Effects of various breakthroughs

The topic at hand is to analyze the effects of a combination of various Breakthroughs (and magitech improvements) becoming widespread across the Order. These include Subtle Opening, Fertility Ritual Magic, Wizard’s Initiation, Hermetic Ritual Initiation, and Fertile Longevity Ritual, as well as widespread knowledge of Principles Lore and effortless copying of books and quick travel. Which Virtues and Supernatural Abilities would be popular with magi and which would be deemed a waste of time? Wizard population may be expected to explode, but how much? Which social changes can be expected in the Order?

One likely topic would be increased need for vis and Magic auras from a growing number of magi. A more militant protection of vis sources and Magic places from mundane and Dominion encroachment is in the cards. Oath provisions to the contrary would have to be changed or ignored, but I expect the social pressure for it to be irresistible, Traditionalists be damned. However, it would be a stopgap solution at best. The only real solution seems further integration research to unlock means to increase supply of vis and Magic auras. This includes integration of Hermetic Alchemy, Hermetic Viresculture, Confluence of the Realms, Hermetic Architecture, and Mercurian aura creation and manipulation. Quite possibly a mix of the above is coming sooner rather than later as multiple researchers strive to provide a solution to the crisis.

Another likely issue is the inefficiency of training a booming apprentice population by means of the mentor-apprentice bond. Using a school-like system (hello, Hogwarts!) is the obvious solution. First to generalize its use for teaching everything but the Arts, incuding a suitable period of pre-Opening the Arts training, then to unlock a breakthrough to allow Teaching the Arts to multiple students. Again, I foresee no great difficulty for this change since the vast majority of mages can agree it is necessary and beneficial. At most, members of mystery houses and cults would ask to add a few provisions to the system to protect their secrets.

Of course, the Peripheral Code would need to be changed to prevent apprentice poaching by lawyering the Code.This involves recognizing a mage is fulfilling their requirement to train an apprentice properly even if they are not providing instruction personally. It also concerns protecting rights to apprentices that have not yet got their Arts Opened (including blood relatives of the mage), recognizing Opening contracts with InVi specialists, and sanctioning fosterage pacts. I expect no great difficulty about this reform.

As it concerns Supernatural Abilities being deemed valuable, I expect Second Sight and Comprehend Magic to be a worthwhile pursuit for almost any mage. Faerie Magic and Shapeshifting would also be good for everyone but the Bjornaer and the Jerbiton. Summoning (Spirit) and Chthonic Magic are going to be interesting for any mage that does not worry too much about Infernal taint, and Holy Magic for anyone that does not mind the behavioral restrictions. Divine Methods and Powers become easy to get for Holy Mages. The same applies as it concerns the other Goetic Arts and Infernal Methods and Powers for Infernalists. Principles Lore would be quite valuable for most mages as well. We may expect many of these Abilities to become part of the standard Hermetic curriculum, much as Concentration, Penetration, Parma Magica, Finesse, the Realm Lores, Latin, and Magic Theory.

Of course, getting full benefits from Faerie Magic and Chthonic Magic requires having the related Virtue, but I expect the lab benefits tied to the Abilities themselves to be available if you study them thanks to Subtle Opening. Probably the same standard applies to Holy Magic as well by analogy, but the rules seem more difficult to interpret in this case.

Widespread use of Principles Lore (or any other Lore equivalent without much of a thematic constraint, such as Children of Hermes Lore) effectively means self-Initiation for everyone in any Virtue they fancy. Existing Mystery Cults and Houses would likely strive to keep monopoly of their secrets, but theirs would be an uphill, losing battle. Criamon insights do seem self-protecting, but I wonder how much this would stay valid if you remove certain Ordeals from Initiation scripts. Which Virtues a mage would deem worthwhile of course heavily depends on their interests, but certain constants may be expected.

Virtues that improve learning of Arts and Abilities, extend life, boost various kinds of magic (let's assume prejudice against the Diedne is not a relevant issue in this scenario) and lab activities, remove Gift penalties, make the mage more attuned to the Realms, unlock new R/D/T, and/or provide new ways of using the Arts would be in all likelihood popular with almost everyone.

I am not sure which Supernatural Abilities from non-Hermetic traditions would be seen as good synergy with the Arts instead of a waste of time (and Xp sink). Maybe the Solomonic Arts? In most cases, integration rather than combining Traditions seems the way to go.

