Changing season to month

Hi all

Hypothetical: Instead of downtime activities taking a season, they take a month.

Now I'm not fussed about characters advancing much quicker, thats not really a problem. What i am interested in is unforeseen consequences. For instance, givne that PCs will advance at three times the rate but only age at the standard rate, it makes sense that they will make much more powerful longevity potions when they get around to needing them and will hence live considerably longer than using RAW.

Are there any other complications that might arise?

It's a lot easier to get spells to cover a whole lot of months without lots of warping. Two seasons is half the year. Five months is less than half the year. So you may see a lot of magic use during months to improve one thing or another on a long-term scale without dealing with long-term warping.

You might want to double-check season-type durations and other astrological stuff to make sure whatever you're defining doesn't have some other problems. But nothing there springs to mind immediately.

Vis production and consumption will likely speed up, although maybe not at the same rate, which could lead to supply and demand issues. If auras are affected by vis extraction, do you need to make changes to prevent auras from drying up?

It may affect game balance for Mystery Cults - journeys and quests will be 3x the sacrifice (time wise) compared to other mechanics, which may lead to some script bias.

What about apprentices? Is apprenticeship still 15 years, or is it shortened to 5 years? How is a starting magus' XP changed to reflect the acceleration? How are Virtues and Flaws that grant/remove lump sums of XP affected? Do the max ability caps need to be raised?

Certain Virtues and Flaws will likely be thrown out of whack balance wise, mainly ones that grant bonuses to seasonal activities versus those that don't. Book Learner + Flawless Magic with lots of good books could give you what, upwards of Mastery 12 in a year for a spell?

Would the balance of generalist vs. specialist change? Lots of good, optimized primers are likely to be available.


There are some choices to be made as part of implementing the change, pretty much covered in previous replies.

Assuming that everything is compressed, so every virtue or flaw that refers to a season of development instead refers to a month, and apprentices graduate after 5 years instead of 15, etc....

  1. Mundane characters are a lot more competent and have a longer useful lifespan.

  2. Aging is even less likely to matter for a magus. This should not be a problem, since aging rarely matters.

  3. The balance among types of magi doesn't change too much. Everyone is more powerful sooner. Specialists are more likely to branch out, due to diminishing returns to scale (and depending on the saga, lack of books) but specialization is still usually a better option. In any saga with constrained texts, elder magi tend to look like their library. Just multiply Hermetic Age by 3 to get an idea of what characters can do.

  4. Some of the lesser subsystems may need some fiddling. If, for example, you use the lab rules from Covenants, you have to consider expenditures. In any saga, I recommend ignoring it entirely, and letting players describe labs exactly as they want. But there are probably other small issues, perhaps more important: Like, what do you do about interrupting a lab activity for N days? (Suggested rule for any saga: A character has no problem with seasonal activity (monthly here) unless something too interesting comes up, as defined by GM but which should always include any adventure that provides experience, at which point the season is lost.)

  5. There is now a non-Ritual Hermetic Duration that covers a full period of study. That could be useful :slight_smile:. However, it will not raise the power of a saga more than the bonuses provided by the lab rules in Covenants. I would either ignore it or hand out Warping Points. (Heck, simple rule for any saga: A magus can use magic to boost his lab total beyond the norm, casting spells and using items as needed. Over the course of a lab activity, this allows the character to add a number no greater than his Magic Theory to his lab total, at the cost of 1 Warping Point per +5 or fraction thereof.)

Have fun.



One of the obvious consequence will be more powerful magi - up to a point (see my second remark): more time means more knowledge, more power. What a magus would have set aside because of time constraints, with 3 times more time available, he won't mind exploring/testing/spending time on some side activities. Overall, it means higher Arts, higher quality books, thus even more powerful magi.

It will be less obvious for difficult abilities and skills because of the high amount of XP needed to level, yet, it is reasonable to expect to find some expert with truly astounding level of expertise - they have time to study every tractati. By the same token, magi can reasonably look at completing Hermetic Breathrough well within a lifetime - I believe it might the single most world changing phenomena. Since Hermetic magic is more or less the only one able to integrate other traditions relatively easily, it could lead to a major power boost of the Order vs the other traditions.

