How powerful compared to the 30 EXP a year are the Magi in your game?

I just broke my characters EXP down to a per season average and I am a little shocked by the results.

Before I give the numbers, a few notes.

  • We are using a few house rules, though only one causes a spike in the EXP total outside of living languages and local area lore. The area lore and living language house rules result in 0~2 EXP per season each, but are capped in the max ability level they can reach (2 area, 3 language). I will give numbers without this.
  • The one that does cause a spike allows Adventure Experience to be gained in combination with seasonal experience (with the time adventuring counting as a distraction). I will give numbers without Adventure EXP.
  • My character has Book Learner, Flawless Magic and Secondary Insight which amplify things for him. That +3 quality, double EXP on mastering spells, and +2/+4 EXP from studying Arts added up a lot to the total. I did not even count the "5 free EXP" from learning a spell in the totals (get free Spell Mastery 1 per spell) or the doubled amount that was put into spells since I list it at the actual (non-doubled) amount. Error on my part there I missed till a few post down!
  • Secondary Insight for a generalist Magi is insane over a long period of time. If I read three seasons in a year, it gave 6~12 additional EXP. Every three seasons reading gave nearly the effect of four seasons reading without it (though slower for my character since he did not get the +3 quality).
  • We spent a few months playing through Apprenticeship, so were Season by Season there.
  • Three of the current Magi have Good Teacher (including mine), while all of us have positive Com.
  • So my character at 127 has 122 years of per season EXP +5 childhood years.

Ok, so all of that out of the way, here are some numbers.

  • Including everything (HR Area/Language, Adventures, Virtues, etc): 66.59 EXP @ Year
  • Dropping HR Area/Language EXP: 63.56 EXP @ Year (Travel Mental Lab FTW)
  • Dropping Adventure EXP as well: 57.97 EXP @ Year
  • Including everything, just the last 73 years: 57.5 EXP @ Year
  • Dropping HR Area/Language, just the last 73 years: 55.52 EXP @ Year
  • Dropping HR & Adventure EXP, just the last 73 years: 50.32 EXP @ Year

The reason I put the break in at 73 years is that is roughly the point he switched over from a heavy focus on improving as fast as he could to training an Apprentice, taking a Familiar, doing an original research, and other activities that do no generate the raw EXP a focused approach gains.

His only Ability that is really high is Magic Theory, at 14+2. It is also the only Ability he has that accelerated faster than what a character built on the normal advancement rules (rather than season by season) would have and the only ability higher than what his age Ability cap would be if he wasn't season by season. His next highest ability is Parma Magica 8, with a 7 in Finesse, Penetration, Artes Liberales, and Philosophiae. Greek and Latin are a 7 and 8. Prof: Scribe is a 6. Everything else is 5 or lower.

His Arts are extremely well rounded, but fall short of the specialist pushing into the mid-high 30s. All of his techniques are 25~27 and all of his forms are high teens except Mentem and Vim at 21 each. In a Magic Aura he can normally non-fatigue spont any combination of Arts for level 10 spells, though Animal requires a +6 Aura.

The whole point of this is I am wondering if anyone else did a break down of their Characters EXP and find they are much more powerful than the RAW 30 per year advancement? I know I sure didn't expect to be over 220% the strength of a character advanced at that rate.

1 Like

The raw 30 experience per year -10 per season in the lab or similar is known to greatly differ from the advancement rules. The first place to look is 3 seasons in the lab. Advancement would give you 6 experience for those seasons plus whatever you learn in the remaining season, while the quick start rules give you 0. So immediately we see that seasons in the lab or similar throw this way off. Then, between teaching, books, and adventure, many seasons not in the lab earn around 10 average, and in the early years book qualities are higher so it's probably notably over 10. Four of those seasons come out closer to 40 than to 30. So something like 40 - 8 per season in the lab or similar comes out much closer to modeling the actual advancement rules. (I'm not going to try to figure out Book Learner and such within there.)

As for Secondary Insight, it really isn't so great. If you read three seasons in a year, your Book Learner Virtue gave you +9 versus the +6 to +12, so roughly +9 from Secondary Insight. So you paid 3x as much for Secondary Insight and are gaining the same benefit over those seasons. Book Learner also applies to all your other Abilities you can study from books, like Artes Liberales, Philosophiae, Magic Theory, etc. while Secondary Insight applies to some other methods. If those roughly balance, then Secondary Insight is about as valuable as your Minor Virtue Book Learner, but you paid 3 points for it and used up your Major Hermetic Virtue option. Though I'm guessing you might have gotten it from Twilight or something since you also have Flawless Magic.

