Ideas for Breakthroughs

I'm currently writing up a timeline/alt setting where Original Research and Hedge Integration go a little crazy, and Hermetic Magic makes some huge leaps in a comparatively short amount of time. It's mentioned in this thread [url]].

My problems is that while there are a ton of examples of things to integrated in the source books, but there is not a comparable amount of suggestions for Original Research. So I'm looking for anyone's suggestions of stuff to throw in the mix.

Especially Original research thats actually been pursued or accomplished in other games. Mechanical tweaks that don't push the Limits of Magic and things that seem like it should work already but don't in RAW are good. As are Breakthroughs that tweak or mess with the minor limits great.

For now I'm staying away from The Limits of The Soul, The Infernal, True Feelings, and The Lunar sphere for now.

Somethings I'm already considering putting in.

I'm bringing back the Permanent duration. +5 magnitudes counts as an ongoing effect and requires vis and so (at least initially see below) a ritual.

Bringing back the ability to cast Instantaneous Creo and Permanent spells as Formulaic by pumping vis into them. The caster spends vis as though it's a ritual and the spell must in all other ways (Low enough Mag for instance) qualify as a Formulaic Spell. Also Vis pump-able items will also be able to be made. So a Wand of Healing that the user must fuel with vis is create-able. Among other things.

A way to use Creo magic and Arcane Connections to exactly copy artificial complex forms without the need for a finesse roll. This allows magi to easily mass produce finely crafted items including and especially books. I.E. The Dreaded Hermetic Printing Press.

Cleansing, a Lab Activity that allows Magi to remove warping points from things. It is limited by a couple of factors at least initially. First it can't lower a warping score once it's reached so it only effects points before they are "banked'. Also it's a season long activity that is strenuous in and of itself for the thing being cleansed. So Magi cannot remove warping from themselves heck they can't even assist or spend the time studying. So for a Magus to directly benefit from the process they must get another Hermetic to do it to them.

A similar process with limitations similar to Cleansing may also be developed for aging points and decrepitude.

Rego Vim guidelines that can shield a target from the social effects of the Gift. I'm thinking a Gen magnitude of every 5 points of effect lowers the modifier felt by the target by 1. So a level 15 effect would completely shield the target from feeling a normally Gifted individual. To be shielded from those with a blatant gift would required a spell with a base effect of 30. I think this makes spells that can be casts on Individuals at Eye or Touch range for short durations accessible, but spells for large groups, and longer ranges and durations become high effect warp factories.

Eventually the guideline will be reversible and magi will be able to cast spells on themselves to lower the effect they give off. Increase the Gen Mag to 10/-1.


Legrnds of hermes has quite a ton of ideas here for original research. Or stuff that you can extrapolate easily enough. My (and others') review of the book:

Look at the review of Conciatta, Herisson and Fortunata. All 3 of them did original research. From all of them there are lots of stuff you can branch towards. I suggfest one such case in the Conciatta review, but it is not the only one.

As a side note you can also do MUNDANE poriginal research, like demonstrating that faerie and magic realm lore differentiation is purely theoretical (and that both are a "Legend lore" for example) or that Infernal and Divine Lore are the same since all the power emanates from heaven ultimately, either positive or negative aspects of it.

You could also search for the underlying methods of magic (pretty much what Bonisagus did, but building on the shoulders of giants) and come to realize that all the Hedge Magic theory is just aspects of a grander whole along with Hermetic Magic. You can even end up determining that it is also the same as the Legend Lore above for a grand understanding of the magical forces of the world.

I also favor integrating the 4 elemental arts in a single Elemental Form following on the steps of Conciatta, and maybe going after stuff like a Time and a Space Forms for hermetic magic.

Another smaller option would be to make you able to affect an area around you, something where Hermetic magic fails totally and that is quite a common feature of magic as we know it from stories, modern and old.

Hope that helps :slight_smile:


A breakthrough which I've considered having NPCs be working towards in the background of the saga - due to the interesting consequences it might have - is to allow momentary Muto rituals with permanent effects.

  • Integrating Terram, Aquam and Auram into the form of Matter.
  • Integrating Herbam, Corpus and Animal into the form of Life.
  • Integrating Ignem and some of Auram into the form of Forces.

(Old school players are going to hate me for this suggestion).

Let's make Tremere vampires while we're at it.

Not really, just i called to MIB patrol nearest and no bad feelings, they can't feel any at all.
I made/beggun some thread on the same line - I've made some:
Differents Mastery Abilities: like one to add on Vis extraction, other to save Vis on Ritual Magic, another to integrate Enduring Magic like one Mastery Abilitie and finally one to make skin change spells changeables, near to the Shapechange SA.
New ranges/objectives/durations: shadow, Aura (O/R), Harvest, Progeny, Forest, Edge, Pair, Grove, Roof, and integrate things like Focus and Season.
New Hermetic Virtues like: Master of Many Forms, Forest Magic, Genus Magic, Hearth Magic, Familiar Magic Item, Vis Concocting - all like Major.
Hermetic - Awakening (Aracane abilitie to talk with un living matter and to make Awakened objects), Vis Mstery (to make differents kinds of Vis on the lab and to make better totals on that).


