Form bonus for house sign

To what spells do you want to use these access bonuses?

Using a house symbol doesn't grant any bonuses in itself.

For a boni seeker, it looks like the perfect talisman to me. Examples could include:

  • break wards (PeVi)
  • open doors (ReTe)
  • deactivate traps (Re/Pe)
  • break codes (InMe?Te?)
  • hold something supernatural trapped (debatable) (ReVi)



I would think pierce the faerie veil, you gain access to another regio, or gaining access to someones memory. Breaking wards would work as well, though I am not sure about traps, trapping someone is no access to me.

I wasn't argueing that the house symbol would confer bonusses, merely that Bonisagus might have chosen it because it indicates knowledge.

+5 grant access, +1 rego looks like a nice base for a key, not extremely powerful (a crown for instance is, all these bonusses and jewelry as well, or a glove, bonus on touch, manipulate at a distance and clothing, maybe even armour) but useful nonetheless.

I wasn't really looking for power, I was merely attracted to the idea of having a talisman that made sense to my character, and couldn't find what a key would do, even though it is a common symbol.

Keys HAS been used as a symbol of gaining access to knowledge as well. So a small bonus for that i would say is ok.

Ah yes: ... etails.htm
The key is a symbol of knowledge and of guardianship. Two keys crossed in saltire is the emblem of St. Peter who held the keys to the gates of heaven, and this emblem is part of the insignia of His Holiness the Pope. They occur in many ecclesiastical coats of arms but also in the arms of regular families.
The key is an object symbolic of opening and closing powers. It represents knowledge, mystery, initiation, and curiosity.

The following may just be my preference since we have someone with the alchemy mystery, and if you have no intention of using the mysteries then disregard.

The bonus is what you discover. If you don't have the mystery or don't want to learn it, then find some one and trade for the knowledge. The difficulty it takes to discover a new shape/material is great enough that a +5 will be rare and the cost may be high. Just because you want a specific shape/material and you think it should be good for something doesn't mean you get a free ride as far as knowing and incorporating it.

Than I think to gain access is good and even deny access but the latter shouldn't have such high bonus than door (to warding) and other items better to be locked.
Rego is exaggarated for a common item.
Knowledge sounds good because it involves getting and keeping knowledge but it may involve Mu, Pe and Cr techniques which don't suit well to keys.
I would include warding to be more concrete and avoiding misunderstandigns.

+5 grant access
+4 deny access (including warding)

Not a big difference I know. :wink:

I had a similar question about snakes but nobody interested in the summer.

I do not think the shapes are researched to give a bonus, they are somehow sympathetic and grant a bonus, and unlisted items merely are not listed because the list would become too long. If you were looking for a specific bonus and wanted to find a material for it, that is a different story.

+5 grant access, +3 deny access (including warding) (smaller bonus than the +4, I think it is bets to get half of it and round it up, the rego now is in the warding, which is part of Rego)

I think creating new shapes is fun and this creative part shouldn't be restricted by boring research.

I like that idea, and it was the way I always played until mysteries revised.

However Mysteries Revised made the assumption that the shape and material bonuses listed were the commonly known ones. New shape and material bonuses had to be researched by magi who have the virtue vulgar alchemy.

My thought in favor of the mysteries revised rules is that if you don't use them then getting shape and material bonuses equal to your entire magic theory score is a free ride with a little effort.

But I could turn it around and say that not restricting the list encourages players to be creative and to have magic items that more closely represent their powers. Since when do we want rules that stifle creativity?

In short I agree with you, Mysteries revised does not.

Same here. This is my line of thought as well. We found some neat story ideas in MR, but the numbers and loads of new rules did not make it into our saga at all. For us it was a lot of added complication without a significant increase in the richness of the setting or how we plan our sagas.



I do not have it, so I never read it, and I am all for seeing new and colourful items with a little medieval flavour, I thought the form and material bonusses are great, and use those to tell people how AM uses paradigma and encourages people to take heed of it.

