learning from books

Hello. Can anyone proviode me an example of increasing arts from reading books. It seems different than in fourth edition which had some examples, but in 5th edition I am a bit at a loss.

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5th ed decided (for better or worse) to simplify all the formulae. Now, a "study source" is fairly simple - and no Characteristics are involved. So a high Int character doesn't read/learn/absorb better than a low Int character, etc etc.

The text, whether Summa or Tractatus (no more LQ, ver' sad!), has a Quality - congratulations, that's how many xp any character who can read that language (Lang 4, and Artes Liberales for that alphabet) gets for the season. End of explanation.

Tractatus can only be read once but have no cap on Score. Summae have a max Score (= Level) - not 1 xp above that is gained (all same same).

Simpler? Yep! Better?... 8)

Welcome to 5th edition!

The rules you're looking for are on page 165 of the core 5th edition rulebook. Here's a little example: suppose a maga starts play with a score of 3 in Perdo. That means she has 6 experience points in that Art (according to the Advancement Table on page 164). Then the maga gets her hand on a summa about Perdo, with a Level of 9 and a Quality of 17, and starts reading it as much as she can.

  • The first season she reads the summa, she gains 17 experience points in Perdo. It takes 4 points to raise her Perdo score from 3 to 4 (again, the Advancement Table on page 164), 5 more points to raise it from 4 to 5, and 6 more points to raise it from 5 to 6; that took 15 points, and there are 2 points left over that she can save until next time. After this first season, her score in Perdo is 6 (2), where the (2) indicates the 2 leftover experience points. (Alternatively, you can keep track of the total number of experience points in Perdo: she started with 6 and added 17, for a total of 23. According to the Advancement Table, 21 points are needed for a score of 6, and you end up with the same 6 (2) score.)
  • The second season she reads the summa, she again gains 17 experience points in Perdo. It normally takes 7 points to raise her Perdo score from 6 to 7, but she already has 2 of those points, so it only costs her 5 points to raise the score from 6 (2) to 7. Then it costs her 8 points to raise it from 7 to 8; she has spend 5+8=13 points so far and so has 4 points left over. After this second season, her score in Perdo is 8 (4). (Alternatively, she now has a total of 23+17=40 experience points in Perdo, and the Advancement Table says that 36 points are enough for a score of 8 in an Art.)
  • The third season she reads the summa, she would normally get 17 experience points in Perdo; however, the highest her Perdo score can ever get from reading this summa is 9, the Level of the summa. It only takes 9-4=5 points to raise her Perdo score from 8 (4) to 9, but she has to stop there. So she only gains 5 experience points this third season instead of 17. After this third season, her score in Perdo is 9. She can never again get any experience points from reading this summa.

The following year, this maga gets her hands on a tractatus about Perdo, which has a Quality of 8. She spends a season reading it, earning 8 experience points towards her Perdo score. After the season, her score in Perdo is 9 (8). The 8 points weren't enough to raise her score from 9 to 10 (that would have taken 10 points), but at least she's much closer to a score of 10: the next time she earns experience in Perdo it's much more likely that her Perdo score will go up. She can never again get experience from this particular tractatus, although she can find other tractatus written about the same subject and read them for further experience.

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Same thing, much simpler.

Your maga has 6 points in Perdo (score 3) and reads a summa of level 9, quality 17. Because it is a summa, you can read it as often as you wish.

1st season: 6 + 17 = 23 (score 6)
2nd season: 23 + 17 = 40 (score 8 )
3rd season: 40 + 17 = 57, capped to 45 (score 9)
4th season: 45 + 17 = 62, capped to 45 (score 9)

And i would say, he can't begin the 4th season. Because he has his score = the limit of the summa.


This is not a great example, because it's exact. (And that's a massive quality!) :open_mouth:

If the quality had been 12, the progress would have been...

Start : 6 pts = Perdo 3 (0)

Season 1: +12 = 18 pts = P 5 (3)
Season 2: +12 = 30 pts = P 7 (2)
Season 3: +12 = 42 pts = P 8 (6)
Season 4: +3 = 45 pts = P 9 (0) (Level 9 = max)

If in Season 4 the mage had been able to find a Tractatus, no cap exists.

Not for such a low level limit. Its only 3 above what you can get with the most basic of characters.

Sorry DW, but I have to call bull. (Or, to use the technical Latin term, pffftus.)

