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 ?