MC: Becoming for the young magus

I am not yet through with reading Mystery Cults, but stumbled over one thing about Becoming on p.93.

If the true age of a Merinita initiated to Becoming is 35 years and below, and if that magus has - as plausible - not yet contracted Decrepitude, the ritual of Transforming the Body needs only a Lab Total of 0 or below, hence becomes trivial to perform.

So initiating Becoming early just to perform Transforming the Body at once would open a way for several groups of Merinita magi to eschew Longevity Rituals and the continuous Warping resulting from them completely, thus reaching otherwise unheard of ages again. (Anybody still recalls the 327 years of the half-faerie maga Caitlin Suil Taine from Lion of the North, p.77?)
Yes, a transformed young magus would loose quite some flexibility, as he has to spend a Confidence point if wishing to exert himself when casting spontaneous spells. But I think he would consider his new, unaging body as a bargain, still.

Of course it is SG prerogative to make Becoming available to young PC magi or not. But seeing the overall flexibility of the initiations in House Merinita, plus the possibility of self-initiation by 'Walking the Path' in faerie forests, I still wonder whether giving the possibility of such early Transforming the Body is intentional or not.

Kind regards,


I noticed the potential advantages of a partial performance of the Becoming ritual myself, and discussing them a bit with the Author. It's his opinion that you can postpone completing the ritual, but doing so indefintely may have negative consequences (as in, you get mad; interstingly, that's what one of the rumour about Quendalon's eventual fate says it happened), but he wouldn't enforce this strictly; if player and ST agree on it, the character may use partial becoming as an immortality method for centuries on end, and so indeed Caitlin-like characters may be possible.

Partial Becoming has its relevant advantages as an immortality method: Transforming the Body is not a permanent magical effect stopping aging, but a partial transoformation in an inherently immortal creature, so no ongoing accumulation of Warping. OTOH, you lose access to fatigue, which for a mage focused on spontaneous magic (as many Merinita are likely to do, since their attitude to magic seems rather free-form, check Virtues like Glamour, Animae magic, and Faerie-Raised Magic) may be devastating. Hence, any mage that undergoes this would be wise also to seek Mysteries initiating (or self-initiate) in Virtues like Diedne Magic (which now, with the opportunity to self-initiate, may be gotten as completely disjunct from actual links to druidic heritage), Faerie-Raised Magic, and Potent Magic in one's specialization(s). I wonder whether a character that has Transformed the Spirit, too, might expend an extra amount of faerie might points in lieu of a Confidence point.

One may or may not choose to Transform the Spirit, precociously, too. There are relevant advantages (completely immune to Warping, so it's the most airtight immortality method available so far; you get Faerie Might for penetration and magic resistance, you lose Gift's social penalties) and drawbacks (spells are now aligned to the faerie realm, with its harsher penalties in divine and infernal auras; faerie might points must be expended to power spells; mage is subject to faerie wards; character loses access to Parma Magica).

What a smart character should postpone as much as she can is to Transform the Mind, given its crippling penalties to learn new Abilities, do spontaneous magic, and learn new spells. It's never worth it. IMO completing the transformation should be the hallmark that the character has exausted any zest for life, exploration, and research, and is ready to retreat to Arcadia.

Given the free-form, unstructured nature of Merinita mysteries, it might acutally be possible for a bright, precocious young mage, only a few years out of apprenticeship, and totally eschew the need for a mainstream Longevity Ritual. Even more so since Merinita Mysteries, differently from other House Mystery Cults, do not have strict Merinita Lore thresghold requirements for initiation. Yet another demonstration that spontaneity pays at enlightenment: take this, Criamon 8)

Whether it would be advisable to do so depends on whether the character would find the features and consequences of becoming more of a solace or a burden. We should not forget that other, non-House Mysteries detailed in TMRE may offer other immortality methods which may be of comparable benefit to Becoming and might be potentially accessible and ideologically compatible with Merinita ideology: eg. Alchemy and Theurgy Mysteries are especially likely to do so. Certainly Becoming looks on average more interesting than the only known alternative immortality methods, Immortality of the Forest, with its crippling residency requirements, and the Criamon Body Path, with its unsufferable behavioral cult-like restrictions. It is especially interesting to characters with access to Virtues that help offset its restrictions to spontaneous magic. Other Merinitas might prefer self-initiate Unaging, or look to non-Merinita Mysteries, for prolonging their lifespan.

Hrm Wanderer in my opinion the fact that Becoming is the only true immortality method is something the designers of the game intended. I think that Becoming is something that is not so lighly taken and is noit so easy to stop one started. In my Saga i would say as long as the magus is no true fearie, he gains warping points für every year after the body ritual, because to the limit of essencial nature.
Anoter thing that i have to say is the fact that with the later rituals you CAN actually learn new spells and abilitys, its not so hard to make these later rituals.

For me it seems that you only look on numbers ans maths, but not on the philosophic and magical sides of such a transformation. I hate the word, but in my stomache there is a feeling of powergaming-thoughts.

While I can't really speak to the designer's intention (only having been a playtester) I'm of the opinion that the other metods of immortality presented are more "powergamer friendly"

At some level of warping any double botch will send a character into permanent twilight. Situations that require two or more botch dice can be minimized by using non-fatiguing spont magic (which becomes practical at advanced ages), mastered spells, and a strong golden cord. If the character never double botches they never leave the game.

The powergamer's question is "Are the penalties from the full use of beccoming less onerous than the penalties suffered from avoiding botch dice?"

I would refrain discussing it till we get TMRE, since it is plain that it will contain alternative immortality methods (a sidebar in the Criamon chapter states so, and so does the blurb) which may be equally as effective. It is my strong expectation that Theurgist have developed a magical form of Becoming to Transform into a spirit.

Becoming is a Mystery Virtue, so in its own limited field it shatters the limitations of hermetic magic, as does any other Mystery. The ritual just work by piecemeal reworking the character's essential nature, that's the reason there's no Warping. Free to Houserule as you like, but I suggest you not to do it in a way that enforces penalties that make no sense, from the system's logic: eg. Tally an effective Warping point a year, even if they aren't really warp and do not count for purposes of Twilight. After the rech an effective score of 10 (counted like an Ability), the character is forced to complete ritual or go mad. That seems to me more respectful of the ritual's nature.

Take into account that I've a strong sympathy for freeform magic systems, and hence I do like prefer characters that are spontaneous-magic oriented. Therefore I would look for ways to minimize the crippling penalties of the full ritual to magical creativity. My character would share my preferences (say "Diedne Theurgist Merinita").

First of all, it is my opinion that the average Hermetic magus would have a cold, cynical approach to any available immortality method, coldly considering the benefits and drawbacks of any, since in the Hermetic outlook the drive to self-realization would be paramount, which includes prolonging own lifespan as most as possible, which ensures more time for magical research, discovery, realizing one's goals, etc.

It is only the most fanatical that would immedietely rush to shed one's coil and go into Final Twilight, Great Beastdom, Guardian Spirit, becoming a faerie or spirit, etc. Hence, what you call "powergaming approach" would be IMO the IC attitude of the average magus. Sure, the ideology of the mage would have a significant influence, but I can easily see a nature-oriented maga examining the respective value of seeking the Becoming Initiation vs. the Immortlaity of the Forest Initiation. I see considerations about the effectiveness of magical methods about delaying or avoiding aging and Warping (which are perfectly recognizable in-game effects) as quite natural IC. Mages talk all the time about how improving longevity rituals and the like. Typically it's only nuts like Criamon that wax poetic about getting into Final Twilight. Same consideration about Becoming the spirit and shedding one's Gift. I would expect the average mage to give some grave IC consideration about it. The technical discussion I made about the benefits and drawbacks of Becoming I think would not be too distant from the similar "shop talk" one a group of Merinita might have, except it would be in Latin.

Moreover, it is MNSHO that any but the most fanatic Quendalon supporters would recognize that in light of the crippling effects on one's creativity of the full Becoming Ritual, one may much more effectively work to advance to cause of extedning and protecting faerie's power on Earth by delaying the completition of becoming a full faerie.

So I can't understand what do you mean when you say I'm downplaying the "philosphical and magical" implication of the ritual. I talk about the ritual's effects on one's Gift and magic.

Perhaps I should stress once more that I do not see early Transforming the Body as powergaming. To the contrary, for the powergamer losing fatiguing spontaneous magic is 'crippling', and not worth the chance to have his character outlive any campaign while his Sodales stand in the limelight and do the nifty sponts.

