Apprentice rights

So I bring this up after thinking of a comment on a long dead but raised from the grave by abe, just how are Apprentices treated, and what rights if any would they have in different Tribunals.

In the Theban, which I have studied quite a bit since my TT game is set there, apprentices cannot be abused, killed, or betrayed. The master will actually get punished for flaws gained by the apprentice regarding poor teaching. Even the Tytalus had to get special dispensation for the methods they use, and are forbidden to depart from the sanctioned methods agreed upon by the Tribunal as okay for Tytalus to use.

Then we have the other tribunals where things differ as drastically as possible. Normandy could never be mistaken for the Levant and I imagine Novgorod is beyond the ken of any Provencal separatist.

So, pick a Tribunal and tell us how you think they treat apprentices.

Like one would expect, there is some treatment of generic apprentice's rights in Apprentices: most of it on p. 35 (damaging apprentices when opening the Arts) and p. 38ff (in the Legal Issues chapter).
An interesting aspect - the rights and obligations of an apprentice under mundane laws - is handled passim in Grogs, p. 124f, but would deserve some research for every campaign treating relations between covenants and mundane society.


While relatively boring, I suspect that apprentice rights outside of Thebes and possibly Transylvania are all pretty much the same: they have no rights.

I could imagine a lot of tribunals taking an interest in apprentices in general, since apprentices have a tendency to turn into new magi and new magi need somewhere to live.

As I recall, in general apprentices have the to 1 season of teaching out of every 4.
Full stop - that's it.
Magi actively abusing their apprentices sometimes get into trouble though, and we have seen magi declaring wizard's war in order to steal an apprentice and hide her for 5 seasons. Thus her right (to being taught) was violated, and anyone could take her as a new apprentice.

Note that this is the apprentice' right from his7her parens. as the "property" of a full magus, the apprentice recieves some degree of protection from other magi.

Its 1 season per year the Magus have to personal teach his apprentice and the Magus is expected to extend his Parma Magica over the apprentice.
Buts that Its all I remember abaut the rights a apprentice have toward his parent.

Well sure, by RAW the apprentices deserve very very little by way of good treatment, but surely the must be some flavor in each Tribunal as to how they treat their charges.

We always imagine that the Tytalus treat their apprentice as though some faulty lump of slag metal, to be heated, folded, pounded and churned into a magus. If the youngling is tenacious enough to survive then they are blessed and given the right to call themselves a Tytalus.

But can anyone imagine a Jerbiton or a Tremere being so cruel? Perhaps a gruff and tumble Bjornaer, but how with a princely Iberian Flambeau treat their student? Does Iberia have some local tradition of how to treat an apprentice? Sure not in the books, but within our imagination there could be room for assumptions.

Does the Tribunal of Iberia follow the great tradition of the Moors, who believed in strict handling of charges, but that one must never beat an apprentice on the head or any place on the body which the apprentice must used to complete her duties? Or is the matter in Stonehenge much more intimate? Is the master expected to treat the student according to a set of laws similar to the Common Law, with precedents giving rise to a Hermetic Doom book, wherein apprentices are throughout the ages given more and more guidelines in which they live and are protected.

There is a lot of room for creating thoughts and opinions in this regards.

And bear in mind that a) the apprentince will "soon" be a full-fledged magus, so she's probably thought of as a soon-to-be equal, b) plenty magi are rather self-centered, but that doesn't mean full-fledged psychos and c) these are medieval people we're talking about, so they probably have a somewhat feudal mindset, where you as a "noble" have full rights to kill a "peasant", but it's thought of as bad practice, since you're supposed to be protecting them as your God-given duty.

So most likely apprentinces, while lacking any legal protection whatsoever, are probably treated decently "on average".

Barring the occasional psycho magus, and hardship-will-make-you-stronger Tytalus, of course.

Very good points!

Yes, I agree.

Many apprentices will be expected to perform menial tasks in the Laboratory (i.e. assisting with their master's Lab Work), will rarely be paid, and might have to work long hours or in unpleasant/mildly dangerous places. So there will be plenty of things for an average apprentice to complain to his compatriots about. But "on average" apprentices are unlikely to be tortured or killed by their masters. And masters who do routinely do something like that, are going to at least run the risk of sanction via Wizard War.

