Mystery Cult initiation of greater/lesser immunity to warping

One of my players has a companion character to a group of young magi whose ultimate goal is to have a covenant in a level 10 aura within a regio

Major site boon Regio, Minor site boon Aurax7

The player wants to have his character be the Mystagogue of a nascent mystery cult centred around the ungifted members of the neo-mercurians, essentially The Messengers of Mercury and grant them immunity to warping effects from his mage casting rego corpus spells for magical transportation and from the effects of living within the level 10 aura once they make their own covenant.

My question is where would you place such things for gorgs, coven folk, companions, mythic companions and magi.

to refresh

Greater Immunity
You are completely immune to one hazard which is both common and potentially deadly. You are immune to both magical and mundane manifestations of the thing.

Lesser Immunity
You are immune to some hazard which is either rare or not deadly or both.

I'm definitely leaning towards lesser immunity for grogs and coven folk for full immunity from warping.
I would like some feedback from the community as to the other classes of character and a discussion on the pro's and con's of allowing it into a saga.
If allowed what levels of cult lore and what levels of dedication would you employ(years of service, heroic actions, quests ect) before allowing it to be initiated as a major for the others as part of a mystry cult

These are two very different problems.

(1) You achieve immunity to warping "from the effects of living within the level 10" Magic aura (by ArM5 p.167f LIving in Strong Auras), if you got initiated to any mystical ability arising from the Magic realm.

(2) To achieve "immunity to warping effects from his mage casting rego corpus spells for magical transportation", you need to come up with a saga-specific construct.
Not even Hermetic magi are immune to warping from powerful effects not tailored to them specifically. Allowing a Greater Immunity to Warping in your saga makes that saga - say - particular, as it kicks out a major balancing feature of Magic.
On the other hand, a Virtue only making "Messengers of Mercury" immune to the Warping by specific, tailored ReCo Transport spells can well be the result of their inbreeding and just a Minor Supernatural Virtue arising from the Magic realm.

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I like this a lot. Would it be too much you think to allow wizards of the covenant to design spells specifically for Messengers of Mercury rather than for a specific person. How would you implement this for the mages? Initiation, hermetic breakthrough so some other way?

The cleanest way might be, to start with defining just what it is to be a Messenger of Mercury.

I now fantasize a bit:

If a Messenger of Mercury is just any bloke who got initiated, you might wish to make the initiation special. So the hopefuls must let their hair grow, weave a girdle from their own hair and gift it to 'their' magus. And that magus, clever as he is, takes a bit of this girdle, has it made into a permanent Arcane Connection to 'his' Messenger, and gives the rest back.
From that time on he uses a special spell - passed down among the Neo-mercurians - to teleport the girdle with the Messenger in it. Yep, that girdle still gets warped, but not the Messenger. This specific separation is Mercurian and not Hermetic, so not easily reproducible or extendible.

Another take on this idea might be to have a pair of virtues that can be initiated. One is the "Messenger of Mercury" virtue that just marks you as an initiate. Then a second "Messenger Magic" virtue could allows a new mastery ability on rego corpus spells which reduces the warping points inflicted by the spell on people with the messenger virtue.

The scope of the warping removal is kept small enough not to unbalance the game, and still requires a magus to go through two initiations, learn the spells, and then practice to master them - seems a reasonable barrier of entry. It also lets you still use the standard ReCo spells, which keeps things simple.

Something else to maybe consider with this is whether the "no warping" rule applies only to the person or to the items carried with them as well. The simplest thing is to extend it to everything on their person but it could be interesting to say that while they don't get warped other effected objects do. It would mean the initiates would have to be very careful what they bring with them if they use this regularly or risk their equipment getting so warped it starts getting... weird.


I like that a lot as well, I would probably go as far as saying you can pick a form and technique when you get Messenger magic so other mages in the cult could utilise the benefits.
What would you say would be the process of inventing such a process? Experimental initiation, hermetic breakthrough or something else?

when designing a something like this what system do you use to "invent" it. My thoughts are as follows as i'v never run or really played ars magica these are what come to mind but im not sure if they are right?

  1. allow a character(Mystagogue) to start with a new virtue that we have invented

  2. make them initiate it on themselves from scratch

  3. have a mage discover mercurian texts detailing it and then convert it into a virtue with a breakthrough?

