A question of Practice vs. Exposure

A young merchant venturer is earning his keep sailing and trading across the ports of the south. Can his old uncle, who is part of the crew and used to sail with the merchant's father, pass on his superior knowledge of the mercantile profession by providing constant advice?

In game terms, the young trader has a Profession: Trader ability of 5. The uncle has a Profession: Trader ability of 7. During those seasons spent to earn labor points, does the young trader earn only Exposure experience (Source Quality: 2), or can he claim a Practice Source Quality of 5, since working with his uncle's constant counsel counts as "being forced to practice a trade ... with constant feedback on how well you are doing" (corebook p.164)?

I'd allow it, sure.


I'd rule no. This is very different from the sort of "sink or swim" kind of practice of a man with no sailing experience shanghaied (yeah, anachronistic) aboard a ship as he learns the ropes. The young trader is already a professional working at his trade.

If we don't rule no, we'd also have to rule that every journeyman and apprentice craftsman gains 5xp per season of work in a master's shop. We would similarly find that a magus' apprentice ought to get 5xp of Magic Theory every season he helps his parens in the lab, a vastly greater amount than the character creation rules suggest.



The ArM5 corebook say that in the seasons you work to earn a living you are entitled to exposure xp. ArM5 p. 163. By stating that you are entitled to exposure XP,this at leasts suggests that you are NOT entitled to claim a higher xp award in seasons you work to earn a living. I take the rationale as being something along the line of you are busy doing the work, not critically analyzing your own efforts (which would be "practice"). I would rule that if a person is working and "producing something useful" then he must be using enough of his own discretion and judgment to not qualify for practice/training XP under another person.

However, the situation you describe could be easily modeled using the rules for training during the "free seasons" the young merchant has. Although in game we talk about the young merchant making deals with advice from his uncle, we model it under the rules slightly differently. The Uncle is the one who "works" while training the apprentice. This makes sense because it is really the Uncle's advice that is making the business succeed or fail. Although the young merchant "works", he earns nothing and produces nothing useful. However, he gains very valuable experience in how to run the merchant empire. In your case, this method gives the apprentice a much higher total than even the 5XP you get for "instant feedback."

Why then are Hermetic apprentices not taught Abilities like Magic theory via training? The Rules require that the master be "earning a living" using the ability taught, which obviously magi are not doing. But, this sounds like a total cop out to me. A better answer may be that when an apprentice assists in the lab the magi has a choice, get the apprentice's Int+MT as a bonus to the labwork, but the apprentice only gets exposure XP (in MT or the Arts used) OR give the little brat constant attention and give up the lab bonus in exchange for teaching more to the apprentice. The latter may be used more to get the apprentice up to speed on MT*, but later in apprenticeship the benefit of having the lab bonus motivates magi to forgo the "training" and opt for the assistance. Likewise, a carpenter may spend some seasons "training" an apprentice, but would rather get him to work as soon as possible to begin selling his wares and reaping a profit from the kid's labor.

  • Arts specifically cannot be advanced by training, so most lab work is going to offer training in MT only.

Pauper's Parma: I've not read City and Guild closely, so this may be completely wrongheaded based on what's in that book.

Those examples on page 164 are for more than the usual 4 for "Practice". (Nothing says there can't be an end result - hard to "practice" trading without actually doing it.)

If it were the uncle doing the trading, and the nephew had the time to do nothing but "help", it would fall clearly under "Training" (and be worth 10!). But you say the nephew is earning the LP's, and so that means that he is doing the trading, not the uncle.

This situation seems, at face value, to be worth more than mere "exposure", which has no "feedback/advice" involved at all - specifically. So... I'd split the diff. Either 3 or 4, as either "exposure w/ feedback", or something akin to Practice. If the Uncle shouldered a little more of the work, the nephew spent a little more time observing, that number would go higher.

Thats similar to where i was leaning as well. Its probably "better" than Exposure, but not so much.
Calling it Practise is ok by me, but it sure isnt high XP Practise.
And of course, the wise idea would be to have the old man run the show and get Training XP instead.

Agreed. An assistant in training wont be much of an assistant, but he will certainly learn alot faster than if he was just acting as an assistant and not training to be one.

I would take into account the Core + City & Guild rules on work vs. leisure and the poor/wealthy trait. If the merchant is working year round a proper Christian amount, and doesn't have either of those traits, two seasons should be exposure only, he should get labor points for those two seasons, etc. So, it's really a matter of how to best model the "free" seasons. To me, that's partially a matter of what you think is happening to the uncle. If the uncle is spending those "free" seasons only getting exposure experience, it seems fair to treat it as training or teaching. If the uncle is using those "free" seasons to do other stuff himself, it probably makes more sense to view the nephew's time as either practice (at which point you can haggle over level of practice) or more exposure (in which case he's generating more LP, but being a bad Christian per C&G).