I'm not sure that it is that valuable to think of different Houses having particularly different practices in this regard. Any variation will be due to the personality of the master, rather than the House he belongs to. A Jerbiton master can be just as psychotic as a Tytalus master.

I imagine that in the Hibernia and Loch Leglean tribunals, a form of fosterage could go on. Where for some time an apprentice might train under another house or mage.

I mostly agree with you. I never meant my statement to mean that Tytalus masters were more prone to be psychotic. But one should bear in mind that self-improvement and growth through confilct is at the core of Tytalus philosophy. Which could be interpreted to mean that enduring hardships helps you grow stronger and achieve enlightment, like many ascetic monks of the time believed.

So I would guess that being a Tytalus apprentice is probably a harsher experience than, say, being a Jerbiton apprentice, all other things being equal. Not because your master would be meaner, but because she would be trying to help you achieve your maximum potential that way, not out of sheer malice but rather out of a sincere desire to help you become a better human being through discipline and mastery over yourself.

Couple of thoughts:
House Bjornaer section in HoH:M has special rules and explanation how they treat and handle apprentices.

House Jerbiton section in HoH:S has some great thoughts - e.g.: it is okay to kidnap children with the Gift - and they do use regular schools to find Gentle Gift kids.

The regular perception on a Tytalus Master abusing the Apprentice... must be quite well founded, somehow they do get their House Virtue. :wink:

On the other hand, I would absolutely not expect a Tremere Master to abuse or fraternize their students. The training will be harsh and focusing on other useful abilities as expected from a Tremere, and most probably it will give significantly less rights - at the beginning - compared to other Houses' Apprentices.
Apprentice has to prove thyself and earn their rights. This can be turned to great story hooks as in a Tremere dominated Covenant, multiple students fight to earn their Master's approval and earn rights within the Covenant e.g. bear arms, command grogs, travel to the city, dine with the Masters, drink wine at the table and silently listen to their conversation.

I can easily imagine wide range of possibilities how a Verditius Magi could treat their apprentices and grant them rights.
General approach could be to turn them as soon as possible to an effective Vis gathering helping-hand... which would result in fast advance when can an apprentice command grogs, get his first shield grog... and treat grogs as tools, which is a great way to introduce Hubris.
Duty would call the Apprentice to collect Vis with some gorg company from the easy to reach and not-expecting-complications places (or even steal some) and could grant a senior apprentice the right to own Vis, which is anyway needed for the Masterwork.
Master's appreciation would highly depend on the Craft and Magical Theory, an apprentice brings to the (Laboratory) table. I do consider within the House Verditius it could be also a matter of prestige, how ones student first master work is done... not to forget it will be kept by the Master.
So I would say the Verditius Apprentice could have one of the most appreciated life in a Covenant, while at the same time they are required to focus and provide help to their Master's daily work. A senior Verditius Apprentice would have to learn how to handle merchants, agents... which on it's own is a right to earn.
He could have a couple of the Master's magical items (maybe some experimental ones too), just to make him really proud of being a Verditius... starting the whole Hubris business. Nevertheless a great way for a Vergitius Mage to show off.
On the other hand, if the apprentice is headstrong or extremely bright, I can easily imagine some extremely cruel treatment. Master could turn and realize how the apprentice could over-shine him, already in a few years, taking away potential customers, and start abusing or keeping the training at minimum.

For a Flambeau I would imagine the apprentice would gain rights over the Covenant's grogs quite fast or an area to watch over in the Covenant.
I wouldn't be surprised if the apprentice's standing/rights would be dependent if he/she has bloodied his/her hands or not.
Could you imagine a full fledged Flambeau Mage - after the Gauntlet - who collapses in shock, after the first Pillum of Fire charcoals a mundane?
The whole House would laugh... one has to maintain it's prestige.

A Bonisagus Apprentice would raise their Latin and Magical Theory quite fast at the beginning, both from lecturing and from books. Earning rights (can read certain books) and tasks (clean) in the Covenant's library at the beginning of his study. In a close knit covenant a Bonisagus Master can easily lend the Apprentice time to a Sodales, especially in the seasons when special abilities would be required to continue some experiments. Like for a Verditius Apprentice at a later stage he can earn his right to have his own small laboratory, without the right to experiment.

