Apprenticeship and Virtues and Flaws

I've read here several times that the minimum a magus must train an apprentice is one Season per year. Less than that and it seems likely that any other magus who desires to do so may take the apprentice for their own. Necessity of Tribunal permission may vary depending on which tribunal the involved parties live in.

Extrapolating from that, I feel that the bare minimum of training throughout one's apprenticeship is how young magi come by the Stingy Master Flaw. In case this Flaw didn't get carried over into 5th ed., it's a -2 flaw in 4th and I believe earlier editions as well and leaves the character with only 130 points for Arts/levels for starting spells.

Conversely to this, perhaps training an apprentice three out of four Seasons on average throughout apprenticeship is where the Extra Arts, Extra Spells, and Mastered Spells virtues all come from for beginning characters. If not included in 5th, each virtue awards extra XP to starting magi for the stated purpose in the virtue title e.g. mastering spells before play even begins.

My initial conclusion from this is that, if an apprentice is trained two seasons (six months) out of each year consistently for the whole of their apprenticeship, that apprentice will be completely "average" in so far as having the full 150 points of Arts/levels of spells, but no more. 150 points gained in 30 Seasons equals an average of 5 Arts XP per season.

(Note that I see other Hermetic Virtues/Flaws such as Affinity or Elementalist as facets of the character's Essential Nature rather than how their parens treated or trained them. Perhaps even hereditary, biologically rather than magically.)

Is there a glaring hole somewhere in this chain of thought that I can't see simply because I'm looking through it?

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It is now called weak parens, and is a minor flaw. It can arise from a number of places, including simply a poor com/teaching combination. In fact the apprentices supplement goes into great detail above and beyond these observations.

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Getting as few xp as a standard apprenticeship (240 xp, 120 levels of spells) assumes some pretty extreme things so getting that little xp seems shocking to me. The one place where they are at all generous is it assumes a com+teaching of 4. But where they shock me is they assume one season of instruction by the parens each year and the rest of the time literally spent helping in the lab. No seasons where the Parens says “I want to read a book, go get yourself one from the library.” No seasons of teaching in Latin by a covenant scribe. No seasons in the lab being trained in MT by the magus because the “bonus” from the kid is a negative number. No seasons sent to the Turb Captain to train them in weapon skills (for more warrior-minded houses). No seasons where the Magus goes to Tribunal and brings the apprentice along granting them adventure xp. It’s actually a pretty outlandish claim that this happens. But, yes, the parens may not have a Com+Teaching of 4 but 1 season spent reading a L5Q15 primer and a few seasons of extra teaching in Latin, or training by the magus in MT to get that youngish kid with negative intelligence due to childhood from being a hindrance in the lab. Of course a second apprentice the teacher is at least likely to have a skill of 3 in Teaching. So all these extra seasons of supplemental instruction would be gravy.


The average apprentice gets one season of teaching and three of exposure per year. The yearly breakdown is 6xp from the exposure and 13xp from teaching. Teaching 13xp might sound high, but to get that only requires a (Comm + Teaching) total of 4. Just teaching adds +3 and teaching a single student adds +6.

That full total is only received for 11 of the 15 years. For the other 4 years, you have the opening of the Arts and teaching spells which grants 8xp per year. Even a Magi who is a poor teacher (Comm +0, Teaching 0) teaching two seasons a year would give 22xp (281xp and 240 spell levels total). The "average" Magi teaching two seasons a year would give 30xp per year (373xp and 240 spell levels total).

The Mystery Cult Houses already perform initiations for their apprentices to give apprentices Virtues and Flaws. The Deficient Form Flaw comes from a Master who has less than 5 in an Art.


The above section specifically talks about Magi created with the standard rules from the Core book. However as dc444 has pointed out, they have very little relation to what would actually happen. This is why my group used season by season creation, playing through our apprenticeships during the first three months of our Saga.

