Arni Bjornaer aka Aquilas

Can I take «self-initiation» as a specialty for House Bjornaer Lore (I think Pavo did that)?

(ST EDIT) Yes you may.

Thank you.

If the clan mystery works out smoothly in the Summer, I shall want to try to self-initiate sensory magic without script (+0) at the earliest opportunity. With the major ordeal from the clan mystery, the ease factor is 9, which I meet with 3 (H Bjornaer Lore) +1 (speciality) +2 (puissant) +3 (presence). This is straight forward, isn't it? Or is the subtle point in the rules that I have missed?

I am not sure if I get the opportunity in the Autumn 2015 or not. If I read the rules correctly, I cannot initiate a mystery and gain adventure xp in the same season. And besides, there might be pressure to set up a full standard lab for the common good. It is top of my list, but it will wait till I have time.

Hi loke, I believe darkwing has made other Mystagogue characters, so he might correct me, but unless you have an actual Initiation Script:

You'd still need a Script, that is, you'd invent one through experimentation, suggesting components to the SG (which could be the same as those in the HoH MC book), "If the Mystagogue has no Initiation Script, or only has an inadequate one, then she may experiment to discover a new Script. This involves risk and uncertainty, with no guarantee of at the end, but it is the only way to begin a new Initiation under such circumstances." (basically all of Ch 2 of The Mysteries Revised). You'd choose a Risk modifier of +0 to +3, and then roll on the Experimentation table in Core (danger!) with stress die + Risk. After that, you check for validity of the proposed script: simple die + Risk + Int + Mystery Cult Lore vs (9 (if for you) + proposed bonus). Once the validity is successfully rolled, you have a Script in hand (with the Experimentation peculiarities, if that part was successful)! This process takes a season, I believe. You'd then undergo this Initiation, if you wished, as normal, except you are the Mystagogue and Initiate. For Sensory, this is an 18 diff (Minor Virtue not possessed by Mystagogue), you have some good bonuses, so you'd need a 9, -3 for the Major Ordeal you mention, = 6.
To recap, Components that add to +6, hope they are appropriate (so the SG assigns a bonus instead of a minus). Choose your Risk poison of +0 to +3, roll in Experimentation table and hope for the best. Then roll for validity, in your case simple die + Risk + 3 Int + 5 HLore vs 15. (Think this is a Long-term thing, so no Confidence there). I am sure you could also go on a short adventure as well and earn xp from that in that Season, but if over 10 days are lost should be penalized in a similar fashion as for lab activities.
If experimentation is good/acceptable, or at least not terrible/disastrous/utter failure and validity is met, you'd have your Script ready for yourself. In the best of cases (depending on Script/Initiation components, it would take 1 more Season to Initiate, in which you'd earn nothing but Exposure (Initiate has to spend the entire season meditating/preparing, Mystagogue needs to spend often as little as 7 days, but in this case you are both).

It might be less time intensive to bargain or serve another Bjornaer who can provide you with The Initiation Script.

I have been wondering about this, but I really cannot find any phrase in the rule actually saying that a script is needed. What I have seen describes the script as a bonus, not a requirement.

But if a script is mandatory, it boils down to inventing a script with +0 bonus. Reading the description in The Mysteries, there is no mention of experimentation taking more time than just executing the script. Yes, there is a risk in the experimentation.

If someone could point to exact quotes to back either interpretation, it would be much appreciated.

As to your numbers, it seems that Ionian and I made a glitch when we did the numbers for the Summer initiation. I think we both assumed that it was a major ordeal, but the visions flaw is actually listed as a minor flaw, which means that we need to rework the Summer initiation. That changes more than one of the premises.

As to whether self-initiation with experimental scripts is worthwhile depends very much on the ordeal bonuses. Once having undergone a major ordeal, one would certainly want to get one or two cheap mysteries. Bargaining with a mystagogue who knows easy scripts is nice, if one can find one.

[tab][/tab] Ignes is referring to pg 14 of Mysteries revised, very last paragraph, and pg 18 ''Experimental Scripts''. The actual making of the script and the initiation of the rite is done at the same time (If you succeed you gain the virtue and have a 'lab text', if not you waste your time). The subtraction is a little odd though, you mention a major ordeal? which one is that? Cause all I see are two minor ones, visions and oath.

See the example on page 19 insert? Its obligatory, the script is the way you gain the virtue.

You are right, We were wrong before. When we did the numbers for the oath and the trial, we assumed that the trial script was +13 with a major ordeal, and we cut down on the oath script because most elements were redundant. For some reason, I was convinced that visions was a major flaw at the time. When visions is a minor flaw, the trial script is only +7, and it makes sense to just juxtapose the trial and the oath scripts for +14. It means that the mystagogue only needs a 7 total, rather than the normally assumed 8, but it is all within reason.

