Which Esoteric Mystery Cults do you use?

I just wondered in a spirit of idle curiosity if anyone used any of the Mystery Cults I wrote as exemplars from TMRE in their sagas? My latest has featured The Knights of the Green Stone, Disciples of the Worm and Legion of Mithras, with one character actually initiating in the Disciples. Anyone else? anyone designed their own yet?

cj x

We've just had an appearance of the Disciples of the Worm-- which I think one player will probably try initiating into...we have a strong Mithras theme going in our saga but I don't know if the Legion fits with what we were looking for...and we had dream magics show up, but I don't know if he used the examples given or not, because they were a sort of cameo appearance-- probably to whet my appetite for later.

I know jarkman has created a terram magi cult, posted here:

geocities.com/sanctumhr/Spec ... intro.html

and I'm working on one that needs a little more research, but should be done soon.


Well, as I mentioned in an earlier thread, I plan to use connections to Mithras in my next saga - although I still have to get my grubby mits on the mystery cults supplememnt to check how they function in AM

As long as I have one of the authors posting... Can somebody explain hermetic thaumaturgy to me. Two major virtues to take an extra turn for at best a +5 on a casting roll seems a bit much to me. I don't really understand what the benefit of summoning a one use spirit to cast your spells for you is (are you maybe avoiding a stress roll by casting early?). These seem like great flavor virtues but I just can't manage to get my head around the crunch.


Hi Sdelear! This thread may well help - Caribet is Neil - and I'll post another link as soon as i have finished eating!


cj x

We do not use TMRE. We found them not very inspiring for our saga. A rather cool book, but we found them to have too many rules and too few magical philosophy. We have tended towards using some of its content as a way of understanding how a generic OoH magic can think of certain things, but not the rules.



is the other thread. :slight_smile:

cj x


I'm not one of the authors, but this is a case where a combination of virtues is just fantastic.

A Major Focus with Spirits starts things off nicely, and applies to every Theurgy spell a magus casts, which could conceivably be every spell the magus casts. When the character gets a Theurgic Spirit Familiar, the focus applies to that too. The bonus from the Isis cord also adds to every Theurgic spell....

With the whole theurgic package, just about every spell the character uses can have lab and casting totals that include both the lowest Art and (effectively) Theory, twice. And Realm Lore. And the Isis cord. That's a lot of power! These spells also have quite a bit of flexibility.

Other options might be more powerful, and simpler to pull off, but this one's nothing to laugh at.

BTW, taking Mercurian Magic and flaws that crush spontaneous magic might be worthwhile with this option. This character will need to deal with rituals, sooner or later, and doesn't need spontaneous magic as much as other characters, since Theurgy gives him other options. (Though a Theurgic Diedne is stylish, even if not optimal.) Mercurian Magic also provides new casting parameters.

So, here's a nice package:
Major Focus: Spirits
Mercurian Magic
Names of Power
Hermetic Theurgy
Invocation Magic
Theurgic Spirit Familiar

Any virtue that provides new durations, ranges and targets will also be useful, because spontaneous and flexible formulaic magic especially benefit from these.

A magus might find himself wanting to invent or learn theurgic spells; Puissant Magic Theory is always useful, and either Inventive Genius or Adept Laboratory Student, depending on how the character will get his spells. Or maybe bind an aspect of Lasa Vegoia as a theurgic familiar, and stop worrying about lab totals.



Thanks. Both the articles and the above are quite helpful.


Actually let me put in a place holder here. I'm brewing up some form of Diedne mystery cult survival. Currently fiddling with the idea of either some form of "Knights of the Red Branch" started by a Diedne apprentice taken by the Flambeau (hey to the victor go the spoils) or some form of initiatory system starting with the rank of Bard (granting fairly soon the gentle gift) getting mixed up with the Jeribiton Antigones (getting into to pick up the Gentle gift and only realizing they're in over their heads later). It doesn't hurt that the Aurtherian legend is catching on across Europe in this time period...

So far I only have a couple back of napkin notes but I just can't get this to feel right. Part of the problem is that all the sources agree that the Druids had huge amounts of lore committed to memory. The whole not good at formulaic magic thing just does fit. Anyway:

Knights of the Red Branch

Fast Caster
Puissant Finesse
Diedne Magic
Flexible Formulaic Magic
Cautious Sorcerer
Mythic Blood
Enduring Constitution

GURPS Celts mentions 3 levels of initiation for the Druids starting with Bard but I'm not sure how much of this has a historical base.

Bard (rank1)

Performance Magic & Magical Memory (and probably requires a score of at least 2 in the art of memory to initiate).
The Gentle Gift (with some form of Gease to seek the next level of initiation within a year and a day, and to train your apprentices in the cult).

(rank 2)
Diedne Magic ("oh sh*t what have I gotten myself into")
Don't Know Divination maybe?

Druid (rank 3)
Um something mystical (maybe names of power and invocation magic)?
Um something really mystical (I may need to come up with something original for this).

