A Little Help for Elemental Magic

I hadn't caught this before. I was one of those who ready "study" and felt like I should house-rule more application of the Virtue. I read some of the HMRE Virtues more closely. Adventure is nearly explicitly stated as a type of "study." It's implicit, but extremely definitive. Also, implicitly at least one of Exposure or Practice is. It may have to be Exposure, but I'll have to do more reading. So at least it seems being more generous with the experience sources is not required. I did say "little" in the title.

I think this, along with the optional rule in HMRE to apply this type of Virtue to experience at character creation, brings up the value of Elemental Magic to two solid Minor Virtues. It still doesn't hit Major Virtue value, but it's closer. This part isn't new; it's been pointed out by others. But I don't recall seeing the above bit about "study."

In the broad interpretation, this could be taken to mean that anything which provides an Advancement Total (i.e., XP) is considered to be "study", including both Exposure and Practice. This interpretation seems to be supported by the lack of any other mention of generating an Advancement Total or gaining XP which is not associated with "study".

However, for a narrower interpretation, only studying from books or from vis are directly referred to as "study" in their descriptions and exposure XP requires "being exposed to the thing being studied", while adventuring mentions that you may wish to forgo adventure XP in favor of "other study" and teaching refers to the "student". No form of the word "study" is used in the descriptions of practice or training, so an argument could be made that they don't qualify as "study".

Personally, though, I'd go with the broad interpretation: All XP gain is "study".

I'd go with the interpretation that study, in this case, means 'any experience points.'

However, I would probably also add a house rule that this exp-gain effect can only process once per study total, to stop the enterprising magus dividing his story or lab xp to get the bonus xp more than once.

Yes. My OP plus the following reply seem to indicate this is the intention.

There is already a book rule for this via the other variants. You can use it more than once in a season, but you only get a maximum of 1 point per Form in a season from this Virtue. So if you put 1 point in Aquam, you also get 1 point in each of Auram, Ignem, and Terram. But if you also put 1 point in Auram, then you get 2 points in each of Aquam and Auram and 1 point in each of Ignem and Terram. It caps there since each has a bonus point; so putting points in Ignem and Terram wouldn't do anything from there via the Virtue.

FWIW, I had always seen EM as applying to all sources of xp, with the virtue still not being all that awesome, even with "cheating" on adventure/exposure xp.

grin I even looked up my previous postings on this one.

After some research, I found those two proposals, which I find quite compelling:

It does not mean that with one Creo Element spell, you can create all four elements, just that you have one single Art.
You still need to invent Pilum of Fire and Torrent of Water separatedly.
Sounds balanced, but I haven't tested it.


Mark Faulkner currently plays with something a bit different yet is functionally equivalent; I suspect it has not broken his saga... and that it is still not the best Major Hermetic Virtue at work there.

He might have a better feel for how it plays out in practice.



I think Elemental Magic suffers a PR issue.

For certain concepts, Elemental Magic is pretty good as-is. If you're using it with a Muto specialist, the ability to ignore requisites is very potent.

The problem with this is:

  1. it is hard to come up with requisite-requiring elemental spells that aren't muto effects.
  2. the core rulebook (and most splatbooks, for that matter) have a pretty thin list of good example spells.

The former means that anyone not going muto for starters is going to end up with a lame-duck of a virtue, and the temptation for an elementalist to go Creo is high.
The latter means that the temptation to go Creo over Muto is high, because all the flashy spells listed in the four elements are either Creo or Perdo.

The xp gain changes help shore it up on the Creo/Perdo front, but I'm not sure what impact (if any) they would have on the virtue's already strong Muto front.

I'd also recommend against having a 'single' art, simply because it makes the interaction with other systems murky. For example, how does an Elementalist write a book about Aquam?

I would add one more Muto issue related to this last part:

  1. The experience gain, if you're focusing on MuFo(El), where Fo is a specific element and El is any of the other three, is that the scores in the other three don't matter so all extra experience there isn't so useful. (Not useless, just devalued.) Thus when the ignoring of requisites fits better the experience part is devalued just like the reverse.

I have a player with this virtue, and I let her use both XP from study and XP from adventure be applicable.

And yes, she has yet to actually benefit from this virtue in any other way.

The point in my OP was that this isn't "and" but "including" as XP from adventure is XP from study according to the rules, and at least I had not caught that before.