Time, vis, magic items, their familiar, their talisman, acquire some new flaws, etc. Any one, or all, or some bizarre combination...

Mystery Initiation can work for almost any virtue. The only ones it really isn't appropriate for are social status virtues, or virtues that describe either your background or your connections.

Example: you wouldn't initiate 'Warrior' via mystery initiation. You'd probably do it by the very mundane method of hiring a sword instructor... which might involve a story in itself, but doesn't have a whole lot of inherent mystery. :slight_smile:

  1. Taking skilled parens isn't appropriate for a character who is being taught virtues, and is being progressed in play. I know it doesn't make sense that taking skilled parens as a virtue would have made it harder to acquire other virtues.
  2. With regards to teaching Breakthroughs, I think that there does need to be some cleanup here. HoH:TL came out long before Apprentices, and the authors had to struggle within the limits defined by previous books in teaching Hermetic virtues to apprentices. They couldn't rely upon the Mystery and initiation rules, because it was already difficult. I'm personally fine with the idea that the inventor of the Breakthrough can teach to anyone without having to overcome the limitations of Initiations or teaching Hermetic virtues outlined in Apprentices. It is a little handwavy. If it's a PC teaching another a virtue from a breakthrough he made, it's a huge sacrifice of time (I'm not inclined to allow a virtue to be taught via a tractatus, despite the RAW). If it is a PC being taught, it's in order to advance the story interests of the saga, in some way.

what about virtues being part of your inherent nature? i can't imagine learning gentle gift from my master as part of normal teaching. or (in order to make other teaching easier) a master with a blatant gift making me have one myself. im just saying that since these books came after the core book maybe things like that should be considered supernatural virtues,instead. after all one can be born with a gentle gift but no one is born with" diedne magic"

. on the other hand a mytery initiation might do the trick. if it can give unaging then why not gentle gift.(though i tihnk unaging should be a supernatural virtue, how else would youcall notgetting old?)

ops made a little mistake. unaging is already supernatural :laughing:

When apprentices came out, this was a bit of a debate on the forum. The writer for those rules didn't want to limit players from being able to do anything. I can understand certain sagas holding the view that the Gentle Gift is innate and cannot be learned, I held that position myself, based on language in HoH:Societates about Jerbiton magi going to great lengths to find Gently Gifted apprentices. So, in your setting you can do as you like, but it is canon that all Hermetic virtues can be taught, even Skilled Parens, as odd as it might seem.

I used to be on the side of not being able to teach Gentle Gift, that is until an SG in the game presented my Gently Gifted Merceris magus an apprentice. I think it's reasonable that a Gently Gifted magus might be able to observe the behavioral differences in himself and in other magi that learn to blunt the effects of the Gift, and teach these "tricks" to an apprentice. It's not necessarily a complete theory that supports the teaching of Gentle Gift.

skilled parens?? IIRC i think even that apprenticies book said that certain "social" virtues can't be given.
using that logic i could give someone the"masterpice" virtue :laughing:

as for initiation. this means i could for instance get the general virtue "innofencive to(whatever)

can you remove flaws:? i know hermetic ones can't be removed according to apprentice books but what of the rest.

That's canon, it isn't intended to make sense. But, is there a difference in someone who teaches extra and someone who teaches 1 season a year with an improved SQ? The text says it is inappropriate to use in an environment where the SQ of the teacher is actually known. But, in some games, especially focusing on apprentices, it might be desirable to not have to worry about the master at all, and instead describe the magus as a Skilled or Weak Parens, putting the virtue or flaw on the PC.

Flaws don't get removed in Apprentices, they are instead not transferred, if the master can generate a teaching SQ sufficient that he can deliver a virtue without imparting the flaw. Removing flaws is in the realm of transformation from the magic realm. I don't understand your comment about initiating the general virtue, and what it plays on it. I have guesses, but I'm not clear. And being able to initiate makes certain assumptions about the master; he's part of a mystery cult and is initiating the apprentice into the cult.

so does that mean that some where their is a hermetic mystery cult that teaches.. flexible formulaic magic? as i understand it the fact that they can be taught like mysteries does not mean that evey single virtue has a cult somewhere :smiley:

so removig any flaw is not possible using standard rules. whether hermetic or not.

speaking of these can you grant yourself a mundane virtue or remove a purey mundane flaw? like avaricious with maybe a perdo mentem spell to destroy that part of the personality?
or are these considered "essential nature" only changeable through roleplaying(just as in real life in this particular case)

I don't see why there couldn't be.

Depends upon what your definition of standard is. Are splat books like RoP:Magic standard (technically, removing a flaw isn't even possible by a strict reading of the rules, only virtues being added), so no, there really isn't any method for removing a flaw, even a story flaw, once resolved. That doesn't work, though, so either the flaw is gone or another one must be substituted in its place. Often the resolution of one story flaw leaves multiple possible story flaws in its wake.

Typically, things that the character has when play begins are considered part of the essential nature. It's one reason why Poor Stat shouldn't be instantly fixable by a specialist in the appropriate Form fixing. Nor would I take attempting to remove a personality flaw with a Perdo Mentem spell in a positive light.

It's important to recognize that in Ars magica, more than other games, there's a game contract, implicit in the character creation. Personality flaws are flaws that you take suggesting how you intend to role play your character. I wouldn't care if youf ind that a personalityw asn't working out, and you substituted another one that was more appropriate. If you take Greedy, then you are saying to the table that you will take opportunities to eat or indulge to excess. If you take avaricious, you intend to horde vis or money, or something. Attempting to remove personality flaws suggest you're looking at a mound of characteristics, Art, Ability scores and spells...

