Just some questions about True Names (RoP:tI, p34-35) which are clarified as being powerful Arcane Connections (+5 Penetration bonus) and are distinct from synthemata ie. a magus can learn both the True Name and various synthemata to affect a particular magical being.
The True Names of demons can be learnt by studying a source (usually a book) on Infernal Lore which contains the True Name of a demon, by converting 5XP into a spell-like Ability called True Name of (Being). An XP is in Infernal Lore is gained whenever a True Name is learnt, so effectively learning a True Name costs 5XP (but gain 1 XP), the correct source/book and a season of study, exposure etc.
Q1: Angels also have True Names, although RoP:tD is less clear on how these are learnt (RoP:tD, p20-21) - can a similar process (find a book on Dominion Lore containing the True Name of an angel, spend 5XP and a season's study and learn the True Name of (Angel)?
The Holy Method of Merkavah has a separate mechanic for learning True Names (RoP:tD p139) - spend a grueling season of fasting and praying to accumulate a ritual total (which may include an Adjuration score) to exceed the entity's Might in order to learn it's True Name. This is harder, but can research any entity (Angel, faerie, ghost, demon etc) when a book or other source is not available.
Q2 This implies that any creature with Might can have a True Name - can studying an appropriate text etc. on Faerie or Magic Lore containing an entity's True Name, result in learning that True Name at the cost of 5XP?
Q3 Can a character teach/train another in the True Name (normally a score of 2 is reuired to teach or train an Ability) or write a book containing a True Name? If not, then how does one learn True Names from other characters, demons or other spirits etc?
True Names seem to be a replacement for the Familiarity scores of the old ArM3 Maleficium Nigromancers/Goetists and the ArM4 sahirs.
Sure, although a devious storyguide might decide that it's impossible to learn an angel's true name through any means but Merkavah, and so the name might actually belong to a demon that impersonates the angel. I'd at least warn the player that it's a possibility.
Not as things stand now, though who can say what's coming in future books? Personally, though, I think True Names are properly the domain of divine and infernal powers; they don't really match the feel of magic or faerie for me. Synthemata are a decent substitute, though.
If it's a demon, the character writes a book on Infernal Lore, which can then be studied by others to learn the True Name. If it's not a demon, like you got it from Merkavah, there isn't a spell-like Ability associated with it, right? So, I'd imagine it's not something you can teach to others.
I guess I'm coming from the old Familiarity rules of ArM4 (esp Sahir etc), which allowed a character to effectively have a Mastery score in summoning a particular entity and equalling the creatures Might was equivalent to learning it's True Name regardless of its Realm affiliation. This seemed to make a lot of sense in that contextx, although obvioulsy Penetration rules have changed in ArM5.
It seems in paradigm for minor Magical and Faerie spirits to have True Names and the House Bjornaer Mystery Virtue: Secret Name implies this to an extent and can be learnt by anyone with Magic Resistance (although does refer to synthemata etc.). The power of a True Name is common in Celtic and even Germanic/Norse magical traditions historically.
I can't see this as too unbalancing, particularly with the availability of the Secret Name Minor Mystery to "reset" the connection - a nice trick if you're a demon under thrall to an unsuspecting diabolist.
(Yes I can be evil too...)
Err, why should one type of True Name differ from another necessarily? Isn't a universally applicable mechanic more in keeping with the integrity of the ArM5 rules?
Divine True Names are probably quite rare as characters that learn them would not necessarily see it as "holy" to record them for anyone to find and appropriate books on Dominion Lore that contain such secrets can be made very difficult to access for the average magus (eg. hidden in a high level terrestrial regio in the Vatican, guarded by holy Zoroastrian magoi etc.) However, Magic and Faerie True Names would not necessarily be under such restrictions. Demon's True Names being learnt more easily is of course sometimes advantageous to the Infernal Realm, as pointed out in RoP:tI.
I don't think synthemata alone are sufficient - they add to the spellcasting roll (and indirectly to the Penetration total), whereas True Names add to Penetration bonus and are very dependent on the character's Penetratiion Ability score, which becomes progressively harder to increase (5XP per pyramid point), compared to increasing Art scores.
As Angels are creatures of truth, might they not simply reveal their True Names if asked? The bible has a few named angels within it, might those not be their actual True Names? Then again, as tools of God's will they may not be able to be ordered to do anything contrary to His will. Much like how you can't force an Infernal Creature to tell the truch.
Never been a big fan of looking too close into the Divine in RPGs as everybody has a different closely held personal opinion on the subject and games tend to get bogged down in arguments or explanations.