character design and development

That's probably a good way of thinking through it. Meanwhile, I can't see the character being at all intelligent and not having Divine MR in the 300 region and Soak in the 65 region with minimal effort. At least with non-Divine stuff it takes some effort to really break things this kind of way. In this case it takes playing things stupidly. Sure, spell casting would be more difficult in many circumstances, but I'm not sure it balances out. I'm working on other ideas. I have several that I've wanted to try advancing this kind of way so ditching an idea or two isn't a problem.

Go on, show your working. I don't think you can get mega-soak and MR without taking more levels of True Faith than most SGs would allow, and True Faith is usually either down to SG fiat or Troupe decision.

As for super-resurrection, using Holy Magic would allow you to research a ritual, but it would still be a level 75 CrCo(Me) (base 70, +1 touch) making it as hard to research as top-level necromancy, and require you do the pilgrimages/religious paths to get the method and power to cast it with. It's not easy, and requires 15 vis, so even substituting 4 long-term fatigue for 12 of them, you'll still be exhausted and out 3 vis so it's not exactly a more than once per adventure job.

The thing is there are a lot of ways to "break" the system in theory- but when you play it out (even in an accelerated style like we are doing) there are generally other things that you find are more important to spend the time on. Believe me, I am something of an expert on "broken" ideas for ars, and I just don't see the holy mage being something that cannot be handled in the saga, provided you play it as a solid character and not a caricature. I will also mention that holy mages have a more diversified representation in this saga than probably any other, though obviously in the Roman Tribunal they tend towards Catholic...

No, it just takes one season with a low-level Creo-Vim spell and True Faith 1. Build up the Warping Points one at a time to help get yourself closer to the divine (maybe two at a time at the very beginning). (It even makes total sense to do this in-character for the understanding.) The reasonable maximum for one season would be something like 10 WP/min x 60 min/h x 10 h/day x 90 day/season = 540,000 Warping Points. That's a Warping Score of about 465. Add 10 MR for True Faith for roughly 475 Divine magic resistance. Meanwhile you've got nearly 100 Soak and you can penetrate anything short of God himself. Is the big Warping Score a problem? Nope, as there are three solid ways to very probably or definitely never roll more than one botch die so long as you remain true. That's the first season out of apprenticeship...

This is why my original design ended up with over 75 Divine MR while being an idiot. I just couldn't avoid picking up a bunch of Warping Points, even when not casting a trivial Creo Vim spell. Doing it at a much slower rate (giving time for some contemplation between each casting) gave an estimated minimum of 150 or so a season out of apprenticeship. It would build a little further over time, which is why I said "minimum."

Is it right to play an intelligent character whose body becomes more aligned with the Divine and not do this at all? It seems avoiding this would be out of character as it's both the smart thing to do and brings you closer to the Divine. You could end after a season, realizing you've done a lot and really aren't learning much more each subsequent casting. But you'd certainly try it for a season and that would be enough.

(Edited because I forgot to divide by 5.)

The problem is it doesn't take significant time. See above for 475+ Divine Magic resistance and 100+ Soak one season out of apprenticeship. Spend the rest of your time one whatever else is important.

Yeeaaahhh.... don't do that. Maybe we should not allow Divine Form? Really, things that give positive effects from a high warping are questionable anyway. But anyway this is a "definite don't do this" thing.

Except I'm pretty sure something gross happens with some others, too. And with my character concept, it's all about Divine Form mixed with Path of the Body. It makes a lot of sense, but it gets gross too easily.

Therein lies the problem with mixing Hermetic Magic and the Divine. Hermetic Magic allows for controlled gain of Warping Points. The Divine rewards you for high Warping.

Also, Faerie Sympathy has similar problems. But that is easily fixed. Just maintain the normal limit as a hard limit, not allowing the one method to bypass it.

Faerie Sympathy isn't so bad with this set-up - to get a high level at the start, you have to match a positive sympathy with a negative one, and if the SG adds the botch dice from a negative one to rolls in your "Fast resolution phase" rolls, you'll end up screwed very quickly as botches inflict losses. If instead you start at a low level, and have to increase as an ability 5xp/season, it's such a time-sink to get to high levels that it won't be too overpowered compared to other things you could have done in that time.

My companion concepts:

#1 an armourer - obviously come to work where there are professional soldiers to pay him, and will slowly build up his forge. Eventually he will train an assistant, who will be more literate and create a manual of armouring techniques, so in 2 generations time there's a damn fine supply equal to Milan's finest being made at the covenant. Also provides excuses for how we're making money.

