Learning Leadworker Virtue

I have a player whose Tremere necromancer is about 12 years out of apprenticeship and wants to learn Leadworking. He noticed that Monica Ierne of Tremere in Against the Dark hs this virtue and he wants to travel from Scotland to Transylvania to ask her to teach him.

I generally do not discourage my players as long as their choices can fit into the story and would like him to be able to acquire it not later in life. I know there are other necromancy secrets such as the Caananite Necromancy from Ancient Magic and the Disciples of the Worm from Mysteries. I do not want to spend too much story time on this away from the rest of the saga but I want there to be some roleplaying time involved.

My thoughts are that Monica Ierne would not have the time to teach Leadworking. It is a virtue learned during apprenticeship. Therefore, it may have to be learned via a mystery (ordeal/sacrafice), but I am not sure that Tremere do that sort of stuff with the whole anti-cult thing. I think Caananite Necromancy takes the character away from his hermetic necromancy and we do not have the lab time to dedicate to a breakthrough because "Fimbulwinter is Coming" along with The Spider and his traitorous Damhan Duidsen.

I was wondering about Monica sending him to someone who is a Disciple of the Worm and include Leadworker as on of the cult's lower virtues. He could then have to go through an ordeal in some catacombs (he is Italian Born), face a series of spirits and then obtain the virtue without 15 years of exposure to it. Or someone could teach it to him.

My core questions are:
Can Leadworker be learned later in life and how long would it take?
If Monica Ierne of Tremere taught him, what would be a good price from this battle maga?
Could Leadworker be learned via a mystery?
Would a Tremere particpate in a Mystery?
Is Disciples of the Worm the right cult to go to?
Any more thoughts or comments?

On your core questions
Can Leadworker be learned later in life and how long would it take?
Yes indeed, have a look at the bonisagus part of True Lineages, it details how to pass on virtues from break throughs. You could use this mechanism.

If Monica Ierne of Tremere taught him, what would be a good price from this battle maga?
As s senior Tremere, it is her duty to help the house and so tutoring him might fulfill this obligation. I'd personally have the PC have to do some diplomacy with other senior tremere and convince them its in the best interests of the house. They then speak to her and approve it. Of course, these senior tremere will want to see some benefit from the hard work of Monica Lerne. They might therefore ask the PC to do something for them that the leadworker virtue might make feasible.

Could Leadworker be learned via a mystery?

Would a Tremere particpate in a Mystery?
Absolutely, just because they are organised and hierarchical doesn't mean that they ain't mystical.

Is Disciples of the Worm the right cult to go to?
Tricky question. They don't exist to teach necromancy. They are a cult that uses Necromancy to learn and hoard forgotten magic. They expect total loyalty and being in the cult would be a commitment far beyond just taking an initiation and learning a virtue. He would then be part of a very secretive, paranoid and dangerous group. They would expect things of him, not least his participation in cultic events, endeavours and rituals. Mystery cults should be a big commitment. The disciples of the Worm are however perfect if the PC is up for this and are a really cool cult to boot.

Any more thoughts or comments?
If you have room in the plot, definitely introduce the Disciples, they almost certainly keep an eye on any known necromancers and might set some tests to see whether the PC is worth inducting.

Using this out of its stated context - namely to teach breakthroughs in Hermetic magic, which the teacher has made herself - requires at the very least a troupe decision and a house rule.

But yes, it is a mechanism one can fall back to if desired.


To be more accurate, a lot of virtue can be learned through an initiation. Usually it means being member of a mystery cult. However, there are several House which acts as cult: Merinita, Bjoarner, Verditius, Criamon.
Considering the level of organisation of House Tremere, the utility of Leadworking and the fact that it is a legacy from a internal tradition, it is reasonable to think that there is some Initiation script and people knowing about it in the House. Up to you to decide how secret they are willing to keep this initiation. If the mage is a known necromancer in the House, he probably knows people who knows about it, but never mention it to him.
So once the mage will find the right person, he will have to undergo the initiation. Up to you to define the script and the ordeal he will have to go through. Does it require swearing a Oath ? Considering that he is already member of the house Tremere, it is almost redundant. But showing that you are worth this secret by sacrificing something important to you sounds very much in line with the House thinking: greatness requires sacrifice, how far are you willing to go for the House (familiar, talisman, love for a close one - that could make you forget your duty) ?