Huh, despite our agreement on the particular point of vulgar alchemy our reactions to the book seem to be diametrically opposed. I don't intend on using many of the mystery cults (disciples of the worm, the philosophers of Rome, and especially the detestable "let's make the mysteries meaningless yet the rituals still meaningful when divorced from their philosophies" children of Hermes will all stay far away from my game table as long as I have the final say) but the mechanics are slick as can be and remarkably rich. At every level they put the emphasis on story.

The rules require story when the character discovers a cult, stories when a character earns standing in the cult, and stories when a character initiates in a mystery.

Furthermore the rules are integrated with the setting, balanced well for their amount of openness, and invisible when not in use.

The mysteries themselves are expressed as just more options on the lists of virtues and flaws no integration problems at all. I really like the virtues in the book. In my opinion even vulgar alchemy is an excellent virtue derived from an unfortunately limited and constraining premise.

Yes, we have had this discussion before. For us, this leads to what we perceive (dunno if rightfully or not, and we do not really care) as power creep, loads of new rules when we prefer streamlining and the perception that hermetic magic basically sucks. We prefer hermetic magic to represent a point where older magics (including those of mystery cults) pale in comparison. Powerful new V&F do not fly IMS as a consequence. Mystery cults are cool and have a pair of trinkets up their sleeve, but we do not really like them much in our saga and we think that there are already too many subdivisions in the OoH to justify the widespread existence of MCs.

So we do not use them since the histories they encourage can easily be introduced without them existing at all in our opinion. Or the MC (if we ever use them) do not require (in our gaming world view) all those rules. YM does V and that is great :slight_smile: just not kosher in our saga.

So, in short, the added complication of the MC mechanics are not welcome IMS. Our Ars Lite approach does not welcome the power creep that Ars 5 has implemented, with more and more rules in every supplement. We try to play with as few additions to the core book as possible, and even the rules in the core rulebook have been shaken to simplify them. You already knew all that :slight_smile: For our stories, the previous MC book (4th edition), while hard as hell to read (and quite bad in the rules) was better to get some ideas on magical thought and approaches to issues of magical nature. But that is us. :slight_smile:



Whilst I agree that the basic idea behind the rules for cult status and initiation are good, I have to agree more with Xavi - the actual rules for mysteries don't serve the desired purpose to my mind. Mysteries traditionally serve two purposes - ideally they serve as groups of like-minded people (and dupes) dedicated to furthering a goal, and they serve, in Ars Magica, as a way of magically bypassing the limitations involved in learning supernatural abilities and new virtues once already an Hermetic magus.

The current rules serve the former admirably, but they're awful at the second. For a start, the new rules as written require all virtues to be acquired by initiation and allow initiation to supply all virtues. At a stroke, normal Hermetic lineages become impossible. It has also removed the non-Hermetic aspect of mysteries - many of the mysteries presented are in fact at best embellishments to Hermetic Theory - vulgar alchemy being a case in point. The extensive codifying things which are on the fringes of Hermetic theory as mysteries lessens Hermetic theory and limits characters (albeit in an easily house-ruled sense). When this is then applied to Hermetic research such that new discoveries require initiations and cult lores, rather than being either Hermetic virtues taught in whatever the traditional sense was or supernatural virtues which might then require research to integrate or mystery formation ... for a start, it makes forming a mystery cult necessary (which is silly - organisations should be common, mysteries rare). And, since it's almost impossible to start a mystery cult from scratch in terms of time and XP (creating a new script for a new cult is just not viable without a lot of hand-waving), research takes another hit.

I'm not sure where the happy medium lies, but I do know that I very strongly feel that the new rules don't make sense in setting as the way to acquire Virtues. The new close-to-Hermetic virtues should just be Hermetic virtues. By all means however, along with new mastery abilities, skills and ranges/durations etc, let them be restrained by Mystery cults teaching only their members - that's a good thing in setting and system. Just please dear God let the rules make sense. In the RAW, the leaking of the Verditius mystery of automata and its conversion to a non-initiated mystery (um ...) is a beautiful story hook and not at all supported by the rules.

