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The Mysterium and 2e

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  • The Mysterium and 2e

    So I’ve been reading the Mysterium book in my effort to better understand the order and I was hoping some Mage vets could help me understand a few things.

    First, in a more general question, it seems like the exploration to find new rotes and spells is something that mages delve into. Maybe since I haven’t played 1e I may be missing something, but it seems like maybe some spells and rotes were exclusive to some orders or have to be discovered. But in 2e it seems relatively simple to make rotes and new spells. Was that different in 1e or am I overlooking some emergent element that’s still present in 2e?

    Second, in 1e it looks like you had to have status to reach each level of Mystery Initiation and unlock what has now become the Egregore merit. How do you all handle that in 2e from a setting perspective since now it seems like you really just need a dot of status to unlock all of Egregore?

  • #2
    The Mysterium seeks out ancient treasures, which cannot be replicated today. They uncover summoning sites and artifacts, locations with potent secrets, knowledge on the Imperial Mysteries, the Fall, the Bound and much more. Many things the ancients could create, like astral terraforming devices, are well beyond the means of modern mages. Rotes like the one from the Dethroned Queen's Robe, which hides you from the Exarchs, are not learned naturally. Grimmoires with things mages don't even know exist, Daimonomicons of lost Legacies and much more are still buried beneath the sands of time. Normal rotes are nice bonuses, but not the main treasures. As you said, in 2ed they are easier to create. Orders tend to codify them using their Order yantras, but that is a tendency, not an ironclad rule. A Mysterium master could codify a Superlative Luck to a Persuasion related winning smile, but a Silver Ladder one is more likely to do it.

    For Egregore, the mage needs to have earned enough goodwill to be trusted with membership. Donating a valuable item to the Athanea, protecting the Censoria, saving the collection from a Logophage, etc. Egregores recognize the importance of seeking gnostic revelations and protecting knowledge.

    Much like the Guardians trusting someone with the knowledge of Masques, its a sign of acknowledging a kindred spirit, even if its not what defines the core of their use of magic. For example, an Arrow may not want to sacrifice his own soul's integrity on the job, but may truly believe in using magic discretely, responsibly and in service to others. Such a mage might be trusted to use Masques well.
    Last edited by KaiserAfini; 04-29-2019, 08:40 PM.


    New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.


    The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Therian View Post
      But in 2e it seems relatively simple to make rotes and new spells.
      It takes Mastery to make a new rote.

      Not only does that itself require you to be at least halfway up the Gnosis chart to even have the capacity to manage, but you need to be taught by another Master to reach that fifth dot in any Arcanum that your Path or Legacy hasn't given you Ruling affinity for.

      On top of that, creating a new rote is an extended action that costs Mana and Arcane Experience in addition to taking time and requiring the incurring of Conditions to move past failure. It's "simple" in the same way that disassembling and reassembling a carriage clock by hand is simple — that doesn't mean it's not an involved process that hasn't already occurred for every conceivable skill and spell.


      Resident Lore-Hound
      Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e

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      • #4
        In 1e, one of the things teased early on, though we didn't really get anything specific on the subject, were the "uncommon practices" of the arcana. Mostly, that only ever surfaced subtly. The various orders did have rotes the others didn't at various points, and not just because they codified them into rotes but because they thought to try different things, as well.

        (The blurb on the raining frogs Fate thing talks about this; Also, the rotes that treat a computer network like an entity or place were Free Council. The others tended to treat computers like balls of forces and matter.)

        One of the slight discrepancies between fluff and systems was that, mechanically speaking, seeing someone do something weird with arcana you could match meant you had reason to try it and success was a roll away, yet mysteries were guarded aggressively and jealously; moreover, they were described as critical to learning and so forth, etc...The order books had various spells in them that other folks supposedly hadn't developed yet the only system in place as a speed bump was the hassle of developing the rotes themselves.

        To keep a secret you'd straight up need to hide the capacity away and use it only in secret, whether rote or creative thaumaturgy.

        2e mostly clears that up by tweaking the fluff emphasis and by raising the value of a rote. Rotes are darn nice on purpose, but they are tools that absolutely can be researched and redeveloped if you've got a master available.


        TL;DR : Yes, the 1e books overemphasize the value of rotes to the orders given the systems in place. It's one of the improvements in 2e.


        Grump, grouse, and/or gripe.

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        • #5
          The fluff about status and Egregore does not have to be a chore or a time-sink if you do not want it to be at your table, some of that could be relegated to off-camera, and it is mostly there to make the Mysterium more alive and provide plothooks.
          Order advancement and politics should ultimately still be *fun* to explore, (definition of fun depending on mood of course), not a tedious check-list, so whatever it takes to make it engaging and make you feel a part of the Order.

          I haven't had time or a chance myself so, since Ive very rarely been a player and I've mostly ST'd for like, four different unrelated people? But my Mysterium character did "rote restoration" as a job service for the Mysterium as part of her background history. The main story my ST was running had very little to do with the Mysterium so my Order advancement had to be slow and steady consistent work and acquisitions.

