Gaining experience granting virtues through initiation

Hello all

Continuing my creation of mystery cults for my non-canon world, i have a query. I suspect the answer is "Whatever you and our troupe decide" but still, others input and wisdom is appreciated.

With a mystery initiation, could one teach virtues that grant experience such as warrior or well travelled?

Now i'm of two minds. One the one hand it doesn't make sense to allow the PC to earn a bunch of experience for what are really backgrounds, warrior reflects being raised as a warrior and well travelled reflects a life time of wandering from place to place.

But how about if a warrior cult taught the warrior virtue during an initiation to unlock the "warrior within", with maybe a quest and ordeal that brings out a change in the PCs whole martial outlook. Likewise with Well travelled, one could imagine an initiation where the initiate lived a dozen lives across the kingdom in a dreamquest, seeing how others live, how regions differ, how people are different, one and all, yet share so many traits, despite nationality, language and so on.

What if the Virtue is actually taught by the spirit of an ancestor or perhaps a daimon associated with the cult?
Training from a warrior spirit would give the same benefit as the Warrior Virtue.

On the one hand, I can see the logic of the whole warrior cult, spirit teacher, dreamquest thing.

On the other hand, ask yourself this: Am I OK with giving away 5-10 times the normal experience point award for this initiation adventure? Because that's really what you are doing... you're designing an adventure (or at least a seasonal activity) that will give substanially more experience points than any other comparable activity. Are you OK with that?

Satori, zen-like illumination. Because of the quick 50xp (as noted by LuciusT), use it only as a way to redirect a character into a new role, like a scholar becoming a warrior. Shade of dual-role monk here.

Meh. Just spread out the experience points. An extra 5-10 per appropriate story until they're "caught up".


On the other hand, it just feels wrong.

I'd probably go with the feeling of Wrongness and not do it.

I could however easily see a mystgogue call up a powerful spirits to teach an initiate for a season, using the normal teaching rules and some serious Teaching skill.
Perhaps it can even grant Apt Student temporarily?

I guess thats what it comes down to, am i happy allowing an initiation that gives a big dollop of XP, far more than could normally be gained in a season.

But really we shouldn't be comparing the 50 xp points with what could be earned in a season but with what another similar virtue could get you. For instance Puissant Ability - Single weapon is certainly something that could be initiated in a mystery religion. Puissant ability ability gives +2 to a skill for most of the things you'd want to use it for.

If the PC has an ability at 3 already then puissant takes it to 5. In xp terms this would cost 45 xp. Just shy of what warrior gives you. Seems a fair exchange.

If the PC has the ability at 4 though, puissant takes it to 6, xp equivalent of 55 xp.

If the PC has the ability at 5 (i.e. he is well trained at it), puissant takes it to 7, xp equivalent of 65 xp.

Now obviously Puissant doesn't count for all uses, but it does have other advantages.

So really, when we are talking about game balance, the warrior virtue would allow a non-combatant to get a combat skill at 4 from nothing. Very good indeed! but its benefits have less and less effect for an already skilled warrior. Once the initiate has a weapon skill at 4 already (which seems likely for any martially inclined character), then warrior provides less xp than puissant ability would (equivalent).

I think i'm ok with that.

I do however very much like Tellus' idea of having expert teachers conduct training as part of the initiation, give the initiate a seasons training with some epic warriors ghost or some martial spirits avatar (cue Jackie Chan training montage high atop a mountain)

When we speak about "xp" bringing virtues, there are 2 cases:

  • those who increase it (secondary insight, elemental magic, affinnities, book learner...) and they are related to "who you are" (in comparison with virtues defining what you can do as "puissant", the distinction come from a book, but i don't remember which one)
  • those which give a number of bonus xp at character generation (skilled parens, warrior, redcap), and are related "where you come from before the actual game" (some like the social statuses, include an additionnal "who you are" aspect) and give you a rough idea of what happened to your character before you play with him, that is, the "character generation" process.

Thus in fact, during the playing part, they just don't apply : you are playing, you are not in chargen, thus there is no need to have "where do you come from before play"!