I very much like the mysteries, but Xavi and Fhtagn do make good points.

I agree that there is a rules-creep, at times also a power-creep, and that most mystery cults can work just fine without the mechanics of mystery initiations. However, I actually often like the additional complexity and depth that the new rules provide (e.g the Societetas/Tytalus rules on debate-as-combat sound promising, the guidelines in True Lineages on using Intrigue sound at least like a good place to work from, the Societates/Jerbiton rules and discussion on Etiquette adds volume and content to a skill I would never have otherwise known how to handle, and so on). I also like that the Order is fragmented, that there are secret cults wielding weird powers that sit "behind the scenes", waiting for the PCs to uncover who the REAL power-players are and deal with their bizzare magics.

All of this doesn't make the power-creep better, but I've handled that through some extreme house rules. It does make the rules-creep trobulesome, but I'm easing myself and my PCs into the rules gradually - it's not like we're using all the rules at the moment. I can say that having only specific groups have specific mysteries/powers linked to specific philosophies/concepts helped me define and plan my current saga.

I do disagree with Fhtagn, however. I think the rules work very well as a way to obtain new virtues. I really like the way it works - in order to learn the Secret Seals of Solomon you don't just read a book, you instead travel to the sacred regio at the right time and have a season-long discussion with the angel trapped there.... or something. Much more Mythic, IMHO.

I don't agree that normal Hermetic lineages become impossible. Virtues still get transmitted, through blood (Mythic Blood or otherwise) or by apprenticeship (the Tytalus chapter of Societates wonderfully depicts how the lineage teaches Self Confidence) - and in my saga, House Tremere also has some "mysteries" taught through House Tremere Lore; I can see ones being transmitted even through OoH Lore. This mode of teaching just makes as much sense - even more so, perhaps - than traditional book or one-on-one teaching for gaining Virtues - it feels more Mythic. Non-Hermetic mysteries are still very much possible - from Supernatural Abilities to the non-Hermetic version of Synthemata presented in TMRE.

But the one thing I think Fhtagn is missing is Original Research and Integration of "Ancient Magic". It is entirely possible to both gain and dessiminate new virtues in very Hermetic ways - through lab work, books, and teaching. Presumably, this is how Automata was dessiminated - some Verditius guy taught it to some Bonisagus/research guy, who then proceeded to partially integrate it into Hermetic Magic Theory, producing books that anyone can read to gain the virtue, and and with further integration any magus having it can teach it to any other Hermetic magus.

I actually don't particularly like Original Research as I think the Ancient Magic and Mystery paths lead to much more stories, a more Mythic feel, and a more convoluted (and hence interesting!) social structure. In my saga, if someone would want to pursue this, I intend to dramatically increase the "points-required" of Original Research, and limit it to only supplying very Hermetic virtues (like vulgar alchemy, parma folds, and so on) by itself. I'd allow Integration to lead to initiation scripts for not-so-Hermetic virtues, not to lead to books teaching them to any Hermetic magus - the non-Hermetic virtue is connected to its Lore and mystic tradition, and cannot be directly integrated into plain Hermeitc magic use and practices.

This is how I see a new cult forming: someone wants to obtain a new Virtue, say Pagan Magic. He pursues "Ancient Magic" of hedge traditions - perhaps still extant, so not really "ancient" - that do similar things; in so-doing he picks up some Faerie Lore and gains Insight towards his invention; he finishes it up with some Original Research, and gains the virtue. By this point he has accumulated some strange sources, and some of them provided him with weird takes on Faerie Lore and related abilities; I'll sequester a few of these points to grant him a low score in "Pagan Wizardry Lore". Attempting to Integrate his newfound virtue, he would again gain similar Insight from further XP in this ability, until at the end of the integration he will have not a book describing how to learn this but rather an initiation script telling how to initiate it based on the Pagan Wizardry Lore; alternatively he attempts to create a new script from his current knowledge of Pagan Wizardry Lore, but this is probably more difficult. Thus the new Pagan Wizards mystery cult is born.

