HMRE - Opening Hermetic Arts for a hedgie already opened ?

Ok, how do I calculate the requires Lab Total for a Hermetic wizard wanting the open the Arts for a hedgie, who already has his Gift opened to his native tradition? I assume the hedgie is opened but still has a score of 0 in all Arts or Abilities.

I'm not entirely clear on this.

Starting with the original rules in ArM5 p106-107, and HoH:Soc p126, the rules give a formulae taking into account Supernatural Abilities of the subject.These books pre-date HMRE and therefore the concept of Hedge Arts. The authors and designer couldn't possibly have predicted what was to come. At this point I assume all Hedgies were assumed to simply have Supernatural Abilities, or Supernatural Virtues with no associated Abilities.

Lab Toal is 5x (sum of Supernatural Ability Score), with those from Minor Virtues counting as min 2 and those from Major as min 6. HoH:Soc mentions that if the Lab Total exceeds the target the Arts are opened, but previous abilities are lost. If lab total is double target, all previous abilities are retained, or converted to something Hermetic and relevant. Plus that the wizard Opening the Arts decides which are converted and which are retained. The text in ArM5 p106, left column, 3rd paragraph says: "If the apprentice has multiple Supernatural Abilities, you may save some and lose others". But naturally only if lab total falls in between 1x and 2x target the target.
HoH Soc p127, right column, end of 2nd paragraph says: "A trained wizard whose Arts are succesfully opened almost always suffers at least one Major Hermetic Flaw due to the mismatch..." That makes sense, but I'm missing some rules for when and how many. Something like "Accepting new Major Hermetic Flaws during the opening process effectively lowers the necessary target level". IIRC Apprentices include something like this for teaching Hermetic Virtues to the apprentice.

Either way, these rules are fairly clear: It can be difficult to take a Gifted person who already has Supernatural Abilities to teach Hermetic magic. Likewise, it is difficult for a Gifted person, who already has some Supernatural Abilities or Arts to learn new Supernatural Abilities. Both of them are for balance IMHO.

HMRE p7-8 list the same formulae for Opening the Arts (or Opening the Gift, in case of the Hedge Traditions). Only difference it that is mentions "the sum of Supernatural Ability or Art scores", because Hedge Arts have now been invented.
Furthermore, if the subject already has his Gift opened to another tradition, the Hermetic needs to add a flat 30 (or 12 for the Hedge formulae).

Is this supposed to be impossible?
If the scores of Hedge Arts need to be calculated as at least 2 if they come from a Minor Virtue, or 5 for a major...that's some very high numbers. This becomes especially odd since defining of an Art is a minor or major virtue is only relevant for unGifted practicioners. Gifted hedgies have their Gift opened to their tradition, and get all Arts at score 0, with no virtues formally added. Some of HMRE's traditions list their Arts as Virtues, but Vitkir don't.
Does it make a difference whether a given Gifted Hedgie has been trained only partially by an unGifted master - thus requiring virtues corresponding to his Arts/Supernatural Abilities learned - or whether he is trained by a Gifted master, with his Gift opened properly - thus having all the Arts/Abilities of the tradition?
Does it matter that the wizard's who have already had their Gift opened to their tradition have their Supernatural Abilities (or Arts I assume) as Favoured - thus these are unpenalized for learning regarding other Supernatural Abilities.

Look at the example of Gragachan, they have 2 Techniques (major virtue) and 4 forms (minor)

  1. Gifted Gruagach, trained by unGifted master. Gruagach has 1 Technique and 2 Forms (any higher seems unlikely to learn from such a master). Assume he is found by a Hermetic Wizard before training his Arts above 0. Lab Total for a Hermetic wanting to Open the Hermetic Arts is thus 5x the sum of his Arts, with the minimum of 2 for minor/forms and 6 for major/techniques = 5x (2x2 + 1x6) = 50. This is 50 to open at all, or 100 to preserve (or convert?)

[Edit: Second example is now named 2]
2) Gifted Gruagach, trained by Gifted master who has has his (Gruagachan) Gift opened. He has both Techniques and all 4 Forms at 0. The lab total required is: 5x (sum of Arts)= +30.

But are the numbers either:
2a) 5x (0) +30 = 30. So 30 to open, or 60 to preserve/convert. No mean feat but by no means impossible.

Or is using the minimums for the virtues, even though the Gruagach does not formally have the virtues, just the Arts:
[Edit: Calculations corrected]
2b) 5x (2x6 + 4x2) +30 = 130. So 130 to open or 260 to preserve/convert. Ouch!