1 Like

Yes I got it from Twilight in the middle of an adventure where I burned a bunch of Vis and the dice decided they hated me. Then they decided they actually loved me on the comprehension roll. (Actually looking back at my character files, it was the only big Warping Point spike I had. Everything else comes from Longevity and a few points from OR. I got very paranoid after almost blowing my face off.)

So I really was not considering it at the Major Virtue point cost.

Yes, without considering it's cost, it's a nice Virtue. The problem is two-fold: it costs triple other comparable Virtues, and it uses up your Major Hermetic Virtue slot. So if you pick it up as a bonus, nice! But as a general rule it should be avoided as one of your initial 10 points of Virtues. Your selection of Flawless Magic, on the other hand, is a great one, assuming you take advantage of it.

I can spont level 10 spells, but I still create low level ones. Any time I learn or invent spells, I use whatever is left to make low level ones. And there were several seasons where I invented/learned a bunch of low level spells even with my high lab totals. So my spell list is pretty massive and actually includes a bunch of spells I could non-fatigue spont.

I also like to throw adventure exp into spell mastery. Between the 5 free points per spell and the double exp, I gained some extra well north of 1000 exp not included in the total above. And I just caught an error, since I list the exp in spell mastery by the points put into it, not doubled. There is a little note on the bottom of the list that says "Double and add 5".

Is that what you mean by taking advantage of it?

Yes. It's not worth so much if you just want a few Mastery 1s or 2s, as you can just pick those up in adventures. But if you want some serious Mastery stuff, you can save so much time/experience with it, just like you're doing.

Those low-level spells can be great, especially in bad Auras or if you need some penetration out of them.

That penetration/bad aura casting was why I did it. The free spell mastery on most of the low level ones is just a really nice bonus. The reduced botch dice are a big one in character after that Twilight.

Though I think even the SG was surprised by an adaptive multicast penetration DEO 10 backed by DEO Mastery 5 during an adventure. Penetration was 52+aura+die and the Might 45 demon imploded.

If you have a spell that lasts a while and you want to penetrate, I highly recommend Ceremonial Casting. If you have decent scores in AL and Philosophiae, you get to use those plus your props plus your home Aura to get a lot more added to penetration than you'll typically get from the Penetration option. No good for things like DEO, though.

I have 7 (Ritual Magic) in both and a prepared Ceremonial Casting space in my lab. I have Ceremonial Casting in several spells as well, though in the "OH GAWD A DEMON!" incident I didn't even think about it because of time. I had a toss up between DEO 5 and DEO 10, picked 10, and blasted.

My Magi is not a combat mage by any means. Yes he has some brawl and great weapon (staff), along with a few Ignem "just in case" spells. But there was a juicy DEO Mastery Summa we got in a trade that I studied for two seasons before maxing out from it. Getting (Q+3) x2 means I love spell mastery text.

I have done the calculation for my saga as well.

A few things of note:

We play freshly gauntleted magi in the Triamore saga. The numbers are aan average of the xp gained over the first 10 years of play.

As the Triamore covenant is specifically listed as having a top-of-the-line library we should expect the numbers to skew upwards. Further because the magi are freshly guantleted we again would expect the numbers to skew upwards compared with the life-time average that is presented in the core book.

For adventure xp we generally give out 5 "free" xp that can be put into whatever ability the character feels like or any arts that were used in the adventure (standard) and then we also generally hand out 5 "bound" xp that are given in an ability that the storyguide deems to be relevant to the plot, typically these are Area lores for the area where the plot took place, one time it was Swim for a plot that took place almost entirely in a river, or Faerie lore for a plot that took place inside a faerie regio. Though in the grand scheme of things this adds up to rather little xp.

We are 5 magi but only two of us have updated the online spreadsheet that tallies our exp. Those two characters are also the most lab-ratty of the bunch so the numbers are probably skewed upwards compared to what they would be if you included the more adventurous magi.

So here are the numbers:

one magus had an average of 11.25 xp per season or 46.5 per year. in that time period he also invented 45 levels of spells.
The magus is a Muto specialist with a Major Focus and has spent the majority of his time broadening the scope of his forms in order to benefit more from the doubling of his lower forms (His muto is always going to be the highest of his Muto-form combo).
one maga had an average of 13.4 xp per season or 53.6 xp per year. over that time period she also invented 130 levels of spells.
The maga in question is a specialist (CrCo + magic theory) and the reason why she did better on both spells levels invented and xp gained is because the majority of her xp was gained from studying in her field of CrCo and thus benefited from an affinity and the majority of her spells were invented in Cr or Co and thus also benefited from her affinity.

