Magical Focus and Intiations


I have a question that I havent been able to answer, any ideas from the forum would be greatly appreciated.
"If I already have a Major Magical Focus, and gain a Minor MF through initiation, do I lose my original MF?
What if its a minor, does that change anything?
Is it possible to gain a second/multiple MF through initiation?
If so, do they stack if appropriate?"
I have edited the above for clarity.

So the short answer (IMHO) is that you cannot gain a magical focus through initiation is you already have one, unless you sacrifice the previous focus as an ordeal in the initiation.

But it could be a potent magic which does not count as a focus.

Specifically looking at magical foci.
There is an initiation in HOH:MC for Verdi that I noticed, it gives you minor in swords. If you already had major in swords, that gets overwritten by the standard theory, which makes no sense. Bearing in mind that of course the Mystagogue simply wouldn't initiate, but say it was a focus in shields?
Basically I got asked the question, couldn't see anything that said you could acquire a second MMF at a later date, so decided to see if I simply missed something.
Any ideas on the rationale that prevents this?

Rationale is that it gets awfully complicated and overpowered if for some reason the foci overlap.

By definition, if you are focusing on something, you are excluding the rest. You might allow a broadening of the focus through initiation (such as moving from a minor focus in "swords" to a major focus in "weapons" and including shields under that), but the rules seem quite adamant about the proscription against having two separate foci.

Being a highly specialist focus, I would allow a second focus spell for a Tremere. Say that 2 Focus cannot act together (you use one or the other,not both) and there you go. Problem solved. :slight_smile: Remember that all rules in the rulebook are suggestions. The only real rule is to have a great experience with your friends. :slight_smile:

So, essentially someone is to be Initiated intoa Virtue they already have (or one which is forbidden by one they already have)?
Have you read the box Example: Darius Undergoes Initiation (TMRE p. 16-17)?
In this example the stricly linear/hierachial Legion of Mithras want to Initiate Darius with a Virtue he already has (Strong Willed) in this case). And the Legion is much more linear than any of the Verditius Confraternities appear to be.

If you haven't, could you read it and please come back to us if it doesn't solve your problem?

Hi Vespasian,

Yep, have read TMRE p16-17. That indicates that if the subject already has a virtue that the mystagogue would simply initiate something else. As I said above (badly, obviously). The question is what happens if you initiate a virtue with variations, like MMF or Puissant Art. Or indeed, something that can be taken multiple times, like improved characteristics, (or even self confident potentially).

Kevin Sides

True Faith can be taken multiple times by Mythic Companions. That could get ... interesting. Even without carrying relics or being anointed, you can get some pretty beefy Magic Resistance that way (among other things).

The character creation rules, though, only bind a character at creation. Also, they don't deal well with later system additions, like mystogogic virtue acquisition.

So, in Transylvania, if you want your redcap to be a landed noble, that's all fine and dandy, despite ArM5 sayiong its not, because later books sometimes poke special exceptions into the older books.

The answer basically is: talk with your troupe and see what they think. A definitive ruling from this group doesn't trump a seriosu chat with your fellow players. Nor would a black-and-white rule. I like to play Ars diceless, for example.

Unfortunately its not my troupe who came up with the question. Ah well. I'll tell them that by RAW it cant be done.

My own way of handling this (based on text in the Mysteries book - serf's parma applies) is that any attempt to initiate a magical focus while you already have a magical focus simply fails. You can't overwrite a focus you already have.

However, the mystagogue would know before beginning the initiation that it would fail, so the process would not be started.

There are two options, depending on the circumstances:

  1. if the petitioner wants to change to the cult-approved focus, the script would need to be modified to include an ordeal that removes the old focus. Depending on how common the focus to be lost is, a script may already exist.

Example: Corvus of Tremere wants to initiate into a Minor Focus (Ghosts) for his necromantic cult. The Cult has had many Tremere initiates in the past, so a variant script that has Ordeal: Lose Minor Focus (Certamen) already exists, and the mystagoge just goes to the cult archives and pulls out the variant.


  1. if the petitioner already has a focus that encompasses the cult-approved focus, the cult would not initiate the petitioner and would instead probably create a similar initiation that grants something else - potency being a good fall-back.

Example: Randolf of Verditius is going to initate a mystery that grants a minor focus in swords. He has a major focus in weapons. His mystagoue is impressed with how well he is already mystically aligned to the Cult's goals, and so pulls out a different script that initiates potent magic: swords instead.

Legends (Fortunata) has an initiation path where you first initiate a minor focus and then give up that focus (as an ordeal/sacrifice-thingie) to initiate a major focus that contains it.
I think that was based on an example from TMRE, but noble's parma.

Yes, I invented that mechanic for House Criamon. Well, actually I thought it already existed and contacted one of the Mysteries authors and they said "Oh, that's a good idea.", so invented subconsciously, but, yes, it's used in the initiation paths in Criamon.