During play, when you win XPs, it's because you play and have a season with this or that source. Warrior, after all, only say basically "you have been trained or taught" the weapon use, and abstract it. Nothing more than the apprenticeship of a magus giving him 240xp (while we all know that PCs magi give a lot more than that to their apprentices). As an abstraction of something, this is not done for gaming, but for generation of your character, when you want to play. When you play, you may go concrete rather than abstract.

Thus, "warrior" would be a very poor choice. However, having some kind of mystical way of gainin 50xp, once time, in the mystery cult as a first or second initiation, why not. After all 50xp is not extraordinary, and if it's limited to one time, there is no problem. In fact, "puissant" is quickly better, and there is no objection to make it a mystery virtue. So why not +50xp in one season? ^^


RoP: I , page 86: Mentored by Demons

As demons , by their nature , cannot create anything (the ability to "magically" teach) ,
then this Virtue (or variation) must apply to all the other Realms.

At char/gen you could only take this virtue 10x , for a max of 500xp.
(A mythic companion being able to get a max of 1000xp)

For a Mystery Initiation , no reason you cannot emulate a Mentored by (Being) Virtue.
The cult would be able to impart warrior training to a child initiate (or group thereof) ,
who might be hereditary sacred guardians or potential God-Kings , etc.

An initiation that involves a quest where you have to "slay an particular sort of cultic enemy and eat his heart", say, seems like an entirely appropriate way to gain the Warrior Virtue.

Likewise an initiation that as a component requires the character "to tatoo his body with the National Horoscope of France", seems like a good way to get the Well-Travelled Virtue (with the priviso that the Area Lore XP is spent in, say, Area Lore:France (or sub-regions of France)).

I'm sure that your players can think of other appropriate quests/sacrifices.

Yes, but Mystery Initiations are Supernatural. There is no reason why supernatural effects cannot "change" the character; in fact that is the intent. If you can become a faerie via suitable Mystery Cult initiations, you can become a warrrior too.

I'd feel that "the warrior within" would manifest as Puissant Ability or Affinity w/ Ability, not "here, have a year's worth of experience". Those virtues describe a character who had more adventures in that area than the average person - an initiation really doesn't sound like that, not unless it took quite a long time.

Also, xp tend to be "colorless" to me - the other virtues add flavour to a character.

(If you want to spread it around, a houseruled "puissant" that, for instance, adds +1 to 3 or 4 different Abilities might work too, or better.)

Another way to look at it is from a "teaching" perspective" -

Start with a teacher w/ 20 xp in Single Weapon, who can fight at Level 2 and teach up to Level 2.
o Giving that character 30 more xp yields SW 4 (20+30 = 50 xp), and they can fight and teach to that level.
o Giving that character Puissant SW means they fight at 4 (2 +2), but still can only teach to what they understand - SW 2.

Decide what effect feels right, and go with it.

Sure, that's an option.

If you gain Warrior via a mystery initiation, the troupe is just saying that the initiation is equivalent (in game mechanics effect) to having extra experience in marital skills; this doesn't seem problematic unless you want it to be.

They're all just numbers on a bit of paper. In both cases, the 'colour' comes from what the troupe says it means.


Richard: being a warrior is not having the "warrior" virtue - it isn't even a social status!! it has nothing to do with it. Being a warrior is : having martial ability. And for that, no need to have warrior virtue. A supernatural teaching from a mystery of +50 xp in once is just fine, and does respect the rules: just decide that the spirit which teach the student has 50 in teaching.

I think you are missing the point. It is perfectly valid to represent a character becoming a 'Warrior', in game mechanics, by giving the character the Warrior Virtue. It's not the only option, of course, but it is an obvious one.

Mystery initiations are not generally meant to simulate "teaching". They are meant to simulate cultic initiation. In a mystery initiation you do tasks that have a supernatural resonance, and/or make sacrifices that are supernaturally significant, and in return you receive supernatural powers (albeit, sometimes represented by non-supernatural virtues). You are not taught anything. It is in fact almost the opposite of being taught.

If you have access to a spirit with a high Teaching Ability Score, then sure you can try to convince it to teach you stuff. But that's not a Mystery Initiation, that is just being taught stuff (using the Teaching rules).

Excuse me, but are you saying that the "+3 from being taught by a mystagogue during a season" is not part of the mystery process? Are you seriously saying this?