Is pursuing Artistic Reputation worth it?

Hello all!

I'm trying to design a bard that pursues Artistic Reputation(from Art & Academe), but it seems to me that it's very very very hard to achieve high levels and eventually, immortality.
You first have to spend a couple of virtue points on the Artistic Renown virtue itself to get a headstart. Than you have to spend a bunch of other virtue points to boost the quality of your artworks. Then you begin gathering XPs with a painfully low rate... mostly 1 XP per season, with a little boost every once in a while. And gaining even this one XP becomes harder and harder as you progress. And what for? A bonus on certain social rolls. And a promise of immortality, which I think is probably out of reach, unless you spend like 80 years just doing that.
Maybe I missed something, but as it is, it looks like something not suited for a PC. Has anyone tried to play such a character?


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A willingness to experiment and good luck on the related rolls could speed the process up quite a bit.

Could an appropriate Item of Quality or Enriched Item of Virtue modify these rolls, improving your chances?

Take seasons off to study (especially early on when studying under someone with a high reputation can improve your reputation). Once you get a muse things will get easier- if you can manage a faerie sympathy that relates that will also help (and probably assure that you will wind up with a faerie muse...)

Let's look at an optimized Artist. Great Dexterity (x2), Affinity with Craft, Puissant Craft, Inspirational, Free Expression, Artistic Renown x2. Most starting characters have a maximum Ability cap of 5, and let's assume Artes Liberales 3 as well. This starting character has spent 8 points on virtues (room for 4 more) and produces an AQ of Craft5 + Specialization1 + Dexterity5 + Puissant2 + Inspirational3 + Free Expression3 + ArtesLiberales1 = 22.

Now, here's the bad news: AQ22 takes 3 times as long to make anything, so it's not 1 Reputation per season, it's 1 per 3 seasons. If we start out artist out at Age20 with a Reputation of 4, meaning he needs 25xp to get to Reputation 5. Let's assume that the character spends 3 seasons making Art and 1 season finding a Benefactor - each time he gains a benefactor he gets +3xp to Reputation (Benefactors are better than Patrons, as you get +3 each time you find one and suffer no losses from losing them). So the Artist is getting 4xp in Reputation each year.

His Craft will advance 3xp/season (Affinity on Exposure XP) - let's assume regular xp from the free season go elsewhere.

After 8 years of work the Artist has gained +2 craft skill (Craft7/147xp) (+2xp Rep) and +32xp Rep from working, so he's at Reputation 5/84xp
After another 8 years the Artist has Craft8/219xp (+1xp Rep) and another +32xp Rep from working, so Reputation 6/117xp.
After another 6 years the Artist has Craft9/264xp (+1xp Rep) and another +24xp Rep from working, so Reputation 7/141xp. The artist attracts a lesser Muse at this point (3xp Reputation, now 7/144). The Artist is 42 years old at this point. Let's assume the minor muse infuses 5 Might into the artist. His AQ is now 27.
Getting to Reputation 8 now requires another 36xp in reputation. Let's add 8 more years (+32xp rep) and acquire a Patron (+3 more rep over a Benefactor). The artist is also at Craft11/336xp (+2xp rep), so at age 50 the Artist has Reputation 8/181xp. His AQ has jumped to 29 (still only triple time).

Now things get worse. The Artist has a Patron, so he's only getting Reputation from making art or from fantastical stuff (studying under magical beings, adventure, etc) and he probably slows down to 2xp/year at most. He still needs 149xp to reach Reputation 11/330xp, and he probably won't live for another 75 years (125!) to manage it (maybe if you have a Supernatural Virtue and a Longevity Ritual).

Realistically, the only way to manage it is to pursue the special means of gaining Reputation. Study under a Might 30 creature for a long period (6xp rep a season) is probably the fastest way - if you can find and study under a Legendary Artist, they are sure to be at least Might 26-30 (Craft 13-15) and provide 5-6 Rep xp/season, as well as being able to teach to a high level of Ability. Note that the Reputation system REQUIRES you to have a Patron in support of you beyond a certain point (8) and this immediately strangles your ability to gain Reputation XP, because your patron wants you working or they abandon you and you lose a ton of XP (this is ill defined considering characters are assumed to have 2 free seasons a year).

