Breakthrough: Hermetic Teacher

From a story perspective, removing the effects of the Gift from the game does a lot. It makes grogs and companions less important. And Saxonous, you left out the answer to the most important question, what do the teachers who teach here get that they wouldn't get in a traditional apprentice structure.

I linked your full post, but did not copy parts irrelevant for the argument: no reason to complain.

He didn't. Indeed, he didn't even intend to give an argument "to teach the Gentle Gift". You better first read the entire thread again: , and then again the following quote from it:

Recall it now again? This is quite the opposite of having Apprentices "rule" that parentes can teach the gentle Gift to apprentices - it is just keeping the book Apprentices out of the decision making about it.


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You mean that Doctorcomics does not need to worry about a SG moderating the Breakthrough research here? Absolutely: it is his campaign. So the only issue is, whether he does believe in such a research as the base of his campaign world.


My point was there was no actual "Original Research" going on. The Gentle Gift is canon, and it's canon that every Hermetic Virtue, could with enough work, be incorporated into Hermetic Theory. So now the "burden of proof" is on the ST, not the player, as he, not the player, is the one changing canon.......

I didn't leave it out, Mr. Link, I'm not the one pushing for a University. DoctorRampage is the one pushing for it, I assume the professors will see some benefit in his game. He asked us how to make it happen, and I think incorporating The Gentle Gift into Hermetic Theory is the best way to do it (yes, it did take some time for that neuron to fire). Yes, things will change, but organically, in game, as the knowledge spreads, as leaders are replaced, etc. Anyone looking to make a Hermetic University is already on the change boat, yes?

(Underscore mine) For this being possible with HoH:TL Breakthrough research the "burden of proof" is still on you.


One Shot:
Sure, but the quotation you made has no context. Context is more than, you said this, and exactly this, at this point in time. Do you honestly believe I didn't read that thread the first time, let alone again before posting just now? So, are you really asking me to recall the post, or are you asking me if it says what you think it says?
Reading the last sentence certainly suggests that it is, as of the publication of Apprentices, canonical to teach the Gentle Gift. Saying "If you think it is dumb[...] don't let it work in your Mythic Europe" is basically saying house rule it so it doesn't work. If you have to house rule it, it is either unclear or it is RAW. In this instance, I don't think it is unclear in the slightest. I don't even come close to your conclusion: "quite the opposite of having Apprrentices 'rule' that parentes can teach the gentle Gift." The lack of errata on this point also seems to suggest that it is RAW. And as it was explicitly stated in that thread, any troupe can decide to change RAW to something that fits better for their saga. Indeed your entire proposed errata was nothing more than trying to enshrine the concept that troupes can change the rules into the book.
It has to be more than just the mechanics. Wouldn't it just be much simpler to integrate Unaffected by the Gift? It would at least not lesson the impact of the individual's Gift on mundanes, and would leave the use of Grogs and Companions a place in the scheme of things. It basically makes it like the apprentices have Parma Magica, blocking the effects of the Gift.

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In all honesty the Grogs and Companions should still be doing a lot of work. Really, they should do everything that doesn't require a mage. Writing MT books, penetration books, scribing, setting up labs and so forth. Actually that would be a key part of a magic "university". Get a bunch of normals, drill all the arcane abilities into their brains and make them write and teach!

You will have read this post in the same thread as well, from another author: . Here's the relevant part for this discussion:

Got it from Timothy Ferguson now? Do you still wish to argue canon from Apprentices?


I can imagine a campaign where the Grogs are part of a coven, and get initiated (Hedge Magic style) into Unaffected by the Gift when joining the covenant.


Well, no, I don't think so. The difference between Hermetic Virtues and Supernatural Virtues is that Hermetic Virtues work within the Hermetic system of magic. That's canon. And the rules reflect that, as seen on P29 of True Lineages, "Breakthroughs in Play", paragraph three. "Major Breakthroughs still work within the Hermetic system, and are often Hermetic Virtues, so that learning one is not as difficult as learning a Supernatural Virtue. You do not need to subtract your total Hermetic Arts score from the Source Quality of the teaching score. A second exception is that, although Major Breakthroughs will most likely teach a Hermetic Virtue that does not have an associated Ability in game terms, they may still be taught in this manner.". The Gentle Gift is a Hermetic Virtue, it can be taught, and easily because you don't have to subtract your Hermetic Arts total. Canon. (And the rule about having one Hermetic Virtue only applies at Character Creation.) All integrating does, at this point, is get rid of some of the scut work. But there is nothing in the "Breakthroughs in Play" section that even implies that a breakthrough cannot be integrated into Hermetic Theory. Allowing a breakthrough is all on the ST. Once it's been allowed, stopping the integration is against canon.

One Shot, we are not in a troupe together, your argument about arguing canon is specious at best and disingenuous at worst.

