Complex Character Generation for Apprenticeships

I've been wondering if anyone else here favours the idea of using the Complex Character Generation rules to develop a Magus' period as an Apprentice. The idea of an Apprenticeship "prelude" has a definite appeal to it, and the prospect of working out how an Apprenticeship advanced could provide much better insights into the character's relationship with his (or her) Parens, home Covenant, and others. It would provide an opportunity for one or more "Apprenticeship stories", which could either be played out or bluebooked. Running through the Gauntlet could be particularly memorable for some Houses.

I dunno. Either you roleplay apprenticeship, or you don't. Not sure the middle is satisfying as much as paperwork-intensive.

The problem that I have had in my campaign allowing complex character generation for apprentices is that they tend to come out significantly more powerful than characters that were developed by the usual method. Two virtues that specifically come to mind are Affinities and Secondary Insight. If you dont mind toons with higher starting scores, by all means go ahead.

I think ArM5 states specifically that actual roleplaying picks up more experience points, on average, than character generation in some instances. Which is, to some extent, as it should be - there should be an incentive for playing the game and not just sitting at home advancing your own characters year by year.

Save when we're speaking of complex character generation, not roleplaying :confused:

I think that in order to have the extremely complex genertion system characters come out similar to detailed generation system charcters you need to make some specific assumptions about how an aprentice spends their time.

Specifically they spend one season per year being trained by their mentor (or peraps reading) they spend three seasons per year doing work for their mentor.
helping in the lab
extracting vis
copying laboratory notes and books
possibly creating minor charged devices for their mentor from lab notes
traveling on business for the mentor
being loaned out to other magi to serve as a lab assisteant.

If you have the mentor say "well I'm not doing labwork this season why don't you grab a book and study whatever, after all I don't expect to receive a great deal of benefit from mentoring an apprentice" then your charactres will come out as powerhouses.

Wouldn't it be appropriate then to have the apprentice have some sort of penalty for lab work as the apprentice never really got the hang of what the lab stuff was for, given all the book-reading?

Probably. Would require more complicated rules, though.

[house rule idea warning]
A simplistic way to simulate what you are saying would be that regardless of your Art scores, you cannot cast/invest effects & spells that are of a higher magnitude than your magic theory. So a magic theory of 3 would allow you to cast level 15 spells, but not a pilum of fire, even if you have the PoF in your grimmore; you have not yet mastered the intricacies of casting the PoF without burning yourself alive and half the covenant while doing so, even if you know the theory behind the POF and theoretically should be able to cast it. [/house rule idea warning]

In fact, it would seem to make a lot of sense and might be the reason why the magi study so much magic theory in the end.



Perhaps the solution then is to give the apprentice some "negative skills" at the beginning of apprenticeship, something like:

Lab Work: -5
Non-ritual spellcasting: -5 (presumably anyone with enough Magic Theory can take plenty of time to get a Hermetic ritual right)

Each season of mentoring provides experience points to undo those, until the apprentice can not only get the theory, but can do lab work and cast spells in proper hermetic mode.

I think it is tempting for a master to spend more time with the apprentice early on and exploit him later (House Bonisagus calls this concept fosterage - HoH: TL)

Writing is difficult early on because an apprentice must know three different skills to copy even mundane books:

  • Artes Liberales for alphabet
  • Profession: Scribe
  • A language (like Latin) with an appropriate level
    -Magic Theory (for magic books only)

Year one: Opening the Arts (must be so early or someone can snatch the apprentice)

I think teaching Magic Theory in Year 2 makes an apprentice more useful than writing, because after only one season, the character can start extracting Vis (and after three seasons of that, by the end of Year 2, exposure gives the apprentice a skill of 2 in Creo and Vim: Int 2+ Magic Theory 1+Creo 2+Vim 2 + Aura 3 + Lab 1 = 2 pawns per season.

So an apprentice pays for a poor covenant 6 pawns are 60 pounds, minus upkeep for lab (1 or 2 pounds) and apprentice (2 or 3 pounds). An apprentice makes a covenant 55 pounds a year!

Writing comes in the middle of the apprenticeship, the spells in the last 3 years.

Seasons: 15 X 4=60
Exposure: 45 seasons = 90 xp (Magic Theory, arts, other)
Opening: 1 season (0 xp?)
teaching 120 levels of spells: (3 or) 4 seasons
Teaching skills/arts by master in person 11 (or 12) seasons: more than 9-11xp/per season for a communication-0-Master (who learns teaching from exposure). About 110xp
So a normal magus teaches his apprentice about 200xp + 120xp spells in one season/year.
The misisng 40 xp are either filled by letting the apprentice read or by having a scribe teach him some Latin/Scribing/Artes Liberales instead of exposure, probably in the other seasons in year 1, because the apprentice doesn't possess any exploitable skills yet

Rambling post, sorry!

Erik, add to your list: Improving the lab...Refinement

Apprentice advancement-

Hermetic Law: Apprentices may not learn from books.
Apprentices learning from books make a (stress die+ Int) versus (the Quality of the work). Add one Botch die per point of Quality.
(Having ones apprentice blow up your lab would stop THAT practice right off I would guess...:unamused:) If they fail to exceed the Quality, they don't learn anything for their efforts...

