Hermetic Breakthroughs for stuff you already know

So, I've got a Rego Vim lab monkey who has decided to save the Order from itself by integrating a number of Hermetic virtues into Magic Theory, and in doing so make the world a better place for his soon-to-be-apprentices. And show his pater, who inflicted a broken Opening the Ways ritual on him, how a REAL magi does research. And shows up all those snooty Bonisagus in their fancy-schmancy "Duremar covenant". He'll show them. HE'LL SHOW THEM ALL!!!!


Anyway - so I was reading both through the HoH:TL rules on Breakthroughs, as well as the variant rules in Ancient Magic (for integrating already-existing magics), and figured that doing the already-known Hermetic Virtues is much safer (ie, it won't blow your head off), and study sources are much more available.

Which brings me to my main question: how do you do research on a Hermetic Virtue you're already learned? For example, my character has Cautious Sorcerer, and he'd like to fully integrate that ability. OK - according to the rules, it's a Major Breakthrough, at ~45 or so Breakthrough points (BP). What sources does he have for this?

  1. Gaining the Insight is trivial - he's got a high enough Intelligence + Magic Theory + Inventive Genius that he can do it in a season.

  2. I would imagine the character himself counts as a source - a teacher "ready and willing" to show (himself) how to do it. But from what source did he learn it?

  3. OK, he learned it from his pater - so his instructor would also count as a source.

  4. Potentially he could put together a Mystery Script, and study from that, I suppose. Or study someone else's mystery script.

  5. I'm guessing I need to go out and buy Apprentices - that's where it talks about teaching your apprentices their virtues and flaws, right? Because if I understand it right, all of his 'learned' Hermetic Virtues are basically his magical accent - which he learned from a number of sources at an early age, and/or instinctively developed over his apprentiship.

I've thought of a similar project but I'm not sure it's that easy by RAW. HoH:TL mentions fully integrating Life Linked Magic using Original Research. HMRE had a couple of Hermetic virtues already available to Magi that could be fully integrated but you had to get all the insights from non-hermetic sources.

The best example of what your talking about is in Legends of Hermes. A couple of adventures give you the opportunity of following in the footsteps of other researchers. Gaining insights into there breakthroughs studying artifacts the Hermetic Legends left behind. The artifacts however all seamed to contain actual examples of the exotic effects their breakthroughs provided. Further it's not clear if you can generate your own insights once you've learned the initial breakthrough. Of course even if that works not every Hermetic Virtue would create artifacts with exotic effects.

My own thoughts.
Without some sort of tangible object with a novel effect (Spell formulae that stretches a rule of magic, Magic Item or somesuch) I don't think a Hermetic Mage can be a direct source for there own insights. You lack a certain distance from your own techniques if you knew exactly why your magic differed it would already be integrated. So a straight MT roll or Teaching yourself seams right out. Though a Breakthrough that improved the nature of experimentation might allow for such a system. Make all research like integration rather then having the two systems.

I think a mystery script could provide insights. Also observing another magus with the virtue might actually work.

A Hedge tradition that uses a similar Virtue would have insights as per RAW. If you could find one awesome. Otherwise you could find a Hedge Wizard and help them integrate your virtue then get your insights back from them.

Apprentices shows you how Virtues are taught when they are not fully integrated. It might give you some ideas or not.

Hm... in thinking about it a bit more, I do agree that you probably wouldn't be able to 'teach yourself', in the sense that it's really hard to study your own (magical) accent without anything to compare it against. However, I'd say that it would be possible to get a single insight out of spending a season comparing your own magic to someone who didn't have the virtue in question. A recently-opened apprentice would probably be the best bet (in that they don't have any accent to speak of, yet, unless they had supernatural virtues previously), but even another Hermetic magi would do if you knew what their virtues were. (This is basically spending a season "teaching" the virtue to someone else, even if you don't necessarily teach it - and then identifying how their magic changes as a result.)

Alternately, you might be able to get good Insight out of a sufficiently-high level Magic Theory text - essentially looking at a 'pronunciation guide' for formal magical theory, and then comparing it to how your own actually sounds with regards to your specific Virtue. After a season, you end up with the "Oh, it's pronounced PER-do!" Insight, and then you go off and make a magical effect based on that.

