integrating outer mysteries

I have a question that has been in the back of my mind for some time: What would it look like if the outer mysteries of the four mystery houses were integrated into hermetic magic via a breakthrough. How would the lives of ordinary magi change with such breakthroughs and how would it affect hermetic culture?
I am talking not just about how the culture of the order would be affected if the scripts for initiation into the outer mysteries were somehow shared widely but rather how hermetic magic might change with such integration. I ask here because I have sort of reached a wall in my own ability to think this through.
I am also not trying to propose that this is something that should happen or what cultural changes need to happen in the order for such integration to actually happen in the core setting. I am merely proposing a thought experiment. The thought experiment assumes that all of the mystery cults are unbothered by integration of the outer mystery. I know that in canon this is not true but that is not a discussion that I want to have in this thread.

I will go through what ideas I have for each outer mystery below:

The Enigma (Criamon outer mystery)
This one is mechanically relatively straightforward and overall the one I have the easiet of a time imagining integrated into mainstream hermetic magic. If the Enigma were to be integrated presumably Enigmatic wisdom becomes an ability available to all hermetic magi with no initiation needed. The ability works exactly like it already does but for all magi.
Consequences: Twilight is now on average more likely to be a positive experience, which leads to hermetic magi becoming slightly more powerful overall, as they on average tend to acquire virtues, experience points and spells from twilight episodes more often than they acquire flaws, lose xp or spells. Another significant effect is that universal access to the Enigmatic wisdom ability increases the lifespan of magi as they can increase their ability to come back from Twilight when they get old and Warping scores run high.

Verditius magic (Verditius outer mystery)
Magi can add their Craft scores to lab totals when crafting magic items, crafting an item can be done in the same season as the season dedicated to opening an item for enchantment. Making invested devices and Talismans requires less vis (modified by craft score) and S&M bonuses add the magus’ Philosophiae score. Does integration include the requirement for casting tools? I am tempted to say no. The section on house Verditius in HoH:MC suggests that the requirement for casting tools is a damage done to the magus’ gift preceding the initiation rather than an integral part of Verditius magic. I think it is most likely a flaw in Verditius magic rather than an inherent feature of being good a magic item creation.
Consequences: Magic can more easily craft magic items. Especially crafting invested items, and more importantly talismans become much easier and because of the increased lab total for enchanting magi can instill more powerful effects into their items and talismans. Another interesting consequence is that because the bonus from Philosophiae + the S&M bonus together is limited by the magus’ Magic Theory shapes and materials might become less relevant in invested items because magi can chose to rely on their score in Philosophiae instead. Talismans are an interesting case, normally S&M bonuses can be opened to provide a bonus to casting rolls for the magus who owns the talisman, does the Philosophiae bonus from Verditius magic apply here? If so then magi who have talismans can add their Philosophiae score to potentially all casting rolls as long as they have a talisman which is potentially kind of a big deal. If no then S&M bonuses will continue to be important for talismans. An interesting side effect of fully integrating Verditius magic into Hermetic magic is that magi are now encourage to learn crafts and Philosophiae. This of course puts stress on already scarce study time but it also encourages interaction with mundane craftsmen who might teach Craft abilities and it encourages a more educated culture in the order through higher Philosophiae scores.

Faerie magic (Merinita outer mystery)
A strange one. I think the first and most straightforward consequence is that hermetic magic become aligned with Faerie as well as Magic. Magi can stay in high level faerie auras without warping and can make positive use of faerie auras, changing the aura interaction table for hermetic magi (no extra botch dice for casting in faerie auras etc.). Perhaps everyone gets access to the new R/D/T’s that are normally restricted to Merinita magi.
Consequences: A wave of new covenant foundings in faerie auras. Since high-level Magic auras are usually already claimed by hermetic magi or something nasty enough to prevent magi from settling, suitable unclaimed covenant sites are getting scare. However once hermetic magic is aligned to Faerie, faerie auras become viable covenant sites. The new Until and Bargain duration spells makes magically binding pacts and deals more enforceable and might change hermetic culture however I doubt that many magi would consent to deals enforced by such spells. It might find a niche application in hermetic law-enforement though (Punishment is to have a Bargain spell cast upon the offender with the Bargain being an agreement not to commit further crimes or to abide by a ruling set out by the tribunal). Have I missed something?

The Heartbeast (Bjornaer outer mystery)
This one is causing me a lot of troubles. When integrated every magus can learn the heartbeast ability and thus are both wizard and animal. However can they still take on familiars if they chose to learn the integrated Heartbeast? Does integration mean that all magi automatically have a Heartbeast even if they cannot change into the shape of it? i.e. Does one get a Heartbeast the moment they gain the ability to increase the Heartbeast ability or the moment that they actually do increase the ability? Does integration of this ability prevent magi from having familiars? Does it allow magi to have both a heartbeast and a familiar?
Consequences: The consequences are highly dependent on how integration of the Heartbeast interacts with the familiar rules. I cannot determine which way this will go on that front. However magi will more universally become associated with animals and shapeshifters which will affect the public perception of wizards (but probably neither for better or worse).

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Most of the mystery cults are balanced. Either the cult power isn't better than most +1 virtues, or if the power is strong, there's a cost.

Criamon, their cult power is amazing, but they are sort of obliged to play as a nutty guy who if around today would tell everyone that his favourite shows are by David Lynch. That's a big cost.....

