Hermetic Generations

What is the avarage (hermetic) age at which a magus trains his first apprentice?

I realise that this is highly individual to each magus. The reason I am thinking about it is since a member of a True Lineage house should be able to trace his "bloodline" back to the founder of his house. So, how many generations have passed since the creation and subsequent teaching of Hermetic Magic? (not counting the first step of Bonisagus teaching the other founders, also Trianoma counts as her own bloodline)

Do you think there still exists a "direct bloodline" to any of the founders? As in first apprentice to first apprentice all the way to the present.

It's not just relevant to the True Lineage houses. Infact being a "decendant" of one of the founders would be more special in all of the other houses :slight_smile:

My guesstimate is that newly apprenticed magi in 1220 are of the tenth generation (the founders being the first). Reasoning from 2 generations of magi per 100 years and the second generation coming at around 800.

2 generations per 100 is probably close. My general sense is that most magi don't consider taking apprentice until they are 30 years post gauntlet. I think this is even suggested in Guardians of the Forest.

It may seem that one has all the time in the world to learn to be a good master prior to that time, but if all you've done is focus on getting your Arts to 5, then you're not going to be able to teach an apprentice much at all. I'm speaking from experience here. One of my characters is being forced to take an apprentice only 9 years post gauntlet, before being ready, and has to focus on getting his Arts to 5, but when he's done, he's not going to be able to teach her all that much, since he doesn't know all that much... Well, he knows quite a bit, but doesn't want to make his apprentice a copy of himself...

We know of at least one such canonical case - the leader of the Abyssal Bearer Vexillation is the direct hermetic descendent of Tremere. (Page 122 of HoH:TL). She gets the job (which means she is charge of making sure all Tremere's bodies are recovered for buriel by them), despite only being a young maga, automatically due to her "bloodline". The other three members of the vexillation are the direct hermetic descendants of the other bearers of Tremere's coffin.

On the other claw, a bonisagus technically doesn't have to have all their arts at 5 to take an apprentice. The rule only applies o opening one...

In doing the two Magi of Hermes characters and Adelbert I found that 45 years past gauntlet felt about right for a first apprentice (If you are on board with 30 xp per year for a typical magus). Earlier than that and the character had too many other things that they needed to attend to prior to getting five in every art.

Note that the first question ("what is the age at which you train your first apprentice") is not necessarily the key to answering the second ("how many generations separate you from your Founder?") -- perhaps your magus is the last apprentice of the last apprentice etc.

However, if we assume that the population of the Order is fairly stable, as the apprentices to masters ratio in the Guernicus chapter of HoH:TL seems to suggest, then the average number of apprentices per master is one, and it's the average age difference between parens and apprentice that tells you how many generations have passed. There are many ways to go at this, but if we assume that a parens' "fertility" remains roughly constant throughout his hermetic life (sure, it's lower in his first few decades because he's not competent enough, but it's also lower in the last decade or two, because he'll die/go into twilight etc. before completing the training), then the average apprentice starts getting trained when his parens is 120/2=60. This means that the average age difference between apprentice and parens is 60+15=75 years, and thus between a newly gauntleted magi in 1220 and his Founder there are on average some 6 additional magi (i.e. if your Founder is 1st generation, you are 8th generation).

Given that the nobility easily tracked a dozen generations or more at the time, it seems to me that many, probably most, magi would know the entirety of their lineage.

While this does involve moving away from averages, there is the fun of faerie regios and other strangeness that can cause lineages to hop over a century or more.

So the answer to 'how many generations removed from the founder am I' is pretty much whatever you want it to be. One is a viable answer.

But yes, it's safe to assume most non-hedgie magi can probably trace their lineage back to the founder of their house. Probably further than that; many of the founders already came from existing lineages; just not Hermetic ones. And its only 2-3 generations back to the schism war; in hermetic terms it's as far away from the 1220 magi as the second world war is for us; i.e. still pretty recent.

House Mercere has at least a dozen direct literal ("vulgar") blood descendants of Founder Mercere, and they are all his magical descendants as well. There is at least one (and presumably many more) Redcaps directly descended from Mercere as well. Mercere's bloodline runs true, but only presents the Gift so often. I suspect that not only do these magi know their blood and magical lineage, they have an excellent chart of their interrelationship and knows who to call "Cousin" "Aunt" "Great Uncle" "Great Grandfather" and so on.

The True Lineages value their descent particularly, and it's actually a point of membership. They can trace their lineage. Most of the other Houses have similar if weaker views of their Founders. Actually, in Houses Flambeau, Jerbiton, Verditius, Guernicus, and Tytalus being able to directly trace back to the House Founder would probably be a mild social advantage, or at least point of pride. Merinita and Criamon, less so, and Ex Miscellanea not at all - there may be no descendant of Pralix at all, for all most Magi Ex Miscellanea might know or care.

