Characters may be any age post gauntlet that the player wishes.
Each player will create a thread for their magus character. The first post needs to be edited to the magus in play. The second post will be the magus at gauntlet, and the third post will be the magus at the start of the saga. You can have additional posts beyond that, but I want all of the threads to look the same to make it easier for me to look through them.
For magi, each season grants 10 xp worth of experience, if no other activity is undertaken during that season. If you do something during a season, such as finding a familiar, binding the familiar, finding an apprentice, teaching an apprentice, perform labwork to invent spells or items, to name the most common things that will be done, you do not get any experience for the season, not even exposure. In order for me to easily reconcile the character's XP build you should create a fake ability called Seasons Not Advanced, and stick 10 xp in it whenever you do something else.
Magi also accumulate 5 Covenant BPs worth of stuff per year post gauntlet. These BPs may be spent during development and/or conserved for use at the commencement of the saga. Pretty much every character, unless they are young, will end up using some of their BPs to purchase a Longevity ritual.
Characters accrue 5 build points per season of post gauntlet advancement.
During character generation, no more than 10% of your BPs can be converted to vis and spent. That is, if you have accumulated 10 build points (2 years PG), you can convert one of those build points into vis and use it as you desire. No limits on Form/Technique, completely up to the player. But this puts a limit on what yo do later. If you've accumulated 100 build points, no more than 10 of those build points can be converted into vis. If you used build points earlier in your development (extremely likely) of say 2 build points, you can only convert 8 build points at that point of time in development.
Buying a LR
(Normal vis cost you would pay) + (1 pawn per mag up to 10) + (2 pawns per mag from 11 to 15) +(3 per mag from 16-20) + 1 season of XP sacrificed.
Assume you gauntleted at age 25, by age 35, you've accumulated 10 seasons of build points, 50 build points. No more than 5 of those build points can have been used as vis up to this point, which equals 25 pawns of vis. If you saved all of the vis during your development period, and spend it now, the best longevity ritual that can be bought from a specialist looks like: 7 (base cost)+10*(1 pawn per magnitude up to 10) +4*(2 pawns per magnitude from 11 to 15)=25 pawns of vis, for a 14th magnitude Longevity Ritual. That's pretty good.
Because of the restrictions I have on vis, you might think that you can't have items. This isn't strictly true, you just have to live within the vis limitations, or spend build points to create them. This becomes something of a triangle choice of seasons of advancement, spending vis to make items in the lab, or using build points to acquire useful items. The only item that I'm prohibiting now is one that casts The Ambulatory Laboratory.
Only 30 bps may be spent on Hermetic summae (whether Arts or abilities of interest to magi, such as Parma, Penetration, Finesse to name a few abilities). The rest of the books have to be tractatus or outside of the general intests of magi.
Ritual Magic is risky. A casting roll for Ritual Magic is never cast in a relaxed manner due to the amount of power in play. However, to not have ridiculous levels of botch risk in play, there are two methods for working Ritual Magic.
The errata on Muto Vim, means that Wizard's Communion affecting a ritual spell must be as long as the duration of the spell casting, which is greater than momentary or diameter. I'm ruling D: Concentration doesn't work with Wizard's Communion in rituals, so it must be D:Sun to affect a ritual spell, which we will call Ritual Communion to differentiate it from Wizard's Communion. Those with Mercurian Magic learn Ritual Communion at the indicated level. Ritual Communion, with the longer duration provides 2 magnitudes less for the calculation to determine spell level/penetration outlined in Wizard's Communion. Ritual Communion 30 counts as a 4th magnitude spell.
The Path of Experience
This is the traditional path, of spell mastery and the Golden Cord to mitigate the risk of botching any spell, which also applies to Ritual Magic. It seems reasonable that a magus with advanced experience should have multiple tricks to minimize botching.
The Path of Time
In this path, one may exchange a season of advancement/activity and can negate up to 7 botch dice. The time is spent aligning all of the elements of the ritual, preparing the mind, tuning the mystical energies necessary to cast the spell, investigate vis for its suitability to the ritual, perhaps trading it out for more optimized pawns of vis with the Redcaps. 7 botch dice, coincidentally aligns with the most common version of Aegis of the Hearth used in the Order, the 6th magnitude version, which has 6 botch dice coming from vis and 1 from the base casting roll. The Path of Time can also be combined with Spell Mastery and the Golden Cord to further reduce the risk of botching on even more powerful rituals. One additional advantage to the Path of Time, is that for spells which need a Wizard's Communion to be cast at all, or with sufficient Penetration (see below), is that it negates all risk of botching the Wizard's Communion spell, because it is presumed to be part of the overall ritual of the spell, which was worked through during the season time leading up to the ritual.
Vis in spell Casting
Using vis is always a risky endeavor. A careful reading in the vis section of the core rule book provides contradictory rules, though. Using vis always adds a botch die for each pawn of vis used. It can never be relaxed, and spell mastery only removes 1 botch die per level of spell mastery.
The rules state that one may use a stress die to cast spells, if they have mastered a spell and are in relaxed situations, in order to get a chance at an exploding die roll. This is fine, however, one is never relaxed when working on a Monte Carlo situation, to cast a spell until they get a desired exploding die roll. Casting a spell more than 3 times in a row will result in all subsequent attempts at casting being in a stressful situation, with full risks of botching. After 9 times casting, each subsequent casting will incur an additional botch die. (If you can't tell, I hate the premise of the Monte Carlo simulation available within the RAW).
All spells must penetrate. This is RAW.
With respect to the Aegis of the Hearth, the only effect that needs to penetrate is the warding effect. Penetration doesn't impact the ability to stop incoming spells, nor does it impact whether a foreign magus can cast magic within the Aegis, as these are already explained by the effects of the Aegis.
There is a glaring problem in the RAW, that Wards have to be of the same level as the might of a creature AND they must penetrate. Which means a might 30 creature needs a casting total of 60 to effectively ward away, might 20 is 40, might 10 is 20. This is really dumb, in my opinion. All general wards against creatures with might in the books are now 10th level spells, and combined with the need to penetrate, your ability to ward a creature is a function of penetration. Specialists are still important, but it becomes possible for non specialists to ward the lesser creatures.