Initiation into Verditius mysteries

Do you need to join a confraturnity to be initiated into a major inner mystery or not? The text seems mildly ambiguous on this topic.

I need to know so that I can plan out how my character can build a non time traveling TARDIS for himself. He will need to make a discovery for architecture magic as you can not create a regio with it only enlarge or shrink them.

You really don't. The intro mentions that most Verditus magi work through the Mysteries in their own order. Most Verditus magi are "gregarious" enough to take pride in initiating others through the mysteries, and those who do not recieve a bad reputation of Selfish +4, which cripples their own opportunities for advancement.

Confraternity membership carries two benefits and two disadvantages:

1.) Members are initiated into a unique special mystery virtue.
2.) Social benefits. Members have a very easy time finding mystagogues to help them through inner mysteries, and can seek other aid from Confraternity members, such as help selling items and mutual defense and advice.

In exchange:

1.) They set themselves on a set mystery path, from which they cannot deviate and;
2.) They take on social responsibilities to other Confraternity members, including mutual assistance in defense and living up to expectation of lifestyle and, sometimes, political stance. (i.e., Roland will need to support Crusades and the Church, within reason, and Balento will be expected to stick up for paganism.)

For what its worth, Confraternity of Roland has a pretty excellent Mystery path, and its connection to Christian knights is more a help than hinderance in how it can get easy money for PCs, especially young ones who can make a decent living off of selling armour and weapons of quality.

Himnis is a strange Confraternity, as a focus in wooden wands isn't great for making more powerful items without item attunement.

Ponderingturtle is right about the ambiguity. To clarify:

That's most Minor Virtues. The Major Virtues don't have that comment, thus some of the ambiguity.

Which would be which ones? They're supposed to be "Inner," which would leave only the Major Virtues to not conflict with the earlier statements about Minor Verditius Virtues. However, the description attached to the comment to which you are referring makes it seems like these are actually the Outer Mysteries, not the Inner ones, despite saying "Inner." And note that these are "unique." Thus the rest of the ambiguity.


HoH:MC 118 lays out all the requirements for the Mysteries, major and minor. The requirements for a Major Mystery are only that one have a Level 5 Verditus Cult Lore. Again, the House encourages all Verditus to initiate one another in Major and Minor mysteries. Conspicuous by its absence is any mention of Confraternities. Also conspicuous is the ability of magi to self-initiate (though this is not recommended).

The special virtues are as follows:

Roland: Minor Focus: Swords
Balento: Affinity Ignem
Himnis: Minor Focus: Wooden Wands
Irene the Younger: Puissant Imaginem or Mentem

Also, page 121 is very explicit that not all magi are members. It says nothing at all about the free-flow through mysteries being restricted to minor ones. It simply says "Most pick and choose the Inner House Mysteries they wand."

Inner Mysteries include both major and minor mysteries.

So, if you don't want to be bogged down as a member of a Confraternity, have no fear: there's no need.

You seem to misunderstand the difference between necessary and sufficient conditions. The way it is written, Cult Lore 5 is what is known as a necessary condition, but not what is known as a sufficient condition. It may be sufficient, but that is not stated there.

And just where does it say that in that way? You would fully satisfy the statement in the middle of page 118 to pass on your confraternity-specific stuff only to confraternity members and your general stuff to anyone. As long as you're acting as a mystagogue, you're acting as a mystagogue. It doesn't specify which mysteries and to whom.

I already mentioned those. And I mentioned the logical problem: those are "outer" while the unique ones are "inner." I'm taking this to mean you think there is a typo. But if you think there's a typo, wouldn't you agree there is ambiguity and people might read the other word as the typo? Is the typo "inner" or "outer"?

So you're saying anyone could get Minor Focus: Swords if they so desire? (No restriction, free flow, minor mystery...) But then it's not unique to that confraternity. So, then... We have a contradiction.

