some questions from someone new to the game.

1)if normal hermetic virtues can be learned as mysteries does that mean that mysteries can also be learned by normal teaching?

  1. what strikes me as odd was that in the mystery book it says that via the initiation method you can get even sth as"unaging" .this is a general virtue plus it seems to me that this is sth one is born with not making any sense to teach or initiate it. not anymore than initiating "gentle gift" (correct me if im wrong but i personally think should be a supernatural not hermetic virtue) some like "skilled parens" are silly. i can't retroacively change my pater.

3). so basically if i invent a virtue:break the limit of energy, i may decide" why should i spend another big period in research just so some lazy bastard can learn it by doing nothing?"

4). can you do a major breakthrough to improve a virtue? for instance improving alchemy's minor elixir so i can improve my clients longevity rituals and not just ones i cast on my self.

5).is there any metaphysical reason that many mysteries only work for your self? the way the system is even if i integrated them there would be no point

  1. besides how does one integrate a virtue(greater elixir) that breaks one of the greater limits?

  2. in general can you make breakthroughs that only partiall break a limit? e.g said elixir breaks the limit in only one specific way? even if this were a lesser limit not a great one how is one supposed to integrate this?

  3. for limits in general : creating a new duration"decade" is a minor one, a hermetic augury like in mysteries is a major one since it "bends"but not breaks the limit of time, creation(Like healing) with no vis needed is a hermetic one. correct?

9)from what ive seen so far it seems that in ars magica order members(like those of mysteries) are not legally obligated to share their discovieres. bonisagi excluded.

Mystery is only a name to describe what are secret societies or not-so-secret brotherhood within the Order. They usually are not specific to a House. It is a bit like the Franc-Maçons. Initiation is the process of teaching new secret to a member. Well structured Mysteries have finetuned a set ot initiation script allowing their Member to develop abilities/virtues which sit at the core of the Mystery. But it is very much possible to create a new initiation script and found a Mystery.
In the broadest sense, Initiation is teaching somebody, but it is not passive like listening to somebody or ready a book. It is a slower process, involving several steps were the supplicant needs to undertake various tasks and usually some form of sacrifice. Reading is not enough, it is something which need to be lived.

Technically, teaching does not require any roll. If you remove all the story potential and do not want to roleplay an initiation, there is still a few skill tests which need to be made (depending on the initiation script) unless you consider that the person will find all the information he needs and will succeed every task required (some requires finding a regio, talking to some powerful beings, killings a dangerous foe...).

  1. This is where you need to see the difference between teaching and initiation. Unaging is not taught, it is granted through several ordeals. It might involve finding the regio where Esperides's Apple are growing, harvesting a few, making a oinment out of it and at the very last stage, oiling the supplicant with said oinment.
    Initiation can affect the core Essence of a character. It is not getting your Baccalaureat. It is more like killing Fafnir and bathing in his blood. Skills Parens as such can be interpreted as receiving an intensive training course, involving some unique teaching techniques allowing you to progress beyond what can be done in normal circumstance.

  2. Yep. Now, to give you some perspective, the magus undertaking the research of a Breakthrough will spend a very large amount of time to reach is goal. Assuming that he finally achieve his goal, compared with a magus of the same age (or same number of year out of apprenticeship), he will be much weaker in term of Arts and Spells. He will have a unique schtik, but overall will be much weaker. Thus most magi will want to share their knowledge at a fair price to "recoup" their ime invested in this project. If a magus wants to undertake a Breakthrough for the sake of being more powerful than the other magi of the Order, he won't succeed (Major Breakthrough might take 30-50 years at least to achieve, and Hermetic Breakthrough might never succeed - I believe somebody did some statistics on that). He would be better off dealing with Chtonic magic or infernalist.
    It is only possible to achieve quick Breakthrough if you handwave every challenge required to get the Insight (finding sources of knowledge, generating experimentation Insight), neglect risk of Warping.... in short, ignored every single hurdle to achieve a Breakthrough. So far, in my game, there was only one Breakthrough, it was a tough minor one, who took the magus 20 seasons of pure research/discovery scattered over 10-12 years.

