First glance on HoH:MC and questions

I'm presently skimming my copy of HoH:MC, and I think I owe a huge praise to the developer and authors. It seems to have surpassed even my feverish expectations. Very, very, very good. One of the best magic-oriented RPG sourcebooks I've ever read (and I'm a big fan of magic-oriented games, so I've seen a considerable lot of them). Evocative, poignant, groaning with ideas, yet easy to grasp (well, some sections such as Arcadia, and Exoteric non-House Mysteries feel unbearably vague, but I can understand the reason, since they refer to books that were expected to be already published, or will not exist for another couple years). I think I can extract ideas for a year of stories from this book alone.

Of course, I've got my preferences. Bjornaer and Merinita are my preferred chapters, but I see even the other two are of very good quality. The first has done a huge lot to rekindle my interest in the House, and I can now see the Final Twilight of the House as fitting climax to RP, instead of a pathetic doom. Mysteries are interesting and surprisingly varied for such a tight central concept, and I really appreciate the general guidelines for shapeshifting mages. I only wonder if the membership is not too constrained, given the large number of clans and groups in the House (Merinita have a similar problem, but to a lesser degree, since their members are free to mix and match Mysteries). This is a general problem for the Order: once one is done with integrating all the subgroups, lineages, and Mysteries (yea, all of them; why forsake even a bit of all such goodness), the order ought to be at least 2000-3000 members, if not more.

Merinita has been confirmed as one of my best preferred Houses ever, and I have to especially commend their mysteries, as they are quite evocative, intriguing, and give a great broadth to the concept of faerie, while keeping at bay the stereotype of whimsy trickster which I really dreaded. Thanks.

Criamon is quite interesting, evocative, and I can perceive the sheer amount of research and effort that went into it. Quite good. Too bad it is mostly going to be wasted (for me, at least) by having made the stereotype far too restricted. Sorry. The hardcore vegetarian chaste pacifist navel-gazing mystic is not a character concept that I fancy RP with any real frequency. It's a pitiful waste, really. All that bounty of ideas, and I can't use it.

Enchanter specialist is the "mystic" character concept that I was least interested, so I've given the Verditious chapter the mpst passing course. It seems rather good, too.

Now the first questions that immediately sprung to my mind (many more will come in the next months, no doubt)

If an initiate wishes to change the Ordeal of an Initiation (substituting the default Minor or Major Flaw of the script with another one), can the Mystagogue do it with the Varying Script test, EF 12, or does he need to create a new Script ? I would like to initiate some characters in Illusion Magic, but I really would loathe to give them the Unnatural Magic or Harmless Magic Flaws, since IMO they destroy the usefulness of Creo and Perdo far too much (especially Harmless, pick it and your Perdo art is almost completely wasted).

I think I've got a fuzzy image of the concept of Animae Magic, but a full understanding escape me: could anyone give me an explanation (and some examples of typical uses) of what this kind of magic actually does ? Is it a tool to summon instant magical servants from your surroundings, or thin air, with form-typical powers, or what ? How do you press them into service ? Is it to be used as an indirect alternative form of spontaneous magic, like Mysteries 4th ed's Thaumaturgy ?

Also, I'm not sure I grasp the full scope of Arcadian Travel: can a character use it to travel to places with a faerie regio/aura only, or also mundane locations ? What of magical regiones/auras ?

Becoming: it seems to me that no smart mage should ever Transform the Mind, and complete the transition to fae: by avoiding to do so, the mage can combine the best advantages of human and fae nature; IMO giving up ability to learn new skills and suse spontaneous magic is not worth anything else, and the mage is already an half-fae immortal being. Arcadian mages can actually advance fearie power in the world better by keeping their human creativity. Other questions: does a mage that has Trasformed the Spirit, keep the Parma Magica ? Does a mage that has not completed the three transformations keep double affinity with the magic and faerie realms ? When transforming the body, can a mage freely choose which apparent age to have, or is it dependent on his apparent age at the time of the ritual ?

This is the trickiest one, for the developer and authors, since it involves TMRE material: discussing Huntress in the Wood, you mention several Virtues of the Hermetic Theurgy Mystery, namely Hermetic Theurgy, Names of Power, Invocation Magic, and Hermetic Synthemata. Since a Bjornaer Huntress and/or a Merinita Theurgist are two character concepts I'd really like to try, I would be most thankful if you could give me some general explanation of what these Virtues do. I know it's a tricky question, but since these Virtues are explicitly mentioned in a published book (ie. the NDA is weakened), maybe it can be answered. I'd really appreciate it, just to have a general idea of what such a character concept would be about. Please.

Chimerical Inner Heartbeast: which guidelines should one use to decide which, and how many, Characteristics, Abilities, Virtues, and Qualities, to pick from each animal form ? Above all, how many Virtues, and Qualities ? Same number as base fom, but mix and match? Base plus one, the same way as Size ? Something else ?

You're welcome. :slight_smile:

As I read it, the Mystagogue can do the test to change one thing about the Script, and an Ordeal counts as something that can be changed. So yes, I believe you can substitute another Flaw for Unnatural or Harmless Magic.

Sort of. It makes you able to summon faeries, in a sense. For example, say someone has thrown a valuable coin into a deep pool. You cast a MuAq spell to transform the water into a water faerie for a little while. She is shy at first, but you convince her to come to the edge by playing a tune on a reed flute. To gain her assistance, you offer to sing her a song if she will find the lost coin and bring it to you. The faerie protests that the coin is hers, but asks what you would give her in exchange for it, if she were willing to part with it. You offer to write a new song about her (the pool). She agrees, but only after you perform it. Since the spell only lasts until dusk, you quickly improvise something. Afterwards, she nods her head appreciatively and disappears into the water, and after some time just as the sun is touching the horizon you see the coin floating on the surface, held up for you by the faerie.

That's true, at least for some Arcadian magae. Obviously Quendalon didn't agree, though. :slight_smile:

She still has knowledge of it, but without The Gift she can't use it. Also, I don't think it can ever stack with Might.

She's both Magic and Faerie until she does the Transforming the Spirit ritual, since as long as she has The Gift she is still aligned with Magic. Once she has Faerie Might, everything she does is Faerie.

I'd say it depends on what age cusp is most appropriate to the maga. She might think she's a maiden, for example, but she might be wrong and the ritual might make her a crone. Practically speaking, I'd let the player choose what his character looks like.

I think I have to wait for David to address this before I say anything about that... sorry! :confused:

Thank you a lot for the kind and informative explanation. However, I've realized I need a bit of elucidation on Arcadian Travel, too: ie. What kind of places can you use it to travel to ? Faerie regiones only ? Faerie auras ? Mundane locations (with no Dominion) ? What about magical regiones ? Magical Auras ? I'm understanding it basically works as a big-creativity-driven, faerie-linked spontaneous Mercere's Portal. Am I right ?

Well, it's there if you'd like to try something different. Also, check the Path of Strife again. They are a bit more mainstream.

I know. And I reiterate, I can see your work is of very good quality. I can but give praise to your efforts. It's ony that I cannot really stand that kind of outlook an philosophy in RL, so I despise that kind of character concept. Path of Strife is a nice addition, but you made it explicitly the rare and generally unwelcome exception, so I think it should be used not too frequently, and sincerely I prefer character concepts (such as Flambeau, Tytaus, Merinita, and Bjornaer) that allow to mix mysticism with appreciation for the natural pleasures of the flesh, healthy pride, and a more militant attitude to the evils of the world. However, again, Path of Strife is a clever addition (even if I have to state I don't grasp fully the niceties of the "marriage of opposites" station; is it a symbolic rtiua, or a real, life-long pairing?).

Changing subject, I have another question for Timothy:

Given the dislike of Bjornaer for pagan religions, what is the attitude of the House toward member that are known for post-apprenticeship affiliation to Huntress in the Wood, or other similar non-ancestor-based, Nature or Theurgica Mysteries ??

An one for Erik:

Concerning Becoming, if a mage Transforms the Body nd Spirit, but not mind, does he keep ability to learn as many new formulaic spells, or cast new spontaneous ones, as she wish, ad infinitum, even if they are faerie powers, and fueled by faerie might ? Is she the effective equivalent of a faerie freefrom sorcerer, wiht potewntially unlimited faerie powers ? Moreover, if the mage completes all three trasformations, is she immune to aging, Warping, and sleep, but retains need to eat, drink, and breathe, (unlike Path of Body Criamons) ? Also, with Transformation of the body, the mage can still get Warping fom botches (and enter Twilight), poweful foreign magics, and high Divine/Infernal Areas, but she stops using a longevity ritual, so she does not accumulate Warping points from this, right ? And as long as the mage does not Transform the Spirit, her Hermetic spells still do follow the Realm of Magic, do they ?

Thanks. You see, apart from OOC concern about not wishing Creo and Perdo severely crippled, I mightly dislike faerie magicians having severe penalties at creation and destruction magic, since it reinforces a character stereotype I quite despise, faeries as uneffectual whimsy tricksters, whose powers have no effective permanent results. As far as I see it, faeries are also mighty elemental powers of nature, and glamour magic should be an additional perk, not the only tool. I hate Tinkerbelly.

I see. Very nice idea. Well, it seems like in that case, Alluring mages would be at a huge advantage. Can we assume that one should be able to trade a single service from an animae with a bit of decent RP and the same test as for creating a temporary charm ??

