This major hermetic flaw says: "you may not learn ritual spells at all".
Well this is very interesting.
You cannot learn mean you can't have them teached to you (Laboratory activity, page 95 - "learning spell from a teacher".
But when reading a labtext, this is a different processus, called "inventing spell" (or more correctly, "reinventing spell").
And when you develop a new spell, it's a pure "inventing spell" processus.
So, what about these activities?
The text don't say: "you can't cast ritual", it says "you may not learn".
The text, IMO, don't say: "you can't develop a spell", but "you may not learn".
So, my question:
1- is the goal to exclude ritual spells for a character with unstructured caster? i'm hesitating
2- if yes, is it the goal to exclude ritual spells to be "invented" ? i'd say no because the text say "learned".
3- can a character "gain" a ritual spell from twilight? i'd say yes
4- can a character "cast" a ritual spell ? I'd say yes: nothing in the flaw prevent it... except the impossibility to "learn" them...
In my opinion, a maga with Unstructured Caster should not be able to cast ritual spells at all.
I agree that using the word "learn" instead of "cast" in the Flaw's description seems to suggest the opposing viewpoint, but that doesn't make sense to me. Here's a maga who has "never quite mastered the intricacies of spellcasting", who can't cast formulaic spells without spending an hour setting it up and wasting vis on simple Hermetic effects, who can't even learn a ritual spell from an experienced teacher (even though teaching spells is so easy that usually multiple spells can be taught per season). I'm supposed to believe that she can invent a ritual spell on her own?
Actually, I'm quite happy for such a character to learn a ritual spell, and indeed invent one. I myself am quite capable of working out how to best build wooden chairs, but utterly unable to actually make them myself - I'm too clumsy and lack the hand-eye coordination. Learning such a spell is an interesting intellectual exercise, and I can see how it might be pursued for a similar-spell bonus. Frankly, a character spending a season to learn a spell that not only do they not plan to cast but can never cast seems perfectly in setting and nice and flavoursome. What I wouldnt allow is such a character to teach the spell, and would rule that their lab notes are effectively untranslated for the purposes of anyone following them up.
You are right in that the verb "to learn" is technically different from the verb "to invent". BUT...
Idiomatically, to know a spell is to "learn" it, regardless of the process. So whether someone teaches it to you, you invent it or you are struck by lightning and suddenly know it, you "learn" it in that sense.
What the flaw means is "No Ritual Spells - period."
Thanks JeanMichelle for the compliment.
In fact, I thought it was in a "NO RITUAL" way at first reading, but after... I was not sure (because not exactly written) so i prefer asking because you know, Ars is all about details