Generally speaking an Apprentice is a future Mage and a Master's standing within the Tribunal and the House can greatly change based on how he treats and how he shapes the Apprentice. Master cannot only focus on abilities and arts... that's fine but only half of the job. How capable the young-after-the-gauntlet Mage is going to be. How you can trust he will not turn to the Infernal or cause havoc.
When an Apprentice starts the 15 years period, he is but a child, when finishes he is an adult and will have a vote in the Tribunal. He will handle matters with the local church and nobles. Will have vassals (Covenant folk and grogs) and handle other Magi, his new Sodales. After Gauntlet the past-apprentice - new-mage will represent the House. If the Master handles it poorly the whole House suffers down the line, creating a deficiency means everyone your apprentice will tutor will have it.

I don't think being a Master is a 1 season per year job and an Apprentice has to get/earn more and more rights/responsibilities through the years.

I like your approach to the subject.

DerWish I like your ideas! :slight_smile:

I trained my apprentice much along those lines, I was going to post it here, but the forum ate my post. GAAAAAH!
I'll retype it in another thread.


House Tremere do fosterage, so that each apprentice spends some time in Ceoris, and some time in the provinces.
House Jerbiton take soon to graduate apprentices on a trip called The Itinerarium, to show them Rome and its ruins, or other places.

The post is sprouting stems of brilliance.

As is common with Ars, so many of us enjoy the deep and detailed stories that come out of these thought exercises. I said before but will comment again, I play a TT game every two weeks and yet one day every week, I and one of my TT gamers plays one on one stories. Now these stories have nothing to gain. No experience is allowed to be handed out, not even Confidence is normally awarded except if it was spent.

However, we have benefited immensely from these sessions. At the actually TT game, we know our character in every scene. We can roleplay without hesitation and we gel very well as a team when we have to work together in scenes. This said, I think so many games would benefit if there was more of these stories wherein you flash back and do a hour or so of game time to roleplay scenes of your character as an apprentice.

Being vulnerable and seeing what went into making the mage that you eventually become I think is dramatic and helpful in being able to play the character in the present. This was the purpose of the thread, as well as to encourage speculation or even examples of how you the reader would imagine an apprenticeship would work.

Thanks to each and every one posting, your brilliance helps me get better!

I took a odd approach to how a Criamon would teach their pupil. Mechanically they would give the student XP until it was but a single point away from the next level, and they would do this in many categories. Magic Theory, Lores, maybe Enigmatic Wisdom, some Arts, ect. Then the Criamon would awaken the student and inform them that the relationship would hinge on a single experience.

The Criamon arranges some journey, either of the mind, morality, or magic or other. Along the way the student gains miniscule XP and yet it is just that couple of points required to advance the student. By the end of the journey the student, exhausted and possible beaten, depressed, and weary, is given a long mud bath and massage and ministrations by the Master.

As the Criamon master heals and rejoins the spirit and mind and body of their apprentice, they seem to awake the youngling to awareness that the student has just advance six, seven, more avenues of learning. Now I know the mechanics and RAW this method would be a bit technical and difficult if not impossible, oh but the fun of the story telling!!!

Great posts! In my group there are no fathers yet, so our handling of apprentices has been generally less elaborated than that. I however see an apprentice as a son/daughter of the magus. Some will take it as a duty, some as an act of love and some as a means to an end, but none is likely to have the student just hanging around to provide a lab bonus. That is a sure way to shame in the wider Order.

Nice snippets (and story hooks!) from everyone. We have used some of them, but I have to say that most of them have not even occurred to us. DerWish's post is just plain amazing, and I liked the story seed of Portianator a lot. Nice one! Sounds like a rite of passage.


Thanks for the compliment but how is this for your remark about fathers... my actual Mercere magus that I play in the TT game currently has a Gifted child. It is his youngest son, about 4 in the current game year of 1218. We are at some point going to role play a magus having a ACTUAL child who is Gifted being up on the bidding block of the Theban way of choosing apprentices!!!


I think it will be a intense story no matter what happens.

Of course being a direct blood descendant of Mercere and Gifted, chances are pretty high that his son will be taught by the only other Mercere magus in the Tribunal, Philo's own Mercere master. But who knows... this is causing me some stress now that I think about it. :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

Your post has reminded me on an interesting subject: Mercere House & Fertility magic.
How much do you think a Mercere would pay for the guarantee to have a gifted child in the bloodline?
It could be the proper introduction for the legendary 'Queen' of Vis. :smiling_imp: