I am working on a maritime magus, i.e. living on a ship, maybe joining a covenant at the coast.
Think of study requirements and a restriction (that I still have to better define, something that works well for a magus being no farer from the sea than say at the coast) on the flaw side and ways of the sea, study bonus, major focus weather (or some other focus that works well, when at least close to the sea).
Right now I am thinking of making him a Bonisagus. Not sure though if that would be the best fit.
TtA p.10ff The Northern Sea describes a seafaring covenant living on a small fleet. It's magi are:
the independent Tytalus and founder Carles Magnus,
the shark Bjornaer Hilde Oddfish,
the escapee from Guernicus, now ex Misc Columba,
the Verditius Matilda Page, out for initations and research,
the Jerbiton adventurer and poet Andrew, out to gather stories for chansons de geste,
and finally the werewolf and Tremere spy Tibor Milos.
Many oddball magi can find a reason to live on a ship: also practical researchers. A Bonisagus should perhaps not be too bookish.
Lycantrope: Shark... Nice idea. I don't think it would warrant a major flaw because it is unlikely to hurt a friend or be hunted like a wolf. On the other hand, it will only ever happen once when not seaborne - sharks don't like it dry...
That would be a nice maritime Merenitia indeed, didn't think about that. Excluded Merenitia in my thoughts because I didn't want maritime fairies.
Or did you suggest a Bonisagus could have Nature Lore?
House Tremere do have a big fleet and maybe dedicated Magi.
Criamon Magi could look for a way to solve the Enigma crossing the bounds of the ocean.
A Tytalus pirate could be funny.
A Flambeau who follow the path of the cold could make a convenient helper during sea battles I guess. Also mastering the Art of Ignem is the best way not to see your ship burn - especially near Byzantine areas.
Seeing as the example Aquam Major Foci listed in the main rules are "salt water", "fresh water" I'm sure having "the sea" apply to the actual body of water is fine. So casting spells on the sea while you're stood on the shoreline is fine, trying to cast terram spells on the shoreline claiming it's part of the sea wouldn't count - you would have to summon waves from the sea to come in and affect the shore.
I deliberately limited to core and HoH (with the exceptions of a self invented virtue and fish out of water from grogs).
It is far from finished, apprenticeship xp not fully assigned, etc. Still if you have early feedback that would be appreciated.
Your restriction is pretty brutal and I'd expect it to lead to the creation of an enchanted item or two that allow access to seawater but still give the game master enough space to perhaps still make a story from it. Do I understand correctly that in order to cast the character must either be not on dry land or be touching sea water? The phrasing "Not touching sea water or on dry land" seems to indicate that they could cast neither while or dry land nor while they are touching seawater which would be more restrictive yet.
When it comes to foci (or potent magic), there are several excellent choices:
Weather will protect you, guide winds helpfully, and allow you to throw lightning at your enemies. A minor focus on winds is still enough to move you around, protect your ship from losing its sails, and allow the possibility of flight and knocking enemies overboard.
Salt water is a major focus from the core rules which applies to virtually all uses of aquam at sea
Wood is a minor focus in the core book, but your ship, its mast, oars, and the like will be made of wood so ReHe to move wood about and PeHe to put holes in enemy ships works really well (this is what Hector in the Annulus Connectens threads did).
As dolphins and whales count as fish to medieval minds (their meat certainly counts as fish for the purpose of religious diets), a focus in "Fish" covers most sea creatures.
Any house could work well on the sea - no-one's mentioned a Guernicus yet, but you could have a Guernicus determined to chase magi who flee by ship, and to keep pirates from interfering with the Order's business.