  3. Sounds like a nice project. Like all Breakthrough, it is subject to Troupe approval. Per say, it does not break any hermetic limit, so sounds reasonable.

  4. Initiation does not equal Breakthrough. I believe you are mixing a bit each concept of Breakthrough/Initation/Virtue acquired during apprenticeship. An initiation is a path allowing a magus to achieve certain enlightment that would not be possible through normal means (=simple teaching). So of course, it only benefits the supplicant: he undergoes the initiation for personal improvement.
    If every virtues in the book where fully integrated, Mysteries cults would cease to exist. It is not out of the realm of possibility that a Mystery Cult decide to take actions, including Wizard's war to prevent some of their secret to become common knowledge. Knowledge = Power... Typically, Verditius magi are very protective of their unique skills and would use all their resources to prevent any secret making enchanting easier to become widespread knowledge. They might bribe and pay, threaten, use political pressure or even murder to silence the magus.
    Yes, there is a point: you leave a unique legacy, your apprentice will be more powerful. But you ? Not directly. Look at modern scientif research, usually their findings does not impact them directly, however, they get more fundings, become world expert and so on...

  5. Hermetic Breakthrough and troupe approval. :wink:
    It would means that every magi would know not only how to do Longevity potion, but also how to become an Immortal being. By the way, read well how Immortality is handled. Immortality means becoming unchangeable, including steep constraints regarding how to learn new skills, spells and whatnot.

  6. Too broad. Be more specific. But as a rule of thumb yes. In Ancient magic, there is a breakthrough allowing to speak to the dead, far gone, breaking one limit. Yet it does not allow resurection (which is the same limit).

8 ) Yes. Although for the first one, I would hesitate since I cannot remember why it is not possible to have spell lasting longer than Year, even with virtus. If there is a specific limit their, then you might need to upgrade the level from minor to major.

  1. Yep. But threat can be made, Wizard's war also. If a magus is considered too powerful for the Order's own good, two options: allow the other magi to be on par in term of power (sharing his source of power), or remove the threat. The reason the Order works as such is because of the Parma, and because there is a general feel of balance of power. If this balance would tilt too much in one direction, then refer to the Sundering of House Tremere. And it was not even involving Hermetic Breakthrough, only clever politics...

so 1. mystery virties are explicitly different than normal ones.

  1. they can not be taught like normal virtues. however other virtues can be taught as mysteries in order to bypass the normal teaching quality limit. in which case the initiate must understand the virtue . essentially when passive learning becomes harder active learning is the solution.

3 are there any rules for making a new mystery?

  1. a breakthrough on a mystery would break it's uniqueness. it would propably also remove(as i understand it) it's more religious aspects. so a hermetic breakthrough on the elixir would completely change the face of the order.

  2. can non hermetics learn these mysteries?(i admit i have not yet read the entire book , so i don't know if it says so there)

  3. it's reasonable to assume that the parma magica was simply never integrated. in essence bonisagus by some miracle made the first part(the discovery) but literally failed the roll (or never had time to make one as he died ) for integration.

  4. speaking of which if integrate a limit from another tradition is it possible that hermetics will be better at it than the originals? due to the extremely flexible form-tecnique system.

8.i can also assume that when researching a breathrough if you limit your scope(e.g break limit of soul by jsut summoning the soul) it should be easier than" i can start resurrection every corpse i see"

  1. a mystery is not unlike warpig which can change your essential nature. but in both cases it's sth that has an extremely narrow scope and would be a b*tch to replicate normalyl

It's a Hermetic Breakthrough, creation of a new Arcane Ability, which can be taught by anyone who knows it. If it were a breakthrough that broke a Limit, then it has to be taught as if it were a Major breakthrough.

  1. Yes.

  2. More or less, assuming you consider things like quests of self-discovery, bathing in the blood of gods, or ritually sacrificing your magic items to be "active learning." :stuck_out_tongue:

  3. There are rules for making new Initiation Scripts, but no, there aren't rules for making new Mysteries, just like there aren't rules for making new Hedge Magic or Ancient Magic traditions. The things that are listed are examples, but the SG should feel free to personally design other Mysteries as appropriate for the saga, while players are inherently out of luck. (Though if I were your SG and you wanted to start a cult around your own Mystery, I would allow you to make any Virtues you designed via Breakthroughs into Mystery-only Virtues free of charge. But that's just me.)