Hopefully you're starting to see the ambiguity Ponderingturtle mentioned. Happily, he and I, having each reread the sections, have the same ideas about which are more commonly known, which are less commonly known (not restricted to but probably only found within a confraternity), and which are unique to a confraternity. Yes the ambiguity does exist. The mistakes in the replies seem to lend credence to this being a legitimate ambiguity, too.


It does not say Minor in the wording.

Look a little lower it says

"Each congraternity has a Unique Inner Mystery available to its members, a less specialized Virtue that mirrors a common Hermetic Virtue" That seems pretty clearly stating that it is not the Major Mysteries that are unique but the minor virtues that are listed as the start of the confraternity path.

There is no such limitation on the regulations for Major Inner Mysteries. There is only the necessary condition that you have rank 5. The book never says the Major Inner Mysteries are freely available as the Minor Inner Mysteries are. Magi must be Mystagogues, but it doesn't say they have to initiate all Inner Mysteries, just something. (This is clearly a necessary omission for the confraternities to have unique Mysteries.)

Yup. I mentioned that description above. That's the part that leads one to think it refers to the Minor Outer Mysteries. But they are "Outer," not "Inner" Mysteries. So we can just as well conclude it must not refer to those Minor Mysteries. Thus the confusion: the same sentence that seems to indicate them also rules them out. Any attempt to say one interpretation is necessarily correct must be made in error because the book is essentially nonsensical or contradictory on this point.

While I agree that that is probably the intent, that is certainly not what is written. The is an error in what is written. Past that we must make an assumption about where the error is. We cannot show definitively which part is in error. While I am assuming the same situation, I also know it is only an assumption and could be just as incorrect as it could be correct.


Hey Chris,

I think your problem is that you don't get what an "Outer" and an "Inner" mystery are. Ars Magica is pretty confusing sometimes, but when you sort through it, there's a pretty clear structure.

The "Outer" Mystery is the single root mystery which every Cult member has in common.

An "Inner" Mystery is anything else.

A "Unique Inner Mystery" is one of the four Mysteries which are conferred when you join a Confraternity.

In the case of Verditus, reread the chapter carefully. You're missing some crucial words in key places.

But here's a breakdown of how the Mysteries are arranged, and how a magus navigates through them.

1.) Joining House Verditus: The Outer Mystery.

There is only one. The Outer Mystery grants the Minor Hermetic Virtue: Verditus Magic. It is either gained when Arts are opened, or by a ceremony and training culmunating in the Embrace of Boethius

2.) Make the decision to join a Confraternity, or not.

If yes: Confraternity immediately initates a Minor Mystery, giving a Minor Virtue. Only Confraternity members can initiate these Mysteries in this way.

If no: Procede to step 3.

3.) House-wide Inner Mysteries.

If a Confraternity member: Initiate these Mysteries according to the "road map" of the Confraternity.

If not a member: Initiate any of these mysteries so long as you A.) Can find a mystagogue and B.) Have sufficient Lore. (i.e., 5 for major virtues.) You may initiate them in any order, mixing Major and Minor as you see fit, though minor mysteries are easier and require less of a sacrifice.

That's the whole thing.

Life would be easier if the publishers would use tables. But I've read Verditus probably more than is healthy.

Verditus has by far the most relaxed path through mysteries. Enjoy it! It makes characters very easily customisable.

Chris, that is not what it says in my book.

No the only outer mystery is basic Verdidias magic. All the rest are inner mysteries. This might be at odds with how Mysteries does it, but it is how Mystery Cults does it.

I think that is the intent, too. But that's not what it says in the book. There are five (six since one is a pair) Outer Mysteries listed, Verditius Magic and the four (five) for the confraternities.

It doesn't actually say that. It specifies Minor Mysteries.

I copied it verbatim. I don't think there has been a second printing. Certainly the errata do not mention that that should be changed.

I agree that that's probably the intent. But the repeated "Outer" for the confraternities is in disagreement with that.


