Can I find examples anywhere of PC magi who have gone from Gauntlet to become very powerful decades later? Is there anywhere with some collected data on PC magi and their advancement and XP gain? I couldn't find any by searching the forums, but perhaps I didn't use the right search terms.
And please feel free to post any examples of advanced PC magi from your saga in this thread - I'd be interested to see them. I am particularly interested in those who began the saga straight out of Gauntlet (other examples could be interesting too but please state if they were generated as a more powerful magus to begin with).
Magi of Hermes (MoH) contains the beginnings and development (some for at least 45 years, others for 75 years) of 15 magi which could have been PCs. @Erik_Tyrrell on this forum has developed Ranulf to 150 years beyond apprenticeship, and also other magi.
All of the above magi were generated with the 30 xp per year given in the core book on page 32, after apprenticeship. However, none of these characters ever took the option of spending xp to learn spells per the second paragraph in the rightmost column, I've always thought that it was unrealistic and I was able, with little effort to convince the other Anulus connectens authors to abandon it for the purposes of the project as well. All of the lab work was worked out.
I have some general thoughts from having advanced a magus several times. First is the stages I went through with each of the magi.
For the first 45-90 years, (it varies a great deal), a maga or magus is desperately working to plug the holes they have in their skill set, while also trying to accomplish all of the things you had wanted that character to do when you envisioned them.
After this point the stress level drops significantly the character can leisurely go on to master that thing that they want to master
(4.,5...)Now they've mastered that thing and it's time to give them a new goal. Repeat as inspiration provides.
Andreva went through the first stage very quickly, Terram is practical. I now have a dozen or so ideas of spells and effects that I'd do for her in years 91-105 that fit into step 2 but I didn't have them at the time we were writing, which is why she sort of step 3'd into a new goal of living through a wizard war.
Ranulf had a much harder time of it because accomplishing most things with ignem is really challenging. He didn't really get to step three until 120 years out.
Adelbert had finished his primary delve into investigation magic at 90 years out of apprenticeship and switched to animal magic. He then took 15 years off at 121-135 to delve into longevity rituals. He went back to Animal/intellego stuff for 135-150.
A second thought is that the magi never really leave their first specialty.
Ranulf's work with his familiar and his work with auram was still primarily building on his ignem capabilities.
Adelbert spent almost half his life working in animal spells and devices - but these animal things all ended up having a huge focus on intellego (i.e. have the creatures do all of the searching and investigating for him). Even when he buckled down to get one last amazing longevity ritual in before it was too late, the modifications to his lab ended up with a fair amount of Intelego in them.
Andreva used swords to survive her wizard's war just like she used swords for everything else.
The strongest art for both Ranulf and Adelbert stopped it's rapid growth once the character had a score a bit above 30. Once they could research what they needed in a season or two, the motivation to gain an even higher art level was greatly diminished. The core book mentions 40 as a practical maximum art level for a character with both affinity and pusiant. I think that this is about right, but it's got more to do with diminishing returns than with impossible numbers.
You write the above @Erik_Tyrrell and it reminded me of when I read your post about Adelbert. However I have not been able to determine how you actually did give your characters spells. You seem to have modified the advancement scheme from the core book but I have a hard time figuring out what you did. It seems a bit like your system is to advance in 15 year chunks with 10 of those years being normal progression and 5 being set aside for labwork (so 5x4 seasons = 20 in total)? is that true? I am asking because I am curious about your system in terms of applying it to my own game.
By the book, advancing magi is done with 30 exp per year. That’s an average of 7,5 per season, which seems low considering what the Quality of books typically is. But it also covers simulating spending an entire season on a short 5 exp adventure, in order to improve an ability you gave no other study sources for. Or for no-better-than-average rolls for vis study, which is likely the only option in the high end of the Arts scale.
Lab work calculated as normal, but each season in lab subtracts 10 exp from that year, so you might as well lump lab seasons together for fully years. But gain no exp in lab seasons, not even exposure.
This is how I did my magi in those two forum projects.
And I paid no mind to which study sources or what vis was available.
For every year, the magus gets 30 points.
Each point can be an experience point in an Art
or Ability or one level of spell.
but a few sentences later the corebook also says:
If you wish to have
your magus engage in other lab activities (such
as creating items, enchanting familiars, and in
particular creating Longevity Rituals) you will
need to know more about the circumstances in
which he has been working...(typical magus set up)
...For each season that your magus spends
working on a lab project, the character loses
10 points from the yearly 30 experience
points, to a minimum of 0 if three or four seasons are spent on lab work...(stuff about complete years, and how 30 levels of spells per years is too few)...
You may therefore want to use these rules to have a magus
learn spells as a lab project if you are advancing
him more than forty years or so beyond apprenticeship
That's it. I (we) just used the 30 xp per year and, for the most part, took complete years off whenever the character was going to do any labwork. (30 levels per year is always a poor fit.)
I did follow the precedent that was set in Magi of Hermes where, when training an apprentice, the character could take the seasons of teaching out in full chunks (i.e. eight years of having an apprentice could be taken as six years with full 30 xp and two years devoted to teaching, rather than eight years at 20 xp each).
With Ranulf and Adelbert, I mostly gave the familiars less than 30 xp per year (however I gave then their full xp in 120-150). With annulus connectens we gave the familiars full xp. for the entire project.
My model, to the extent that I have one, is that vis study is impractical for the magi at the high end of the Arts scale because of the expense of the vis and the chance of botching when using that many pawns of vis. Instead, I envision powerful magi being the main consumers of the low quality "vain" tractati that almost any magus can produce.
Imagine that 180 year old Adelbert has the seven pawns of intellego vis that he'd need for a season of study. He could blow all of them on a single season of study and have a decent chance of entering final twilight in the process. Or, he could trade four of those pawns and get two quality 7 tractati and still have three left over to fund collecting Reillia or finding Significatos.
That's unfortunately very true, and one of the few areas in which I feel that ArM5 is inferior to ArM2/3 -- where studying from books was better than studying from vis at the lower levels but useless beyond a certain point. You could stand on the shoulders of giants only while you were still a dwarf