In the Tytalus chapter in HoH:S is the Supernatural Virtue (with ability) called Persona, a supernatural empowered physical (& mental?) disguise.
Is it unique/limited to House Tytalus, or can other characters acquire it? It doesn't seem to need the Gift.
While the HoH:S suggests that a Tytalan mage can assume the Persona of another Hermetic Mage, it seems to skip the implications that this mage would seem to have 2 (or more) votes at Tribunal (he could proxy it to himself as a different identity?).
Also, since certain personality traits are linked to Virtues and Flaws, how different in personality can the Persona be? ie gain or lose a Fear?
As a side thought, the Primus of Ex Miscellanea is Ebroin, who is secretly an orbis, though nobody seems to know this nor from which House. Could he have changed his name, or is he some sort of Persona?
in HoH:S p.93f New Virtues the Virtue Leper Magus is explicitly reserved for "House Tytalus only". Persona is the only other Virtue in that chapter, and not reserved thus. So you can quite safely conclude, that it is not intended to be reserved.
I don't see, how a persona would give a Tytalus a voting sigil or a parens. But I imagine some Tytali trying hard to pull off that multiple votes scam, if challenged to it.
It's not a house Tytalus only virtue, so other magi can have it, it's just less likely for them to practice a deceptive magic that originated with the Tytalus. As always, it's up to your troupe to decide how many unlikely and special virtues someone can have.
Impersonating a magus - I'm pretty sure in Hooks there was a Tytalus who created a false identity to blame all his hermetic crimes upon. The persona section does include what would happen if you tried impersonating a Quaesitor.
As for impersonating a magus to cast votes, there is the logical problem that you can only be in one place at one time, unless you're using proxy votes. To successfully make people believe you live in that Tribunal and qualify for a vote, you'd need to put quite a few seasons into establishing that persona and them showing up on a regular basis, which puts a limit on how many votes you could get. Also, a non-Tremere showing up with several proxy votes would look suspicious. If you are not subtle, you will attract attention. If you attract the attention of Quaesitors with sufficient skill, you will get caught sooner or later. True Lineages p49-50 sums up the "I will have one vote at Tribunal and I will use it wisely" portion of the Code. Violating this is a High Crime, and I can imagine the perpetrator getting marched very quickly.
I'd disagree with this part - I'd expect it to be pretty common for only some members of a covenant to attend tribunal, but to bring the votes of their covenmates with them.
Now I want to see an entire covenant of reclusive magi which is actually just one magus using Personae, illusions and possibly a variant of Donning the Mask of Another on mundanes for occaisons when you really need several real people in one place.
So no proxy vote without transfer of voting sigils before. The voting sigil identifies the magus at Tribunal - and a magus needs to work verrry hard and typically verrry illlegally to provide such sigils for his personae. He can't just make them, as they are usually bestowed at gauntlet, with a Quaesitor witnessing.
Regarding Personae and magus, there are two occurences:
trying to impersonate another magus
create a new magus.
The first one is not impossible, but would require that the Impersonator is sure that the real magus won't show up anywere while he is impersonating him/her (basically, avoiding that there is a strange case of ubiquity ). It is not as hard as it looks considering how secluded magi can be, and lasting Twilight episode for old magi can happen. Of course, there are all the legal implication of doing so, but it is only illegal if you get caught. It is still a tremendous challenge, as token for Aegis might have to be acquired, replicating a familiar could be needed, etc...
I don't think it is reasonable to pull off such a trick on well-known and active figures, but for less famous magi it can be done.
For the second case, it would look initially easier because you don't have to bother about running into the magus you are impersonating, however... it means somehow forging a complete history of the mage and its apprenticeship: who was his master, what was his gauntlet and which Quaesitor was present, in which Covenants did he live, etc. It would not take much effort for a Mercere having access to the list of mages per Tribunal and covenants to cross-check some references (on the other hand, it will be much easier for a Mercere to pull off such trick).
Considering the effort and the risk, the reward must be worthwhile - it could be an Archmage Tytali contest :mrgreen: if you get caught, the sentence might be very terminal.
Actually, Hooks has in "Echoes of the Ancient Dead" a magus Bonisagus who made up an identity to pass blame on and use in plots. He does not have Personae. Although this is mentioned as a possibility in the Additional Material section of that Hook. There is a short mention of how this could constitute a hermetic crime.
But I agree that Personae does not sound like a restricted virtue.
That's one thing I've always been a bit fuzzy on. A Persona gives you an automatic reputation of 1 when it's created, and experience points applied to the Persona ability also apply to all of the reputations of the Personae (HoH:S page 90). But what does that mean in practice? Do you create the Persona and all the Redcaps have suddenly heard of that guy who did X? That sounds like quite a powerful mentem spell.
Also, does the bit about the experience points mean:
You reach level 4 in Persona, and gain a new Persona with a reputation of 1 as Magus Fraudator. You then work toward level 5 in Persona, gaining 25 experience points, increasing Fraudator's reputation to 3.
You reach level 4 in Persona. Your reputation automatically has the xp you've already applied to Persona applied to it, giving you a reputation of 4.
I'd guess the former, as it avoids the problem of a reputation 8 guy appearing from nowhere, and also matches the text more closely, but it seems a lot of bookkeeping.
Persona doesn't allow you to exactly replicate someone, although you can look like a blood relative (HoH:S page 90). You can use plain Muto Corpus for that, though.
There are techniques in intelligence and infiltration for quickly establishing a background acceptance for a cover, which basically involves making multiple people think or feel the other people in the group have already vouched for you as a long term acquaintance without actually saying they have done so. Certainly this could be done even more easily if it is a supernatural virtue. So just because you have just heard of the guy, well you heard about him from someone, and they must have known him a while...
I don't see why; I don't believe that anyone except House Tremere has a central registry of sigils or magi. If you create a persona, then the "magus'" voting sigil will probably be known to those who know their reputation.
That's not to say that it can't be exposed, and if such a persona were exposed, that's a pretty obvious High Crime. Not to mention that the story seed in A&A about "the end of the oral oath" would make Persona-trickery much more difficult (and thus induce our Tytalus to oppose it with all their identities).
The Quaesitor needs to register the sigil. And he won't just lose that register among his laundry lists, but inform at least the Tribunal's presiding Quaesitor, who needs to decide about Tribunal Voting Rights (see HoH:TL p.49 Voting Rights).
Whether a sigil is known beyond the Tribunal it is registered in depends on relations between Tribunals: so a sigil bestowed between 1008 and 1018 in the Novgorod Tribunal might be neither known nor acknowledged at the Rhine Tribunal without further processing.