Mysterie Cults

silveroak the idea for quite magic + necessary condition comes from the point that Holy magic can't use hermetic voice and gestures and so always cast at -15 unless have such virtue as quite magic and still magic or the same named mastery.
Rotes from hermetic numerology give you the same as the quite and still magic mastery so together with the quite magic virtue its 0 penalty for them. (I know its not the best way to handle this problem but its one way)

Here's my idea for a mystery cult. I'm afraid there's some overlap with Adaulai, but that couldn't be avoided.

The Cult of Alchemical Numerology
(I'll work on a better name)

The idea is a mystery cult based on scholarship, specifically numerology and how it relates to alchemy.

  1. Unaging vs 15 (6 base + 3 minor ordeal (Temperence), +3 special place, +3 quest (find special materials))
  2. Hermetic Numerology vs. 15 (6 base + 3 1st after minor ordeal, +3 quest (find special inks for book), +3 mystagogue time (teach Artes Liberales))
  3. Lesser Elixir vs 15 (6 base + 2 2nd after minor ordeal, +3 special place, +3 quest (find special materials), +1 sacrifice material wealth)
  4. Planetary Magic vs 15 (6 base + 1 3rd after minor ordeal, +3 Quest, +3 mystagogue time (to teach), +1 sacrifice material wealth, +1 sacrifice time)
  5. Hermetic Geometry vs 15 (6 base + 9 maj. ordeal (Necessary Condition - carry special charm to cast))
  6. Hermetic Architecture vs 15 (6 base + 9 1st after major ordeal)
  7. Greater Elixir vs 21 (8 base + 6 2nd after major ordeal, +3 special place, +3 quest (find special materials), +1 sacrifice material wealth)

I'm confused. Is he in a Holy numerology mystery cult in addition to the Criamon mystery cult? I thought you could only be in one mystery cult.

I would suggest you add at last Philosophic Alchemy and maybe Hermetic Alchemy to your cult initiation. Without initation its nearly impossible to teach the Major feat of Philosophic Alchemy to your apprentice if you using the Apprentices rules.

Edit: Where is it written that you can only join one cult? To my knowledge you can join as many of the non House cult as you can find the time for as long you manage to learn the cult lore and find someone to initiate you. Only the House MC are different as you would have to join them and leave your old house. But even there are Bjoraner who become Merinita in the official histories of the books. Criamon and Merinita are the most welcoming of the official MC houses from my understanding. For the other MC "The Fraternity of Samos" i.e. take everyone in who is willing to learn and accept their vow (If you can get all their initiations is a different thing as it need a lot of work).

Edit2: Keep in mind each quest, each initiation and to my knowledge each specific time and space need a separate season during character generation and to learn the inner secret your MC lore usually should reach 6. (That mean with our build system the MC Lore alone is already need more then 2 1/2 years per MC you want to learn the inner secret)

I'm certainly willing to do that. Though the other option is to say that the major flaw and virtue come from one-on-one association, as per Apprentices. I'm good either way.

Here's an alternate listing if people would prefer that the major virtue/major flaw be handled as part of a MC initiation.

  1. Philosophic Alchemy vs 21 (8 base + 9 major ordeal (Weak Spontaneous Magic) + 3 quest (find special materials), +1 sacrifice time)
  2. Unaging vs 15 (6 base + 9 1st after major ordeal)
  3. Hermetic Numerology vs. 15 (6 base + 6 2nd after major ordeal, +3 mystagogue time (teach Artes Liberales))
  4. Lesser Elixir vs 15 (6 base + 3 3rd after major ordeal, +3 quest (gather materials), +3 special time and place)
  5. Planetary Magic vs 15 (6 base +3 quest, +3 mystagogue time (to teach), +3 special time and place)
  6. Hermetic Geometry vs 15 (6 base + 9 maj. ordeal (Necessary Condition - carry special charm to cast))
  7. Hermetic Architecture vs 15 (6 base + 9 1st after major ordeal)
  8. Greater Elixir vs 21 (8 base + 6 2nd after major ordeal, +3 special place, +3 quest (find special materials), +1 sacrifice material wealth)

