Looking into more magic items, Mercere's portals eventually came to mind. A question about them - when they are created, do they have to link just between a pair (meaning Harco is full of portals), or can one portal go to any other portal (aka stargate style)???
Hm, I might be wrong, but isn't current hermetic magic unable to create mercere portals? AFAIK the secret of their construction was lost when Mercere died.
So, before magi can improve the portals they'll need to understand how they work. And since nobody has found the solution in the past centuries, I doubt that it will be an easy task. Not impossible, but difficult enough that you can make yourself a name by rediscovering this enchantment.
I believe the Mercere lineage in the House, of actual Magi, is still capable of producing them... and jealously guards the techniques for doing so. To the point of not wishing to give anyone a portal that is out of their control as well, so you can't study it to try and reproduce them etc. They are, IIRC, lvl 75 effects. So... there are likely only a couple of people in House Mercere that are capable of building them at any given time in Hermetic history.
Yeah, i agree - reading true lineages does seem to indicate that new ones can be built, but house Mercere guard the secrets of their construction - so yes, you would either have to be a Gifted Mercere to research them (and a skilled one at that, as lvl 75 isnt easy to do) or somehow gain a very large favor from the house and promise to give your research findings other to them (and probably only them...)
But then again, one of the greatest secrets of the Verditus, Automations has been 'leaked' to the Order in general, so it could happen with Portal knowledge as well (especially as the spell which the portals are based off is already in wide circulation within the Order)...
You could simulate the idea by using a hub style. Say you want to interconnect Thebes, London, Shrewsbury, Rome, and Dublin. You can't have a portal in London that leads to both Dublin and Shresbury, and it's prohibitively expensive to have a pair ofportals connecting every pair. Instead, design a hub that's very carefully maintained by trusted guardians. Locate this hub in a neutral ground in Rome, for example. That hub system has a portal that goes to Shrewsbury, London, Thebes, and Dublin. So somebody in Shrewsbury that wants to go to Dublin would take one Hermes Portal to Rome, and then simply walk 100 feet across the room to the portal that goes from Rome to Dublin.
All roads lead to Rome .
And no, I didn't realize until towards the end of my post just how close to airline travel this is.
Herme's Portals, ahem, excuse me...
Mercere Portals had linked Val-Negra with Barcelona and Jafariya. IMS, I added one to Durenmar as well. Then I destroyed all three
There was a plan to link all the covenants of Iberia with portals just after the Shadow Wars. But that was 3rd edition. IMS, there was such a plan, but they never got around to fully implimenting it.