Merinita their bonuses aren't that much more powerful that +1, unless there's a lot of interaction in faerie auras.

Bjornaer. Awesome power, offset by no familiar.

Verditus. The cult power is arguably worth a +3 virtue. The need for the item focus can get them in trouble if the SG wants it to, however, it's not much of a problem. I've always felt Verditis is the house than can make the most powerful "on paper" magi.

Letting people get Criamon or Verditus mysteries is a serious power boost, and I'd imagine annoy any player who was thinking of making a magi from that house.

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Possible effects of the Integration of Verditius Magic is talked about in TME page 140.

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In order to have faerie magic as it currently stands you have to have a point of faerie warping or some other link (like blood or upbringing) to faerie. Would that requirement translate with full integration?

a very interesting question i forgot to address. I personally have no idea but my gut feeling is that the answer is no. The reason why is because being opened to standard hermetic magic does not give any magic-associated warping. If faerie magic was integrated into hermetic magic it would just become a part of standard magic. I also think that in retrospect the warping point gained from being opened to faerie magic looks a lot like an ordeal. However I am by no means unwilling to reconsider. Do you think that the requirement ought to translate with full integration?

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I don't think the Initiation gives a Warping Point. I believe the core book explains that it requires that you be touched by Faerie in some way. So if you don't have an appropriate trait, then your parens gives you a Warping Point to make it work. This sounds more like a requirement giving +1 to the Initiation or something like that.


For the sake of the example lets say that the integration of heartbeast has happened because a bjornaer PC integrated his/her heartbeast ability into hermetic theory. Would you allow that PC to take on a familiar? would you treat the integrated ability differently like reducing the level for MUCo(An) spells or changing the guidelines instead or some other thing I haven't thought of?

I agree that dropping these integrations unto a campaign as a surprise would be doing mystery cult players a disservice. However I am try to base my assumptions on that not happening. Either because the players are the ones doing the integration or because they are okay with it happening. I should say that I am not planning to drop these integrations into my saga this is a pure thought-experiment, because I am curious how integration of the outer mysteries might affect hermetic magic and culture.

one thing that will happen is that if any mystery cult's outer mystery is integrated the other 3 will be up in arms and possibly threatening to secede from the order...

The inability to have a familiar is a sacrifice made in the Heartbeast Initiation, rather than something inherent to having a Heartbeast. So you probably could have a Heartbeast and a familiar - but only if a) the new method doesn't include that sacrifice (which it probably wouldn't if you've managed to sidestep the need for initiation at all) and b) you've never undergone the old initiation process previously.


HoH:MC on page 18 says "A magus cannot successfully complete the Ritual of Twelve Years if he has ever bound a familiar, even if the familiar is now dead.", so I suspect there's an incompatibility. Perhaps the cords are used to "bind" the ancestral spirit instead of a familiar?


That's specific to that ritual and initiation, so it doesn't prove that it is entirely impossible. However, as it's the only way it's been done for centuries, from the time of the Founders, it's likely to be very hard. After all, Birna accepted the limitation for not only herself but her whole line despite being friends with Merinita, who knew more about binding familiars than anyone before or since. Any initiation without that limit should likely face a significant negative value for the sympathetic bonus.

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Page 24 of HoH:MC says:

The Ritual of Twelve Years , like other Mysteries of Initiation, leaves a scar on the soul of the Initiated Magus; Birna, having no personal desire to bond a familiar, considered it to be an acceptable loss when she invented the ritual.

From that I get that Birna didn't care enough for us to necessarily conclude that avoiding that flaw would have been incredibly difficult.

There's also a story seed (pg 27) in which a member of Clan Ilfetu is initiating ungifted people into the Heartbeast, which is noted as requiring a different ritual as the inability to bind a familiar is only appropriate for Hermetic Magi.

So it probably is possible to devise an alternative ritual without that flaw - just difficult (and Bjornaer are a quasi-religious cult, so deviation from their Founder's ritual has a high chance of going down badly amongst at least some elements of the House).


In our old campaign we rewrote the script to exclude the sacrifice. I dont' remember what we substituted. This causes something of a rift within the House as these "young" magi started training apprentices with familiars.

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Would you allow magi trained under integrated Verditius magic to cast magic without casting tools? I think that the requirement for casting tools looks a lot like an ordeal flaw too, similarly to the loss of ability to bind a familiar and the faerie warping point gained by Bjornaer and merinita respectively. But what about hubris?

I would like to know because I am interested in how hermetic magic might develop over time.

From my point of view, integration of the Criamon outer mystery in particular is most likely as the ability to better comprehend twilight is of immediate interest to all magi, and because house Criamon are quite willing to let people dabble in their mystery and unlikely to take offense if someone tries it out and decides that the deeper mysteries are not for them.

I also think that the Enigmatic Wisdom ability suits the overall wizard theme pretty well so that it could be implemented into standard hermetic magic without changing the aesthetic of the order of Hermes too much.

@jason72 did refer to TME p.140 A New World Order of Hermes. TME is mainly about options, how to develop your saga. If you introduce that New World Order there, you get Verditius Magic without the need for casting tools in your saga, typically together with a thorough reorganization of the Order.

Would I do that? Only for a very specific saga: not before the late 14th century, with The Gift having become very rare, Longevity rituals no longer working, and the few remaining magi deeply integrated - typically via intermediate companions - into modern society.