I'm talking about expectations of NPC Verditus magi, not how to optimize a PC. Can a Verditus have Philosophae 7? Absolutely? Are they likely to? My gut says no.
Most Shape and Material bonuses (for the purposes of Items of Quality) cap out in the +4-5 range. Since Verditus magi are lab heavy (and therefore low-XP-earning), they can't be great at everything. Once they can get an 'effective' Philosophae of 4, they've got all they need for 90% of purposes, and they likely have enough regular S/M bonuses + Phil 4 to cap out their Magic Theory anyways. Having higher Philosophae is definitely useful, but there are many demands on their energies and it is pretty safe to scrimp once you've got 3+Specialization.
If you want to talk optimizing strategies for a Verditus PC, we can argue that in another thread.
I'll agree that you'll want to go to the IOQ specialist, but like any specialist, how easy are they to access? Is there one in your tribunal? Is he three tribunals over? Is there time in his schedule for you? Or do you contact the local Verditus and take speed/convenience over best possible results? This is the exact same scenario as finding a longevity specialist - the better, the more demand on his time and the more he charges.
Arts are going to be a huge demand on a Verditus the first decade, if you start heavy on Craft and Magic Theory. Heck, I'm not sure a Verditus would even bother with Inner Mysteries in those early years (YMMV).
And now that you mention it, having an Arabic Verditus magi would be really cool.
IT is mechanically possible to do lots of things. It might even be easy for certain character concepts. One could, theoretically stack on Puissant+Affinity for Craft, Magic Theory and Philosophiae, take up 6 virtue spots. One could even take additional non Hermetic virtues with the intent of gaining other virtues in play, but that will also cost seasons of time (both in being taught and in repaying the teacher for the service). It is mechanically simple, sure. There is a cost, though, and it often seems to be minimized in discussions about characters who can do something easily.
I guess I'm just coming from a different direction. Get your Arts up to ten, which is easy. But once you've insured your Apprentice isn't going to suffer, each point of Magic Theory is +1 to your fifteen Arts and Forms. Same with Philosophie. Arts just don't seem that important to Verditius.......
Yeah, that's a totally different direction. Verditius are more inclined to be generalists, but they can have specialties and have high Art scores. It is easier to raise Arts, after all, then to raise Magic Theory and Philosophiae.
To enhance a supernatural abilities (or any abilities by the way ) you could also use the Re Me base 15 to get a +3 to the chosen ability (and be unable to use any other at the same time)
Like the spell "Singlemindedness of the Concentrating Wizard" from A&Ap 34.
There is also the item of "Excellent Quality" C&G p 69 who can grant you a nice bonus if you can find a highly qualified artisan or if you have a very good in finesse Rego craft mage.
You need to find a item that will help in the use of that particular ability but that is generally not too difficult.
Quite true, Mr. Link. I just see it happening later in their career, when they have found their "niche". Generalize for ten or twenty years as a Mage, find out which direction you want to go, then pick up Potent Magic, Magic Focus, and Elder Runes, and become the best in the world at your Specialty, be it boats or rings.......
So, be relatively useless for 10 or 20 years? It's a bit of a stretch to my thinking that you will actually be able to pick up all that stuff in a short time frame. How often are these Verditius making stuff? A good rule of thumb is that Verditius should be in their labs making stuff at least two seasons a year in their early years. And later, when they've achieved "enough" learning in their desired Arts and abilities probably move that up to 3. Adding those virtues also adds commitments of time to the character, slowing down his advancement or his time in the lab, or smaller amounts of each.
You make it sound nearly effortless, but it becomes a less believable character if he's never made something and only grinds on his Arts, Abilities and virtues. I've seen characters like this proposed before. Their machinations are obvious.
Oh, lots of time in the lab. We just found that the best use of the Verditius in the Covenant early was opening items for Enchantment. Perhaps we did it wrong, but we cut costs by making lots of magic items to help out. Alas, in canon, making an item "magic" doesn't make it any tougher, so many of our tools required 15 spaces. Well out of the range of everyone else(Magic Theory 8 coming out of Gauntlet? Even a 6 isn't going to happen!). And everyone else was very powerful in combat, but not at all utility, and so couldn't make useful "simple" items. I was a very popular guy around the labs......