A PC patron solves that issue. So you need a really tolerant patron and probably need to study under an existing Legendary Artist or other magical beings to stand a chance. I'm sure the numbers can be juggled better - you can start with a lower AQ (11-20) until you hit Reputation 6 so you gain Reputation xp from work faster, but then you struggle to hit later AQ requirements to gain Reputation xp - it's easier to front load the virtues.

Artist Reputation is mostly to allow them to find Benefactors so they can cover living expenses.

EDIT: Note once the artist hits Reputation 10 they can freely experiment without the possible reputation hit, which can get the artist a rep bump fast if he's lucky, but he's still in the 95 year age range under 'normal' progression.


It should be very hard, because few great artists manage to live forever, even in ME.



Well you can't study with your muse for this rep gain. Having a muse likely makes it easier to find supernatural teachers, but then again, the muse might hinder that out of jealousy (especially a faerie).

Yes, it should be very hard, in theory, but it's not fun at all for a player character. If you want to follow this road you have to sacrifice almost all of your virtues to it, and you must do almost nothing else for at least 40 years (probably much more), not advancing in anything not relating to your art, and receiving very little back until the final boon (at which time your character retires from the game). I wonder if someone ever tried such a character...

PS: great job, John!

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Agreed. I'm unsure if the Artist should worry about gaining Reputation from works of art past a certain point, though. It's far better to focus on having a patron that let's you run around gaining reputation xp without producing works of art, which I really think is a big flaw in the system.

Defining the increase of Artist Reputation as the main target of a character, and designing him for that, makes him weird. What does he have to say? Is he driven purely by ambition?
An Artist Reputation best works as something to track while a character just does his thing, as the world around him takes notice and reacts.

I play a Franciscan medic companion in a campaign, who is driven by compassion and an ideal of practical Christianity. In general he works as the Custos of his area and supports the friars in several hospitals. But in times of need he takes to organizing and preaching. He is pretty good in both, and others observe and emulate him. So he has developed an Artist Reputation as a preacher, though he doesn't think of himself as an artist at all.


I think you mean Fame. This is not an unusual motivation.

For most characters, Artistic Reputation is just a nice freebie that will provide some social bonuses. Very few will manage to reach the level where they would attract a lesser Muse, especially if the artist in question is making things that take a very long time to complete. If the artist's reputation gain was per season of work, rather than by the piece, then things get a lot smoother.


that part of Art & Academe gives a lot of good ideas about the life and achievements of the artist, and I'll surely be using those. I will skip the mechanics, though, and use the regular reputation system, common sense and good old roleplay to run through the same stuff.
(I'm designing the character for one of my players, but i'm the SG).

A&A calls it Artist Reputation, not Fame. But no matter the name, a character persistently striving for it without any further reason is pretty shallow.


And real people are never shallow.

For a less smarmy response, a character can look pretty surprisingly close to "only caring about fame" when you combine an extreme passion for the art with the need to make a living, and the resultant striving for a higher standard of living when you've realized you're good enough to rise above your current station. They're just working on churning out masterpieces, making money on them, and rolling around in the attention they get - it's the formula for almost every famous person/celebrity ever, but with a tangible product.

Now, such a character might still go on adventures to help family and friends and accomplish other personal goals. But I'm a writer, and if you tell me that I wouldn't be putting at least half of my adventure XP from my actual practical experiences into my writing skills, I will laugh at you. Practice makes perfect, but experience compounds inspiration. So the hugely creativity-focused people will be getting XP in their artistic skill or reputation every season believably (unless they're bedridden I suppose), and the people who are more casual about it shouldn't really have any chance of ascending to immortality for their art.

What I meant was he's not driven by ambition (your words) - a need to be the greatest artist ever, but by the need for fame - to be hailed the greatest artist ever. A subtle distinction, and definitely shallow, but definitely realistic.

But that would be something quite different from defining the increase of Artist Reputation as the main target of a character, and designing him for that.

Of course a medieval artist also cares for his workshop, his employers, his market and finally his legacy. These are pretty concrete things determining his and his family's living.
Artist signatures can be found surprisingly often in 13th century Europe. Their context and purpose - usually not "fame", but establishing and maintaining a position in a specific community - are being researched.

A&A Artist Reputation models only a small part of the life of a medieval artist. Argentarium's conclusion in Is pursuing Artistic Reputation worth it? allows to give an ArM5 artist character more room in a saga, and his artistic endeavours more meaning.


Trying to even define the state of "greatest artist ever" is obviously futile. So there is never a "need to be" such. While to "be hailed as" such is either praise by an ignorant person or a subtle insult.

"Ambition" ( ) can indeed be read both as desire for fame and desire for success: an ambiguity that I intended in Is pursuing Artistic Reputation worth it? , as it maps the ambiguities in A&A Artist Reputation.


Start off your artist young, and with a lower craft skill- don't forget he gains 1xp in reputation every time his skill goes up. Studying with someone with a higher reputation by at least 2 points gains points equal to the artists reputation. Start by studying with artists with a reputation of at least 4, switching each season and probably moving up. Assume that each of these has a SQ for study of at least 8- if you start with ability 0*+2 (one xp in the ability), a good dx etc and only one time artistic renown, within 2 seasons of study you will gain 10 xp in reputation (twice for rep 4 teachers, 2 for going up 2 levels). Then move on to rep 5 teachers... a lot of this plan will depend on how many such teachers you can find to teach and at what price. When you get to a higher level of reputation have feasts- they are only one experience but take only one season instead of 2 or three, by the time you are up to an ability of 5 you can have had a reputation of 5 as well. You can also gain experience by being a patron to younger artists with less reputation than yourself- and this is not constrained by seasons. In theory (provided a sufficient pool of teachers and resources to study freely) a student could go from 0+2 ability and rep:2 to 5+2 ability and 5 rep in 2.5 years. With an affinity you will gain ability faster at the expense of reputation (having fewer seasons of study under more prestigious artists), and realistically there will need to be some seasons of work spread in the process... on the other hand teacher-jumping may provide a lot of seasons where you gain reputation but little experience because you are always in the drudge-season of your apprenticeship... if you stick with each teacher 1 year and assume 3 seasons of exposure and one of training (because you are a lowly apprentice)you will gain the reputation xp each year in reputation for the new teacher, and gain actual ability at a moderate pace...

So basically the Wealthy virtue is required to spend all your time studying, holding feasts and patronizing younger artists (and traveling to view distant art, etc.).

Its unclear how the wealthy virtue would interact with artists, as it has no impact on the time it takes to create works of art that benefactors commission... the only impact it would have is if you work as a craftsman between commissions to help pay the bills... nor does it affect income, the patience of patrons, or any other aspect of an artists life according to the rules in artes and academe. Being a student is likely a form of apprenticeship, and would then be self supporting aiding a higher ranked artist with their work. Holding a feast or event simply costs a season of time, and in theory should be done between benefactors, though there is no indication of how this fits into maintaining a living as an artist...

Read the above again: if an artist is Wealthy, then they can spend three seasons a year on such things as feasts, patronizing younger artists, or looking for new benefactors or supernatural teachers. Also, I'd suggest that at Reputation 8, a Wealthy artist stop making art and segue into such things as teaching, feasts, and study. (If the artist in question isn't, for example, a noble writing literature, then they should buy into the clergy. A female artist's options are left as an exercise to the reader.)

Anyway, I definitely agree that making an AR of 11 is a monumental achievement that will likely require a longer-than-human lifespan. But then, an artist who wants to reach AR 11 will need supernatural aid, regardless - this is Mythic Europe.