Help with "No need to Sleep" virtue


I'm in the middle of an argument with one of my player and need some advice.
He wants to create a character with the old "No need to sleep" +7 virtue of ArM3, although we're playing with ArM5.
In particular, he wants to be able to get a 5th season of study for free. So the similar Criamon Meditation virtue is not applicable.

So I have a few questions:

  • What were the reasons for removing this virtue from the game ? Was it purely for the +25% lab study this virtue gave the magus? Was that really imbalancing when you're perfectly free to create a Blood Giant + Greater Immunity (Iron) Black-Sheep Lycanthrope
  • Would you accept this in your own sagas?
  • If yes, would you take it as is or impose some sort of restrictions, and which ones.

I suggested some of them to him, but none were to his liking (I haven't yet come down on him like a ton of brick as the SG, but that may still happen :wink: )

  1. Make it so that the Virtue is only applicable in Magical or Faerie Auras > 6 - This to force him to get some extra Warping to balance the 5th season of free study. If the magus leaves the Aura, then to avoid sleeping, he will have to make a roll of Meditation (a new ability granted by taking this virtue) + Sta + Aura(Magical or Faerie) -#of_days_without_sleeping vs 6

  2. Make it so that the Virtue imposes a free major flaw, like Twilight Prone, which is in effect whenever he doesn't sleep at night.

  3. Make it so that any Lab work during the 5th season is subject to a high number of botches and Magical Mishaps.

  4. Divide by two the Lab Totals during the 5th season. I don't really like this one because I'd rather find a good counterbalancing effect rather than simply limit the effect of the virtue itself.

Any help, much appreciated

I liked numbers 2 and 3 the best. They seem to be the best balances in your list. Suggest it to him, and if he doesn't like it, tell him to come up with a better solution, or to shove it up his ***.

With redtrictions 2 and 3, I would definitly allow it in my saga.

In the covenants book, there is under labs, references to people that work nocturnal.

I would use that in part for the base:

  1. The base -1 health
  2. +2 general quality lab total for extra season since there is no one to disturb, no noise from outside

I would then add -2 safety (working one project at nights, another one during the day and so always a chance to potch) and -1 general quality any season he does regular labwork as well as the additional work at night. (so studying from books during day and lab work at night, this doesn't come into play. But inventing two spells or inventing spell/enchanting item would trigger this additional penalty

Also Any project he starts for the extra season starts at beginning of the year and doesn't finish until 4 seasons have passed. So if he adventures a season, not only does he get no progress on any normal season of work, he also gets no progress that season for his bonus lab work so results for the extra season are pushed off one season.

This is quite a bit of limitation. I would also make it count as two Major virtues including his one major hermetic (meaning only 4 pts of other virtures and they can't be major hermetic)

Tell him to have a Merinita character and aim for initiation into the Becoming Major Arcadian Mystery (HoH:MC page 93). Part of that process, Transforming the Mind, removes the need to sleep and actually adds two extra seasons a year. Of course this is not without its costs....

Since the extra 'season' is accumulated over the course of all 4 seasons, add all days missed for the entire year and subtract them from this extra 'season' to get the true penalty for missing days in the lab.

Does the player want the virtue to be the crazy character whose mind is snapped by too little sleep (and getting bonuses to match), or does the player want the virtue so he can get the extra season with any no sleep aspects an afterthought?

I think that you could create a major virtue that gave the character some value, but the Third edition extra season bit with no drawbacks is probably too strong for a major.

I like the idea of giving an extra season but taking a penalty to lab totals and study totals for all five seasons in order to do it. you could find a way to make that be a benefit to the character rather than rarely used option as a result of its penalties I think it would be cool.

There are laboratory rules on using magic to temporarily remove a character's need for sleep in Covenants .

I would allow it only for high cost, 7pts in this case. And only if his other virtue is strong fairie blood as origin of no sleep. This way he gets a lot of bonuses but cannot get other virtues which enhances learning like affinities and some others. Not to mention he cannot get other cool magus stuff like a magical focus (!).
This would be a real drawback for this munchkin and not some extra flaws.

Those rules totally assume a character that still needs sleep. Completely wrong in this case i would say.

Agreed mostly.

2 Major Virtues or 1 Major Virtue and 1 Major Flaw. :smiling_imp:

Like one of the following: Age Quickly(time available might remain the same, or not...), Lycanthrope(the shapechanger part is what removes the need for sleep), Diabolic Past( a bit more of that past remains than he would prefer), Plauged by Supernatural Entity/ Supernatural Nuisance(they/it make sure he´s always awake and alert to be pestered around the clock) , Blatant Gift/Difficult Longevity Ritual/ Magic Addiction/ Twilight Prone( the strongly manifest Gift keeps him alert at all times)...

Might also add that "need no sleep" doesnt have to be the same as "need no rest" even if it might.

Also, there are some cases known where people have gone for years without sleeping. Most "famed" probably the Thai man who after getting an injury havent slept since and doesnt even seem to need to replace the sleep with rest either(which i think the others i read about more or less did). And last i heard he had kept going like that for over 30 years without any visible bad effects.

I'd suggest that it would allow him the same bonus as working Triple overtime in his lab (+9 lab bonus i think), but wihtout the addditional aging rolls and bad health that normal magi get - yes he doesnt need to sleep, but concentrating for 24 hours a day isnt gonna happen, he will still need some off time, away from the lab just to regain his focus. You may or may not want to inflict the additional wraping as well for being in the lab that long.

This has the one side effect that it wont effect his advancement totals, meaning he wont start running ahead of the rest of the group is your giving them lots of study time.


Thanks for all the suggestions.

I think I like the simplicity of the last reply from Kal: Free Triple Overtime.
He wouldn't get a 5th season (which was always going to be difficult to explain from a chronological POV) but a +9 to his Lab Total.
I would however give him some bad health modifier: Staying 16h/24h in the same room with stale air and working under poor lighting conditions for half the time has got to pay its toll at some point. Of course he can then design his Lab to take care of these aspects as well.

RoP: Magic has a major magic quality (equivalent to a major virtue, if the character has a might score) which is called 'No Fatigue' on p40.

The character's might score subtracts from all advancement totals - you'll need RoP: Magic for the details - but there are ways around that (eg a might score of zero).

It gives 2 extra seasons per year for research because the character does not need to sleep. The penalties linked to this are the total lack of fatigue levels - the character cannot do anything that requires expending fatigue, but confidence points can be used instead of fatigue. Effectively, the character can't do spontaneous magic by dividing by 2, he must divide by 5 most of the time and other problems.

I have a magical character in my current game and this has not been unbalancing (yet - the player has missed a lot of sessions and therefore xp). I have tied the actual labwork to the seasons and insisted that the bonus seasons are not spent in the lab. Reading or writing books or practicing etc are fine.

Is your player a munchkin? If not, don't penalise the character. 7 pts just for this seems a bit harsh if you run a saga which has a lot of adventuring xp. Not sleeping linked to no fatigue levels seems to work fine for 3 pts.

Yeah, the magical might thing might work. RAther than no sleep flaw at start. Maybe pose it as something to work towards: becoming a being with magical might. THen with 3 pts of magical might (sure it subtracts from study totals, but there is a price for everything), you get the benefits of extra seasons at cost of no fatigue type activities.

Then again not allowing the season to be in lab unless they are not in lab otherwise makes sense. Doing two different lab projects (one during day, one at night for extra season) in same lab at same time is asking for one of them to blow up in your face.