Ex Misc query

If you have an idea for an Ex Misc tradition, you need a minor hermetic virtue, a major non-hermetic virtue and major hermetic flaw.

Could you swap the major non-Hermetic virtue for a minor non-hermetic virtue?

I've seen quite a few non-hermetic virtues that you could base a really interesting magical tradition on, but very few major ones.

For instance, a tradition focus on magic through mathematics, Hermetic numerology would seem ideal, but its a minor and I can't see what major might be appropriate.

Balance between virtues and flaws might be maintained by swapping the major flaw for a minor one or just keeping it as a major flaw and sucking up the difference

In the specific case of Hermetic Numerology, I can think of several Major Virtues that would fit. For a purely mathemagical tradition, I'd go with the Divination (Numerology) Virtue. Others would depend on the kind of mathemagic you're practicing - if the entire Artes Liberales is on the board, then Celestial Magic or perhaps a music-based magical ability (Enchanting Music) might be appropriate. Alternately, if the tradition is developed from a more pious group of mathematicians, try Ars Notoria on for size.

The general problem with using a Minor Virtue as the core of the tradition is that, usually, a Major Virtue will be much more central and important to the character's magic than the Minor - but then, "a tradition of numerologists" alone isn't extremely distinguished from run-of-the-mill Hermetic magic anyway. If you really can't find a Major Virtue to fit the group you want to make, though, you can ask your troupe if they'll let you just have a Minor Virtue for your Ex Misc tradition.


Or you can add 2 more minor virtues to balance the Major Hermetic Flaw.

I can think of a few useful combinations for a mathematician. Affinity with Artes Liberales to be very good at math, Cautious with AL to never botch which also helps ritual and ceremonial casting both come to mind. Hermetic numerology is tied to Hermetic Magic so I don't think it fits RAW; on the other hand, I like creating different traditions that emphasizes differences among magi, so why not?

I would hesitate to just suck up the difference, since Major Hermetic Flaws are usually either nasty or very nasty.

I think my favorite way to go about this tradition actually works with RAW! Here goes:

Major Non-Hermetic Virtue: Magister et Artibus (or Doctor?)
Major Hermetic Flaw: Pick something appropriate that gives you the right feel for what you want the negatives to be. Study requirement, because your mundane education requires you to have the proper mundane surroundings to study? Weak spontaneous magic, because your magical thinking is too rigid? Or Rigid Magic, for the same reason? Or Deficient Technique, say Muto? Etc.
Minor Hermetic Virtue: Hermetic Numerology

Magi of your tradition are educated, especially in mathematics, and derive their power from a deep understanding of the world and its workings. Your parens will not consider you a real magus until you have completed an advanced course of education... Common virtues within your tradition include Affinity with AL and Puissant AL (you have a special talent for math), Mystic Choreography (your rituals and ceremonies benefit from your deeper and more precise understanding of the world), Performance Magic:Music (for you, the beauty and power of music is mathematics in sound), Cautious with AL (you are too good in your specialty to make big mistakes), Book Learner (you have spent your life with books) and Gentle Gift (very useful when attending university.) Divination is not uncommon, using numerology to predict the future, nor is a Major Focus involving Intellego. However, your magic may be less spontaneous and you might waste vis and you might be a slow caster....



If you're doing a three-virtue replacement including numerology, you'll likely have Geometry as one of the three.

As I said, the way I would likely do it for a pure mathemagician while remaining within the RAW:

Major Non-Hermetic Virtue: Divination and Augury (Numerology)
Minor Hermetic Virtue: Hermetic Numerology
Major Hermetic Flaw: Whatever floats your boat (Twilight Prone with a tendency to go off spouting random numbers?)

One more thing I would consider when making a mathematical tradition within Ex Misc, though, is that if the tradition came from Hermetic exploration into mathematical magic, it's not a tradition Ex Miscellanea. With very few exceptions, those are just Mystery Cults, and the founder has no reason to leave his previous House.

