Breakthrough questions

Actually, I disagree.

It seems to me that in general, the researcher cannot choose the effect - in the sense Te, Fo, RDT etc. - but can choose whether it's produced by a formulaic spell, an enchanted device etc. Of course, in some cases the specific nature of the research rules out certain possibilities. For example, if an effect is a Ritual, in most cases enchanted devices are unsuitable.

Let me also quote somewhat more expansively the AM p.8 passage quoted by silveroak:
"anything that uses a Lab Total and creates something may be a legitimate Insight outgrowth. However, spells are by far the most common, followed by item enchantments.
The troupe should decide on the effects that result from particular pieces of Insight, choosing ones that
advance the saga without upsetting play balance.
Player characters can vary things as much as they like once they fully integrate the system, so the restrictions at this stage should be accepted with good grace."

a) the fact that spells are more common might simply be an outgrowth of the fact that it's typically cheaper to experiment with spells than with enchanted devices.
b) even if you rule that the researcher has no freedom to choose between spell and device or other "stuff", the effect is by the rules as written

  1. a troupe decision
  2. that should advance the saga
  3. and such that any restrictions only temporarily impede the magus, with the idea that eventually he'll get the breakthrough and the restrictions will be lifted.

Thus, if your seeker cannot use formulaic spells because of some flaws, the troupe might make integration a little more challenging for him (I mean, a Flaw is supposed to be a Flaw), possibly ruling out this or that source of Insight, requiring special vis, etc. but definitely not impossible.

In the absence of any other input, I am going to conclude that second-stage breakthrough research for full Hermetic integration of a Virtue typically requires original research, and no useful insight sources are normally available.

I have a completely different issue here.
@Wanderer, you state that you want your character to pursue research for Ritual Items, but AFAIK, since one can't spontaneously cast Ritual spells, you'd need to research Ritual spells, before you can enchant them into an item. That seems to go against your character.

Not really. PC is a spont specialist, but also a competent enchanter, and can create enchanted devices normally. Quick Charged Items and Ritual Items only involve creating charged items during integration research. He is going to research both in quick succession. At the end of the process, he is going to be able to make charged items in a few hours that incorporate ritual effects. Practically the same as casting ritual spells, which he won't ever need to get involved with.

The only meaningful difference he shall need a lab to create this kind of magic, but it is an acceptable price, esp. if he creates enchanted devices that allow quick travel to his sanctum. He also has Adamic language and Ptolemaic Coordinates, which make Arcane Connections for locations a trivial issue to jump back with another charged item.

Basically speaking, these two Breakthrough combined allow him to use instant-cooking charged items to do anything that formulaic spells and ritual spells are really good or necessary for and even his optimized spont magic can't do well (a threshold that increases for non-ritual effects the more he studies the Arts). A workaround that fits his approach to magic.

Ancient magic p.9: "Inventing a Major or Hermetic Breakthrough that does not require teaching necessitates another Major Breakthrough, which may be achieved by these rules or the original research rules. If these succeeds any magus may create an effect using the Breakthrough..."

Yep. Too bad the books never give an example of what an insight source for this kind of research might be, which drives me to assume original research is the default here.

Don't each of the individual chapters in Ancient Magic have suggestions for Insight sources?

They do, as well as any other book with possible integration breakthroughs (HMRE, RM, LoH, tCtC, ML). The issue is they are supposed to be used for the first-stage integration research of Major/Hermetic breakthroughs that ensues in a Hermetic Virtue. IIUC you can only use any insight source once, and you need something different for second-stage research to integrate the Virtue in the standard system. At first glance, canon insight sources are barely enough at best for the first stage. There is hardly a surplus for the next stage.

Note that once your researcher has the Virtue in question, stuff he makes can become a source of Insight to integrate the Virtue into Hermetic Theory.

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Even items made by yourself (the enchanter) for yourself (the researcher)? Great! This is exactly what I was looking for.

I've never seen that in any canon book- my impression is that you can use insight from the same source as you use to develop the virtue to inspire spells to integrate it, even though you already have the virtue in question. It is admittedly not the clearest of guidelines.