My second remark refers to a post which was discussing which of Twilight or Decrepitude would get a magus first. And the conclusion was that for a reasonable magus, Twilight would become an issue before Decrepitude if we assume the 2 points of Twilight per year option (reasonable considering that after 35, he will get one point just for the longevity potion). Considering that a magus with more time might experiment a little bit more - if only because he is going faster through his pile of tractatus - Twilight can only happen faster.

So such "acceleration" would lead to more powerful magus at younger age, but not necessarily to a lot of much older magi.

As a side note, you should also consider that mundane will be more skilled as well - but again because, of the slow progression of these skills, I would expect that experts will have 2-3 more levels that currently, hardly more, more likely, they will have a broader set of skills at medium/high level.
Depending how you want to spin it, it could lead to an accelerated scientific evolution: 2-3 more level of medicine/artes liberales/philosophae make many periapts and other "natural magic" more common (three times more production), higher level easier to achieve, which will slowly benefit everybody (the powerful ones first, but sooner or later, everybody). An few extra levels in any technical/scientific skills would means more innovation, faster invention.
If you consider faster scientific progress, you might consider that people like Galileo are born a few centuries earlier - and it might challenge religious authorities earlier, possibly weakening the Church power. Could it lead to a raise of infernal influence ?

By the way, this will mean that edge traditions relying on skills will also be a bit more powerful: these 2-3 extra levels will allow them to reach higher target roll. I don't have an overall view of every ability, but some won't be impacted much (flight, shapeshift for example), other will be more interesting (weather control, entrancement), possibly much more powerful ? (Muspelli).

Excellent point on twilight vs Decrepitude. I actually rather like it too. Longevity potions keep you young but all wizards eventually fall to the "curse of magic". Makes it a bit more mystical and special to be a mage.

Beyond the already stated obvious things relating to ageing, some other considerations are interruptions, synchronising and story xp.

Interruptions: With a far shorter cycle time, the amount of interruption you can have in a single downtime 'cycle' becomes far less. Under the seasonal model your 'free' time in a season is sufficient to travel to a small adventure, do the adventure and get home again without impacting your season of work. Shift that to a month and the scope of these 'mini' adventures drops dramatically, along with the actual amount of free time magi (and others) have. In short, interruptions will actually interfere with seasonal (now monthly) activities more, which means anyone who does get interrupted is going to lose entire chunks of development compared to their more insular sodales.

Synchronising: Unless you're playing with a single set of characters who all go on adventures together, chances are some of the magi are going to set out on adventures of various sizes of epic with the odd companion and grogs in tow. These adventures can already easily span an entire season or more, especially if either significant travel or hunting through an area is involved. What the seasonal model allows for is adventures of various sizes all having a large 'bucket' to fit in to, meaning that at the end of the season everyone (or near everyone) is back in one place, light and medium wounds have hopefully healed up, etc. With a transition to monthly, you can expect the magi to end up starting adventures while other magi are out on adventures. This means your troupe characters are going to end up blocked from participating in Story B in month 2 because they set out to participate in Story A in month 1. With seasons this is a far rarer occurrence.

Story XP: Adventures tend to be time consuming, due to travel - unless the magi are dealing with small scale, local problems. This varies not only by magus age, but also by house. The number of down-time slots consumed by activities such as the Gathering of Twelve Years increases, and while such activities may award story xp the tradeoff in terms of downtime options 'lost' is going to be more significant.

Note that the main thing here is not about the speed of development of a character, but the perception of speed of development of a character when compared against other, similar characters in the saga. If a character keeps 'missing out' on advancement blocks for various story reasons, the player is in danger of feeling a bit of resentment towards characters who don't miss out. Larger time blocks for advancement / tracking mean small interruptions or stories or whatever won't interrupt as many or as often, which reduces the danger of this.

The last several times i´ve played was with actions per month, but XP still per season. Basically adjusted so that a month gives 1XP minimum to season total(ie 3XP for exposure only a whole season) and retained that things giving lots of XP generally still take a season.
So normal XP from studying and taking a season, but you can run off on adventure every month and potentially get a lot more XP total for that season, or you can spend months doing lab work getting exposure XP.
Essentially made it much more labwork and adventure friendly without greatly raising the "normal" XP for characters. The 50% increase for exposure and the possibility to achieve 3 high XP adventures in a single season are the only ways to greatly raise XP gains, and the exposure is too small to matter that way, while getting PCs to go out and "do" something is just a good thing in general, so no downsides at all in my view.

Original change came from there never being enough time to create all those fun spells and magic items that beckoned.