Hedge Wizard -- Elementalist (RAW questions)

One of my players has come up with a great character concept for a gifted Hedge Elemental Theurgist who joins the Order as an Ex Misc, and I'm inclined to allow it. This will be our first stab at using the Hedge Magic rules, and I have a few questions. I also want to make sure it doesn't unbalance the game.

A) Has anyone run a game where one of the Magi was a Hedge Wizard before joining the order, and starts play with a few supernatural abilities as well as the Hermetic Arts? As I read the RAW, it seems possible, as long as his Parens has a high enough InVi lab total to successfully open the Hermetic Arts (5th ed rules, p 106-7). Has this upset the balance?

B) As I read the Hedge RAW, it seems the character could start the game with the following virtues. Am I reading this correctly? Is this how he'd build a character that wants to be able to Summon and Control Water Elementals?

Elemental Theurgy (major)
Form -- Elementalist Water (minor)
Tech -- Summoning (Theurgical) (major)
Tech -- Controlling (Theurgical) (major)

total of 10 points of Virtues

C) According to the Elementalist Societies rules on HM p 27, it seems like it's possible to get more virtues by being Initiated by a Society. I'm not asking because I want the player to make a powerhouse, but rather because this makes me believe I might be reading the rules wrong. Does one need to take the above virtues to gain the appropriate supernatural abilities?
The rules state: "It is possible ... to open a Gifted student to all of the Arts associated with a society. This gives him a score of 0 in all those Arts." The "Apostles of Apollonius" on the same page have the following favored Arts listed: Theugical Summoning, Theurgical Controlling, and all 4 Elementalist Forms. So, according to the way I'm reading the rules, to start with all of these Supernatural Abilities you'd have a total of 13 pts of Virtues. (The 10 pts for the Virtues listed above plus the 3 additional Forms of Earth, Fire, and Air.) What don't I understand?

Please help. Thanks!

Of course! Hope I can help.

I have played this before, yes. Not with an elementalist, though. When I did this, I always took the extra Abilities as Virtues. If your player does the same, it shouldn't be unbalancing. That sounds like what you want to do, so no worries.

That's possible, though I usually wouldn't let a character spend so many points of Virtues on things that are so mechanical. More than 7 of the character's starting Virtue points spent on its speciality is probably too many. For an Ex Misc, that's not counting the two Virtues they get from their tradition, though, so I guess it's all right because Summoning is probably what the character gets. What did you have in mind for the character's Minor Hermetic Virtue? Maybe Puissant Rego?

Also, Elemental Theurgy isn't as useful for a character with only one Form, because you only get one point of experience out of it. You're probably better off taking something like Affinity with Elementalist Water or Puissant Elementalist Water instead.

Well, first, that's only 10 points of Virtues; 3 for Summoning, 3 for Controlling, and 1 for each of the four Forms. :slight_smile:

It is certainly possible for a Gifted character who has been opened to Hermetic magic to learn those Abilities from the Apostles. Anyone with The Gift can learn Supernatural Abilities. However, unless the character has had his Gift opened into the Apostles' tradition, he will have to subtract his scores in all of his Hermetic Arts and any other Supernatural Abilities he has from his study total. This is a significant enough penalty that it is effectively impossible for most characters. If his Gift is also opened by the Apostles, he doesn't have to subtract anything from his total when studying their Abilities. So practically speaking, to be able to learn them, the character must have his Gift opened by both traditions.

There isn't really a good way in canon to represent that the character has had his Arts opened by two traditions. Maybe a Major Virtue would work, to leave the door open for a character to be able to learn the remaining Forms from a teacher later through play. Or this character could just take the remaining Forms as Virtues, as it costs the same. Basically, if a magus character has Supernatural Abilities at the start of play, I figure you have to have taken the Virtues for them. The rest is back story for how he got them. :slight_smile:

I think there was something in the Witches chapter of Hedge Magic actually, but serf's parma applies

The possibility to be opened woithout supernatural abilities hindering the lab total, yup.

I do not see much of a problem with the chartacter, except that his virtues are purely mechanic, and that having to split his studies between 2 traditions might weaken him a lot magically compared to his peers. If he also wants to be an Hermetic, I would simply take the Elementalist virtue and a focus in water. But that is me :slight_smile: If your player has a cool concept, hell, go for it right away! :smiley:


I do think when you have the gift, you can use every technique/form without buying virtue (also for gruagachan or learned magicians!).

Correct, If you are Gifted, the Free Social Status Virtue allows you to have been Opened to the Arts, meaning you get the favoured Hedge Arts / Abilities of your tradition for free. Much like a Hermetic Magus gaining the 15 Hermetic Arts for free. So an Apostle of Appollonius has all the favoured Arts, and still has 10 points of Virtues and Flaws to spend like any other character.

In theory, a character could be Opened by the Apostles of Appollonius and then be Opened to the Hermetic Arts. However, as the rules state, you need to account for the previous tradition when opening the Hermetic Arts:

Since the character has two Major Virtues (2 x 30) and four Minor Virtues (4 x 10) of relevance, the Lab Total for the master has to be at least 100, even if the apprentice has zeros in all Arts. Further, the Lab Total has to be 200 to preserve the non-Hermetic Arts. That's a bit of a stretch for most magi!



If the character concept is good enough i would advise not to dig into the rules TOO much. You will just spend a huge amount of time to try to work around the rulebook instead of getting the character playable.
Fluff and fudge the rules, have it be a "one-off" unique combination of abilities. Let it cost a major virtue or two but leave it at that so the player can have something else as well(with SG approval).