Easy arts for hedge traditions

A lot of the arts in Hedge Magic are considered difficult (meaning they advance like abilities), to avoid making them too competitive with the Order of Hermes. What would be the consequences for the game if I dropped this for gifted characters?

Specifically, the rule I'm considering is this: Arts can theoretically be learned by gifted characters just like abilities. All supernatural abilities and arts (including the Order of Hermes ones) are difficult by default. However, if a character has had the gift opened, then they treat all their tradition's arts and favoured supernatural abilities as accelerated.

I'd like hedge magic to become a viable alternative to the Order of Hermes, but still remain noticeably weaker to justify the Order's prominence. So I'm particularly interested in the following questions:

  1. Will any hedge traditions become better at piercing magic resistance than the Order of Hermes, or will they merely become equally good?
  2. Are there any hedge tradition abilities or arts which have been designed with the assumption of slower progression, and would need their ease factors to be adjusted? I'm fine with hedge wizard abilities like Flight (hedge witch) being easier than the Hermetic equivalent, because the ability is extremely specialised - I am only really concerned with abilities which could break stories, or which are so broad in scope that they could outcompete the Hermetic Arts.
  3. Similarly, are there any accelerated abilities which would become useless for non-gifted users who do not benefit from the acceleration?
  4. Would any hedge traditions' unique tricks give them a good chance of winning a war against the Order of Hermes if their arts and abilities were accelerated in this way?

From OOC perspective, yes this is done to make Hedge Wizards less powerful than Hermetics. Lorewise it is justified by a lack of Theory & understanding behind their powers, or a lack of development. In latter cases, it is a flaw that can be overcome with research.

Spoilers for Dies Irae - Twilight of the Gods: Your idea is one of the consequences of a successful Ragnarok: for the Gifted practitioners who manage to link themselves to the Golden Chain, Difficult Arts become regular Arts and standard Supernatural Abilities become Accelerated.

That being said, I think that making Accelerated Abilities into regular Abilities for the UnGifted is a bit much and would go a long way to further cripple Hedge Wizards, rather than make them more powerful. A lot of Hedge Traditions have a lot more UnGifted practitioners than Gifted ones. Some example Abilities that would be severely impacted are Sihr, Warding, Banishing, all the Goetic "Arts", At least, they're the first that come to mind. There aren't all that many of them that are accessible to the UnGifted, granted, but it just makes things even harder for ones that do. UnGifted Sahirs already have their magic limited to the Might of a Spirit they can summon. A crippled summoning ability of any variety would instantly cut The Order of Solomon down from a "potential threat" to a laughable obstacle. Part of their strength comes from the sheer number they have over the Hermetic Magi.

In my humble opinion as a Hedgie enthusiast, Hedge Wizards already have a potential to pose a threat to a Hermetic Magi, providing they can play to their strengths.

  • Folk Witches can ignore Parma Magica altogether with their Shapeshifting, which grants them both combat-worthy forms (bear, lion, wolves, etc.) as well ones more suited for spying and assassination (birds, asp serpents...). Their potions can reach decent Penetration totals even without having an AC to their target, now you just gotta make them drink it...

  • Gruagachan shapeshifting is criminally easy compared to Hermetic Muto, they can grant new virtues or bolster their martial prowess to cut you down mundaely. Or they turn into giants and chuck boulders at you. Unlike Hermetics, they don't have to be able to perceive you, so in theory they can shout at you in total darkness or from the other end of a scrying tunnel, and you will still be affected. Hermetics don't have that luxury without additional intellego spells or other means to perceive their enemy.

  • Vitkir can perform natural changes and make among the best supernatural killers out there. Their flaming sword for example is completely natural, and no amount of Parma will save you from it. They can also ward themselves against most elemental relatively easily, safeguard their minds against Mentem, or bolster their Combat abilities or even just sheer speed so that it becomes very hard to fast cast against them

  • Nightwalkers are masters of guerilla warfare. Aegis won't stop them, for the lack of Might. They can pass through solid terrain, steal arcane connections, and spy on you, or just stangle you in your sleep since they can effectively teleport.