#2 a satyr-blooded academic - this musically talented man went to Bologna to study at this new-fangled university, but his desires gave him a poor reputation so he was unable to pursue becoming a Magister. He practiced the arts of his heritage (Sorcerous music and second sight) a little more and worked as a tutor for nobles and merchants before getting a job as a tutor for apprentices at the covenant. Provides education, a little Faerie and Magical knowledge, and an underling capable of trying diplomatic missions and the occasional magic mission.

#3 a lawyer who has tired of the ecclesiastical courts and wants to work for more interesting employers. There to make deals between the covenant and its neighbours.

No, it really is a problem. It's just simple to correct for, as I mentioned. Otherwise you can get Sympathy scores in the vicinity of 100 a season out of apprenticeship. The rough thing is all you have to do is use your character as intended and follow the rules, not even being cheesy. And all you need is Faerie Blood: Faerie God plus Hermetic Magic. (I only chose Faerie Blood over Faerie Sympathy directly because you get more for it. Either will do.) You can do things more efficiently with another Virtue or two, but they really aren't needed.

If you reach level 11 warping in any realm the character is removed from the game.

Well, that would do it for the Divine. Doesn't solve the Sympathy issue. Good to know for other reasons, such as that greatly affecting the idea of a longevity expert. Extending lifespan an extra 100 years doesn't matter much if you hit 11 only a few years into it.

Actually that isn't quite right- with faerie you become a faerie but could stay in the game. Divine, Infernal and Magic remove you from the mortal world when you reach a warping score of 11...

Where should we put the more detailed character development? And for fleshing out the apprentice Anna I had a couple ideas. They could both be used together.

First idea was a death prophecy: "You will burn to death!" Which actually protects her from a lot of potentially lethal events and death by old age. To go with it add in a fear of Fire, and an assortment of incompatible arts, specifically all of the form Ig except Creo. I don't want her to make herself immune to fire. That would be stupid. This gives her some fun personality traits and goals.

Second idea was the heir story flaw. She's set to inherit land. Probably not the covenant itself, but nearby land. This pretty effectively pins her to the covenant, and creates instant story potential. I'm not completely sure how land ownership works in Italy, but a quick google search makes me think it might be possible to own land without swearing an oath to anyone else. Of course, if her father "suffers" from the above "curse".

Detailed development will be in two stages- characters will be posted on the wiki, and then will all progress in parallel based on adventures and time usage- which I will be expanding the wiki to include once we are ready, plus I will keep records on my own computer... having advancement notes on the character sheets would probably be useful as well...

So should I start posting stuff on the wiki for characters and stuff?

certainly, any questions post here... I'll also discuss any issues I might spot here as well... generally.
The exception is if the character will have any secret traits (like diabolism, or faerie Homunculus magic etc...) send me a PM.

callen asked in PM:

which I want to answer here because there is no reason for this question to be private, and others might at some point have the same question...

The sidebar in question is only discussing the functioning of the familiar bonds, which is to say that a magus who becomes faerie while having a magic familiar will suffer a weakening of the bonds over time. The familiar would be able to activate powers as shared powers (as would the magus) but both would have to work off of might rather than fatigue unless they have a virtue allowing them to use fatigue and might interchangeably (or unless the familiar was a mundane animal, which would then be able to use fatigue)

I just wasn't sure where to put a rules question. No problem having it here.

The focus of the box is on the decaying of the bond, but this is the lead-off sentence and there seems to be no indicator the other way elsewhere that I have found. So, for example, let's look at Shared Powers (p. 89). It seems pretty clear to me that the Merinita could spend Might/5 points to use as a Fatigue Level as described. I realize now, though, that there is nothing saying the familiar can use the bond as the magus could. So it is very questionable whether the familiar could activate one of the Merinida's powers. There seems to be nothing ruling it out, perhaps hinting that it would work because the Merinita would be the faerie and the faerie is the one with the powers in that paragraph, but technically nothing puts the familiar in the role of the magus in that section.

As I read it when a magus becomes a faerie, it is saying the familiar bond affects the magus the same as if the magus were a faerie familiar. Technically Faerie do not have free will, though what they do have is close enough to allow them to be played as characters, so a magus who becomes a faerie is subject to faerie rules.

I suppose that would bring up the question of whether the Bronze Cord provides Soak, for example, since it doesn't for a familiar.

Yes, though they have some of their own rules, too. The can do Hermetic lab work, for instance. They can also use Abilities, much like a faerie with the Faerie Trainer Virtue. I think these bits are fairly clear in the section on Becoming.