Political issue of selling a supernatural virtue

Well guys i would like to ask you a question im having an issue about it.

My character is Aristophanes of Bonisagus, old apprentice of an ex miscellanea, who was taught the mysteries of the pralixian line : Comprehend magic. Im an experiment and the only reason im still alive was thanks to my mentor, an elder of the pralixian line. In otherword im one of the kind
Lately a member of my covenant, Lucius of Tremere asked me to taught his apprentice, the supernatural virtue of Comprehend Magic.

He asked me a price, to be honest im not sure if i should accept it.

  • Is it true if Bonisagus or Pralix Line knew i taught this Supernatural Virtue to a Tremere i could face dire conséquence ?

  • Otherwise what kind of price i could ask for such a priceless ability which in the end is a major supernatural ability ?

I look forward for your advise !!

Bonisagus? Nope. Not their secret to care about. You might be blackmailed, but that's for the below reason...

Lineage of Pralix? Oh hell yes. Expect to be Wizard's Warred into annihilation if they find out. You have sold their House Secrets. And if the secret doesn't make it very far, they're likely to Wizard's War whoever you taught, too - that does drive down the price of the secret.

As for the price: There's absolutely no standard. Normally, this sort of thing isn't sold for vis (or, God forbid, silver) - it's taught to one's apprentice (as part of the 15 seasons of training exchanged for 45 seasons of slavery), or it's taught to a Mystery Cult in exchange for loyalty and service to the cult. If you're selling it for vis at all, I'd spitball an offer of 20 pawns, expecting to be bargained down to about 15. Myself, I'd also want to have the approval of the local Exarch for this sort of deal, and the protection of House Tremere if things go pear-shaped - House Tremere might not want their magi getting involved in this kind of business.

Your character is currently of House Bonisagus.

Your bit of the Oath of Hermes was:
“… I shall further the knowledge of the Order and share with my sodales all that I find in my search for wisdom and power…”

Even if the Supernatural Virtue were a more common one like Second Sight the other fellow might have a legal point. But for a powerful and unique virtue like Comprehend Magic (HoH: S p128)? I wouldn’t be surprised if House Tremere itself were interested.

On the other hand teaching a major virtue is quite difficult, (Apprentices p 40 if you have a very good score in Teaching). You might honestly do your best and not succeed.

I’d draw up a contract for a season’s instruction and get a Guernicus to look it over. Ask for double the vis you could distill from your home aura in a season – then settle for whatever keeps you protected under the code.

Good luck, soldat! :open_mouth:

I do repeat my statement: House, lineage and Mystery Cult secrets aren't defended by Tribunal or by legal points. They're defended by Wizard's War and bloody vengeance.

The first opponent here seems to be House Tremere. Telling them 'no' solves the possible bloody vengeance problem, but not the 'Bonisagus is Withholding Knowledge' problem.

Note that most of the time Bonisagus just needs to share his finished research/lab notes. But when Mr. B has a Wonderful Ability must he really spend all his time teaching it to anyone who asks? That sounds like a tribunal case that might have happened before. Go purchase some good legal advice before making a decision.

Ahh. Yes, that's always been a problem for Bonisagi and strange abilities in general (though IMS, the Peripheral Code would probably say something about Mysteries and the secrets of non-Bonisagus Houses that somehow end up in Bonisagus hands).

Thanks for the advises,

think about that the troupe in which i play have 3 MJ, among those one Alpha.
The same Alpha Mj advised me during the creation of the character the ability comprehend magic with his autorization
and now it is his own character who ask me to teach his apprentice .. you see my huge dilemma i see metagame and more in the end or am i paranoiac

I'd have my character initially refuse and seek advice from a Quaesitor, particularly a Bonisagus Quaesitor if you can arrange for one.
"The skill is the protected secret of another house which I gained through serendipity. Sharing it openly may place myself and others in peril; and nobody wants that. If you desire it strongly I can seek advice from a Quaesitor, perhaps we invite one to visit?"

Keep in mind it's a Supernatural Virtue and not a Hermetic Virtue, so it's not as easy to teach. You'll need a Teaching/Training Source Quality of at least 20 if the apprentice's Arts are open(15+ for the Arts + 5xp to get to level 1), more if the apprentice has other Supernatural Virtues with scores (as per page 166 of the core book).

Pralicians are likely to look to what happened with House Verditius and the Automata Mystery as a precedent.

