Handling Apprentices

Hello all

My long anticipated (by me) Scions of Nathas game is now up and running, something about which i'll probably mention more in future posts. In the meantime, I've been thinking about apprentices.

By a serious of unfortunate events, several of the PCs have acquired apprentices. Now in my old Brunnaburgh campaign I allowed the players to run the apprentices as PCs controlled by the same player. I.e. they played master and apprentice.

It worked fine but i was aware of the missed potential for interesting RP opportunities, not least the fact that a Sith style, "Now I am the master" moment has less impact when one is speaking to oneself.

So this time, I, as sole GM am hanging ontothe apprentices character sheets and playing them as NPCs, with the view to possibly farming them out to the players later (but not to the player of their master).

I'm keeping the stats of the apprentice secret from the magus training them to minimise munchkinism and numbers shennanigans. I am of course letting my PCs know rough levels. i.e. he knows the basics of hunting but clearly hasn't acquired the skills you have through practice (which means, he has a hunt score of at least 1 but lower than your own 3).

I'm going to throw open the floor to my Players to help me come up with suitable virtues and flaws for the apprentices.

So, my query, how do you guys handle apprentices. Are they played by the player of the master or another player, are they NPCs, do you design them as a troupe, do you disclose character sheets?

Either played by an other player or as Grogs. They are sometimes pooled and played by a random player. The changes in personality that result from that is generally attributed to immaturity. if an act is specially cheered, that apprentice tends to develop that personality in further acts, regardless of the player playing it. The same happens with the grogs, so it is not a problem for us.

Most of the time they are NPCs unless the current SG wants them to be pivotal/important in the story to be told. it can either be an apprentice adventure to chill out after a climatic adventure in the previous sessions, a case of we go to town and the apprentices causes BIG trouble intentionally or not) or the apprentice remains a NPC but is an important plot element.


We just have our first few apprentices,

My apprentice already had the ripe age of 16 when found, and seems to me quite a playable character, especially when noting that I have the mercurian magic virtue, making it harder to spont spells, thus the apprentice will blend with companion power level until the time I learn the apprentice formulaic spells. As a magus Trianomae, I think it is important for the apprentice to look around in the world, so I will take any apprentices I take on any adventure my magus goes. I would also be proud if the apprentice would talk back to me and tried finding their own solutions.

The other apprentice is 10, and will be more sheltered, the 6 years age difference will make for less of a rounded character to start with, and difference in teaching style will mean it is less fun to play it as a character.

In my Toulouse game, we had apprentices controlled by a different player. It seemed to work well enough, although the magi all put way too much work into their apprentices. They really spoiled them.

Ditto, on both counts.

Any player but the master can play an apprentice just like as if it was a normal character. So if someone wants to create a neat new apprentice, they have to let the PC magi of another player be the master.

Works reasonably well enough. Never seen any serious problems with it at least.

I agree with this ruling; it's one I'm going to be using myself. May I ask you what your reasoning for it was?

These are all great points and they work well to generate interesting stories.

However I am going to argue the opposite.

If a player is going to be sacrificing so much of his time to teach, encourage and develop an interesting apprentice then he should be able to reap the benefits. This would be particularly important when players have differing approaches to train their students.

What happens when one player just wants to o the minimum of one season training a year and for the reast of the time treat the apprentice as simply a Lab Modifier with arms? Compare this to the player who wants to take advantage of the Apprentices Book and has his Mag take a real interest in his students education.

If you are swapping apprentices then one player is going to have a well developed character while the other is going to be stuck playing a piece of animated lab equipment.

I feel that while it may lead to interesting role playing the unfairness of it may cause reduced enjoyment in the game for the player who has really put the effort into training.

Also it was always a concept n earlier editions that when you where ready to retire your Mage you could keep playing in the campaign as your apprentice. Eventually you could have a line for former pc mages gong back generations.

While apprentices are susceptible to being min maxed I feel that if a player wants to spend 15 years or more of game time (and many many sessions) developing a replacement character he should be free to do so.

Avoiding the temptation of going munchkin originally IIRC. Those i´ve played with rarely do so, they´re more likely to go retarded munchkin(ie getting superduper in some silly rather than useful way), but as already noted it´s also a way to make sure there´s real interaction between master and apprentice, since both are run by players.

