The Divine: some questions!

Entering a tradition is entirely a story thing - it's like entering a mystery cult or other society. The exact entry procedures will be different for every society. This could be as simple as having someone to teach you or it could be as complex as a full mystery cult. A tradition is just a group of like minded people who share certain abilities and interact with the divine in similar ways.

For example ascetics are likely to just become a part of that tradition by living as an ascetic - they might become a hermit in the wilderness or join a monastic community like the desert fathers of Egypt. Or they might find another ascetic who can teach them (think of Yoda in Star Wars for that sort of thing).

Cantors on the other hand are part of an actual profession, church hymnists. For them you would have to seek out a renowned Cantor or choir and ask to learn from them, or something to that effect. The teaching of the tradition is combined with the teaching of the mundane skills used by them.

Joining a tradition should be a major plot in and of itself imo, but there is no hard rules as to how it happens.

As to the other points - True Faith is to the divine realm as the Gift is to the magic realm. Favoured abilities for traditions are easier to learn for people with True Faith, but they can also learn any dominion aligned supernatural ability by virtue of having True Faith. A person without true faith is like the ungifted, they have to gain supernatural abilities by initiation and virtues, they cannot learn them by normal means. The advantage for them is without a tradition they would probably not have any way to gain these abilities or to learn how to use them. Having True faith is a big deal, your interpretation in point 2 is correct - the bonus only applies to people with true faith, because the bonus negates a penalty only people with True Faith have.

Characters with True Faith choose a tradition because it makes the traditions abilities favoured for them - this means they can learn them without penalty. Remember - supernatural abilities already known subtract from the xp total for learning new supernatural abilities. A character outside of a tradition has no favoured abilities and will quickly hit a point where they cannot learn any more supernatural abilities because of this penalty. Someone with True Faith joining a tradition is somewhat similar to the opening of the arts for a gifted person. They also still need someone to actual teach them it, and those people are most readily found in traditions (and are less likely to teach someone who is not a member of the tradition). Also, outside of mechanical effects, it is a religious decision and being part of a tradition is pretty significant in terms of character direction - remember, characters with True Faith are touched by the divine and often will want to interact with other people who share that connection (i.e. a tradition).

The reason members of a tradition can learn those abilities mentioned in point 4 is simply because they have access to people who can teach them within the tradition (just like magi can have them because of their education in the order). Taking them at character creation would be fine with me personally, but it's a matter of personal choice for the saga whether that is allowed or if a virtue must be taken for people starting already in a tradition.

People who start with virtues giving them supernatural abilities probably didn't join a tradition to learn them - they joined a tradition because they had those abilities inherently. To gain new supernatural abilities as a mundane you need a mystery initiation. See The Mysteries:Revised for the rules on those, there aren't any examples of divine mystery initiations as far as I know but I would just use the rules from TM:R without alteration.

Hope that helps somewhat.


A 'tradition' is something like a Mystery (as in The Mysteries Revised). Entering one is an issue of finding it, applying, making a good impression and being accepted.
In general, a 'tradition' has a Lore Ability which members learn and use for initiations.

Just like the Gift allows a character to learn new Supernatural Abilities based on Magic, True Faith allows a character to learn new Methods and Powers, or other Supernatural Abilities, based on Divine.

'Favored Abilities' of a tradition are those, which can be acquired by members without having to subtract the total of the existing Supernatural Ability scores from their advancement total.

By RoP:TD, the Methods and Powers described there require True Faith to acquire from a 'tradition'. By The Church, there can be 'traditions', like the Holy Tradition: Franciscans, which can also be joined without having True Faith. This is a bit like certain Hedge traditions aligned with Magic which can initiate the non-Gifted.

Choosing a 'tradition' at character creation requires to check with the troupe, whether this is OK, and then to fulfill the requirements of the specific 'tradition'. Starting with Divine Powers, Methods and other Supernatural Abilities requires to take Virtues. But when having True Faith, especially the Powers and Methods of the 'tradition' joined can also be learned later. And some 'traditions', like the Holy Order: Franciscans, can also initiate them to members without True Faith. Some 'traditions' teach also other skills. Having learned Arcane Abilities at start would require using a Virtue, though.

Hey, @Argentius beat me to it!


There are two members of the Holy Order: Franciscans in sub rosa. So you can check how that tradition works.

In sub rosa #20 Franciscan Doubts on p.66 Klass de Spinnen, without True Faith.
In sub rosa #21 The Hill of Hell on p.64 Frate Leone, with True Faith.


Instead of trying to adapt Mystery Cult rules, if characters need to develop Virtues related to the Divine you should use the rules in The Church - Chapter 2 of that book has rules for Pilgrimages (gaining virtues or removing flaws through stories of pilgrimage) and Christian mysticism (the chance to develop new virtues, with a lower difficulty for Methods and Powers)


Yep. Pilgrimages and Christian Mysticism from The Church work well in an established saga with an experienced SG.
And in the long view, which spans decades in Mythic Europe, a 'tradition', as asked about by @LucaCherstich, might even develop in such a saga.

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  1. To be honest, the books aren't 100% clear on the fluff as it's supposed to be both story oriented and unique to the individual traditions. Mechanically, it's a matter of taking the virtues necessary virtues which will normally require being a Mythic Companion. There is a wrinkle involving True Faith, but I'll address that when responding to question #2. Every character is Ars Magica requires a Social Status and the necessity of access to Arcane Abilities means it will usually be a virtue for characters possessing supernatural powers - the Perfecti and Zahid also have associated free virtues, but mostly you're expected to make up your own (with SG input) as their sole function is to make your character a Mythic Companion.

  2. True Faith is sort of like The Gift in that it allows characters to learn supernatural abilities associated with the Divine Realm. Members of a Holy Tradition do not have to subtract their scores in other supernatural abilities from their Advancement Total when learning the tradition's Favored Abilities. This is kinda weird as characters generally start the game with those abilities and thus must pay for them with Virtues anyway thus circumventing the need for favoured abilities whatsoever. There actually are a few advantages to this arrangement, but they're not really relevant here.

  3. The thing is, at Character Creation, you do need to buy the abilities with virtues if you want to have them. The main advantage if for characters joining traditions in play. Plus, that only holds true for characters with True Faith. Other characters must be acquire the virtues some other way - mysticism, Divine Ascent, pilgrimage, or initiation. RoP: TD advises using Initiation, but this is sort of tricky as it's not at all clear whether characters with True Faith count as Gifted for this purpose or not.

  4. Yes. Again, those virtues are only necessary to begin play with those abilties. Anyone with appropriate abilities can learn them in-play.

  5. That's certainly one way. I kinda already addressed my thoughts in my answers to #3.

Hope this helps.