Concept and Hedge Tradition for My Friend?

So, in an upcoming game, my friend is, as something of an experiment, playing a Magus who doesn't get a whole lot out of most lab activities aside from vis studying and who thus spends a lot more time adventuring and doing other things that get him out of the lab. However, the player himself is particularly fond of managing character labwork and exploring the different things that can be accomplished with magic from a sort of scientific perspective (not real-world science, but like in-universe magical science). Our ST, understanding the feeling, allowed the player to make a Gifted Companion hedge wizard.

However, we pretty much just got the Hedge Magic Revised Edition. Like, two days ago, the ST's parents' present to the troupe. So none of us except the ST have read the book cover to cover, though we've all skimmed the book to some degree. With the book as such a new addition to our group, he hasn't really been hit by any astounding concept ideas. The hedge traditions that interest him most are Folk Witch and Learned Magician due to the fact that their "laboratory" activities are generally fairly unique twists on what Hermetic magi do in the lab, and almost equally variable in certain respects. However, for none of the traditions has any concept really hit him that just grabbed his attention.

He expressed to me the feeling that his main concern was avoiding single-word concepts; he (and the rest of the troupe, at this point) is having a bit too much trouble understanding the intricacies of the new system, so he needs a bit of a creative push to get more interesting, complex build ideas swimming around in his head than "Dowsing-focused Folk Witch" or "Alchemy-focused Learned Magician".

So, knowing that the people here have no lack of creative ideas and mechanical genius, I decided to come to you all for support on his behalf. What kinds of things serve as good, specific character focuses in the hedge traditions, and which tradition might you suggest so he can get the most bang for his buck in the laboratory usage aspect? Thanks a ton in advance for any help!

What kind of magic does interest hi,m? This is fairly important when selecting a character. The most scientific-minded ones would be natural magicians IMO bit let's look at alternatives :slight_smile:

If he wants to go the more scientific route, there are 2 ideas to throw in: Art and Academe (the book) has rules for theriacs (medicine), predictive stuff (artes liberales, as in astrology) and chemical-like transformations of stuff (philosophiae). The second thing will be Enriching things of virtue (RoP:Magic). He can get fairly cool concepts from both.

Enriching stuff (it requires and Int + Magic Lore + aura of 9+ "lab total") creates items that grant minior virtues or major virtues and a minor flaw. Stuff like puissant leadership, second sight, the ability to fly (but you get drunk as a skunk while doing so), Intuition, Tough...

The stuff in Art and Academe is basically fast forwarding modern medical and chemical knowledge to the middle ages: the classical stuff of "oh! ah! the alchemists can create concrete, create superior steel or heat water in an instant!" or modern medical knowledge on stuff that helps in healing and the like. The prediction through stars is more mystical, but the information tends to be fairly general.

I am specially fond of Mythic Herbalism. A high score of mythic herbalism allows you to concoct powerful formulas for healing and poisons. I fond this to be a MUCH BETTER thing to have than the Healing ability of the Witches, that I find totally out of character. Same as Hex compared to Cursing. IMO those 2 abilities should be the core of a folk witch's powers, and not healing and cursing as they are now. But that is me. A non-magical character with Mythic Herbalism (plus puissant MH) can be quite powerful in his own right. Ever heard of Medium wound medieval grenades? A Mythic Herbalist can do them putting the appropriate herbal concoctions in thin clay pots. Seen them beign used. Nasty! And I then used them against the PC and they hated me for doing that :mrgreen:

I'm going to give you a really boring answer, I'm afraid.

If you're after lab work then I'd go with the Learned Magician. They have an interesting set of magical Arts, use a system not dissimilar to Hermetic magi, and are able to make Chartae (minor enchanted devices) quickly, within the scope of a single story, which is something that Hermetic magi often lack.

If you're after something a little different then I'd look closely at the Elementalists again. The healing route is interesting if you want a support character, but the theurgical route makes for an interesting and potentially strong summoner.

A lab focused Gifted Hedge Magic user (from Hedge Magic Revised Edition) as a companion, at campaign start?

There is one companion concept which benefits your campaign and covenant in general: the leader of a small coven of (Grog level) unGifted Folk Witches.
This coven may be persecuted, in need of protection, but also have their very own ideas about magic, religion, and life. If accommodated by the covenant, well represented and led by the companion, they can be very helpful to the other characters.

You better look up Vis extraction rules not only from Hedge Magic Revised Edition p.39, but also from the tables on Realms of Power: Magic p.10ff, when figuring the effect of several Folk Witches extracting Vis from the covenant Aura for a few years into your campaign plans. Yes, your characters may think it is a great idea at first - but soon they will look for other suggestions. And then the lab-organizer talent of your friend comes into play.


My preferred lab-focused companions (never have done a Gifted Companion) have been done or could be done via these routes:

Failed Apprentice [ArM5] - While not allowing lab work on your own, this makes the character very, very useful in the lab. Setting up labs is viable, too. Probably not what he wants.
Touched by (Realm) [C&G] - This lets a craftsman create lesser magical items.
Craft Magic [HoH:S] - If you have a lot of somewhat flexible stuff through other Virtues, you can create plenty of interesting stuff this way without any Arts.
Alchemy / Mythic Alchemy / Mythic Herbalism / Refining Objects of Virtue - As mentioned above.

