Learning supernatural abilities "across" Realms

Several supernatural abilities can originate from multiple Realms. Can these be taught "across" Realms? For example, Second Sight can be Divine, Magical, Faerie, or Infernal. Could a character with Faerie Second Sight teach it to a character with True Faith - who would thus learn "Divine" Second Sight?

I have the impression this question might have already been answered, but I cannot find the answer...
Edit: alas, I had asked the question myself here, fifteen years ago :slight_smile: Only two people answered (Xavi, Erik Dahl) as the question was part of a larger discussion, but for what's worth both agreed that supernatural abilities could be taught "across" Realms.

I think this answers your question but the answer is not quite explicit. From p63 of Core, last paragraph above the line:

The Gift allows characters to learn Supernatural Abilities in play (see page 166). However, The Gift is associated with the Realm of Magic, and thus only allows characters to learn Supernatural Abilities associated with that realm.

I read this as meaning the teacher’s realm alignment must be Magic for the gift and, by extension, Divine for True Faith, Fairy for Sympathies, and Infernal for a point of infernal warping.

I am not sure I would read it that way.

The text says that if you have the Gift (and neither True Faith, adequate Fairy Rank etc.) you learn supernatural abilities associated with Magic. So, if you do learn Second Sight from a teacher, it will be associated with Magic. But the question is: can one learn Second Sight associated with Magic from a teacher who has Second Sight associated with another Realm, such as Faerie?

Note that the question is not just about "the first 5xp". After thinking about it, I'd tend to say yes, because a) there's no explicit exception and b) for simplicity. But I was curious about the general view and/or explicit rulings hidden away in some obscure supplement or erratum.

I would say no, cross-realm teaching is not possible. That is ny general read of that section and how learning these things should work.

I would say this is something the troupe or SG should define for a particular game depending on the kinds of stories they want.


Merinita magi can't learn their mystery unless they are touched by faerie in someway.
Surely being taught a supernatural skill by a Faerie aligned tescher, so that the student gets faerie aligned Second Sight, even though they have the Magical Gift would count.

Are there Realm alignment penalties for learning a supernatural skill of a different Realm?

I definitely take the line from page 63 as only being about the alignment of any Supernatural Ability you learn from scratch via the Gift (i.e. getting 5xp in it from Teaching - Penalties), not about more general cross realm teaching.

I'd allow cross realm teaching (and the realm of the teacher wouldn't affect the result - from example, someone who had Faerie Second Sight could teach a Gifted person with sufficient Teaching Total, and the Gifted person's new ability would be Magic aligned).

  • Firstly, I'm not aware of anything prohibiting it
  • Secondly, I don't think there's any fundamental reason it shouldn't work - Faerie Second Sight and Magic Second Sight are doing much the same thing, just drawing their "power" from a different place
  • Thirdly, adding restrictions feels like it would add unnecessary book-keeping.

There is RoP:F p.118 about Faerie Doctors:

Faerie doctors who have The Gift instead of being a Mythic Companion can choose one Supernatural Ability without needing the corresponding Virtue: for faeire doctors this is usually Curse-Throwing. Gifted characters can learn Supernatural Abilities as described on page 166 of Ars Magica Fifth Edition. Their favored abilities are Curse-Throwing, Dowsing, Summoning and Second Sight; the scores in these do not penalize the Source Quality for learning other Favored Abilities. ...

So people with The Gift are clearly not limited to Favored Abilities from the Magic Realm! But because of RoP:F p.116 Learning Faerie Abilities, they need to acquire a good Faerie Rank (P.103) to advance in these.

This broad example undermines ArM5 p.63 above.

It does not. It is a CharGen rule allowing the free ability for gifted companions to be aligned to another realm if they meet that realm's criteria as well. It does not allow a person to take a faerie aligned ability with only the Gift.

Just as characters with The Gift may learn Magical Supernatural Abilities, characters with True Faith may learn Supernatural Abilities associated with the Divine realm. (RoP:tD p.47)

Any characters who are strongly aligned to the Faerie realm can learn Faerie Supernatural Abilities. This works exactly like Gifted characters learning Magic Abilities... (RoP:F p.116)

This study activity follows the same rules as for magi learning magical Supernatural Abilities (ArM5, page 166) (RoP:tI p.126)

Even though the core book isn't very explicit about this on p.166 (more so on p.63), all the other three realms' books seem to agree pretty strongly that the rules on p.166 of the core book are specifically for learning Magic-realm stuff with the Gift.

Now, once you have it, could you learn from someone with a different type of the same thing? Could someone with Faerie Second Sight teach someone with Magic Second Sight? This uses the rules on p.164-165 rather than p.166, and those rules are silent on this issue. I could see arguments either way. I would suggest each troupe decide.