  4. Ease of access to immortality would probably cause huge changes to the Order, or any organization that couldn't previously become immortal for that matter. Among other things, immortal characters need vis even more than other magi because they can't learn new things without it. Also I can see PeVi Might-strippers being outlawed, but then again it's not like that's any more enforceable than outlawing ReVi demon controllers...

  5. This is... Actually a kind of good question. Certainly, any Mystery based on the Hermetic Arts couldn't be initiated (which actually covers a ton of them), but I don't know if Mysteries have to be built differently for Hermetic or non-Hermetic users.

  6. JL answered this one.

  7. Not only possible, almost guaranteed, not just because of the flexibility of Hermetic magic, but also because Hermetic magi get huge Art scores due to Arts in general advancing so quickly and the fact that the OoH has tons of books and other learning resources to accelerate the process further. When whatever you're integrating was based off of, say, a Supernatural Ability where the best practitioners never got above a 5 or so in skill, and you throw a TeFo of 30 or so at it instead, you get way more power than the previous users had.

  8. I wouldn't assume. That can be argued on a case-by-case basis with some success, but I wouldn't assume.

  9. I don't know what you're asking here, so I'll leave this one be.

There are rules for making new mysteries. TMRE page 18, "Inventing your own Cult".

New Cults, yes. New Mystery Virtues, no.

Well, those can be spun out of whole cloth, too.

damn how i hate it when in a forum i post a reply,press the submit button and then it disappears! for no good reason.

anyway what i tried to write was:

a)just as warping may cause changes to you naturebut can't be replicated the same may be true for some mysteries. otherwise i can't see why the entire order has not forced the cult to share the greater elixir. "share or die!" :laughing:

b)i saw a breakthrough on hedge magic to break the limit of energy. curiously it gave a virtue not an arcane ability. if so could this mean that the "limit of magic resistance" is not a true limit? in the same way that "perpetual duration" is not technically one of the big 10.

c) if opening the arts means risking destroying whatever previous ars a hedge mage had, then does that mean that this could have happened to the founders? also if the ars do stay im assuming you can't combine them.

d)if i break the a limit like time for which no technique or form could even theoretically replicate it. does that mean that im inventing a new art? like "temporum" and"fortunae"

e) speaking of which can hermetic magic do the following things?a) be at many places at once(Like transforming to rats),scry a target,do teleparhy(words and images),


so if i break a limit i create a virtue,possibly a new form if none applies. thus anyone with the technique forms can do it
but if i do a hermetic breakthrough not brea king a limit(or creating a perpetual duration or sth like that) then my breakthrough is essentially inferior? i mean sure i don't need to teach it as a virtue thus it's easier.but it has virtually no flexibility.

g) im assuming that by making a breakthrough "mystery only , no teaching!" one can acquire great power. if done correctly an entire cult of personality.

Hey adrian24, no offense, but I have the feeling that you might have quickly glazed over the introduction to Mystery Cult and jump quickly to the juicy bits, aka Virtues, Flaws and cool abilities? Your question are based on the mechanics, not so much on the background.

Those Cults are semi-secrets: magi know they exists, they just don't know who is part of them (btw cults should not be seen as evil cultist conspiracy trying to take over the world/Order, they are not Cuthlhu-like cults). And even some magi might declare their allegiance. It is not like if they were doing something illegal or violating the Code.

a) Not everybody want to be immortal. Especially if it means that you cannot leave a certain place anymore, or need to consume huge quantity of virtus to learn something new. Finally people can consider unnatural to live on forever and against the cycle of the world. There are many ways to achieve immortality, some do not requires secret initiation (one example is given in Hermetic Project). None give true immortality, in the sense of undying, unaging and still able to act in everyother way like a normal human.

b) Nope. It does not. Many breakthrough only give a virtue which enable something that would not be otherwise possible. There is no corralation between a Breakthrough, acquiring virtue and/or skill and the limit it is encroaching or breaking.

