I pretty much know the answer, but just thought I'd get a canon reinforcement. The 3 extra points (or if you take the Flaw version) gets added to the 7 points you have to buy Characteristics right?
For my group, to quell the whining (they're used to rolling for their stats against me and my horrificially low rolling ability), I allow them to take the 3 points and add it directly to their stats without the point buy ratio. In other words once they've spent all their 7 points, they can add 3 points directly into a stat or stats on a point for point basis, up to a maximum of +3 in a stat. I'm keeping it this way as a house rule either way, I'd just like to make sure of the interpretation.
Yeah, you add them up before pyramidizing, as you thought.
BTW, you're not allowing them to add to their scores above +3, are you? That normally requires a Minor Virtue per each step, as you know. Giving three Minor Virtues at the price of one seems a bit too unbalanced to me... (Your call, of course)
I have considered treating Stats as Abilities and allowing XP to be spent on improving them.
Nothing can be increased above +03 w/o a virtue.
This extra virtue can always be gained in game.
A secondary House Rule for those who want to limit munchkins ,
would be allow Stats to be increased by 03 points from it's starting value only.
Stats bought to lower than -03 due to a flaw being an exception to an allowed XP purchase increase
Perhaps someone could explain to me why Senior Magi don't have all their Stats at +05 , especially Stamina.
Vis cost is one limit , but this seems largely Saga dependent.
In addition to the vis cost, the level of the ritual seems to be a limiting factor, too. You either need to find somebody able and willing (for a price) to cast the spell at touch range (level 60 to get that +5) or invent it yourself at personal range (level 55) -- and I don't think that lab texts for those rituals are available in the bargain bin of your local hermetic bookstore.
Masters of CrCo are probably highly sought in any Saga, be it for longevity potions or stat improving rituals.
That's not exactly accurate. From ArM5, page 168, "Ritual effects with Momentary duration are not continuous, but do grant a Warping Point when first applied if they are neither cast by the target nor specifically designed for the target."
So, to boost all your stats, you either need to be a Creo Corpus/Mentem master and cast the spells yourself, or you need to pay someone to specifically design each spells to boost your stats. Those are the only ways to avoid warping.
Either way, it's not going to be often that a magus is going to get 5s in everything. It takes too long and costs too much in vis.
The main problem with getting these stat bonuses would for most be the magnitude of the required spells. Not that many magi can make lvl 55 spells, and apart from one house, the spells are not well known in the order.
In the light of this discussion, I find myself wondering quite why the decision was made to make spells to improve characteristics so much more difficult to cast than in previous editions.
The Wizard's Grimoire Revised for 4th Edition suggests only Level 20 for a Muto Corpus spell with a Creo requisite adding +3 to a characteristic with a range of Touch and a duration of Sun.
It's true that perhaps not everything in the Grimoire was as well-balanced as it could have been, but an equivalent spell would now be as high as Level 70, putting it beyond the reach of player characters. I'm also not entirely convinced of the rationale behind making it a function of Creo Corpus rather than Muto.
I wasn't aware that this was considered a widely abused use of the rules under previous editions, in, for instance, the way that invisibility was regarded. Any thoughts, anyone?
I think the 4e rules were abusable, yes. I had one character with a Presence of -6 that used spells to make her beutiful (Presence +5 IIRC). Characteristics are EXPENSIVE, rare resources in character generation. Such choices should not be easily overcome, not at all.
Still, there are other ways to deal with it. Characteristics could have been considered part of Essential Nature, immuntable by magic. MuCo, MuIm, CrMe, and so on could have been used to grant unnatural increases in charactaristic, which would have induced Warping.
I think that would have made for a better solution than the current situation, which I concur would lead to a plethora of "self-improvement rituals" being traded by Creo specialists in the Order in much the same way longevity potions are.
I would be inclined to agree with you there. That said, I'm not at all fond of the emphasis this edition seems to have placed upon the 'Hermetic Ecomomy', in particular the notion of powerful magi trading their skills in constructing longevity rituals or whatever all over Mythic Europe.
To me, that's neither an interesting nor a very plausible activity for these beings of god-like power. It also ignores the simple restrictions of geography and travel in the mediaeval period, though obviously some of these can be circumvented with Hermetic magic.
The powers possessed by elder magi have the capacity to shape the future of the known world; they should have far higher concerns than brewing longevity potions for their apprentices, however much vis they're offered.
What's more, vis, longevity rituals and the like are all just background props to the game; sticks and carrots to encourage the player characters' participation in an interesting story. With all the rich and fascinating detail of mediaeval history and literature to choose from, who wants stories dealing with things which are really just game mechanics. If your troupe is spending most of its time concerned solely with accruing mechanical improvement to their characters, an uncharitable observer might suggest that you'd be as well playing AD&D.
That's just my tuppence worth, of course, all of it shaped by my own prejudices and preconceptions about what makes Ars Magica, and what makes it an enjoyable game. No offence is meant to anyone.