Well, as far as which Hedge Magic tradition to use, Learned Magicians have the most robust laboratory rules of any of the traditions described in HMRE, followed closely by Folk Witches and Elementalists.

As for concepts, one I really liked was one of the sample characters from The Contested Isle who was sort of the LM version of Bonisagus, using Succurro/Magicam effects to replicate the powers of other Hedge Magicians and supernatural creatures he came across in an attempt to develop Learned Magican Magic Theory.

Alternately, you might drop the whole Hedge Theory part of the equation and make the character more of an innovator, capitalizing on the quick and dirty nature of chartae to replicate the more useful powers possessed by ME's various supernatural beings for the benefit of paying customers.

I think tat my options are:

1-Elementalist: You can make him one Vis-stractor with any variaton with one exception (but one lesser Refining more can give him the extra), but the excemtion make him very powerfull making his Potions of Longevity.
2-Folk Witch: Gifted or not, just with a few powers and Rarefied Tradition flaw you make her/him one true lab rat character.
3-Learned Magician: being from the core group similar to Mathematici or one Alchemist, whit Mythic Alchemy and a few Learned Arts he is a very powerfull but limited to lab.

I'm curious. What are these supposedly somewhat robust lab rules the Elementalist has? Medicine Refining lets you make Longevity Potions and stat boosting potions, while Philosophical Refining lets you extract vis, but that appears to be the extent of what they can do. The potions angle would be enough if they could do anything else with them, but as-is it's not really enough to make a lab-focused character out of.

Are there rules for working in tandem with supernatural creatures for purposes of investing items with their abilities? He said the Elementalist's fluff and general mechanics are much more endearing to him personally than Learned Magician except that he can't do anything with enchanting, so... Are there rules somewhere for that, or is that limited to the realm of houseruling? Or, alternatively, are we misreading the Elementalist's capabilities?

You could always add Craft Magic to an elementalist if you want a type of enchanting.

Do you have ancient magic? We found that the rules for mechanica of heron and (epecially) hyperborean hymnists make good characters with a nice spin on magic use.

Well, to be fair, it's only really robust in comparison to the remaining HMRE traditions: Two of which, Nightwalkers and Vitkir, have no laboratories of which to speak and the Gruagachan who can only enchant certain special tattoos.

That said, there are some ways to expand upon the powers wielded by Elementalists above and beyond the limits of (Type) Refining.

  • The first, is to take advantage of the ability to use Summoning to conjure the targets into circles. The medicinal applications are limited to mass healings, but the philosophical version might be used in conjunction with frangible clay pots to serve as grenades. Likewise, a theurgical summoner might bind a spirit into a vessel and carry it with him so that it may be affected with Controlling at his leisure (this is Fatigue intensive, but there are ways to limit the drawbacks).
  • The second is, in fact, dependent upon the first and involves coming up with novel uses for philosophic controlling.
  • The third option involves taking a virtue from "Rival Magic" called Lesser Craft Magic that allows a character from a tradition without its own lab rules to create weak magical devices as part of the process of crafting the item.

I don't really think of Elementalists or Learned Magicians as Lab Rats as written. Neither has a Magic Theory ability. Though I think they both do seasonal work (Elementalists still confuse me) but neither really use what a hermetic considers a lab. Learned types can get by with basically a writing desk and some astrological gear if their not herbalist or alchemists also. There doesn't seam to be the option to build and improve lab space via the covenants rules. And arguably the only experimenting their allowed to do until they create their own Magic Theory is trying to create their own Magic Theory.

Both Traditions are set up well to practice the Natural Philosophy stuff from A&A. But that is not part of their magic and you could just as easily make a unGifted labrat with those rules.

(All that being said I did play a Learned Magician lab Rat as my Magus character in one saga. Though I was allowed to start him with MT. He spent all his time trying to integrate Hermetic Magic into his Learned tradition)

For me the most lab ratty Hedge Tradition is Hedge Witches. They start with a Magic Theory ability. They have Labs, well kitchens, which they can improve just like Hermetics. Hedge witches are free to experiment also.

Since Hedge Witches can theoretically mix and match any 7 Supernatural Abilities you can have your cake and eat it too with regards to Mythic Alchemy and/or Herbalism. And since in theory they should be able to add their they'd be better at it then a Learned alchemist.

My suggestion for a proper lab rat Witch would be.

The favored abilities. Animal Ken (For a Familiar), Dowsing (For finding vis), Healing (For Energy Magic), Mythic Herbalism (For actually Healing), Mythic Alchemy (For Awesome) Second Sight (For seeing? I don't know). For the last Abilitiy Chose one of their normal powers like Cursing, Shapeshifting or Flight or grab something out of Societas like Control Fertility or a custom.

For Virtues you can always throw on Craft Magic which would be awesome but I'd also throw in educated so they can have Artes Liberales and write up lab notes. Also I'd consider applying Rootcutter from Societas.