I am considering having a character try and develop as a new effect breakthrough in the future a spell which adds to the SQ of any learning. Obviously it would need to be in effect for the entire season (no need to worry about flicker as long as it isn't while actually studying), so month duration would be the most widely used version, and if warping is to be avoided it could only be used 1 season/yr. Given those parameters, I am wondering what level of CrMe for what bonuses to SQ people feel are appropriates? +1 at level 30 and an additional +1 per magnitude? Higher, lower?
Obviously this will vary by saga and troupe/storyteller as it is not RAW and is a breakthrough, I am just looking for some background consensus.
Merits that grant XP are hard to balance. In short sagas, they will be underwhelming. In long ones, they tend to be overwhelming.
Effects that grant them can accelerate your saga into winter. Convenant source book already has somewhat what you are looking for with resonance. You could have a breakthrough that allows you to consume resonance, adding SQ to your activity depending on the source being consumed.
There is an effect for this in Hedge Magic in the rune magic section. Whatever they're called. It needs to last a year to get the bonus though.
Or you could stop sleeping and gain two seasons extra to study, storyguide permitting. The easy solution is making an apprentice, or a grog with an item, feed you their fatigue. Rego Me if the subject is unwilling, or a spell to steal fatigue. Again the storyguide may not permit the new item or new spell, so you might be forced to use the apprentice.
Considering that it is explicitely written (but the page eludes me) that magic cannot create knowledge, it will definitely require at least a breakthrough if even remotely possible.
A spell can make you smarter (various ritual).
But her the spell would allow you to gain more knowledge that was written by the author (this is one way of interpreting a bonus on the quality). So it is effectively creating knowledge.
Without breaking (too much) rules, I could see a spell/ritual/enchantment which allows a writer to explain more clearly his thoughts, even trapping it in a book, possibly requiring.
But the effect you are looking at would theoretically give to the mage using it access to knowledge that even the author might not have (considering that XP is a form of abstracting a certain content of knowledge).
It sounds like an area where demons with shadow gift and shadow skills would like to play or faerie with Pretenses.
If we assume that magic cannot create knowledge, may be it can extract knowledge from other places. So there could be an effect that allows a SQ bonus because it is feeding from appropriate element, effectively granting the virtue Study Bonus for the duration of the spell. However, the effect grants the bonus by feeding of element relevant to the topic being studied. It can be items of quality if it is a crafting skills, large quantity of plants for a tome on herbalism and so on.
It should come with a steep cost and the magus will gain a dark reputation of defilling its surrounding in his pursuit of knowledge. At all cost.
Do you feel like magi are not gaining enough XP every season, or that books have too low a Study Total? Are you just looking for a big breakthrough that will transform the Order?
Creating a way for some characters to gain more XP than others for doing the same task is sure fire click bait. Whatever that thing is, most of your players will make acquiring it their new first goal, and the players who value story over mechanics will feel frustrated and compelled to participate in the new XP race.
In your original post, you suggested you were considering a breakthrough of this sort. My advice is: reconsider.
Increasing the SQ would not be creating knowledge, just transferring it more effectively. Increasing the level of a summae would be creating knowledge. This would be a magical application similar to book learner, apt student, or a number of other virtues that increase the rate of learning. It is actually something I was intending for a maga who is mother to her apprentice as a way to help their child become a more powerful and effective magus.
I'm probably miss-remembering -- There is a spell (and I forget the book ref) which allows the caster to control a student and increase the study total by 1 while teaching them. Kind of direct demonstration using their body.
If you are intending an effect that is cast on the student to increase their learning alone I'd say it's covered by existing Int boosting spells, and virtues, and I'm not a fan of the idea.
If you are talking more about a mental gestalt between the master and apprentice which allows a deeper level of mental communication and linkage then that makes more sense for direct teaching. Merging the mind of the two during teaching should have some benefit, and maybe some flaws too. Sounds like an interesting Muto Mentem effect to design. In fact even if you're not going down this path, I might with a character. It seems more plausible.
Do you have a defined way it works, or collecting feedback and ideas at this stage?
Increasing SQ of a tractatus would be creating knowledge. So I guess argument can be made for both side. And as I said "it is one way of interpreting a bonus on the quality".
To achieve the result of book learner & other XP boosting virtues, a "simple" initiation would do the trick effectively and probably would be easier in term of time and resources commitment.
One could try to integrate all three virtues into hermetic education, somehow making a whole new generation of apprentices able to understand and grasp better what their masters are teaching them.
One could also try to integrated Great Teacher/Writer so every magus is able to better transfer his knowledge to his apprentices. As much as it would mean a great deal of power for the whole order, it won't benefit the initial researcher - probably the reason why nobody tried it before.
But I guess the OP subject is to allow the initial researcher to benefit from his discovery and as it was highlighted, unless balance with a steep price, it is just starting the XP race that sooner or later, everybody will have to partake or be left behind with a large handicap.
I don't see that. Especially, with regards to Ars Magica. Especially with regards to a breakthrough. Ars Magica, even in just the core book, is rife with ways to increase xp gain. Book Learner+Good Teacher + High Com (or com boosting rituals) on a few people causes an xp explosion. Especially if someone has an affinity. A mystery cult could outright grant those virtues and more particularly if you are spending enough effort to breakthrough. A time rate altered Regio and one of the many ways to live forever can multiply xp gain many fold.
Second I'm not sure were this story vs. mechanics deal comes in. There are some shady ways to maximize xp gain, that would be screwy story perspective, but this isn't one of them. In fact, mechanically its not a very good method, but story-wise inventing smart [strike]pills[/strike] spells is totally in keeping with normal behavior. Maximizing xp from a writer's group is just weird[sup]1[/sup]. Research is what some magi do. Using [strike]drugs[/strike] magic to improve performance is what people do. This is totally in keeping with what a group of ambitious magi might do if they wanted to advance the Order.
[size=50]1 To maximize xp you all write tractatus have one person read them, but no one else. Then the one guy teaches everyone what he learned. The next guy reads the same books, teaches everyone what he learned from those exact same books! And so on down the line. [/size]