How hard is it to drag magi out of their labs?

I'm often surprised about how much other troupes have magi stomping around "adventuring". In my sagas, the SG (often me) generally has to really leverage Story Flaws, and possibly Personality Flaws and/or Hooks to drag magi -- even one magus -- out of the covenant.

I guess the reason is that stories detract from study, and are risky; our magi prefer to send out expendable grogs, perhaps monitoring them from afar and sending aid if and when it's really, desperately needed. There is the occasional exception, of course, but it's the exception, not the rule.

This poll is an attempt to gauge what's the "common" situation among players in this forum. EDIT: for the purposes of this poll stories where a magus makes just a brief cameo appearance -- less than 10-20% of the total time -- do not really count. Neither do stories where Magi have no covenant (e.g. because they are roaming around to establish one) or that for some reason take place in their labs: it's as the title says, how hard is it to drag them out of their labs?

  • Almost every magus is on almost every story. It's hard to make room for companions!
  • Each magus takes part in about half the stories; magi and and companions are roughly equally balanced.
  • Most stories feature at least one magus, sometimes more; but generally each magus skips more stories than he participates in.
  • Magi very, very rarely participate in stories. A SG has to put in a lot of effort to drag them out of their labs!

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In our troupe, there's a lot of variety.
We have magi who love going out and getting their hands ... if not dirty, at least in the general vicinity of something that might be dirt.
And there's the Verditius who only really leaves his lab for tribunals, occasional politics, and days ending in a tk.

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I'm not familiar with the expression ... what does it mean?

It's a play on the expression 'days ending in a "y"'

  • Monday
  • Tuesday
  • etc.

No day in the calender ends in 'tk'.

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To answer your question in more details, in our current game almost every magi comes on almost every excursion. Two of us have deliberately characterised our characters to be very adventurous (the Merinita and Bjornaer, both of whom have accred local reputations as vikings) and the party Corpus mage comes along because he knows that his CrCo and ReCo will be needed. The fourth Maga comes on outings that have a definite magic nature but will skip on some of the more Viking-like excursions. We have a longship, crewed by Danes and people from Saaremaa. Our troupe doesn't even do companions so much, they were used a few times but normally only once a mage has been wounded enough to want to leave the fight. So I guess our party is the opposite end of the pendulum, where everyone gets on our flying boat along with an entire crew of vikings, leaving the companion with the other half of our turb to hold down the (literal) fort.

Personally, while it's nice to make the numbers be big, the fun is in playing the character. If I just wanted to manage spreadsheets in my free time I'd play EVE online.

Might be a typo for TPK?

My primary means of gettng Magi out of the lab is to make stories about the needs of the Covenant and get them to go and do things that count as their season of work per year for the covenant.

"No, Ibis, you can't spend your duty season in the lab distilling Vim Vis: that's a job for more senior magi. You're going to find the sight of Camlann and harvest me... I mean us, I mean the covenant... some Corporem Vis. And while you're at it stop in Bath and check out these rumours of a vampire."

IMO, it should be rare for magi to come out of their labs and adventure, but generally everyone wants to have their magus come out and adventure every season, because while what goes on in a lab may be interesting to the magus, it holds little interest to the player, who made the magus as something for them to play with. It is understandable, though realistically poor roleplaying. I find it is less of a problem with online games where you can run multiple games at the same time, advance characters years between adventures and be running adventures in separate years, but not allow the same character into multiple adventures real time at the same time, and of course not allow multiple sources of experience in the same season. suddenly adventures can be less frequent game time because they can still have the same frequency real time, and having companions or grogs accompany a magus on an adventure still leaves your magus free to lead their own adventure at a different time. Of course there is still a learning curve for players understanding the new system, where they want to head out every season still...

Our gaming table, we only have control over our individual wizards, and tend to do a kit if adventure/ task oriented stuff, to the point the covenant charter has written in, winter is set aside for any magus project (ie lab). Though we tend to be a gregarious bunch and I have more lab centric folks than usual, we also have a quesitor (sp) and three hoplites, with the other magi happy as clams to do their own thing.
So, yeah my crafter suffers the opposite problem, though I think some down times a coming.

Our sagas generally had at least half of the magi doing adventuring stuff at any one time. It's not hard to engineer this much participation with:
1.) Story Flaws
2.) Magic required in adventure (fantastical stuff, not 'go look at a corpse')
3.) Hermetic politics
4.) Habitually awarding enough adventure XP to make it worthwhile (generally 10) plus other goodies (reputation, confidence, vis, covenant resources).

A big part of different Magi in our saga coming out is us having rotating SG duties. Another player and I both have fairly adventurous Magi compared to the other two players, but we run more stories overall which counteracts how often our Magi get out of the tower.

Generally though, we made sure to get some info on short and long term goals for all of our characters so people planning adventures could pretty easily incorporate a variety of characters. Story Flaws have come up from time to time, but we've had a lot more success on keeping track of how everyone's interests develop organically from our experiences in game so far.

Just reading the HoH books, it seems like there are plenty of excuses to drag magi out of the lab. Almost every House seems to have some requirements, whether it's attending a meeting, dealing with a threat, investigating something ... and that's on top of the needs of one's Covenant, and of course, the need to find and harvest Vis, or recruit Apprentices, or make friends with potential Familiars, or locate better tomes to study from ...

I'd also say that developing motivation for characters to adventure is a duty shared by the Storyguides and the players, and it can be discussed cooperatively above-game.

Of course, it's helpful if your mage is adventurous by nature, but it's fun to role-play the tension of a lab-monkey forced by circumstance to get out and deal with the world; it's a perfect fish-out-of-water scenario.

I remember reading an interview with Harrison Ford, in which he was asked, "What do you imagine Indiana Jones is doing when he isn't fighting Nazis or Thugee?" Ford's answer was along the lines of, "He's teaching classes, reading books, and generally being a stuffy professor."

I play in a Rhine saga with @Tellus. His Verditius is rarely out on adventure, but Tellus is also SG a lot.
The other players have some plot lines they drive so their magi are often out and about. But rarely more than two at a time, because we also need to make room for grogs.
But there is also plenty of down time for lab and books. There may be one of more stories per year but never in every season. Who goes on adventure during the winter? That’s uncivilised. BTW we tend to play in the northern mist tribunals, so...

Almost every story adventure has 1-2 magi who are out of their lab dong things. We have two actively adventurous magi, two who are lab-rat in personality, and one who's young and going out to learn about things. About a third of our stories involve something started by companions, a third involve a magus starting it for Story Flaw or his own planning reasons, and a final third are plot hooks thrown out to see if someone wants to deal with it. The companion stories tend to involve magi even though they're not magi-centered, because our magi feel responsible for or allied to their skilled companion covenant members.

I think a big part of how often magi adventure is how much labwork/xp is penalized by adventuring. I know a lot of people have house rules or rules interpretations that make it possible to do a short adventure and still spend the season doing things. About half of our adventures don't stop us from labwork (since flying and teleporting means a number of adventures can be done in 10 days or less)

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North of the Alps; why go adventuring in the winter?
South of the mediterranean sea; why go adventuring in the summer?


Our Covenant is based on an Estonian island. We've had to go adventuring in winter to fight off the local hedge tradition who sent us a fire elemental for Yule once, and to battle the manifestation of winter when it refuses to let spring start again. Also, sometimes we'll take our flying longship to go adventuring in Anatolia in winter/autumn, just to avoid being in the frozen north at the time...

Sure. If you build up a tradition of not going on adventure during the winter, it becomes much more meaningful when a hooks attempts to lure you out. Either you deal with the weather, or make a choice and deal with aggrevated consequences come spring :wink:

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In our group:

Enrico the Redcap, not hard, when he's there.
Cipriana of Bonisagus, usually easy. She's curious and the player likes to be hooked.
Jacques of Bonisaus, difficult. He's proud and remote.
Aftab of Verditius, depends on the situation, but he's a bit like a puppy.
Domitiana of Guernicus, depends on how it's presented.