"Low level limit"?! Level 9 requires an 18 in the Art - just to start with, that's not a "most basic" character, that's a Hermetic Age ~30 character, or the equiv with Affinity/Puissant (Max Art = 10 +1/4 years PG).

Then, a "most basic" mage with Art 18 only produces Level 9 Quality 6 - not 17!

Affinity with that Art, Comm +3, Good Teach +3, then add in some heavy mundane specialists for creating and improving the book itself? I'm still not seeing 17, but we're getting closer. Add in another 60-100 xp for an Art in the low 20's so he can drop some and get a bonus from that, and we're there - but that's something more than what most players would call "a most basic mage", now, i'n'it? :unamused:

It's fine if you play in high-powered sagas, but don't blow off the canon because you forget that pesky li'l detail. :wink:

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With "basic" i meant a character made without any rules beyond the core book(and only the core book used for writing as well). No fancy stuff from other rule books and no fancy interpretation of rules. Ie., just the basics.

Com +5, GT +3 and you are just 3 away from the quality, meaning such a character needs to drop max level limit by 3, so the character needs an Art level of 24. Use an affinity for that art and you need "merely" 200 XP to get it.
You can rather easily make a mage right out of from apprenticeship that can do that.
Sure its a specialist, but those are not exactly unheard of. You dont even require any extra XP at all!
So yes, you can easily get it with the most basic of characters. Give the magi a few years beyond apprenticeship and its a perfectly fine and nicely playable character as well. Add an XP virtue or two and its a potentially GOOD character even.

For a starting group, its really better with more specialised magi, as it allows faster improvement without outside resources for a longer while, so starting specialised like that isnt even uncommon.

Com +3 OR GT +3 is the minimum to get quality 17, and not at all unreasonable, would mean needing an Art score of 34. Thats 595 XP without and 397 XP with Affinity. Not something likely "right out of school", but certainly not something unreasonable. Many specialist magi in their 50s+ will have their preferred Art around this.

So "puffitiatus" back at you... :mrgreen:

But pushing the "basic rules" to an extreme is not the same thing as a "basic character". Hey, why not toss Arcane Lore in there, add another 150 pts to that Art, and make the character 35 at gauntlet? Just a basic character, right? :unamused:

Learn English as it's actually used - it's the latest fad! Until you do, I'm comfortable with my previous statement - not what most players would consider a basic character.

(And you really don't have to quote the whole previous post. Really.) :wink:

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For simplicites sake.

Ah well, im a proofreader and translator by profession you know... I can certainly make mistakes like anyone else, but in this case, not so.
My use of the word "basic" in this case is perfectly fine even if arguments can certainly be made that there are potentially better words.

Except im NOT pushing it to the extreme.

Actually yes.

Direwolf... Vocabulary and its use, like mileage, varies

Sure, such a thing is possible. It does not mean it is common, by far.
That's why Cuchulainshound (and I) consider it NOT to be a basic character, which reads very differently from "character build using core rules", but rather more like "average starting character without anything special". Starting art at 18, GT and Com +5 ARE special and not average, even if using only core rules :wink:.
In fact, look at both published characters and characters in the various PBEM here. AFAK, none comes close to what you describe.

Similarly, to you, a magus with 34 in an art at 50 years past gauntlet is relatively common. This just illustrates what C-hound said: You may not realize it, but you're apparently playing in very high-powered sagas, which are neither the default setting, nor (probably) the norm.

That however is an interpretation that is not automatically assumed, so any problems with it is pretty much YOUR problem now that i have stated what i meant with it.

Yes exactly, which is why its a bad thing for you to assume that i will adhere to your specific usage of a word or expression, just as much as it would be if i did the same. Which i rarely do excatly because im already well aware of it and instead add an explanation whenever its found to be required.

Few of the characters i ever played with, or seen played have come close to those either, so from my point of view, they´re the exception not the rule.

An example is that i would never ever start out a character with a lot of zeroes in Arts, thats absurdly wasteful as it only takes a single XP to raise them to a far more useful 1. And even a TeFo combination that only has "1"s in both still usually means you can start with a level 10 spell there which can be very useful.

No, using nothing but RAW and no special treats or anything unreasonable by the book, a specialist with their main Art in the 30-35 area at 50y post apprenticeship is almost easy to get.
34 in an Art with Affinity is 397 XP, if you can manage to get a single 10 XP tractatus per YEAR, that only takes 40 years even if you start out with ZERO.

