Claiming an Apprentice

Hey all- new here. Been playing AM since 3rd ed- Respect to game designers et all for concept, and for improvements. Well done, and thanks!

I had some questions about apprentices, and the claiming of them.

The requisite that a mage needs a 5 in all Arts... who checks on that? How could it be enforced? BTR, a mage needs a 5 before he can teach an Art- ok, so he teaches other ones until he remedies that little deficiency. By the time he gets around to that Art, a decade later, it's all good.

Or, at worst, the Parens teaches only Scribing and Magic theory and such until he has a 5 in each Art, and then he starts in on teaching the Arts themselves. If Magic Theory can be learned by someone non-gifted (an alchemist or scholar, for instance), there's no apparent reason an apprentice would progress any differently under a Parens with such a lack, merely foregoing any and all Arts until later in his studies.

Do Quasitores administer some "fitness test" for Parens? <ulp!> Is there a "Parens Gauntlet" that's administered when the Parens presents the apprentice at Tribunal? Who's to challenge, to verify capability? (Or the apprentice's progress, for that matter?)

Alternately, a mage could find a likely prospect, and begin to teach them, but NOT technically, officially claim them as an apprentice for some years. (Disembling this fact to sodales who have better things to worry about than stealing a prospective apprentice, keeping a low profile and avoiding the one Tribunal during that cycle.) Then, after years of groundwork, the "official" 15 year apprenticeship starts.

Also, altho' a child need be a minimum age (8 or so) to learn magic effectively, is there any reason they couldn't be claimed earlier (perhaps even pre-nataly?! But that's a different discussion.) So long as the requirement of Teaching one season/year is met, it's up to the Parens what raw material they work with, neh?

One reason I ask, is that I'm running a Tytalus who's thinking about challenging these customs- what is possible, vs merely accepted practice.

IMHO, I don't think anyone actually (obviously) check this beforehand.

I think that any problems likely to rise from this come afterwards, when your apprentice becomes a magus and possibly chooses to complain to Quaesitores...

Of course, if you take apprentice very soon after your own gauntlet, a Quaesitor might wish to remind you about the matter. (And Bonisagi can circumvent the problem by claiming an already "grounded" apprentice. :slight_smile:

And as for teaching your apprentice things other than Arts first to buy your time to increase your Arts to score 5, fine, though you are probably on thin ice here as well. Remember that keeping a Gifted child/youngster as a lab assistant (rather than an apprentice helping in the lab) is a crime as well.

In our sagas we actually (at least in practice) calculate the time of the apprenticeship from the point that the Arts were first taught.


He legally isn't your apprentice until you have spent a season to "open his Arts", giving him a score of 0 in each. This is when you are required to have a score of 5 to avoid giving deficiencies. See pages 106-107. Before that point, any other magus may show up and claim him for themselves.

I'm not sure what the apprentice would be complaining about, if (and this is a big "if") they were even aware of what had occured, or could deduce it. I think we both agree there would be little observable difference in the end. And if the child were very young, those years would be quite a murky memory by the time of his gauntlet.

If he were initially schooled a few years in Latin/etc, then after an additonal 15 years of apprenticeship, he'd still be a very young, exceptionally well trained mage- hardly something to complain about.

If that is the defining act, then it woud be quite difficult for another mage to claim him- since it in turn would take them an entire season to "open his Arts" to do so. Anything less would be mere kidnapping, or theft of significant property (a talented Custos), depending on how you look at it- and that alone can be a minor crime within the Order.

Merely "speaking" a claim is hardly adequate, since the original mage had already done so, and could again, back and forth ("Is" "Is not!" "Is so!" etc) - it takes a full season of training for anything to become official. And the original mage would already be in possession, and all this would be happening on his home covenant grounds- hardly a solid position for the challenging claimant.

And even a Bonisagus mage could not claim the child, since, as you point out, clearly he's not officially an apprentice, and so their special rights in that area are not applicable.