We are in a discussion forum. We work from and discuss canon and RAW here, because if we don't, it's not a common frame of reference, and we can end any any and all discussions, well, it's my saga, we don't do that or some variation thereto. If you don't like the Gentle Gift being taught, that's fine, I happen to not care for it a whole lot, but I can live with it, and if I really don't like it, make it a HR in the sagas I'm a part of, if everyone else agrees, but that's not RAW. It is not playing fast and loose with the rules, as you called it; it is in the rules that you can teach the Gentle Gift, or even Mythic Blood or any Major Hermetic Virtue. Come up for a story reason for it, if you must, but it is certainly in the rules.

One last thing about context. The context of that rather large quotation you made, was that it was in response to your comment about you pasting a piece of text into the Apprentices book as a justification for saying it's canonical at your gaming table. At the gaming table, canon doesn't have to matter if the players don't agree that it matters. In a discussion forum, discussing the game, canon has to matter for a frame of reference. Even the example that Timothy used was about what happens at the table.

So yes, I will argue canon all the live long day with you, since we are not in a troupe.

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As you phrase it, it is not clear to me what you mean by "work within the Hermetic system of magic".

So, this only shows how sometimes the results of Breakthroughs can be defined as Hermetic Virtues - the wrong way around for your argument.

If "it can be taught" is a conclusion, it is so far wrong logic. If it is a further argument, it appears to rely on a book which is not supposed to be used for canon arguments by players.

This is tmk correct. But for "Hermetic Breakthroughs" the troupe can determinine just how they are integrated, because "Hermetic Breakthroughs represent their own problems of integration." And for Major Breakthroughs the SG still sets the number of Breakthrough points for the Major Breakthrough doing the integration.


The discussion in this thread is about a campaign that Doctorcomics may start sometime. You have seen the book's author and also Timothy Ferguson recommend to remove Apprentices, in particular the part on which Virtues a parens can teach to his apprentice, from arguments in player canon discussion, and hence from that "common frame of reference" you are touting. So what do you still want to argue canon about from Apprentices? Does your "common frame of reference" have any value besides ArM5 games? AFAIK you are not an author anyway, or discussing with authors here.


I mean if the rules apply, then it's fine. If the rules don't apply, then you can't play fast and loose with them. My problem with the characterization of playing fast and loose with the rules, which you have to admit is a reference to RAW, and not a reference to how it is applied in this particular instance. If you don't wish to discuss RAW, don't bring it up, and certainly don't say that someone else is playing fast and loose with the rules, when in actuality they aren't doing anything of the sort.

Timothy, to my mind, never recommended to remove Apprentices from canon, is that your take on what he said based on his comment in a thread about Apprentices? His example didn't even mention Apprentices. His advice was general and could be applied to any rule or book. The SG of the game can propose whatever he wants. The players either agree to it or don't, and you move on.

Doctorcomics started this thread with a premise, based on RAW. Why ask about breakthroughs, otherwise? Bringing this back around to the OP, I wouldn't even attempt to integrate Gentle Gift into Hermetic Theory and make it a part of all magi, I think that takes a lot away from the setting. There are two problems that need to be resolved, how to prevent a room full of students from hating and mistrusting each other so much that they don't try killing each other and how to teach Hermetic Arts to more than one student at a time. My personal suggestion for the first problem, is to integrate Unaffected by the Gift, despite it being a general virtue, because when magi have their Parma up, that's what it's like, they are unaffected by anyone else's Gift.

If you want to take the author's ideas to a logical (and in-the-book RAW) conclusion, a troupe can ignore each and every rule in the book if doing so makes the game un-fun for them: Lords of Men, pg. 125 (I think - it's about Incapacitating damage, and what to do when PC's get killed.) Which, in turn, is just a re-statement of the "rule 0: have fun" rule, which I think is in the core rulebook somewhere. So, yes: if it doesn't work for your table, then it is RAW to ignore the rule.

That seems to be what the author was talking about. For him, teaching Gentle Gift isn't fun for his troupe, so he'd have a problem with it. But the rules don't explicitly disallow it (as he had a chance to do when he was writing up the list of "allowable virtues," but decided not to include it), so it's a troupe call (like everything else). He just was part of setting up the framework, and it's up to the troupe to decide what the consequences are, via storylines.

However, responding to each and every rules question with "go with what is fun and ignore everything else" is not an answer to a question about the rules. If that was the case, then the core rulebook would be significantly smaller and less useful. As Jonathan said - here on the forums we only have RAW - we aren't a part of each other's troupes, so we can't claim "X is wrong" - rather, we can say only "the rules say X, and for our troupe we've done Y".