For the average Merinita, however, it is a bargain to give up fatiguing sponts for the chance to live for - say - some 350 years and become a venerated authority on faeries, Forest Lore, Faerie Magic or whatever else her real interest is.
So if early Transforming the Body is possible, I would expect several Merinitas the age of Caitlin around in the world at any time - which does not fit the setup of the Order in ArM5.

Kind regards,


I hadn't actually intended there to be young Merinitae who have started down the path of Becoming before age 35, since reaching the point where one is considered worthy of the Inner Mysteries often takes a great deal of time. However, that said, I can't see House Merinita shooting itself in the foot by keeping this knowledge from promising apprentices just because they aren't old enough for the mechanics to require a sacrifice. :slight_smile:

I imagine that once the character has started down the path of Becoming, though, she is considered to be a faerie, even if she has only transformed part of herself. Quendalon, for example, might have undergone only one of the rituals at first. Politically, this might cause interesting problems in the Order (as it did during the House Divided), because it could be argued that like ghosts, faeries are no longer human and therefore no longer magi. Perhaps this hasn't come up yet because very few Merinita have reached this level of initiation without disappearing into Arcadia soon after.

As for whether or not there would be a lot of older Merinita around, consider that Quendalon himself was incredibly long-lived, and that Vinaria is also still around, however old she is. In fact, only one of the Merinita Primi mentioned in the book is known to have died. So, it may be that Merinita magi are just extraordinarily long-lived as a House. I have no problem with that, because I assume that most Merinitae die in other ways -- most commonly succumbing to Twilight, since they often accumulate Warping Points much more quickly, but also through accidents and becoming lost in Arcadia. Merinitae adventure quite a lot, and that probably takes its toll on their House numbers.

Well, luckily the Merinita House is too individualistic to always enforce strict step-by-step Mystery progression, but even so, I'd expect the average member to follow the progression that is given in the book in the Arcadian path, and maybe branch out in the other paths as well, plus doing all the other usual mage-y stuff: adventuring, seeking vis and lore, learning Arts and Abilities, studying spells, Tribunal politicying, intiating non-House Mysteries, etc. I think it would take quite a fanatical Quendalon cultist to rush headlong into Becoming first and foremost, maybe by self-Initiation.

Yep. However, there are important political precedents in the history of the Order (Criamon primi, Rhine ghosts, Quendalon himself, who after all won his war, Bjornaer Great Beasts) which indicate that a formerly human Hermetic mage who has become some kind of partial or full magical or fearie creature and still self-identifies himself as a mage and follows the Code should be given the protection of the same. I'm not saying it would not be a point of potential political contention, but IMO the current order consensus is against allowing open hunt on such characters and it would take a huge crisis (on the level of another Schism War) to change it: in all likelihood Bjornaer, Merinita, Criamon, and many other magi from other Houses would take arms to defend their elders, and their chosen way of transcendence or lingering. Who might want to press the point ? Tremere again ? They might hesitate to fight at least two Houses combined, and risk the enimity of faeries, and would the Order follow them again into another zealot purge of non-Latins and pagans ? Would Quaesitors support them again ? And Bonisagus ?

I was following an halfway opinion: i.e. most Merinita use mainstream longevity potions, or maybe make some bargain with faeries or nature spirits for something like Unaging. Some undergo Becoming, but postpone the full ritual until they are ready to retreat into Arcadia. Moreover, following the example of elder Bjornaer, I'd expect many Merinita to be turned into full Faeries by Final Twilight, especially the one with many or advanced faerie Inner Mysteries (a good measure might be, anyone with a Major Merinita Mystery). So many maybe actually don't need Becoming to end their mortal existences as faerie.

Indeed. As much as a common portrait may be drwan for this anarchistic House, I think ti may be assumed that many follow the philosophy of "live intensely, care later for consequences". I expect Twilight to be a much more common demise than old age for them anyway.


thanks for the quick answer, which makes a lot of sense for me and resolves my question: yes, the rules about Transforming the Body stand as written in MC, and the resultant longevity of some Merinitae is intended.

Kind regards,


Given that in the Code, losing one's Gift is seen as worse than death itself (rightly; better to die than to lose one's entire life focus), I'd say that few mages would see the possibility of losing such an important part of one's magical abilities so cavalierly. Yes, some would eventually do it; some would not. A mage that is specialized in spontaneous magic would likely be terrribly reluctant to do it (just like a creo specialist would be to pick up Unnatural Magic in a Ordeal, or a Mercurian mage for Rigid Magic). Given that the average attitude of Merinita seems to be rather inclined to improvised magic (judging from their typical Virtues and Mysteries)...

