Long lived sahirs

I'm currently digesting the Cradle and the Crescent, and I was looking at the al'Iksir rules.
It seems that sahir -- even unGifted ones -- can live really really long with the al'Iksir, with relatively few drawbacks.
What is the "average lifespan" of an unGifted sahir in your sagas?

The problem is for every point of good stuff they get, they have to take a point of bad stuff. Each negative point is either 2 warping or a simple die of xp. You can load up on personality traits for 2 points of bad stuff, or minor flaws for 3 points.

So, if you just wish to keep you age under control, you'd need to reduce age AND remove the aging points (NB decrepitude still clocks up, so you get frail at 50 points and dead at 75 points). Say every 10 years you take a season to reduce your age, and have a lab total in the low 30s, you get 7 points of effect - 5 good points resets your age by 10 points, keeping the aging rolls manageable, you get 2 good points to reduce the negative effects of aging, but you also gain 7 bad points.

Why not take it all as warping? Well, depending on how you interpret it, you either take 14 warping points now (how I'd rule it), or you take 7 lots of 2 warping in rapid succession. 14 warping points at once is pretty much unavoidable fatra beyna, whereas 7 small rolls at once does include a 7% minimum botch chance.

Taken as XP loss, that's 7 simple die or 37.5xp on average. Given that you need to work as a Sahir, the loss of 3.75xp per year is quite painful. Perhaps increasing personality traits and madness is the best option?

Time for someone to program a lifespan simulator so we can work out which strategy is best - start early and keep your age low, or wait until you've a high enough lab total to minimise the amount of Al-Iksir preparations needed?

The way I was thinking was this.

Every time you hit 30 years of age, spend a season to get a lab total of, say, 25. Spend all your 5 points into age reversal, so you turn back to 20 years of age. Since you are bouncing back and forth between 20 and 30, you never have to worry about decrepitude, aging points, or crises.

How do you pay for those 5 points? 5 simple dice of xp (in addition to the season spent). That's an average of 27.5 xp, or less than two years worth even at the pretty conservative rates of 15xp/year that you get from the corebook. In other words, you have slowed down your advancement by maybe 25%, in exchange for eternal youth and no warping. Your 4 century old sahir may have only the equivalent of 3 centuries of experience, but that's still scary.

And of course, an even moderately ambitious sahir in a few decades will be Wealthy, will have three free seasons/year, and possibly much better sources of (re)learning -- and that 25% might drop down to 10% or so.

I initially thought the same thing and haven't had am opportunity to test the rules in actual play, but rereading the al-Iksir rules when I was preparing some sample characters, I noticed two items which contradicted my previous thoughts.

  1. Even if a sahir does successfully reduce his age to less than 35, he still has to make Ageing Rolls, albeit using his reduced age as the modifier. Thus he can still get Aging points on a bad roll.
  2. While sahirs can remove the ageing points acquired from a failed Ageing Roll from their characteristics, this doesn't affect their acquisition of Decrepitude from those same Ageing Points.
  3. One of the key drawbacks of Fatra Bayna is the acquisition of Ageing Points. What's more, unlike Hermetic Magi, Sahirs age normally in Bayna so they tend to age more rapidly than hermetic magi anyway.

As it stands, I believe Sahirs have approximately the same life expectancy as Hermetic Magi.

Uh, where is this stated? From what I read, you behave in all respects as if your true age was the one after the reduction. So if your "effective" age is 30, you don't roll for aging, you just turn 31. (Ok, if you have a particularly good e.g. living conditions modifier, you might roll anyway to see if you turn 31 but retain your 30 year old looks).

I agree, even though it's not 100% clear from the description -- removing an ageing point could be interpreted as removing all its effects. Still, I'd take your side on this one.

Well, I disagree. First of all, you have to enter Fatra Banya. Second, in Fatra Banya you might roll well and avoid negative effects. This is relatively easy with a decent Solomonic Travel score a confidence point; or with a confidence point and a faith point e.g. from a minor relic; or with two confidence points from the self-confident virtue etc. Even when you do get aging rolls, until your warping score is pretty high (and if you are careful, it will grow pretty slowly) you are unlikely to get many aging points, if any at all -- particularly if you take care of keeping decent living condition modifiers.

So, basically, it seems to me that a Sahir could happily live for many centuries without too much effort, even if the Storyguide makes an effort to select Aging as the outcome of every negative Fatra Banya.

To avoid stacked quoting, I'm answering Ezzelino's points without quoting him and gremlin.

  1. Cradle & Crescent page 42, bottom of first column on the page - "Once a sahir takes the potion, he begins to age as an adult, even if he is not yet 35 years of age."

  2. Two sentences later, it states "Note that also sahirs have no way to remove Decrepitude Points, which will continue to accumulate as they gain Aging points, and which will still eventually lead them to aging crises and death". This explicitly states that removing the Aging Points has no effect on your Decrepitude total, so 75 Decrepitude still equals becoming bedridden and dieing within a few months as per Ars 5 main rulebook.

