A little character help

Hello all first time Ars Magica player here. So I am getting ready to make a character and while I have some ideas about where to go the game has a dizzying amount of character options so I am looking for a little help. Conceptually I want to build a maga with somewhat of a reputation as a 'Fey Enchantress'. I've settled on House Merinita obviously and will probably take greater faerie blood. What sort of virtues might I take and where should I focus my magic as a starting maga? I have the Faerie Realm book as well Mysteries, Mystery Cults, and of course the main book. Thanks in advance for any advice you may have.

I am not sure what you think of when you say "Fey Enchantress".
What kind of things would you like her to be able to do? Never mind about virtues and Arts and so for now, just think of what kind of magical effects you think would be suitable.

You're still wide open on possibilities for directing your magic. Your house choice and Strong Faerie Blood have not restricted you at all. Noting you're specifying Faerie over nature, you'll probably not be looking at True Merinitae. So this is what I would do:

  1. Decide what you want to do with your magic. Do you want to be an illusionist? Do you want to control the elements? Do you want to be a shapeshifter? Etc. That choice will guide your Arts, spells, other Virtues, etc.
  2. Based on that, take a look at the various groups within House Merinita to see if any of those suit what you'd like to do. If so, I'd focus on that group rather than looking elsewhere (e.g. TMRE).
  3. Decide what sort of Strong Faerie Blood seems most fitting for the direction you've chosen. RoP:F has a lot of options.

I view her as skilled at influencing others via magic

Then you're probably thinking Mentem as an area to focus in. You'll want to consider if she's good socially in combination with that (e.g. Gentle Gift). Languages may also be a consideration, and Strong Faerie Blood could give you access to Faerie Speech if the SG is OK with that option from RoP:F.

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Probably concentrating on Mentem magic then. Affinity and/or Puissant Mentem would be good.

The virtues Entrancement and Enchanting Music would fit the concept but as a maga you can probably do the same things easier through spells.

Magical Focus (Major or Minor) is rarely a bad idea.

Quiet Magic and/or Subtle Magic perhaps if you don't want your spellcasting to be obvious.

Virtues like Flawless Magic, Flexible Formulaic Magic, or Lifelinked Spontaneous Magic can be useful for just about any magus - note that you can only start with at most one Major hermetic virtue though.

Among the various types of faerie blood listed in RoP:F I think Nymph Blood or Sidhe Blood would be the most suitable for the concept.

Oh, and watch out with Faerie Sympathy. At first glance it may seem like a huge potential boost for such a character. However, very commonly the people you may want to deal with will be in a Divine Aura, and then Faerie Sympathy is more harmful than beneficial.

Some other things to consider with Mentem if you're really targeting this area:

  1. Deft Mentem gets you silent/still magic with Mentem so you can cast those spells without anyone noticing.
  2. Probably avoid many Voice spells because those are hardest to do subtly.
  3. You'll probably want to hit nearly all the Techniques, so Puissant/Affinity work best with Mentem.

You may also want to pick up a sideline in Imaginem to compliment those Mentem spells. No need for direct mind control, if you can control what people believe by controlling what they perceive.

Also, Deft Mentem is an amazing virtue!

EDIT: @callen already mentioned Deft Mentem, but it's so good it had to be mentioned again! It was the single most useful Virtue my last Mentem specialist had, possible aside from Gentle Gift.

Also not that Voice is a problem. callen mentions how it can be hard to do subtly. The limitation I noticed the most, was that your range is still limited by how far your voice carries, so even though you could cast Mentem spells silently, you won't want to if they're R: Voice. The Gentle Gift/Deft Mentem combination however, might well be the only character I've ever had to whom R: Eye wasn't a terrible idea.

I would also mention that my biggest (rules-) regret with that character, was not investing in a bit (more) Imaginem, for that would have paired so well with the Mentem.

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I agree with Erik's suggestions, but will add points: Definitely mentem magic, and you could put a Magical Focus on Emotions, Lust, Memories, &c. As far as Entrancement and Enchanting Music, I've generally found those abilities COOL for a companion, and a bit lackluster for a magus... Try Performance Magic though.

Gentle Gift is a great boon as well

Also, is this character recently out of Gauntlet or older? If new, you probaby won't have any Mystery Cult stuff, but could plan to look into them.

She will be recently out of her guantlet.