As to your main question, I think most magi do not take an apprentice until they are at least 15 years out of Gauntlet, so generally no younger than about 35-40 or so, with the idea that they take about that long to bring their Arts and magic theory and other vital skills up to reasonable mastery levels. With a 15 years with an apprentice on and 10 or so years off pattern, you might conclude that most magi produce two or three apprentices in a century, before death or twilight. There are surely exceptions - magi who take on more than one apprentice at a time, magi who start at age 30, magi who live to be 175, but on average...

One thing to consider, I think, is that the baseline assumption that Apprentices makes is that most magi will grind their apprentices for the full 3 seasons every year and are mediocre teachers. Given that, I think that a true lab rat will start his first apprentice as soon as he gets his top Lab Total to 40 and his Arts to 5 apiece. So the answer is that I'd assume 15 years post-Gauntlet, at a minimum, for first apprenticeship. Bonisagi can start earlier because they can let other magi do the heavy lifting of opening the Arts.

Off the top of my head, I'd expect Bonisagi to start earlier (which gives me the funny image of a freshly-Gauntleted magus Bonisagi taking an apprentice older than he is and nearly as experienced; this particular brainstorm is quite likely to get him Wizard's Warred, though), and Verditii also to take 'em young. Tremere and Mercere magi, and Theban magi in general, probably take apprentices at an older age.

Do you think there would be a stigmata associated with training an apprentice while being "to young" or "to inexperienced"? As has been pointed out one could train an apprentice very soon after apprenticeship (perhaps immediately after apprenticeship). Still all would probably agree that noone trains an apprentice that early in their hermetic life. So the reason isn't practical as much as social I would imagine. Either it is frowned upon to take an apprentice to early or the responsibllity of taking on an apprentice could be compared to the notion of "settling down" and "starting a family".

On the other hand, as was also mentioned, if you have a high enough hermetic age, taking a new apprentice might be inappropriate. Although at that point a bad reputation will hardly dissuade you. What do you think would be done with a half trained apprentice whose parens goes into an extended twilight period? Are other magi within their right to sieze and finish the apprentices training?

Another thought occurred to me when thinking about social norms within the order. Presumably one swears to train apprentices in the code (or perhaps you just swear that all apprentices you DO train will swear to the code). Either way one could easily stall or slither out of the responsibility to train an apprentice. Depending on your house that could be frowned upon (or perhaps it is frowned upon in all houses). If you for example are of House Tremere, at what age would a senior magus approach you and tell you in very direct terms that it is time you trained an apprentice?

In my mind no magus would consider training an apprentice before 20 or so years of "freedom", finding own experience and identity. On the other hand I think at about 60 or so years out of appreniceship other magi will start to bother you about when you were planning to have a "child of your own".

Sure. Canonically, as soon as an apprentice goes a year without getting his one-on-one season, the Code allows another magus to claim the apprentice by providing the season.

As I recall, Guardians of the forest does institutionalize this stigma. And I think it exists everywhere.

There isn't quite enough experience points available to train an apprentice right after apprenticeship. Normal apprenticeship grants 240 xp, 90 of which is compulsory for other things, leaving 150, which gets 10 out of 15 arts to 5. A skilled parens adds another 60 xp, which would then get 14 out of 15 Arts to 5. But it would be a very bland magus, indeed. That being said, I can see House Tremere getting their apprentices better prepared to teach the next round of apprentices, to rebuild after their losses in the Schism War.

There's also a good meta-game reason to not take an apprentice early: if you take one too early, some of those seasons that you could be using them as a lab assistant go wasted while you study. The apprentice may study something too, or practice, or something, but it's still not helping out the master. It's great for a player playing a student, and not so great for the player playing a master.

I'd say it's at least 35 years post gauntlet when the questions start coming of whether you've thought about searching for an apprentice. Say another decade of those questions and they get a bit more insistent.

Well, as with most things, a lot of this is a function of how quickly can you get your Arts up to 5, and how quickly can your character realize other goals that they might have. But, yes, I think 20 years or less will result in a bit of a stigma.

I think taking an apprentice should be done with all of the deliberation some people take to have children. Ask themselves, if they are at a right place in their lives to support another, "If I have an apprentice, what am I going to teach him, and what is he going to do when I'm not teaching him? Do I let him have access to books, it's not something my parens did (often?)."

Indeed, in the Rhine you need to have acquired the title of "Master" before you train an apprentice (with requirements of experience and reputation that are typically gained no earlier than after 20-30 as a magus), or you will get a bad reputation and the apprentice will be considered a magus ex Miscellanea, rather than of your lineage.

It takes 225 xp to train all Arts up to 5. This leaves only 15 xp from apprenticeship "free". Note that to be a magus of the Order those 90xp in Latin etc. are not compulsory (see Arm5, p.32), but "typical" and recommended. What's compulsory is Magic Theory 1, Latin 1, and Parma Magica 1, for a total of exactly 15xp. It would be a strange magus, of course, but if you want to "round him up" two picks of minor Virtues (Skilled Parens and, say, Arcane Lore or Baccalaureus) are more than adequate to bring him up to the "standard" 90xp, plus a few extra xp in Teaching, Order of Hermes Lore etc.