And I have only gotten to play Ars a couple of times. Every time we have played, the first 5 to 10 years were spent by everyone reading books, getting taught, and building up labs. Everyone was "grinding on his Arts, Abilities and virtues.", more then me, because I had to "open" four "Golden Suns" (Magic Light and Heat for your lab! I made one for me, and everyone else had to have one.) and they only had to spend a season "installing" it. And having a high Int and Magic Theory (+10 to your lab total is a real help coming out of Gauntlet!), I spent several seasons helping in the lab. But I got quite a few favors, which made it much easier to get the Mysteries and Virtues I wanted, later, when I was ready. It seemed a natural progression to me, but your mileage may vary, of course.
I've never been so lucky to put more than a couple of seasons per year into grinding XP, even in situations where the HR allows adventure experience in seasons of lab work. Covenant service, story flaws all conspire to get in the way. Getting access to books when the covenant's library is also insufficient to improve a specific Art or ability is something that takes quite a bit of time.
Your environment seems highly cooperative designed for maximum advancement. To paraphrase you, YSMV, but I tend to play my magi a bit more selfish. And a Verditius assisting in the lab? Sounds decidedly unlike a Verditius.
Well, we play Troupe style around here. I guess things are a little kinder when the excitement the ST throws will be thrown back at him soon ...... As to "Your environment seems highly cooperative designed for maximum advancement.", we thought that was the point of setting up a new Covenant. You and some other magi get a sack of Vis, a map if you're lucky, and get tossed into a vast and dangerous world. Sink or Swim, right? We all worked together because we didn't want to starve (And it's hard to be selfish when you have nothing, yes?). Pretty sure if we had made it to 40 years out of Gauntlet it would be a different story. Alas, never gotten to play that long.....
(Nonsense! Verditius are quite willing to work with others, until Hubris becomes an issue. Why did you think it was there? The Heavens would shake if 6 Masters got together to work on a project! You might be able to do a 90th level effect in a season!)
Actually, enchanted items are more durable than their mundane counterparts, according to City & Guild, page 77, which gives items a bonus to stress checks (to avoid damage or breakage) equal to the total number of magnitudes of effects enchanted into the item.
Wait, what? Spring covenants have tonnes of work to do to establish themselves. There's very little time to grind on XP in the library. There's work to be done. Summer covenants, well, you want to grind on the library, you've got to put in your work for it. Autumn, same. Winter, where's the library?
Even a covenant of magi working together, in a sink or swim atmosphere would still have issues of selfishness. Someone, somewhere is goldbricking it. And if they aren't, then there's work to be done. A brand new spring covenant with spring magi would probably only have 1 season per year of advancement in the desired area. Advancement in other areas might be allowed, if it is demonstrated to be for the benefit of the covenant.
Please. That's a lab total of 180. That's easy. YR7 started a threadon that way back in 2005.
Those 10 in 15 arts are probably 12-15 years of solid book reading (SQ12), depending on your starting arts. Getting 5 in every Art isn't too bad, and most Verditus magi at that point can probably output level 15 enchants in anything in one season. But at that point you're no more impressive an enchanter than any other magus, really. You can always find a sale, but its always going to be a small one, and there's going to be competition from other magi who probably charge less than Verditus rates.
Arts are tremendously important for the hands-down best mystery the Verditus has, Verditus Elder Runes. Doubling an art has little meaning if the art is low - if the Art in question is a 10, you actually very little because the enchantment level went up by +5 through the use of a rune. It's also a big deal for Bind Magical Creature, which doesn't use a lot of the usual stuff, just a ReVi lab total (binding magical creature powers to yourself might be the single neatest thing Verditus magi can do), and Item Attunement limits the vis in an object rely heavily on arts (though Philosophae is included).
And as an additional note, I forgot to add that a Verditus also has to accumulate Verditus Cult Lore so he can initiate others in the future and progress through the Mysteries. One more XP sink atop the rest, I'm afraid. Book Learner is probably of tremendous use to a Verditus, rather than taking a pile of Affinities (Cult Lore, Magic Theory, Philosophae and Arts can all be learned in books). Affinity with Craft is probably still valuable (gaining exposure XP in Craft as you make stuff).