In my opinion a MC should have at last one alchemy or material based virtue initiated before teaching Lesse Elixir what is now given. That why I think the new one look better as it also would allow you to initiate other magus not just new apprentice into the MC.
I don't see how the Alchemy path synergize with the Arithmetic Path but that is no problem for me. Vulgar Alchemy would help your Lesser Elixir but I also don't see it as must for a alchemy based MC to teach it.
What you probably need to think about is the relationship of The Cult of Alchemical Numerology with The Order of the Green Cockerel (teaching nearly the same things especial the income source Lesser Elixir and the Greater Elixir as the end on the path) and the Arabic Alchemists (Are be said to be superior to the western alchemist).

Edit: You maybe also want to read the most recent discussion about Hermetic Architecture from this it sound that we need to at last house rule that you also can do Boundary size with it.

Because I did a initiation every other year while keep the necessary House Lore level and did all the requested tasks there now some complains that I did do it to fast.
Actual I would have managed to do a initiation nearly each year if I complete focused on it and not had pushed Enigmatic Wisdom beside the House Criamon Lore to 6. I even found time for a few other things between the initiations.
Because gut feeling isn't the best adviser we might want to come up with a rule how spread out the initiations should be.
(I.e. my gut feeling says taking a apprentice before the age of 7 is a bad thing because of the Characteristics penalty but the rule allows to take one at the age of 5. With our house rules starting with the age of 5 give 5 more season compared to one start at age 7)
Anyway if I have to scrap nearly all things past the apprentice time I probably won't go the criamon route anymore although it have 2 very interesting initiations at the Path of Walking Backward the other are just there to prolong the path for me.

Holy Mathematicus Initations

1.) Holy Magic vs 21 (8 Base + 9 get Necessary Condition speak or sing a short prayer, +3 Mytragogue time need to teach Holy Magic, +1 make a expensive donation to the church)
2.) Quite Magic vs 15 (6 Base + 9 first initiation after major Ordeal)
3.) Hermetic Numerology vs 15 (6 Base +6 second initiation after major Ordeal +3 Mytragogue time need to teach Artes Librares)
4.) Planetary Magic vs 15 (6 Base + 3 3rd initiation after major Ordeal, + 3 Specific Time & Place, +3 Minor Ordeal Ability Block Martial Abilities)
5.) Hermetic Geometry vs 15 (6 Base +3 1st initiation after minor Ordeal, + 3 Specific Time & Place, +3 Quest - Pilgrimage)
6.) Spirit Familiar vs 15 (6 Base +2 2nd initiation after minor Ordeal, +1 sacrefice time preparing other for initation and initiate them, +3 quest - pilgrimage, +3 specific time & place)
7.) Hermetic Gematria (as Gematria RoP:D but use the Bible or the Numerologist book instead of the Torah)
vs 21 (8 Base +1 3rd initiation after minor Ordeal, +3 Sacrifice the Numerologist book, +3 Quest - Pilgrimage, +3 Mytragogue time need to teach Hermetic Gematria, +3 Minor Ordeal Minor Supernatural Visions)
8.) Understanding vs 21 (8 Base +3 1st initiation after minor Ordeal, +3 Quest pilgrimage, +3 Specific Time and Place, +1 sacrefice time preparing other for initation and initiate them, +3 Mytragogue time need to teach Understanding)
9.) Enduring Constitution (6 Base 2nd initiation after minor Ordeal, +1 sacrefice time preparing other for initation and initiate them, +3 quest - to find and help pious people in need while fasting, +3 specific time & place)

