Ungifted Bjornaer

If someone without the gift were to gain the heartbeast ability would they become a magi of House Bjornaer? I ask this because in the begining of Mystery Cults it says that anyone who learns the core mystery of one of the cults is considered a member, and in the begining of the Bjornaer chapter is says that all humans have a heartbeast , so it should be posssible to have a ungifted person with a heartbeast.

Another question, can an ungifted person with a heartbeast gain initiation into the deaper mysteries of House Bjornaer?

There is a story seed in HoH:Mc that says that unGifted Bjornaer magi are possible. There are other houses (Jerbiton, Mercere - that have unGifted magi, Laerta magi).

There is no reason why unGifted people are unable to undergo initiation. Some scripts would have to be modified though, and some virtues would be useless (sensory magic is an example of both cases)

According to Hedge Magic, the unGifted can only be initiated by someone with the Gift. I do not think this posibility is common knowledge within the Order and (Nobles Parma) may require special scripts. The group within Bjornear that does initiate the unGifted is secretive and potentially heretical to the rest of their house so I don't think they would want unGifted members coming forward to claim magi status.

Edit:Just checked an unGifted can act as a Mystatoque if he has the virtue but can't initiate anything they don't know. It also means they can't self-initiate.

IIRC only the redcaps are admited as members of the order of hermes. The other UnGifted dudes are only considered "magi" by the house that claims them, but other magi could easily come along slay them and nobody would put them at fault in hermetic law if the issue was raised at tribunal. Mundane law and wizard wars might be coming to hunt therm, though.

I don't think that's the case. There are lineages of Hedge Wizards in House ex Miscellanea with unGifted members. Technically, there's nothing in the Code saying that one must be Gifted to be a member; and if one is a member, one gains all attendant rights and responsibilities. Of course, being unGifted is a huge handicap (among other things, one cannot fight in Certamen, and one is almost always considered a "lesser" magus); and if a House tried to swell its vote pool by admitting huge numbers of unGifted members someone would probably raise the issue.

Are the unGifted dudes Hermetics or are they just members of the lineage? Quite a difference here. Larta magi are Jerbitons for example, but they are not protected by the Code. Redcaps are about the sole exception IIRC.


I seem to recall this plotline from the old Dragon and Bear book (Novgorod tribunal book)

Yep, in Thousand Caves, which auras was giving as free the heartbeast abilities because of the special ability of the volhkvy magic.


To make it muddier, as I remember it it's changed thru diff editions, and may not be fully defined in the current. (Iirc, Laerta magi were dropped, or at least haven't been specifically mentioned in 5th?...)

The Order has a general mandate to "induct" anyone who has a significant talent for magic - induct or eliminate. I want to say that once upon a time, I think this included creatures (like dragons?) and others that had powers that might not be improvable but were deemed "significant". Meanwhile, the Order clearly overlooks minor potion-makers who might be perfectly capable of expanding their power(s) and repetoire, but are simply "below the radar" for the time being.

So it's not clear one way or the other, or not if you listen to the echoes of prev editions (which are often hard to ignore, esp for older players/sagas).

I would say, given the general overall attitude of Hs. Bjornaer, that they would certainly either bring such into their fold or see to their destruction themselves. What that means to the Order at large is another matter.

Actually the Larta Magi are in the Mercere chapter of true lineages. They undergo a full Redcap apprenticeship then are adopted into house Jerbiton.

Anyway, the reason I started this thread was to help iron out some ideas for a pc that I'm making for an upcoming game. He was an apprentice in house Bjornaer that had his gift destroyed sometime after he was initiated into the mystery of the heartbeast. And now he is trying to regain as much magic as he can through the proccess of initiation. I was just wondering if he would be considered a member of the order or not.

Really?! Okay, I stand corrected, thanks! (Redcaps are not my fav to run, even as NPC's, and I'm not sure I've read that entire section, or at least not lately - clearly, it's time to!)

You could also go with this combination of virtues:

Failed Apprentice

That might not really be what you want, but being a Redcap would make the character an official magus of the Order of Hermes.


I'm pretty sure Hedge Magic or some other book -- maybe Societates -- says something about the fact that a powerful, united lineage can negotiate for acceptance of the whole lineage (gifted and ungifted members alike) into the Order.

I'd go with:

Member of House Bjornaer: yes. Assuming they got the Heartbeast via a member of the house. Otherwise they'd be a target of House Bjornaer.
Member of Order of Hermes: no.

There's nothing saying you can't be a member of a House without being a member of the Order. You probably won't get a seat on most Covenant councils (the covenant tends to have a clause about being a member of the Order), and you won't be protected by the Code, but House Bjornaer would consider you a member if they initiated you.

Technically any House could be joined by an unGifted member. I can't see Bonisagus, Guernicus, Tremere or Verditius allowing it, and I can't see Ex Miscellanea caring enough to create a title and distinction between member and non-member. The rest of them, though? Why not?

House Tytalus unGifted members would be just the kind of people to pass themselves off as Gifted and get themselves all involved in Hermetic politics...

Now there is a challenge that's a real learning experience!...

According to HoH:MC to do this is heretical to the House's Mystery Cult, though this makes very little sense to me, since the House wishes to preserve the wilderness and venerate the Ancestors. There is some argument that the House is bigotedly anti-mundane, at least within the Wilderist philosophy.

You'd also need to modify the initiation script for Heartbeast, which requires one to give up the ability to have a familiar as a minor ordeal. And the Ritual of Twelve Years would also be inappropriate for a single magus acting alone.

However, if Bjornaer changed doctrine, having a small army of mundanes with heartbeasts would make a very formidible backing of auxiliaries. Frankly, I could easily see the Harmonist faction pushing for this explicitly.

Certainly, I have a character who would be very, very interested in creating a small army of mundane Bjornaer as an alternative to the Redcaps.

With Bjornaer Lore 8 and Intellegence and Presence both at 3, it actually wouldn't be that difficult for him, either.