How effective are the Learned Magicians?

How many of you out there have played Learned Magicians, and how effective were they relative to other hedge traditions IYO?
I know they will never match the Hermetics, and that AM is not overly concerned with balance, but we are about to run a Hedge only saga, and I am looking at the LMs. They look interesting, I always thought their arts were too restricted compared to the other traditions (except the nightwalkers, which I considered a special case). Those of you who have played / used them how potent do you find them?

to me, learned magicians, elementalists and the Augustan brotherhood are the magicians you are likely to find as a court magus. Folk witches are more community based, and other traditions seem to be more antisocial...

I've found them pretty strong, better than most the other hedge traditions (of which I include ones not in HMRE) but not the strongest of them all.

Sub rosa #20 Franciscan Doubts has two fully developed and statted Learned Magicians: Michael Scot and Cunebarda.the cunning-woman.

Learned magicians (including some of their "variants") are quite strong compared to other Hedge traditions, in my experience. In particular, their arts are not narrow at all -- their main strength lies in their versatility (see e.g. Succurro Magicam, that can grant any supernatural ability -- say, Nightwalking). The fact that they have few Arts also allows them to excel in a significant subset of them without "spreading thin" their experience. And some of their Virtues give them strong boosts in power (check out Strong Charm Magic). Finally, their abilities are great at empowering others - from wealthy patrons, to underlings who can be sent on missions.

On the other hand, Learned magicians tend not to live too long, as their "longevity bonus" is limited to +10 including the Living Conditions modifier. Also, they do not benefit from lab assistants (Cunning folk do, but they pay for this by having to use Craft:Charm to Artes Liberales, which is not quite worth the trade except for largish groups). Yet another is that their abilities take a long time to enact, but never really last very long (though using Amulets combined with Amulet-replenishing charms somewhat bypasses this problem).

In terms of raw power, I'd say a Learned Magician is definitely stronger than a Nightwalker of Folk Witch, possibly a little stronger than an Elementalist (who is "mightier" but far less versatile) or a Vikti, I believe (never played one, but I have the impression they must specialize much more), and about the same level of power as a Gruagach, possibly a little weaker.

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Huh - I never played a learned magician, but have a witch and really thought the learned magician was weaker. Perhaps I don't understand them. Thanks to you and everyone else who replied.

I never really thought much about Sub Rosa, but now I want to get that issue. I am waiting for them to send me the link.

always imagined Michael Scot to be a pawn of the Augustian brotherhood. That doesn't mean he can't be a learned magician, of course, but if so, the Augustian, using minor traditions as proxies, are way more powerful than I originally considered.

I always assumed the Augustinian brotherhood used minor traditions as proxies. access to courts can make it easy for them to do so after all.


LMs are extremely versatile, with their most awesome combos involving TuFo, SuFo and SuMa. Social problems with the Gift? Start your school day by making your classroom unoffended by the Gift. It's just a minor virtue. Want to cast PoF? That's a minor or major virtue. Think you might need to resist a PoF? Immunity to Fire is a major virtue. Shapeshift for a day? Rego-style craft magic?

They do have problems: Fortunam charms 'break magic limits' in a way that makes them worse than other traditions. LMs have nasty Warping consequences, so they aren't likely to live long... unless they turn themselves into magical beings when they want to use great magics. Lack of good aging options has already been discussed.

And, of course, they are much better if you ignore the errata for Chartae Lab Totals. :)/2

Even so, an LM Ex-Misc with Parma and a LR can be very effective until he reaches Warp 7 or so; an LM Sahir can be very effective for centuries, though Parma would be nice.

BTW, with a few fluff and rules changes, they make better practical kabbalists than anything in RoP:D.



The Augustan Brotherhood isn't useful to represent those medieval courtier / politician / magician types from history books, like Gerbert of Aurillac, Michael Scot and Peter Juliani. But all these can be modeled quite easily as Learned Magicians.

Learned Magicians are typical advisor magicians to a crown. Augustinian Brotherhood are the Illuminati of court magicians.

Learned magicians are quite more useful than the Augustans really. after designing 2 for the bonfire of tradition game I am utterly unimpressed by the Augustans. OTOH I dislike the virtue granting of the learned magicians, gruagach and the like for what Ovarwa posted. It just breaks my suspension of disbelief big time.


Breaking suspension of disbelief in what way, that the LM fluff does not match what can be done with them?



Learned Magicians are limited by their lack of a Mathematici equivalent to Magic Theory and their fairly primitive understanding of initiations and scripts. Being a methodical, bookish group I expect that in time they would overcome both issues, but currently the lack of theory means that they are unable to improve their laboratories and their current initiation scripts are unnecessarily punishing to the initiate.

(The examples given assume that the Mystagogue has a Presence + Mathematici Lore of 1, which is horrible. With access to short-term Succurro Fortunam magics to boost their Presence and their Lore skill, as well as a minimal effort to actually learn the Lore skill to a 3 or better, they could reliably make use of initiation scripts that have much less reliance on ordeals.)

The lack of a Mathematici Theory ability also means that the Learned Magicians are not suitable teachers for Seekers looking for Insight to integrate their magic into Hermetic Theory. Which is a shame, they have a lot to offer and as letter-writing scholars hiding out in libraries they're about the easiest folk to possibly hire to work at a covenant as full-time instructors. (Just show them a facility featuring free room and board, classrooms mystically tuned to give a bonus to Teaching rolls, full-time scribes and bookbinders, access to a magic-using courier service, and professional guards to keep down on the distractions, then TRY TO GET THEM TO LEAVE.)


Pretty much yeah. They are high fantasy characters. The issue is with the granting of virtues and flaws. That opens a huge can of worms from my point of view. Being able to grant themselves effectively unlimited powers using stuff like Focus power from ROP:magic and the like is what I have problems to stomach. Firewielding matematicians in bear form that can turn invisible, ignore the effects of the Gift and teleport are not my cup of tea. YMMV of course, but this makes me grimace. :slight_smile:

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I think a lot of people would pay good money to play a teleporting math bear. :D/1234050514034957