Elemental Magic

Apologies if this is a stupid question. I'm a noob. If I take Elemental Magic does that apply to apprenticeship experience as well. In other words, if I create my character with Te 10 does he also get 10 in Aq, Au and Ig?

Not a stupid question at all :slight_smile: This has been debated heavily in the forums. IIRC the conclusion is that to simplify things, this applies only to experience gained AFTER character generation. otherwise it is difficult to implement and is open to munchkinism.

Hope that helps :slight_smile:


With elemental magic every time you study one of the elemental forms you get 1 xp in the other three forms, not an equal amount of experience to what you get in the form that you are studying.

The rules don't give allowances for any xp bonus from elemental magic (or secondary insight) during character creation, but giving some sort of bonus seems to be a common house rule as elemental magics considered fairly weak for a major hermetic virtue (and the rules suggest that characters should only take one major Hermetic virtue).

How does Secondary Insight compare? Is that a 'weaker' Major Virtue too?


Step 1: Apply your character creation xp to your arts as normal.
2: For each art in turn, divide the xp assigned to it by 10 rounded up - count this as the number of times you have studied the art for the purposes of assigning bonus xp from the Elementalist or Secondary Insight virtues.
3: According to the rules of your vitue, note how many bonus xp you are assigning to which arts. Do not add them on yet.
4: when you have done the above for all arts that can generate bonus xp, then you add on the bonus xp you have calculated.

something like that?

I do like Noliar except that I assume the normal distribution of xp is 7,5, not 10. And as I count Xps on arts season after season during the abstract apprenticeship, I only count entire block of 7,5 (so, normally, i spend arts by 8xps if i want to optimize).

Yes, generally speaking it is. Secondary Insight provides more flexible bonuses than Elemental Magic does. However, Elemental Magic's bonuses apply more broadly. So the two are about equal. (Elemental Magic's other bonus isn't trivial, but it's not so frequently useful as one might think.)

But compare these to the golden one: Book Learner. Since books are one of the most efficient ways for magi to improve Arts and Abilities, this should apply frequently. While it doesn't apply quite as often to Arts, it also applies to other Abilities. It also adds 3 experience, the same amount as Secondary Insight or Elemental Magic on average. So Book Learner is about on par with Secondary Insight and Elemental Magic. Yet Book Learner comes at 1/3 the cost.

Or compare them a different way: Book Learner + Apt Student + Independent Study. Those three together cost the same as either of these Major Virtues. Those three together will also provide comparable bonuses nearly as often for Arts. Meanwhile, they'll apply slightly more to Abilities (you can practice). Since there are plenty of important Abilities for magi, I would gauge Abilities about equal overall to Arts. In that case the three Minor Virtues provide nearly double the overall bonus of either of the Major Virtues.

All that being said, we find some of our players still love one or the other of the Major Virtues. But it's important to note that they pick these up after already having at least one if not two of the Minor Virtues.


One of the writers used a houserule that after you have placed all XP, the Elemental Arts gets their XP raised by 50%.
I have used a similar version where you add the same amount of XP but instead of adding them directly, spread them evenly over the Elemental Arts.

This is why I consider Elemental Magic should give 2 xp on the other 3 Arts (max once per season), and Secondary Insight 2 xp on 2 Technique or 4 Forms.

Note that the right way of using RAW Elemental Magic is splitting your 2 Exposure xp into 2 elemental Arts and claiming this gives you twice the bonus. If you can do that every time, it isn't that bad.

It is better to sidestep the extra xp problem by using Affinity or Puissant. Having Affinity with 3 of the 4 Arts is stronger, even if you discount the (xp-free) gain in apprenticeship.

Thanks for the insight. Am I required to take a major virtue? Is a character without a major virtue too flawed to play?

Yes, though you missed one. The really right way is to put Exposure into two and put Correspondence into a third. Of course, it does mean you have to be using at least two Forms while getting your exposure.

In our sagas we don't frown on this because it helps bring Elemental Magic et. al. up to snuff.


Are you allowed to do that? I thought you were limited to 2 Arts with Affinity. (At least at character generation.) I'll have to double-check. Maybe I'm misremembering a limit on Techniques, not Arts?


Oh gosh, no! - to both. You are certainly not required to take a Major Virtue. You are required (or perhaps just very strongly suggested) to take a Major Flaw if you want to reach 10 points of Virtues. As for the second question, here's an example:

Affinity w/ Finesse
Affinity w/ Rego
Affinity w/ Terram
Book Learner
Independent Study
Minor Magical Focus: Telekinesis (might further restrict it, but you get the idea)
Puissant Finesse
Puissant Parma Magica
Puissant Rego
Puissant Terram

With a couple variants of telekinesis, one using Finesse to bypass magic resistance and one auto-hitting but needing to penetrate, this mage could seriously hurt almost anything. The mage will advance quickly, whether studying or adventuring. The mage can also handle lots of utility out of Rego alone. I added in the Puissant Parma Magica to buff the mage up a bit, but you could go another route. I also haven't included a House Virtue, which in this case could be Careful with Finesse (Flambeau). I doubt anyone would consider this mage too flawed to play.


Make a magus with ten Flaws and no Virtues if you like! - if it's fun to play, then it's a good character.

My thought is to make an artisan terram mage obsessed with the idea of building an earth elemental then transferring his conciousness into it before he dies. My understanding is that this is doomed to failure according to the rules of the game so two of his minor flaws are delusion (believes adamantly that this will work) and driven. The virtues should help him sculpt the elemental and imbue it with powers.

It seems like CrTe and ReTe are essential to creating the item and giving it mobility. Maybe CrIm to give it sight and hearing then a long doomed attempt with CrMe or ReMe to transfer his mind to it.

But as I said, this is my first Ars Magica campaign, andbit works very differently from D&D so I'm not sure I'm on the right track.

Yeah. OR give the bonus XP regardless how you got XP to trigger the bonus.

You can also exploit this by RAW by studying each element at least once per season of study and then also doing correspondence about one of them. That triggers the bonus XP effect 5 times whenever you do it.
15 XP extra per season of study, totally munchkin. Which is why i prefer the above houserule.

Only 2 Affinities and Puissant Arts at character creation. I dont bother with this limit though.

By RAW, you can only get the bonus via studying, not exposure. Which is what really kills its value(and Secondary Insight as well).
And since its quite possible to split study time, you can advance all 4 forms during a season.

Totally ok with or without a Major Virtue. You can play with zero Virtues if you want(less fun though), no problems with that.

InIm rather than CrIm. Its trying to perceive something, not trying to Create illusions.

Exactly. I´ve played severely "unbalanced" either way and both can be great fun, just as a well balanced one can be good also.

Ah, why stop there if you're going to abuse RAW this way. You might as well collect a pile of summas, even if many are mundane, and just earn 90 experience per season while you're at it.

Yes, you're right. I was recently told otherwise about Elemental Magic. But now that I check it is just like Secondary Insight, just not so strictly explicit.


Are you trying to create an elemental or are you trying to make some sort of construct? If the former, all you need is a CrTe ritual. See RoP:M or consult the guidelines I compiled. (They're on the Atlas site.) If the latter you may want to look at HoH:MC's Verditius section.


Right. Elemental was the wrong word. Construct or golem fit better. I'll read your guidelines. Thanks.