I quote from your second post. (Just in case there is any difference to the first, that I did not find.)
The future author you assume with Apprentices cannot usually do what you claim. Why? Because e. g. p. 41 of Apprentices, as is, makes no sense, and requires the adjuducation by the Troupe to be useful at all. Matt in his first post on this thread has given a very good reason, why this is the case.
For a simple example, read Apprentices p. 41: "Each Minor Hermetic Virtue the character already possesses adds +3 to the Target Level, and each Major Hermetic Virtue adds +9."
This plainly and simply states, that it is harder to teach a Hermetic Virtue to an apprentice from the Rhine Tribunal, after he has had his Eichengilde Training in Durenmar, hence has now the Minor Hermetic Virtue Eichengilde Training (GotF p. 20). Or after he has been given - somehow - an item producing Vis, hence has now the Minor Hermetic Virtue Personal Vis Source. Or after he – again somehow – got famous, hence has the Minor Hermetic Virtue Hermetic Prestige.
I don’t believe that you would want to bind authors to this.
Usually with ArM5 this is cause for errata – but with Apprentices there won’t be such, for the reason Matt has given.
Authors abide by this kind of stuff, even if it does not make much sense. Otherwise you break the canon decided by the line, and that is a "cannot be done in 99.9% of circumstances" issue. So yes, people will have more problems teaching hermetic virtues to well trained and famous apprentices with an external vis source IF they are writing for the line. This is what the rules say.
Still, it is easy to make an apprentice that FIRST gets his virtues and AFTETR THAT gets all those exctra hermetic virtues that can be achieved without a direct tinkering with their Gift and magic capabilities. As such, I do not find this to be too limiting.
That a rule can only work with the adjudication of the troupe is not new.
As an example, it's a "problem" all of the line's authors for all of the Tribunal books have faced, and they face it deliberately because I built it that way. In Covenants, the number of Hooks a covenant can take is set by the amount of play a real life group of people does. It's "six months' play", so if you play often, you get more, and if you play monthly, you get less. And NPC covenants need to scale against that. How do we scale NPC covenants? We just shoot basically for what we think most of he playtester groups will say is reasonable. So, what will happen here is that authors will just shoot for a conservat5ive middle, or pitch ideas that people let slide because of their innate coolness.
It's worked so far, for the last however many years.
If the page makes utterly no sense, and is important, an errata will be issued eventually, because Matt's aesthetics aside, there's a business case to be made that the line can't be unwritable. If it just says "Do what you like. I'm not your mother." then actually the future author can write in canon really easily. He just does what he likes and sees if the playtesters think it is cool. If it says "Hey, this is more difficult than you thought." well, for the characters in the setting, it has always been difficult, and they've had years to work on ways to fix their problems, or live with them, and we can examine their responses to the difficulty.
That seems a trival sort of problem, though, for a future writer. I mean, on the level of "You can't really define any covenants in Covenants, because it is not the Tribunal book."* or "You can't actually use Hermetic Architecture to build a flying castle for that flying castle thing.", "Where does Bob get the extra +3 bonus from?" is kind of small biscuits. I mean, I may not be understanding the problem, but it seems kind of minor compared to "You villain is a demon. You realise demons aren't able to engage in long term planning, because the requires the virtue of patience, right?".
None of these are actual quotes, but they are real writing challenges I've faced when writing some of the books. I'm not sure the problem presented has the same sort of "Damn, start again. No. Can't start again. Start -thinking- about starting again." quality to it.
Assuming there's a situation where there's a dramatic necessity to know how all of this fit together for an NPC in a book (which seems a tall ask since we usually don't stat magi, let alone apprentices), If it causes too many problems, it'll get errated. If it doesn't, it doesn't. We could just retcon the Eichengilde Training so that it has some mystic mumbojumbo that makes it easier, or something. I admit I'd need to look up Eichengilde Training, because I can't recall what it is. I've not played a game set in the Rhine in real-life years. Other authors work on that stuff, and I tend to rework real life historical documents, so this may not be a workable solution. Working on the basic assumption David's not an idiot, if this causes problems, he won't carry it around like a dead albatross: something will be done.