Of course, these breakthroughs pave the way for the average mage and their apprentice to pile up a lot of valuable Virtues and Supernatural Abilities without the constraints of a Mystery Cult or self-initiation. Hermetic Realm Initiation effectively means self-Initiation for everyone about everything, much the same as Principles Lore becoming widespread across the Order. The rules against having multiple Major Hermetic Virtues at character creation become even more constraining and dysfunctional (I loathe them, and have them removed in any saga of mine) than they already are. To balance things, adjustments to rules for teaching Hermetic Virtues to apprentices to make multiple Major Hermetic Virtues easier to have easier seem in order. Maybe a relevant breakthrough?


A combination of Fertile Longevity Rituals and Fertility Ritual Magic could lead to a shift in Hermetic Culture. Mercere & Jerbiton are currently the houses that value family ties more then the rest. To most kids and family are but a distraction from magical education and finding apprentices. Siring kids and finding apprentices would become synonymous, and you can even determine what kind of Gift they'd have, or what would they be specialized in. Couple with the Wizard's Initiation, this may very well lead to a renaissance of Hedge Traditions, as they no longer need to compete with the Order for apprentices, and they'd snatch up what Gifted Kids they can find.

Subtle Opening...I'm not sure exactly how groundbreaking this would be. It really depends where you are. In Rhine I imagine the likes of Murion would be heavily opposed to this kind of breakthrough, mireing the noble Latinine magic, Bonisagus' Magic Theory with such Hedge Magics! Lot of Magi tend to underestimate what Hedge Magics can do or may not be aware of many useful ones to begin with. There would certainly be great interest among the Ex Miscellanea, those seeking to restore their old magics lost in the transition (Like Sahirs).
Also among the interested would definitely be the Seekers. Finding and learning Hedge Magics and Ancient Magic would be a whole lot easier without having to do a tedious Integration / Research first.

Principles Lore, this one I am again, unsure of how widespread it'd become. Pursuing the Principles Lore is certainly a path to power, but within one specific niche; Spirit Magics. I doubt you could incorporate the Lores of the other Mystery Houses, as they are not on theme with this. Besides, such lore is passed on through oral tradition, anyone seeking it would have to find a member of such House willing to betray it's secrets. Not something likely to happen. That being said, not many are suited to be Mystagogues.


you raise many points and I will do my best to address some of them.

First: While I disagree with you, on what would be likely to happen in the situations that you describe, assuming that the people in question behave like real world people. You are perfectly within your right to declare that this is how things work in your game.

In general you tend to assume that magi will do a lot of things "because it is for everyones best" but this is a fundamental misunderstanding of how groups behave. Specifically the misunderstanding is that groups behave as if it was a singular entity. The order is a group in the sense that it makes sense for our minds to categorize its members together. The orders is not a group in the sense that its members all necessarily think as members of a group, such as you would expect say, with a beehive (not that bees think in the conventional sense of the word). Members of the order are individuals first and foremost and will act to further their individual interests, even if those interests conflict with the wider interests of the order.

Thus you assume that many breakthroughs will happen because "it would benefit the order", but many of those breakthrough would benefit the order at great cost to the individuals who made them. Will magi (as in: will large numbers of magi) be willing to sacrifice themselves to further the interests of other magi? Not in the setting as presented in the source material and not if they behave the way real people behave.

On the topic of integrating the combo of fertility magic/fertile longevity ritual. A number of things could happen. One of them is that the magus population explodes, and I think this would likely happen. However the effects of this are debatable. Would the magus population explode so fast that magical resources become over-exploited before a solution can be found? (assuming that a solution exists). Maybe, this is certainly the conclusion reached in this thread. However there is a crucial detail to remember: Malthus was wrong about his theory applying to humans. It is also conceivable that the magus population increases but slowly enough that magi have the time to foresee the problem and to seek out solutions, such as by looking for breakthroughs that allow for the protection, creation and strengthening or both auras, regiones and vis sources, or alternatively breakthroughs that reduce reliance on those. It is worth considering that in this scenario, most of the extra population will be blood descendants of established magi so the established magi may be more inclined to be sympathetic to the plight of these magi.

Personally I expect that the population of the order will double some 35-60 years after these combined breakthroughs, but I dont expect it to consistently double after that. Some magi will not want magical children, some will want one, some will want more. but it still takes time to bring a child in to the world, let it grow to 10 years and then train it for 15, before the cycle can repeat again. Personally I expect it would average out at about 1 magical child per magus.

After the first doubling I expect things to slow down since the ones having children will be the new generation of magi. Over time this would IMO lead to something like a 5-fold increase in the population of the order. This is, again, by my estimation a lot less than what is necessary to exhaust the resources of ME. It would however be enough to make the order a much more diverse and lively place since there are simply more magi around to come up with new ideas and to go on with new ideas proposed by others. These new magi will also on average be better than the ones that came before since their parents can choose what virtues they will have which will in turn cause many more children with high INT and COM as well as affinities, puissants etc.

But this takes us back to a key issue. If you are an old magus, looking at this breakthrough that will certainly make you irrelevant because you will not have the perfect combination of key virtues and meaningless flaws that are caused by the fertility ritual. Would you simply accept your fate and become a meaningless relic of a bygone age or would you struggle against it? on average people prefer the latter.

Otherwise I expect that it would be less dramatic than you suggest because all of these new options would compete with existing ones. Would you rather spend a bunch of seasons studying your specialty or would you traipse around learning new, increasingly more niche R/D/T's by going through initiation after initiation accruing ever more incapacitating flaws on the way and/or indebting yourself to skilled mystagogues?

There's a lot of issues here- first being lets take a look at fertility magic- it is in some ways comparable to artificial insemination, with an added twist of genetic enhancement. There have in fact been a handful of children who have been "enhanced" in this way (less than 10 worldwide, with questions about whether the changes are more beneficial or detrimental), but people are not rushing out to have artificially inseminated designer babies. There is still a feeling that a more natural conception is preferable, and this would likely go double in mythic europe where people might b worried about whether children born of a fertility ritual have a soul or similar reservations.
Secondly, the idea of shifting to a school is defeated by the fact that the arts can only be taught one on one. You might get away with teaching basic literacy and having your mass student population read books after inventing some version of the printing press, but barring a hermetic level breakthrough a school is something you would not have.
If you have a sudden boom in the availability of the Gifted the next most important breakthrough would be viresculture as a source of vis, which makes vis much more like a renewable resource.

As it concerns Principles Lore, my interpretation does assume Fortunata purposefully developed the Lore to be a catch-all tool to self-initiate all kinds of mysteries with little or no thematic limitations, much like Children of Hermes Lore but with even less need for Cult organization. The fact most of her initiation scripts concerned spirits was incidental rather than integral to the nature and purpose of PL.

This how I expect to PL in any saga of mine. Anyway, even if my interpretation was wrong, the existence of PL and Children of Hermes Lore proves it is theoretically possible to develop a MC Lore that has little or no thematic limitations and reliance on cult organization. Such a theoretical Lore is what gets developed and used in this scenario.

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I believe that was her intention, whether or not it is possible is very much a YSMV question (as is Fortunata's existence)

However the other question is if Principles Lore does allow for the initiation of any virtue, then you still need to develop the initiation scripts for those virtues, and in many cases may have to discover that those virtues can in fact exist at all.

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I tend to assume most mages are going to have a rather more transhumanist PoV than the average human. Moreover, genetic enhancement tech is still in its infancy, sadly. I expect to experience a massive boost in popularity once it becomes feasible and reliable to give your babies genius intelligence, super-soldier physical enhancements, and/or the lifespan of an oak. Admittedly, my perspective on the issue is biased since I am an enthusiastic transhumanist and tend to find the opposite viewpoint incomprehensible.

Second, my scenario does assume a magitech equivalent of the printing press gets invented as part of the breakthrough package, and a further breakthrough to teach the Arts to multiple students is a likely consequence, same as the ones that improve availability of vis and magic auras.

We agree on the fact that the latter kind of breakthrough is one of the most likely consequences.

Yeah, finding and adapting relevant scripts or developing them from scratch is where all the residual difficulty lies, but that's where the lab part of the legwork lies for the characters. The fun adventure stuff is of course using the scripts for yourself and allies. As it concerns being aware of the Mystery Virtues in the first place, I tend to deem it an irrelevant issue, since the Order seems to be a rather efficient gossip machine at spreading this kind of rumor.