Has this ever been clarified? Last I remember, there was a huge discussion about whether cautious with AL would reduce botch dice when casting cerimonially (including rituals). A lot of people, possibly the majority, thought this was not the case.


There has not been an official clarification, as far as I know.

There was a discussion and disagreement. YMMV.

(It is probably more optimal to take a Heroic Characteristic: Stamina, and choose Rock-steady spellcaster to add +1 to all casting scores and -1 to all botch dice for Hermetic spellcasting. :smiley:/2)



Then make up your own! I think that, in general, one should first think what you want your tradition to do, and then design the mechanics, rather than shopping around for an existing Virtue. Tell us what your non-hermetic numerologist should be able to do, and I'm sure the forum will come up with many interesting solutions. Do you want the tradition to be an "oracular" one? Do you want it to have power in arranging circumstances, a "fate manipulation" theme? Do you want his to be more of a "sacred architecture" tradition that can discover and engineer the feng shui of places?

Ultimately, I think keeping the 1 Major non-Hermetic Virtue, 1 Minor Hermetic Virtue, 1 Major Hermetic Flaw is not so much an issue of game balance, as of flavour. The Major non-Hermetic Virtue is supposed to be the central aspect around which the tradition was based before joining the Order. The Minor Hermetic one is supposed to be the way this was adapted to Hermetic Magic. The Major Flaw is supposed to reflect the fundamental incompatibility between the two. If you turn the Major Virtue into a Minor one, or a cluster of minor ones that are "useful" but around which it would be hard to base a mystical tradition, much of the flavour is lost.

Possibly, if your goal is Hermetic spellcasting, though Heroic Virtues are only available if you have another appropriate Virtue or Flaw (e.g. Mythic Blood or Legacy)!

Couple of excellent ideas in here.

Tackling them in a random order

  1. Magister in Arbitus, I looked at this initially but rejected it based on the only-one-social-status rule, now I realise that actually, the Ex Misc rule should supersede that and Magister in Arbitus fits quite well. I'm guessing then that for this purpose, the character would need to have his magister years outside his apprenticeship years. There's three ways to do this that I can see. a) Your years as a magister are pre-apprenticeship, this would make you at least (25-int)+15 years old. You'd get the +30xp per year for eight of these years for 45xp a year, or b) You get these after your apprenticeship, no real mechanical differences but it does mean you have been a magus for 8 years, or c) don't worry about when, assume that it happened pre-during-after apprenticeship and just have 240xp to spent on academic abilities and teaching. Maintaining your position will be very hard once the campaign is running so assume that the XP boost is really the bonus of the virtue.

  2. Taking three minor virtues. I considered this but frankly I find 3 minor virtues much more potent than a single major virtue. I could then happily take Numerology, geometry and something else fun. I'd be happy with that of course but I'd be cautious if I were the GM and my player proposed it.

  3. Divination and Augury. I avoided this only because I'm currently running a character with it. I agree it fits perfectly otherwise and would almost certainly take it. Also Divination (numerology) is Really, Really good once you get a major numerologists book (easy if its your talisman) and enchant it with that handy effect from the divination section. Truly massive bonuses.

  4. Sucking up the difference. Ya, would suck. Not really worth exploring as an option.

  5. Celestial magic. Good call, didn't want to go full mysteries in two different branches but actually for a scholar mage it fits very well.

  6. other thoughts. I like the idea of this as the starting rank in a mystery cult where there are greater mysteries to be found which was one reason I initially shied away from divination and celestial magic which are excellent things to discover as they are so powerful. However, I think its quite easy to work around this, the starting character could easily be several initiations in after all.

Magister in Artibus is explicitly permitted for Hermetic Magi:

... and it is awesome for a number of Ex Misc concepts, certainly including a mathematician!