Well, there's the tripping point. I don't see sales to be a priority to a young Verditius. I could be wrong, but I see them as helping to set up the Covenant they will be spending their lives in, and then setting up their labs, which I think would take a couple of years, because what Verditius wouldn't personalize his lab? +5 general quality isn't very hard. None of this requires much in the way of Arts. Does require Magic Theory, Craft, and Philo. Then you can decide what you are going to be famous for...... (As to selling things, just opening items should get you plenty of Vis.......)
Given how social the cult is, I would go with good student over book learning. The Cult lore books are very tightly controlled ("Thanks" to the Traitor), so personal instruction is probably going to be a lot easier to get, and Craft and Philo do not require Magi teachers, so they should be easy to get access to, and, lastly, those extra points just might get you an extra virtue or two, which book learning will not do. But, there's no reason you can't do both. In my ideal case, you still have 4 virtues points. Good Student, Book Learner, Strong Parens (Which I think should almost be assumed with Verditius, again, because they are so social, and because it gives a counter to those STs who want to keep the House Mysteries, mysteries.......) and something like inventive genius or dwarf blooded.
I don't think there's any easier way in canon to get a reputation then to improve your lab. Really, look it up! It's in Covenants, in the lab rules. One of stats for your lab is Aesthetics, and every point of that stat is 5 exp to your lab's Reputation (which, of course, is your reputation, yes? It's YOUR lab.....). They add up pretty quick, and it's in black and white, as opposed to how you normally earn a Reputation (Which is kind of fuzzy in canon. Lots of ST calls, etc.). Given how useful the Verditius mystery is, I think they are always in demand, once Magi and people know you are there. Don't think customers will be a problem .
Ah, time. Yes, it's an issue, but that's true for most magi, isn't it? And I find it's nice to have choices other then "I Must Raise My Arts!". Maybe that's just me....
As far as the lab bonuses are concerned, I've come to the opinion that the ones that require extra seasons of work (as opposed to just cash or doing it in the initial set-up) are something of a trap option - at least in the early years, when progression of arts and abilities is easy/fast. If you're older and have something in mind that's almost in reach, seasons buffing your lab become attractive.
Agreed, that could be better, but only for Verditus Cult Lore. Book Learner is deadly efficient for almost everything but Craft, though.
If the Verditus spend time teaching each other, then that's one more demand on their precious time. Cult lore isn't the same as Mystery integration, and house 'secrets' are already legalized in the Order of Hermes (HoH:True Lineages IIRC). Worst case, you have to read the cult lore books in a secure location, which you'd have to do if you were receiving Teaching; only reading doesn't eat up some other person's precious time.
Learning from a teacher, though, is indeed the most efficient path, provided you can find one past a certain point. Adept Student is underrated, and I wish it were better represented in apprenticeship (it should be worth a +50xp boost IMO). But Book Learner is trivially easy to leverage; there are almost always books to be used.
Ah, the Lab (in my view) is the reason the other stuff happens. It is your home, where you work, where you live your life. The fact I get game bonuses is just gravy. I'm going to do that stuff anyway. I think that's the normal position for the House. You could play a Verditius with a "stock" lab, but expect a reputation as a weirdo.
Again, except for Hermetic Virtues, no books. (mind, in canon, there should be, given the Integration rules, but, alas, they aren't given a point value in the book buying system. Sigh.). That, to my mind, is the breakpoint. Mind, we seemed to play a "friendlier" game of Ars then most here. Certmen didn't happen, Wizard Wars never came up. People were pretty free with their time. Maybe our stories just ended early?
Yes, in canon, "House Secrets" are allowed. But also in canon, the House is very touchy about it, because one went public, "thanks" to the Traitor (Houses of Hermes, Mystery cults, P.128-129. You can get cast out of the House for learning Automata! (As opposed to "learning" Automata via House ordeal). So I think this is a General/Particular thing.
Yeah, book learning is swell. Hard to say no to unless you have a very tight concept.
That's the best reason. A lot of the stuff can be gained in the initial set-up, especially if you have any say in the architecture. But many of the options are worth more as set dressing than they are as actual lab total boosts.