A&A: Query on Philosophiae, Artes Liberales & others

Hi there!

In a recent thread where we were talking about Magic Lore and the trick of enriching stuff using it (anyone can do that) someone mentioned that in Art and Acadme there are similar rules for doing that kind of tricks with other abilities like Artes liberales.

I do not have A&A (my FLGS is not that friendly when it comes to Ars Magica book reposition :frowning: I also lack the HOH:MC book...) but feel curious to the sort of tricks that A&A suggests for these other abilities. Could someone illustrate me on this? I do not want the "hard rules" but to know what kind of powers/abilities/advantages they can offer abn innitiate. Thx in advance :slight_smile:



Character with a Medicine, Artes Liberales or Philosophiae score may produce Ligatures or learn Formulae.

Ligatures are small charms which give a specific character a bonus to a specific activity at a specific time (the type of bonus being dependent on the ability used) and takes a few hours to manufacture.

Formulae come in three flavours - Inceptions, Reagents & Theriacs. All are Seasonal activities, Reagents & Theriacs also cost Labor Points. Each formula costs 5 XP to learn and allows the character to create the item desired if his Lab Total is high enough. An important point is that Formulae are natural and thus not affected by MR. Generally lab Totals are quite low but as most Natural Philosophers are educated they can usually make use of Lab Texts.

Inceptions (Artes Liberales): The astronomer can use a subject's Nativity Horoscope to design an astrological inception to learn information about the target (including its past or future). The level of Detail given varies.

Reagents (Philosophiae): The alchemist can produce a variety of useful substances including, but not limited to: Glue, Cement, Greek Fire and Smoke Oil. The degree of Alteration possible varies.

Theriacs (Medicine): The physician can produce medicines that can heal injuries and disease or restore Fatigue as well as other minor medical effects. The Potency of medicine varies, however.

Note: Student's Parma on the exact guidelines possible...

No initiation is required; anyone with Artes Liberales, Medicine, or Philosophiae can research and create these formulae. They are "natural magic", that is, Mythic Europe's version of experimental science. The process is broadly: 1) create or research a formula by spending time and experience points; 2) Develop the formula in a mundane laboratory, taking a season to do so; 3) Duplicate the formula as often as you like in subsequent seasons from your lab text.

Formulae possible depends on the Ability you use.
Artes Liberales formulae are astrological inceptions, allowing you to interrogate the stars to discover things that you did not know. The more information you want, the harder it is to complete the formula. About the most you can learn is the astrological correspondences and physical temperament of a specific criminal, although these might be couched in vague terms.
Philosophiae formulae are alchemical reagents. With these you can effect changes in the qualities of a substance -- making light brighter, making rock harder, making fog thicker, or acid more powerful. The greater the magnitude of the change, the more difficult the reagent is to create. The best you can practically manage is to purify silver from a lead amalgam (true transformation is not possible with mundane alchemy).
Medicine formulae are pharmaceutical theriacs. They can speed wound recovery, assist in overcoming disease, and can even overcome fatigue; but can also be poisons or potions that perturb the humours. The greater the severity of the condition you want to heal or cause; the harder the theriac is to create. About the best you can hope to achieve is to heal a wound from a given cause (fire, animal bite, sword) without the need for a Wound Recovery roll, but it takes the usual time.

The principle disadvantages is that you need to divert time and xp away from academic Abilities to develop formulae; they are also expensive to create in terms of hard cash (if your saga bothers about such things). They are also pretty specific: for example, there are different theriacs for each disease, and each type and severity of wound; so your physician might not have exactly the right one available.


So they are a kind of Natural Magician lab incantations, I see. Sounds cool! Thx for the info :slight_smile: I will have to rant to my FLGS to see if they can bring it. or buy it online if not. IN fac tthis kind of abilities is what I would see the average hedgie serving a noble to be doing.

One thing that bothers me is the lack of herbalism there. It sounds like medicine and herbalism as presented in Hedge Magic pretty much overlap in design, and in fact none of them hasd the slightest use for the Apothecary profgession. I find this to be rather odd, but hey. The former (the overlapping of both) is slightly more disturbing, though


Actually, A&A does have rules for Herbalism. Basically, it's a special skill that can do almost (though not entirely) everything that Medicine can do. Significantly, herbalists can make ligatures and theriacs.

I'd like to see a book of characters covering Hedge Mages, Natural Philosophers, Infernalists etcetera - i.e, making use of A&A, ROP books, Hedge Magic and C&G. That would be really rather interesting (perhaps more so than Magi of Hermes, which I pick up tomorrow so cannot really comment on yet).

Art & Academe is really about the Academic Abilities, so herbalism is more problematic, being a folk practice. However, there is a Herbalism Virtue (as has been mentioned) that allows an aberrant view of anatomy and physiology to result in genuine results. So it doesn't matter if you believe that elves live in the bodily organs; your chants and herbs to appease the elves still give tangible benefit to health.

Profession: Apothecary has been given a work-out in A&A as well, since medicinal herbs are a cornerstone of medieval medical practice.


