What interesting Masteries...

In Tales of Mythic Europe (page 54) the Hermetic Magus Severin is listed as knowing the spell Chirurgeon's Healing Touch (AR5 pg 129), and has also mastered it three times. Interestingly enough he seems to have chosen fast casting, still casting and quiet casting. Do these masteries actually do anything for the ritual spell? Perhaps quiet and still casting (Sit in silence for an hour, hope no-one disturbs you), but fast casting? I feel like a -10 to casting score is well worth completely removing the cast time for a ritual.

Am I interpreting this wrong, or is this a acknowledged option for ritual spells?

About the only universally useful mastery for ritual spells is stalwart casting. There are a few exceptions, perhaps adaptive casting on Aegis of the Hearth, and some others might prove useful for different spells. Stalwart casting, canonically, is restricted to magi of House Mercere, and those that they teach, it's not one of the curiously common things, such as ceremonial casting mastery.

Fast casting doesn't make any sense, it certainly shouldn't allow a ritual spell to be cast within a round, but I can envision a modification to fast casting that reduces the time for ritual spells to be treated as X magnitudes lower where X is the mastery ability, never to be reduced below 15 minutes.

As written, the rules don't seem to preclude putting Fast Casting mastery on a Ritual spell. Common sense dictates otherwise, and I'd expect this to be addressed in errata.

The RAW already covers this right now.

Fast casting is within the section under Non-Ritual Spells.

Technically, that's not quite true. The masteries listed on pp.99-100 of HoH:TL, including Stalwart casting, are generally restricted to folks who acquired "some of the experience points" (I read it as "at least 2...") towards mastering the spell either a) from a teacher knowing the mastery or b) from a book written by someone knowing the mastery. This has two consequences:
a) You may learn the mastery even if you are not being taught it by a House Mercere magus, or one taught by them.
b) Even if you are a Mercere magus, you do not necessarily have access to these masteries. It's obviously very easy for you to get some other house member lend a helping hand and spend a season teaching you or lend you a book that teaches you, but in principle, a Mercere stuck in the middle of nowhere without access to the rest of his House can't use (say) adventuring xp to learn a new one of these masteries.

It says that nowhere that I know of. Societates specifically mentions that and others being available to House Flambeau, and further says they are available to any magus whose lineage is even remotely Mercurian, It cites exaple Virtues as qualifiers: Flawless Magic, Mastered Spells, Mercurian Magic, and more. That same book also mentions Ceremonial casting is available to Jerbiton magi and commonly used by them.

I stand corrected. It's not restricted to House Mercere.

But it would appear to be restricted to those with some Mercere nexus: House Mercere, Cult of Mercury Societates within Flambeau or the Neo Mercurians.

There's enough shading to say that the mastery ability isn't widely known. And when compared to Ceremonial casting, it is mentioned in Mysteries that it is a widely known mastery ability.

They're available to members of either the Cult of Mercury or the Neo-Mercurians, or to someone who was expressly leaked the secrets. That's not the same as "any magus whose lineage is even remotely Mercurian." There's plenty of Guernici and Tremeres (for example) with Mercurian Magic who are not, and never were, part of Priamitus' Cult of Mercury and don't have access to that bucket of magical secrets.

The Flambeau section of Societates gives a big bucket list of Virtues & Flaws that qualify a magus as "remotely Mercurian". The whole thing is an excuse as to why a magus in play at the time the book was published might not have them in their core design.

I'm aware of that bucket list on pg. 17, but possessing one of those virtues does not make you a cult member. It's a list of suggested virtues that are particularly fitting for a cult member, and at the end, it mentions that cult members have access to the Spell Mastery virtues at the end of the chapter. You don't have to have any of them to have access to the Mastery virtue, you can just say "my parens was in the Cult and taught me the mojo."

In my personal sagas (warning, House Rules territory incoming), I allow all magi with Mercurian Magic to use the Spell Mastery abilities in question. The Cult of Mercury has a Minor Breakthrough by Priamitus that integrated the Mercurian Spell Masteries into regular Hermetic practice, but they remain a cult secret (for example, the Terrae-magi don't have them), and a magus will have to be an active member of the Cult and swear to keep the secret before they will be given access to the Hermetic spell masteries. Ceremonial Casting, of course, leaked at some point and is now regular Hermetic practice.

