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As everyone knows The Gift is a major part of Ars Magica and dealing with it provides much of the conflict between mundanes and magi. The Gentle Gift Major Virtue is available at character creation to remove that problem.

Some background: My character is a Mentem specialist, and my original design was one of a mute. I was new to the system and didn't recognize that having a character that couldn't speak would be such a flaw. So with the permission of my troupe, I respecced out of that idea into a more forgiving one.

As the resident Mentem expert I've found myself playing the diplomat or dealing with mundanes more often than I intended with my original mute character, and the Gift is getting in the way.

I have a general understanding of the rules on original research, but I want to know what everyone thinks regarding if this is possible.

As far as I understand, learning a new virtue would usually fall under the category of a Major Breakthrough. However, the Gift is arguably (probably not arguably) part of a magi's Essential Nature, so perhaps a Hermetic Breakthrough is required to augment the Gift.

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This is absolutely up to the GM. If it is possible at all, it should be a Hermetic Breakthrough.

The impact of the gift is one of the essential sliders the group (and the storyguide, depending on how you all share power) has over the impact of companions. In traditional games, it is due to the social penalties of the gift that companions are given much play-time at all.

In my games, I've reduced the penalty of the gift, and reduced gentle gift to a minor virtue to compensate, simply due to how many players play. However, this is absolutely and completely a hermetic breakthrough: it is, besides the church, one of the few things standing in the way of magi dominance of Mythic Europe. (On the other hand, dissecting magi with the gentle gift for bonuses to the research should absolutely be encouraged, because what could possibly go wrong?)

From a theoretical point of view, the gift created the possibility for the order, rather than Bonisagus' research creating the gift. Therefore it's not a flaw in the opening of the arts that allows the "flaw" of the gift to perpetuate. If your group decides that it's God [hugging the magi1 || being annoyed with the magi], then it may not even be possible without divine or infernal intervention.

1Be careful when a Philosopher volunteers to storyguide a game. A complete theory of the universe may be forthcoming, with citations and a bibliography.

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Thanks for the reply. Companions play a big part in our game, but notably we have a sadistic Diabolist who was our main diplomat, and a Giant/giantslayer, both who don't do much talking, which is why I am moving into that type of role. –  oushend Mar 27 at 9:31
    
The footnote alone deserves an extra +1, including the fact you used a footnote. –  TimothyAWiseman Mar 27 at 14:43

The Gift's essential nature should be a group decision

As you mention in your question, it can be argued that the nature of a magus' gift is a part of his essential nature, and not something that can be changed, even via breakthrough. This is a matter that your group should agree on before embarking on what is possibly several years' worth of research. You wouldn't want to spend all that time only to find that other players' view adding the Gentle Gift after character creation to be a major disruption of their suspension of disbelief.

Gentle Gift as a form of Parma Magica

But even if your saga deems that the Gentle Gift itself is a part of inviolable Essential Nature, or subject only to Divine law, you could still posit that a Hermetic Breakthrough would allow you to invent spells that give you the (temporary) effect of the Gentle Gift. This isn't a change to the essential nature, only a magical effect.

The best way to achieve this, I think, is using the rules for Arma Magica introduced in the Bonisagus chapter of Houses of Hermes: True Lineages. These rules give you the ability to add new powers (called Folds) to your Parma Magica, like reflecting incoming magic, guarding against physical attacks or specializing against certain forms. I think a new Fold can be invented (still requiring a Major Hermetic breakthrough, as the rules specify) that, in effect, reverses the Parma Magica's effect on the Gift's antisocial powers - not only do they protect a Magus from other's Gift, it also protects the world from this Magus's gift.

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