Cult Lore

If someone creates an original cult, how should the cult lore ability be applied? Do they just have to practice at 4 XP a season until they have an adequate amount?

That bothers me, particularly when applied to initiating other people into original research breakthroughs. To really be able to devise a useful initiation script you need something along the lines of 6(105) to 9(225) in cult lore, which, at 4 XP per season / 16 XP per year, it would take a little over six and a half years MORE than the time spent on original research just to be able to teach one minor virtue with a reasonable chance to avoid accidentally giving someone a bunch of ordeal flaws with an invalid initiation script.

The only problem I really have with the system is the cult lore issue itself -- there's got to be a way to raise it by more than 4 XP per season.

On a somewhat related note, how broad can a cult lore be? If you discover an old initiation script, will any cult lore do to initiate it, or just the original? If you want to write a new initiation script for your cult, are there any limits on what virtues it can initiate?[/i]

If they want to create an entirely new cult, from nothing, and invent all its rites and rituals, then yes. It is hard because there is so much to do.

However, the expectation was more that a magus wanting to "start" a cult might instead research old texts and resurrect a lost cult. Small cults should consider writing texts on their Lore, as the one way to ensure the cult survives past the inevitable choke poitns when there are too few members.

you are being too generous to the initiates for a cult which has only just started.
Again, the assumption is that unless you have a lot of cultic resources (past generations of initiations), then it is necessary to use scripts with additional Quests or Ordeals.

Over time, and through repeated variations, and as the cult elders actually gain some genuine seniority, the scripts get fewer script-bonuses (Quests and Flaws) and rely more on the abilities of the Mystagogues.

again you are making assumptions - that the magus is in isolation from all others. Would it not make sense for a magus wishing to teach by initation to join an existing cult (offering to teach his new ability!) and be taught their cult lore in turn?

Doing everything yourself is just doing it the hard way...

The Tome Of Ancient Lore...

generally, only the cult that wrote it.
However, if you can sort it out (Initiate yourself) and can make a Variation, you should be able to vary the script (one change only!) to use your own cult lore.

Only the normal limits on what can be Initiated - and the rules on devising a new script. Note that devising a script for a Virtue about which you know nothing (do not possess) is phenomenally difficult - very few will achieve this, and troupes are free to rule it out entirely for some secrets.
Note also that experimenting on yourself is very dangerous too...

And under these guidelines, please note the fact that it is especially advantageous for the original breakthrough researcher not to be the stereotypical lab rat purist Bonisagus, but a member of an Exoteric (House) or Esoteric Mystery cult (or even better, both !), since he can learn the virtue from insight-assisted original resaerch, then devise an Initation script using his own cult lore(s), and voilà , the new Virtue is already fully integrated into an existing body of hermetic lore. The truly precious bridge-builder people for the adaptation of initiation scripts are the ones that know at least two different cult lores (my Merinita Philosopher of Rome pats himself on the back 8) :wink: ).

Most of it's not a problem. A low Cult Lore's not too bad, it just means a difficult script with lots of ordeals and qeusts.

Here's the problem:

Say you do original research to discover one of the virtues in Ancient Magic. Canaanite Magic, perhaps. Minor Hermetic Virtue.
Now that you've discovered the virtue, to teach it to someone you need to do a mystery initiation. Assuming average presence (+0) and no cult lore, you need a script bonus of +15. That will be harsh, but I could see someone going through with it.

HOWEVER. When you want to devise a new script, after a person performs all the ordeals and quests and such, you have to check the script's validity for them to gain the virtue. For teaching someone else a virtue, that's an INT+Cult Lore+stress die ease factor of 15+script bonus. 30, in this case.

Someone that discovers a virtue through original research or hermetic integration isn't going to have a Cult Lore - they're not cultists, they're researchers. So, it will be effectively impossible for them to initiate anyone.

What am I missing here?

Why not ? My pagan Diedne Merinita Philosopher of Rome is a rather curious and ambitious fellow who would be really, highly interested and overjoyed in unearthing any of the ancient lores of pagan magic that are described in AnM, from runes and defixiones, to fertility rituals and hyperborean secrets. Having one or two mystical expansions of your insight into magic and the supernatural in comparison to the standard Bonisagus model isn't going to deprive you of your rational ability to undergo an organized research effort.

I am quite aware of the more general problem that you highlight (which reflects an imperfect, unsatisfactorily integration of the AnM original research and the TMRE initation rules), but please do not feed the stereotype that a purist Bonisagus character is necessary to do decent research.

On a more helpful note, I believe much of the difficulties you perceive would be solved if sources of insight, besides original breakthrough research, might be used to help research and experimentation to develop new Initiation scripts, too. I believe that it would be within the spirit of the rules. Some time ago, I do made a tentative try to write some house rules to that effect. So far, I have not yet got the time to check them with the AnM insight rules, and see how they would mesh. I will do it, however. sooner or later.

Serf's Parma, but doesn't a discovery yield a Cult score of 4?


Doesn't look like it, no. The closest thing I can find is a rule in Ancient Magic that you can convert breakthrough points into XP in the ability you discover... for example, if you were trying to re-invent a hyperborean hymn, the XP would go into the hymn score.