Inventing new Virtues for Initiation from scratch is described in The Mysteries Revised Edition (TMRE on the forum) p.18 Experimental Scripts and p.18f Inventing your Own Cult.
This takes time in the saga and may mess up characters.

If you wish specific Virtues and Flaws to be present in your saga from the beginning, design them with your troupe and set up the Mystery Cult yourself at the start.

There is an example in sub rosa #19 p.29ff which shows, how to bootstrap a Mystery Cult within 3 years - by convincing an experienced Mystagogue of another Cult to join.


Another approach might be a virtue or breakthrough that makes any spell or effect created by a member of the group considered as specifically designed for any member of that group. Someone initiated into that group would then never warp from high level spells cast by members of the group, or magical regalia of that group, but would still warp from continuing effects, which is the issue that tends to be more problematic anyway.

If it's a Breakthrough that expands the category of specific design, then just initiating an Outer Mystery of the group might be sufficient once the Breakthrough is taught. If it's a virtue, then that can be initiated to designate that someone now truly belongs.

I admit that I prefer this kind of approach to Immunity to Warping. No mortal is immune to Warping so far; even nasssty, cheaty Faeries and Demons don't grant that kind of power.



Immunity to warping is like taking greater immunity to death. ... You might enjoy it, but I don't.

Immunity to the warping from magic auras, might be on. Warping isn't deadly for mundanes, is it? Then lesser immunity should be ok.

Immunity to Warping is - as other have said - world changing. You can find many thread on this forum that with a dedicated expert mages can be 200+ years old. The main limiting factor is Twilight & warping.

Immunity to warping due to exposure to high aura is more reasonable. It could also be a strong story tool as suddenly many would be interested in this initiation: most mages would love to stay in high aura, but no having grogs is a big drawback. Also, high aura are often in a regio, which provide a very efficient protection from most mundane interference - that aside, up to you where you and your group want to go.

Since I just tried self-initiation (you can look at the tread Solo play - Theodosis), here is the step-by-step process & hurdles.

To self-initiate a virtue, you will need to design a Script, go through the motion of fulfilling the script, then test its validity.
The base target to self-initiate a minor virtue is 18 (this is what I would consider Immunity to warping in high aura if you want to make it available to large number of people, I would not even consider Immunity to Warping a major virtue - just plain impossible, but YMMV).
So it means that to be able to self initiate it, you need a total of Prs + MC Lore + Script (+ risk modifier)=> 18.
And you will also need to roll on the Extraordinary Results chart experimentation (Stress die + risk modifier).
And you will need to succeed the Validity of the script with a simple die + Risk modifier (the one taken for the Extraordinary results) + Int + MC Lore vs 9 + Script proposed bonus.

So, step-by-step:

  1. You need to achieve at least Prs + MC Lore of 9 to have a minimal chance to succeed (it was 38% in my case)
    1.1) so you need a Summae or many tractatus to raise the Lore. If you are inventing a cult, you need to create it, by researching and drawing inspiration from various sources, so it will be a slow process, very likely only a few XP per season (5-8 if you are generous).
    1.2) And you want to max the Prs. Finding somebody knowing the CrMe60 ritual should be tricky and they should ask a nice compensation on top of the virtus to cast the ritual itself (12 paws/casting).
    1.3) For the sake of optimisation, raising Lore pais more: it decreases the script value you will need and it also increases your likelyhood of succeeding the validity text

  2. Create a script - keep in mind that if you want to initiate a lot of people, you should avoid dangerous quest - you don't want to lose valuable covenfolk. You also want to avoid unique quest, otherwise it will become more and more difficult as more and more people try to complete it. Personal sacrifice can be difficult to ask from grogs who don't have much. So very likely, the script will have a minor or a major Ordeal (minor or major flaw). A major flaw can be interesting because it gives an initial large bonus, and decreasing boni for two further initiations.

  3. Test the script... and because of the roll on the Extraordinary result chart, there could be more than one test before there is a good result. By the way, if the validity test fails, the script effect still takes place... good luck for the happy volunteer.