[Edit, New conclusion due to corrected calculations.]
If one interprets the vague rules harshly, and adds in minimums due to virtues, the fear is practically impossible for the fully trained Gruagach.
If I one rule lawyers a bit and ignores the virtue bit it becomes doable.
But the incompletely trained Gruagach is hard to Open the Arts for - as will other people with Supernatural Abilities- because if they’re not Opened to a tradition so the Arts or Abilities are not Favoured.

Vitkir must have the gift, and their description don't mention how their Arts (or Runes rather) are associated with formal Virtues. Just like Hermetic Wizards don't either.

So how does one go about Opening the Hermetic Gift of a Vitkar? Assume one can find a laering who has just had his (Vitkir) Gift opened and still has score of 0. Is it simply the flat 30? Or does one need to assume that each of the 24 runes are equal to Forms and thus correspond to a Minor Virtue, with the resulting effective minimum? So lab total is 5x (24x2) +30 = 270. Even though this last number is the same for a laering with 0 in all Runes as well as one trained to score 2 in all 24!

How about a Hedge Wizard wanting to Open the Gift of a Hermetic apprentice? If the apprentice's score are 0, then the Hedgie's lab total is the flat 12. Or does one need to balance out that each of the 5 Techniques could correspond to Major Virtues and each of the 10 Forms to Minor?

I'm just trying to work my head around this.
I don't see any advantage in actually being Opened for two completely different traditions. Having two sets of Arts is an enormous pint-sink anyway. I'm just interested in the theory of it. Maybe for purpose of Integration or Breakthrough having a wizard Opened for both Hermetic and another tradition would be a boon?

I would need my copies of the core rules, Hedge Magic and Rival Magic open to be sure, but I think it's supposed to be the InVi 30 is the minimum total for opening, so if someone has a load of scores at 0 you need InVi 30 to open (but destroy their other abilities) or 60 to open and retain. Therefore you can have 15 levels of supernatural abilities or arts before the serious penalties start kicking in.

checks Rival Magic oh wait, it uses the level of 12 (for Rival tradition opening totals) PLUS double the total arts scores. HMRE page 8 in the sidebar says "Add 30 to the total" so this is on top. Ah, that makes opening the arts for anyone other than a very recent apprentice impossible. This is probably why Ex Miscellanea has a lot of people with an extra Major Virtue and Flaw - preserving the arts is so difficult it's easier to let a lot of supernatural abilities be destroyed, just keep one or two abilities and then have apprentices learn one Major Virtue at the cost of a flaw. Can The Order do it - well, the Pralicians from HoH:S and maybe some Merinita who want apprentices with Faerie virtues would want to, so they could have specialised InVi labs (using Covenants' lab rules) and use assistance in the lab (familiar, fellow magi) to get the total they need.

An Amazon Zoi specialist could probably manage the AlZo total to open a captured Hermetic Apprentice. A Virgilian could just about do someone with an Opened Gift but no arts. The Muspelli don't open arts, their giant patron automatically does it and a primal spirit of the cosmos can probably have the power to open an archmage's gift if they feel like it (oh no - the Muspelli have captured a Vitki's apprentice and started brainwashing it? Will The Order face a team of rune-powered giant shapeshifters?) Likewise Soqotrans rely on magic spirits, so it's not an issue power-wise, it's just the spirits would think "will having someone with two sets of supernatural powers expose our island to outside influence and also risk destroying our current balance of power?" and probably refuse.

Yes, I'm sure it is +30 in addition to the Art/Supernatural Ability scores.
But the main question is whether you need to to count minimum scores of 2 for scores originating in minor virtues and 6 for major? For those Opened to a tradition, that is, where the +30 applies as well.

Because for at least two traditions (Hermetics, Vitkar) the Arts aren't tied to any virtues, making these (for Art scores of 0) easier to Open the Arts/Gift for than some of the traditions where their Arts/Abilities are listed as tied to virtues (e.g. Folk Witches, Grugachan).
Defining the Arts in HMRE by way of Virtues is only done for those traditions which have unGifted members, who learn only parts of their tradition.

It's not that I want to have a character with two tradition's worth of Arts. It's just that I'd like to know if it is in any way possible to Open the Hermetic Arts for a novice Hedgie, and actually preserve/convert some of his knowledge. As written it's all or nothing, and the "all" part is virtually impossible. And the "nothing" part is not interesting - because then why not just spend your time finding and teaching a Gifted child of no previous tradition?

Subtle Opening, HRME, p. 50ff?

1b) The math is off? 5x (20) + 30 = 130 / 260, not 50 / 100?

