supernatural abilities that are worthwhile

Long ago, shortly after the revised mystery book came out, I put a lot of effort into creating a character who used divination, and was also an intelligo specialist. I learned eventually what most people on this forum already knew, which is that the techniques and forms tend to be the only supernatural abilities worth the experience cost when all options are weighed. Divination was an experience drain that I ended up ignoring.
I am now creating a Ex Misc. character and wanted to ask what other supernatural abilities you have found are actually worth it to a character. I think it is a fairly common opinion that Second Sight (being a sort of constant, multi-form intelligo effect) is worthwhile. I have also found premonitions to be nice. What other experiences have you all had with giving a character a supernatural ability at creation, and not regretted it, or had to accept it as a weakness taken for narrative purpose?

I saw the title and was going to say "Second Sight", but I see you've already covered that.

I don't have a lot of personal experience, but I'm going to speculate wildly / steal what I've seen other people say before. I'm going to concentrate on Supernatural Abilities for magi, since that's what your post implies, rather than for grogs / companions (where they can be a bit more broadly useful). I'm also going to ignore Supernatural Abilities / flaws that are inherently linked to other magical traditions.

Part of the problem with Supernatural Virtues for magi is that often magi can pretty much replicate what they do, sometimes better (e.g. I wouldn't recommend taking Entrancement). You therefore either want things that can do things magi can't do (e.g. Second Sight, Premonitions), or at least something can do it significantly more cheaply in a way that is likely to be outside a magus' core Arts.

With that in mind, a few ideas. Note that I'm not necessarily saying these are excellent choices, just okay ones:

  • Shapeshifter. As a major virtue which you have to sink xp in, it's expensive, but it does have the major advantage that it's instantaneous magic so you don't have to penetrate. Can be useful for someone whose core area of expertise doesn't lie in MuCo(An), but where being able to change shape complements that speciality. Maybe an Intellego based spy? Pick inconspicuous animals / birds for spying, turn into a bear for emergencies.
  • Similarly, Persona (HoH:S pg 89) can be useful if you're planning to create a character who will stay in disguise for long periods of time (as it's not a continuous magical effect, and therefore doesn't need to be renewed or warp).
  • Animal Ken is okay for a minor virtue.
  • Sense Holiness and Unholiness can sense things Hermetic Magic can't (like Tainted virtues / flaws)
  • Hex, maybe. Being able to force people to botch isn't awful. You'll probably never get the penetration to use it on people you couldn't easily do nasty things to directly anyway, though.

I was going to say the following, before realising that you'd specified Supernatural Abilities (but I've typed them up now, so will post them):

  • Lesser / Greater Immunities. Sure, you can have Ward Against Heat and Flames variants, but there's still something nice for a Flambeau in being completely immune to fire. Immunities to drowning can be useful for underwater characters (although I seem to remember that there's something somewhere that specifies exactly what an immunity to drowning does, and it's less useful than it could be).
  • (Land) Regio network (RoP:M pg 45) is a minor virtue that is useful for characters wanting to move allies in bulk. I have an idea for a sea-monster focussed character that uses a Sea (Regio) network to move his creatures between areas.

I'll second (or third) Second Sight, mostly because it doesn't have to penetrate, and Sense Holiness and Unholiness. I'd probably second Premonitions and Animal Ken, too.

RoP:tI is inconsistent on labeling Summoning a Supernatural Art or a Supernatural Ability. One specific statement is that it can be learned as a Supernatural Ability that advances as an Art, so I would take that to mean it's technically an Accelerated Ability, which may not have been defined at the time. That can be a great one because you don't have to dump lots of points into it, just using Rego and Vim scores as needed.

The other three Goetic Arts have a similar advantage, but they're all Infernal, as opposed to (spirit) Summoning, which can be Tainted but not Infernal, and other Summoning, which can even not be Tainted.

There are some other non-Abilities that advance similarly or Abilities that don't qualify as Supernatural that might be useful. In RoP:F, there are the Faerie Speech Pretense and Faerie Sympathy. In HoH:MC and GotF there is Nature Lore (Forest Lore).

Yes, with Goetic Sorcery (I think that is the name of the Merit, don't have the book in front of me right now) I've thought that Summoning might be useful for a spirit orient mage, with the ability to sub Rego and Vim for the ability scores normally used for that art the experience sink normally associated with supernatural abilities is lessened. . And forest lore would be useful for the right character.

Supernatural senses:
Second Sight, Sense Holiness/Unholiness, Magic Sensitivity (the later on non-magic, preferbly grogs).
I'm on the fence about Premonitions. It's awesome to have, but a pain in the hoop for your SG :-/

Shapeshifter can be worth it. It can be duplicated via MuCo/An magics, but it often compares with fairly high level spells.
There are also some differences in Penetration IIRC, see HoH: MC.

But then, I usuall consider Supernatural Abilities to be tos for non-Magi :wink: