Persona and Being Two Magi

I had a concept for a maga, but I'm not totally sure how to represent it within the ArM rules and spirit, and was hoping for some advice:

The maga (let's call her Hypetis) would start of as an apprentice to a Tytalus magus. At some point, in the process of rebelling against her parens (as encouraged by the Tytalus apprenticeship), Hypetis would take the persona (as per the virtue) of a completely different gifted individual and arrange to have herself apprenticed to a (possibly very gullible) magus of House Bonisagus. The strategy is, if found, to force her new parens to exercise the Bonisagus right to take an apprentice and be free of her Tytalan parens

However, by the time her Tytalus parens locates his wayward apprentice, Hypetis is powerful enough either to kill him or defeat him in an eristic moot, and does so sufficient that House Tytalus accepts "Hypetis" as having passed the gauntlet. However, Hypetis maintains her persona and in that persona passes the House Bonisagus gauntlet, and she decides to stay primarily as her persona -- her Tytalus self is secret.

I'm wondering, first, which free House Virtue Hypetis should have -- Tytalus or Bonisagus?

Next, other than persona, which Virtues and Flaws make sense?

Finally, if Hypetis wanted to actually be two magi simultaneously, how would that best work out? Obviously obfuscating her sigil would be a real issue, requiring some work in metamagic. But can it be leveraged to be, say, two votes at Tribunal without being two obvious to the Quaesitores?

Two votes at Tribunal require two gauntlets recorded by the Tribunal, two voting sigils, two administrative trails with the Quaesitores, plus changing Personae in mid-Tribunal - and a Wizard's March if discovered. Is that worth it? Even for a Tytalus at heart? Even for a Major Story Flaw Dark Secret plus a Major Personality Flaw Overconfident?
Note that recently assumed Personae can still be detected (HoH:S p.90) as if MuCo. So if Hypetis' sodales get sufficiently suspicious to make it an issue at Tribunal, Quaesitores Endorsing Testimony (HoH:TL p.64ff) would find it.
Would the sodales at her covenant know of her two identitities? Would they cover for her and eventually share her Wizard's March? Or are both identities lower-rung peregrinatores (GotF p.20) or such?

Give her one for free and buy the other.

It's a nice concept, if there is an experienced alpha storyguide helping you to flesh it out and pull it off.


it's a good concept but I don't think it would really work.

If the Tytalus' apprentice has been taken by the Bonisagus, then he may not be gauntleted by the Tytalus house, esristic moot notwithstanding.

So, Hypetis should simply be a Bonisagus who had part of a Tytalus training. The challenge, to my eyes, would be to explain why a Bonisagus bothered to take a Tytalus' apprentice.

But, as I undestand, you presume that a partly trained Tytalus could escape his master, find a Bonisagus master and years after that (why ? years ?), manages to kill or defeat his former master who did find him and (strangely) didn't talk of it to anyone... and is gauntleted by the house Tytalus without informing the Bonisagus master. It's a lot of presumptions!
Escaping from Tytalus apprenticeship ? So, the master has no arcane connection, doesn't know the true name and doesn't know of the persona of his apprentice ? Barely plausible at best.
Find a Bonisagus master who will not notice that the arts have already been opened ? Nearly impossible.
Not being found by former master for years, but in the end he finds out his more experienced fled apprentice, even though this apprentice managed to escape and remain hidden when he was inexperienced ? Contradictory.
Tytalus master comes to fetch former apprentice without informing anybody (especially not the Bonisagus new master) ? I think it's against the code. Anyway why bother taking back an apprentice from a Bonisagus ? Don't forget that the former master does know that he has lost his master's rights, as he didn't provide teaching for years.
The former apprentice kills or defeats his former master (and this old Bonisagus doesn't even notice that) ? Well, good luck Hypetis.
And after that house Tytalus gauntlets a former apprentice who just happens to have disappeared for years and killed his former master, no questions asked ? Impossible. At least a thorough investigation would be in order (and yes, magi could scry apprentices) and the secret discovered, then Hypetis would never be gauntleted because he belongs to house Bonisagus.

I would only allow it if you could achieve it in game-play.

Sure. Nothing (except tradition) forbids a magus/maga from belonging to several houses - indeed, house Tytalus is explicitly mentioned to have traditions of adotion that effectively let magi have dual house membership - whether they want it or not!

So, in my thinking, the maga is usually in her Bonisagus persona. She's only her "original" self when it allows her something she wouldn't already get.

The additional tribunal vote (and many other things) would almost certainly be handled by proxy so that there's as few "stage play" or "multicamera sitcom" situations where she walks out one door and walks in as someone else as can be arranged. The best arrangement would be to have a fellow member of the covenant whose interests are aligned handle the proxy so that the exercise of the two votes isn't as obvious.

Would the covenant know? Good question. It would be tough to conceal when casting the Aegis because everyone would likely have to be there for the casting. Maybe if one identity was a peregrinator, everyone could be in the dark, especially when the trusted sodale with the proxy just thinks he got a "free vote," which of course would also cause him to need to keep the secret after taking advantage of it for a tribunal or more...

This requires having that second voting sigil first.
Who did provide the sigil? A Tytalus magus appreciating a maga living as a persona most of her time, and having defeated her Tytalus parens? So at least that Tytalus magus knows, that he provides a second identity as a maga to her, and cheats to cover the second voting sigil out of sympathy? Really? Why?
Who registered the sigil? A Quaesitor who fell for the ruse of a single Tytalus magus?

Helping with a High Crime for just a "free vote" is a bad bargain in general. After all it can mean standing trial for it, not just keeping a secret. You need to find someone desperate for just that specific free vote, which again might call scrutiny to its provider.

Sort this out with an experienced alpha storyguide, and specific to your saga.

I don't think, that we will be able to hash out on the forum the complex, dense, and quite Dickensian plot you need for this:

  • the unworldly Bonisagus taking in without wondering an apprentice with already opened Gift, and then providing the first gauntlet and voting sigil,
  • the self-effacingly helpful Tytalus knowingly faking the second gauntlet and voting sigil,
  • the dumb and/or corrupt Quaesitor registering it,
  • the proxy voter desperately needing a critical vote,
  • and all the trusted sodales keeping the secret from then on.

If the alpha storyguide makes it possible, he might end up with a major saga feature: a secret known to quite a few members of the Tribunal, who all need a strong and lasting reason to keep silent. At the very least this means lots of ArM5 p.54 Favors owed and bestowed by Hypetis and her Persona.


Well, perhaps that Nothing forbids a magus from belonging to several houses (well, except tradition, contempt and wizard's wars), but the Code states that a magus has one vote in Tribunal, not two.
In a Tribunal at least, some senior magi do use as proxies the sigils of magi in final twilight, but it's merely a straining of the Code, not a clear violation like having two votes for the same magus.

Letting a magus having dual house membership is not the same thing as letting him having two votes in Tribunal.

Oh yes!
So that part depends on secrecy, and on just how magi vote in your saga - especially how much scrutiny there is surrounding it.

It may not be a crime to possess two voting sigils if only one is used at a time. Perhaps Bob Bonisagus votes at odd numbered Tribunals and Mike Merinita at even numbered ones, with nobody the wiser that Bob and Mike are the same magus.

First, given the usual degree of Intellego Vim 'available' to not one but two other covenants - and keeping in mind a maga is almost never going to have more than one level in the Parma Magica prior to their Gauntlet, as it is usually the final thing taught to them - I think the idea that the maga fresh out of Gauntlet could sustain the identity of being two separate magi is unlikely. Other people have noted the incredibly potential difficulty of escaping a Tytalus master in the first place, deceiving the Bonisagus magus as to the arts being un-opened, High Crimes under various Codes, etc. I'd like to suggest a 'watered down' version of the original concept.

The idea of an exceptionally clever apprentice, successfully 'appealing' to a member of House Bonisagus to claim their apprenticeship, and then later 'rejoining' Tytalus upon passing the Bonisagus Gauntlet, could work. This would set up all sorts of interesting questions about the feelings of each parens towards their one-time filius. It's a much toned-down version of your original idea in terms of 'magnificent feats', but is still impressive on its own - and classically Tytalian!

I would personally take both the Self-Confident and Puissant Intrigue Virtues, with exactly which one selected 'as House Virtue' as slightly less important. Note that technically if you want them adopted by parens of Bonisagus' direct line rather than Trianoma's, they should gain Puissant Magic Theory instead of Puissant Intrigue, but to me the character-defining trait here is as a canny manipulator, even as an apprentice, and so I think Puissant Intrigue 'better fits the character.' I think most Storyguides would permit it, but you could always take all three!

Logical Flaws include a Major Personality Flaw such as Overconfident, Arrogant, etc., with Story Flaws such as: Beloved Rivals, Tormenting Master, Enemies, Fostered Apprentice, Favors, or Hermetic Patron being appropriate, depending on the current relationship with her Tytalus and Bonisagi parens. Either the Weak or Skilled Parens flaw/virtue could be appropriate as well.

I think it would be far easier to murder a magus (or come across a dead one that nobody knew was dead) and assume a second personae using their sigil in another tribunal.

Other people have outlined the major challenges, borderline to impossible.

One suggestion would be: the Tytalus master is an accomplice to his apprentice. The Tytalus master has a plan, which requires his apprentice to infiltrate House Bonisagus (stealing some secret, long term rivalry, whatever...), so he set up the persona for his apprentice. He might grant him an item that protect from getting his persona detected (a variant of Shell of False Determination possibly ?)

The first part of the plan goes well, the apprentice is taken by a Bonisagus (to justify his Arts are open, the apprentice persona is of a recently deceased old, solitary magus - maybe a wandering Ex Miscellanea, without covenant, who could not complete his apprenticeship).
The Bonisagus magus train the Tytalus apprentice, and he gets his gauntlet. The initial Tytalus master, grants his « apprentice » the magus title since he managed to infiltrate house Bonisagus.
So officially both apprentices have been gauntleted. And both certified by a Quaesitoris. Both with their sigils.

Then, the newly gauntleted mage decides to maintain both persona, without obeying anymore to his Tytalus master. Said master cannot denounce his former apprentice since he is as much guilty - even more since he is a fully fledged magus whereas his apprentice was only following his order.
Thus starts the game of cat and mouse between the master and his apprentice.

The only « official » way the Tytalus master can get his revenge is through a Wizard’s war. So he sent a declaration to the newly gauntleted apprentice, his Bonisagus master is shocked by the declaration and call for some favours to have a proper defense which causes the death of the Tytalus magus. And so died the only person who knew the real identity of the Tytalus/Bonisagus mage.

This story provides at least some plausible ways to go around some of the initial challenges. Many Intellego spells could reveals the trick, but it all depends on how frequently these spells are used in your campaign and/or how difficult CrVi could derailed such spells. Personally, as ST, I don’t consider that masters uses abundantly spells over their apprentices, it is a matter of respect and trust, but it is very much a YMMV situation.