Quite - though your "realm's criteria" can be weak, like in the example (see RoP:F p.117) being trained by a faerie doctor uncle from birth - even if that uncle is un-Gifted and not aligned to Magic. This also allows the pupil to later learn the other Supernatural Abilities of faerie doctors from them.

And thus, it undermines your:

How does this undermine needing Magic realm for the Gift? Being trained in a Faerie tradition gives you several Favored Abilities. Now having access to more Faerie Doctor "faerie-granted supernatural powers" because you've been trained in the tradition of a Faerie Doctor should be true, whether you have the Gift or not, right?

Also, all those Favored Abilities if you are Gifted are available through Magic, since this is now no longer the standard Mythic-Companion version.

It doesn't. But it undermines, that to teach a Supernatural Ability to a Gifted person you need to be aligned to Magic.

But it isn't. An un-Gifted faerie doctor needs to acquire each "faerie doctor" Virtue (Curse-Throwing, Dowsing, Summoning, Second Sight) separately with Virtue points or by initiation: he cannot be taught some by expending xp. This is the same as for un-Gifted Folk Witches.

How so? Where does it say Gifted Faerie Doctors are not learning from Gifted Faerie Doctors?

I do think the statement is a bit off, though: to teach a Supernatural Ability to a Gifted Person via the Gift, your Supernatural Ability needs to be aligned to Magic. There is no reason you couldn't teach a Divine thing to someone with True Faith and the Gift, for instance.

Ah, yes, I see what you're saying there, with it being done as Mythic Companions using extra points of Virtues.

The important thing is that they need not.

I missed that. Where is that stated? Or is this being assumed?

RoT:P p.117 describes, that a faerie doctor is typically educated by an uncle or such, who is also a faerie doctor. It is nowhere stated, that this uncle needs to be Gifted - so in general he will not be.

However we have (RoP:F p.118):

Faerie doctors who have The Gift instead of being a Mythic Companion can choose one Supernatural Ability without needing the corresponding Virtue: for faeire doctors this is usually Curse-Throwing. Gifted characters can learn Supernatural Abilities as described on page 166 of Ars Magica Fifth Edition. Their favored abilities are Curse-Throwing, Dowsing, Summoning and Second Sight; the scores in these do not penalize the Source Quality for learning other Favored Abilities. ...

So no matter whether the uncle who instructed him was Gifted or not, a Gifted faerie doctor can thereafter learn his further favored Supernatural Abilities like Curse-Throwing, Dowsing, Summoning and Second Sight by xp.

None of this removes the need for Sympathies enough to learn Faerie Magic arts/abilities and my reading is that in character gen they have both and this is merely allowing them to use the "you can spend xp on one Sup Ability in CharGen without buying the virtue" benefit of being gifted as allowing it to be spent on a faerie-aligned ability because they meet those criteria as well. And, yes, favored abilities are gained from all the realms and some dual-realm-aligned folks have both the Gift and meet the requirements of another realm.


Also correct tmk.

Wait a moment. For all Favored Abilities you have to pick them up via Virtues if you want to start with them. It's with Opening the Gift that you don't need to pay for them as Virtues to acquire them at game start. So having to buy them when you build the character is consistent with Favored Abilities rather than showing they don't have Favored Abilities.

This one paragraph is pretty sloppy organized. It isn't even clear what "their" refers to in the bit about Favored Abilities. The paragraph moves between a couple things, and then it mentioned Favored Abilities right after referencing something that doesn't itself account for Favored Abilities. It could be that these Favored Abilities are for the non-Mythic as well as the Gifted. And with that sloppiness, it could even be for all Faerie Doctors.

Come to think of it, are there any explicit Magic traditions that have Favored Abilities? There definitely are for Faerie, Divine, and Infernal. Generally Magic has Opening the Gift instead of Favored Abilities; Favored Abilities are generally other realms' versions of Opening the Gift. But I don't recall anything saying there cannot be Magic Favored Abilities; I just don't recall seeing one ever pointed out. Has anyone?

So it isn't stated and I didn't miss it. This is an assumption. If this assumption runs into a contradiction with a rule, it doesn't show the rule is wrong. Rather, it is a classic proof by contradiction that the assumption is incorrect. Now, things around this topic seem to be written a little messily. So it's not like we can so easily guarantee what certain rules allow and disallow, so there is some wiggle room. Interestingly, on my own I'd figured it was one of two other possibilities: Magic Faerie Doctors or the Gifted having Faerie stuff, neither matching your assumption; but I knew I had nothing to back either up, just that they could fit.