But regardless, that's a single Insight - after that, you'd have to study other people, and how they teach the virtue, to get more Insight. (At which point, Initiation scripts, or even studying someone who is teaching their own apprentice, would work - although that last one might be a bit odd.)

Interesting thread. I agree with the idea it may be easier to integrate virtues a Magus does not already have, because it's more "unnatural" and easier to study something other than yourself.

In thinking about it, it seems that there's no real penalty for rolling for insight each time a character is taught a supernatural ability or Hermetic virtue, even though they aren't specifically looking for Breakthroughs. This seems to go in line with the "Anyone, from a Bonisagus senior researcher, to an Ex Misc apprentice, can potentially have an insight" idea.

Of course, most folks are exposed to Virtues and Abilities when they're fairly young, and their Magic Theory scores aren't very high - so it's unlikely that they will have many insights on their own Hermetic virtues. However, it seems within RAW that you can roll for a character's insight during character creation, for each of their own Hermetic virtues, as they are imprinted on them by their paren. You just need to figure out when they learned them, and what their MT+Intelligence (- age) score was at the time.

To me, this makes intuitive sense - this means that most folks may very well have 1 or 2 Insights from their apprenticeship that they never really did anything with. As such, most magi have the "I thought of Google Maps before Google did!" ideas in the back of their heads. Not many of them act on it, but most should have at least one good idea that they potentially COULD act on.

EDIT - ah, just re-read the Hedge Magic rules on this. If they learned from a book, they could do this; and if their instructor had Magic Theory (Hedge Magic), they could also do this. But a standard Hermetic Wizard teaching their students wouldn't have that capability. So no dice, there.

There was the observation that, if a magi has the Magic Theory (Hedge Wizard), then they CAN teach themselves Insight points - but not not normal Hermetic Magic Theory. so there's that answer.

Still though, what would the "results" of the discovery actually be? How would you make up an effect that "integrates" Enduring Magic, for example?

I'd take inspiration from the Mutantes Magic in HoH:TL. Put simply, there's the virtues Harnessed Magic (as in the main book), Boosted magic (allows you to up range, duration and target by spending 1 Vis per magnitude...yes potentially if you give a newly-gauntleted magus with this virtue enough vis they can take an army out, it's how quickly they run out of vis that's the limit) and Tethered Magic (allowing you to transfer control of spells) - and Mutantes Magic allows you to create spells that have the benefit of one of these Virtues. So, if you integrate "Enduring Magic" I'd say it allows you to create spells that, instead of normal duration, roll the die and multiply the normal duration by this.

Yep, when I was trying to conceive of effects for my Rego Vim ward specialist magus, I got the following. (Note the he's got a lot of lvl 50 Re Vi wards - that's because his lab total for ReVi wards is just over 100.)

Art of Memory - Foundations of the Memory Palace(Re Me 5) - allows the magi to add Art of Memory to an another Ability when rolling to memorize things. (Debatable whether you could actually get Insight off of Art of Memory - I erred on the side of generosity. Currently, you can use Art of Memory, or your skill, in the relevant Ability. You don't add them together.)

Divination - Protection against the Visionary Headache (Re Vi 50) A standard Circular Ward vs. Magic, but it also grants +10 (spell level/5) of resistance to protect against Hermetic divination effects. (This combines a standard Re Vi ward with an effect that isn't hermetic standard. The character has Visions, which he uses as a focus for his Divination, but which also grant him massive headaches. Sleeping in this ward reduces those headaches.)

Visions (the flaw) - Clarity of the Slumbering Visionary (Re Vi 50) - Any vision that occurs within the ward is more clear, and thus more amenable to interpretation. When used as a focus for divination, such visions gain an additional +5 (Spell lvl/10) to the Divination roll. (I used "Hermetic Dream Interpretation", from the Mysteries, to model this. So, yeah - so his flaw is also his 'free' minor mystery virtue for Divination.)

Minor Focus (Wards) - Simplified Ward Against Faries - (Re Vi 50) A lvl 30 Ward that has an innate +20 bonus to Magic Might resistance. (the caster still needs to roll higher than 30 for penetration, though.) This can be learned by someone with only a ReVi lab total of 30.

