I’m glad some folks are enjoying the book and expected others wouldn’t like parts of it. I’ll just say a couple things.
First, I didn’t think I needed to say, “use the rules you find useful to your saga and ignore those that you don’t,” because everyone I know already does that. I do it. I figured I’d just give the reader the intelligence due him and get on with it.
Secondly, I decided not to provide a list of what Virtues and Flaws could or could not be taught by an apprentice’s master. The more I thought about it, and the more Virtues and Flaws I put on the list, I kept thinking, “why not.” And I couldn’t come up with a good enough reason (to me) for such a list. Any list that tells players what they can’t do kills stories. And we are dealing with magic. I mean, I don’t know how magic works in Mythic Europe, I just know that it does. Personally, I don’t think it follows biological rules, or modern science, or even medieval ideas of science. I think it is magic, essentially undefinable, and able to do all kinds of things.
In my modern-thinking-mind, I might think that the type of Gift a person is born with is either Gentle, regular, or Blatant and that can’t be changed. That is a very strict notion. In my narrative-generating-mind, I might think, “maybe a person can be born with the Gift and it can be awful and problematic and stick out like a poop in a punchbowl (Blatant), but a master that knows how to shape/blend/mutate it into a less pronounced manifestation can teach the apprentice how to tame it (regular Gift) or even hide it (Gentle Gift). That’s kind of cool. That is a story. Suddenly, I want my apprentice character to have the Gentle Gift but not start play with it. His master doesn’t have it, so I have to convince my master to find a magus who will teach it to me. What is that going to cost? Since money means nothing to wizards, I’ll have to convince him some other way. Maybe if I steal the dragon’s eggs for master he will let me perform a service for the magus I want to teach me, if I can convince him to teach me in the first place. I get a lot more mileage out of this than saying, “you can’t teach the Gentle Gift.”
That said, if you think it is dumb that a magus can teach the Gentle Gift, or Mythic Blood, or anything else, don’t let it work in your Mythic Europe. I once thought Mythic Blood should probably not be an allowable taught Virtue, but then thought (again), why not? Maybe the master who has Mythic Blood discovers that the apprentice has it also, and that his “instruction” will unlock it and allow him to use it. The apprentice wouldn’t be the first character with a surprise past that is suddenly awesome. Again, a prohibited list didn’t seem helpful, but silence lets players imagine run wild.
About the method itself, we discovered pretty early on that any system we designed to teach Hermetic Virtues had ten ways to abuse it. In a way, this is the less abusable one. To teach a Virtue the magus has to know it. If your apprentice wants a Virtue the master doesn’t know, he has to find a teacher. Bingo. Story. And let me say, your apprentice character can have any Virtue you want him to have, as long as it is legal under the core rules. If you want a Virtue that the master doesn’t have, and you don’t want to play through finding a teacher, and you are making the character before the character’s apprenticeship, take the Virtue as an Inherited Virtue. That is what Inherited Virtues are for. If you want the Gentle Gift, or Mythic Blood, or Puissant Muto (or anything) to develop during the character’s childhood, take the Inherited Virtue and then work with your troupe to decide how it manifests. Does it happen as the child’s Arts are Opened? Sounds good. Does it happen after he spills the cauldron brewing potions on himself? Sure. Does it happen after he sneaks out at night and touches a magic fish? Worked for Fionn mac Cumhaill. Without the sneaking.
The real measure of the teaching Hermetic Virtue rule is if it doesn’t work for other magi. I wanted a rule that lets magi teach apprentices, but wouldn’t let magi teach magi. There are other ways for magi to gain new Virtues. In my mind, Virtues should be taught during apprenticeship only. Did I design a rule that allows a magus to teach his apprentice but not his sodales? You tell me.
Finally, since this is my first post about the book, I want to mention how fantastic the arts looks. Atlas did a superb job with layout and the individual artists really drew great illustrations. They make the book shine, in my opinion.
I hope Apprentices adds to your saga, and if it doesn’t quite fit the bill, maybe the next one will.