Well, then it's a good reason why either his judgement or his motives should not be entirely trusted, even if the usefulness of his lore is indubitable.

And in any case, even if character expectations are wrong, IC she could use one application of the ritual to reset apparent age to youthful, right ?

Sigh, I had hoped that explict mentioning in a published book would be a typical case for signficant weakening of the NDA. David, please? I don't want detailed mechanics, only a general idea of what these Virtues do, so I can tell what a Huntress in the Wood character can do. Since I can guess that the Hermetic Theurgy Mystery has been heavily revised.

SpecialOps team members who demo Ars Magica can find a form of preview of some of the TMRE Virtues.

Well, that's fair enough, but as I pointed out on the other list, the Jedi have similar restrictions, and it doesn't stop people playing them. 8)

Both. It's a a real, life-long pairing that symbolises, ritualistically, the achievement of a new state of enlightenement. Is conventional Catholic marriage a mystical act of union, or a real pairing? Both.

Honestly, I haven't considered this. I haven't really grappled with the permutations of the other authors' texts yet. Erik would give you a far better answer.

No problem. Hey, I'd love to read about what you do with all this when you play it in your saga. Do you have a journal or web page?

You can travel to four types of places. From a mundane place or a regio, you can travel to a higher or lower level of a regio in your same location, or to Arcadia. From Arcadia, you can travel to any level of a regio, or to anywhere in the mortal world. This includes Magic regiones and even Divine places, though of course the penalties for the Dominion are so steep that most characters probably can't manage it.

Whimsy is a lot of what the followers of Pendule are all about, but luckily they aren't the only ones who can initiate you into the Inner Mystery of Glamour.

I wouldn't ask for the test if the player doesn't want to roleplay it. I'd also say preparation is key -- an Animae magus shouldn't go anywhere without taking a few appropriate presents for the faeries with him. Remember not to thank them or accept gifts from them, though! :slight_smile:

If he doesn't transform his mind, he doesn't lose the ability to create as humans do, that's correct. I hadn't intended characters to leave the rituals unfinished indefinitely, but I don't think there needs to be rules to make that impossible. I'd imagine the character would start to go mad after a while, though. It would be tough actually being a faerie without being able to think like a faerie.

That sounds right to me. I don't know if all faeries need to eat, drink, and breathe, but I imagine a faerie magus still does.

Sure. I'd imagine completing the Transformation of the Body cancels the Longevity Ritual, and there's no reason to restore it.

Her Hermetic spells are still aligned with both Magic and Faerie, yes.

I dunno. Is Mark on this list? Based on my interpretation of Bjornaer, I'd imagine that they're fine with it, given that they accepted the followers of Myanar into their House. I see their House Mysteries as very personal, but they also have Clan Mysteries that touch upon other Mysteries, so they probably don't really care if magi belong to other Cults or follow things like GotF's forest paths.

Ok. That means Master Magus A step into his covenant regio or the near fearie regio, goes to arcadia, survive it (for a Merenita master magus no prob), and then could directly go to India/Vinland/Hearth of Africa or another place he has heard about and can imagine it?

Edit: another 2 Questions: can i combine a snake and a shark or a killerwal plus some size modifications to create something like a leviathan or are there some difficulties because snake and shark are so extremly different in size?
And could i combine an type of ape für an centaurlike creature or isn an ape too humanlike to become part of an chimera?

Btw: im a storyguide and i want to see if my NSCs i made a long time ago with some imagination of what could be house mysteries are now possible or are unique masters with unique mysteries. :wink:

Whoops, I think I miswrote. The book says "A mundane destination can only be reached by first traveling to a level of a regio above it." So there's also another step in there, he goes to a regio above his destination first, then tries to get into the mundane world from there. But yes, if he can imagine Mythic India well enough to make a charm for it, he can travel there through a trod from Arcadia.

I'd consider Leviathan to be closer to a Whale of Virtue. As for apes, I personally think they're a bit too exotic to appear in Mythic Europe, and that any sort of centaur creature probably wouldn't be possible.

Cool, im my saga a Criamon maga brought some people from India, Tibet, China and Japan to the Grand Tribunal to let them talk about their style of magic ... i bet our Merenita will take her chance. :slight_smile: Not to talk about the expedition towards america.
But anoter question: is the Regio abouve another country choosen randomly (pherhaps the fearie regio over the Himalaya or some dragon lair in China or simply the regio whre the bad guy of the black forrest resides) or do have the Merenita a choice or a warning?

