Secret Name Mystery to non-Bjornaer

So the Mystery Cult book talks about how magi from outside House Bjornaer occasionally ask for the Secret Name ritual to be performed on their behalf and that it works on anyone with Magic Resistance (Gifted or not) and it specifically mentions that the ritual fails if you have either a Talisman or a Familiar, the latter of which you cannot possibly have if you've been through the Twelve Years.

Reading the bit at the start of the book and in The Mysteries Revised, it seems like the only requirement to be initiated into anything is to either be apprenticed to a cult member, or to have (Cult) Lore 1. Obviously there's all the story and secrecy and all that good stuff and the various required virtues/abilities for certain scripts, but if a Tytalus came to a Bjornaer with a very good offer, would all it take to grant him Secret Name be to teach him to Bjornaer Lore 1 and then do the initiation?

There's the story seed about a whole lotta heartbeasts and I suppose to recreate that in game the mad magi would just teach all those people Bjornaer Lore 1?

edit: and while we're here discussing mysteries, when you invent your own script, at the final step when you generate your initiation total, do you include your Ordeal bonus if you have one from previous initiations? You don't get it to the bit where you roll, obviously.

The issue would be that bjorner mystagogues tend to be of the clan Ilfetu, and rather zealous in protecting clan interests. as such it is unlikely to be a simple bribe that gets you the initiation. Now if a Tytalus came to an Ilfetu mystagogue, learned the cult lore at 1 and offered to get a baron to lay off cutting down trees in an old growth forest he might get a deal.

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HoH:MC p.18 has:

Undergoing the Ritual of the Twelve Years is is the only way to gain the Heartbeast Virtue (and Ability), and is synonymous with joining House Bjornaer. The ritual is more than a rite that awakens the heartbeast: it also joins the magus to the family of House Bjornaer, much as a cutting, grafted to a tree, becomes part of that tree.

So your Tytalus applies to completely join House Bjornaer, not just to receive an initiation for a price. She undergoes HoH:MC p.17f Joining House Bjornaer: interview by the Bjornaer Council, check of sincerity and conditions that prevent joining the House (like shapechanging without a spell, initiation to any other mystery of any House, etc.), then preliminary adoption into a sept and doing work as a catulus for five or more years. Only then she may receive The Ritual of the Twelve Years.

This is possible and it happens - but the Tytalus will be changed by her experience for good.

Going through the Ritual of Twelve Years is out of question, unless someone is actually joining House Bjornaer.
But that wasn't the question. It was about the initation for the Secret Name mystery which is occasionally done for non-Bjornaer.

Most of the time (with the exception of the Outer Mystery for each of the Mystery Houses), one needs a (Cult) Lore score of 1+ to be initiated in any mystery. It is however not entirely clear to what extent this is a hard mechanical requirement, or just that most mystagogues simply refuses to initiate anyone who doesn't have at least some clue on what to do.

I would expect any Bjornaer to be quite reluctant at teaching Bjornaer lore to an outsider - more so than at initiating an outsider in the Secret Name mystery. Bjornaer Lore would include much knowledge about House Bjornaer that they would be much happier if outsiders remain ignorant of.

Right. Sorry. HoH:MC p.27:

The Mystery can benefit any person (Gifted or not) who possesses Magic Resistance, and those few magi outside the House who learn of it occasionally ask the House to perform it on their behalf.

One can argue, that knowing of Secret Name without being told by a Bjornaer requires a successful roll of Intelligence + House Bjornaer Lore anyway.

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Sure. Or they might simply have been told about it by a Bjornaer friend.
The mere existence of the Secret Name mystery won't be a major secret.

Not sure why you would assume that. Bjornaer, like most mystery cults, tend to follow a simple edict: the first rule of Bjornaer club is you do not talk about Bjornaer club. Most Bjornaer cubs would need several levels of Lore before they found about the naming ritual themself, they certainly would not be broadcasting that information to the Order generally. It’s a Mystery Cult. Says so right in the name.

(Criamon is often an exception - they feel that anyone who can understand the meaning of what they are saying is automatically qualified to hear it.)

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Who said anything about broadcasting to the Order generally? And where do you get the "several levels of Lore" from?

While many Mystery cults are very close-mouthed about absolutely everything concerning them, other Mystery cults are far more open with their existence and the general gist of what they can teach. The actual initiation rites and such, that is of course secret.

