Improving Hedge Magic Theory

If a Hermetic develops a Hedge Magic Theory for a Hedge tradition - is he able to develop Breakthrough points (for that tradition) after he develops the Magic Theory for them?

My initial thought is "of course he can: he just literally wrote the book on Magic Theory for them, and has a huge amount of Hermetic insight that can be applied to this new Tradition." However, you develop Breakthrough points by performing Lab Activities associated with the tradition. But a Hermetic likely won't have the Supernatural Virtues associated with the Tradition - and in looking at the list of possible "generic lab activities that MT seems to grant any tradition that has it" (ie, looking at Hedge Witches), most anything that uses a Lab Score seems to require having a Supernatural ability of some sort. (ie, you need Dowsing to scrape Vis, Animal Ken to get a familiar, some Supernatural ability to brew Potions, etc.) do they develop Breakthrough points if you don't have the ability to cast magic in that system? Enriching objects of Virtue? Fixing arcane connections? Those are the only two I could think of that anyone could do in a lab. My other thought ("just study for a season, then write a tractus about your findings") works, but that's not a RAW game mechanic.

See Hedge Magic page 14-15, Insight.

The magus can provide Insight as a Teacher (to himself) based on his Hedge Magic Theory Ability Score.

Right, but I interpreted that as meaning he could provide Insight to his (Hermetic) Magic Theory score. So, the basic idea of that section is to create a Hedge Magic Theory, and then use that knowledge to integrate into Hermetic magic theory. Which is fine for providing integrations into Hermetic Magic (especially if you don't have a Hedge teacher). But I'm looking to improve the Hedge magic theory, not the Hermetic magic theory.

For example: a wizard uses the standard rules to develop (say) Folk magic theory. OK, 60 breakthrough points = 60 xp into Folk Magic Theory. Great. What if that same wizard wanted to integrate (say) Learned magician scripts into Folk Magic? Normally you'd simply use the same rule: ie, study Learned Magicians for a season, make a Hedge Magic Theory roll of 18+, and then do an Integration project. The problem is twofold:

  1. A basic Magic Theory doesn't seem to have any projects that are useable (unless generic Magic Theory automatically grants the ability to make magic items or spells), and
  2. The Hermetic Wizard in question doesn't have the supernatural abilities to do them, anyway.

So, this seems to be setting up a weird situation in which a Hermetic Wizard can CREATE a new ability, but he can't use it. (Unless all Magic Theories developed by Hermetics include the ability to synthesize that magical tradition in a hermetic Lab - ie, being able to use TeFo's to replicate similar spell and labwork, for example.)

EDIT - the simple solution would be for the Hermetic magi to Initiate into the Hedge tradition, in order to get the Supernatural Virtues (or at least one of them), so that he could perform at least part of the Hedge tradition. But again - if the maga can't use Hedge Magic Theory without having the Virtues, how did they develop the Hedge Magic Theory to begin with?

In thinking about it more, the only way a Hermetic can develop breakthrough points at all (for Hermetic MT, or for a Hedge MT) is through their own labwork. This STRONGLY suggests that labwork is compatible between magical traditions: ie, that a maga should be able to somehow use a Hermetic lab (with TeFo's?) to develop Breakthrough work for (say) Hedge Witches, if you use Hedge Witch MT instead of Hermetic MT.

Oh, I see what you mean. Yes, Folk Witch magic Theory would not be a source of Insight for integrating Learned Magician magic into Folk Witch magic.

If you look at the Integration process (Insert, Hedge Magic page 14). Then:

  • Step 1 (source of Insight) would require something from the source tradition (i.e. a Learned Magician text or relic or teacher).
  • Step 2 (investigating Insight) would use the Magic Theory of the destination tradition (i.e. Folk Witch Magic Theory) for the Insight roll.
  • Step 3 (inventing an effect that embodies the Insight) would require the investigator to create some Folk Witch effect that used the Insight. Brewing a new kind of potion could be an option?

It is going to be very difficult to integrate foreign traditions into hedge traditions that don't really have a use for Hedge Magic Theory. Or traditions that don't really have flexible laboratory activities. That is why Hermetic magic is the best!

You can't invent a Hermetic effect that embodies the Insight from the Learned Magicians, if you are attempting to integrate into the Folk Witch tradition. That would be the process you would do if you were attempting to integrate into the Hermetic tradition.

Also, note (as an aside) that a magus doesn't need to invent Folk Witch Magic Theory. It is an existing, teachable Ability. He just needs to make friends with a witch.

Sure - the (implicit) example I'm using is Folk Magic, from TSE. (pg. 123), and theorizing how to uplift that proto-tradition into something that looks vaguely like a lightweight Order of Hermes (at least within its own minor virtue bailiwick). My theory was to develop a Hedge Magic theory, and then use Integration to get all relevant pieces of Hermetic lab techniques into the tradition, and then go from there. But that immediately begs the question of...

  1. If a hermetic builds your Magic Theory, what lab activities are ported over immediately, and what needs to be integrated? The Hedge Magic Integration rules give us an example or two, (the ability to improve a lab, etc.), but it doesn't list them all out. This is an issue because Folk Magic doesn't, by itself, have any lab activities: it only does ceremonial spontaneous magic.

  2. What CAN be integrated, and what requires a specific supernatural virtue? In looking at Hedge Witches, it seems that you can do a lot of stuff, but only as long as the end result is some sort of magical effect that comes from a virtue. Making potions and fetishes, for example, don't require any specific virtue. But you DO need to have the Healing virtue, for example, to make a healing potion or fetish. And you can't create a familiar unless you specifically have an animal-related Supernatural virtue.

  3. How do you develop additional breakthrough points to integrate into a tradition, if you don't have the virtues that make up the tradition?

The issue I'm having is that it seems as though someone who developed an entire Magic Theory...can't expand on the magic theory they just created, if they don't have the Supernatural Virtues that make up the original Hedge tradition in question. But if they can't develop breakthrough points for a Hedge Magic theory without the virtues, then how did they develop the Hedge Magic Theory in the first place?

Actually, for #1, I think I can conceive of what the Hedge theorist could do: they could study (say) formulaic hermetic casting for a season, and then practice their own Ceremonial casting for a season. At the end of that season, they'd have a memorized ceremony, and a number of Integration points. In this context, the spell would be like a hermetic spell, but is cast Ceremonially by default - it could be practiced, and other masteries (such as "formulaic casting") could be discovered, but the default is Ceremony.

EDIT - and over time, this would fully integrate into Lab-total style spell development. In essence, this is developing in a lab the ability to develop something in a lab.

That still leaves the "how can a Hermetic develop additional breakthrough points for something he developed, yet does not have the virtues to cast?" question, though.

Possible answer: "they can - but they're the only person who can. Part of the 60 point breakthrough IS the ability to create MT Insights for a tradition you can't necessarily cast in." As literally that's what the character has been doing in order to develop the Hedge Magic Theory: developing Hermetic spells that emulate the Hedge tradition. Everyone else would either have to develop the 60 point Breakthrough as well, or else figure out how to learn the Virtues in question.

EDIT: something like