(Also, practically speaking, first this "other mage" would have to learn about the child, and be willing to challenge the mage on his home turf. Further, precautions could be taken, such as keeping the child in one's sanctum, etc.)

With that interpretation, any mage who finds a prospective apprentice must defend them against such theft until the beginning of the very next season, when they immediately jump on that "opening"- and it would be up in the air during that season if the apprentice-to-be were taken mid-opening.

But it would make an interesting plot twist, and Tribunal case. Just the thing for a Tytalus, win, lose or draw.

So, as it stands, the prospective would be no more than any other Custos until that specific Season of initial Arts training. Interesting.

Other insights?

In my saga, the Bonisagus of Provencal Tribunal have enforced a rule that anyone who wishes to take an apprentice must alert the House and submit to an investigation to prove they are ready. If they are found lacking the investigating Bonisagus will see to it that the apprentice is claimed by someone who is.

This is largely because the Trianoma in my saga are pricks and I set them up as antagonists.

In my previous saga we pretty much allowed that magi can assert a claim on a child before taking them as an apprentice... this is a period where the child picks up Latin through exposure or (in an even moderately wealthy covenant) is taught by a teacher of sorts who is not the master. This claim is, of course, more nebulous than once the arts have been opened.

The whole business of having a 5 is sort of a mechanical left over of previous editions. In older versions of Ars you needed a score of 5 in order to teach something. This mechanical rule was turned into an in-game rule.

As mentioned above, a 5 allows one to open the arts. So again, there is a game mechanic motivation for this rule. Having said that, it's unlikely that a Q would notice/care if a magus didn't follow this rule. The mage in question would be teaching a magus that would have deficiencies that would ultimately hurt the magus as the 'disabled' apprentice became involved in lab work.

In our own game, my brother's Bonsiagus began opening his students arts as soon as he got a 5 in any of this own arts. So when he wasn't training a student he was quickly learning so he could get his arts over 5. This sort of trick allows one to take an apprentice very early and still be 'by the book'. I don't think it helps much though because even though my brother was able to take an apprentice before the rest of the players his stats sucked. I found it was better to raise my characters stats, then take an apprentice and jump into lab work. I felt I accomplished more than the "race" system my brother developed.

(I think the book, regardless of edition, is pretty clear that the order expects a mage to have a 5 in all/every one the Arts before taking an apprentice. By Fruny's statement/interpretation, above, one does not open one Art at a time, but "opens the Arts" as a whole, all 15, all or none.

Don't have the 5th ed book in front of me, the 4th ed pdf doesn't seem to address this latter point of spending a season "opening the arts".)

I agree the spirit of the rules is that ALL the Arts are suppose to be open, however the rules aren't written this way. 4th edition is intentionally vauge. In 4th they basically say this is the end result in points. They don't outline how one gets there. 3rd edition clarifies that a season is used to open each art. While I don't have my books here, I'm nearly certain that Ars5 confirms that individual Arts are opened, and then study occurs.

Because of this, it is possible to teach one art at a time. I suppose it would be possible to not open a particular art as well. Mechanically speaking, this does occur, but it's an observation I've made.

I'm also bookless but at least one of us is incorrect regarding how arts are opened in fifth edition. I believe that it is one season to open them all, only after this season can you officially claim the person as your apprentice.

(If it turns out that I'm right about this, I'd wager that this change was made in order to make skills gained during apprenticeship line up with the long term events chapter.)

Bookless. Hmm, well I hope your right. It would make things much faster. Kryslin, where's my apprentice? I'm sure your MUCH more familar with the rules than I am. Anyone got a book on them?

It would prohibitive if it took one season to open any one Art. That's 15 seasons for a mage (most likely the Parens) to give the student a "0" in all the Arts- that's the minimum time that the Order requires during a full 15 years of study.

It would also support the "5 in every Art" as a hard and necessary mechanic and not just a barely enforceable "recommendation", to have one season be needed for "Opening the Arts" i[/i].