I realized that for Hermetic Gematria to get its main use both with Holy Magic and on its own I also need to get Understanding, so I had to extend the initiation chain. Because I already touched the initiation chain already I also put in a other change.
It was strange that Holy magic not need the Mystragogue to teach it while Hermetic Geometry had no real ability to teach, so I switched the pilgrimage from the Holy Magic initiation with the Mystragogue time from Hermetic Geometry.
For Holy Magic, Hermetic Gematria and Understanding I see it as if the first free point in the ability is gained from a combination of initiation and teaching in the season of initiation.

regarding how often initiations can be done- in most tribunals I would suggest 1 every 3 years or so, but for Thebes I'm thinking that an initiation should be doable at any speed at the cost of a token per initiation.

of this 2 flaw you took with your first initiation only one give the +3, +2 and +1 bonus on the following initiations.

dang it, forgot this...

I know it's a bit late for this, but there's a crap ton of stuff to read in RoP:D.

I've finally read up on Gematria and I'm not certain that allowing Gematria but using the Bible (or some other book) instead is really legit. Gematria is very, very tied into the Jewish tradition. It doesn't seem to correlate to Bible study. And Shinnui Shem is a Kabbalistic methodology. It just doesn't translate well into Christian Theology.

Basically, the rules give a bunch of cool things to Christians and a bunch of cool things to Jews. Co-opting Gematria into Christian learning seems like it's trying to have your cake and eat it too.

I'm thinking that most of what Adauli wants to do could be done by swapping out Meditation for Gematria.

And really, how many super cool Major virtues do you need? Most magus designs center around one, maybe two major virtues (three at the most for mystery cults). By my count, Paulos is up to nine major virtues (and something like sixteen minor virtues). Surely the build can take losing some of the super cool Gematria benefits.

I personal preferred Gematria because it is holy mathematic the focus of my MC. Also the Numerology book from Hermetic Numerology is a superior device for any Numerologic based divination. I even put in the sacrifice of the Numerology book created before this that a new one have to be created that is in attunement of this new virtue. So the bible is no must for me just the magical created Numerology book need to be accepted as it already is in the rules that it adjust the text of what is written depending on the question when using in Numerologic Divination and so should work no matter what for Gematria.
Edit: I just read trough meditation and it might fit as well but I see big problems how Meditation and The Enigma conflict or stack up as both affect warping and twilight. Beside that the enigma should make the stamina rolls for the meditation easier as the Criamon meditate regular with their labyrinth meditation. So from the pure rule point I think Gematria would be easier for us to handle then Meditation because for the later we first have to decide how we handle the combination of two ability that have influence over the same things. And don't tell me that there can be no group who belive in the mathematical interpretation of the bible and other holy text within the Orthodox or Latin church given the upcoming Artes Liberales (although Nostradamus was 1503 I think he is such a person). I might have to drop the Shinnui Shem but that is still a much smaller price then going with the problems we have to face with the Meditation + The Enigma combination.
Look in the wikipedia where it is mentioned that numerology was also spread in the Christian beliefe and in Greek ... ch_Fathers
But if you say that Numerology was not existing 1100-1220 in the Orthodox Christian Church then I have to redesign either the MC or make my character a Jew.

Edit 2: My suggestion is I keep Germatia, drop the Shinnui Shem and instead are allowed to use the Numerology without stress die. Also the +4 bonus for Numerology from the Numerologist book apply for the rolls involving divinations rolls where Germatia is added and the Numerologist book is used.

I understand you have a concept for a magus and Gematria fits into it. But modifying Gematria to fit the build just feels like it's a bridge too far to me. Still, if you really feel like the only way to realize your concept is with forty-three points of virtues, then who am I to complain? I guess to me ArM is about making choices about what you can and can't have. You only have so many virtue points to spend and so many good things to choose from. Oh, you can boost them with some MC initiations. But in the end, even then there are lots of virtues to choose from and never enough virtue points to go around. It just seems to me that forty-three points of virtues is a bit extreme for any build. But that's just my opinion. I'm not saying that you broke the rules or did anything that's not technically allowed. You've been scrupulous about obeying the rules. I just wonder if the character will be any fun to play when he can't botch, he can cast rituals without vis, he can cast spells in a Dominion aura silently and without penalty, and all the other benefits that he's going to have from his plethora of virtues.