With the standard oath script, I cannot complete the initiation until 1216. I am not sure how the initiation will then play out, and maybe I will only discover in play. I am not sure if the script components which take place in Summer 1215 will take the season or count as just a distraction.

This makes the rest of this discussion hypothetical, but still interesting as it may come up again. Will come up if the saga is long enough.

I still cannot find a phrase which says that a script is necessary. The phrase on p 14 reads «if the mystagogue's initiation total is too low», but if the total is 9 and a previous ordeal brings the ease factor down to 9, then it is sufficient, and whatever else that paragraph says does not apply. Same with the p 19, where the mystagogue needs the script to get his total up to the required 18.

Still hypothetically, if you need an empty script (+0), what does the lab text for an empty script actually look like? Do you need a non-empty lab text to describe an empty script?

While I agree that the book TMR could have clearer and more specific wording, in p.7:

p. 10-11

bolded by me

and more explicitly in p.11:

bolded by me

Ergo, you are looking to conduct an Initiation, you need an Initiation Script. Arni does not have such a document, neither does he have a Mystagogue to initiate him, so he needs to obtain it somehow (The Bjornaer Gathering seems a good place for this, though!).
Else the rules provide for its possible invention, as I outlined in my earlier post.
Which I would argue is one of the main raisons d'être of Clan Ilfetu: they are weird and mystical because inventing new scripts is fraught with uncertainty and potential personality/Gift-altering experiences, even if sometimes they convince other [strike]guinea pigs[/strike], ahem, fellow cultists to undergo the latest Mystagogue's invention.
The surest route is the slowest, which is getting another Mystagogue to teach you the quirk free Initiation Scripts she knows, maybe before she passes or becomes a Great Beast.

This should never exist, I don't think Initiation should ever be "free". At best, this would be a + 1 script (choose whichever +1 component seems less onerous to you) with a SG imposed -3 to -5 penalty due to inappropriate/missing elements (or even flat-out say: "this does not work"). Not that that might still be overcome with sufficiently spammed "Imposing Appearance" quality and very high House Lore, the book has this to say on the subject (p.17)


An invalid script means an invalid Initiation as I interpret it.

Something else tangentially related that you may have already considered, loke: House Bjornaer is also very conservative, correct? Is Arni's Pious nature tied to Ancestor worship? His religious nature is very tied then to HB lore, correct, HB Lore would be like his Theology, his Gospel? Which means also that Arni might be loath to change Scripts unless absolutely necessary.

*I have pasted several paragraphs from the book, and am unsure if am violating forum rules, so please alert me once you read the quotes, so that I can delete them. Thanks!

What? what are you talking about? Who cut anything out? Trial and Oath of the Prophet were not changed. Its a major Virtue versus a Trial, an Oath and a flaw. There is a Mystagogue with the Virtue and you receive a minor initiation bonus from prior ordeal (loss of familiar). The target number of the script is 21, the bonus is +3x2 from the flaws and +6 from the trial itself, the prior ordeal is a +3 (thats a 15, the mystagogue needs a 6+). We are still good on that.
As for the second initiation Sensory Magic:
[tab][/tab]a) You get initiated by a Mystagogue at 15. Script is +3 special place and time, +6 Major Sacrifice of item enchanted (definitely 2 seasons). You will also need Bjornaer Lore 3 (which you have). Prior Ordeal -3.
[tab][/tab]b) You 'trade' for the script. The number rises to 18, -3 for prior Ordeal. Same 2 seasons (unless you remove something but thats still a season of work), same +9 script. You will need a 6+.
[tab][/tab]c) Make a new script for yourself (pending STs approval). Spend a season making the script, plus experimentation etc. Number is 18 again, -3 prior. Your Pre+Lore=9 so you need a 6+.

Am I missing anything? Please check.

Ignes has a point about the philosophy of Bjornaer and religion and piousness. I am also trying to find if they would actually write the script. On one hand they are Hermetics and trying hard to appear civilized. On the other, the tradition was oral and the Ilfetu are wilderists. I could argue that the Ilfetu specific mysteries were not written down, but the outer ones may be, provided they are encoded in Gothic. They would eschew Latin on the mystery scripts I think. Thoughts?
Mainly the last post on the page.

The details of the trial and the oath are described in HoH:MC p 25. The trial itself is not +6, but there is a list of other script components for the oath and for the trial. I didn't think I got a bonus from ordeals before game start.

Is the time taken to develop the script stated in the rules? Or is it your interpretation?

You could also argue that the standard scripts are passed down as part of learning HB lore, so that every Bjornaer with a decent HB lore score knows the most important one. Or that it can be explained verbally with little time. There is no indication in the rules as to how complex a script «lab» text would be, and thus nothing to say that it cannot be memorised during a 15 minute chat with a senior mystagogue. On this point, the rules seem open to interpretation.