Perhaps the best solution is to lie (in character) and say you're in the process of Integrating the Virtue into Hermetic Theory and that the results of your published research will be available from the Great Library when it is complete. Page 53 of HoH:TL doesn't say anything about being required to teach someone's apprentice an Ability, it only seems to require a Bonisagus magus to provide access to his finished texts.

If you're feeling particularly put out by the Alpha's request, there's always the "Be careful what you wish for." response. Do you really want me to teach (insert apprentice's name) Comprehend Magic? Yes? Fine. As a member of House Bonisagus, I hereby exercise my right to take your apprentice as he will be helpful in my studies. :smiling_imp:

The practical meaning of this is not very clearly defined in the context of the AM5 Order of Hermes. One doesn't see very much free knowledge sharing going on from the Bonisagi, even of texts without the Order's version of copyright, so I wouldn't expect Mysteries to be included.

I'm not sure the Bonisagus obligation and it's corresponding right to apprentices even make sense in the context of this edition of the game, to be frank.

I have to agree with jason72.

If the Tremere in question is pressuring your Bonisagus into teaching his apprentice Comprehend Magic, the best response is to exercise the Bonisagus' right and claim the Tremere's apprentice so as to teach him ("Actually, I'm rather busy at this time, but it's my duty to spread magical knowledge to the Order. So I'll do as you ask, and teach your apprentice myself. He'll become a fine member of House Bonisagus, rest assured. Oh, and of course, I might learn something myself about your fabled duelling techniques.")

It's legal. It's in line with the spirit of the Bonisagus teaching Oath, while at the same time protecting the secret. And you can be sure that if the Tremere were to try to raise a fuss about it (or, Hermes forbid, declare a Wizard War), the entire House Bonisagus would respond with fury to defend its privileges. And in a Tremere vs. Bonisagus conflict, the rest of the Order would certainly side with the Bonisagus.

Oh, this is perfect, do this.

...after you've taught him Comprehend Magic and received your compensation for doing so. No sense not twisting the knife while you're at it.

Warning, some storyguides hate being outsmarted. But do it anyway. It's one of those game events you'll talk about for years to come.

Heck, house Tremere would side with Bonisagus. Tremere as written are all about law & orderly society; his superiors will shut him down hard and fast (or they should) so he doesn't make the house look bad.

Epic. I hate munchkin ST. And i see the request to teach the magical secret as a total lack of etiquette. My pralician will consider this an insult. Remember as your apprentice you can be very sucker and force him to wash your clothes for humility lessons 45 seasons. Or simply kill him, is your right. But 90 XP in profession maiden is always better option.

Well, maybe.

Considering the size of the Order, there's probably a single-digit number of people in the Lineage. And the Lineage is all about strengthening the Order through the absorption of magical secrets. There's a reasonable chance that they're all willing to let it slide and/or not willing to put their lives on the line.

All depends on the personalities of the people involved, really.

Right now i said no, but now he is willing to blackmail me to get it ... im not really sure what should i do or just quit the troupe,

Play him for a sucker?

Maybe you should just have an out-of-character, player-to-player conversation with that person, and let him know how you're feeling about it.

I agree, it could be his I dea of a story.

It also depends if the player (and I am using on purpose "player" and not magus here) is looking for have his apprentice getting a free virtue. Because the only way to get those kind of virtue is through initiation, which requires being member of a Cult or a Mysteries, which implies several things: earning the trust of the Cult, swearing a oath - possibly giving a personal AC - and following an initiation script, very often a flaw is granted as the only way to accrue enough point to learn the virtue.
Apprenticeship is consider an ordeal in itself (15 years of slavery is a reasonable price :smiley: ), but to get this kind of virtue for free within a season, I would look for a full initiation, including script and a flaw like Oath of Fealthy or whatever seems suitable.

By the way, your PC might honestly says: I am not skilled enough to teach you this virtue and I have not been initiated in the Mystery of my Cults. I know how to use it, but cannot teach it yet. However, since you are a good friend, I will forward your request to Archmagus Nuke-in-the-Face-and-Political-powerhouse, who is more senior than me and very skilled in teaching (and brainwashing) your dear apprentice.

But if you feel that the player is kind of twisting your arm because he is the alpha SG, then confront him in a polite way - you are friends after all - and if your suspicion is confirmed then share with the rest of the troupe.