I've to worries about these. 1) To many greater virtues making this game breaking and 2) I'm not sure where in the initiation change the central mystery, Diedne magic, should come and am having a hard time basing around it. I'm half tempted just to drop Diedne Magic to the outer mysteries on the Druid tree and make the inner mysteries based off of transformations (of which there is a fair amount in the mythology). Of course then I have folks initiating two very major virtues right off the bat without any speedbumps...

Well this is based on 4th edition, but might be of some use in seeding your thoughts for a 5th edition variant. Certainly a considerable amount of background research went into the article, so it's a good start...


IMO, rather than Flexible Formulaic Magic you might want to consider using the Mercurian Magic Virtue as your Major since you are proposing a Cult springing up from within the Romanesque Flambeau House tradition. Besides , it would avoid the conflict you are facing concerning the legendary weakness of Diedne with respect to formulaic magic whilst keeping more faithfully to the ceremonial character of Druidic Magic.

Perhaps for one of your 3rd level initiation virtues you could use Life Linked Spontaneous Magic (what's more mystical than using your own life essence to fuel your spell casting?) with the loss of the starting Mercurian Magic Virtue as the necessary sacrifice for the initiation script.

Perhaps for stage 2 the initiate could gain Stalwart Casting which is particularly useful prior to gaining LLSM and can be a life saver for the when the character does gain LLSM and happens to botch his casting roll.

Aside from that the major problem you do face is the RAW stricture against more than one Major Hermetic Virtue, so you couldn't technically have Diedne Magic and any others together.

Just a couple thoughts off the top of my head.

As I understood it, that limitation was only for character creation? Certainly if that were the case, most cults would be pretty limited in their utility...even the Exoteric House Cults. ... In fact, I'm mostly certain that's only for character creation.


It is.

I'm going to have to go back and re-read that bit in the character creation chapter. I thought those restrictions were only advisory, not mandatory. That seems a bit restrictive when it comes to the gentle gift or am I misremembering and is the gentle gift a supernatural virtue?


Ah my apologies then. In that case my suggestions above stand all the better without the need, necessarily, for sacrificing any existing Major virtue to acquire more later. Nevertheless for starting characters it IS mandatory not a suggestion elsewise youd have some truly unblanced power combos right out of the gate.

Heck, I'd love to start with an MMF (Damage), Diedne Magic and LLSM, imagine the Flambeau once could have at gauntlet then! :wink:

Well, it has the useful side effect of making the Gentle Gift the rare and valued virtue it should be, unless of every magus having either this or the Blatant Gift :wink:

Point. I think the objection is more to disallowing the combination of The Gentle Gift and Mythic Blood. It would seem that one could be an extension of the other. Need to go take another look at the unoffensive to... virtues I guess. Hum I tend to remember a suggested virtue list for starting Mercurians that recommended at least flawless formulaic magic as a possible additional starting virtue (HoH:S under Flambeau if I'm remembering correctly).


Well a suggested additional starting major virtue does not mean a second major virtue, it simply means in addition to the free starting minor virtue granted by each House.


That's a nice combo, no question about it, and you can add Cthonic Magic to it if you make him Ex Misc.... but overpowered? I think the Flambeau wins, if he has:

Puissant Creo and Ignem
Affinity with Creo and Ignem
Minor MF "Creating Fire"
Good Parens
Fast Caster

That's only 7 points, with no major virtues. The Flambeau has a much higher casting total.... and casts first. And doesn't risk exploding when LLSM botches. And can cast big without paying fatigue. There's still room for:

Book Learner--keeps the Flambeau ahead
Life Boost--Can burn fatigue too, but not that necessary
Affinity with Magic Theory--learn more spells

I suppose one Major Hermetic Virtue wouldn't kill the character:

Cthonic Magic--When you really need that extra +18 to a casting score

Flawless Magic--because the only thing better than one Pilum of Fire are many Pila, fastcast with no words or gestures but lots of Penetration.

Gentle Gift--because it's sure nice not to stand out in the crowd until it's time to burn stuff

Flexible Formulaic Magic--enough powerful spontaneous magic to get by

I find that three minor virtues usually trump one major. (My current character for Timothy's game departs from my usual suggestion, and has three major virtues, though only one of them is Hermetic. His magic is interesting and powerful--and spontaneous, similar in effect to the character you present as too powerful--yet I think he is also quite limited, because he does not have a large suite of good formulaic spells that he can cast reliably and without effort; he is paying for this lack. Right now, he is resting from his last spell, and will barely have enough time to choose his next spell, the last one he gets to cast for the encounter.)

Arguably, FFM+FM is better than Diedne+LLSM, especially if the GM plans to actually do something with that Dark Secret. But lots of minor virtues might still be better.



Well considering that one way to look at it is that the Diedne Magic Dark Secret precludes picking another story flaw, Diedne Magic is one pricey virtue. Tbh most major virtues are a bit underpowered compared to minor virtues.