Both magi bound a familiar.

Both magi are also going to slow down in xp gained in the next decade since they have both surpassed the level of summae present in the covenant and they have exhausted the supply of high quality tractatus in their specialties. Also none of them can really do much besides magic inside their specialty. Most likely they are going to focus on things like Parma magica, penetration, finesse, magic lore, or even mundane abilities in the next decade. or broadening the scope of their spellcasting.


I just went through my player's character sheets, over the 20 seasons of the game so far.

  • Mage B has on average received 5.9xp/season (though has been wounded repeatedly)
  • Mage F has on average received 6.4xp/season (only mage to have made items)
  • Mage I has on average received 6.1xp/season (only mage to have created spells)

So they are, clocking in less than 30xp/year, despite me normally giving them generous adventure XP (normally 10 if they do something interesting).

1 Like

did they start with a good library? how old were they when the campaign started?

I have this vague feeling that your group is running a spring covenant/pre-covenant (i.e. a campaign about doing the groundwork for getting a covenant set up).


They are founding their Covenant in the Rhine Gorge from scratch, with next to no official help from Dunremar (aside from a few grogs from Fengheld/Dunremar to start them up). The time constraint is getting enough sponsorships to officially become a Covenant in the Rhine by the 1228 Tribunal. They are considering switching over to the Lotharingian Tribunal, which would make their efforts inthe Rhine kind of moot...
Their library is the following (they have only received the final book in the last session as a reward for helping Drachenfels and Cologne in battle):


That would explain the lower xp/season rate.

It something that the corebook does not take into account but naturally we would expect young magi in a summer or autumn covenant to gain more xp per season than older magi who are in the "wilderness" trying to set up a new (spring) covenant.

similarly being in a covenant with a great library would increase expected xp gain as opposed to being in one without a great library.

In that sense your characters are probably about as poorly off as is possible, in terms of expected xp gain over time. (Not to be confused with quality of saga).

on a side note: Is the Lotharingian tribunal already a thing in your saga?

It's about to be. Last session opened with one of the PCs taking part in the 1226 Lotharingian Roundtable in Triamore. I don't want to derail the thread too much, but I am happy to PM you some of my notes on the matter, if you are interested.


This is an interesting thing to look at, I've never actually sat down and worked out how much annual xp characters were getting.

For the last 10 years of my saga the values range from ~25xp/year (for a mature Verditius) to ~55xp/year (a just past gauntlet Bonisagus character, with apt student and book learner).

That's in a late spring/early summer covenant with a moderate library (not spectacular, but respectable).

I think this comes down largely to a few variable factors: How easy to acquire are good books (and does your covenant have a good library to start with)? How common are good teachers (high COM and/or the virtue)? How generous is adventure xp? It all depends on the kind of saga you want I suppose.

Personally I tend to lean towards good books being hard to get, good teachers hard to find, and as magi get older there being so many things distracting them that getting 3 or 4 full seasons of study in becomes nearly impossible. For example that same Bonisagus character has started to drop down towards ~40xp a year in recent years, as he's got involved in some legal trouble(ran afoul of house Tremere after getting a little reckless pursuing novel spirit necromancy spells) and other things that draw him away from his laboratory unwillingly.


The Bonisagus character you described seems to be on a similar path to mine. Is he a wide generalist or a specialist? Even with a weaker library, the wider the Art and Ability spread the character has the longer (and better) they can take advantage of that library.

Also was wondering if you are as strict on the mundane part of the library, if the players decide to expand it? There are a great deal of good books described across the AM line that cost ~1 lb of silver each. So covenants willing to devote silver to buying books can end up with a mundane library out of proportion with their hermetic one.

The lower xp rate being a mature Verditius fits everything I have seen over my years of play. Mature Verditius tend to spend to most time of an Magi conducting the low xp activities. From personal experience they also tend to have the fewest spells, though YMMV on that one.

Derail or start a new post. Sounds interesting to me as well.

1 Like

I have a Verditius that has gained 240+ Xp over 7 years, including 55 levels of spells she researched, 3 items enchanted, and 2 seasons spend improving her lab. And of the spells she researched 2 seasons were spent to research one of them.

240+ total over 7 years so 31.5+ per year. For a Verditius who was doing the Verditius thing you were cooking along pretty good. If you spent half your time doing exposure xp activities, that means you were getting 28+ xp in the other two seasons (and any adventure/HR rule/odds & ends).