Actually, I do agree that this is a fantastic way to obtain nonHermetic, magical and/or supernatural virtues, as well as gain Insight for Research.

The Tytalan Self Confidence virtue is an exception to the rules. I agree that it's flavoursome, self-consistent and very cool, but it's not related to the Mysteries or Teaching rules.

Except, of course, that the RAW no longer allow this. The rules in the Core were superseded by those in True Lineages, allowing the teaching of Hermetic virtues without requiring the Arts to be subtracted from the Quality of the source. The Mysteries then came out, and following that Ancient Magic which goes on to state that Virtues gained from research must be initiated.

The problem as I see it is that this is self-inconsistent and also that not all virtues are equal. I actually have little problem with most of the Ancient Magic things being first integrated as Mysteries since they're at best partially Hermetic and break some of the limits of magic. The premise of Hermetic theory, however, is that it's a framework for understanding and using magic and thus requiring initiation to teach things invented by Hermetic magic (as opposed to a crude application made possible by Hermetic magic) is daft.

I like the feel of your proposed things there - research into developing a mystery not granting the understanding of how it was acquired is one of the dafter things, and making the script part of the result makes sense. For myself, I do think Hermetic magi should be able to conduct original research - it's already incredibly difficult and dangerous to do it without Insight, and forbidden blue-sky research doesn't actually do anything to enrich the game - a sensible magus will still seek older magic for inspiration and Insight to aid the process, but it does remove the possiblity for a true visionary to arise as a PC. Would you allow further research to properly integrate the system into Hermetic theory, expanding the theory and allowing it to be taught normally?

I suppose that the real issue here is that I feel the rules do not actually account for Virtues and Flaws being gained properly. At no one point can one say that one's apprentice will learn a virtue from you as part of the apprenticeship. To a great extent that can be handwaved, but refining the rules to describe virtues more clearly seems necessary. For example, you could have a breakdown like:
Hermetic(Common), which are often personal traits made manifest or common, easy self-developments from Hermetic Theory (eg. Cyclic magic or a Minor Magical Focus in granite for someone with Strong Faerie Blood(dwarf));
Hermetic(Lineage) for the rarer ones generally only found within specific houses or developed by a long-dead magus and only passed down in his Hermetic Lineage, which would also cover minor cult lores;
Hermetic(Mystery) which must be initiated as the process involves largely non-Hermetic magic and attuning yourself to it.

And, even then, there are issues. How does a Nyktophylax come into being? That's a pretty major deviation, in that you can no longer cast normal Sun duration spells, but it's also perfectly sensible in the Hermetic framework. Or, to put it another way, can a Bonisagus teach Puissant Magic Theory?

Exactly how does it work, and where in the book is it? I dont personally have that book so i cant check it just any time.

And BTW, i strongly agree that Hermetic virtues should be teachable, otherwise there´s no point in researching them further than as supernatural ones.

I would say no, because its a personal talent with something, rather than something that can be "translated" easily between persons. Thats also why i wouldnt count Puissant Art as a Hermetic virtue.

Just like that. Same rules as the core, but without the sutracting arts from Quality, and more vague fluff about the Virtues being Hermetic, even though they're supernatural abilities

Indeed. I think in our saga we've a vague houserule that things like that are gained after you've spent four to 6 seasons working with someone to learn it. As such, you'd need to be the Bonisagus' labslave for a long time. Mechanically useful, but as a hit in pride and Hermetic reputation (and a way of pissing off your Parens with the slight to their teaching ...) it's unlikely to happen often.

But there is nothing for how much XP is required to learn virtues WITHOUT associated Abilities...?