You have things like Fostering, teaching/training by specialist, reading, etc which can all raise the total. Current apprentices in our game are ending up with somewhere around 160XP of pre-apprentice teaching/training (plus language and area lore exposure, which is a HR). They get something in the high 600xp (~679) on average during apprenticeship (plus more language and area lore exposure from our HR). For apprentices of the two Magi with Good Teacher the average is actually getting fairly close to 800xp (since they foster each others apprentices in addition to having a higher Teaching total). They end up with 180~240 levels of spells.

This all came up in a thread discussing running an apprentice saga, where I very strongly made the point that the follow up saga must not mix Magi created during the apprentice saga with ones using the standard rules due to the massive difference in power level that would result.


While it's true that apprenticehoods "in play" tend to generate more experience (in terms of Arts, abilities, spells) two things should be kept in mind.

First and foremost, there is less control by the player of the apprentice on where those xp go. When one creates a newly gauntleted magus, one can assign him the spells he wants, within the limits of the final Art scores -- which in turn can be "tuned" just right for those spells and to optimize for subsequent growth. Similarly, abilities will almost never have leftover xps, and again will be just in those abilities the player wants (including those harder to raise later on).

Second a lot of bad stuff -- in particular warping -- does not happen to characters created "by the book" instead of in play.

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Thank you all for the input. If @dc444 has the base scores for 5th ed. right, that area constitutes a huge departure from 4th and previous editions.

My whole reason for starting this thread is that I was trying to get an idea what a responsible per month XP figure for an "average" magus's yearly progression after apprenticeship might be. We house ruled study and lab activities on a monthly rather than seasonal model in our otherwise heavily hacked 4th ed. game.

If we level out the 240 points @dc444 lists above over the entire apprenticeship that's 4 XP per season. Tripling that for a monthly study model would give us 4/month or 48 XP per year, just in Arts.

Does that sound like a reasonable base figure to use for "aging" NPC magi past gauntlet?

Post-gauntlet, the standard figure is 30xp/years for a magus according to the core rules, with some adjustments downward if he works in the lab and similar.

Should you detail the career of a magus season by season, it is quite possible to earn more xp than that - depending on what he does. But it is also possible to earn less if he engages in activities that don't provide much xp.

I snagged that figure from Apprentices where they discuss the seasonal advancement method for apprenticeship, p15-16. It accounts for in the first year 4 seasons of exposure while the Arts are opened and 4 seasons of exposure in the final three years because the apprentice is being taught spells.

XP works significantly differently in 4th ed. Companions and grogs get 2/yr vs 15/year after age 5 + 45 for the first 5 years. If you want to figure it out for 4th ed you should back out how much xp the base magus gets from their ability package and how much they get for their completely separate Arts xp allocation. I don’t see the 5th ed. rules informing much about the seasonal xp rate for a 4th ed. character if you go seasonally.

Anyway, I don’t see much point in reviewing the 4th ed. xp rules further so I can discuss this. They are significantly less and highly dependent of the intelligence score of the person learning. You have also not even said where your home brew differs from bog standard 4th ed., though you seem interested in a monthly figure so there is that.

EDIT: 48xp/yr does not seem at all reasonable for a magus post-gauntlet using 4th ed. rules. If you switch from seasonal to monthly you should divide the seasonal xp gain by 3.

Are these apprentices that have sagas built around their development made to take Virtues like Skilled Parens? If so, or if they take it anyways, do you still give them the points allotted in the Virtue or say they already got it from the vast difference between them and standard magi?

Not only a question for Troy btw, just interested in seeing how people who "played through" their apprenticeships handled Virtues that grant extra xp.

What you can gain in apprenticeship is highly variable, and depends a lot on your paren's attitude and abilities. I have had games where Players made teacher characters and trained each other's future actual characters and wound up gaining 80+xp per year. I've also seen one player take an NPC apprentice and tech one season a year and not even give assignments for seasons out of the lab and wound up with an apprentice who was more skilled at carousing than anything else beyond magic theory, and barely exceeded 15 xp per year, and that was largely because they did get so much practice into carousing instead of exposure.

