Ordo Familiaris

No rules statement I'm at all aware of says familiars don't get experience penalties in general. The statement is that they can learn Abilities like people, so presumably (I think backed up later.) they can avoid the experience penalties when learning Abilities. Where is there anything even suggesting they can do Transformation more cheaply?

I don't think they have that problem since it's an Ability. However, as you point out, even without the penalty it still takes a while to develop a decent Mystery Cult Lore with no significant sources available (since it's being developed from scratch).

That comes with the caveat that they also don't take XP penalties from might since they "can learn Abilities in the same way as humans."

Thank you for this. I knew there was something about this somewhere.

OK I think those are all relevant. Transformation is very cheap to begin with, especially for low Might familiars, they don't get it cheaper (assuming you allow it)

IMMA hit this from both sides.
A) In a world where familiars can do transformation and have Might penalized XP. This would be a way for high Might familiars to get Virtues necessary for their function at a steep discount. A low might familiar could use one round of transformation to gain Increased abilities and instantly have a +4 in the newly minted cult lore skill. This would take the intervention of a magus since presumably the familiar isn't squirreling away Vis (although he probably could, I like that idea better as a story). So getting the XP isn't overall that hard under this model. It's using a stupid RAW interpretation but that is the far end of the sliding scale.

B) In a world where "Familiars can learn Abilities in the same way as humans", don't have Might reduced XP and can't transform. Familiars need the cult to share virtues among themselves. Your Familiar gets up to the limit of your books and then generally stays stagnant, the 4XP for practice doesn't get you anywhere fast. Letting them practice a newly minted Cult Lore doesn't really hurt you that much if they are already at MT12 the XP to get them to the next level is the same as it takes to get to almost 5 in a new skill. Taking a season or two of practice every year by a high Int familiar would get a familiar into striking range of a decent initiation script in a few decades, less if his magus was resting on his laurels and didn't think he needed a higher lab bonus in the coming years.

This all implies a bit more agency placed on familiars than most players generally give them. But they are incredibly intelligent and super loyal to their magi, basically best buds. It seems to me that some of them might take some risks to make themselves and other better familiars outside of doing math problems or what ever tedious work is done to practice magic theory.

I don't think anyone is arguing that the familiar who founded the Ordo had to be exceptional and had to put a lot of work into it, since that's just what it takes to found a mystery cult. But assuming it happened at some point it seems like it would have every reason to keep going. There would eventually be tons of tractatus on the cult lore in the form of bound bundles of correspondences between familiars.

So they learn as humans. The rules have humans learning from an XP source and applying it in different ways other than to the appropriate ability score without a special virtue - Inceptions, Reagents, Theriacs, True Names, Academic Learning (sort of) to name some of them. The optional rule for learning cantations and the Virtue Faerie-Raised Magic both allow for spells to be learned from XP instead of using the normal lab/teaching rules.

Also, note I did say an "appropriate" source - the insert on page 52 of RoP:M specifically talks about books (the examples are Magic Lore or an appropriate Mystery Cult Lore) acting as those sources, which aren't penalized when used by a familiar for learning the Ability. To use the example I mentioned earlier (10xp to get Affinity w/Magic Theory via a Minor Magical Quality), I was thinking along the lines of that source being the Forest of Shining Stone at Durenmar mentioned on page 102 of Covenants in the Great Works section (although Puissant Magic Theory may be a tad more appropriate, now that I think about it).

Silly me wasn't thinking about transformation in this sense when he originally said no transformation - I was thinking shapeshifting transformations. Sigh.

No. Check here. Yes, you need house rules to have unGifted PCs initiate or be initiated to the Heartbeast Mystery by the HoH:MC p.27 box Story Seed: A Thousand Heartbeasts. GotF p.37ff Walking the Path is not an initiation proper in the sense of TMRE.

You probably wouldn't call a GotF Magic forest or a wildland from HoH:MC p.103f Nature Lore a regular mystagogue, though they can enable "walking the path". And you don't wish your mystagogue to be Gifted, IIRC. But if your troupe allows an unGifted Mystagogue to found a tradition or a similar mystery cult for the unGifted, all is of course fine.