Yup good catch.
I forgot the x5 multiplier.
Post has been edited

Meh, Subtle Opening only allows new Supernatural Abilities to be learned without penalty for ones Arts. I don’t see how this will help with what I want.
Also the story seed about Order of Odin infiltrators doesn’t make sense to me. How will Subtle Opening of their Rune Arts help them learn Hermetic Arts - that’s not Supernatural nor Abilities???


It's generally easier to open Hermetic Arts first, then open Hedge Arts. Or open Hermetic Arts and combine a really good teacher with the Apprentices teaching rules to learn a bunch of Major Supernatural Virtues.

But trying to open Hermetic Arts after a hedgie already has a bunch of Supernatural Virtues isn't likely to go well.



But why? Because Hermetics don't have a bunch of Virtues giving them the Arts, for which you need to calculate a lot of minimum Art scores, giving a huge lab total needed?
Precisely the same thing goes for Vitkar, who don't have Virtues granting them Arts/Runes either. And both of these traditions are only possible for Gifted people.
The odd thing happens when you look at traditions whoch may also have unGifted members, who only know parts of the repertoire. For these unGifted people the various Arts/Abilities are defined by way of Virtues, which is why they are there. A Gifted Gruagach does not need to take the two major virtues for his Techniques and the four minor virtues for his Forms. That would mean all 10 of his possible virtue points are spent on this.

So my interpretation is that by Opening the Gift to a Tradition grants all the Tradition's Supernatural Abilities and Arts and makes then Favoured. This removes the need to take corresponding virtues, normally needed for these. Plus normal rules for being Favoured, when learning them.

Nope, that last thing never has gone well, and never will. And that suits me perfectly. It prevents PC magi from having their apprentice learn all Supernatural Abilities which the other magi, and the Companions in the Troupe have, without balancing it with corresponding virtues.. If they do this first, the Arts are hard to Open. If they Open the Arts first, the Supernatural Abilities are hard to learn. If you want Supernatural Abilities for the apprentice, buy the virtues. IMHO you decide the apprentice has a Latent Magical Ability when found, which does not affect Opening the Arts, and after this exchange it for a Supernatural Virtue.

There is no why.

Well, there could be a why. It does makes sense that:

a) it's easier to start learning your magic within a broad, generalist framework (e.g. Hermetic or Rune magic) and then learn specialized magics that you could "sort-of-but-not-quite" replicate within your initial framework, and

b) it's harder to start learning a very specialized type of magic (whether it's one trick, like Wind Whistling, or several that are only mildly related, like the abilities of the Folk Witches), and then merge everything you know into a single, probably much broader, general framework.

Think of one of the oldest types of real-world magic: reading and writing. You've almost certainly learnt it as a child within a very broad framework: you have words for virtually everything, and you treat those words with basically the same rules no matter what they mean. Imagine now some primitive tribe whose members do not have writing as we know it, but instead know only tree-scratching and tomb-raising. Tree-scratching is a specialized way to inscribe information about the topography of the land on the bark of living trees, with some tricks that allow the information to change as external factors change both the topography and the tree (e.g. some information about travelling the land in heavy snow becomes "visible" only when the ground around the tree is covered in heavy snow). Tomb-making is a complex set of funeral rites: each member of the tribe leaves gifts for the deceased in their barrows in a way that describes the achievements of said deceased and the social ties that bind the community together - a full description of the latter emerges as a consequence of individual contributions, and there are subtle rules that make such emergence easier. Do you think it would be easier for you to learn tree-scratching and/or tomb-making, or for an adult tribesman, settled into his way of life, to learn how to "read and write" as you do?


Except that some of the hedge magics you describe as narrow can actually do quite a lot. The only difference is that some (in HMRE, one) of these is represented as Arts that cannot be learned as Supernatural Abilities where the others can be.

Except that Vitkir have the same advantages as other hedgies, even though you describe them as wide. Better to open that after Hermetic Magic. And yes, you'll then argue that Rune Magic is narrower. But as soon as you introduce a third kind of magic, you'll either need a third subsystem for opening the gift or some new and improved reasoning of this kind.

There is no why, except in the sense that when the core rules were written, people weren't really thinking about compatibility with Hedge Magics, just about magi and supernatural virtues.

So we now have two very different systems for opening the Gift. Hermetic Magi suck at this, needing large totals just to manage it yet destroy supernatural virtues. Unless I misread last time I looked at HMRE, or misremember, hedgies, including Vitkir, have no problem slurping up Supernatural Virtues that are not associated with SAbilities.

It is the exact opposite of what one might expect, since Bonisagus integrated many traditions culminating in Hermetic Magic. Playable, of course, and rarely a real problem.