Generally speaking, if your advancement was done season-by-season, you're neither required nor allowed to take flat-bonus-XP virtues.

I think Apprentices makes it explicit that if your parens' teaching stats exist you just use those; you can only take Skilled/Weak Parens if they're abstracted. The general case as stated above is technically a house rule, but I've honestly never seen it done any other way.


Apprentices are not allowed to take those bulk XP virtues, and yes it does make it explicit that if your parens is stated then you use their stats rather than things like the Skilled/Weak Parens Virtue/Flaw.

When we were playing our Magi as apprentices during the extended saga "prequel", our Parens were at least roughly stated out to an extent that let them fill the role. Two of our characters were actually the last apprentices of the two elder Magi (run by our SG in play) who founded our Covenant. All of the other characters were apprentices of elder Magi who provided support to the research and/or founding. All of us were brought up and trained to continue the work, since our Parens were all getting up there in age.

My Magi's Parens was the last to die/final twilight and that was over 60 years ago in game time. While we have continued to do some work on the original research (control and manipulation of Regio), we got highly side-tracked by "life". Conflict with our nearest neighbor Covenant, a "misunderstanding" with the Mercere, and what looks like more & more House Bonisagus being the big bad. That is not even counting all the little things like continuing to develop our Covenant, hunting down a pirate group attacking trade ships, and our own individual goals.

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actually from the rules in apprentices an apprentice who begins the game as an apprentice after the age of 12 can take block ability boosters like educated, arcane lore, etc. to represent training they had prior to becoming a magical apprentice.


That's for all characters created at age 14 or older, not only apprentices. Characters created younger than 14 are not allowed to take any flat experience virtues or flaws due to not having enough years of background to warrant them.

It is very different.

A modern setting that emulates many aspects of the setting of the Dresden Files novels but replaces the White Council with the Order of Hermes.

Most of the world is devoid of supernatural aura as lack of belief in anything unseen save Wifi has detached those powers somewhat from the world, or compressed them into tighter areas (thus creating Ley lines of concentrated, adjacent auras and/or mundane areas that are the base level of a regio with more powerful Faerie, Magic, or other auras "above" them).

4th ed. core book says the next Grand Tribunal after the canon start year of 1220 will be in 1228. I used Excel formulae to calculate all of our Tribunal and Grand Tribunal years from Founding in 767 well into the future today. Our Grand Tribunal falls in 1229, so call it an "alternate time line" if you will.

That is all setting rather than rules.

You're absolutely right, Troy. I didn't answer the actual question I was asked.

Aside from adding modern technology (including firearms) to the tools available to covenants, our biggest departures from canon 4th ed. are probably:

We retained the +/-5 Characteristic range of 2nd/3rd. editions.

All byproducts of the deep earth that humanity extracts for manufacturing, fuel, etc. are considered to be under the realm of Terram. Thus most plastics and other synthetic materials fall under this form.

Electricity is no longer exclusively the province of Auram. It is manipulated via whatever medium it is flowing through. Following on from the above about Terram you can see that burning out a security camera by meddling with the electricity is most likely Perdo Terram though a Creo Terram "power surge" would also work IMO/IOS.

We tripled the rates of study advancement. The XPs gained in a Season of study by a magus in 4th RAW are gained in one month in our saga. We felt this was justified by the ready availability of printed books and electronic media in addition to modern teaching methods and accumulated generations of magus-penned texts on Hermetic theory and spells.

By extension of the above, apprenticeship is now five years rather than fifteen, and resembles a university career at many covenants.

Probably the least logical of our changes was to extend the accelerated monthly study model to all other XP gains (training, exposure) and lab work. This doesn't necessarily follow from the expanded availability of information I cited above, but from a story guide / game master perspective the added consistency makes sense. It certainly cuts down on the confusion of the less experienced members of the troupe (e.g. everybody else).

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