Cautious Sorcerer - "Ward against the Clumsy Apprentice" (Lvl 50 Re Vi) A circular ward that reduces 1 botch die for any lab total that is less than its level. (ie, as long as your lab total is less than 50, you have 1 less botch die.) Basically adds a +1 "Safety" to a lab, for free. Does not stack with Cautious Sorcerer.

Affinity (Vim) - Transform the Circular Rampart (Mu Vi, 50) - changes any circular ward of protection from Ring/Circle to Ind/Sun: essentially shifting between "circular wards" and "individual wards". Can be used on any spell up to lvl 50. (The stretching of the rules here is that this effect should be at least lvl 45 spells or less.)

Study Bonus - Control the rarified sample (lvl 50 Re Vi) - circular ward that grants 1 extra XP of study to any Hermetic magical study that occurs within its circle, up to lvl 25 (for Arts). Does not stack with Study bonus.

Some very cool ideas. If I was your SG I wouldn't let you get away with doing ReVi for all your research projects but several of your examples made a lot of sense. Though I wouldn't agree to every virtue you've shown is eligible for full integration I have some suggestions.

Art of Memory- I believe Art of Memory is an academic ability and hence not magic. But Hermetics with the Art of Memory are able to conjure mentem effects that work with the ability. It's debatable if the spells work for magi who have no score in the ability. If not creating mentem effects that allow magi to get the benefits of the skill without knowing it could be an end goal for integration. So a spell or device that bestows a memorization bonus or creates a palace or foci in anyones mind would be good projects.

Divination and Visions-Hermetic divination is a supernatural ability that basically lets you copy almost any In(fo) spell you can think of. Full(er) integration might mean that any Magi can learn divination without the associated virtue. Maybe they won't even need to learn a separate ability using Magic Theory or their flat Intellego score. Either way any intellego effect would work for a research project. Projects that successfully achieve a discovery might be a bit more flexible. The Enchanted Scrying device that adds a bonus to divination rolls would be both a good source of insights and a sensible project to experiment on.

Visions would be a good place to gain insight into breaking the Limit of Time. In which case experiments might try to create effects that are mildly precognitive. A watching ward that goes of Just before a condition occurs. (though really it's a bit of a cosmetic effect)

Minor Focus & Affinity-Not my first choice for virtues I'd want everyone to get. To each there own but reasons are mentioned in my last post on this old thread. [url]Alt Setting: A Hermetic Renaissance - #13 by maine75man] Your ideas are okay if your troupe allow it, but the spell you created as an example for focus does double dip into the bonuses. It becomes very powerful for characters who actually do have an applicable focus virtue. I like how you avoided that sort of stacking with other virtues.

An interesting project that might be inspired from focus virtues would be allowing characters to write extra tractatus based on their specialty.

Cautious Sorcerer-Research projects creating rituals that are slightly safer to cast (one or two fewer botch dice) spring to mind.

Study Bonus-Probably my favorite virtue of yours to fully integrate. More effects like the one you listed that help some specific or subject of study but don't stack with the virtue or each other sound great. Also, Book Resonances from Covenants always seemed related in some way with this virtue. Justifiable as a source of insights also a somewhat improved versions would makes good experiments.

Yeah, after I did a few, I went back and realized that they were almost ALL lvl 50 Re Vi wards - and that they probably should be spread out a bit. Ah, well. This was my first pass. :slight_smile:

Yeah - it was listed in the "common magics" section, but in reading through it, it really does sound like a real-world ability. However, I figured it could also just be a low-level magical ability that's so common that folks didn't realize it was magic. At that point, I figured "hey, it's mythic Europe. Why not."

The easiest way I figure at integrating abilities like this is, as you mentioned, just to substitute Magic Theory instead of the relevant Ability. Or to use (relevant technique/5) As a bonus to the Ability. Or use your XP in the Technique to create a "virtual skill" - ie, if you've got 45 xp in Mentem, then you also have 45 xp in Art of memory. Congratulations! Or just straight-up use the Technique in its place. The Magic Theory one is probably the easiest, but makes for Magic Theory being even more the Uber-Skill than it is already. Using the Technique also works, but means that the original Hedge Power may get suddenly overpowered. (Option - ONLY use the Attribute+Technique, rather than Attribute+Form+Technique. That may tone it down a bit.)