  3. With Fatra Beyna, if you look at the table the short durations are associated with Corruption and the long durations with Spirit Points. So, while spending Confidence to get a better chance of good effects gives you a 70% chance of good effects, it also means you spend a season or a year out of reality and still aging. (Hmm...the Spirit Point effects include gaining Confidence points or raising Confidence score...there's room to have a ludicrous Confidence score this way)

I've sat down since yesterday and worked out a little more about aging, I think an ungifted Sahir can live as long as a Hermetic magus with a brilliant longevity ritual, but it's possible to make centuries more. I'll type it up later as it requires looking at the effect over centuries.

Since Darkwing so thoughtfully provided the page quote you asked for, I'll omit that from my reply.

As you say, the combination of good Alchemy and Physic scores, combined with the Greater Magical Defenses virtue can give the sahir Longevity to rival even the greatest hermetic specialists, but things are a bit more complicated for the sahir than simple number crunching would suggest.

1st, as a sahir becomes more powerful, al-Iksir becomes progressively more costly in terms of Vis to the point where it eventually outstrips the magus' ability to pay for it.

2nd. As Darkwing also drew attention to the inverse correlation between the positive/negative effects of Fatra Bayna and the length of time spent "in-between", I'll drop that part as well.

3rd. Where sahir really get bit in the ass, as I see it, is that they tend to become really Warped really fast. It's easy to ignore this since the tradition has no equivalent to Final Twilight, but as the Sahir's warping score increases, the difficulty of resisting aging increases faster than his Art scores.

Finally, let me say that I'm not really sure of the stats either since I lack both the mathematic skills to run a simulation incorporating all of the factors mentioned above and the play experience to draw any reasonable conclusions from. I do, however, know that Mr. Dahl's intent was for the sahir to be approximately equal to hermetic magi in terms of maximum age. I fully accept that he could've made mistakes, but I've decided to give him the benefit of the doubt in light of the evidence cited above.


Thanks for your answers Darkwing and Gremlin44! They are indeed making a lot of things clearer.
I do have some doubts, still.

I'd assume that one can choose for a lesser effect than your lab total allows, if you wish. Push come to shove, a sahir can take a vacation during the season and reduce the lab total appropriately :slight_smile:

This is a good point. In general, barring exceptional circumstances, as a Sahir I'd try to spend a Confidence point or two to increase the duration of Fatra Banya if I couldn't avoid it. One does waste a little more time, but the positive effects (and the avoidance of the negative ones) seem well worth it. Besides, it seems there's social pressure in that sense.

Still, Fatra Banya should be avoided if at all possible, and it seems that with a little care as a Sahir you can reduce occurrences of Fatra Banya to a minimum -- and keep them long (one season or one year) so you don't incur corruption (losing a year now and then is not such a big deal, particularly if you bring back cartfuls of vis or experience from it). However, every time your warping score goes up, you are gaining one corruption point that will be spent by the Storyguide on the next Fatra Banya -- possibly to inflict an aging roll with a modifier equal to your warping score. It's these "augmented" aging rolls that the Sahir needs to keep in check -- but it can be done (see below).

While I like the figure of speech, I disagree with the analysis. There are two types of aging rolls the Sahir can make; those from "normal" aging, which are only a function of his "effective" age, and those from Fatra Banya, which add his warping score.

Just to get an idea of how things would progress, I was looking at an unGifted Sahir whose sole Solomonic Art, in addition to Sihr, was Solomonic Alchemy. Assume no affinities and such, and that you want to keep your Warping score equal to your Solomonic Alchemy Bonus (Art/5). To increase your warping score from X-1 to X, you need 5X warping points -- i.e. 2.5X years with the 2 warping/year figure from tCatC. To increase your Alchemy bonus from X-1 to X, you need to increase your Art score from 5*(X-1) to 5X, so you need strictly less than 5(5*X)xp (in fact, 10xp less).

So, as long as you manage to get 10xp / year in your Solomonic Art, you can cancel out the warping penalty from "Fatra Banya" aging with the Alchemy bonus. And if you keep your effective age young, you can cancel off your "age" modifier to your aging roll with a good Living Conditions modifier, so that even on "Fatra Banya" aging you are rolling just a stress die. This means, roughly, an aging point every 15 such rolls. After a millennium, with 2000 warping points and a Warping score in the high 20s, you would only have a handful of aging points from "Fatra Banya" aging!

If you now look at "normal" aging rolls, those are much more frequent, but -- again cancelling your effective age modifier with a good living condition modifier -- you are essentially rolling a stress die MINUS your Alchemy bonus, so aging points become rarer and rarer. Increasing (as above) your Alchemy bonus by 10xp/year, you accrue about half a dozen aging points during your first century, and another half a dozen over the rest of your first millennium.

So after a thousand years, your Decrepitude has just hit 2, and you are still looking not a day older than 30!

So, going from Warping 3 to Warping 4 takes 10 years at 2 points/year. You'd need to get your Solomonic Alchemy from score 15 to score 20, which requires 90 xp, or 9 xp per year.