The tradition being oral also suggests that variations of the scripts should be fairly common. Maybe the mystagogue should always roll to see if he remembers the script correctly to within a working mutation. That's not RAW, but it makes more sense in an oral tradition.

I agree that piety plays a role in how scripts are designed, but this, in itself, does not contradict experimentation and modification. Designing a script the mystagogue seeks advice from the ancestor spirit, and depending on his skill and luck, this may be more or less helpful.

The rule mechanics is not based on fixed traditions and scripts, but on lore scores and extra benefits from past ordeals. If you cannot minimise initiation scripts, the benefit both from high lore and presence and from past ordeals is voided. It simply does not make sense with the rule mechanics as given. For instance, in Ignes' example penalising a +1 script. The script being weak (+1) is totally independent of the appropriateness of the script components. Why would you apply a sympathetic penalty when there is no inappropriate component? The script is already weak because it is weak.

I do not have a problem with requiring even an +0 script to have to be developed through experimentation. The rules are ambiguous, I think, but such interpretation is reasonable. However, if minimalistic scripts are frowned upon, there is little point in boosting HB lore and presence to the extent that we have done in character generation. The point of the character design was to be able to bring down the cost of initiations by designing minimalist scripts.

[tab][/tab]I think we are mixing several things together here and going nowhere

Yes. As I said, who cut anything out? In this part I am talking about the ability to gain virtues through scripts. In Mysteries(revised) pg 15, we have the three ways this is accomplished, which is clearly not the case with the Ilfetu Trial and Oath. Which is why I asked if someone had the script for it. There isnt one, so we improvise. The paragraph suggests two minor flaws and a trial, a time sacrificed and a precious ordeal bonus. We later discussed about the time sacrificed seemed not to be necessary, as the trial was 9 days only. You could get the whole package as is. You could even remove on of the flaws (which is a season of research without experimentation) and drop to +9.

Thats the problem, there arent any. What bonus does the 9 day trial give the initiate, it doesnt say.

Under pg 18 Mysteries, the rite and experimentation are all done together. However rules on experimentation (AM5 pg 107-108) state that experimentation is a lab procedure stated at the start of a season.

Definitely not opening this door. Then someone with high OoH Lore could have memorized lab texts. Do not go there. It is quite clear that initiations need scripts, and scripts are used like lab texts (you even produce one after the initiation is successful from what I read). My pondering is if Bjornaer are still an oral tradition of have 'evolved' into writing their initiations in Gothic. Not the current issue.

You can minimize, there is a process, pg 17 Mysteries(revised) Modifying a script. But this is the job of the Mystagogue not the initiate. If Arni self-initiates from an existing script, he can. If he self-initiates without a script (or an incomplete one), he must experiment (pg18). But if is initiated by a mystagogue (not himself), that person has to do the modification (if persuaded, if necessary). Clearer?

What I am trying to say is: a) Do the script as is, by another mystagogue (maybe persuade him to change it a bit, he probably will not). b) get the script, modify it as you want (pg17). c) Make a new script, will take a season, experimentation (pg18). All tings are possible.

The problem is that it does not say it all in one place. You are referring to page 12. You need to read page 25 too.
It took me a long time to find the details on page 25, and I made a lot of planning before I saw it.

What I get from what you cite, is that the development of the script must commence at the start of a season, during which the script is designed and tested, and the if the test is successful, the initiate comes out initiated. The rules on scripts are quite consistently ambiguous when it comes to time and duration.

This seems to be parallel to books on HB lore, which made a key house decision about earlier. Either Clan Ilfetu has decided to write down their secrets in Gothic, to share within the clan, and then that applies to both the lore and the script, or they have a policy of secrecy, and write nothing at all. This may be linked to the question of how many Ilfetu actually bother to learn enough Gothic to actually write it.

I think writing down the scripts make sense if there is active research and development into new script variants to suit different situations and initiates. If there is only one known script, then you can just as well initiate the next mystagogue to teach him the script, as taking a season to write it down. (How fast does a magus write scripts out in longhand?) This is really true for any cult, not just Bjornaer. If, however, script variations are treasured, whether for the sake of deeper understanding or to tune the costs to individual desires, keeping a library of known scripts becomes valuable. The more scripts you know, the more flexibility you have to design new variations. Personally, I like such an aspect to it, because it motivates dialogue and correspondence with fellow clan members.

Good. Then we agree.

[tab][/tab] I am glad we agreed on something, cause this was getting distracting :smiley:

[tab][/tab] Page 25 was the problem. It detailed the format of all the rites, except the Ilfetu one, quoting a 'see above' and leaving it at that. Hence this whole thing.
[tab][/tab] My reasoning is this: Experimenting with an initiation is done at the beginning of a season, hence you must spend at least a season doing that. You experiment while doing the initiation, whether it takes very little time or it takes seasons, and then you do your rolls. If you fail the rolls, season wasted, start over again. If you do the rolls, you compare the Initiation total and if its enough, you get Initiated and also get a new script that others can follow.