          I also agree with everyone else on rotes. Rotes are theoretically easy to make now, but since xp is involved as is time, and mages jealously hoard secrete and selfishly put their time and resources first, rotes are a rare commodity for political reasons! Kind of like daimonds--more valuable than they technically should be. Any rote CAN exist but most of them don't, like how we have a hundred Legacies but at any given table, far less exist in the world. But many could be waiting to be re-discovered! And the same with rotes, maybe your next rote is hiding in a journal at a book-pawn waiting to be rediscovered for Awakened eyes.

          I did get ONE major accomplishment for the Mysterium in my previous example, and bought some Mysterium merits and a rote as a reward (and my ST gave me a free Mentor as a result). She found an abandoned government structure with what Im pretty sure was God-Machine infrasctructure hidden inside? (Not that Scarlet knows that) And since the place is huge and looks abandoned to her aside from the juicy cryptids waiting to be studied (Hubris hooo!), Scarlet decided to notify the Mysterium so they could study the cryptids and turn the facility into a giant Atheneum!! The mentor gets to lead the excavation and take credit while I get an education, some credit, and some advancement.

          Anyway thats my anecdote. I haven't played past this exact point yet, work work work. And again my example is a side-story to my ST's main story. I hope this was helpful!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by thenate View Post
            In 1e, one of the things teased early on, though we didn't really get anything specific on the subject, were the "uncommon practices" of the arcana. Mostly, that only ever surfaced subtly. The various orders did have rotes the others didn't at various points, and not just because they codified them into rotes but because they thought to try different things, as well.

            (The blurb on the raining frogs Fate thing talks about this; Also, the rotes that treat a computer network like an entity or place were Free Council. The others tended to treat computers like balls of forces and matter.)

            One of the slight discrepancies between fluff and systems was that, mechanically speaking, seeing someone do something weird with arcana you could match meant you had reason to try it and success was a roll away, yet mysteries were guarded aggressively and jealously; moreover, they were described as critical to learning and so forth, etc...The order books had various spells in them that other folks supposedly hadn't developed yet the only system in place as a speed bump was the hassle of developing the rotes themselves.

            To keep a secret you'd straight up need to hide the capacity away and use it only in secret, whether rote or creative thaumaturgy.

            2e mostly clears that up by tweaking the fluff emphasis and by raising the value of a rote. Rotes are darn nice on purpose, but they are tools that absolutely can be researched and redeveloped if you've got a master available.


            TL;DR : Yes, the 1e books overemphasize the value of rotes to the orders given the systems in place. It's one of the improvements in 2e.


            I think this may be the disconnect I was having with the rotes. They are definitely great, but it doesn't seem like it's necessarily something you would have to hunt down to cast the particular spell.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Scarlet Witch View Post
              The fluff about status and Egregore does not have to be a chore or a time-sink if you do not want it to be at your table, some of that could be relegated to off-camera, and it is mostly there to make the Mysterium more alive and provide plothooks.
              Order advancement and politics should ultimately still be *fun* to explore, (definition of fun depending on mood of course), not a tedious check-list, so whatever it takes to make it engaging and make you feel a part of the Order.

              I haven't had time or a chance myself so, since Ive very rarely been a player and I've mostly ST'd for like, four different unrelated people? But my Mysterium character did "rote restoration" as a job service for the Mysterium as part of her background history. The main story my ST was running had very little to do with the Mysterium so my Order advancement had to be slow and steady consistent work and acquisitions.

              I also agree with everyone else on rotes. Rotes are theoretically easy to make now, but since xp is involved as is time, and mages jealously hoard secrete and selfishly put their time and resources first, rotes are a rare commodity for political reasons! Kind of like daimonds--more valuable than they technically should be. Any rote CAN exist but most of them don't, like how we have a hundred Legacies but at any given table, far less exist in the world. But many could be waiting to be re-discovered! And the same with rotes, maybe your next rote is hiding in a journal at a book-pawn waiting to be rediscovered for Awakened eyes.

              I did get ONE major accomplishment for the Mysterium in my previous example, and bought some Mysterium merits and a rote as a reward (and my ST gave me a free Mentor as a result). She found an abandoned government structure with what Im pretty sure was God-Machine infrasctructure hidden inside? (Not that Scarlet knows that) And since the place is huge and looks abandoned to her aside from the juicy cryptids waiting to be studied (Hubris hooo!), Scarlet decided to notify the Mysterium so they could study the cryptids and turn the facility into a giant Atheneum!! The mentor gets to lead the excavation and take credit while I get an education, some credit, and some advancement.

              Anyway thats my anecdote. I haven't played past this exact point yet, work work work. And again my example is a side-story to my ST's main story. I hope this was helpful!

              Nice anecdote! I really like the description of the Mystery Initiations and actually played through my Mysterium player's Mysteriorum Arche last week. (Poor sacrificial bull). Fluff and crunch with it all is pretty easy to reconcile except in cases where someone gets Egregore 5 and has Status 1.

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              • #8
                My take is that 2e isn't any different than 1e when it comes to the Egregore. Just because the mechanics don't require greater status doesn't mean that it isn't at least affected, if not actually needed. I really liked how Egregore was laid out in 1e, so I keep it as is.

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