Actually, it is exactly what one would expect.

Bonisagus was an academic and a theoretician, and he designed Magic Theory to incorporate and explain all sorts of magic. The good news is, that as far as he succeeded, this makes it easy to learn the special cases afterwards. The bad news is that he did not always succeed. Many techniques and abilities were note adequately explained by his theory.

Superanaturaly abilities and most hedge traditions do not attempt to explain everything, and are learnt as independent skills and abilities. This means that learning one rarely interfers with learning another, but it can be very hard to consolidate these individual techniques into Bonisagus' framework. and this explains why they are often lost when learning Hermetic magic.

Serf's Parma ... I have not actually read Hedge Magic since ArM4 :slight_smile:

Anyway, to me all the concern with the difficulties of learning Hermetic magic on top of supernatural abilities is just telling about an exaggerated effort to create superhuman (superhermetic) characters who can do everything.

No, the mechanics are the same, it uses the same formulae. The only exception is that Hedge Wizards use the +12 for apprentices who already have their Gift Opened to another tradition, while Hermetics use +30. Why this difference? Well, perhaps because of differences in what makes up the Opening Total. All use Int+Aura as bonus, but Abilities and Arts follow different scales. An Ability Score of 12 costs 390 exp, an Art of 30 costs 465, however none of the total use only one stat but several.

  • Hermetics use a total including Ability+Art+Art, plus bonus from Lab, Assistants
  • Elementalists use Art+Art (use highest Technique + lowest Form)
  • Folk Witches use Ability+Sabbat Bonus
  • Gruagachan use Ability+Art+Art
  • Learned Magicians use Ability+Difficult Art+ Difficult Art
  • Nightwalkers don't seem to be Gifted
  • Vitkar use Ability + Accelerated Ability (use lowest Rune)

So there is a wide variety of how many elements the different traditions add to get the total. Also, some must use specific Arts while other use highest, lowest or a combination. But all Hedgies have the same target number. Hermetics use a higher target number, but may be able to better scratch together boni, or can easier raise their Arts because of the cooperation and knowledge sharing in the Order of Hermes.

Before HMRE nobody had considered that Hedge Wizards would exist as Gifted members of other Traditions with powerful magics. The core rules only support Hermetic magic, everything else I assume was considered handled with Supernatural Abilities. So when HMRE was published it made perfect sense to throw in a modifier to the Opening Target levels to account for already having been Opened to a Tradition. But IMHO these new rules failed to specify that Gifted members of a Tradition by way of having their Gift Opened this way don't formally have Virtues for their Arts or Supernatural Abilities, and hence don't calculate the minimum Art/Ability scores into the formulae as well. IMHO this is the only thing that makes sense, seeing as Vitkar never have any Virtues for their Arts/Runes anyway, because they only exist as Gifted members. And that the Traditions which have unGifted members learn parts of the magic through Virtues granted through Initiations meshes with the mechanics of Mysteries and how a Tradition has Favoured Abilities.

[Edit: Facepalm!]

Oh shazbat, I read that book like a fool!
It's right there, on HMRE page 11, middle column, section "As a Gifted Companion", line 13 and on to the end:

I take the liberty of interpreting "free access" to mean "does not need to take said virtues".

So in conclusion, Hermetic Magi who find a subject with their Gift Opened to a Hedge Tradition, but with scores of 0, requires an Opening Total of 30 to Open the Arts for. This destroys previous knowledge, but Totals of 60+ conserves or converts it. Only if the subject has improved his Arts or Abilities will it be more difficult.
And the question is now: How is it decided which is conserved and which is converted?
I see little benefit in being a person with both Hermetic Arts and Vitkar Runes. Although neither are penalized for the others in study, it's till unnecessarily many places to put points. But for study and investigation some magi would relish having such a person around. But that is also true if the Vitkar Runes are instead converted into something interesting and vaguely compatible for Hermetics to integrate.


RAW, the mechanics are not the same. For example, a magus trying to open the Gift for a would-be apprentice with Strong Faerie Blood and Greater Immunity to Heat and Flame is going to have a rather hard time of it. A hedgie doesn't notice.

As has been pointed out and noticed over the years, the actual benefits of opening two traditions are meager.

I suspect that if Apprentices is not used and the core rules for character creation are, nothing whatsoever would be harmed if Opening the Gift were utterly unaffected by existing Supernatural Abilities, which could be retained rather than converted or dropped. Then, have a stringent penalty to anyone for trying to open someone's Arts more than once , with magi getting an advantage because they tend to have higher totals.