Breakthrough: true shapeshifting?

If you use Hermetic magic to turn into a wolf, the magical effect must be sustained by active magic throughout its duration. As soon as the magic stops, you revert to human form. Someone with the Shapeshifter Virtue instead activates magic only at the instant of the transformation; once that's taken place the result in non-magical (see HoH:MC, the Bjornaer chapter).

I was wondering how "big" a breakthrough would be needed to allow a magus to cast MuCo spells that follow the same mechanic as shapeshifter, provoking a "permanent" non-magical change in the target. A major breakthrough? A hermetic one? How many breakthrough points? Note that like with Shapeshifter (unlike Bjornaer Heartbeasts) a magus remains essentially human, so he can be targeted with Mentem and Corpus spells etc. It's just that the magic is active only at the time of the change, not thereafter.

Sorry, did I misread your post? Breakthrough: I would like a wizards war from every Bjornaer out there? :wink:

I'd say it's a pretty damn big breakthrough, though.

Huh - I would say it's a very large, Major breakthrough - with the advantage being that because it's a (relatively) common supernatural virtue (in the sense that it's listed in the core rulebook), it's relatively easy to find example sources to study.

Of course, what would the end result look like? "Duration: Permanent +4" non-ritual effect for Muto Corpus?

It is a way to bring back permanent changes in stuff without vis, so it is QUITE a breakthrough. I mean, once you have achieved that why can't you apply the same to MuCo spells to change your characteristics? Or appearence? Or turn lead into gold? Not changes in essential nature, but quite close to that.

Largest breakthrough listed in the guidelines?


Just to discuss this further, why do you think it is, not to mention a pretty basic virtue, that a person can shapeshift and become a true animal and yet Hermetic magic cannot replicate the feat?

Is it simply a matter of game mechanics so as to not allow a loose thread in the "permanent changes require vis" or is there a actually paradigm reason for the limit? Following the Breakthrough guidelines, which I am conveniently forgetting right now, making a Major virtue into a framework so that the effect is repeatable with Hermetic magic is pretty straight forward.

In the end I agree with you that the breakthru is wicked hard because of the limits of true nature, but it will be interesting to see how hard and if it would be possible to make it happen.

PS. they give examples of how integrating Hyperborean magic would break Hermetic magic reality, so perhaps the magic "laws" are up for reevaluation now.

Sounds so well to me that i wrote some idea for the project. Really,it should be one Major B. resulting on one Minor Virtue, only to Muto Corpus shapshifting spells, like the Folk Witches Integration of Second Sight on Intellego Vim spells.

What you are asking is really the following: How big of a breakthrough is to change the Limit of Essential Nature.

True shapeshifting, as per the Bjornaer Heartbeast, is not part of the Hermetic Magic and as you well point out (as it is written in Hoh:M) is the only true shapeshifting (human to animal) in our Mythic Europe.
The process/ ritual and the story for the Heartbeast ritual is quite well pointing out it is not a MuCo(An) spell, but the Bjornaer gets a second true form / Essential Nature for the cost of losing the capability to bond a familiar.

If you go and start to oversimplify the Bjornaer House mystery initiation you can theorize some really interesting bits.
A Maga based on her behaviour (which would otherwise quite well indicate what kind of familiar she can get) merge with a spirit and gets the ability to shapeshift at will. After shapeshifting the animal form is a true form, although she retains her intelligence (part of) and knowledge.
Isn't the one who helped (basically worked out the whole ritual) is the one who GAVE the familiar bonding ritual to the Order?
So isn't the Bjornaer ritual a very strange Spirit Familiar bonding ritual where the souls/spirits mingle?

The story for the ritual and the process is heavily involving a non-hermetic spirit related art. Spirit magic is one of the greatest outlier (next to time and space manipulation) in the XIII century Hermetic magic, although it is quite well represented within the various arts, and various uses can only be achieved through various Mysteries...
Looking at what arts can do listed in guidelines and looking at the spirit related mysteries, it does look like fragments of an art is out there, never collected together to be integrated as an art.
Hermetic magic lacks the potency for the real spirit magic, thanks to the weakest member of a real spirit-magic-handling witch cult, who was just pissed of, because her superiors were right and she was just a lazy, not-so-clever brute.
[size=50]Bjornaer are still one of my favourite House.[/size]

No idea about 5th since merinita and bjornaer are not my fav houses and cannot recall it, but in previous editions the one that gave familiars to the Order was merinita, not Bjornaer.

Xavi is correct here. Merinita gave the order the ability to bind familiars, and it's considered odd that Bjornaer can't.

It's still true in 5E, that's why the Merinitae teach the "Binding the Gift" Mystery Virtue.

In answer to the OP, I'm of the opinion that overcoming the Limit of Essential Nature should be difficult if not impossible except for certain very specific exceptions (Vitkar Magic, Heartbeast, etc). If I were going this, I'd consider granting Bjornaer a few points of guaranteed Insight into the project, but given that house's attitude toward Shapeshifters, I'm not sure they'be very forthcoming...