After the Breakthrough
Ancient Magics , page 09.

Inventing Your Own Cult
TMRE , page 18
ST creates a new (Mystery Cult) Lore
Assigns experience points to the characters based on their work.
(example gives (MC) Lore starting at zero)

that's what I read, too:

if a Breakthrough results in a new Supernatural Ability, eg "Know the Time of Day" (very useful, I assure you!), then the research means the magus gains XP = Breakthrough Points in the Ability "Know the Time of Day".

If he starts a Mystery Cult Of The Day Tellers, he starts with Day Teller Lore of 0. It's a (very!) different Ability, and no transfer between them...

Hm. It occurs to me that if someone discovers a new virtue through breakthrough, it can be transmitted master-to-apprentice as well, without needing a Mystery Cult.

This works quite well for the non-Mystery Bonisagus researchers and such, as they tend to favor apprentices, and it means that their apprentices can carry on their work and integrate the new breakthrough more fully into hermetic theory if they don't have time to finish it themselves.

Hmm, even if one would share this interpretation of yours (which I am rather hesitant to, since IMO it seems excessively restrictive; I mean, gameswise, I don't see the point of making the creation of the appropriate Cult Lore so darnedly difficult for the discoverer of a Major Breakthrough, since Initation is assumed to be necessary to spread the discovery), such a character could still rightfully claim Exposure XP for the related Cult Lore from lab work on the Breakthrough. Given the amount of time a major breakthrough is likely to take, the magus is likely to reap a decent score in Cult Lore, too.

How about if one learns Adamic (page 10 , AM) and develops (First Cult) Lore.
One supposes if there was a First Language , there was a First Cult as well.
All Mystery Cults since that time being based on it.
The Score in (First Cult) Lore may be substituted for any other (Mystery Cult) Lore.

If one takes the idea from Linguistic Research (page 13 , AM) ,
a character may research the Lore of an unknown Progenitor Cult ,
by knowing the Lore of two existing cults.

but some parts are not derived for game balance, but by logic and deduction.
here we have a clear case:
the breakthrough gives the magus an understanding of the new magic, but does not necessarily make them a teacher. (It might be "nice" if it did, but it need not...)

Further, you are ignoring the ramifications of Cult Lore - it is not "the ability to create one Initiation to transmit this one Virtue" - it is all the rules and rituals, myths and legends which make a whole cult; a cult which can devise any number of other Initiations.

I in turn fail to see why making a Breakthrough makes you into an instant Mystagogue with the equivalent of years of experience of running a cult.

(Serf's parma) but it is not the only way to transmit a Breakthrough. It is sometimes the easiest way to transmit a new Virtue to unrelated experienced magi. (Remember that it is not meant to be easy for post-apprentice magi to gain new Virtues!)

Apprentices, taught during training, are another issue, which I am not discussing - leave them for another thread.

Why (other than that you want him to be a Mystagogue at the end of the time period)?
What activity is he performing in his lab while researching, which is in any way Cultic?

By the same logic, it would take a really special (i.e. challenged) kind of person to have developed a rather complete understanding of a techique, and yet not to have developed ANY ability to teach it whatsoever, and having to re-study it all the way a second time, to be able to teach it, which is your assumption in other words.

But this is just what the newfangled proto-Cult Lore is, just after breakthrough. The ability to Initiate that one, or two, or three Virtues that are the direct result of the breakthrough. You can't use it to initiate anything else. At least, not without lenghty research and experimentation to devise all kinds of scripts for different, non-breakthrough virtues and, in the process, leads you to develop all the full ritual stuff you meantion and that makes a fully-developed cult.

You aren't going to be a senior, fully experienced Mystagogue with Cult Lore 8-10 and a tome of scripts for a couple dozen Virtues. What it matters is that you ought to be able to initiate another mage in the virtue(s) you have discovered with your breakthrough. Because the intellectual/mystical expereince of the discovery gives you insight sufficient that you visualize how to open up the same discovery to others.

Yeah, sure, the alternative is hitting again the lab, do a second Major breakthrough and fully integrate the discovery in Hermetic magic. If that's what you mean by easier way :unamused:

As I see it, all the hassle and effort of the typical Initiation (seasons, travels, quests, sacrifices, Ordeals, etc.) are more than enough of a fair price for it.

Because studying and researching something well enough to be able to create a perfectly working model for yourself is going to give normal people some rather good clues of how to teach it to others, too, just by exposure.

Because research to integrate some new aspect of the supernatural in your own understanding of magic is naturally going to give you some pretty good ideas on the kind of mystical processes and expereinces that may open up that same aspect to other people, i.e. how to lead an effective initation for that aspect. And that's is all that takes for being a decent, effective Mystagogue. Just the way that learning Hermetic magic to a decent degree makes you able to teach it. It's learning by doing. The whole point of Exposure Xp.

That' s what is Cultic: a mage that is able to lead another mage through the same transformative mystical experiences he has mastered. Which includes all the rituals and mystical insights that are actually integral to the workings of the Cult's Initiations. It doesn't need to churn out all those silly pseudo-Masonic conspiratorial secret-society rules and stuff to be effective. That is just add-on unnecessary social trappings that one can develop if one cares to keep a stranglehold on the Mystery's secrets.