Inherited Virtues and Flaws

Apprentices introduced the concept of Inherited virtues and flaws (pg 10). These are virtues and flaws that haven't yet manifested, but will do by age 21, theoretically at any point (although often subject to some triggering condition).

I've built a child (specifically, an apprentice), and I'm unclear to what extent these virtues and flaws "count" for anything.

  • When balancing virtues and flaws, do you balance only manifested virtues and flaws, total virtues and flaws including inherited ones or require both sets to balance individually? Page 10 also states that Inherited Virtues and Flaws counts against the total number of virtues and flaws, and have the same points value as standard, which makes me inclined to go for "only the total has to balance", but I don't think it's explicitly stated.
  • When Opening the Arts, do only manifested Supernatural Virtues affect the Lab Total? It would feel difficult for a Parens to plan to open an Inherited Virtue when there's no sign that it exists (although this might be a cause for some Opening the Arts to fail unexpectedly for reasons beyond just "actually it's Magical Air"), but not counting it allows you to have Supernatural Virtues the parens couldn't have opened by just having them manifest afterwards (albeit at a score of only 1).
  • Similarly to the above point (and you probably want a consistent answer), what about teaching Hermetic Virtues? Do Inherited Virtues affect the Target Level?
  • For bonus fun, what if a parens is trying to teach a virtue that is incompatible with one of the child's Inherited Virtues (for example, a second Magical Focus)?

the RAW is that the final total counts, which will be what you will have at age 21 since childhood virtues/flaws have to be replaced when they expire and inherited ones will manifest I that time.
I always play it that only manifested virtues affect the lab total since it is not clear what the mechanism is for inherited virtues and flaws- it may well be some form of predestination rather than something intrinsic to the character at the time.
Same rule for teaching, unless they are incompatible in which case I would say trying to teach the incompatible virtue triggers the inherited one.

I think the Virtues and Flaws have to balance at the point the child enters play - there's an explicit statement on page 9 that "Virtues and Flaws must balance at Child Character Generation".

Perhaps this is kind of situation is what is reflected in the rules for opening the gift. There is a statement about how the master generates and InVi lab total and based on that lab total the master can change, preserve or destroy some of the apprentices virtues. Maybe that lab total is meant to be an abstraction over how the apprenticeship shapes the virtues and flaws of the apprentice.

For bonus bonus points what is an apprentice to a tremere master has a magical focus that the master is unable to subdue? will the apprentice be able to graduate into becoming a magus Tremere then?

It makes sense to reread Matt Ryan's clarification on Virtues and Flaws during Apprentices p.32ff Hermetic Apprenticeship.

This and the texts in Apprentices p.10f leads me to answer you this way:

Quite explicitly, AFAICS.


Not unless they have already manifested before the Teaching of the Hermetic Virtue. It is in Apprentices also, to allow effects of standard ArM5 character generation.

That is just bonus fun for your troupe. :nerd_face: One of the Magical Foci goes during Teaching the Hermetic Virtue..

The rules for adding bonus virtues in apprenticeship offer a lot of opportunities for a lot of bonuses, especially with the idea of inherited virtues that don't count against the total until they manifest.

That was my reservation about allowing Inherited Virtues not to count against totals.

On the other hand, if you do require the totals to cover them, it becomes very hard to teach an apprentice with any innate talent your specific brand of magic.

Yes, you kind of have to decide the nature/nurture debate for your saga. And to be fair, I kind of feel like having 10 virtues and flaws as a child apprentice and then getting a few extras added in from a teaching mentor can get you up quite a lot of power. I know it requires a teaching-focused character, but it's very doable to have a character with more than one major virtue.

Very doable? I struggled getting a major and minor with my reasonably focused teacher. SQ of 22. Granted I could have imparted a flaw to make it easier. For this character it was a conscious choice not to include flaws.

Hmm.. Apologies, I did a bit of mathing, since it's been a while since I ran the numbers. It's not easily doable, but it's not unreasonable to see. The game I was in, a fantastic game but one full of bonuses, had a selection of mundane teachers in the covenant who produced a massive amount of tractati on teaching, and every magus had Good Teacher and good communication boosted by magic. A number of the apprentices also had Apt Student.
Looking at a ridiculously focused teacher (this game was about great teachers making great apprentices): Com 5, Good Teacher, Teaching 10 (maybe puissant), Lab spec +3 produces this: Base 3 + 5 Com + 10 teaching + 5 Good Teacher + 3 Lab + 5 Apt Student +6 Single Student = 37 Source Quality. Without apt student, you're at 32 (and a 33 can get you two major virtues and a minor virtue with no flaws). The real problem with this, your Teacher needs to have two Major Virtues to teach, but that can be done via some Mystery Culting, or if their Parens taught them. If your Magi are being exceptionally rules-abusey, they could try and argue that since Inherited Virtues and Flaws don't really exist yet, you can 'Ordeal' a not-yet-present inherited flaw to make the Virtues cheaper, but I can't think of anyone who actually would allow that. :wink:
Without even being THAT abusive, you can get Com 5, Good Teacher, lab bonuses... you can get a SQ 22 with NO Teaching score. If we assume you can't find an Apt Student apprentice (because apprentices are rare and hard to find!) then you can still teach a free major hermetic virtue. 2 points of teaching will let you add in a minor, and every 3 after is another minor; With a teaching score of 8, you have SQ 30, which is 1 major virtue and 3 minor virtues... and then add in their inherited Major and inherited minors....

Is that praesidium aurae you are referring to or is there another SG out there who allows such characters?

I was referring to Praesidium Orae; your campaign was all about testing and pushing the teaching limits. :slight_smile:

actually the game was all about preparing for the main plot which never came, where God himself put the whole of Mythic Europe under interdiction in disgust and dismay over the shenanigans of some of the Popes.

True true enough, we never got that far into the game to get to the main plot, but the setup was very focused on getting very, very high teaching scores. :wink:

Getting to large scores in Ars is always doable as a pure thought exercise, but ignores the associated costs to getting to those high numbers. Com 5 has a cost for characteristics (either taking negatives or fewer positives) and either of vis or a virtue cost. Good Teacher has a virtue cost. Teaching has an XP cost, which is really a time cost. Lab specializations for teaching have an impact on other things. I'm going to ignore Apt Student, because IMO it's a virtue for a player, rather than an NPC.
A teaching score of 10 is 275 XP, assuming an average of 10xp per season, that's 28 seasons, or 7 years. And I really do think 10xp per season is a reasonable maximum average xp to earn in a season.
Your average magus isn't going to have good teacher, will probably have a Com 1, and would invest a couple of seasons into a teaching ability to get a 2 or 3. That means an effective teaching SQ for your average magus with his first apprentice is probably Com 1 + 2 or 3 Teaching +1 Specialty +3 Std +6 Single Student for a total of 13 or 14.
So solving for the problem of teaching two major hermetic virtues isn't going to be a common problem. It's an Autmn covenant problem, to paraphrase first world problems.
Most players in active sagas aren't going to invest a lot into teaching an NPC, or even a tertiary PC of another player, unless the story is really compelling. But when you start getting into boosting characteristics, virtues and XP, the story rarely gets compelling.

I have an active magus character, who was a Magister in Artibus, and had invested in teaching at gauntlet with a score of 2. Good Teacher and Com 2. So, he already started with pretty decent teaching SQ, and only had a bit further to go to get to his SQ of 23. Improve his lab, and increasing his teaching ability were the least cost to this character, but it was still a cost. He was geared for being a good teacher, maintaining a role in mundane society AND also being good at Corpus. A lot of other stuff was sacrificed at gauntlet. This particular character is now in the position of being able to teach his apprentice much of what he knows of many arts and abilities in a single season. He struggled to get to the SQ to impart a "free" major virtue and flaw. Most characters won't be so lucky. And we found the effort, as a troupe, to be interesting, and compelling.

you are ignoring the potential of recursive tractatus. In Praesidium Aurae mages with high coms and good teacher would write tractatus on teaching with source qualities around 15 (including the bonus for a non-magical text from covenants) and then read each other's tractatus. If you have more than a couple of people doing this (and then trading tractatus when they are done with other covenants) you can get pretty high scores fairly quickly...
now to be fair that game had some other aspects towards optimization, but it was all done by the players, not by house rules. The only 'house rule' aspect was that they were playing the parens of the characters that they would eventually play- and each other's parens at that. They seemed to come to a consensus of optimizing teaching rather than things like covenant preparation. On the other hand, and covenant which had been set up as dedicated to teaching could have accomplished the same.