Probably major, as has been pointed out you aren't actually changing the essential nature. Although I would argue it fits better in Rego than Muto. Rego does permanent changes that don't need to be sustained, while all Muto changes must be sustained.

True, but Rego magic only applies to natural changes, a human turning into a crow, for example, doesn't qualify.

Yes. I have not clearly implied what I wanted to suggest.
Merinita helped Bjornaer to create the Bjornaer mysteries initiation ritual, and yeap, Merinita was the one who explained the secrets of the Familiar to the Order.
I find it nicely fitting (i) the only shapeshifting, which truly changes (ii) mysteries ritual where the ordeal is not to ever bind a familiar (iii) if you have ever had a familiar you cannot be initiated (iv) the creator had the best knowledge on familiar binding rituals (v) the whole spirit anima business where the apprentice behaviour and personality defines the animal to be selected. And last but not least the fact you can initiate people without the Gift.

Yes, this seems really a good match in terms of power, implications etc. Good catch! I like it.

Would you share?

Let's see. This is pretty major, why?

This is clearly not it. Ezze want the magic to be active only at the time of the change, meaning he doesn't have to worry about penetration.
So D: Perm is right out.

I'm reasonably sure it's also supposed to not cause Warping for a continuing effect, since it's a

This ofcourse is a fairly big thing in itself.

You're doing an unnatural transformation. Humans do not naturally turn into wolves, no matter how long you wait, nor can you cause them to become wolves in any fashion short of magic. So fairly clearly not Rego, though if Rego could have effected such a transformation, that would've really solved the problem.

I'm sorry, I couldn't find this as such, unless you're refering to

Which I would plain deny anyway. A human in an animal shape which is essentially human (has a human Essential Nature) is (to my mind) by definition under a supernatural effect. If someone with the Skinchanger virtue stays in the animal shape for a year or more, Warping occurs. Clearly the effect is designed for the individual, so it's not a huge issue, but it will Warp. Exactly because Essential Nature is violated.

My guess is that they did it so shape shifters wheren't all bouncing off Parma. Or racking up huge warping totals.

Yes, but how major? Right now, the evaluation I find most convincing is that of MarioJPC - who correctly compares it to integrating Second Sight so that magical senses granted by Intellego spells no longer have to penetrate. HMRE describes this as a 45pt. Breakthrough granting a Minor Virtue, Sense of the Mystic. I think integrating Shapeshifter so that you can cast Mom:duration MuCo spells that "last" even when the magic fades would be something very similar.

In fact, it could well be something already part of some small lineage ex Miscellanea, whose characteristic Virtues would be Major Supernatural Virtue Shapeshifter, the Minor Hermetic Virtue above allowing MuCo spells to use the mechanics of Shapeshifter, and the Major Hermetic Flaw Short Ranged Magic (modelling the difficulty of affecting others with one's magic).

Yes, exactly like the Shapeshifter Virtue.

I disagree. According to HoH:MC, p.22 a Shapeshifted individual "is still a human in an animal shape, and so Corpus and Mentem magics are effective, as are Animal spells". At the same time, Shapeshifters "only invoke a magical effect at the moment of transformation. Thus, the shapechange is not an active effect while that character is in animal form. Consequentially, Penetration is not required for mundane attacks, nor does the creature radiate magic or suffer Warping due to the transformation." Note that this applies to Shapeshifters, not to Skinchangers.

All told, what I am looking at is a Breakthrough (probably Major?) that allows a magus MuCo spells to operate exactly like the Shapeshifter Virtue.

Right now my problem with "how major?" is how I should look at this.
I could view it through a "game-ist" lens and say "it's not big deal. Mario is right. 45 is maybe even a bit high, but let's grap it.
Or I could see the problem through a paradigm based lens - a "narrativist" lens if you like. Through that lens, it violates the Limit of Essential Nature (indeed is almost the definition of violating the Limit of Essential Nature) and probably the Limit of Warping - the later of which makes it a Hermetic Breakthrough instantly, while the former is just a plain "NO!"

Is there any reason to assume the Shapeshifter virtue does not grant Warping if you stay changed for years at a time?
(Actually there is, see below)

Erm. Statement, disagreement.
Shapeshifter is presented as an explicit example. There is no reason to assume skinchanger does not fall under the same clauses.

I'm afraid the best rationalization for why user of shapeshifting via virtues need not penetrate with their attacks (and incidentially, why they should probably avoid warping from this), would be that these virtues are part of the Essential Nature of that individual.

I'd go for Hermetic really.


Let you invent a virtue that allowed an individual to be affected by shapeshifting spells under you proposed rules.

Sort of the other way around, but it makes more sense to me.

Actually, the same insert in HoH:MC, a few lines earlier, states that, basically, Skinchanger works under the same limitations as Hermetic Magic (continuously affecting the target etc.).

Actually, the same insert in HoH:MC, a few lines earlier, states that, basically, Skinchanger works under the same limitations as Hermetic Magic (continuously affecting the target etc.).


So it does. My bad for being lazy.

In that case my answer to your initial question would have to be:
"No. Come back when you can give me an argument I will want to accept why it should be possible."