Got the book and I am seeing all that by myself. Sounds fair so far and I am greatly satisfied with what I am reading, evne if I have TOO MUCH STUFF (TM) to read, having acquired 3 Ars books at once :open_mouth: so my problem is more a lack of time than anything! :laughing: . Expect Atlas to be sued for causing my current Deprivation of Sleep. :laughing: Thx all for your imput :slight_smile:


I'll second this. I would love to see all these rules brought together, and maybe rationalized, so they work together a little more smoothly. I find I'm become much more interested in "hedge wizards" than in the core magi.

And I third it. But I reckon that all releases for the next two years (there or there abouts) have been pretty well mapped out. I would like to see someone, maybe even the authors concerned, provide some character write-ups for Sub Rosa. I'd love to see that. In fact, I might even work something up myself. If anyone has a preference for a type of character (Learned Magician, Goetic Sorcerer, etc) I'll see what I come up with.

It is a good point for asub rosa designs: adventures tailored to hedgies, or slightly unusual hedgies, like a witch that is a gentleman, or an elementalist that is a court phisician. In fact, elementalists are the less clear-cut of the diverse traditions of HM (they are 3 traditions, more than 1...) so if you go for it, I would really like what you can get out of an elementalist :slight_smile: Or a spirit master for that matter.


Okay, Elemantalist it is. Any particular city, Tribunal, time frame (I'll assume 1220)?

I have a penchant for the 11th-12th century, but it is better to limit such weirdness to particular sagas :wink: 1220 sounds just fine since it is where the system is supposed to work.


Hi again :slight_smile:

Been reading about those diverse inceptions, theriacs and reagents.

At first I thought that they would be "general use stuff", like minor abilities developed by most scientifics of ME. Now I think they are not. Let's see if I am right.

  1. First you learn the formula. 1 season of activity and 5XP invested here.
  2. Then you concoct the formula. That is a second season of actity or more, and quite some stuff and effort to learn the stuff. At the end of it you have 1 dose of the foruma AND a lab text.
  3. In a third (or later) season you can brew/calculate the stuff. You generate 1 dose per 5 points. So far so good.

Now, the 2problem" is that the target numbers for the "really cool stuff" are quite high, being level 10-20. That means that most people will:
A) have to spend several seasons co0ncocting the formula. Sudddenly the thing is not so easy to achieve....
B) Create one, or (at most) 2 doses of the thing, even when they have a lab text for it. For the 20-ish level things it is probably only 1 dose after more than a single season!

Sudfdenly getting that kind of stuff is not a "one use magic item" anymore, but something you have to consider A LOT before performing and spending. And all that without taking into account the cost in terms of money that those forulas cost, if you consider such issues in your saga.

It seems that this kind of level 15 forulas will be extremely rare, and only in the hands of really accomplished academics.

As an example, my design character has an Inception lab total of 10 (plus philosophic bonuses) being Int +3 and having a total Artes liberales of 7. That is not low, but the higher levels of inceptions seems quite out of reach of him. You need massive bonuses (8 or more) to be able to get a level 20 inception, and that only after many years of research (5-ish in the case of this guy). In fact they seem quite out of reach of him no matter what (unless he experiments during 5 years...) since rising abilities is quite slow.

Am I right here? Are those formulas supposed to be that difficult to create? I was thinking about a natural magician able to perform some inceptions and reagents, but it seems that given their current cost those 2 might be quite out of his reach unless he heavily concentrates in them.... I suppose those are supposed to be "the top of the mountain" when i comes to academic laboratory research, are they?


If I remember correctly, you only need the lab text to be able to create whatever it is you want. So you don't need to have learned it yourself. That opens up another avenue of play, one where the character looks for someone who can do the research and is willing to do so in exchange for something you have.

Going by pure numbers alone, you're right in that some things are very difficult to achieve for a generalist. Or even the moderately skilled, for that matter.

Point. Very true :slight_smile: You only need to know the formula and have a lab text. The lab text does not need to be yours. However, in the A&A info on formulas it talks about how scarce those lab texts are and how secretive are the dudes generating them, so I doubt it is easy to get most of them. But yes, it is a nice story hook :slight_smile:


It is quite deliberate that the "good stuff" is hard to do. Level 15 formulae are about the maximum; but exceptionally specialised individuals could achieve level 20. However, IIRC, the Mythic Alchemy Virtue (HMRE, Learned Magicians) gives another Ability that can be added to the formula, permitting more powerful formulae.


Can you use the Inception Who Is The Maker Of The Object N?, or something similar, to reveal the birth date of the maker?

virgileso, as side note (and in the most polite tone possible!) this thread's last post was more than five years old. Generally speaking, long-time posters on this forum try to open a new thread rather than raise an old one from the dead: the infamous "threadomancy" tends to create a lot of confusion.
Now, to anwer your question:

Probably not, or the whole idea that you need a birth date in the first place (which magi try to keep secret etc. etc.) would be kind of moot. I do agree that it's an obvious question to ask: it was the first that came to my mind when I read the "obtain information about a criminal from the crime" example. The rules on this could definitely have been phrased more clearly.

You couldn't use that inception, no. Inceptions are very narrow in scope; that one is designed for objects, and you would need a different inception for the purpose you state.
Furthermore, although the inception could be designed, it would need the birth date of the target to work, and therefore be useless. It would be a bit like designing a spell to detect fire that has has a Target of Touch...