Wasn't an example of this given in Guardians or True Lineages? If the magus opening the arts has a score of less than 5, then the apprentice gets a deficiency in that Art. One Tribunal allowed the master to be charged with a minor violation of the Code because his apprentice came out deficient. Don't remember which book, but pretty sure it was one of those two. Probably in the Guernicus section of TL.

So if you are too inept a teacher, your apprentice could bring you up on charges at the first Tribunal after his Gauntlet and take a pile of your vis or a magic device or something--maybe even force you to continue training him.

Some quotes from 5th Edition:

Page 106: “Once you have your apprentice, the training begins… A magus claims an apprentice from the beginning of the season in which he opens the Arts… One of your seasons of teaching must be spent training the apprentice in the basics of Hermetic magic, and you can teach notheing else in that seasons. Thus, in this season the apprentice gains a score of 0 in all fifteen Hermetic Arst, but learns nothing else. This is referred to as ‘opening the Arts.’”

Continuing onto page 107: “If you have a score of less than five in any Art when you open them, your apprentice automatically has a Deficiency in that Art. Giving an apprentice Deficiencies in this way is normally treated as a Low Crime by the Tribunals of the Order, and attracts a great deal of social stigma.”

Although I recently decided that my Tremere’s pater deliberately gave my character a deficiency so that he would have an edge when I challenged him for my sigil. (It's not a healthy relationship.)

There were fan rules for fourth edition which allowed for opening of arts two a season. Perhaps that is what some people are thinking of.

One of the players in my new saga has been looking for an apprentice, so I’ve started thinking about these issues again. Does anyone have thoughts on how one passes virtues and flaws on? (I know the short answer is not to worry about it, it doesn’t really need rules, but I’m strange like that.)

Thanks, RAR. As is so often the case, opinions are fine, but reference to the rules answers the question best.

I'd guess that if it is purely an inborn talent, you're out of luck, otherwise there are rules for teaching supernatural abilities (those with an associated skill), and we can expect more from Mysteries. Others like Mercurian or Diedne Magic would probably be automatically transmitted. It would probably have to be treated on a case-by-case basis anyway: the same "Puissant Ignem" virtue might mean something very different to Bob Bonisagus and to Fred Flambeau. One may be teachable, one may not.


Toilet seats.

Actually, it would depend on whether it's dominant or recessive, and the phases of the moon can come into play as well.

It's magic, you're the GM- you tell us.

While I understand that other Houses need to have a 5 in Art scores to claim an apprentice.

What is the handling within House Mercere ( Redcaps )?

This is relavent to me as I am playing a Gifted member of House Mercere but that does not mean my apprentice must have the gift. Would I still need to wait till I had 5 in all my Arts or could I claim a non-gifted apprentice before then?

In a simular thread we established that the reason 5's are needed in all Arts was to open a gifted students Arts without giving them a deficiency. If an apprentice has no arts to open the fear of given them a deficiency in an art does not exist. Therefore, I suspect that the magus need not have 5's in all his arts to begin teaching his student.

However, a magus may still wait until he has 5's in all his Arts because it shows a certain level of competancy. This of course is a social gesture and relative to the game so it may or may not apply depending on your style.

"Remember, O my master, that your humble apprentice is not a typical apprentice... Or was that lab explosion in the middle of the night last season not reminder enough?" :slight_smile:

From what I remember about the earliest parts of Abu's apprenticeship, it was Learn Letters for the first year while Sorel got his techniques up to fives; 4th Edition was 1 Season for Techs, and 1 Season for Forms. Sometime during this, Sorel found about Hakim, the Ifrit who could cross our Aegis easily. Abu started learning Magic Theory at this time. The next 15 years or so where 10 points allocated to arts, and 10 to spells, and helping his master in the lab. Or getting dumped into the duckpond in a leaky barrel with a weight in the bottom of it.

This was pretty much how my character handled the matter, except I waited until I had at least 5 in everything before starting.

Every apprentice has Learned thier letters first, under one of our literate custos. After the year, they are turned over to thier masters, and a crash course in the magical arts begins...