It basically looks like a comic book continuity problem: either you are the sort of fan who says "The authors suck, none of this stuff links together and therefore it is all crap." or you say "How do we link all this stuff together with fancfic?" The writers, by the nature of the thing we are doing, have to be guys in the second set. So, if there's a problem, and we can't just let it go, eventually someone will fix it. The idea that the book breaks canon because it has troupe input seems a bit, well, unlikely, given some of the stuff I pulled in Covenants. All of that unreliable narrator / ask your troupe stuff actually makes it easier for an author to come in later and say "There's no rule against X, and X is cool, so watch me do X."
So, although I've not seen the specific example, I have to say I'm realtively sanguine about canon surviving. What you do at your own table is something outside that. I, for example, prefer to play diceless.
There are more preposterous things in RAW that we dead with regularly. per the RAW pink dot defense would be a common feasture in the order.
So far apprentices have NEVER taken on the spotlight. I doiubt they will see much use in supplements from now on. I find this book to be quite a player/saga utility book, not a book that is going to be used to describe anything. Or not much. If an apprentice is stated up in a future supplement, he will have a series of virtues and flaws from the book for sure, but he is unlikely to describe HOW he got those virtues and flaws, basucally because it is quite unlikely to be relevant at all to the situation being presented.
IMS I change RAW all the time. If I wrote for the line I would abide by the previous stuff that has been published, even if I found it to be debatable in some cases. As timothy said, RAW is an authors thing IMS all the rules in Covenants, ROP:M and C&G get only cursory use if we use them at all, for example. However, when a workshop is presented in canon, it is defined how many labor points it costs to do X and Y et al. I find it sensible even if I do not like the concept of labor points myself.
No complaints at all! It is just that I am more a handwaver than a hard number cruncher. As such me and my troupe find the level of detail in ArM5 rules disturbing. We think that the detail is too much for us, but as said by another poster it is MUCH better to have this and modify it (easier) than not to have a reference environment at all.
After looking at p. 6 of Covenants again (in particular the end of the introductory chapter of 'Chapter 2 Boons & Hooks', and the end of the following 'Paying for your choices' chapter), I would say that you made abundantly clear there, that the entire 'Chapter 2 Boons & Hooks' has no bearing to canon of Mythic Europe. And if a writer provides a PC covenant like an ArM5 Triamore and wishes to stick to Boons & Hooks balance for that, there is no problem with that either.
If one would just add something in the same vein to Apprentices, namely how this book is meant to provide ideas for detailed development of characters specific to players' campaigns only, it would safely remove a problem.
That's good to know.
I agree with you here completely. Just that I did not find this "unreliable narrator / ask your troupe stuff" signaled in Apprentices, like you did e. g. signal it in Covenants for 'Boons & Hooks'. So I made an attempt to remedy this with https://forum.atlas-games.com/t/card-board-games-archive-links/116/1 - which certainly still can be improved. But for now I just have Matt's post on this thread pasted to the book.
I'm a little confused as to the rules on Teachers on p. 43.
Maybe I've been doing it wrong all along, but why is the apprentice getting a -3 penalty on learning? I get why the teacher would get a -3 penalty to his Teaching Source Quality, but I can't see why the penalty is doubled.
If the penalty is supposed to be applied to both parties than the Blatant Gift has just become nearly unplayable...
The apprentice only gets a penalty if the teacher also has The Gift. That is, the teacher gets a penalty from the student's Gift, and the student gets a penalty from the teacher's Gift. If they both have the Blatant Gift, there will indeed not be much learning going on (and each will be convinced that it's the other's fault).
Note that this will be a very rare situation for Hermetic magi, among whom a Gifted teacher would almost certainly have Parma, and extend it to the student, but it's a real problem for Gifted Hedgies.