Books about multiple topics


That wasn't how it originally read. I pointed out how the core book's rules break really without even trying. Others may have also pointed out problems. An erratum was issued. Now you only get one source per season.

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Yes. We only ever play it that way. Either 13 XP to Philosophy or to Theology.

I disagree; let us look at an example of someone with two Q10 Tracti. In the base case these are a Q10 Tractus on Philosophae, and a Q10 Tractus on Theology. The student gets 10 points per season of study; in two seasons they have 10 points in each Philosophae & Theology.


In the 'multiple topics' example each Tractus is Q10, (5 each in Philosophae & Theology). In the first season, the student gains 10 points overall, and in the second season they gain 10 more points overall -- ending up at exactly the same place as the student in the first example above. In both cases, a student is benefiting from 'only a single source per season', the difference being that the second example is a single source teaching multiple topics, which (if I am not imagining things) is something a living teacher can do.

How is this 'much too good'?

There are several books with multiple topics by RAW, and this is not how they work. You can, of course, decide to make up whatever rule floats your boat in your game. Just bear in mind that this goes against the philosophy of the game, which is essentially designed in such a way that you only gain experience towards a single topic per season unless you took an adventure. Your exemple of how it would work with specific virtues is just another exemple of why this may be for the best. The last thing I want in my game is teachers making personalized books with specific ratings so that the student gains optimal level of experience so as not to exceed specific ratings and taking advantage of book learner plus whatever combination of learning virtue they have rather than teach them.

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Now add Book Learner to your example, please.

You are confusing real world with game mechanics there. Remember that rules are an abstraction to let the GM simulate stuff up. Then notice that seasons aren't actually a fixed time, but also an abstraction on how characters handle their time in the medium range (this is explicitly mentioned in the part which talks about character "free" seasons, I think I remember). From there it seems obvious that if you can abstract a season from the variable time one can use in a year then you can also abstract one study subject from the various ones one could study in that time. It gets odd and unrealistic if you study a two-topic book in one season, but it works if you spend two seasons each focusing on each of the books subjects. Just remember that these two seasons can actually be happening at the same time. It is just that you are writting the benefits of one ahead of time just because it makes maintenance and advancement rules simple and neat.

Easy. In the first / base case: the student studies a Q10 tractus on Philosophae for the first season; 'Book Learner' adds three to the Quality of the source, so the student gets 13 points in Philosophae. The student then studies a Q10 tractus on Theology for the second season; 'Book Learner' adds three to the Quality of the source, so the student gets 13 points in Theology. Two seasons of study have passed, and the student has gained 26 total points.

In the second / multiple topics case: the student studies a Q10 tractus on Philosophae (5) & Theology (5) for the first season; 'Book Learner' adds three to the Quality of the source, so the student gets 13 points -- 5 in Philosophae, 5 in Theology, and 3 divided up at the student's discretion (let us say it is all put in Philosophae). The student then studies another similar Q10 tractus on Philosophae (5) & Theology (5) for the second season; 'Book Learner' adds three to the Quality of the source, so the student gets 13 points -- 5 in Philosophae, 5 in Theology, and 3 divided up at the student's discretion (let us say it is all put in Theology). Two seasons of study have passed, and the student has gained 26 total points -- and the point totals in each ability are precisely the same as the first example. The student might have chosen to the second season's BK points into Philosophae, but the difference is 3 points out of 26, which doesn't seem huge to me.

Or (better): You can treat the single Q10 multi-topic Philosophae & Theology tractus as if they were two activities (but still one source), and divide up the benefits proportionately. This means Philosophae gets (Quality 10+ Book Learner 3)/2 = 6.5 points, and Theology gets (Quality 10 + Book Learner 3)/2 = 6.5 points after the single season of study.

Using the 'distraction' rules has already been shown to be problematic; so I will ignore that approach here.

Again, I do not see how this is 'much too good'.

I think I would agree that this is only too good, rather than much too good; I know my players, and they will optimise their experience spends. The "much too good" was the implication in your earlier post (several months earlier, but I only read it when this thread revived) that the quality wasn't divided, and the consequences you note with Elemental Magic and Secondary Insight. This is a can of worms you would likely regret opening.

Well, the consequences of Elemental Magic noted above didn't really exist before, as the later version says

cannot assign more than one free experience point to each

So presumably someone realized you could put 1 point into each from adventure experience and you should not get a bonus 12 points coming out of the Virtue for a 4-point input. I would think a similar interpretation would need to be applied to Secondary Insight.

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It gets worse in the Eratta:

Elemental Magic (p. 41): Replace as follows: "You have been trained in the ability to manipulate raw elemental Forms (Aquam, Auram, Ignem, and Terram), and view them as a connected whole rather than four separate Arts. Whenever you gain experience from a source dedicated to one of these Arts, you gain half the Source Quality in experience points in each of the other three Arts. For example, if you studied Ignem from a book with a Source Quality of 13, you would gain 7 experience points in each of Aquam, Auram, and Terram. (This would not change if, for example, you also had Book Learner or Affinity with Ignem.)

