Cult initiation

During an initiation, the script gets a +3 bonus if the mystagogue spends a season teaching the initiate cult lore

But if the mystagogue and the initiate are the same person (i.e. self initiating), then can this guideline be used? Could a mystagogue-initiate learn cult lore from a book as this? Or would that count more like the +1 guideline for the initiate spending a season working for the cult?

You cannot teach yourself something you do not know. Learning from a book is not teaching.

That's kind of zen.

But as far as whether this counts, well, should it count if someone reads a book for a season and then somehow gets a +3 bonus from being taught? Does that seem reasonable? The point of the mystagogue teaching is that he, himself, is sacrificing his time to initiate the Mystery for another person.
I wouldn't even grant a +1 bonus of working for the cult, as he's done nothing for the cult, he's done something for himself, learned about the cult...

Excellent question.

I wouldn't allow it myself, as I see it as the mystagogue being able to answer specific questions and focussing her teachings specifically towards the upcomming initiation. Few books can do this.
In the end though, I think it's up to the troupe though.

I probably wouldn't give anything for a self initiate reading a book. But I might be talked into giving a bonus for a season spent practicing.

As one who is attempting in character to invent my own mystery cult, I can feel your pain in trying to get script bonuses. I have found a good conversation with the troupe helps in getting Lore and bonuses that are not obviously written out in the book.

While the consensus seems to be no +3 bonus for teaching yourself, which I agree, I would be understanding of someone attempting to get a +1 or even +3 bonus for personal meditation on cult lore. My meaning is this, if you spend a season prior, purifying yourself and living a very strict lifestyle, I would permit a +1 bonus to int script.

I would go further saying that if you spent a season gaining no XP, rather focusing in depth on the Lore of the Cult and fasting, meditating, or any pursuit that would gain you no XP - except maybe exposure two points or so - then I would gladly grant a mystagogue a +3 for every season they performed this sacrifice of time.

This is opinion only and the RAW supports this only in spirit not by word.

Have fun.

PS. Cults are quickly becoming a hobby.... but oh how I wish someone had written more about the Disciple of Worms.

Disciples of the Worm you say.

Here is what I wrote up for a GMPC character (hence little fluff) for the first four ranks.

Rank 1
Initiates Second Sight (or Minor magical focus: Ghosts)
Target 15

Script: +10
+1 contribute large offerings of “treasure” to the Disciples
+3 Mystagogue spends a season training the initiate in cult lore
+3 Locate a particular hidden tomb on very vague clues by the Mystagogue
+3 Minor Ordeal (Gain flaw, Enemies: Pagan wizard groups and their followers – wish to keep their honored dead safe and their magic secrets hidden)

Mystagogue needs pre + cult lore = 5

Rank 2
Initiates Spell Binding
Target 12 (15, -3 for previous ordeal)

Script: +6
+3 Mystagogue spends a season training the initiate in cult lore
+1 Initiate spends a season copying lab texts and lab notes for the Disciples
+2 Must enter a dangerous tomb and find an item planted there by the mystagogue

Mystagogue needs pre + cult lore = 6

Rank 3
Initiates Hermetic Empowerment
Target 13 (15, -2 for previous ordeal)

+3 quest (enter undisturbed pagan tomb and force spirits of the dead to reveal previously unknown magical secrets)
+1 the initiate spends a season writing up the discovery for use by the rest of the order
+1 Terrifying rite involving sacrifice of an animal to ancient spirits
+3 above rite must be performed at the full moon at Vespillo’s tomb in the Catacombs of Rome.

Mystagogue needs pre + cult lore = 5

Rank 4
Initiates Inscription on the Soul
Target 14 (15, -1 for previous ordeal)

+3 initiate undergoes a ritual death by poison and is bought back from the brink of death by the mystagogue
+3 Mystagogue spends a season training the initiate in cult lore

Mystagogue needs pre + cult lore = 8

I would not give this bonus unless the Mystagogue and Initiate are different persons. It takes a season to consolidate what you have learned when undergoing an Initiation, just like you don't get other seasonal activities when taking Story Exp from a story. It may be a simple question of game balance, but I'm ok with it.

So the pint is that the Iniatiate already spends an entire season, even though the Initiation may not take more than mere hours. A bonus for the Mystagogue teaching the Initiate also spends a full season of his time, this is why it is worth a bonus. Time for magi is the second highest currency IMHO ( stories being the most valuable, since it furthers play and not just simulating time passing) which they trade off to gain something. Getting others to spend time require you to pay them somehow, do favors etc.

Even though the Initiate could spend another full season in advance of the Initiation I still would not give the bonus, since he'd already be getting the Study Exp for his Cult Lore.