Thanks. These are all good answers. While I would like to introduce the Disciples, I think there is already too many subplots going on in my campaign and I am struggling to keep them active with our limited playing schedule. (the Holiday break and work combined for 2 1/2 month hiatus).

I think the pre-hermetic roots of the virtue are a good reason to require initiation and Monica can direct him to right mystigogue (sp). He does not have a familiar or talisman (not a big lab player). He does have an estate with a vis source that he reclaimed from an evil uncle and it is not known whether the House knows about it or not. He also has wardship of Alan of Galoway's bastard after Alan was killed by faerie imposters (15 years earlier than his historic death). I will work the players on an initiation script to keep them informed. I like this better than going the long way using the breakthrough rules. AS long as I can get 2 to 3 scenes of roleplaying out of it we are good. The Tremere in Loch Leglean will be wiped out soon enough if the story keeps going as planned.

On another note, does anybody have any thoughts about whether the Damhan Duidsen would be in league with Muspelli or a way to combine these two as antagonist?

On the surface of it, the Damhadh-Duidsan from RoP:Infernal are set pit as infernalist magi with Giant Blood being common, whereas the Muspelli are firmly aligned to Magic giants, and all become giant-sized in their etin-mod. As Muspelli can remove infernal auras and replace them with trolldomur auras, there are strong reasons why the Duidsan would be angered by Muspelli. On the other hand, some Muspelli (like the followers of Gullveig) try to take leadership positions in local hedge magic groups and could force an alliance. The Damhadh-Duidsan from HoH:Societas are Hermetic Ex Miscellanea with the possibility of infernal powers, so would need persuasion that what the Muspellia wanted to do isn't going to automatically bring down the wrath of the quaesitors.

Adding to all this, the presence of The Gift without having Parma Magica or an easy way of granting "Unaffected by the gift" makes magical collaboration difficult. It may be possible to have them work together if there's a third group, Magical giants with Might who are unaffected by the Gift, who want to work with their descendants (Damhadh-Duidsan) and welcome back old family members (The giants the Muspelli follow) and act as intermediaries trying to make the plan of a world safe for Giants happen.

I do not see reason why it should not be learnt later in life... I guess it would be an initiation, and that would take the time of an initiation. It is a minor virtue, so I guess it would take one or two season (it depends on the initiation, it could be make a object in lead for the first season, then initiation using that object the second season, that last season with the initiatior

I would say : they are both part of Tremere, which is an army... the price can be paid to the house itself... for exemple one or two seasons more than usual to the cause of the House Army

Why not

Certainly if it could help for necromancy purpose, knowing that they love using ghosts to fight... and whatever house you are, you can enter a mystery.

Virtues (major or minor) can also be directly taught, rather than initiated: this is how parens pass on their magical styles to their apprentices. Functionally, the rules are similar to an Initiation script (15 for a minor, 21 for a major), but uses (Teaching + Com + 3 + solo teaching bonus 6 + any other bonuses) rather than Cult Lore, the teacher has to have the virtues, and there are the regular penalties for already having Hermetic virtues (3 for minor, 9 for major). You can bring that cost down by adding in hermetic Flaws that the teacher has (-3 for minor, -9 for major).

Theoretically, I like these rules (as outlined in Apprentices, pg. 41), as the line between Ability and Virtue is somewhat arbitrary. However, the levels mean that you can really only teach a minor or two, unless you start adding in major hermetic flaws - which is a bit of a asshat move.

Note that you can ALSO pick up minor virtues from your paren (or anyone you train with, actually) by training with them for 12 seasons - that's how apprentices pick up their house Virtues.

Apprentices p.40ff Teaching Hermetic Virtues, a subchapter of Hermetic Apprenticeship, is limited to Hermetic Virtues.

Yes, there is some confusion about House Virtues in the chapter, which are called Hermetic on p.42, but by ArM5 p.30 need not be: just think of Self-Confident for a Tytalus. And the teacher of the Hermetic Virtue is only "typically an apprentice's parens" (p.40f) - so troupes have quite some wiggle space. This wiggle space is further stressed by Matt Ryan, its author, but also limited there by


Let me just say, this, possibly combined with the material from Dies Irae, would be fantastic. :slight_smile: Now it's a party.