I'm trying to design an NPC volkhov, and my question is about volkhvy disciplines. Since "discipline" isn't a defined term for either 4th or 5th ed, I don't really know how to convert these disciplines over. You advance them like they're abilities, so I know that they're abilities. But what qualifies you for them? Does the Gift qualify a character for the disciplines? Note that the Gift is a free virtue. Should there be a single Major Virtue: Volkhov, that qualifies you for all of the disciplines? The corresponding virtue: Hermetic Magus is free, not major; however, 4th ed. volkhvy did have a virtue. Or should 5th ed. volkhvy follow the pattern of divine and infernal characters, and take each discipline as a single major virtue?
The third option makes volkhvy very limited, whereas I prefer that they be, somewhat like Hermetic magi, fairly flexible in their powers. The difference between the first and third is just the difference in how many other virtues are available to the volkhov. I can't decide whether I think that indoctrination in this magical tradition should take up three virtue slots, when indoctrination into the Order of Hermes takes up none. The more I think about it, the more I think that it should be a major virtue like True Faith, which gives points to be used as 4th ed. Conviction was used in Communion.
I suspect that if re-edited, they'll follow the Divine/Infernal treatment. If I remember correctly, even in 4th edition, not all volkhvy had access to every discipline, did they? Or was it just the bonus that changed? At any rate, 5E volkhvy may simply have different Favored Abilities depending on what god they serve.
Oh, dear. I've only just now realized what "traditions" are in 5th ed. So, instead of taking the virtues for various supernatural abilities, you join a tradition, and it gives you access to all of its favored abilities. Great, much more efficient than taking a couple of virtues and having access to only those abilities. But now, how do you start a character in a tradition? Just up and start him in a tradition, and give him the relevant abilities? Is there a mechanic for this?
If you want to have a score in a given ability at character creation, you need to buy the virtue. If you plan on raising it later, you don't have to. Being part of a tradition is a bit of a backgroundy thing. Stating that your character is member of such or such tradition can be as simple as your SG agreeing to it. Joining a tradition later will at the very least require a story.
Note that you can only ever be member of a single tradition, and that hermetic magic is not a tradition - so a magus can join a hedge tradition later without penalty while a hedgie will have trouble getting initiated into hermetic magic. I was confused at first, but Erik kindly clarified things for me.
Why is there such a big difference between learning things just before the saga starts (i.e., character creation) and learning things just after? Unless you're running a Mythic Companion, characters are pretty well limited to two supernatural abilities at character creation (three if the character has nothing else going for her), unless they're magi, which seems odd. What if there's an NPC who's 70 years old?
Though, on the other hand, this means that my diabolist isn't so stupid after all.
PS Unless I'm missing something, yes, 4th ed. volkhvy did have access to all of the volkhv disciplines.
The answer to your question ultimately depends on how you plan to construct your Volkhvy (Gifted Companion, Mythic Companion etc). Generally speaking, characters with the Gift start out with all of their traditions favored abilities for free, while those characters associated with the Divine, Faerie or Infernal realms should be created as Mythic Companions with the extra virtues going toward their supernatural abilities. If that character also has the ability to learn supernatural abilities associated with their realm, they can pick them up in play (Mystery Initiations are good for this)