Of course I understand that he has a lot of flaws that are supposed to balance out those virtues. But really, there's only so much air time. Whether you have 10 points of flaws or 20, the flaws are still only going to get so much play. As it is I rarely see all of 10 points of flaws getting used in a saga. Once you get to 20+ flaws, I have to believe that some will never (or at least very rarely) come up.

Now, I realize that I fall prey to the same desire to get it all. (I think we all do to some extent.) And I love making an older magus because there's so many more options you can explore. I also feel better when there's some parity between the power of magi in a covenant, so there's a little of "keeping up with the Jones'" in my actions. My own magus will not be a weak magus right out of gauntlet either. So maybe I shouldn't throw stones. As a result please take what I say with a grain of salt. I'm not trying to be critical, I'm just expressing a personal opinion.

I guess all I can say is that you should do what you want with Paulos, and I hope he's everything you thought he'd be. But the fewer rules you have to bend to make him the better in my book.

Gematria specifically states "is only available for Jewish characters..." so no, it cannot be part of a Christian tradition. As I said a while back, different faiths approach Holy magic differently, and you need to be aware of this.

Ok, Ok, because with this my character idea of a holy mathematican character breaks I will come up with a more simple way where I only do the Criamon Initiations of the Walking Backwarts path although this means I will have to start over. I plan to keep the holy magic, the apprentice and to stay with the 7 years rhythm for taking apprentice and deciding of the end year. I probably will also decide this time on a in RoP:D existing Holy society as this means during the real game I can start to learn their favored ability without any learning penalty from other supernatural ability or art. (This last rule of RoP:D is something I hadn't planed to use with my old design)
I hope I manage to catch up with character design before you start.

Don't you need the virtue True Faith to get that benefit? RoP:D states:

As said I start over and this time I take True Faith and Holy Magic together as starting virtues (To gain Holy Magic one already need a similar devotion that true faith need so its just a small step to get both).

1 Minor General Affinity with Holy Magic (ArM 40)
1 Minor Hermetic Cautious Sorcerer (ArM 40)
1 Minor Hermetic Quite Magic (ArM 48)
1 Minor Hermetic Subtle Magic (ArM 49)
3 Major General True Faith (ArM 50)
3 Major Hermetic Holy Magic (RoP:D )

are the starting virtues so far. Although I'm up to some reading what this combination now exactly means and if I'm willing to play this way.

I just want to make sure I understand True Faith properly. According to p. 47 of ROP:D, "Just as characters with The Gift may learn Magical Supernatural Abilities, characters with True Faith may learn Supernatural Abilities associated with the Divine realm. And, if they study one of their tradition’s favored Abilities, they do not have to subtract the total of their Supernatural Ability scores from their Advancement Total (as described in Ars Magica 5th Edition, page 166)." Does this mean that during pre-game someone with True Faith can simply apply their 10 xp/season to any of the Supernatural Abilities in their tradition (effectively getting multiple virtues for free)?

For example, if someone with True Faith was in the Sufi tradition, could they apply xp to learn Ceremony, Meditation, Transcendence, and Understanding just like any other ability? If so, that (combined with our potential for long pre-game advancement) could lead to very high values of these abilities, far more than would be usual if they had to be learned the traditional way. I'm not saying that's against the rules or anything. But we should be aware of what that's likely to mean for the saga. It's not unthinkable for our hypothetical Sufi to manage at least a 6 or 7 in each of those abilities.

Yes, I believe you have read it correctly, Trogdor. The only thing restraining them is that Hermetic longevity magic is the most powerful, they simply don't get as many seasons as magi do.