Magister in Artibus is awesome for a lot of concepts for Magi. Latin and Artes Liberales being paid for with the virtue frees up 55-80 xp for the Apprentice to focus on Arts. It should make the character older than average, and depending upon Intelligence force aging rolls before or shortly after gauntlet. The apprenticeship should start after the MiA, IMO.

For a Major Virtue, that's not very much - the bigger mechanical benefit is if your concept (like this one) calls for really high AL scores, or for high stats in other Academic Abilities. (Or of course, if you want to have a good Teaching skill straight out the gate.) If you just want to free up junk XP for more magic, Baccalaureus has you covered.

Note, I didn't say every concept... :wink: And, please note that I said you free up 80 xp to be spent on other stuff, I said nothing about the other 145 xp that may be spent on other things...

I dislike Baccalaureus as virtue, unless one is playing in an Academic focused saga.

I confess to disliking the academic social statii, as used, in general, though probably for different reasons from you. They advantage the Western European university system, and disprivilege every other scholarly group - and I really don't think that Western Christians in this time period should have access to academic virtues that other systems in the Theban, Levantine, and especially Iberian Tribunals can't match. (And, for that matter, they privilege university education over Hermetic pre-apprenticeship in cases where an apprentice had a period of training pre-Opening, which is standard - if uneven - in Thebes and not entirely uncommon elsewhere.)


In one sense this is fair and to an extent I even agree: AM in all editions privilege certain backgrounds over others, with greater focus, more information and extensive virtues of flaws to add flavor and power.

But overall, I see things differently: AM has always been primarily focused on Europe, especially Christian Europe. AM5 covers more of the periphery, which remains just that. I don't expect the same coverage of Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Confucianism or even (with apologies to DC) Shintoism. A book about warfare and nobility in France and Italy will similarly privilege Europeans over Mongols, which in most sagas is totally reasonable.

Fortunately, it is easy enough to say, "Hey, the Arabs had at least as much education going on as the Europeans, so I'd like to take a Major Virtue that gives me similar xp and status."

I am a big, big fan of reskinning virtues and flaws.



OK, so having a deeper look at the Magister-in-arbitus option.

For character generation, lets assume the character did their stretch at university before being undertaking their apprenticeship.

5 year for early life.
10 years for life before apprentice/university

that puts the character at 15 years of age and 195xp. Do we think that you could start any earlier than 15? Is 15 early but acceptable?

Then 8 years at the university covered by the virtue for 45 xp points a year, or 360xp.

Character is now 23 and at 555xp

Hermetic apprenticeship takes 15 years and adds 240 xp

Character is now 38 years old and has 795xp.

Does this seem doable? Do the timescales seem sensible? Can the time be reduced at all?


Yes, you can comfortably reduce the timeline. Being at university can overlap being an apprentice.

RAW, the only requirements to meet involve 5 years of childhood (120xp), 15 distinct years of apprenticeship (xps as written), an arbitrary number of years between childhood and apprenticeship (15xp/year), and starting age of ~25-Int (Magister xps gained are extra and not per-year.)

It doesn't break anything if a magus emerges from Gauntlet, say 25 years old, with 240xps for his Major Virtue, the usual xps for his apprenticeship and childhood, and 75xps for adolescence.

The standard character creation rules are a little bit handwavy, even more than other game rules. Magister becomes a horrible virtue if you have to start play old, and even more horrible if you get cheated out of adolescence xps. Don't take this 'virtue' in that kind of saga.



Gribble, I've done it. Three times. It's doable. I disagree with Ovarwa that it's a horrible virtue and can be done concurrently with Apprenticeship.
The age of the character with MiA is a function of his intelligence and what he does after achieving the status.
If you examine Apprentices and how the 240 xp from apprenticeship is accumulated it is not at all handwavium in the amount of xp, but maybe in the allocation of said XP. If you use Apprentices, it clearly leaves no room for one to complete their University instruction and complete two years of compulsory teaching while being a Hermetic Apprentice.