By saying that MT is important to learning Arts, you are then putting an anchor around all the Arts...IE there should then be a limit to each based on your MT...

JeanMichelle - I think you have a pretty good sample apprenticeship, although it seems most suited to scholarly mages.

I'd say some Houses might make their apprentices do more in at least a year before opening the arts, either as a test (Tremere) or because they need help in the lab first and foremost (Veriditus).

Where does it say under Hermetic Law that Apprentices cannot learn from books? If so, that's a rather strained ruling. It makes more sense for the Parens to allow an Apprentice to study from other sources early on and then utilise him (or her) for more ambitious projects later on, as has been cited.

The Detailed Creation rules are flawed, anyway. Also, how many games allow players to start more than about five years after they've passed their Gauntlet? Probably not that many.

Note that I stated that tracking out all of an Apprenticeship allows one to play extra "prelude" stories to develop the character.

I suppose a related question would be why shouldn't Secondary Insight, Apt Student, and/or Book-Learner apply to what is gained from Apprenticeship? Either the Apprentice had them, or he didn't, and if he did then the effects should have accrued.

As a point of note, House Bonisagus probably produces some of the most skilled Apprentices because that is what they excel at doing--and because they're more likely to have access to an impressive library. Jerbiton may occasionally have a similar state of affairs, particularly with scholars.

For all characters we use a simple system that assumes that any XP bonus virtues come into effect an average of once per 2 years if concerning anything except exposure which is treated as once per year. Secondary insight, Elemental magic and alike RAW versions were treated to come in effect twice per year.

Overall, minor virtues gives 4-5 XP per 2 years, major gives 2-2.5 times that(we have added more than a few over the years).
Thats also how related virtues have been treated, the "Student genius" major version of "Apt student" gives a 12XP bonus.

Apt Student should come into play at least once every year for ten or eleven years during Apprenticeship to account for the direct teaching by the Parens (it doesn't apply when spells are taught). Book-Learner would depend heavily on the individual Apprenticeship, but allowing at least once every other year seems reasonable. Apt Laboratory Student, on the other hand, would have a minimum of only about four seasons throughout Apprenticeship, though it could be much higher.

I agree somewhat with the Major Virtues like Elementalist and Secondary Insight, however, twice a year might be on the high side unless one has a Skilled (or generous) Parens, since very few Apprentices would be taught Arts for fully half their Apprenticeships. Maybe at least once a year or once every six seasons.

One of the reasons for asking this is that Affinities apply in full throughout Apprenticeship or outside it.

The existing generic rules work out roughly if one assumes a merely adequate Parens who allows maybe eight to ten extra study seasons throughout Apprenticeship. Extremely Detailed Character Creation applied to Apprenticeship strikes me as being more interesting. The idea came about when I realised that it would technically apply to any Companions with the Gift who then become Magi. Why shouldn't it apply to other Magi as well?

Yeah, but try making a few chars like that before you say too much. Thing is, especially Apt Student is so extremely valuable anyway that if applying it once a year as standard, well NOONE and i mean literally noone didnt pick it, or its major version. It was just too big a bonus compared to its "single minor virtue" cost.

Yeah i know, i know... But we didnt want to "discriminate" between the different ones so we set up so that minor gives 4-5 XP per year bonus and major 6-12(6-8 for those with other bonuses as well)...
Oh except reading based we assume from age 10, or whenever character background gives reading skill, and Arts affecting ones from start of apprenticeship.

Think about it, Elementalist only gives 3 XP per time it goes into effect, and since it activates from exposure as well, its likely to happen alot.
Same with SI, it activates fairly often, but only gives a puny 2 or 4 XP each time.

Its always active. Never seen any reason to treat it otherwise.

As long as individual players have the time to do it with a GM, its definetly preferable, and fun, and can add lots of personality to the character as well.
Just dont try to do it if short on time or with everyone getting ready to play. Then it tends to just clutter up the whole thing and get messy.

I'd been wondering whether Elementalist and Secondary Insight applied to Adventure XP as well as just instruction, book study, and experimenting with Vis. I don't see any reason why they shouldn't, however, Study Bonus applies only to books and Vis study.

Book-Learner is actually more of a major boon in 5th Ed. It was great in 3rd Ed. because it let one gain more out of books than others (up to 2 levels higher). In 4th Ed. it really wasn't worth much (building up Concentration gave as much benefit). Now, in 5th Ed. with the emphasis on Summae and especially Tractati it's become one of the "must-have" Minor Virtues--which, of course, means that anyone who takes it tends to be viewed askance unless they're also scholars with Virtues like Good Teacher.

The truth is that the Virtues that grant one-time XP bonuses really aren't worth that much in the long run. Skilled Parens is an exception because it refers to the power level of one's Parens. The others should probably be modified a bit to elaborate on the background of a character, granting some degree of social benefit (nothing excessive, mind you) to make them more worthwhile.