c) There is a likelyhood that when openting the Arts, some or all Supernatural abilities are destroy in the process. One Founder lost his magical ability over time (Mercere), no reason is given why. Everything related to the Founders is subject to wide speculation. If you scrutinize Bonisagus achievements and try to apply the Breakthrough rules, and the initiation and the teaching of every magus, your realize it is not feasible by RAW. It gives a great freedom for every SG to decide who or what he was and how the Order was really created. There are no right or wrong answer.

d) You are looking at the problem from the wrong angle. First, decide what discovery you want to make (example: scrying the future), then decide with SG and group if it is a minor, major or Hermetic breakthrough (keep in mind that SG can very well let you go through a path which is a dead end, it is not because a magi decide to work on a discovery that he will break a limit, some will never be broken because they are set in the fundation of the Mythic Europe - typically Divine limit). Then only decide what mechanically would make more sense. If it is about scrying the future, it could be a major virtue, which allows you to use Imaginem guideline to scry the past, getting applied for future scrying. If you look at time travel, scrying, the whole package, then it will definitely be a new form (typically this is one of the limit which cannot be broken).

e) Yes. a)No guidelines in the spell book, and very high magnitude, but it would break no limit b) yes, be mindful that scrying at sodales is a High Crime c) Yes, Creo Mentem (sending image, thoughts to the target). If done both ways, you have telepathy. Otherwise, Creo Mentem with Intellego requisit, but magi will be reluctant to have an Intellego Mentem spell on them.

f) Nope. If it is fully integrated in the Hermetic Theory, then it can be taught within a season to any student/magi with MT, even using just Tractatus (open to debate, but reasonable). If it is not integrated, then the magus will teach a virtue (so probably through an initiation), There is no Inferior/superior breakthrough. It is integrated or not (refer to one of my previous post where I am describing the research cycle).
Parma magica does not need a virtue nor an initiation because it is fully integrated in the magical theory. Everything requiring a hermetic virtue means it is compatible with hermetic magic, yet not fully integrated.

I am going to repeat other people advices, for your first game/campaign, stick to the core book, and if you want more info on every house, look at the 3 House of Hermes book. But do not integrate yet the various factions and subdivision of every house. Especially if everybody around the table is new to Ars. There will be too much to process, and people will get lost in trying to find their ideal mage or optimise their development path, and the GM will drowned in all the variants and subgroups. Get a regular campaign going, and let it cover 30-40 years.
As everybody get familiar with the system, the Order and such, start bringing in little bits you like from one supplement or another, one hedge tradition, a couple of cults, a few house mysteries... Not everybody wants the same thing from a game. I have a player who did not want to bother with Spontaneous magic because too much math and parameters, so he went for with No Spontaneous magic flaw (Weak and Difficult Spontaneous magic). Yet everybody agrees that Spontaneous magic is a great tool from Ars magica. After about 50 seasons, only one of my player is showing interest in a Mystery cult (faerie magic and unique range/target), and none is interested yet in Breakthrough altough I gave them opportunity and insight to look into several. They have already their agenda full with regular stuff. One is looking at a familiar, another at opening a Talisman, a third at an apprentice. And nobody is bored or asking for more.

1)but IIRC in the main book concerning rego vim it explicitly says that parma magica is not integrated into normal magic

that's why aegis of the hearth wasa major breakthrough. and and any other such spell would have to be made as a breakthrough.

2)by the way would parma magica itsself count as an insight ? i assume it does. also can you use a lesser breakthrough as an insight for a greater one? e.g "diedne" magic as an insight for a hermetic one making spontaneous magic amost as strong as formulaic(not that i plan to do such a thing i am talking theoretically :laughing: )
or if some tradition can use tools as the verditius butare not limited by them. i can make a breakthrough "fixing" the verditius.

  1. i am reading more on breakthroughs today and from what i understand concerning hermetic ones,a) they are a real b*tch to achieve b) i have no idea how goingby the rules bonisagus did it and c) some reasonable limits aside "the sky is the limit" they are like dnd wishes. if done successfully what you want will come true.

