I've been toying with an idea for an NPC to use in a future convention game, a Failed Apprentice who is very ambitious and manipulative. One of his plans is to get a pre-generated PC to make him a longevity potion, but the PC is merely an apprentice with a high Creo score. Is such a thing even possible? If I'm reading the corebook right, it looks like it would require a Creo Corpus lab total of 30, which between the assistant's Int and MT, the apprentice's Creo, Int and MT, and the covenant's Aura of 7 might be possible in a year or two of study. Can an apprentice, even a very sharp one, make a Longevity potion?
The PC is a very talented Bonisagus, if that makes any difference.
IMO, the person making the LR for another must have a CrCo lab total of 30 without any additional assistance from lab assistants. That's how I'd rule it for a saga I'd run.
I'd also probably rule that they magus needs to have the minimum Magic Theory score to setup a lab (Magic Theory 3) to make a LR, so not just any apprentice could make a LR for himself if left to his own devices...
But, I could see the failed apprentice trying to manipulate the master into teaching more Creo or Corpus or maybe evening offering to teach the apprentice what he knows of Magic Theory. That's presuming that the Failed Apprentice knows more Magic Theory than the apprentice. With the Failed Apprentice playing it up that he saved the Apprentice from some seriously boring/dangerous/demeaning task that his master had planned for him that season, and the Failed Apprentice just had to step in and save the poor Apprentice...maybe you can do me a favor some day?
On the opposite side, the master needs to be seriously and perhaps dangerously inattentive towards his apprentice and possibly even his lab.
Depends on how you interpret LR's... the Potion concept was from earlier editions. Nowadays, it's referred to a magical lab project that matches the character of each individual magus. Maybe its bathing in blood, maybe its rubbing dirt on your face. The problem is for the Failed Apprentice to have come up with components of their specific needs. However, and I plan on using this IMS, if they have assisted another magus in doing so and have been able to reference the texts/notes from that process, they should be able to discern what works for them.
As of right now, the Gifted Apprentice (GA) has a Magic Theory of 2, the Failed Apprentice (FA) has a 4+2 (I gave him Puissant); do the rules state if you can have assistance setting up a lab? In any event, this storyline would be a few GenCons off, so the GA's MT might be a 3 by that time.
That sort of manipulation is what I have in mind. The FA is a bit of a Iago-like figure, who also plays up the tragedy of his lost Gift for sympathy; yes, he's a douchebag Even if I don't work the LR angle, I'm falling in love with this NPC.
The master is a bit potty and the covenant is old and large, with several disused labs; the idea is that the GA and FA are secretly setting up in one of them for the illicit LR work.
That's a good point; if the FA has assisted other magi with their own LRs, he could bring that knowledge to the project. And Experimentation makes sense, both in terms of achieving results sooner and adding an element of danger to the mix; I'd considered making the FA a secret diabolist who would do ANYTHING to get his Gift back, but in some ways making his schemes all-too-human appeals to me more.
I have a character that's a Failed Apprentice that is interested in helping out Magi on interesting projects. So magi, hopefully, will compete for his lab assistance. He has other useful skills, so he can be off buying and selling for the covenant if nothing strikes his fancy. However, that only goes so far, since he has Hunger Corpus Magic, and needs to be fed...
Scheming Failed Apprentices make for great companions as well as NPCs. Personally I see nothing wrong with the FA's ploy. If he can pull it off, more power to him.
The main hurdle will be the vis requirement. That he's probably going to have to steal, and that is ripe with story potential for the troupe regardless of whether he's an NPC or a PC.
The only minor gotcha in this is that FAs are useful, so chances are good that a covenant will recognise that and invest resources into longevity anyway. I guess it depends on how common FAs are in your saga - but certainly players with FAs tend to want to keep them around.
By RAW you just need a CrCo Lab Total of 30 or more. It doesn't matter how much of the Lab Total is Arts Score and how much is bonuses (like Lab Assistants). I can't see anything abusive with a Failed Apprentice helping a magus to get to a CrCo Lab Total of 30 --- a CrCo 30 Longevity Potion isn't a very good one, for a start.
As Kid Gloves says, most magi who have failed apprentices as Lab Assistants would probably eventually get around to making him a Longevity Potion anyway.
The genesis of this NPC is the Major Infatuation flaw; I decided to give it to one of the pre-gens, and then tried to imagine what kind of horrible person would take advantage of a talented young Bonisagus apprentice. The scheming, manipulative bastard FA is the first thing I came up with, and I'm digging him so far I think he would try to get this poor young thing to get him the vis he wants. The game is set in Durenmar, so the vis is there, if she can get it.
This is a valid point; the idea is that this FA is still in his early teens (he lost his Gift due to an accident early in his apprenticeship) and vain and impatient for Longevity due to his Envious nature. In many ways, the only reason he hoped to become a magi was to cheat Death, and he's furious about the loss of his Gift, though he hides it behind a humble facade.