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One of the problems with genetic enhancement tech is that there quickly comes a point where it no longer feels like your child. On top of that there is simple fear of new technology- a lot of people won't eat genetically modified tomatos and you think they are going to rush out and have genetically modified children?
Realistically genetic enhancement is one of those things that sounds cool for a society or for a game or book setting but when you bring it down to the personal level gets a lot scarier really quickly. The one genetic "enhancement" which has been developed and used in humans so far is supposed to render the new generation immune to HIV (at the possible fractional expense of the overall immune strength), despite ending the threat of a virus which has killed millions in a situation where the downsides were not yet known in a society of over a billion people only 4 volunteered for the procedure.
I expect transhumanism is more likely to proceed with people getting a near death download of their personalities more quickly than it will embrace genetic enhancement.
And I expect the culture of Mythic Europe will be even less inclined to "mess with God's design"


The OP does assert an Arts teaching breakthrough.

There are many vital Hermetic and other subjects that can be taught via lecture or other teaching methods that are not Arts, including Magic Theory.

Hey, there's your conceptual breakthrough: "Yes, you will learn Arts, but we will teach you many skills that will improve your magic and related skills."

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Sure, there is a lot to do to streamline and optimize OoH teaching of non-Arts subjects that are very important for Hermetic mages. Even to ensure pre-Opening the Arts, post-recruitment period is spent wisely to maximize fluency in Latin and other subjects, instead of wasting valuable post-Opening time would be a definite improvement.

I expect slaves, especially ones with unaffected by the Gift would be the most common usage- where the consent of the parents is not required...

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I have serious doubts as to whether fertility magic will become al that widespread. At best I see it being seen as a very pagan practice by even most magi. I assume House Mercere would happily take it up, they are mentioned as being fairly non-Christian in mindset, especially around sex. Criamon seem unlikely to take it up though there may be a few on the Wandering Path and some Path of Body practitioners that may be curious about its uses. Many Jerbiton would likely avoid it though some may be less apprehensive about its seeming link to carnality and some may find it useful in their dealings with nobles who are struggling to give birth. Flambeau is likely split between those who are of a more “Cult of Mercury” mindset and those of a more Christian bent. merinita would for the most part be fine with it. Tytalus we might see a few that appreciate it but I could see their philosophy viewing the trials of youth or not being exactly suited to learning particular arts with ease as important steps on the path. Bjornaer may or may not find it useful, I don’t really see a way of “fixing” the particular heartbeast but if it can be done it may form a new split in the house over whether this goes against the whole “ancestor” thing. Other houses it would probably fall back more on the “it doesn’t seem a very Christian thing to do” argument and whether that individual was pious.

I think a number of bonisagus will take it up as a research tool, it might also become more widespread for use on animals than people, depending on whether the traits breed true. Tremere might well take it up to breed super soldiers.

I just wanted to say that I love the idea of this thread and that I am totally interested in reading and such everything in it. I don't have much to say at this moment as my mind is not exactly here, but I wanted to mention that this is awesome and I am glad these threads exist. Figuring out how the Order would react to various breakthroughs and such is really interesting. So thumbs up.

What is wrong with you? Regardless of the possibility of this monstrous contrivance, why would you want to casually talk about the upsides of sexual slavery here, in a forum about a fun leisure activity? Surely, you find the subject grotesque?


This is, in fact, one of the reasons I dislike Fertility magic. It seems to inevitably create situations where eugenics (and magical parallels to eugenics) becomes discussed as a serious pathway to ingame power.

This is also why "The inheritability of the Gift" as a topic of discussion makes me wary.


It's also something that really drives home the separation between real life and gaming, because whatever the tactical advantage from a game perspective sane people don't do this. "I'm going to have a child so I can pimp her out" is so many levels of wrong it seems like it would only exist in a chick tract or similar conspiracy theory urban legend
I mean gifting your child so they can choose to pass along the blessings to her own children is one thing, but "use her as a brood mare" is something else entirely/

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What is wrong with you? Regardless of the possibility of this monstrous contrivance, why would you want to casually talk about the upsides of sexual slavery here, in a forum about a fun leisure activity? Surely, you find the subject grotesque?

I'm sorry. I did not mean to be offensive, and it really was. I've deleted the original message. Such things would get the offending magus Marched.