4)from what i read and what people are saying it means that hermetic virtues like"quiet magic" or the one needing no gestures(subtle magici think)
or even "verditius,diedne etc" magic. they were all effectively major breakthroughs never integrated for various reasons( such as keeping power to your self).
though concerning verditius one has to wonder why he included a flaw in the breakthrough..

  1. thus we can assume that if playing a "soon to be apprentice" gifted character you can't start with a hermetic virtue other than sth like "gentle gift" or magical memory or inventive genius.? though the later 2 may also exist as mysteries.

A hermetic breakthrough does break a limit in some way. I don't really understand your response. The idea of a Hermetic breakthrough is that it breaks a limit somehow, someway. It might be a new virtue that can be taught, or it might be a new arcane ability, or it might be a new Form, or even a duration permanent, which breaks the Limit of Creation.

Hermetic Alchemy, a mystery virtue, is a good example of a virtue which breaks a hermetic limit, kinda, sorta. Instead of distilling Vim vis from a Hermetic aura, Hermetic Alchemists can distill other types of vis from the aura.

let me put it that way.

the first hermetic breakthrough is supposed to teach either a virtue or an arcane ability right?

a second makes it part of standard curriculum.

parma magica is obviously not integrated because i need the arcane abiity. and icould not combine it with other magic. aegis of the hearth was a breakthrough.

i assume that bonisagus researched it as an ability because even though it would be far more limited than if he had made a virtue letting everyone use rego vim t hadthe following benefits.

a)it is easier to learn the ability than require every mage to be a master of rego vim.
b) it is far easier to teach thana virtue)
c) his intent was to provide magical protection and protection from the gifts effects. not minmaxing :laughing:
d) he propably assumed he would finish integration later..but hedied


Integration is for virtues, not Arcane abilities. Consider, by your own definition, Magic Theory is not integrated into Magic Theory, since it is a separate ability and not part of a Form or Technique. :exclamation: Unless, you are thinking of tying magical protection to the Magic Theory score itself, which is bad from a game mechanics POV.

Also, Arcane Abilities can be used by anyone who can learn. It is possible, in fact it is a constant threat to the Order, that anyone can learn Parma Magica, and thus become resistant to Magic.

yes to be honest this is what i was thinking. i know it's bad for balance it's the metaphysics that bother me. plus as i wrote before it says on the core book that normally rego vim should do parma magica like spells but bonisagus was unable to integrate it.

magic theory may be an arcane ability but.. anyone could learn it. no opening of arts necessary.

that's what i don't get about the game it's inconsistent on some things. for instant i expected virtues like "inoffensive to" to be supernatural but they are general. i suppose that this is to be expected for balance(since supernatural virtues get harder to learn the more developed your arts are.)

anyway to sum it up.
a) we don't yet know how one officially creates a mystery. house or not.
b)all mysteries house or not are only learnable via an ordeal.
c) presumably one could integrate them..but good luck surviving all the inevitable wizards war from power hoarding magi :frowning:

what im unable to see however is how one makes a mystery that breaks the limit of essential nature. then again after seeing the verditius spell that make recruits from other houses lose the ability to do magic without tools.. i am led to believe that the limit of essential nature may be a bit more flexible in respect to what counts as human.
perhaps someone becoming a faerie or a magical being or a daimon still counts as"human enough" in gods eyes.
my reasoning may be flawed but it's the best i got..

speaking of the big guy.. how often does god is supposed to do miracles? let's say we have a scenario where im hunting a rogue who is hiding in a monastery. other considerations aside is"blasting it from the face of the planet" a sound plan?

Anyone can learn any arcane ability, all one needs are the virtues that provide access to it.

There are tons of inconsistencies that exist within Ars. Some need to be resolved by the troupe to move forward, some need to be decided by SG fiat, in the interests of advancing his story. Some methods of resolution will involve invalidating certain concepts. It's important to recognize this earlier rather than later. It's troubling to all participants when these conflicts arise during play.

a) Sure, you just do it. If you need virtues that don't exist, then you make them.
b)An ordeal isn't strictly necessary, unless a script calls for it, and it helps one in the future for later initiations.
c)Well, you are a power seeking magus, are you willing to pay the price for knowledge, and are you willing to pay the price for sharing that knowledge?
Mysteries aren't the end-all-be-all of power. Pursuing mysteries too early can significantly impact the power of a character in a negative sense.