Agreed, barring very special circumstances.

No, they really are compulsory, or as close to it without being compulsory that it makes very little difference. Magic Theory less than three and you create labs with inherent flaws. I don't see Latin 1 as being viable. If you think Latin 1 is sufficient for a magus, then you've made a magus that can't learn anything except from someone else who shares a common language. Can't learn from books, and can't learn new spells from lab texts. Yes, it's possible, but it's not consistent with a social Order. But even stipulating that these are recommended minimums and not really compulsory combined with taking the extra virtues you mentioned, should reinforce the point that there's very little this type of character can teach the next generation. Teachers (should) always know more than they teach, and in many ways the only way Teachers of specialized subject areas can learn more about their subject areas is to teach it to others.

He's rounded alright...

To be fair I have a bonisagus maga who is considering taking an apprentice way to early to help with research, training him that year (which she could easily do in magic theory, almost regardless of how advanced they are), then gifting him to someone more advanced in experience than herself (or if really advanced a year of magic theory and the final training in parma magica). Given the possibility of wizard war however she wants to be sure she has the support of her covenant first... or the cooperation of the magus she is "stealing" them from (if she were to give them back after a year for example)

But ultimately with time bending regios I'd say the minimum answer is realistically 2 (none of the founders have been trapped in a time bending region- unless it is maybe Merinita- and the high end would be about 450 if a series of Bonisagus magi took then gauntleted an apprentice right after being themselves gauntleted (perhaps a lineage of 'robin hoods' taking apprentices who were being denied gauntleting despite being fully capable- unlikely but mathematically possible), more realistically if you assume that some principles of parenthood also apply (you are never really ready for you first child, and you will grow with them), the age of majority is 18, the generational length is 20-30 for modern reproductive models, multiply age of adulthood by roughly 1.5 for 27 years, apply to magi means average 'generation' would be 22.5 years from becoming an apprentice to taking one...

There are plenty of other ways to get value out of your apprentice's work aside from using him or her as a lab assistant. In fact I think that lab assistant is down around number 3 or 4 on the list of productive things that an apprentice can do.


One of the first things I'm going to have my apprentice do is fix ACs, even with a HR that allows us to fix more than one AC (function of Magic Theory) in a season, my character doesn't have any time. Scribing some books and texts is important, but hey. Since you said you can think of plenty of other ways, I'm calling you out. :smiley:

But their apprentices may well have been trapped in time bending regios, been changed into stone, or trapped themselves in extended twilight experiences outside of time for the last few hundred years.

True but either they are not newly gauntleted and this requires a special backstory or they didn't complete their apprenticeships.

Also keep in mind that depending on a number of factors, an apprentice won't make a good lab assistant the first few years. Even if you recruit someone with Int of 3, before age 8 the -4 modifier gives them an effective -1, and with no magic theory having them assist actually creates a penalty. If you open them (or at least begin teaching) one season a year from age 5, depending on your SQ they will really be a good lab assistant by age 10 at the earliest (effective Int 1, needs magic theory 4 for a +5 lab bonus, 4 years teaching with SQ:13 or higher) or if you have a lower com and teaching more likely age 12 (2 effective int, requires level:3, 6 seasons teaching, SQ:5+)

Calling me out ? :open_mouth:

Well obviously there is the arcane connection fixing, this is perhaps less important to you if you've made fixng AC's easier in your game but it is the activity that I put at approximately the same quantity of usefulness as lab assistant (why I said that being an assistant is like the 3rd or 4th thing on my list).

At the top of my list (as a tie) are creating copies of lab texts and casting tablets. The apprentice needs to learn Latin, Magic theory, and artes liberales anyway. Adding a single level of profession scribe will enable your little [strike]profit machine[/strike] apprentice to translate 60 levels of texts/casting tablets per season.

Older apprentices can extract vis while you are spending time in the lab, they may only get a pawn or two out of the exercise but vim vis is always useful.

If your apprentice spending their time copying lab texts at 60 levels per season it seems likely that you'll trade for lab texts that don't come in level multiples of 60- this provides you with an excellent opportunity to have them copy additional low level lab texts for lesser enchanted devices. Intelligence + magic theory + aura + even their apprentice level arts will often be enough to create lots of first through third magnitude lesser enchanted devices to make your covenant a better place.

Not just lesser enchanted devices but charged devices too. The lab text rules with charged items are quite advantageous. Using them, you can end up with several enchanted devices after a season.

You can send your apprentice to assist the grogs (keep the veteran turb sergeant in charge of the operation apprentices can be flighty) to take care of matters that might otherwise disturb your work. Hopefully they have a way to contact you, perhaps send your more valuable familiar along as well because the familiar probably has a way to get a hold of you in an emergency. In fact, put the familiar in charge then let them delegate to the veteran grog.

and if you can't find one of these things to have your apprentice do, you can lend the young lad or lass to a colleague to do one of the above in exchange for a reasonable compensation to you for loosing a season of your apprentice's work.

That's eight. Does eight count as plenty?