Oh and yes, i forgot to add last post that i also agree there is a need for grouping virtues better in this case, ie Hermetic, which are teachable, Mystery which are only teachable under special circumstances, ie initiation, because they´re not properly integrated into MT, and your suggested Lineage might be a good one as well, and the ones that are the result of inborn talents ONLY, ie never teachable or possible to gain beyond character creation.

Check out Atlas' free download of Ancient Magic for the latest iteration of these rules. Or at least something very close to them.

I consider it a good example of how Virtues are passed down a magical "lineage", though. You can do it with pure fluff - as Xavi insists. No special rules really required.

Hmm, I don't understand your point. AL says,

I take it you mean the bolded part. But this applies only to Major or Hermetic Breakthroughs that have an associated Ability (so require teaching). Minor Breakthroughs and any Breakthrough that doesn't rely on a Supernatural Ability can be integrated so seamlessly that any magus can use it by perusing a lab text or spending a season learning from someone who holds it. For Original Research, the old rules still apply and allow for books written about the Discovery, disseminating it throughout the Order. In both cases, the breakthrough is disseminated via purely Hermetic means (unless it involves a very non-Hermetic Supernatural Ability).

Now, personally I would allow learning a Major or Hermetic Breakthrough via initiation, based on the relevant Lore instead of the relevant supernatural Ability. I would then allow complete integration as yet another Major Breakthrough, but only as I think by the time this is done the saga will be over. I would not allow integration by books except for a Minor Breakthrough.

The problem, IMO, is that most virtues are too powerful to be allowed for any magus. The Major Breakthroughs represent such magical quirks, IMO. So you may learn Cyclic Magic through an initiation ritual passed down in your magical lineage (making the lineage a "mystery cult" of sorts, or just handled by fluff as per Self Confidence above) - usually with incurred flaws as well, or you may have it by your nature. But not everyone can start wielding these powers, or the game will become too powerful and complex.

The hedge traditions were, supposedly, long-ago integrated into Minor Breakthroughs that were disseminated throughout the Order, with perhaps a few Major ones who were thoroughly integrated as well. The rules allow for that, there is no problem with the RAW. It just takes more effort.

My own analysis (else-thread) showed that it doesn't really take that much, but that the ideal researcher isn't what I'd like him to be. I won't forbid Original Research for most things, but I will increase the costs as said analsis shows that it is too easy - I'd also suggest adopting somewhat different rules, to reward the player's high Lab Total and so on. What I won't allow is allowing the research of a Major or Hermetic Breakthrough to culminate in easily-disseminated virtues - I would require the Initiation Script, based on the appropriate Lore that I would make sure the characer develops as part of the process. I would allow complete integration as per the rules above as an additional Major Breakthrough, unless I feel the virtue is for some reason intrinsically incompatible with Hermetic magic; in that case I would require integration as a Hermetic Breakthrough, resulting in a wholly new Magic Theory ability and way of doing magic.

Yes, there is an element of inconsistency there. If I were to rewrite ArM, I would make each lineage into a minor mystery cult, with its own Lore. The master then initiates his apprentice into the virtues - and ordeals/flaws! - characteristic of the lineage. I would suggest most such Lores cannot exceed a score of 2, however - there is only so much insight that can be gained from this limited prespective.

Some lineages, of course, rely on blood-relations, or even Mythic Blood, and there are long-term effects of the method of education that are not suitable for the Mysteries mechanics (e.g. Tytalus Self Confidence). Of course, magi can develop virtues or flaws during their apprenticeship due to their Essential Nature, accidents, inadvertant "initiations" applied by their master without a solid theoretical (Lore, Script) foundation (e.g. Deficiency resulting from low scores in the relevant Art when opening the Arts of the apprentice), and so on.

I would say that a Bonisagus can teach Puissant Magic Theory - he teaches it to all his apprentices, after all. But I'd also say that this is taught not via initiation but rather through methods of apprenticeship, much like the Tytalus Self Confidence ability. So it would take nearly 15 years of "apprenticeship" to learn it from a Bonisagus magus.