The average mage would never buy longevity for giving up proficiency in one's magical specialty, because for him or her, his/her magical power is more precious than life itself. Hence, he would spit on the opportunity to be an immortal scholar specialist at the price of magic, as you seem to suggest. That said, if his magical specialties are in some field that downplays spontaneous magic, yes, he would see the bargain fair.

Read me a little more precisely, if you can. You understood well that we talk about a magus' plans for his life here, not just about some powers.
Fatiguing spontaneous magic is great for day-to-day or in adventure problem solving. But it is not crucial for most of the great projects a magus might harbor, be these magical, mystical, scholarly or political. So AFAICS most - not all - magi with any such dreams (and without powergaming players) would, if given the choice, for one or two centuries more time to pursue them trade some day-to-day problem solving skills.

Kind regards,


I understand you. However, I think that mages who focus their magical practices on flexible, freeform magics, or that are heavily involved in adventure and exploration would find quite crippling and burdersome to give up a great part of one's powers to buy greater time. I think many Merinita would fit the above description. Also, the average Merinita does not strike me as especially interested in scholarship or politics (even if there are always exceptions). I see say a theoretical Bonisagus lab rat, Verditius master enchanter, or a Jerbiton politicus much more interested in such a bargain, than a Merinita, Bjornaer, Flambeau, or Tytalus.

Say the typical "armchair" magus would be interested; the "explorer" magus, likely not.

Also, as I said before, we lack the entire picture. We need TMRE to know the full spectrum of advanced immortality methods that are available to older magi through Mysteries, their features and drawbacks, to judge. So far we have mainstream longevity rituals, Becoming, Criamon Body Path (which no one but dedicated Enigma fanatics may take) and little else. Too little to judge.

And please quit the "powergaming players" innuendo. Now. You're really, really grating on my nerves. :angry: :angry:

And would thus decide not to undergo the ritual, or maybe would go ahead and Transform The Spirit too, to translate their magic into actual faerie powers maybe regaining some flexibility though they would lose breadth, being limited to whatever powers match their (now fixed) nature.

The purpose of Becoming seems to be to remove the magus from the mundane world. If that's where your interest lie, don't perform the ritual. If you're just interested in the fringe benefits, you may end up being very unhappy after the process is complete ... and be so forever.

Becoming is not for everybody, that's for sure.

AFAICS most of the typical Merinitae exploring faeries would be very much interested in Transforming the Body early, as that would help considerably ease their stays in the Faerie Realm with its shifting time patterns, competitions disregarding even the possibility of fatigue and faerie lords requesting seasons, years or decades of court attendance.

Kind regards,


Yep. As I said, as concerns option A), we do not know what alternative immortality methods do exist, and their drawbacks. It might be that Alchemical or Theurgical means of improving on Longevity rituals suit an adventuring mage better. As it concerns option B), no you don't regain any significant flexibility that way (rather a better focus, as you now can use Might for one's penetration spells and resistance). I would expect a spont-focused magus undergoing a partial Becoming to self-initiate virtues like Self-Confident, Diedne magic, or Faerie-Raised magic to offset the no-fatigue drawback. And no, it isn't "powergaming". It's an IC sensible precaution, the same way a mage that develops Blatant Gift would care to pick a trusted and able companion middleman.

The Becoming mage's nature isn't fixed until they Transform the Mind, too, and since that is the most alien component of the ritual (giving up one's creativity... :open_mouth: ), I really don't expect the typical magus to do it until he is ready to give up exploration, research, and adventuring, and retreat into Arcadian bliss (i.e. IC the character doesn't do it until he has exausted any zest for life, and it is effectively an equivalent end of PC life as it is Final Twilight).

It may be, it may be. But I don't see it as a common occurrence. Becoming has been part of the Order for centuries, so lore about its features and drawbacks should be fairly easy to pick up from some research. Moreover, any sane mage would likely give a damned thorough look at the Initiation Script (at least, that's what I would have any character to do, unless he has a +3 Foolhardy or Impulsive Trait) before jumping. It's simply sensible. If you are Lecherous, you don't want to discover after the Initiation that it includes the "Eunuch" ordeal, or Mute if you care for your Singing talent. You ask a look to the Initiation Script, to see it is something you can live with after the fact.

