A member of our troupe was thinking about bringing a new character into our saga, a Criamon magus set on developing a new Path. Note that it's not just about having a character who follows a Path not listed in HoH:MC. In that case we could simply design a new Path and declare that the character is not the first to follow it and some Mystagogue is available. No, it's about the process of developing a new Path, which we realize should be significantly harder and uncertain than following an existing one.
It's just that it appears very hard to pull off unless the character is already very experienced in House Criamon Lore. And in some sense it should be, because a Criamon Path is all Major Virtues, and the first one (when the PC House Lore will probably be at its lowest) must be tackled without a previous Ordeal to lower that big target number of 30. Now, the problem is not really the Initiation itself: you can always add one more quest to get a larger script bonus. No, the problem is the Int+House Lore roll (+Risk Modifier), that must at least match Script bonus + 9. So, if your House Lore is not very high, you'd need a big Script bonus, but without a high House Lore, you have little or no hope of designing such a script.
So we started exploring ... what kinds of bonus can a magus look for to boost the Int + House Lore roll?
Spending Confidence seems a possibility. The only prohibition would be if the roll represented "an entire season worth of effort", but at least for an Initiation that does not require a season it should be ok. Even for longer initiations, the design of the script itself seems to take negligible time, so Confidence should seem applicable.
How about Enigmatic Wisdom? A little used Ability in our games, in theory "score in this Knowledge is added to rolls to interpret dreams and riddles, and to understand phantasms and arcane or mysterious situations." Does this seem applicable to understanding how to properly "piece together" an Initiation? We think it does.
On the other hand, a labyrinth meditation seems to involve too short a timeframe to be applicable. Or not?
Of course, V&F increasing Int or House Criamon Lore all apply, as would Essential Virtue (from RoP:M) or appropriate Faerie Sympathies.
Ligatures from A&A? They seem a bit too specific: a particular action at a very specific time. It seems to us that they could work if they targeted the Initiation itself, but the design of the Initiation Script? Not really.
Objects of Quality (from HoH:MC), or Exceptional quality items (from C&G)? Well, again, if the Initiation were rolled, they might affect that, but what item would be central in the design an Initiation Script (we rule that if an item is not central to the activity performed, e.g. an earring when listening for a soft noise, it can't provide a bonus to the activity)? They do not really seem applicable.
Incidentally, suppose the character tries to design a new script but the Int + House Lore roll fails. In this case, Ordeal flaws are still inflicted. Would such an Ordeal count as a past Ordeal to lower the target of the following three Initiations? And if so, would failed Initiations count against the three? Let me make it clearer with an example. The PC designs an Initiation Script for the first station including a major Ordeal; the target for the Pre+House Lore+Script bonus total is 30. The Int + House Lore roll fails. The PC now designs a second Script for that same first station, without Ordeals. Can he aim for a Pre+House Lore+Script bonus total of 21 (first initiation after Major Ordeal) instead of 30? If so, suppose the second Script also fails and the PC tries a third time. Should he aim for a Pre+House Lore+Script bonus total of 24 (second initiation after Major Ordeal)?