Does Cabal Legacy (TMRE) allow a magus a second Major Hermetic Virtue?

Newly created magi should only take one Major Hermetic Virtue. The Cabal Legacy Flaw, however, allows a magus to start as an initiate of a Mystery Cult and take Cult V&Fs, "something normally not allowed". If the first two such Virtues are Major Hermetic Virtues, can a character take both?

What mystery cult offers two majors in a row for the first two initiations? Outside of House cults, where that story flaw doesn’t make sense or Mercurian Cults where Mercurian Magic is not a restricted virtue in the first place.

I dunno, I could see the apprentice of a mystery cult house member who is widely known as an active mystagogue and cult leader within the house starting with Cabal Legacy.

Anyway, the only double Major starts I know of are the Criamon paths, and even of those only the Station of Service to Harmony (PoWB, grants Gentle Gift [or eliminates Blatant Gift]) is even, strictly speaking, a Major Hermetic Virtue; the others are all packages or special abilities treated as Major Virtues for initiation purposes (but crucially, nowhere as Hermetic virtues).

Couple things, yes, the Criamon package deals that are comparable to a major Virtue would be, in my mind, considered major for what I was asking. That said, achieving the first station of a Criamon path might be acceptable during apprenticeship but considering the time frame Criamon initiate on getting to a second station during apprenticeship is unlikely. My reading of Cabal Legacy is that it is not for House cults, it’s for the secret ones. Personally, I really dislike that flaw as it removes the possibility of another, juicier story flaw and that the magus will de facto acquire cabal legacy as they get more and more involved in cult business to go for those sweet higher initiations, it also removes the story potential of being inducted into the cult and the the low level initiations, but that is a lesser issue in my mind.

Also, since none of my above posts answered the question actually asked, I would say no that there is still the limit of one major hermetic virtue allowed in CharGen. But then most canon mystery cults list minor virtues as their primary initiation. The one exception I can think of is Neomercurians initiating Mercurian Magic but that is not a restricted Mystery virtue anyway.

EDIT: If you allow them to take multiple major hermetic virtues then you are really upping the benefit of Cabal Legacy which already allows them to take a virtue they can’t normally take in CharGen.

Taking the Cabal Legacy flaw already allows someone to start as a member of a Mystery Cult and take Virtues/Flaws that they would not normally be allowed to take during character creation. Additionally it is a Story Flaw, which means that it does not have any mechanical drawbacks unlike many other Flaws which do not provide any upside. Thus while it is listed and treated as a "Flaw", it is actually almost entirely positive for the character.

Allowing such a Flaw to provide such a massive benefit as to take a second Major Hermetic Virtue, which can not be achieved under any other method during character creation, seems unbalancing.

Keep in mind that it's a Minor Story Flaw. That is, it's something that hooks you into stories, plus a benefit roughly equivalent to a minor Virtue. Is the ability to take two Hermetic Major Virtues rather than one (still paying for them in full!) a massive benefit, excessive for a minor Virtue? Let me ask you: would you be willing to pay a major Virtue for such a benefit?

Also @nullsettings : one can certainly create mystery cults not in the books, so the question "which mystery cults in the books have two major Virtue initiations" is not ... quite relevant, I think. Mechanics are more of an issue here. Two major Virtue initiations in a row early on can make a lot of sense, if the first involves a Major Ordeal (+9 bonus), because then the second automatically gets a -9 reduction to the target number (effectively, another +9 bonus), and then you have two lesser reductions in the subsequent two initiations that you can leverage for minor Virtues.


Minor Story Flaw though it might be, it is still a Flaw. Allowing it to break normal character generation rules when there is no other method of doing so is a massive benefit. If I could I would do it for every Magi I create, even paying full price for the Virtues.

There are some truly broken combinations you can have from the beginning of play, which are normally only possible through something like OR or joining a Mystery Cult and Initiating otherwise.

EDIT: Also as you said it provides a benefit roughly equal to a Minor Virtue. Almost all Flaws, including Story Flaws, provide no benefit at all. The more I think about it, the less I feel that it should provide any points to buy Virtues with and would be better represented as a Free Flaw to balance out the benefits it already provides.

Actually, all the minor Story Flaws provide a benefit with little or no drawback other than getting pulled into certain stories. Which is exactly how they are supposed to work.

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I am afraid you are mistaken. Story "Flaws" do not work as other Flaws. They are effectively Minor Virtues worth +1 (for Minor Story Flaws), or Minor Flaws worth -1 (for Major Story Flaws) with an attached "hook" that can force the character into stories. This hook is priced -2 in both cases, so:

  1. A Minor Story Flaw (-1) is effectively a Minor Virtue (+1) plus the hook (-2).
  2. A Major Story Flaw (-3) is effectively a Minor "normal" Flaw (-1) plus the hook (-2).