And we've got the rules saying "you can teach Hermetic Virtues" - Gentle Gift is a Hermetic virtue. Therefore, you can teach it. We've also got the author who wrote that saying "I'd not do that, but instead of prohibiting the ones I didn't think were appropriate I decided to write out the framework, and let everyone's troupes determine the consequences for themselves".

(And on a side note - if you're going to fully integrate Gentle Gift as opposed to simply have folks teach it, it's probably not necessary to use the Hermetic Research rules for it - I believe that, since Gentle Gift occurs naturally, you can use the less-Warp-inducing Integration rules, instead. Ie, the ones listed in Ancient Magics and Hedge Magic, rather than the ones in True Lineages.)

EDIT - that being said, if the author of the book says "I'd probably not do that", I would personally take a long and hard look as to why he said that. As Jonathan mentioned, getting rid of the Gift penalty significantly changes the game. Now, if you WANT to play through that (as had been mentioned, either through natural selection, or as an experitment in alt-history, or whatever) then that's certainly up to the troupe. But I happen to agree that everyone having the gift would radically change the Order - to the point where it probably wouldn't be recognizable as the Order any more. If that's what you want, then go for it - but it's definitely a high-level, genre-changing event.

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Thank you Mr. Shchultz. Yes, we have the rules to teach Hermetic Virtues, and the Gentle Gift is a Hermetic Virtue. Pretty clean. And I don't think integrating would change most games very much. To be good at the social stuff requires stats and skills most Magi don't have, and are unlikely to get because they don't care. As we saw in the thread about defending one's covenant against an army, Lamech says "Which is why the companions or redcaps do the talking. "Why yes, we had our engineers/wizards/nuns deploy siege weapons/magic/divine wrath against those invaders. You're welcome." The Gift only has repercussions if they actually talk to the magi. (And even then, rego mentum spells can used to smooth a few things over.)". Given that attitude, which seems common, at least on this board, how much will the setting really change? Instead of starting with a -3 to social, they will earn a -3 by not having enough social skills to stop talking about mind control in public......

Very good point. Spending all the time in your lab/fortress researching and studying in an attempt to gain ultimate power does not a people person make. The dynamics won't change much. Companions will still do all the talking because they know the difference between a king and a random peasant.

To sum things up:

In the discussion thread about Apprentices, and in particular about patent problems in this book with grafting some new rules, how to generate apprentices in play, onto already existing rules from some 25 or so books, the book's author wrote the following (as already quoted before):

So the author explains how and why he decided to keep the specific issue of which Virtues a parens can teach to his apprentice open. He did not write rules about it to not hamper player imagination, plain and simple. He did not do so to enable 'canon experts' on the forum to use the rules omission to determine, just what is possible in the ArM5 game world.
I knew then already that such experts would not just vanish because of the author's statement, so pushed on, and got the following whipping of 'canon experts' from Timothy Ferguson - as also already quoted:

You can't have it any clearer and louder, how using Matt Ryan's omission to argue, that all Hermetic Virtues can be taught from parens to apprentice by canon, is playing fast and loose with Apprentices. That omission is explicitly meant to provide an open "basic state from which negotiation ensues", nothing more - and requires that negotiation to take place for each campaign.

About that we agree.


I think one issue is that the term "fast and loose" isn't particularly meaningful in this conversation. On one hand, the rules are very explicit as to what can be done. The rules also expliticly allow (via "Rule 0") for everything to be negotiable and story/fun-based. And while the rules allow for certian activities to occur, they are expliticly set up that it really is up to the Troupe to decide how those rules should and should not be implemented. Which, in turn, lead into "can and can not" within the context of the Saga - because basically it's all in the heads of the players and the GM, anyway.

As such, something can be completely within the structure of the rules, and yet (potentially) violate the story/fun-based aspect of it.

Which is more important? Well, it depends on what kind of question you're asking. If you're asking how the rules actually operate (as a basis for understanding their implementation/consequences), then you'll get one answer. If you understand how the rules work, but are instead asking about the likely consequences to your story (or maybe what the unintended consequences would be, in a simulationist sort of way), then you'll get another answer.

But simply saying that a rules-based answer is "playing fast and loose" because it completely answers the rules side while not necessarily addressing the story/fun aspect seems.... somewhat pedantic, to me. Rule 0 is implicit in every game mechanic out there. OK, so the author called attention to it here. Good for him. It's about as relevant to the discussion as explicitly mentioning botch vs. quality vs. simple die rolls: which is to say, it's part of almost every game mechanic, but unless something is being seriously misunderstood there's no strong reason to mention it.

EDIT - it sounds like "death of a thousand qualifications" - anytime anyone discusses the rules without explicitly mentioning Rule 0, they can be accused of playing fast and loose with them. As such, it doesn't act as a meaningful qualifier. All the rules are like that. The rules in Apprentices are no different. Or to put it another way: How is the author's mention of Rule 0 in any way unique to Apprentices?

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