It should also be noted that Apprentices has the Inherited Virtues and Flaws mechanic. Which allows child characters to "develope" a chosen virtue or flaw as the result of maturing or in response to "appropriate" story events.

So characters, at least children, can learn virtues by just developing in a "natural" way over time. So a blacksmith's apprentice could develop Great "Strength" by spending their formative years in hard physical labor. While apprentice magi can develop Great "mental characteristics" or some Hermetic Virtue by spending their youth learning magic.

Or a character might acquire their chosen virtue in response to a story event like getting "Gentle Gift" as the result of a teenage romance with a magical spirit or some such mystical doings.

Oh very yes!

It is important to realise the base rules where designed to play full fledge magus just out of apprenticeship of with several decades behind their belt. With some form of consistency / balance.

Apprentices (as well as Houses of Hermes) came much later to allow players to experience the life of hermetic apprentices.
It has been identified early that it is possible by Apprentice RAW to have a much more powerful magus out of apprenticeship than by the normal ways, if you run every single seasons and have a lenient GM.

So there is some inconsistencies between the base RAW and additional material. Unfortunately, it also makes GM life's a bot more challenging to bring back the pieces altogether.
Clever players might try to use that to break the system using loopholes. This were the game contract kicks in. Trying to reconciliate all materials cannot be done smoothly, so in case of inconsistency, I tend to refer to RAW as it is, but if there is good material, and it does not seem to break the system, I am willing to give sometimes a great deal of leeway to my players.

But the deal is that if it seems broken after a few sessions or the players abuse it, then I will take it back.

Basically, it is "I am willing to let you do something which does not fit RAW, but if it spoils other people fun, or prevent me to run stories, I will revert back to RAW".

ok lets sum all this up. virtues can be taught normally as per apprentice rules(faerie magic,verditius etc)

  1. normal mystery virtues can't be taught like that . e.g hermetic alchemy

  2. i would personally rule that by the teaching method you can only teach virtues /flaws directly applicable to hermetic magic. the rest can neither be taught nor do they count as part of difficulty for doing so.

  3. this is no true for mysteries. you could perhaps gain gentle gift by a mystery. or inoffensive to animals or whatever.

  4. other than wizard twillight how else does one normally gain virtues/flaws?

  5. according to mysteries you can self initiate yourself a virtue. so does that mean that i could "make" myself a cautious sorcerer by essentially trying to be,well cautious.? or flawless magic etc.

7.i assume however that i must have some knowledge of the magic i try to self initiate. i can't create major virtues on the spot without a breakthrough.'s not obvious to me if "flawless magic,quiet magic,cautioussorcer" are supposed to represent major breakthroughs that were taught as virtues but were never integrated or are personal talents.

9.through some mystery virtues you may change your essential nature. but the change has to be personal it has to come from within a self transformation. the limit of essential nature essentially means" you can't clap your hands and become a daimon or whatever you lazy jerk :laughing:

  1. Isn't strictly correct. It can be taught, but with the exception of the Mystery Cults, House virtues can be transmitted without penalty or teaching to apprentices in 10 seasons of one-on-one interactions between master and student. The shortest period of time is 2.5 years, obviously. Of course, acquiring the House virtue too early can make teaching other stuff harder, so I try and map out when it actually happens out of character, and revise the apprentice's schedule accordingly.
  2. Is essentially correct, Apprentices doesn't speak to teaching other virtues at all.
  3. Requires acting as your own mystagogue, with all that it entails, including needing a relevant lore score for the mystery cult. Without high presence, it's unlikely to happen easily, and even then...

Through stories where they come about in play. Most virtues/flaws are very hard to gain once you're an adult, but if there's a good reason in-story for something to change the Storyguide should look at it carefully.

Oh, and for removing flaws there's always a Pilgrimage; which is almost a divine mystery initiation.

You'd have to come up with some sort of overarching theory of reality (akin to any of the mystery house's philosophies) that allowed you to produce safer magic. And then you'd have to spend a long time working out the details of that theory.

You'd also have to go on quests to find enlightenment and/or sacrifice parts of yourself (gaining flaws) in order to gain those virtues your philosophy guides you to.

Storyguide discretion on this one.

If your philosophy makes a certain virtue plausible, even if that virtue has never existed before, you may be able to create an initiation for that virtue.

Note that a virtue gained through initiation is very different from one gained through a breakthrough. With a breakthrough you have made the major virtue fit in standard hermetic magic, with a mystery initiation you have found an aspect of your own mystical philosophy that won't work for anyone who doesn't share your beliefs.

There's no need to pick one or the other. The same virtue could easily exist in multiple forms from different sources. One magus may have Quiet Magic because his parens taught it him, while another has it because his essential nature is to be quiet and his gift reflects that fact.

The limit of essential nature applies to standard hermetic magic, not to reality as a whole.

Even without a mystery initiation you can change your essential nature over time. A young fit man who likes running around is not essentially the same as a decrepit old man known as "Mr. No-legs", but the former can naturally change into the latter.

Self-initiation is a huge pain in the rear, but so is every method of earning a Virtue. I mean, three seasons of adventure in the Magic Realm'll get you a free Major Virtue. All you need to do is...get to the Magic Realm, survive three seasons of adventure there, and get out!

Twilight, meanwhile...well, you've said in other threads that you want to avoid Twilight, and that's usually a good idea, but remember that it's the fast way to Minor Virtues if you go Criamon.

Monistic Mysticism is awesome...if you're a holy character. But your Warping score will hit the upper stratosphere in no time.