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).