And that is just to name a few, we haven't even touched upon the absolute menace that the likes of Muspelli can do. If you give them Accelerated Abilities, ontop of their Trolldomur Multipliers? BOY there won't be a Magus alive who would be safe from their tomfoolery. For reference, they multiply their abilities by a number of modifiers when they use Trolldomur. This can already result in pretty high Penetration. Accelerating it would make them downright busted. A lot of traditions would also suddenly gain a second proper art and so their penetration would end up being on par with the Order.

Yes, your change would grant stronger Penetration overall. As it currently stands they are not entirely helpless either, many just don't specialize their skills in battling supernatural enemies, nor do they care to or are capable of organizing into opposing the Order. Penetration Ability is a must, and most Hedgies would be able to breach most Parmas with some prep - stealing some ACs or shedding blood are good ways to go about it. They are still weaker overall, but should not be underestimated.


Regarding the effect on non-gifted casters, it's worth noting that a summa written by a gifted caster will allow them to raise their score in an art/ability to a reasonable level relatively quickly. It still takes five times as long as it would for a gifted character, of course, but they will reach the same point.

This would be pretty easy to fix (just say that non-gifted characters treat summas by gifted writers as having 2/5 their level). But I wonder how it would affect things. It would solve the problem of the sahirs, but it would allow traditions like the Muspelli to be even more terrifying.

Just throwing around ideas.

Is this accurate? I haven't seen any statement to that effect in the base book, nor in Hedge Magic, I would think the ability defaults to the standard system for supernatural abilities found in HoH:S. This is doubly so because I don't recall any proposed integration of shapeshift to remove the penetration of Muto Corpus (Animal) spells as a result of that ability, and that the implication of it bypassing parma magica would be that the effect isn't active while in another form, which is pretty much a distinct feature of the heartbeast. I don't think a folk witch could spend 6 months in animal form without warping, for example, while a Bjornaer might. Do you have any source to support your call to make shapeshift bypass Parma?

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Sure enough.

"Those who have an innate supernatural power to change shape (represented by Virtues or Flaws such as Shapeshifter and Lycanthrope) only invoke a magical effect at the moment of transformation. Thus, the shapechange is not an active effect while that character is in animalform. Consequentially, Penetration is not required for mundane attacks, nor does the creature radiate magic or suffer Warping due to the transformation" - Houses of Hermes: Mystery Cults, page 22.

The same applies to the Heartbeast.

Lastly, Folk Witch version of the ability does not change what the ability fundamentally is, the only thing changed are its activation methods. As for why it wasn't proposed as an integration - that list isn't meant to be exhaustive. There are other stuff you can nab from Folk Witches (ability to use up to 4 times your Magic Theory in vis during a season is another that comes to mind). I'd wager they just thought it sounded too similar to Senses of the Mystic, which is basically the integration of the Second Sight ability rather then anything Folk Witch specific.


Actually, we know that those with Shapeshifter and Lycanthrope do need to penetrate when attacking with natural weapons. Only the Heartbeast is said to not need that.

No. See the quote above. "Consequentially, Penetration is not required for mundane attacks"

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It seems to me you're forgetting something: One of the great (arguably the greatest) strengths of the Parma isn't Magic Resistance, but protection from the Gift's effects, which allows magi to cooperate.
So, even with the added oomph of Accelerated Abilities, gifted hedgies might still not be that much of a threat to the OoH :slightly_smiling_face Or they might lose, due to internal division.

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One crucial thing to keep in mind is that, roughly speaking (there are lots of caveats and exceptions), hedge traditions tend to have fewer Arts than Hermetic Magic and individual Hermetic Arts tend to be narrower than the Arts of hedge traditions. So, if you allow Hermetic and Hedge Arts to advance at the same speed, Hermetic generalists will be weaker than Hedge generalists (because they have to spread their xp over more Arts), and Hermetic specialists will be less flexible than Hedge specialists (because their Arts are narrower).