help with Initiation script

I didn't think things through properly when the odd book my players acquired I said was an initiation script for the Mystery of the Great Talisman.

Now I need to work out the details of the initiation script. I am wanting this one not to inflict a Flaw.
I am undecided as to whether they need to quest to the site where the Founder Flambeau last used his Talisman (Fireheart?) and spend a Season using InVi to examine the traces of the magic produced.
Or sacrifice a Season of time to act as a Lab assistant to another mage improving their Talisman.
Or both?

Any advice from people who have played initiation scripts before?

The most important part of an inititation to a Minor Mystery Virtue is the mystagogue. If she knows the Virtue, the script can mirror her personality, preferences and capabilities - and need not be onerous otherwise.

"Get me this component for my Talisman (+3 quest), bring it to my lab in time (+3 travel) and aid me there installing it (+1 time)" might be typical for a lab rat mystagogue with some clout, Presence and decent Mystery Cult Lore.

It repays her at the same time with a growing Talisman. So she might modify her base script to include another quest for every hopeful.

I had intended the book to be used by every mage in the Covenant, at their own time. Sort of like a Mystagogue instructing them how to self-initiate, if that makes sense.
(Yes, I don't know the Mystery rules very well. I was winging things in my rewards).

In that case, best make that book a decent summa on Mystery Cult Lore (level around 6 or so) as well. Without the Lore a normal script in it is not usable. Without a decent level for it, even after studying the book completely a reader requires an excellent Presence to use it for self initiation.

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I largely agree with OneShot, although I suppose a script could be adapted to another cult where it made sense to do so.

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Yep. This is possible (see LoH p.49.box Adapting Scripts). But it requires knowledge of both the original and the intended Cult Lore.

Maybe I would go with a book about mystery cult containing a spell (Casting Tablet) to summon a ghost for Moon duration. They should summon the ghost trice for a season. That way they can have a ghostly Mystagouge/Teacher who:
A: Knows a lot of Virtues.
B: Knows a lot of Scripts.

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Cult Lore, forgot about that.

The Talisman mysteries are known by several Cults. Which are your favourites to leave a book like this to be "found" and distributed relatively easily?

In my reading of Mystery Cults they would not do this. I generally see cult initiation scripts as never written down, almost solely passed from Mystagogue to Initiate except, rarely, in a heavily coded language using terms one could not even begin to figure the real meaning of without significant levels of the relevant cult lore. A book that has both the lore training necessary to understand it and the script itself seems too blatantly a way to avoid the story potential of mystery cults.

[Edit:] TBF, there are canon groups [see Philosophers of Rome in Mysteries] that are mentioned as spreading books on the MC Lore to entice new members but the only thing this really allows is the finding of that secretive group using code phrases and innuendo. i also imagine those books are either tractati or summae of levels 3 and below.

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Quite.

@lvgreen wishes to design a blatant exception for his saga - which we don't know.

I can only give him the idea of Temerarius the Bonisagus, who was a member of one of these Cults and felt for some reason - guilt, ambition, sheer foolishness - obliged to his Hermetic Oath and published the Mystery Virtue and what is needed to obtain it in the Great Library of Durenmar.
There was after all even a Verditius - Icilius the Traitor (HoH:MC p.128) - who divulged the Major House Mystery Automata.

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A cult that was very geographically dispersed could produce books, although they'd likely be written with the intent that only existing members would read them (possibly including measures to ensure this).

If the goal is to have them self-initiate, then you'll need to have a very large script, and the book would need to include a tractatus/summae as well as the mystery initiation script. I actually kind of like the idea of a cult that focuses on self initiation. Cult of the Glorious Loner, include an oath not to talk about the power or where they got it from.

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Probably the best, and easiest, idea.

The ghost could be a lost ressource of a mystery cult, a mystagogue of great power that was used in their initiations.

So when/if they start displaying their newfound abilities, the PCs may raise suspicion. Are they asked to join? Are they seen as rivals?
And if the cult discover they have this lost secret, things may get tense.

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The issue with teaching ghosts is that according to Calebais' texts about that, they tend to lose focus too easily to be able to teach anything useful.

But of course when we say "ghost" here we are just talking about a magical being of some sort. Which might have powers that grant virtues, and thus can seem to "initiate" the subject. But that doesn't even require the "ghost": the book itself can be a magical thing with the power to grant a virtue upon its reader.

You can make it spicier if the book is actually infernal and also grants a bunch of XPs in Mystery Cult lore by granting the Mentored by Demons virtue.

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Although Calebais says one thing, the line isn't consistent on ghosts being unable to teach. According to HoH:MC, House Criamon keeps ghosts teaching / initiating enigmatic wisdom, inscription on the soul, Faerie lore, Code of Hermes, and more. According to HoH:TL, House Tremere's pre-hermetic tradition built itself partly with necromancers summoning ghosts to interrogate them for ancient secrets. They also hide their ghosts, fearful of losing their magical secrets. According to TMRE, the disciples of the worm still hunt ancient tombs, hoping ghosts hold magical secrets that they can be compelled to teach. I wouldn't take Calebais' guideline as holding true for all ghosts outside of that sourcebook.

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RoP:tI clearly states that you can command a ghost to teach you one of its abilities/Arts as a Source Quality 15 Teacher. (It is in the Ars Goetia chapter, Commanding part)

Yeah, but Commanding lets you command spirits to do things they wouldn't normally be able to do.
Besides, I don't see anything there about Source Quality 15?

Yeah, the 15 XP is not correct - I misplaced my memory with something from Daimons :slight_smile: . The RoP:tI states only that it is an XP source as a Teacher.
The same book uses the sentence "Other common commands include:", then listing the common commands. Based on that my understanding is that you can command a spirit hermeticly to do a lot of things, and usually the limit is more of a soft cap: the hermetic magi don't know in such exact details the powers and abilities of spirits as a player can. That is why it's hard to find out proper commands to conduct possible actions. Bc you as a character don't know what is the full list of options :slight_smile:

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Still looking to retroactively explain this Mystery book that I dropped in game. How terrible is the following?

Perhaps a century or so prior a pagan Vitkir got the "join or die" offer, and joined. Had his Gift opened to Hermetic magic, but lost most of his Vitkir magic.
Trying to retrieve his lost magic, he effectively creates a mystery cult to help him self initiate (some) his old magics.

Is terrified of being accused as an agent of the Order of Odin, but wants his legacy to live on.
So anonymously writes books with some of his personal Mystery Lore, and instructions on the "harmless" Talisman mystery (magic staves being in Vitkir magic), distributes widely, hoping his cult lore becomes "socially" acceptable.

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Sounds like a nice idea! :slight_smile:
You have to consider some controversions:

  • If the Order thought he was an agent of the Order of Odin, why "Join"? Why not just "Die"?
  • Based on my understanding you cannot be opened more than once. Vitkirs have been already opened. One way could be that he joint and could not learn proper Hermetic magic. He was the victim of cultural schovinism, that is why he started to write books about special Mysteries and initiations which are similar to the tradition of the Vitkir - showing off how great and wise the Norse traditions are.
  • Consequence is that when you learn from those books you will receive d10/2 "XP" in the Sympathy for Norse Magic Personality Trait. It goes up like an Ability. The more Mysteries you learned from the books the more you like the Norse ways :slight_smile:
    That seems totally legit for me.
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