Quinchris also has a good point though and i´m totally not adverse to letting someone run both master and apprentice if there´s a decent reason for it(and we have done it that way as well, it´s just not standard ).

Please do! :slight_smile:

Yes? Clearly these are different approaches to apprentices. A roleplay decission. Also, if you've ever dealt with children or (epecially) teenagers, you'll know that things never go according to plan.

Not sure 'stuck' is the expression i'd like. If the apprentice is his/her primary character, that's a problem. If not, how can someone be 'stuck' like that? Why can someone play only one apprentice? If there are specific apprentice stories, are they fools enough to not bring a 'grog' (ie. the one kid in the covenant not too spooked by their gift to talk to them). If it's mostly a matter of adding a little personality to an NPC, there's plenty of opportunity to do this while in the lab - perhaps more than if you're told to study in the library as you have more en-face time with the master.

had a player who was really looking forward to playing the apprentice of the lab-rat verditius. He was expecting (as I understand) to get them both into soooo much trouble.

Yes, here's a valid concern. It's very hard to keep detailed apprentices around the same starting XPs as the starting point suggested by the core book. They tend to have way more XPs. But if you let players teach their own replacements, I can largely assure you that those apprentices will be cuddled and taught well beyond the standards of the Order.

That is a valid thought. This depends on how your saga works.
But can't you do this just as well with the apprentice of another magus?
I remember specifically choosing to play (well, breathe a little life into) the apprentice of our Tremere, because then I'd have an obvious new character, rather than my (above mentioned) lab-rat verditius.
A change of pace if you will.

I'm really looking forward to the "new" Rhine saga (well, it's the newest of my sagas, althoygh it started in january) and to see if we can get apprentices trained during play to be not quite so über-powered as we've sene before, and as Tellus mentions.

A few things we intend to do:
*Use the apprentice for 'slave-work'. If the parens have responsibilities to the covenant and need pu in seasons of service, why not have the apprentice do it? If you do copy work fix ACs for even more senior magi etc.
*Don't allow apprentices to study freely from the library? If the parens have worked hard for a respectable library, or even have to put in seasons of service for the covenant in order to gain access, then why should a mere apprentice be allowed to study as well? Did they contribute? No! What an apprentice's study time subtracts from the time the parens may study? Then you'll see a lot less studying.
*Have another player player play and run the apprentice, and allow him or her to play the apprentice with some freedom.
*Try not to create the 'perfect apprentice' - even if the parens is a perfectionist wanting this. I know it is easy to load up the kid with booster virtues: Book Learner, Adept Student, Int +5, Puissant and Affinity Magic Theory etc...But unless you've spent forever finding such an individual, or paid thoroughly for it with stories this should not happen.
We saw a horrible example of such a genius able to integrate rune magic easily just post gauntlet.

But a super apprentice will quickly surpass the master, and you need to decide if you really want this. The parens may have worked hard to get high levels in specialities, and eventually stories led to good swag and there may be a summa just below the master's level, plus some tractatus. So the apprentice with Book Learner and Affinity in said speciality easily matches the mastern's level or even exceeds it. Just like a magus created at age Gauntlet+x years with no concern for availability of books easily has higher levels than a magus playes for X years if good books are't readily available.

However whenever I've played a magus witn an apprentice I find myself wanting to get a good one. Although I know it is more fun otherwise. And I almost never use their help in the lab, because they aren't very good. And once they are good they are almost finished with apprenticeship. I want to change that.

Perhaps the problem I have is the old idea of having some one else run your character. Puting thought and imagination into developing an apprentices backstory, motivations and personality and then giving it to some one else.

Just know know in your heart that not one will ever treat your character the "right" way.

As I GM I would probably think the idea of swapping apprentices would be great but I know that as a player I would hate it.

But you could avoid this by having whomever is going to play the apprentice make the apprentice. Then players are making their own characters and putting time into their own characters.


To me, an apprentice hasn't really got a backstory, motivation and personality yet. They're a child. Their personality and motivation will emerge.

We had a third party stat the apprentice. It was nice, in that it created imperfect characters. A lot of virtues and flaws which don't normally see play, ended up coming up.

Well of course...