Think about this, if you start with an Art score of a modest 15, 120 XP worth, and then spend the next 50 years doing nothing but gaining exposure XP, that means you can still end up with that Art raised to 520 XP which would be almost a Score of 32. And thats without an Affinity(which every specialist should have) and with the LOWEST POSSIBLE amount of XP gain. No its not a good character or a balanced character, but you also dont normally get nothing but exposure XP.
Its not a matter of highpowered, its a matter of playing cooperatively for the benefit of all the players.

Taking the above with an Affinity and you start with a Score 18 and after 50 years of pure exposure those 520 XP gives you an outright nasty Score of 39.

Any halfdecent group of players can manage to write or aquire a relatively steady stream of 6-10 XP tractatus.
Lets say you manage to get 2 per year with an average of quality 8, that allows you to get 20XP per year, which by the way is actually just a mere 2/3 of what is assumed by RAW for magi post apprenticeship, then 50 years will provide a nice and straight 1000 XP.
Which with Affinity in the Art means you can have a nice little score of 54. And this is LOWPOWERED according to RAW.

IF instead we jump over and go by raw XP per year numbers, and give this magi 1500 XP for those 50 years, you can then have a magi with Score 66 in one Art. And this is achieved by using RAW, with zero highpoweredness involved.

IF we then move over to our houserule based characters instead of RAW, yes they LOOK very highpowered at a glance. Until you take the time to look at our tables for Range/Duration/Target Magnitude modifiers.
The highest modifier you can theoretically get just by applying the highest possible R/D/Ts is +50 Magnitudes...
Thats Range Unlimited +20, Duration Permanent(non-ritual) +20, Target Selective Radial +10.
Edit: Actually you can get a good deal higher than that. Add a 2nd Target Selective Radial +10 to target anything anywhere in 3D. Add a conditional "If" +2 with a secondary Duration once activated of Permanent +20. Include ability to pass control of the spell to someone else +4 and the ability to Cancel at will +2.
So, +88 Mangitudes. With a minimum Base 1, that becomes a level 425 spell.

However, in this thread i have NOT used anything based on houserules, which also would not count as "basic" but rather just the "basic rules".

Perhaps we can end this debate with a much simpler answer: let's all look at the sidebar (huge one) in the covenants chapter of ArM5. Look at the average covenant example. You'll find books with a much higher level with a barely lower quality. You'll also find books a few levels lower with a much higher quality. Both of these imply that L9/Q17 is in line with the typical of the better books in an average covenant. That is according to the ArM5 rules for an average covenant, not even a powerful one.

As for whether I think it's reasonable, absolutely. It's been shown pretty well before by others and myself that you should expect quality 10-11 tractatus to dominate with quality 12 not being uncommon and higher being noticeably rarer. Overall, we can assume an average of 11 for the better writers and most of the well-traded books. Figuring these better writers will eventually reach 50 years past gauntlet since they spend a lot of time doing safe things (such as writing), a lot of them should reach 30 in one or two Arts. That would allow L9/Q17 in those Arts.

Oh, and if you really want, the highest quality standard tractatus I've been able to think up is 21, and though it's cheesy, it only requires 2 points of virtues and 0 points of characteristics. Get rid of a lot of the cheese and you can get to 17 with only 4 points of virtues, 0 points of characteristics, some mundane specialists, and two of three possible resonances.


Methinks he doth protest too much. 8)

The same chapter that implies that a Covenant's library can have all the L 20/Q 11 and L9/Q 22 summae (or anything in between) that they can buy?

The only "debate" currently on the table is whether DW is applying the term "basic" as most players would expect - and that speaks for itself. It's clear that summa that level can exist (by one set of rules or another) - whether or not such are common or exceptional, "basic" or "massive", is ultimately up to the Saga, the judgement and playstyle of the Troupe and the flavour of that specific Covenant and its environs.

But the fact that a book can easily exist doesn't contradict the assertion that it's still huge.

Imo, especially in the context given (as an example for a new player!), L9/Q17 is on the big side - ysmv.