So, I believe it is a glorious objective, full of challenge, but worth an epic story. Two options: you strictly follow the rules and it will take time and some people will be crippled in the experiment but the players will have the feeling that they are changing the face of the Order (to a lesser extend "Transforming the Order" instead of "Transforming Mythic Europe").
The other alternative, you provide various help - tractati or Mystagogue willing to teach MC Lore - script available but requiring only tweaking, or a mage already has the virtue. That will speed up the process significantly, and you can proceed to other part of the story, but it won't be the same achievement.

By the way, there is one category of human that are immune to any twilight and warping effect: magical human with a might - but they came with their own flaws (they might only thrive in an aura, they don't age, but they cannot learn new things).
So another possible initiation would be to turn a human into a magical being...

Note that ArM5 Dowsing or such, if aligned to Magic, encompasses immunity to Warping from Magic Auras by ArM5 p.168: "Characters with mystical abilities arising from the same realm as the aura (for example, Hermetic magi in a magical aura) do not gain Warping Points from living in the aura."

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Definitely on, then, and a waste of virtue points.

It was a bad example.

Immunity to warping from (say) ReCo magic might be on.

thats great Ezehiel thanks for running me through that, I think i'll take the initiation route and have them develop the cult and use Argentius's suggestion on Messenger magic.

Yeah, developing the Cult Lore is the really hard part. Practice is going to be 4xp/season, though someone with Independent Study will get +2xp. Then Affinity with Cult Lore could turn that 6xp into 9xp. Two virtues to double your rate gain is steep but basically necessary if you want to do anything in a reasonable in-game timescale (and IMO Independent Study is just a really good virtue anyways). Make it three virtues (Puissant Cult Lore) because that +2 is really going to help.

9xp/season is pretty decent for Practicing. Hard to say if it's worth putting time into teaching other magi so they can generate Cult Lore books if you can get 9xp/season going your own road. Maybe if you found that high Communication/Good Teacher character you could spend time on them, but other than that you're better off plugging away until you can write the Big Book of Cult Lore, the L4 Summae. Which of course takes Cult Lore 8, which is 20 seasons of Practice at SQ9 and you're working at Presence + Cult Lore 8 + Puissant 2, which is a much nicer place to be. You've got your big book, probably 4 Tractatus to feed the cult's knowledge and all you need is to start choosing your virtues to self initiate.

LoH p.49 box Borrowing Cult Lore and Initiation Scripts describes, how to Practice Cult Lore and how to adapt scripts designed for one cult to another.

How do you get Affinity/Puissant for the Cult Lore of a new Cult, before you have the Cult to initiate them as mystery virtues?

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That's the hermetic version of the egg and the chicken riddle: what was before, the Self-Condident virtue or the Tytalus magus?

You can get these virtues in the same way that you can, for example, get at character creation a Magical Focus for something you can't yet do, let's say a Merinita with MMF: Glamour. He may well end apprenticeship not having the Glamour Virtue yet. It just means that he's talented for something he doesn't know how to do yet.

If you prefer to stick to Virtues and Flaws as stuff that can't work in such a way and you want them to be chronologically consistent, consider that some virtues are let's say inherent to the character since its arrival to this terrible world, but some others are learned later, and the distinction between these is quite blurred. Back to the riddle above, do Tytali tend to pick apprentices that already had the Self-Confident virtue, or (as written somewhere if I recall this right) they get it "initiated" after their 15-years-apprenticeship-ordeal? Do Bonisagi tend to pick characters with a knack for Magic Theory, or do they develop it after being bonisagus-ed?

The trick is that it doesn't really matter, both things are just ok. If you create a gifted child with the Self-Confident virtue and play it to become a Tytalus, just mark that virtue as House free, and get him another one. Same here. You could either have a character with a couple of not spend virtues' slots to fill later with Puissant & Affinity with his brand new Cult Lore, or just let him pick them beforehand for the sake of simplicity.

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  • You have a hidden talent
  • Supernatural interference from beings that your cult would benefit
  • Good old fashioned destiny to create the cult
  • Fascination with Cult Lore before you had the chance to properly research it

Also, they don't need to be Mystery Virtues, you could take them at character creation.

Sorry, I phrased that badly. I should have asked:

How do you get Affinity/Puissant for the Cult Lore of a new Cult, before Cult Lore even exists?

I agree, it could be a hidden talent, which only manifests itself when the Lore of the nascent Cult is researched.

Taking the virtues at chargen does not answer my question. You would still take virtues in an ability which does not and cannot yet exist.