Ok, so the answer to the question I asked seems to be "Yes, you can initiate anyone into anything you have a script for."

The books say a requirement of Cult Lore 1+, but I agree that, at least for Bjornaer, they'd much rather just do the ritual and not teach you the lore because of how that tells so many secrets and would allow them to read secret Bjornaer notes in books that they would otherwise be oblivious to and its just a whole can of worms they'd rather not let anyone in on.

I'm not sure how widely advertised Secret Name would be, as the people who undergo it would be people with a past to hide from. If you find out about it and try and ask someone to perform it, they could be honest and tell you "Well, we can do it, but undergoing the ritual involves sacrifice and completely trusting the mystagogue with your life. Do you trust me, and will you pay the price?"

The cult lore of 1+ is a hard requirement for an initiation to work. Far as I can tell the exemption for apprentices is because the 5E initiation rules came out after the core book and it meant MC house characters didn't need to be retconned to start with [House] Lore 1 at CharGen.

[Edit:]That said, [MC] Lore 1 is not a lot of lnowledge about the house or their mysteries and it definitely should be possible to learn that without a teacher and just listening to some of them and their beliefs on magic or whatnot.

I can see it. It's already a very serious thing you're doing, so walking someone through the absolute basics of the meaning of the ritual beforehand to make them really get it seems fine.

You're right that Lore 1 isn't super huge and "there are Six Clans, here are their deals and a couple of legends about Birna" isn't an awful thing for people outside the House to know.

It would be fairly easy for Bjornaer to have an initiation script that also includes a Prohibition (don't share this Bjornaer secrets) on top of Weak Magic Resistance, just for initiating people from outside the cult.

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Ohh, that's a good point! Adjusting a script so it has one of those is a very good idea. If you're good enough to invent a script while experimenting on someone else you could slap them with both.

One thing about AM is it tends to make a lot of history, relations within the order, all the socio-political stuff somewhat vague, so the SG can choose which way to go. A classic example is were Diedne really guilty? Saying that, Bjornaer being the most mysterious mystery cult is as close to canon as can be.

Bjornear being Germanic background instead of Greco-Roman creates a level of distrust between Bjornaear and the rest of the order. The nature of the the heartbeast, the lack of familiars, creates another rift between the order and Bjornaer thinking.

I imagine some Bjornaer still wonder if things were different, would it have been Bjornaer instead of Diedne sacrificed in the Schism war to bring stability back to the order?

With all these concerns it seems reasonable, and in my opinion strongly suggested in the RAW, that Bjornaer are very secretive of their mystery cult secrets.

I would disagree, specifically that while Bjorner would be the most secretive mystery house they are not the most secretive mystery cult, simply being a house means you are a lot more open than numerous mystery cults who cover up their own existence.

Didn't one of the more recent Bjornaer leaders encourage his house to interact more with the order at large (i.e. don't form Bjornaer only covenants, join multi-house covenants)? This was deliberately done to reduce tensions with 'Roman' houses ("We're not that weird, honest!").

I thought how I wrote it at least implied I meant of the 4 houses which in the RAW are called mystery cults.

Of all the mystery cults across the many books, most of which couldn't actually exist (unless they are mostly 2 people cults, or we accept most of the order are in cults), I am certain at least one is more secretive than Bjornaer.

I think my point stands.

Have you never played Paranoia? The only thing important to know is that it's illegal to be in a secret society, and that it is equally illegal to possess mutant powers, and that every characters is both a mutant and a secret society member. That's an allegory of an answer to say - yeah, I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of hermetic magi try and find a way to join one or more cult during their lifetime, but of course they're all members of mainstream society. Persona? Never heard of it, says the Tytalus, before he arranges the disappearance of the person asking the question.

You may also be overstating the number of mystery cults published, which aren't that bad frankly, with perhaps the fringe case of House Mercere factions due to the low number of Mercere magi.


I agree I may have overstated it, however, I'd think a cult should have 8+ member to be a meaningful cult, otherwise it's just a couple of mates hanging about doing weird magical experiments. While not an absolute, 8+ seems a logical minimum.

Using the mystery cult mechanism to represent 1 person passing on forbidden knowledge to a protege, who must do the same near the end of his life is also reasonable, but I'd think that is uncommon.Most mystery cults suggest it is not just 1 member there when the initiation happens.