The writing is sloppy and needed better editing. But at least with in the verdidias section it is clear that Outer Mystery is Verdidias Magic while the Inner Mysteries are advanced options.

And I checked it, and Have the same printing as you do and minor is not there.

Yes, the writing is sloppy, which is the problem. As I've said, it is essentially nonsensical or contradictory. Thus there is no single valid reading of it - no matter what reading you try, it can be shown that this contradicts what is written in some way.

In the Verditius section is says 4 times (yes, repeatedly) that the first Mysteries of the confraternities are "Outer Mysteries." These aren't even listed in the "Inner Mysteries" section at all.

It's right in the middle of the paragraph everyone is telling me states the requirements such as the levels of House Verditius Lore needed. But everyone else is stating that the paragraph is written to apply equally to Minor and Major Mysteries with the only difference being the level of House Verditius Lore needed. I'll show you in your book on Sunday.


I don't have the book with me, but it seems like it is simply stating different levels of "Outer" mysteries, based on context.

There's the common Outer Mystery of House Verditius (Verditius Magic), with common Inner Mysteries of House Verditius.

Then, there's the specific Outer Mystery of each confraternity. You have to get initiated into this one to join the confraternity. This gives you access to additional Inner Mysteries available to the confraternity.


You've really got to reread the whole thing, carefully.

For example, a good place to start is directly under the heading "Inner House Mysteries."

Page 125: "There are four Minor and four Major Inner Mysteries of House Verditus. Following the description of each Inner Mystery is a sample Initiation Script. Other Initiations for each Inner Mystery exist, and you are encouraged to develop other Scripts that suit the partifular flavour of your saga. Since Verditus magi can learn these Mysteries in any order..."

There follows the description of four Minor Mysteries: Enchant Casting Tools; Elder Runes; Items of Quality and Reforging, and four Major Mysteries: Himnis Curses; Automata; Bind Magical Creatures and Item Attunement.

Once you find the right place to read, its not confusing at all, its really quite clear.

If you read the Confraternity descriptions carefully, you also wouldn't have any problems.

For exampole, look at the Subheadings of Mystery Path for each Confraternity. I.e.: Himnis the Mad: "Mystery Path: Intiates learn the Outer Mystery, followed by Minor Magical Focus: Wooden Wands, Verditus Elder Runes, Item Attunement and Bind Curse." (122)

Or, earlier, read the section "The Outer Mystery of Verditus Magic" (note the singular) which states "the first step in becoming a Verditus magus is to be inducted into the Outer Mystery if the House: Verditus Magic." (117)

Really, it couldn't be more clear. The only confusing thing for me is where you could possibly still be stumped at this point. Are you sure you're reading the right book? The source text is "Houses of Hermes: Mystery Cults" by Dahl, Ferguson, Ryan and Shirley. Trident, Inc. Atlas Games (2006).

Or, seriously, just take our words for it.

Aaack! This is the whole point! Let me restate what you're telling me: Once you ignore the parts I want you to ignore and pay attention only to the parts I want you to pay attention to, it's really quite clear. As I've been saying all along, there are contradictions.

Which contradicts the statement in the same section of confraternities which says there is a unique Inner Mystery. You have a contradiction in the same section using your interpretation. Couldn't be more clear?

You seriously ask this??? Have you read what I've quoted to you? I've quite clearly shown the contradictions and stated that they are there. What response do I get? It's quite clear, just read it better by neglecting to read certain parts? Please, actually address the differences between what you've stated and what the text says before making a comment like this. Pick up the book and read what I've quoted. Even you have quoted a contradiction yourself, that one between "Inner" and "Outer." That also contradicts your earlier comment about there being a single "Outer Mystery."

The issue isn't about reading the right book. The problem is that I read it more carefully than you did. You have told me to selectively skip earlier parts. What did I do while reading? I got to the part that said there were almost no limitations on the Minor Inner Mysteries without such a comment about the Major Inner Mysteries. So I asked myself what other restrictions those might have. To get the answer I kept reading. Then I get to the section about confraternities and see that there are some Outer Mysteries and "unique Inner Mysteries." Hmmm... So what are the unique Inner Mysteries? I read the descriptions. Of all the Inner Mysteries among the confraternities, which are unique? Those are the Major Mysteries. Something's odd about them being variants of other Hermetic stuff. (Some essentially are, though, while others aren't.) But there is an answer to how to get the Major Mysteries. This is 100% as valid as your reading of it. Either way there are problems.

I've since read through it multiple times. I see both interpretations (and more). Both are equally valid. What does that mean? That there is ambiguity! That's what I've been saying the whole time!

What interpretation do I like? I actually like an interpretation somewhere between the two. I like having the "Outer Mysteries" be the "unique Inner Mysteries." But I also like Bind Curse and Automata being restricted to those confraternities because they are really the core of those confraternities. Meanwhile Minor Magical Focus: Swords and Affinty w/ Ignem really seem to be the core of the other two confraternities, while their Major Inner Mysteries don't seem specific to them. So I like the other two Major Inner Mysteries being known more broadly within House Verditius. This is also just as valid as your interpretation due to the ambiguity.


Let me copy-paste (since I bought the PDF, p.116 :

"The process of gaining knowledge of the Cult’s Inner Mysteries is structured, but not formalized. House Verditius has four Minor and four Major Inner Mystery Virtues. Magi are allowed, even expected, to learn the House’s Inner Mysteries in any order they wish, matching their individual needs and goals to suit their tastes. Some Verditius magi band together in confraternities, small groups of like-minded individuals who follow a path formed by an earlier, charismatic magus."

Note the "four Minor and four Major Inner Mystery Virtues", followed by the "Magi are allowed... to learn the House's Inner Mysteries in any order they wish." Not the Minor Mysteries, the House's Inner Mysteries, Minor and Major. Here is one place where the Major Mysteries are clearly defined as Inner Mysteries.

Furthermore, all the Mysteries, minor and major, are listed in the same Section "House Verditius Inner Mysteries". The only exceptions are the unique mysteries for confraternities, which are NOT listed in the "House Verditius Inner Mysteries" section, but with the confraternities. They are still Inner Mysteries (Minor ones), that's noted in the Confraternity section, but they are not House Verditius Inner Mysteries (they belong to the confraternities only).

All four confraternity descriptions state those are "Outer Mysteries." Vulcano quoted this just a few posts above.

The only "Outer" versus "Inner" thing I've been talking about are the two comments in the confraternity section.


And what about the page to which I keep referring that states the requirements? This is what I'm talking about with selective quoting. No one paragraph is problematic on its own. The problems come when you read the whole chapter. Your quote doesn't say anything about House Verditius Lore 1-5. I think everyone has acknowledged there is another section that states the requirements. What does that say about Minor vs. Major?

I never argued about the order. I made a statement about the requirements to be met.


Please cut and paste with an exact citation. You keep mentioning what you've quoted, but you never actually give a page or exact quote. If you don't have the pdf, just copy it out. Three people have cut and pasted or exactly cited at least half a dozen places where the book explicitly sets out how the Mysteries work. I'm still not sure where you're getting your side from.

I love Verditus, properly developed they're absurdly powerful in straight up conflicts and can accumulate stupid amounts of money really easily. I've never come accross this problem myself, nor do I know anyone else who has.

If I've been playing it wrong all this time, I'd like to know.

Chris look at the Confraternity of Roland it says "Initiates learn the Outer Mystery, then Minor Magical Focus (swords), Reforging, Items of Quality, Verdidias Elder Runes, and Item Attunement". So it seems clear that in this it is listing that one needs to know Verdidias Magic. So could be please be clear where exactly it calls minor virtues outer mysteries?