I think this really needs a 'maximum of once per season' limitation.

The Errata also says:

Advancement (p. 163): Change the sentence after the formula to say "A character may only gain experience from one source (one book, one teacher, one set of adventures) in one season."


There is no problem here. You need to have "a source dedicated to one of these Arts," so it doesn't work with sources that apply to multiple things. Since you can only use one source per season and split stuff like Adventure have been ruled out, there is no way to abuse it that I can see.


The errata and rules do not specify that a single source is restricted to a single subject. Consider a teacher with Good Teacher, Comm +3, and Teaching 5, Artes Liberales 2, Latin 2, and Profession: Scribe 2. This teacher can generate a Source Quality of 3 + 5 + 3 + 5 + 6 = 22 for a single student; and can teach that student to Latin 2 in (~72 days per season / 22 Source per day x 15 source to reach Latin 2) about 49 days; leaving a third of a season. Is there any reason to suppose that same teacher, teaching that same student, in that same season, could not dedicate 7 of the 22 Source Quality they generate to, say, AL 1? Or, if the student started with Latin 1 already, that the teacher could not instead impart some other mixture of subjects?

This topic touched upon the idea that books might have their Source Quality distributed in a similar manner determined by the author; a book might serve as a general background or foundation for several topics, all intertwined together -- much like a modern textbook might touch on history, philosophy, and language all at the same time.

There is plenty of reason to suppose you can normally only study a single Art or Ability in a given season.
Mainly because the rules implicitly assume that.
It is also explicitly spelled out in Art & Academe p96, where exceptions to this rule are also described.

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We know for sure that sources are not all restricted to a single subject. Look at Exposure, Adventure, and Practice. However, we also know that the new Elemental Magic doesn't apply.

No, A&A page 96 'Academic learning and experience points' does NOT explicitly say that all experience from a source must be on one subject. The very first word, of the very first sentence of that whole section is 'typically'. What this section does is carve out an exception used by students (not teachers) of Academic abilities -- when a student gains an advancement total in an Academic subject, they are allowed to allocate up to half of those points to Latin or Teaching instead -- or (in the case of being taught Latin) Artes Liberales.

On the subject of whether or not a teacher can instruct in multiple topics (for example both Latin and AL) in the same season is left unanswered -- despite being explicitly used as the foundation of the rationale for the Latin -> AL exception.

The word typically is indeed used, but in the very next sentence that is desribed as a rule, together with some exceptions to that rule.
That there exists exceptions is the proverbial "exception that proves the rule." You can't have exceptions without a general rule to have exceptions from. In this case the general rule is one subject of study at a time. While there are exceptions to this, one must assume that unless such an exception is explicitly spelled out then the general rule applies.

Of course, it could just be written in a really odd way. You wouldn't normally write "dedicated to one" and mean distributed across a few. But maybe it was just meant as giving points to any of them. That's probably preferable, and it's still not very abusable. If you take 2x quality from one and put it to another, then you're really just exchanging points as that 2x will go to a new spot that would have received x, while the old 2x goes to x.

The only place this could be somewhat abused is Adventure since you can get more than 5 Quality but cannot put more than 5 of it into one spot. Then, for example, you could put 4 into one elemental Form and 2 into each of the others (if you have a total Adventure Quality of 10), giving 7 in one and 6 in each of the others. That would be the equivalent of what you would get from a typical Quality 10 source in any one of them, distributed slightly differently. Compared to the normal cap for Adventure Quality, of 5 and 2.5 in each of the others with 5 left over, that's a total of 25 v. the old 17.5. So you could game things a bit in this one spot.

Nope. A&A p 69 explicitly calls out various experience-granting activities: 'Typically, a character earns experience points in a single Ability or Art in a season, regardless of whether these experience points are earned by practice, teaching, training, or exposure.' This is setting up the general background against which they wish to define a specific practice (a student reallocating experience from an Advancement total in Academic abilities).

But please notice some things about the (necessarily brief) description of this general background:
1} it does not prescribe that all experience from a source must always and only be in a single subject -- just that experience from these sources is 'typically' in a single subject;
2} it includes practice as a source, where AM pg 164 explicitly states 'Experience points from practice may be split between several Abilities.';
3} it includes 'teaching' as an experience source, and then immediately shows how the teaching of Latin is done in a way which includes instruction on Artes Liberales;
4} it includes exposure as a source, where AM pg 163 explicitly states (under the rules for Exposure) 'These experience points may be split between any two Abilities or Arts which were being used consistently in the season.' Exposure only acts as a source of quality 2; but it does not seem unreasonable that anyone who finagled 3 points of exposure could split those points three ways.

Whatever A&A pg 69 might do, it does not 'explicitly spell out' that all experience from a source must be only in a single ability.