Further down the line, Warping 8 takes 20 years and 5 up to score 40 requires 190 xp, or 9.5 xp per year.

Always closer to 10 xp per year, but never reaching it. I forgot if the Sihr have 15 xp per year, which would make this barely sustainable, but at least it works.

You must do this frequently if your bound spirit has little Might, but he will regenerate faster than you need him. You also need to accumulate half a pawn of vis per year. It seems like this is sustainable and only accidents and similar mundane interferences might block you.

Actually, the Sahir who join the Suhhar have 25xp/year, 30 if they are Wealthy, 15 if they are Poor.

Using the C&G rules, it takes a few decades of mundane work to become Wealthy, so I guess most Sahirs interested in a quiet, productive life would eventually get to that point. Note that Wealthy does not mean "rich", it just means you have set up your affairs so that you have ample free time.

Incidentally, I can find no reference that the Sahir's replace "generic warping" with Fatra Banya. Should one assume Fatra Banya is in addition to the effects a mundane character incurs from Warping (minor flaws at score 1 and 3, minor virtue at 5, major flaws for each additional +1)?

I'm having trouble following the problem ezzelino outlines. Isn't there always a chance the sahir will stress his aging roll and get the "get enough Aging Points to increase Decrepitude by 1 and roll for crisis" result?

Also, I don't think sahirs should get a double whammy on Warping. Does the text say exactly who has Fatra Banya? I would assume it's anyone who has one of the Solomonic Arts or Sihr, and at that point they stop doing the generic Warping thing. I'd also imagine Twilight overrules it, for those magi who learn both.

A stress die cannot roll 11 or higher odd values, (9 + 4 = 13) is the last even bonus to result in a Crisis. If you game to keep your bonus even, you must roll 22+ to get a Crisis, or on average:

  • every 60 years for a bad bonus of +2 = need 20+ = 1.69%
  • every 170 years for no bonus or -2 = need 24+ = 0.59%
  • every 210 years for -4/-6 = need 28+ = 0.48%
  • every 260 years
  • every 370 years

So 300 years is easy and 800 years is possible.

Wow. No offense intended, but that seems really manipulative of the rules to me... Clever, though! That's not really very specific to sahirs, though, is it?

While anyone can be manipulative of things in terms of the odd/even stuff, that's not the point. Everyone else (who ages) ends up with worse and worse penalties on their aging rolls. Of course you're better off being a Criamon (at least some paths). But the point being made with the Sahir is that you can keep the positive penalty relatively minimal while increasing the negative bonus. Hermetic magic can pull off a much bigger negative bonus with much more ease. Its problem is that it cannot stop the positive penalty from climbing, and it gets harder and harder to apply the negative bonus as the positive one climbs.

For example, if we look at the 300 years old, a Hermetic magus has +30 to the roll from age. It also takes 60 pawns of vis, so most likely no new longevity rituals could be made though old ones could be performed anew. Let's say the longevity ritual is in the low 100's and there are a few other bonuses like living conditions for a total of -25. That's +5 on the roll. Even if we game the system this way, it won't make much of a difference. Every few years this magus will have another crisis. Meanwhile the same theoretical age Sahir is actually in his 20s for a penalty of +3. He's got Solomonic Alchemy and Philosophy up to 16 or 21 each (should be doable in roughly 300 years) and a few points from living conditions and such to get to -10 total on aging rolls. This Sahir gets a crisis on a roll of 32 or higher, meaning 2x2x(8 through 10), or 2x2x2x(4 through 10, or another x2). So this Sahir only has a 0.0038 or 0.38% chance of having a crisis. Although it gets a worse with an odd total modifier like -11, you still need to roll higher than 20, so two 1's are required and you are still under 1%. Sahirs can pull off aging much better, and the odd/even part of gaming the system doesn't matter immensely.

But is this really a problem? So the Sahirs are good at living long. That makes them better potential rivals! Solomonic magic in general is no match for Hermetic magic. Hermetic magic can get much higher penetrations and much better magic resistance in general. Hermetic magic is also much more flexible on the fly. Making the average Sahir older makes the average Sahir more of a threat. And it's not as though the Order of Hermes hasn't been able to do better with aging (two Criamon paths, Greater Elixir, Becoming, etc.) anyway. It seems the system can be left alone and everything is fine.


I agree, my initial post was just to figure out if I was missing something or my impression that Sahirs can make themselves effectively ageless was correct (and note that "immortality" if I remember correctly is one of the abilities that Hermetic Sahirs attribute to their non-hermetic bethren).

Quoting ezzelino, since his message got dumped in the Magic Realm. Seems we have quite a Regio in the forum lately.

Yes, that's why I think (at least for Aging) when you get some doubling you should spread your result amongst the "impossible" values. For instance, you roll 1-1-4 = 16: because "low is good" and it is a 4x, you randomly pick a value in {13 14 15 16}. That way you don't lose anything by refusing to game the roll.