Looking at it from a metaphysical angle, essential nature is changing because the person is changing it. A verditius ritual that gives him the power of Verditius magic, while impacting his formulaic casting methods happens due to an implicit agreement to change himself for himself. The ritual is symbolic of the change, but it really isn't part of it, beyond a superficial level. It works for the Verditius magi because they believe it works, it works for the initiate because he believes it works. Everyone's using a Dumbo feather on themselves.

As often as the SG desires.

Sure, you can study the lesser breakthrough in order to gain the breakthrough points used to make it, which may apply to a greater breakthrough.

It would be better if you could actually get hold of Bonisagus's notes however, which would give you all the breakthrough points directly.

Yes, these would be integration projects. The Diedne one is even explicitly mentioned in Hedge Magic (although it uses a hedge tradition possibly related to Diedne magic)

Pretty much. Bonisagus managed something almost impossible. He may well have cheated, he certainly had help from other wizards but there's some suggestion he may have had help from greater sources.

Not exactly. Quiet Magic etc. are things that happen naturally sometimes, some people just have the knack for reasons unknown. They could be integrated, if someone studied how they work, but they're not remnants of an incomplete integration.

Verditius and Diedne magic on the other hand are. Both were held as mystery cult secrets.

Verditius didn't choose to include a flaw; the trouble is that for most magi "Verditius Craft Magic" isn't integrated, but for Verditius Magi "Formulaic Non-Crafting Magic" isn't integrated. The two traditions aren't quite joined, and each lacks something the other has.

You can start with any of them other than those tied to a specific magical lineage. And even those are possible, due to the unpredictable behaviour of magic.

Aspects of your gift can result in you having abilities that even you don't understand.

Almost always, yes.

Parma Magica is not integrated, this is true. It's an odd one, because it's not actually connected to Hermetic Magic at all.

Aegis of the Hearth however is integrated; partially. It works through the hermetic arts, but it doesn't obey all the rules, so it's only partway integrated. If it was fully integrated you'd be able to cast it on an individual to grant them magic resistance.

Those reasons are completely wrong. The simple fact of the matter is that neither Rego nor Vim existed when Bonisagus invented the Parma Magica. Before the Parma Magica there was no Order of Hermes, and no Hermetic Magic; so Bonisagus couldn't invent it as a part of the Hermetic structure.

He could have invented it to fit within his own pre-hermetic magic, but then he wouldn't have been able to teach it to anyone else until he'd finished integrating their tradition; and without the Parma Magica they'd never have let him study his tradition .

so to speak in a familiar mage term. arcaneabilities like parma magica are paradigm free :laughing:

what i meant by aegits of the hearts was,that it was essentialy a major breakthrough on a hermetic one. that's why his spell can't be modified. one would have to do another breakthrough.

speakingof breakthroughs i am still puzzled by the ongevity ritual. for instance could i do a minor(Or major?) breakthrough removing infertility?
personally i think a difficult minor one may be able to do it. it's no more game upsetting than"adding a new duration or target"

also i read on a post that in the past there wer 4 vim(one per realm) and some magus integrated them.
i assume that
a) since we all have it by default shemade the second breakthrough necessary . thus no virtue needed
b) since it stil lworked within thehermetic arts she then just shared spells with that knowledge and people "got it" no re opening the arts of everyone in the order necessary.

can you teached a flawed version of hermetic theory?

also since hermetic virtues like puissant art or magical focus or flexible formulaic magic,essentially spontaneously generate that means i could make a new one.right?

Yes. There is even a magus in Magi of the Order (Aurulentus, p20) who ir proposed to have discovered it. It is a minor breakthrough, following the rules of original research and the whole process is described (which spells he used, what did he used as source of insight, and how long did it took him to complete the whole research. I roughyl estimate to 40 seasons to complete this project, including stabilisation,

That's fairly explicitly a matter of SG fiat. Decide what you think would be best for the game. God will agree and use miracles (or not) accordingly: