Initiation Script Experimentation expanded system

Morning Neil, no miracolously I have been getting up at six for some weeks, even though work no longer strictly necessitates it. Just a hard habit to break... Unfortuantely I still tend to go to bed at 3am. Oh well, it seems i dod not need much sleep!

Yes, I know what you mean. My main point though would be that we never actually specified Initiation Scripts for most cults - and the ones we do give our examples, and we do specify that others are available. So really it si the SG who decides what the Script says. the only reason in play to vary it would be as part of a story, or because you thought your SG was being overly sadistic. On Experimnting. I'd apply the Experiemtnation Table result to any Virtue initiated: but the result would not be clear until you actually initiated someone with it...

In the game world however the capacity to experiment would be very useful, and common, and account for the proliferation of variant Scripts. It was not considered vital by me when we were writring TMRE because I thought the way the game works, and meta-game structures, would make it less important, as stated above.

Still interesting and potentially useful rules. I'd possibly require a story for any major change to convince the mystagogue, but that is just me...

cj x

Fine to see that our argument is settled. Sorry if I may have overreacted, and I should have mentioned the sidebar example immedieately, but in the back of my mind I had a fuzzy but distinct memory that somewhere the text justified my interpretation, and then our argument happened and it seemed like you wanted to sadistically snatch away one of my preferred rules for no good reason.

Sympathy with the cultic goals is one thing and is all good. So the fact that the general nature of the Virtues and Flaws should be in sympathy with the Cult ideology. This indeed makes a lot of sense (unless the cult's ideology happens to be "let's build the Unified Magical Theory of Mysteries" as it may be with the Children of Hermes). What made balk me, is the following step, where you go from "we should all have similar Virtues and Sacrifices" to the Borg-like "we should all follow the same hierarchical authoritarian path, with the same sequence of Virtues and Sacrifices. Why some characters (and players) may be content with the latter, it only makes sense that some characters (and players) who wish the former model, would go and seek another solution. So it's unreasonable to expect that only one type of cult does exist.

First, it is unreasonable to expect that all mages would wish to overspecialize. Call to balance one's magic is a worthwhile pursuit, too. Moreover, the gross sacrifice of Fire power might not be central to the cult theme, just an idiosyncrasy of the original script developer (e.g. it is not a Water Cult, it is an Earth or Animal cult). And last, as I see it, the Sacrifice, to be mystically worthwhile, should be balanced: not too trivial, so that its presence will be felt in the mage's life, otherwise there is no sacrifice and no bonus, but not too severe, as to cripple the character's magic (the Oath! the Oath!) and be out of balance with the boon one receives. To a Water mage, dificiency with Fire is a relevant, but not severe, loss. To a Fire mage it is exaggerated, and it is right to petition or quest for a substitution of equal value: e.g. limited magic resistance in Fire, or whatever. Given the large selection of Flaws that ArM books offer, it is generally possible, for every given ordeal, to find a coupe of substitute flaws that are of comparable "weight" to the original and are still in sympathy wth the cult's theme.

In the end, it is what should matter, that the adept's magic and personality ends up following a common theme. The cult leaders pushing for a fascistic "we all should look exactly the same!" not only is distasteful to RP, but it also make little sense in terms of the typical hermetic mindset, pragmatic and jealous of one's independence. of course, submissive mages in search of a sadistic and authoritarian cult leader may be present, hence the justification for some cults like that, but it is unreasoble to assume or require that such a model would dominate the cult landscape.

Hearkening back to the original thread topic, a fellow forumite suggested a sensible cap to my script experimentation house rules, namely that the total research bonus should not exceed the mystagogue's Mystery Cult Lore. it makes sense to me, what do you think about it... this way an adept (say MCL 2-3) pushing for creating his own personalized script would have a definite, but not overwhelming, bonus and a dedicated, but not fanatical mystagogue (MCL 4-5) would have some definite leeway to develop new scripts, without having the huge possible bonuses that you fear would unbalance the system. Of course, any cult member that is serious about founding his own branch of the cult by pushing for variant scripts and new virtues should do well to get a MCL "script experimentation" specialization.

Reopening an old topic because I've had an idea. You were going for rules where each individual script you have may give you a bonus, a bit like lab texts. But what do you think of using the "research library" bonuses from Covenants, leading you to try to amass a library of scripts rather than bicker about what a given script contributes to your experiments.

I'll have to check "Covenants" and think it through - but my first thought is to ask why you want to bulk out the library of scripts...
We went to some extent to encourage sagas to take Initiation slowly, to use them as opportunities for stories - not to batch process characters through a series of Initiations.

(Of course, if you do need to create a batch of Initiated NPCs, then by all means use standard scripts)

-or- are you thinking that the Experimentation to be based on existing Scripts? AFAICR Experimentation for an Initiation Script is creating a script from scratch - the main input variable being whether the Mystagogue knows the desired Virtue or not...

I'll have a look when I get home..

This thread was proposing a method where having access to related scripts gave you a bonus when experimenting to invent new scripts even if they were not adequate for direct modification. In my opinion, the proposed bonuses were too high so I was offering a more moderate alternative. I am OK with the way experimentation works in the rules.

Actually, there's one thing that I still wonder about. When you create your own Mystery from scratch, you are supposed to come up with your own Cult Lore. But how are you going to learn it? Can you just collect Lore books from random cults and mash them together? IIRC the example in the book never explained how the new cult's leader achieved his score of 9.

The bonuses aren't that big. IIRC, they're on the order of +4 if you have access to something of the scale of the library of Durenmar.

yes - collect and randomize would work... You don't really have a (workable) Cult Lore until you have invented your own Scripts using it, and that takes a decent score to achieve, so by then you must have the hang of it.

How to get XP? Exposure & Practice! Or you start in some Cult, and by dint of private study (Practice & Exposure) rather than Teaching, Training or Book Study, you increase your Cult Lore in a unique private path until the rest declare you a Heretic & expel you - at which point you have your own Cult (if anyone follows you).

The example leader with score 9 probably has Affinity with Cult Lore (either Initiated, or more likely, he was gifted by chance to have an aptitude for this path), and Puissant Cult Lore.

Having glimpsed the new rules for aiding research with relevant items of mystical lore from AM preview, I feel that my proposed free-form research approach to Initation scripts is somewhat more supported in the system.

After all, if Insights may be used to help integration of fully non-Hermetic magic into half-hermetic magic (i.e. requiring an hermetic Virrtue to perform), I fail to see why the same system couldn't be used to modify existing Initation scripts for magic that is already half-hermetic (i.e. mystery Virtues). That system looks quite similar to what I was trying to do, even if the numbers might need some fine tuning.

Probably the topic will get clearer to discuss after AM comes out, since I'm starting to feel that HoH:MC, TMRE, and AM form three parts of the same concept: i.e. how to expand Hermetic magic.