I´m searching for a cause for Bishop Orris´ malediction (Antagonists, p. 50). He possesses as a lesser malediction the disability to distinguish evil from magic. I don´t want the cause to be divine or infernal. The other possibilities the book proposes are faeries and Hedge Wizards. Faeries are a possible cause for my saga - although I use quite a few of them already with other functions. In the case of Hedge Wizards I need a better perspective over the different traditions and like to have a hint which non-hermetic wizards are able to grant a flaw like that of Bishop Orris.
Grugach would be my initial thought, although any HW with some sort of "cursing" path would suffice. In glancing through the Hedge Magic Book, it looks like the Gruganch can "grant supernatural (magic) flaw", as part of their Cursing guidelines. (HM, pg. 68). It's a Lesser Malediction, so it looks like it would be...a base 5 effect.
However, depending on where your Saga is set, it might be difficult to have some Welsh giant-sorcerer wandering about. (Although the game mechanics are arbitrary - you could just as easily peel off the serial numbers and give the mechanics to some other group.)
EDIT - in looking through the Folk Witch writeup, it doesn't look like they can SPECIFICALLY curse their target with the Malediction in question - but that seems like an easy house-rule to put into play. In general, the Hedge Witch tradition is probably the easiest to shoehorn in, as it represents pretty much any "wise woman/witch" folk tradition in existence that you'd care to plop down into your saga.
EDIT II - none of the Holy Traditions could really get away with this kind of curse, at least not using the Holy Cursing game mechanics - but again, it's not an unreasonable curse to fit into that path. If you wanted to go that route, the Kabbalah tradition pretty much can use any of the Holy methods/powers, so picking up Cursing is within their bailiwick.
Well, my saga plays in the rhine tribunal. The gruagachan are a little bit too much nothern-oriented for my taste (even the alternate traditions. They are northerners, too). It would be good if the cause for the bishops malediction would lie in the rhine tribunal. Perhaps the story arc would work, too, if a hermetic mystery cult would be responsible for the malediction. Is there any mystery virtue that allows to grant flaws?
A Spirit Votary (RoP:M) - essentially a "priest" of some powerful magical entity - is granted a small suit of powers of his patron to use as his own. Since Granting Virtues / Flaws is a common power for magical entities (again, see RoP:M), it would work nicely.
In the Rhine, the Forests (particularly the more malicious ones like Pomerania) could do this. The sundering of the original Hercynian Forest of the Rhine was caused by some saint who "tamed" its magic by cutting down a tree; making (a representative of) that same Church unable to distinguish magic from evil would seem a fitting vengeance.
Some of the Pelasgian Sorcerors that whorship Titans can be Greek and could be used with Gruagrachan or Muspelli rules (the last includes Hex that can be used to make maledictions after all), I used the Gruagrach rules to the vasque sorcerer and soothsayers (sorgina and aztiak); only i suggets you check any primeval and curser wizards on your local myths.
Sounds like you can do that with Hex as well. Folk Witches should be able to pull that out, either with Hex or with Cursing.
hex, coupled with some bonuses from aura and appropriate targets and punishments (I would apply this all the time, since poetic justice should apply to all forms of magic, really) and Chtonic Magic can achieve quite impressive results.
Faerie doctors can accomplish this with Curse throwing (RoP: Faerie p 115 for curse throwing p117 for Faerie doctors). In fact curse throwing does not need to be associated with the faerie realm.
curse throwing allows one to move a curse from one target to another and it can not typically target flaws so you'd need to 1 figure out where the curse came from in the first place, 2 decide why the curse thrower moved it to the bishop, and 3 redefine the lesser malediction in such a way that it can be targeted with curse throwing.
Do you mean basque? Something like that is possible. I had to think about every gruagach rule: is it appropriate for the pagan people of the rhine or not... maybe there is an easier solution.
Folk witches would be good, but - alas - their cursing ability seems to cause only a small range of effects. The Hex ability is able to grant a flaw (and it doesn´t have to be infernal), but "if a character receives absolution in a religious ceremony, all hexes that have targeted him are permanently undone." (RoP:I, p. 92). Well, the target is a bishop - the curse wouldn´t last for long.
Yes, but this only shifts the problem (as you wrote: I had to "figure out where the curse came from in the first place") and makes the whole matter even more complicated.
This looks promising in my eyes. The region I´m talking about is the Taunus. Here wild pagan tribes existed so the romans built their limes to seal themselves off from this mountain range- Later the pagan Alemanni built gravesites here and some unusual hot springs can be found. Quite possible for a spirit votary to exist in this cultural backwater region... and the Taunus (mostly forested) could indeed be inhabited by a magical genius locus.
Thanks a lot for your help, it brought me one step forward.
Yes it does, I thought complexity to be a benefit rather than a drawback (more freedom).
For simplicity, the Faerie Grant ability (RoP: Faerie p 127)can give flaws with arbitrarily long durations (bargain, geas, not, hidden etc.). The only one of the canon Faerie traditions that has this power is the Volkhvy (Russian pagan priests) but you could make a new tradition or just give appropriate virtues to an NPC without a tradition.
I would say that bishops might NOT receive absolution a lot. They tend to be the peak of religion in their area, and if you say (yeah, a stretch but makes for a good story) that you need to receive absolution from a higher authority, then the bishop might not get it easily. It also explains why a lot of Popes are said to go to hell: it is difficult for them to get absolution if they have done any capital sins in their time as a Pope, and a lot of them have.
The medieval church did actually think this through.
Technically, any priest can hear the confession of a bishop, but to the extent that the bishopric is a political office he probably relies on a particular, trusted, priest as his confessor. So, for example, there is a specific, priestly, official in the papal curia who hears confession and delivers absolution for the pope (see The Church, Diocese chapter). Most lesser bishops will probably have a similar post in their courts; a trusted, nominated priest who serves as the bishop's confessor.
So a single priest, then. Make the priest a corrupt one that does not deliver true absolution (for example, because he is the one that placed the Hex on the bishop, or he likes him being imperfect because he would like him to fall for his own political ascension) and there you go.