This is something I would advise against. In Mythic Europe you likely wouldn't wish to mix up medieval guilds, workshops, Bauhütten and such with later freemasonry and mystery initiations for unGifted. Such organizations would make up a second anachronism alongside the Order of Hermes, and easily become a major complication dominating your saga.


This erratum apparently needs occasional repeating. Thank you, jason72.

Inceptions, Reagents, Theriacs by A&A p.67 Experimental Philosophy are not magic, but cantations and spells are. So a familiar cannot learn the latter.

Shouldn't learning Magic Qualities from a rare book be learning magic?


No, read what your wrote yourself: "mystery cults initiating the unGifted need to be hedge traditions [unless house-ruled]." Saying it needs to be is saying it must be, is necessitated, etc. Saying it needs to be one thing is stating that thing as the only possibility. Meanwhile, this is the only listed exception to the "usual" requirement.

So, let's see...

  • Specifics of rules followed in story seeds are necessarily house rules. So, for instance, you claim Summon Animals does not break the Limit of Arcane Connections unless you house rule it to do so. How does Summon Animals fit within that limit?
  • These are not initiations because you've chosen to say they're not, even though they follow the same process as other initiations by special beings/things. Note that at the time of its publishing, this was the rule for how initiations worked: "The game mechanics for progressing in a mystery are extremely simple: the character takes on a General Flaw, usually Minor, and in return gets one or more Virtues. The Flaw represents the sacrifice he has made for access to the deeper power." And this suggestion is included: "Similarly, the quests for deeper power should involve at least some steps played out as stories." (ArM5 p.92) GotF uses the same language of "sacrifice" and "quest." TMRE didn't come out until several books later.
  • According to you the Ritual of Twelve Years is not a mystery initiation even though it's explicitly stated to be one.

I know you know what proof by contradiction is. When such a claim about what the rules say has to disagree the rules themselves, then you know there is a problem with the claim. You've been presented with so many issues with your claim. Why do you stick to this one claim based on the presentation of one exception to "usually" being Gifted (not even just leaving out "usually"), which in and of itself is not so limiting because of "usually"?

Sure, not a regular Mystagogue, but that doesn't mean they aren't Mystagogues, just unusual ones. There are cases where non-regular Mystagogues are explicitly labeled as Mystagogues, so there should be no problem calling one of those a Mystagogue.

And the specific rule for learning as humans as referenced there?

Even if it didn't say that, can regular humans undergo Transformation? So, again, where is there anything even suggesting they can do Transformation more cheaply?

Looks like you have real problems with quoting this:

So I did it for you.

What did you miss? The "So it looks, as if", which is a hint at further arguments I did not wish to have in the text for Christian Andersen, but probably needed for you, namely: there are TMK no rules allowing other TMRE type initiations for unGifted PCs.

No. The complete Story Seed is an option for a SG, nothing more. This makes all those rules which appear only in the Story Seed optional, and house rules if you opt for them. Allowing unGifted PCs to initiate the Heartbeast Mystery is a very weird house rule, which even the Story Seed did never intend.

Just that Sir Swindle apparently didn't do it here:


No. Didn't miss that. Just saying it only looks that way if you don't know how to reason through it properly. If you're saying there are other possibilities, then you're saying it's doesn't look as if it's this way, in contradiction with what you wrote.

All the rules are optional. That doesn't make all the rules require house rules. When it comes down to it, this doesn't require any sort of special rule. There is no new rule presented, just a presentation of something that could be done with the rules. Similarly, the Summon Animals Story Seed didn't present a new rule, just a specific presentation of something in the rules. How does Summon Animals not bypass the Limit of Arcane Connections?

How did you figure that? Did the Story Seed (HoH:MC p.27) intend for unGifted to be able to initiate the Heartbeast Mystery? Yes, absolutely, explicitly so. So how are you so sure allowing unGifted PCs wasn't intended? Even if not expected, are you so sure the author intended the Initiation to work for NPCs and to not work for PCs?

Meanwhile, maybe the author was thinking a PC might investigate it or a PC might choose to do it? Did you write this Story Seed (author: Mark Shirley)? Even if when expanded by David MacGregor there was no intention of it, that doesn't mean the original seed didn't. If Mark and David both say they intended the Initiation to work on NPCs and fail on PCs, I'll take them at their words.

Now this becomes ridonculous. I'm out of this.