I get that. Yet I'm not clear it was a bad choice of words. Look at the following character:

Int +1
Com +5
Good Teacher
Strong Parens
1 major flaw
1 minor flaw
Creo 20
Corpus 4
Ignem 4
Magic Theory 3
Latin 5
Artes Liberales 1
Parma Magica 1
(Native Language) 5
Awareness 3
Brawl 3
(several healing spells and fire attack spells)

As far as characters go, how complex is that? I didn't use any extra characteristics points; almost everything's a 0. I only use three minor virtues (one twice). I only used two flaws. I only bought up three Arts. I took near a minimum of abilities. I took little variety of spells. I didn't stray outside the ArM5 rules. I would say this character is pretty simple. How many characters have any of us ever seen that are this simple? I'm pretty sure we can agree on this character being simple, right? And this magus can write a Creo summa at L9/Q15.

The character may be focused, but that's a different issue. The character may not be common, but that's a different issue. That this character only uses the points of a newly gauntleted magus could qualify him as basic. That there is a lot of room for adjustments on top of this, making it a starting point, could also qualify him. Technically, I could just say Com +5, Good Teacher, Art 20, and adjust as you want from there. Is saying Com +5, Good Teacher, and Art 20 merely a starting point for a newly gauntleted magus? (Lot of work left to do.) Yup. Does it leave a lot of room for customization? Yup. Are the rules used fairly simple? Yup. By most definitions, this qualifies at basic. And this guy's within 2, while the original statement was within 3. Remember, average =/= basic.

And if we're going to get technical, look a the "can" in the original sentence. He wasn't saying every basic character can do so, just that it's possible. Coming up with examples of other basics characters that can't is useless in this argument.

Yet it is totally in line with the core examples, which are designed to be the first examples seen by a new player. I would tend to say that the core book is the best arbiter or what is big versus little. As such, it's not that big. It could be bigger. Now, each saga may vary. Some may be high-powered. Some may be low powered. But the book defines the base level off of which "high" and "low" are determined, and that base level places L12/Q17 at the value of many books in average covenants. You can take this up with David and try to get some ArM5 errata, but I doubt you'll be successful. Until then it's well below the big side. Sorry.


(one last try...)

It's not complex at all. No one here has used that word except you.

But several Virtues and a half-dozen characteristic points toward the goal of writing a good book is, as you admit, "focused". And that's not a different issue, that is the point.

Not that's it's not easy to create the character, but that the character is markedly unusual in that direction, even in a world of unique magi.

And that said, he can only write this book for one of the 15 Arts - which presumes that there are 15 different magi exactly like him out there, who have not only survived but excelled in their Art and decided to write about it, and each coordinated with their own different Art so that any one Art is not a standout. Probably many more, since even within this Art, apparently, there are others that make it not exceptional in your eyes.

In those same core rules that you cite, the maximum quality for a Level 12 book could be Quality 19 (+2 over our L12Q17 example). And the largest level for a Quality 17 book could be Level 14 (again, the max being just 2 over the L12Q17 example). And you're saying in the big bell curve where L12Q19 and L14Q17 are core, vanilla MAXIMUMS, that L12Q17 is "not that big"? :open_mouth: I am seeing where our views fundamentally differ, and where yours and DW's merge.

I believe "basic" means "standard". And I don't believe the "standard" of the Order is the extreme. I believe that creating an extreme character (or text) in any direction is easily possible - and you just demonstrated that it's trivial. But I don't believe that a Magical Focus, 20/20 Te/Fo specialist with two starting spells of level 75 is a basic character, even if it's easily possible, and I don't believe your example is one either, even if there's room for further specialization.

You (and DW) are muddying game mechanics with the Hermetic World, what is "easily possible" with what is "basic". In our world, it's easily possible for conjoined twins, or nuclear war - but that is not your basic birth nor basic newspaper headline. It's easily possible for a production car to go over 200 mph/330 kph, but that's not a basic car. The "norm" of the AM world is not defined by the extreme possibilities of CharGen, but by the SG and Troupe and how they view those possibilities. I (and others) view that sort of character as "rare" in the world. Which makes their ability to write about their one Art "rare", and a book they write on a par with them - rare.

In GotF, page 57, it states, regarding the texts in The Great Library at Durenmar..."For low-level summae, a typical Quality is between 6 and 15, with a maximum of about 24. For high-level summae, a typical Quality is between 6 and 9, with a maximum of about 12. There are only a couple of dozen Art summae with levels of 15 or more; levels of greater than 20 are virtually unheard of in the Order...")... but leaves the details up to the SG/Troupe.*

In Covenants (the supplement, not the AM5 chapter), on page 93 it talks about "standard texts" - and specifically does not define the "Pillars", the "finest works yet produced". Which tells me they didn't want to define them, or not too much.

Beyond those non-formulaic references, there's nothing official to say that I'm right and you're wrong, or vice versa. It all depends on whether you think the Order is spitting out enough magi like the one you suggest, and they survive and in turn decide to turn out enough books so that L12/Q17 is nothing to get excited about.

It's as simple as that.

(* Given other (later?) supplements, and considering the context, I'll admit those seem low to me. And I don't tend to buck canon.)

Obviously "normal" varies from game to game. My view is that a +5 characteristic isn't even close to normal, when +3 is the supposed "normal" upper limit.

It's cool that you can create such exceptional player characters. Player characters are meant to be exciting and exceptional, IMO. Your character's writings will be famous for centuries.

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You MIGHT want to reread a bit? L9 Q17 was the issue at hand.

Its 5 below whats considered the limit at that level limit for a BRAND NEW covenant at creation. Its fairly good but not great or superior and certainly NOT huge.

And by using the standard writing rules, you can actually write up to Quality 28 if you can get high enough score, and thats nothing impossible.

I reject that!

Not "implies", it outright says so without the slightest doubt. As does the repetition of those rules in Covenants.

And you lost that debate already due to the fact that the word "basic" has so many potential meanings and the fact that none of those meanings can be realistically argued as automatically taking precedence in this case.
What most players would expect a common word to mean is really irrelevant because its not a word that have a normal nonstandard meaning within the context of the game.

Had i used "art", "technique" or "form" in non-obvious ways, then you would have had a point. With a word so basic as "basic", you´re not even close.

Its one of the opposites of "basic"...

No, not unusual at all. If unusual where you play, thats your problem alone.

Why exactly alike?

As i already showed, you require the assumption that no magi survives more than a few decades to make the presence of magi with the needed Art scores unlikely.
As i already showed, even using nothing but exposure XP a magi can reach those sort of scores long before they´re even halfway through life.
MORE realistically, a magi can get enough XP long before he dies to write such a paltry book as a Q17/L9 summae for at least 3-4 Arts.

If you start looking at Q28/L15 or something, THATS when you can start talking about HUGE numbers...

What´s extreme about what i suggested? ANY specialist will be highly focused. Lots of times i see people drop even MT to score 1 just to get their special Art score a bit higher, because its so much easier to make up for a low score than it is to get further with an already high score.
Just because book templates and examples doesnt show that means absolutely nothing at all.
Those were expressly made to be average.

Yes, extremely basic.

Thats a completely irrelevant "comparison".
A gorilla ate my shorts, ergo your argument is invalid. Good answer isnt it? And on the same level.

And WHERE did i ever say that YOU MAY NOT DISALLOW THIS FOR YOUR OWN GAME or anything like it?

Your VIEW isnt relevant outside of your game.
AND it falls short of looking at the RAW mechanics:
The stated example summae falls well short of the limits for creation of a brand new covenant, ergo such books CAN NOT be rare, ergo there ARE(or at least were) plenty enough of people to write them around.

RAW CLEARLY does not agree with you. I can raise it to Q22/L9 and its still perfectly fine for a STARTING COVENANT.
And above that, you have the Major boon "Exceptional book" which allows up to 4 higher total, and 3 higher max Quality.

Maybe you should read the grey insert on page 94 of Covenants?
"... have qualities of (35-level)"
"Most of the summae traded by the order are written by specialists in an Art..."-"... qualities somewhere between (31-level) and (28-level)".
"MOST" 31-9=22 28-9=19
So, ACCORDING TO RAW, the book you argue about as having "huge" quality doesnt even qualify for being among the MOST TRADED books! Because its TOO LOW QUALITY!

And once again the summae discussed was L9/Q17 never 12/17.

And you managed to miss the correct page to look at in Covenants by just not turning the page once more.


And to get a Q17 you dont need more than 9 base quality if you have high enough Art score, and 9 can be achieved either by Com+3 OR Good Teacher by their own. And neither of THAT is anywhere near unusual is it?
GT is so well worth it for the group as a whole that until we went with more and more houserules it became very common, almost standard.