Two questions about this for those of you who use the Hedge Magic (Revised Edition) book in sagas.
The book establishes that both Hermetics and the Hedge Wizards of a tradition may attempt to invent (Hedge Magic) Theory if it doesn't already exist.
What would that look like in terms of the seasonal experiments that would get done? Presumably they already know how their magic works... would it be a different set of 'projects' in the various Arts until they cycle through them all to integrate that into a cohesive whole?
Would non-Gifted practitioners of a tradition be able to conduct or help with this work?
In this case, I have a hybrid of both in one character -- an NPC Companion character who is a Former Apprentice (Virtue) and has learned a hedge magic tradition to replace the Hermetic magic he was learning. However, this particular tradition has no cohesive theory unifying it. Would he be able to conduct this research to provide the (Hedge Magic) Theory skill in question?
I would say you would try to work through all the standard activities, as you're trying to standardise them and formulate an underlying theory. So for a hedge witch, you'd want to do a healing potion, a curse, enchanting a flying object, etc. and get the warping points for original research and get the varied effects of experimental research.
I'd say no, as the Gift allows you to stretch your magic and go further. I suppose it comes down to how you visualise magic in Mythic Europe and hedge traditions - if it's something which rare geniuses scale the heights of, it ought to be Gifted people only researching. If you believe that enough mundane intellect can bring hedge magic to the masses (hmmm.....we're steering close to 3rd edition Ars/ Mage:The Ascension consensus reality here) then have ungifted people assist.
In the strictest sense, I don't see why not. So long as they can use the Experiment rules they should be able to contribute with the Arts/Abilities that they personally know about.
If somehow this Giftless hedge wizard has Initiated into every art/ability, there's no real reason why they can't do it themselves.
If it does require the Gift for whatever reason, cue a story where they attempt everything in their power to gain it.
Not all hedge wizards need a unified theory to practice or teach their magic. (In fact, I think the only one I wrote that has anything like it is the vitkir.) Maybe it's because of the game's focus on magi, but it seems like integrating the magic into Hermetic Magic Theory is all you can do for setting up experiments that broaden the powers of the tradition, since there isn't any way to do original research into hedge magic otherwise.
The sahirs are a special case, since they do have a way to experiment. It's easier for Gifted sahirs, because they usually have more of the Solomonic Arts to incorporate into their research, but anyone with two or more of them can develop new spells and accumulate breakthrough points, as discussed on page 43 of Cradle & Crescent.
There are more without (Hedge Magic) Theory than those with one of this kind of Abilities, but one many of them there are abilities near with that, but differents practices (Elementalist) or Traditions (Learned Magicians) change the abiility, and more, that difference makes her magic truely different in practice or effect.
There is the rule on pg 16 of Hedge Magic that basically says as much. Apparently any tradition can experiment to get there own Hedge Theory. But until they acquire MT they can't do any other experiments.
Yeah, this is basically what my starting point of the discussion was. A former apprentice spends time learning some hedge magic, but comes to realize that there is no real unifying theory the way Hermetic magic has. I was looking to see if there was a way he could basically be that tradition's Bonisagus and put one together.
My understanding is that the above is a general guideline. The solomonic sahirs, (detailed in tCatC), can conduct research but don't have a corresponding magic theory ability. On the other hand, they use 5-9 mundane academic abilities to that end for their lab totals.