I'm a bit puzzled that you disagree with my assessment that this isn't a player decision, then go on to say that this is evaluated by the troupe, and that at the end of the day, a flaw is a flaw and could complicate his research, which is what I have been saying. Either it is a player-level decision, and the flaw is irrelevant because he can choose to always enchant to replicate a breakthrough, or it isn't a player-level decision - it's a troupe-level decision, and there are instances when the troupe could decide that you need to create a spell to get that specific insight, and therefore the flaw is a flaw.

I may point out that inability to use spells for integration research is at most a secondary consequence of the Rigid Magic-Unstructured Caster combo. Even if the PC manages to sidestep it by getting all of his insights through enchanting or nearly so, the inability to use formulaic and ritual magic in ordinary Hermetic life remains.

My PC had to go through considerable efforts (a build optimized for spont magic and enchanting through lots of initiations, breakthroughs that allow instant-cooking charged items that imitate ritual spells) to minimize the problem. Hence, a flaw is a flaw either way. Besides, by RAW most of the breakthroughs my PC fancies have relatively little to do with spells in the first place.

Oh sure. Those flaws together are surely a pain, and I understand your dilemna. You're also totally on spot that they won't interfere at all with at least part of the integrations you're seeking. Quick Charged Items and Rituals Items for sure directly fall into your specialty. Other cases, you may find that your flaws at least slow you down, imho. You've identified a few hard to research yourself. Would I as a storyteller make that research impossible? Probably not. Would I hint your seeker would be more effective if he worked in a team with a seeker than can use formulaic and ritual magic? Probably. Or point you to original research as a substitute / supplement for some projects.

I may not have been clear. I think that:

  1. In general, the "same" effect from an Insight can be instilled into an enchanted item or researched as a spell, according to the researcher's (i.e. character, not player) desires. On this, I disagree with you.
  2. For some effects, 1. is going to be intrinsically impossible. E.g. an Insight yielding an RDT that requires a Ritual is generally unsuitable for enchantment in a device.
  3. Whether you accept 1, or not, it's very clear that the responsibility of the troupe is to
    a) allow the research to go forward, so that the player has fun, whille
    b) preserving game balance.
    This means that the troupe should not say "if your character cannot access formulaics, sorry, he won't be able to carry forward this integration research". So, most sources of Insight encountered should be "enchantable", whether the troupe decides that the only Insight possible is an enchantment, or that the researcher can choose between enchantment and spell. At the same time, the troupe might want to make such a PC work a little harder, so that the "inability to access formulaics" comes into play and game balance is preserved.

What is a little harder to you?

I can't give a hard and fast definition :slight_smile: But basically, nothing that would make the integration impossible or so difficult that the character would just give up (or choose original research).

Fair. I don't think requiring a piece of insight to be a spell is unfair, that's where we disagree, nor does it make research impossible. It merely takes the story in a different direction. Perhaps the researcher decides to work with an apprentice or a sodales on that integration. Or perhaps he develops a spell in the lab, that he may be unable to personally use, but that he'll still be able to publish in the Folio later for personal glory once integration is achieved. As far as RAW goes, neither of his flaws prohibit research.

As to the original text of the rule, this is in my mind from the first paragraph. "A particular Insight allows a researcher to create one specific effect. This effect might be a spell,
or an effect enchanted into an item. It could, conceivably, be another laboratory project; anything that uses a Lab Total and creates something may be a legitimate Insight outgrowth. However, spells are by far the most common, followed by item enchantments."

It the researcher gets to pick whether the effect being researched is imbedded an enchantment or developped as a spell, the last line has no place in the rules, since it would contribute nothing to the overall text, and be nothing more than an anecdotal discussion of the proportion of magi lab projects in the Order. As far as I know, that sentence hasn't been errata'd away.

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I would find that overly harsh. Definitely beyond "a little harder". Besides, forcing a character who does not cast spells to research a spell he can't cast as an Insight outgrowth ... is something I find aesthetically unappealing.

It could very well be a statement about how most magi in the Order tend to proceed.
That's how I read it. It certainly seems far to vague to be a rule.

But this character he's making will have to research some spells, if he actually wants to use the ability to invest ritual spells in items, since ritual spells cannot be cast spontaneously.