Ilfetu learn Gothic and a lot of it, cause all the rites and rituals are in Gothic. Writing has little to do with this. They did start as an oral germanic tradition

Hmmm, I think I see the difference of opinions here. You see the whole Cult initiation thing as a Hermetic process, streamlined and codified, striving for variations and excellence. I am of a different opinion; I think cults work exactly like cults do, they are way more conservative than normal institutions. Where you see room for improvement and libraries of alternate and better scripts, I see an 'my-way-or-the-highway' attitude from mystagogues. For cults what came before is far more important than innovation, we do it this way cause thats how we do it and thats how we always done it. Cult mentality is petrified, especially for Bjornaer an ancestor cult. Thats my opinion....

I initially assumed that the trial and oath rites would just be merged into one. The reason it seemed wrong was that I thought the trial would include a major ordeal for +13, which would be overkill. When that mistake is corrected, it is not so bad. YMMV.

Anyway, you tell me what script is available with what mystagogue and on what conditions, and Arni will decide whether to take up on the offer. OOC or IC. I think that is all it takes to close this part of the discussion, and it can wait till it comes up in play.

Doing the rites can be done with Gothic 4 (fluent), maybe even with less. Writing takes 5, plus an additional level of Artes Liberales. It is not obvious that the Ilfetu mystagogues are literate in Gothic.

You are right, at least in the core. Largely it is the game mechanics which inspire me to make an innovating mystagogue. Drop the mechanics and the experimentation to rely on fixed scripts, and I would be quite happy with playing it that way, but I would have designed Arni differently in that case.

However, HoH:MC describe Clan Ilfetu as innovators of mysteries:

I think this is an interesting angle to explore, and it is quite central to how Arni is built.

But on one point you amy have misinterpreted me. I do not consider mystery innovation as a lab activity nor library activity. It is not streamlined and not codified, although the game mechanics is codified. I envision it as seeking out ancestor sites and spirits, travelling, meditating at important places and sources of power, speaking to (praying or otherwise) ancestor spirits, dreaming, reading blood patterns, etc. etc. My reference to libraries should not be taken literally. I do thing discussion with other mystagogues is an important part of it, but that does not have to be in writing, and writing does not have to be in book form. When I said library, it could be a library of written scripts, but it could equally well be a portfolio of memorised scripts. I am a bit concerned about some phrases in the books encouraging indoor lab activities, for instance a magus may want to use supernatural abilities in the lab, just to use the safety rating to reduce the number of botch dice. I really do not like that.

I am not sure we disagree as quite as much as you thought. What do you think? Was it a mistake to plan for innovation?

[tab][/tab]Let me be clear: I have not problem with innovation. But I won't have it handed to players just because they want it. In my experience the player wants new scripts to avoid specific flaws. If someone wants his character to gain a new script he certainly can, provided he spends the time to do this. While you may say the rules look like library research, in reality its not. It more like field work, there is no requirement for a laboratory whatsoever. On the Cult side, again I will restate: I envision cults as cults. They do things a certain way and usually dont vary from that way. If you want innovate you certainly can. Some will praise you, some will not, some will venerate you like the second coming, others will hate your guts for breaking tradition. And its just that, traditions.
[tab][/tab] From what I gather of the Ilfetu they are indeed the forefront of mystical innovation, but they are at the same time strictly traditionalists.

No, its actually commendable. Shot-cuts are what I dislike :slight_smile:

[tab][/tab]I'll be posting about Bjornaer soonish, and the Go12Y. Have Arni and Pavo decided how they will go there? Together early, separate?

Short cuts is a part of it. Not exploiting a short cut when it is possible is just silly, and exploiting it is part of learning the rules OOC and the mystical lores IC. It is not the end though. I just wish the rules were clearer so that players and SG start on the same page.

The default plan of Arni's is to travel as eagle, to avoid losing time from the exploration study in the Spring, and save any vis that might be available to trade or whatever. However, he is easily persuaded to join Pavo for company if vis and time is not an issue. Can he do that without messing up other plans?

Not flying, the route I assume to be possible is on foot to the closest port, a ship to Venice, on foot to Harco and by portal therefrom. Sounds like a fortnight to me, assuming the portal is direct from Harco to Crintera. Maybe there is a portal further south in the Roman tribunal, which could save a few days, but I cannot imagine it being quite as fast as flying. Arni does not know what the best route is, and I doubt that Pavo does. We would have to rely on advice from Anastaj mainly, or Maia when we meet her, or maybe Raven's husband if he will talk to us :slight_smile: