How Much Sooner Should I Expect This Guy to Die?

He's a magus, part of an Ex Miscellanea arachnamancer tradition (spider magic) that causes its members to have a difficult time extending their lifespans through Longevity Rituals. The magus in question didn't really have a choice about entering the tradition, of course; apprentices don't tend to get a say in this sort of thing. However, it's pretty much the worst possible drawback, as he was already cursed as a child with the Age Quickly Flaw. He only managed to not get aging points during his apprenticeship because his teacher made him a Longevity Ritual, which sucked, because said teacher only brought his Creo and Corpus scores to 5 and the tradition left the apprentice not even receiving the already-crappy LR as well as a normal person would. Long story short, he's 22 (effectively 44), and his last four aging rolls were entirely neutral, with the +3 from his LR and +1 from life quality in the covenant just cancelling out his penalty for how old he is.

And he certainly isn't a CrCo specialist himself. His master, somewhat sympathetic to his situation, taught him the tiniest bit of Creo and Corpus even though he hadn't planned to, but still, his Longevity Lab Total is only 17 in a usual Aura of 3, which with his tradition's Flaw provides a piddly +2 to his own aging rolls. Fortunately, his master's is still active (meaning he already has a Warping Score of 1...) so he has a bit of time to raise his Arts above their current respective 4 and 3.

Given all of this, and the fact that both Creo and Corpus books above level 5 around the covenant will be difficult to get ahold of... How much sooner ought this guy die than his fellow sodales who neither Age Quickly nor have Difficult Longevity Rituals? Based on averages, and including chances of hitting Final Twilight faster due to starting to gain Warping from LR much earlier than everyone else (though I figure he'll die of old age), how much sooner can he be expected to die? Note in advance, please base your assumptions on the fact that he won't be able to get a more skilled person to make him a Longevity Ritual, as while it's not impossible, it's also not a forgone conclusion that anybody will be willing to do such a thing for him, even with a vis payment (which could be hard enough to acquire even if it does work, as the saga might be low-vis). Thanks in advance for any help in estimations.

(I suppose my guess at this point is that, with the longevity ritual providing substantially less help, Age Quickly will do what it usually does, halving the average lifespan of the character compared to the average lifespan of other characters of his type... In this case, magi. Even if he manages to outdo the aging by pumping his Creo and Corpus scores and drinking several glasses of vis with it, he's also going to be around 20-30 Warping Points ahead of his sodales, meaning he'll start getting bad Twilights sooner and thus probably pass into Final Twilight 10-15 years earlier independent of other factors. So... Either 50-70 years past Gauntlet on average, or 100-110 past Gauntlet are my guesses, depending on which form of death manages to catch up to him first. Of course, my math skills are teh sux, so I may be way off).

It's rather hard to answer the question without knowing what assumptions you are making for your saga about 1) the general availability of Longevity Rituals 2) how risk averse is your spider magus and 3) the availability of other means to forestall aging.

Let's start with 1). Hermetic magic is very general, but encourages specialization. Some magi specialize in combat, others in the creation of magical items, others in a particular Technique/Form etc. This means that, if your Order is sufficiently "networked", a significant amount of the magic you wield will come from other magi, who specialize in that magic, and to whom you have traded your own specialized magic skills: if you specialize in fire magics, your longevity ritual will probably come from a Creo Corpus specialist, while his "Wand of Abysmal Fire" is probably your creation. Canonically, the Redcaps exist exactly to provide "networking", but how effective they are is entirely saga dependent. Unless you quantify this, it's very hard to provide answers. In our saga, we assume you can always trade an enchantment with lab total X for one of your choice with lab total (1/2)*X if you are willing to wait for a few seasons, and for one with lab total (3/4)*X if you are either willing to wait for several years, or if you are willing to be flexible (e.g. you are looking for a flying carpet, but you'd accept a cape that transformed you into a flying bird). By the same token, PCs occasionally get commissioned specific work in exchange for enchantments that are definitely worth "more". So what kind of bonus could you get from a longevity potion "on the market", even if you have a Difficult Longevity Ritual? I guess a +11 bonus (corresponding to a lab total of 101, halved to 51) may well be within reach if you are willing to trade favours, vis etc. for it. Add in good living conditions modifiers, a good diet (see A&A) etc. and your life expectancy, even including Age Quickly, is easily more than a century.

Let's move to 2. Remember that in ArM5 you can literally have a Warping score of 50 without going into Final Twilight. To go into Final Twilight, you need to have a warping score of 10+, AND be exposed to a powerful (2+ warping points) mystical occurrence, AND fail your twilight avoidance roll. A magus who performs magics mostly through enchantments, or has a high gold cord, the cautious sorcerer virtue etc. and avoids hostile auras or other sources of potential multiple botches... won't "die" of final twilight. Once again, this depends entirely on the magus in question and on the saga you plan to involve him in.

Let's move to 3. In ArM5 there are a lot of routes to aging avoidance that do not go through the longevity ritual. Each of the other supernatural realms provides some, from Faerie Weal or Bonding (or transformation into a Faerie), to Divine Blessings (or Angelic powers) and Zoroastrian Rites, to Infernal Maleficia (the latter are pretty "good" in that they allow you to dump on others decrepitude points you have already acquired, something that no one else can achieve). And Magic has its own share, some from Transformation into an Immortal being, to the Immortality granted by the Magical Forest (see GotF), to the Nature Mysteries of House Merinita, to some paths in House Criamon, to many options open to many hedge wizard traditions. How available are these in your saga is, again, entirely saga dependent.

So, to answer your question: "How much sooner should you expect this guy to die?". If you want him to die early, he could die before he turns thirty; and if he does nothing to improve his longevity, he'll probably die in his thirties to early fourties. But if you want the guy to live, he could live for centuries. What type of story do you want to tell?

One way to look at it from a very mechanistic point of view is this.

In terms of physical age, Age Quickly means that your magus' physical age is that of a "standard" magus of twice his real age.

In terms of warping points, Age Quickly means your magus just started getting Warping from Longevity at 17-18 rather than at 35. If you go with the standard rulebook assumption of 2 warping points/year for the average magus, it means that your magus' "warping age" is that of a "standard" magus some 18/2=9 years his senior.

So, the clear bottleneck in comparison with a "standard" magus is the physical age (twice that of a "standard" magus, vs. a "warping age" equal to that of a "standard" magus + 9years), something exacerbated by the fact that Longevity Potions are weak for him. A rough guess would be that your magus should be able to live past 100 years old on longevity rituals alone (that would be 80 years past gauntlet). How much past that mark depends on how good those specialists are, but numbers start ramping up pretty quickly, and seeking alternative forms of longevity before he reaches that point seems a sensible alternative.

To give an idea, consider a senior longevity specialist with Creo 30, Corpus 30, with a focus in Longevity, Magic Theory 15 (including specialty), Intelligence +3, a familiar providing an Int+MT bonus of 15, in a specialized lab giving a combined Aura+Lab bonus of +10. This means a Lab total of 133. When making a potion for someone with an effective age of 110 (your "quickly aging" magus at 55), thus requiring 22 pawns, 8 more pawns of vis can be added to the total, bringing it to 141. If the "client" lends his own Int+MT total of +10 to the effort, this yields a lab total of 151. Half this because of Difficult Longevity, and you get 76, i.e. a +16 to aging rolls. Add a +3 living conditions modifier from a medical regime, and possibly another +2 from healthy features in your environment and/or lab, and you have a bonus of +21 to your aging rolls, which should let your magus live, with a little luck (and some maneuvering around that 13 aging chart result!), about one century past gauntlet (age 122, i.e. effective age 244).

I think this is the best one could reasonably expect from the "hermetic longevity ritual market". But join House Criamon and embark, say, on the path of the Body ... and if you reach the final station you may live until twilight claims you.

Well, I did say that the possibility of ANYBODY being available and willing to make him a Longevity Ritual is not a foregone conclusion.

That aside, well... He's a ReAn specialist by trade, but he may need to crank up his CrCo if he wants to live for long. However... Creo AND Corpus at 30, by 55 years past Gauntlet, without Affinity or Puissant in either? Cripes, that character would be massively imbalanced. Unless you meant buying it from somebody else, which would still be a huge vis investment... And as mentioned, such a person being available (or even a weaker person with leanings that make him much better at this than the character) is not necessarily going to be the case.

As to the part asking what kinds of stories I want to tell... I definitely want him to live long enough to potentially have an apprentice or two, but if he would have a really significantly shorter lifespan than his sodales, that's something I'd want to incorporate into his early motivations, which would influence the stories I'd tell with him. On the other hand, if it would only require small (rather than hugely character-defining) sacrifices to boost his LR total enough to invalidate his weaknesses to the point where he'll most likely die from Twilight at a similar time to his sodales rather than from Aging fifty years earlier, then he probably won't care enough beyond making those sacrifices for it to really influence him as a character. I'm not really sure; I'm asking about the estimations because I'm wondering if it would make sense for him to fear such an extremely early death, or if he would actually die neither early nor have any difficulty overcoming the aging. (Well, I mean, I'm only asking about the first one, but you get the idea)

But why? And why is vis so hard to come by? I think, based on the books for the Tribunals that I've seen that are generally around 2 longevity specialists in each Tribunal. And while the price might be prohibitive in vis terms, perhaps in terms of time, it becomes possible. Granted, this character values time even more highly than most magi would, but I would think it would be relatively easy to get a quality LR which will give more time than you give up to the specialist being an assistant. Alternatively, you could give up your first born, so to speak. Take an apprentice, train him 1 season a year, and for so many seasons you give the apprentice up to assist the LR specialist.

Excess vis and competent magi free to supply poorer, younger, and (in terms of political and magical power) unimportant magi with powerful Longevity Rituals are not necessarily available resources as the entire Order of Hermes is going to be engaged in a highly destructive and draining war starting quite early on in the saga. It's not necessarily true that they won't be available, either, but the chances of acquiring a significant enough amount of vis prior to the war starting are... Realistically quite slim, and entirely based on how much he gets potential lenders (i.e. the other player magi) to like him enough to lend valuable magical resources to him so he doesn't suffer too much from aging. Assuming they can be acquired while the war is happening, there's somewhat less of a concern, but again... Not a certainty.

Time to sell your soul... :smiley:

He's certainly not a good person, so the possibility is 'totally there if it comes down to it. Nonetheless, I'm still curious about how long he'd last on his own, compared to his sodales who don't have his weaknesses in that regard. There are lots of opportunities for changing his fate, but on top of helping with planning ahead (and helping him weigh the risks and benefits of dealing with demons compared to potentially getting caught) I'm also simply somewhat curious about these Flaws' effects on lifespans. It looks like with an abundance of vis and competent longevity specialists handy, it's possible to have just as long a life as your sodales, but I'm curious about what people think of their lifespan chances without such (admittedly not uncommon) luxuries available.

I think ezzelino summarized it pretty well.

Another thing to consider beyond just finding a specialist is to make yourself a leader among magi. Yes, learn leadership, or better yet, have it! Bind a familiar quickly that has a positive Int, and bring your sodales (especially those with Inventive Genius!) of the covenant into the customized longevity lab you've setup for the covenant's use. Adding two or three assistants who can probably provide an Int+MT of 7 pretty easily (more for the inventive geniuses), gives your own lab total a +14 to +21 boost. With your own 17, that's a 31 to 38 total. Depending on your magic theory score that 38 can be posted to 41 with 3 additional pawns of vis. So you have an LR 7 to an LR 9.

I think the big thing is that the Ages Quickly character is going to have to focus on some relatively incremental improvement until they get sufficient resources in play to buy their best and final longevity ritual...

Helpfulness of magi towards eachother is very much a factor of each troupe and how they want their saga to work.
Though I must admit that the Order as presented in many of the 5th edition sourcebooks, are a bit too cooperative for my tastes.

Everything is awesome
Everything is cool when you're part of a team

I don't disagree with you. I just wasn't sure why it was a problem here. As you say the canon is that magi appear to be more cooperative, and so there is somewhat of an understanding that you can find a specialist and pay him enough to take your case, so to speak. If you find someone who can give you a +20 Longevity ritual, it should cost quite a lot, and probably a good bit of that cost should be time...
Longevity specialist: "Yes, I will take you as a client. My fee is 40 pawns of vis, above the cost of the ritual, and 10 seasons of your time within the next 7 years..."

I may not have been clear, but I meant those numbers as those of a senior specialist in longevity (say, 100 years post gauntlet, with a focus in longevity/aging/whatever), not those of your magus. Basically, it was meant to be a realistic maximum of what the Hermetic market may have to offer. I did say that whether there's sufficient hermetic trade going on that your magus may be able to "hire" him is saga dependent.

Yes, he will have considerable difficulty living as long as the "standard" hermetic mage if limited to Longevity Rituals. Living to 60 years past gauntlet will require some effort, more than the "standard" mage needs before succumbing to twilight; living to 80 years will be challenging; living to 100 years past gauntlet means essentially pushing it close to the limits of what Hermetic longevity specialists can manage. If the character plans to see his 100th birthday it's probably more efficient for him to seek some alternative longevity solutions (of which there are plenty, even within the Order).
One way or another this will be character defining.

Having a familiar with a strong Bronze Cord will provide a bonus to Aging rolls.