Note that this not "broken". You can take only one Story Flaw, and in my games, almost every PC does. Essentially, the game designers are saying: "if you give the Storyguide a hook to drag your character into stories, we are bribing you by pretending you took two more points of Flaws than you really did". And it really works :slight_smile:

So, let me ask you again the question. Consider a Virtue that allowed you to take two Major Hermetic Virtues at character creation, albeit at the "normal price". You claim this is a "massive benefit". Do you think this benefit is worth more than a Minor Virtue? More than a Major Virtue?

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But it is. While I always alter (or want to alter) what virtues are actually provided by mystery cults in games the early initiations are almost always minor initiations. You can’t start with Philosophic Alchemy you need Hermetic Alchemy first. You can’t start with Hermetic Architecture you need Hermetic Numerology and Geometry first. Secondly, while there is mechanical benefit to starting with an major ordeal a lot of low level initiates should get a relatively “cheap” initiation, provide a benefit that doesn’t cost them a lot to get them hooked and make them feel special, how do you think cults work? I assume most would do this by having a low bonus script that the main Mystagogue has to initiate but it costs the neophyte no ordeals, or something that seems minor at first like a vow.

It is something I believe you can not put a value on, since it is breaking the character creation rules. Something that breaks those rules should not be available, unless the option was made available to all characters. And by that I do not mean linking it to a Virtue or Flaw, but the group making the collective decision at the start of play that they can take multiple Major Hermetic Virtues during character creation.

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That depends a lot on the focus of the mystery! While it's true for Alchemy and Numerology, it's not necessarily true for others.

Many, many societal constructs follow exactly the opposite approach. They force you to pay a heavy initial price, with the prospect of eventually recouping it. This "locks you in", so to speak, and it's exactly what the Mystery mechanics model -- ordeal early, and reap the benefits in subsequent initiations!

So I assume you disallow Virtues like Puissant Ability (that allows you to break the age limits for Ability scores) or Warrior (that allows you to take Martial Abilities, something characters without an appropriate Virtue -- or sometimes flaw -- can't do)? In fact, I assume you disallow "vanilla" Cabal legacy, since it allows you to take Virtues that you would not otherwise be able to take at character creation?

(Incidentally, I find it contradictory to say something is a "massive benefit" and then to say "you can't put a value on it". It's like saying something is very expensive, and then saying there's no way to put even an approximate price on it.)

It is true of the Dream Mystery, Hermetic Theurgy, the Spirit Mysteries, everything in The Mysteries book except, perhaps, Augury and Divination but I think usually that is added as a later initiation to some of the other mysteries like Dream or Astrology or Numerology. I did think of one other canon MC that maybe starts with a Major, the Terrae Cult with their Terram Summoning

Then why not a major ordeal to gain a minor virtue. That seems to be what you’re describing here. The other side of the major virtues is that for the most part (ignoring for a moment the Mercurians and the Terrae Cult) the major mysteries generally represent inner secrets, the more powerful secrets of the cult.

Let me be clear. I am not arguing that every Initiation path should start with a Major Virtue. I am arguing that some might, and do. In this, you seem to agree with me. So there should be no argument :slight_smile:

I did put a price on it, just not in the context you wanted. It is worth more than what you can get just by taking a Virtue, enough that all players should have the option of using it or none of them.

(Incidentally, I find it hilarious that you just called yourself an ass repeatedly.)

Can you just point out where I did that?
So that I can take a good laugh too! :slight_smile:

But those are not hermetic virtues and flaws, except for Mercurian Magic, which is already relatively unrestricted and does not actually gain the benefit for Cabal Legacy. But, no, I would balk at someone taking Major Potent Magic on top of another Major Hermetic, even with Cabal Legacy. I would love to be able to take Gentle Gift and another Major Hermetic Virtue and I think there is pretty good reason that’s not generally allowed, least right out of the gate, it forces people to choose.

They might. But I would prefer if they didn't.
Before we continue, could I please refer everyone to the box marked (Mystery Cult) Lore and Degrees of Initiation on p. 11 of TMRE.
Look it up. Read it. Don't worry, the internet will wait.


But also, why would they?

If we think of this from the point of view of actual mystery cults, generally they will teach you things when 'you are ready', because the belief is that you need a certain understanding/spiritual state before you can comprehend the next - more complicated - mystery.
This is similar to how, in modern schools, we teach simple things like quadratic equations to students before we introduce them to things like vector algebra, partial integration or complex number theory.

Some mystery cults will even opine that you don't need certain information/knowledge/enlightenment before you have fully understood 'simpler' matters. Again, similarly to how I'd expect you to spend time understanding Newtonian physics before introducing you to Einsteinian physics.

Just because it's possible doesn't mean it should be done.

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