So it is say Immortality of the Forest. For the Bonisagus armchair researcher who has not set foot outside Dunremar in 50 years, it would be like bliss. For the Merinita wayfarer, it would feel like hell.

The magus certainly would want to do so. And that's indeed not powergaming.
But the availability of any initiation is of course decided by the SG(s) or entire troupe, who likely will examine wish-lists for self-initiations verrry carefully - especially if these contain controversial Virtues like Diedne Magic.

Again agreed. As a person I cannot identify with somebody who really embraces that step to faerie either: so none of my Merinita would do so.

Transforming the Body for the Merinita explorer of the Faerie Realm is rather the equivalent of Amundsen's huskies: it allows him to survive and move on where other magi are destroyed by the environment just like brave Scott.

Kind regards,


Yea. Of course SG and troupe are welcome to express reasonable questions to character's self-improvement plans. However, as long as such plans fit at all with character's personality, interests, and background, and are consistent with the story, I don't think there should be any problems. At the most, SG might not provide Mystagogues and/or Initiation Scripts for Virtues they find controversial, requiring the player and character to self-initiate or at most to experiment to create a new Script. In that case, I think the character has shown dedication enough to deserve any Virtue may fancy. As for Diedne Magic being OOC controversial, I do not think it is any more than other Major Hermetic Virtues like Flawless Magic. It is a good cornerstone to prop a spont-focused magus, just like Flawless is a for a formulaic-focused magus, or a Major focus for a specialist. IC: yes it is somewhat controversial. Not a death sentence, though.

It may be. The point is, until we get RoP: Magic and RoP: Faerie (2008; sigh :frowning: ) we have no definitive picture of what explorers of Arcadia and Olympus would face. As far as I would adjudicate mixing my own ideas and previous editions' versions of Arcadia and the Magical Realm, I would deem that Becoming may be useful to explore those realms, but not essential. To follow your example, Becoming is like having a genemod to survive the Artic naked where normal humans must use specialized equipment.

As of now, I'm also curious to get TMRE to see if and to which degree Mysteries exist that allow mages to get even more in attunement with the Magical Realm than the Gift allows: a magical Becoming, so to speak (yes, I know Final Twilight in all likelihhod does it; the point is doing it in a controlled way, just like Bjornaer do with the Inner Heartbeast). The comparison would be enlightening also for fearie mysteries, i think.

Apparently you know more about this than I do. Where is it described just how to 'experiment to create a new Script', as mentioned in MC p.4? Not in MC p.4f. And that's the only place in MC where to expect it with reason. Did I just get an anticipation of TMRE by a playtester? :confused:

Kind regards,


"Varying the Script" is at the bottom of page 4. I don't think he really meant experimenting as the term is used in the lab rules.

If that only was true :astonished:. Don't you think that if it were the case, I wouldn't make such a public pest of myself harassing developer and authors for a quick release of TMRE and hints about its systems ?? No, it's just that I have made a thorough job of piecing together the hints in HoH:MC, here, and in the Berklist. You see, according to what I've understood, you may Initiate a Mystery Virtue in three ways:

a) the usual way, a Mystagogue that owns said Virtue leads you through the Initiation process; you may ask him for one variation in the Initiation, such as changing a Quest, or an Ordeal, if you find them impossible or too much of a burden to you. Details of the roll to make the variation are in HoH:MC.

b) you self-initiate (act as your own Mystagogue) but follow a standard Iniitation Script: they are written texts, similar to lab texts, as much as I understand it, so you may acquire one. You may change one compoenent of the Script, as above. The Initiation is more difficult, since you don't have the Virtue. Ease factors are in HoH:MC.

c) you experiment to create a completely different Script: this is the way new Scripts for new Mystery Virtues are created, or a competely different process to Initiate an outstanding Virtue. HoH:MC only states that "experimentation" is needed, but doesn't give any detail about the process: it may be similar to creating a new spell, or to making a degree (which one ?) of original research breakthrough.

We know that NPC Merinita magi (Quendalon, Ambrosius, Pendule, and Merinita herself) have been able to create at least 3-4 wholly new Scripts all by themselves, so it shouldn't be earthshakingly difficult, and House Mysteries have accumulated hefty portfolios of varying Scripts, so likely it's more akin to creating a new spell, or making a minor breakthrough.