Yes the book has just moved from my "to buy list" to my "must buy list". I knew it covered some good stuff about Breakthroughs I didn't realize how much. :mrgreen:

Okay this one intrigues me. It really plays into the themes of the background. Any suggestions on the mechanical effects? Maybe an easier time acquiring inspirations from Hedgies. Or even a change to the mechanics of Hermetic research. Maybe make Original Research function more like Integration.

I may also have been on this path with what I've written already. One of events that starts off my timeline is a Bonisagus who achieves Improved Voice Range from Gruagach magic. However he made another Breakthrough first. A Breakthrough that might even have been an early step towards this idea of a Grand Magic Theory.

Essentially the Boni knew a Hermetic Gruagach and learned how the Pictish language and the Gruagach's Hedge theory ability are one and the same. Intrigued he learned the language. Rather then pursue any insights he gained from Pictish as an Hedge Theory ability the he first incorporated the language itself into Hermetic spell casting. Just as a Magi might adapt casting to Arabic or English instead of Latin. (As per the Magic in Other Languages sidebar pg29 in Ancient Magic.) Because of Pictish's odd status a hermetic Magi who knows Pictish and learns how to cast spells in it get twice as many insights when using it as a Hedge Theory.

Yes thanks it helped a lot.


I'm going back and forth on combining forms. After hearing the stuff from LoH again I'm leaning towards combining.

The four elemental forms, probably.
The three life forms, maybe.
That brings it to five forms and five arts which is nice. I am considering a Fate form to incorporate effects from Learned Magicians, Soqotran Sorcery, and Hermetic Divination. I may fold Mentem and Imaginem together as a single form to keep the 5x5 symmetry.

I am not sure about original research and integration mechanics since I have never used them, so I will not give you any hard numbers or anything here. However, you just described your first insight: Exact words are not important. Language is not important. The power of words is what matters and that is a manifestation of the Will of the caster. :slight_smile: Or something like that.

Mechanically I would make all traditions default to a Grand Magic Theory score. You could use the same theory for anything magic, including enrichment. In fact it would be a combo of all magic theories and Magic Lore (plus faerie lore if you also went that path). It could be used to identify the magic of other traditions (even if you did not understand the exact words you would understand that it was a curse, or a ritual to call a wind spirit)


We had quite an extended discussion long ago and far away on the requirements for a breakthrough of a R/T/D of "shadow." You can find it here.


Here are some breakthrough ideas that my characters have wanted to pursue just so that they could use magic more easily:

Being able to suppress parma for a specific effect so when you want to let the healing spell through or activate an enchanted device's effect on yourself you don't have to suppress your defenses versus everything (this admittedly doesn't make for necessarily better stories, it depends upon whether suppression of parma is an annoying complication or an interesting one for your game).

Target pair at the same level as target part. Muto vim, flexible formulaic and just formulaic spells would all work much smoother if this choice were available.

A guideline or manner of enchanting a laboratory to lower the laboratory warping score. (It is annoying that many or most of the really cool laboratory qualities come with a drawback that makes them not worthwhile. This fixes the problem, but altering or replacing the laboratory warping rules would very likely be a better fix).

(Integration of he sensory magic bjornaer mystery targets would be something else that the order should do, they're just too useful not to have available for general use)

It's usually both IMS's I suspect it's similar in others. Otherwise good simple effect.

Not exactly along this line, but I'm playing around with breakthroughs that will give characters more control over the extraordinary results chart. Limiting a lab's warping score could be a step in that direction. Although even a little control over the ExRC could make lab warping a desirable thing.

Essentially I'm trying to make some of the early changes to the setting improve or at least encourage Research. Thus explaining the explosion of Breakthroughs that occur. Honestly the trick is eye balling breakthroughs that would have a significant enough effect on experimentation to have that outcome, but not so overpowering that they overshadow things to come.

One idea, that I have played with in other settings is allowing confidence points to be spent to tweak an ExRC roll by one point either way. Nice because confidence points are finite so it couldn't be done constantly or as a regular course of action. Also since the points are replenished by adventuring lab rats get another reason to get out of the lab and participate in stories.

Or creating a statistic (based on Magic Theory, another ability, the Vim form bonus or some derivation there of) that allows rolls to be regularly tweaked down but not up. Higher rolls being generally more unbalancing this seams a lot less unbalancing then an adjustment that can be done either way.

Of course the another option is to change the chart. Say remove the Complete Failure Result and Double the incidence of Discovery.

One of the main themes of the setting is the integration of various mystery virtues and the way the Mystery Cults and Houses react. Ranging from the
Criamon "Now everyone can learn Enigmatic Wisdom. Yeah!" (Yes I'm aware of the irony of having Criamon embrace sharing their knowledge) to at least one Mystery House trying to secede from the order. (It's a toss up right now as to which one.)

Another thing to toss in there are:

-Improved Longevity Rituals that are more potent.
-More Efficient Vis extraction from Auras

Another thing, I can't remember if it's exactly from Ancient Magic, but I know it was at the very least inspired by it:

The last game I ran the PCs found some stuff and one of them worked on it for years: A Ritual Spell that Aged a Magus back to age 18 whenever it was cast. Off the top of my head it was a level 35 or 40 spell. So it was less vis efficient than Longevity Potions, but the Magus accrued far less warping.