Marko, and many others, for that matter, play lip service to the Cult of Mercury stuff.

Lip service is all it really deserves. Look at it this way. The original set of spell masteries were written up and published in the core book because that is all they had thought of (and tested) at that time. The rest were invented later by different authors. What was needed was an excuse, however flimsy, for why characters already created and in game might not know these new masteries. And provided an easy way to gain them.
Fiction, Fiction, Fiction.
That is all it is. What fiction best fits your personal aesthetics.

I myself allow players access to most masteries with a tenuous excuse, if even. Really, I do not even care. Some GMs like to be restrictive. I take the opposite approach.

If interested, I had years ago created Spell Mastery reference and HRs for my saga. Have a look at them here. Most of the new ideas were introduced as an experiment, and most have never been used. If I were to revise the list< I would trim it doen and toss out many of the ones no one ever picks.

Plus I always looked at Mercurian as a trait of Lineage, not an actual Cult.

I always looked at Mercurian as meaning a lot of different things, including an active Cult - probably because I happen to actually like the idea of said Cult, with varying degrees of devotion (Cult of Mercury as a sort of traditional homage, and then the actual daimonists - who are likely to seek out the Neo-Mercurians).

Obviously, your sagas will vary.

Sure. You have a game that puts House Flambeau in preeminence, they have a mention in HoH:Societates about a nexus with the Cult of Mercury, just shave a bit and it works. For you. In your saga. It's not RAW, not that RAW is well defined in this regard, and it's a matter of setting, so to each saga their own.

With regards to the tenuous excuse bit, my pbp saga started with a magical Mercere, it makes sense that the Cult of Mercury mastery abilities be somewhat exclusive. It gives that character something of an edge, something to trade, something to negotiate, and the ability to do something that no one else can do. One could say that the opposite approach makes the value of Merceris Magi in your game significantly less. Seemingly simple decisions like this can invalidate entire concepts, or make them look cookie cutter, at the very least. I wouldn't want to play a Merceris Magus in your saga, because I don't feel that they have anything to add to your saga.

The irony here is that very few players actually choose Flambeau, and the most frequent option by far is a Mercere magus. So much so that I had to make adjustments to account for it. 20 Mercere magi in 1242 as opposed to a dozen in 1220. Over the past ten years, there have been about 4 or 5 PC Flambeau, and as many as 8 magi Mecere and about as many Redcaps.

I totally disagree with your interpretation of RAW, but that is okay. Nothing new there. Instead, I am debating you on results, which have been the very opposite of what you theorize.

Mercere magi are a pain in my book simply because of their extreme popularity (because of their utility) contrasting with their rarity. So I don't particularly care to give them any more than special Redcap privilege and Mercere's portals.

The Cult of Mercury is something not specific to House Mercere, just common there - it's also common in Flambeau, and may have adherents in Bonisagus, Guernicus, et cetera (anyone but Tremere or Diedne, or probably Bjornaer or Criamon).

Oddly, my results look a lot like Marko's even if I laugh at his specific interpretation. Cult membership doesn't mean much except that you expressly identify yourself with the particularly Roman roots of the Order of Hermes.

Hey, you suggested I play a Mercere magus when I joined your saga. :slight_smile:

I do not remember that, but it sounds like something I would have done. The whole Mercere quarter was a long established part of the covenant, and having an NPC Mercere in charge would suck.
But I also recommend Flambeau to everyone. Few take up the challenge.


I don't think it even deserves lip service.

Why should someone get a free Virtue "Lots of Cool Masteries" just because? (Or other magi be saddled with an extra flaw, if you prefer to see it that way.)

Insofar as I'm concerned, all masteries that do not require a virtue should be available to everyone. I similarly ignore "only House X has this spell with a guideline that doesn't require a virtue." Just utter yuck.

(Then again, I prefer to think of the Mercurians as fictitious. They are as mythological in Mythic Europe as Jupiter (the god, not the planet) is in ours.)