I thought about a snake-magus who make a water-serpent with a fish or something (a little one or a big one) and then pushes his size with later rituals... but ok then Archmagus Theoderich was a whale before he becomes a leviathan. :slight_smile:

Not by me, though :wink: Personally, I'm much more in tune with the Sith philosophy, in that really enlightened people grab the Universe by its ears and tell It what to do by means of one's own will and passion. Act, not react. Really, I think that a path such as Tytalus's, or Sith's, finding wisdom in active will and self-betternment through struggle, is far superior to a passive one like Criamon's, or Jedi's. Oh, and Jedi aren't hardcore pacifists. They understand my biggest quibble with pacifism: unwillingness to use whatever means may best to counter the evils of the world is moral cowardice and complicity, past a certain point.

Ok, got the idea. But do they get to shed their clothes ? :stuck_out_tongue:

Sorry, Serf's Parma. I mistook you for the author of the Bjornaer chapter. I meant the question for Mark.

Do they get to shed their clothes?

Sure. Path of Strife. Do the fun evil, so that other people don't need to do the fun evil.

The Merinita maga must describe the place she's going with a charm, so if it's in a regio she has to describe it that way. If it doesn't exist, she can't go there, and I'd say she'd probably just ends up in a different part of Arcadia instead, or somewhere else that is somehow applicable to her charm (like a dragon's lair in Spain instead, or a faerie regio in the Alps).

Nope. But I could post resumes of particularly juicy stories.

Let's see if I grasp Arcadian travel correctly. Let's say the mage wishews to travel from his covenant (Magic regio) to a mundane location. He opens a gate to Arcadia, travels it to the area of Arcadia corresponding to his destination, opens a gate to the mundane location. What if there isn't no regio close to the destination ? Arcadia has correspondences to any location, but not any location has an existing nearby regio.

Yep, the Shadow-Masters. Very interesting non-whimsical outlook, combining Arcadian and Illusion Mysteries. Besides, one could seek for an unaligned non-Pendulian elder Merinita with some Illusion Mysteries expertise. After all, every magus with Merinita Lore and the Virtue(s) you seek can act as a Mystagogue, right ? Or at the worst, one can self-initiate (be your own Mystagogue for an unknown Virtue) and experiment for a new Script. I guess experimenting to rewrite an existing script is not as difficult to create something wholly new.

Umm, rather than material presents, I was thinking to a poet or musician or storyteller magus offering to trade some improvised art, just like a temporary charm, as the defualt. Even if some handy gifts might be an alternative, here and there.

Well, if a magus only Transforms the Body (likely the superior option), he would eventually reach Final Twilight (even if it would take much longer than normal magi because of the lack of the Longevity Ritual). If one Transforms both body and Spirit, one might eventually face psychic strain as you say, but IMO it should be fair to players only to have it happen after several centuries, and have partial Becoming to work as effectively and long as the immortality methods of Criamon, Alchemists, and Theurgists. Do you agree ??

In any case, I think that clever mages would do best to delay finishing the rituals until they are effectively ready to "retire" (ie. they have lost zest for new experiences, adventuring, and magical research), and they wish for the blissful repose of Arcadia.

As for chimera ideas, I was thinking that a cool idea might be a variation of the chimera proper (which was a combination of lion, goat, and snake/dragon): e.g. a lion, bear, or wolf combined with a snake or salamander.

Ok, thats something good, because if someone want to go to a mundane place he have to know a regio (or aura?) near this place... or am i wrong?
Forgive me my questions but some rules in this book are hard to understand for people with bad english gardes in school. :wink:

Btw: mundane... who actually invents this phrase i first heard of it in a shadowrun sourcebook, is it a normal english word or something nerds like us invented? :wink:

Franco's acid test for religions: any self-awowed religious leader that starts labeling "evil" anything which fulfills the definition of "victimless" should be terminated with extreme prejudice. :smiling_imp: :smiling_imp: :smiling_imp:

Seriously, I've got another question: why is multiple Inoffensive To (beings) forbidden, and is the prohibition valid for Mystery Initations, too ?? Magical beings and faeries aren't so plentiful or frequently encountered that multiple virtues look unbalancing vs. Gentle Gift, and even having all three versions of it, the by far most important drawback of the Gift would still be in place: problems with mundane humans. This rule seems to hamper a nice character concept: the mystic which is buddy with magical beings and faeries, but looks creepy to normals.

Please do! I'd love to read them.

If there isn't a regio close to the destination, he can't get there with Arcadian Travel. However, there might be ways for him to leave Arcadia through other means, depending upon what your idea of Arcadia is.

That's right. It's not even necessary that the Mystagogue have the Virtue, but it's harder if she doesn't.

Personally, I feel the Merinita mystery should be inferior to the Criamon's forms of immortality, since the Criamon have to stick to a path and the Merinita can just initiate what they want willy-nilly. :slight_smile: However, it's not something I feel needs to be codified as a rule. If three centuries is good for your saga, that's fine with me. If you want madness to start to set in after a year or two, I think that's great, too.