Divination and Visions - I was probably going to go with the "you can now just straight-up use Intelligo by itself. If you want to memorize spells, you can add in the Form as well." In-game, the character's visions predict mass botches and warping. (ie, when magic goes wild.) So yeah, I was also thinking about the Limit of Time on that one.

Minor Focus & Affinity - For me, this wasn't actually taking the specific affinities, but rather the concept of affinities and foci. Successful integration would be something like "When you learn your first point of magic theory, choose a minor focus. You may change this focus whenever you put points into Magic Theory, experience warp, or have an Insight or Breakthough." (or something like that.) "Changing your focus does not mean you forget how spells work; however, if your lab total drops beneath your ability to learn the spell, you may not cast it until your lab total is once again above that minimum amount."

Similarly, Affinities would simply be something "everyone has" - I would say they could be linked to personality traits (Phegmatic, cholic, etc.) or Astrological signs - but everyone would get them at character creation. A player could choose to overwrite them (by purchasing the virtue itself), if they felt like it - or if they were initiated into it.

OK, so I just got my hands on Apprentices last night, and read through the section on how magi passes down a hermetic virtue. Turns out there's two ways of doing it:

  1. The slow way - 10 seasons of the apprentice just kinda being in the same room as the magi, doing stuff related to magic at the same time. At the end? Bam! They've got the minor house virtue of the paren. I guess this is the Hermetic version of "Exposure xp". It doesn't mention if this continues to work after the apprentice recieves their first house virtue, or if it would work for any magi (and not just the paren). I would think it would, but that the limit is the Apprentice's age - once they hit 22, they stop being a child, and so this supernatural ability to absorb virtues goes away as well.

I'm guessing you can't get an insight bonus off of this - or if you can, it takes so freakin' long that the only person willing to put up with it is the apprentice themselves. (ie, once they get the bonus, have them roll to see if they get an insight from it.)

  1. The fast way - take a season to induct the apprentice into the paren's own personal Mystery Cult - using the Com + Teaching + 6 (no roll) vs. a 15 (for minor virtues) or 21 (for major virtues). Additional virtues after that add +3 to the difficulty. Adding in a minor flaw is a +3 bonus, and a major is a +6. According to the book, most parens teach "one or two" - but based on the numbers, the only way the average paren can do this is by inflicting major flaws on their apprentices.

As above, there's no mention if this can be done to any magi, or only to apprentices - I'm guessing it's purely an apprentice thing (based on the Ages of Man that the Apprentices book has going on in it.) HOWEVER - because this is a deliberate activity that takes a season, my thought is that you can get an insight bonus off of doing this, if someone will let you watch.

EDIT - alternately, this is the state of the art regarding how Hermetic Theory allows a magi to teach virtues (that plus Initiation scripts). To get greater insights as to how to integrate a virtue more, you need to head to an outside source.

  1. I personal think it can also be done to mages as in HoH:S 124 it says that The Pharmacopoeians teach theyr mayor Virtue also to others!

In reading though the section, their Virtue is a major non-hermetic virtue - it's a supernatural ability, such as shapeshifting or Sense Holy/unholy. As such, it could be taught to any Gifted individual like a normal Ability, if they could overcome the penalty due to having Arts. The rules I describe above are for Hermetic gifts, which don't have an associated skill to learn, such as Cautious Sorcerer.

That being said, they do have a MINOR hermetic virtue (Root Cutter) that goes along with their Major non-hermetic virtue. that implies that they would teach that, as well. So you may very well be correct, at least in the "people are willing to teach Hermetic virtues past the age of 22" idea.

Thanks for pointing that out!

To me this effect was written as a non-magical consequence of the standard Hermetic education process, one on one teaching for an extended period of time. It's a carrot and a stick to use the standard model. It should be pointed out that some houses don't seem to follow this model the mystery houses ex-misc and especially tytalus. (Tytalus Magi canonically acquire their house virtue at gauntlet.) Also age shouldn't be an issue not all apprentices are children.

Their are no initiation scripts involved. This is a teaching process not an initiation process. I believe the creators have mentioned that it was written as a reliable way to pass hermetic virtues and flaws on. It does work for any mage but was designed in a way to make it difficult for established characters to take advantage of.

Sorry, I was being unclear - my claim was that there seems to be two reliable ways of passing on Virtues: Mystery Cult initiation (via scripts), and teaching your apprentice.