Longevity Ritual at character generation?

So, I'm new here, and considering running an Ars Magica game soon. Talking to my friends about this has raised an issue, and I haven't been able to resolve it.

One of my potential players wants to start as a fairly old (mid-30s) character, freshly gauntleted but with some pre-Order experience under his belt. Unusual, I think, but not a problem. However, obviously it means aging problems - which he would like to mitigate with an arrangement to get a Longevity Ritual from his Parens, or already having one on his PC.

Now, I am inclined to disallow this, as I can find no Virtues that would allow such a thing except the Redcap Status Virtue, and that is obviously inappropriate for a Magus PC. But then I noticed that one of the characters in the Semita Errabunda writeup (Mari) is under a LR that she recieved as an apprentice!

More confusingly, this appears to have been acquired as a Flaw (Favors (her parens, for LP)), rather than as a Virtue. So, does that hold up, or is it not something that a PC could do? I don't like the idea that a PC can have a powerful LR effect on them as a Flaw, but I was under the impression that the Semita Errabunda characters are intended to be held up as plausible results of the rules...

In my experience the virtues and flaws in the book are best seen as a large group of examples rather htan an exaustive list. If you don't believe that the favors flaw is sufficient justification through in a vis debt as well (perhaps 13 pawns). You might want to create a +1 virtue "already has a longevity ritual active" my understanding of the setting is that such araingements for the mentor to create the first longevity ritual for their former student are the norm so the virtue probably only saves the player 2 seasons worth of work (one getting payment for the LR and one serving as a lab assistant). There are many minor virtues that are worth a great deal more than two seasons work so if you do make this a virtue make the longevity potion a doozy (like -14 on ageing rolls).

Seems reasonable, if that's the norm. I hadn't seen anything implying that, though. And it does assume that parens and ex-apprentice are close enough to each other for that to work out - might easily be another season of travel, and another one of correspondence first (no point in turning up at your mentor's covenant to find out he won't have any time this year, he's too busy on his own researches or off fighting a dragon or whatever).

And I guess the Warping points accumulated under the Ritual will offset the advantage, so maybe a 0 point Virtue would do, for a standard ritual.

... getting your parens to create it also raises another (mild) problem. What if your parens is not good at Creo Corpus? A lot of Magi will be quite good, for LRs if nothing else, but there will be a wide variety of scores. The variation between PC's mentors becomes a game-balance issue.

So what is a reasonable Lab Total to assume for PCs mentors, if most Magi get their first LR from them?

If i rember correctly...nothing says you have to make a LR at the full power your capable of. Parens strength only becomes an issue if they are abnormally weak.

True, but why would anyone make them weaker than that (aside from game balance issues)? I prefer to have a consistent explanation if possible.

And, in any case, I have no idea what a reasonable level is, nor indeed what to charge for a ritual. Any advice would be appreciated.

I thought that the refrence for the Parens helping with the longevity ritual was in the core book.

I think a reasonable expectation for a parens in regards to longevity rituals is a Technique + form of 20 an int of +1 an Aura of 3 and a Magic theory of 6 giving a total of 30 + the Int and Magic theory of the former student who is acting as a lab assistant.

The reference is, though it says that "in some parts of the Order it is almost an expected custom." Which doesn't, to me, sound like you can count on it applying to your Magus. I'm happy enough to extend it, though. For some reason that just hadn't occur to me.

Thanks for your suggested Lab Total - any idea what a Magus would charge for a season of his time? The same ammount of vis as goes into the ritual occurs to me, in arts appropriate to the Magus performing it; is that reasonable?

If you take a careful look at the rules for managing post-apprenticeship at character creation, you'll notice that the issue of getting a longevity potion at that stage is covered: the character can either spend a season of lab work to do it himself, with his own Lab Total, or he may make an arrangement with one's parens or an NPC longevity specialist to have it done. The details of such a deal are left for the SG and the player to work out, but it is mentioned that such deals are widespread and the social norm in the Order, so it's expected not to be too onerous. A season to gather the necessary vis, and another of lab assistence, service, or gathering vis for payment, should suffice. Or the character may be given a supplementary Favour Flaw, in addition to the usual 10, to be called at the SG's leisure.

Ah, I had missed that bit, since I want the PCs to be fresh from their gauntlets. So, that settles the appropriateness of the solution, and only leaves the cost and Lab Totals of the hired Magus to worry about. Any suggestions for those?

The numbers that I posted for a parens were low estimate. If someone were going to make a point of colecting comissions to create longevity rituals for others I'd expect them to have a Lab total of at least 53 (I came up with this number as average of 20 in the techniques and forms, Int +2, Aura +3, magic theory 7, and a +1 lab bonus). In truth it could be much higher. There is an initiation that can be gained by "walking" the forrest path of ageing (from Guardians of the Forest) that gives the intiate a minor magical focus in ageing, this is in the published material but may not be appropriate for your personal game. My game has magi 20 years out of apprenticeship and they all have at least one technique + form combination around 40, magi 40, 50 or 100 years out of apprenticeship would presumably have significantly higher scores.

Okay, thanks for your help guys. That's sorted out the question nicely.

Now, I had another thought for costing a magus' help in performing your LR; does it seem reasonable to charge a season's work for a season's work? That is, he makes a longevity ritual for you in one season and you help him on his own lab project for a season in return. A really powerful magus might be able to charge more than one season for a very powerful ritual.

Does that seem like a good costing? I always have difficulty pricing things like this reasonably.

Just piping in with a thought...

Why do you HAVE to 'charge' him?

To put it another way:

Suppose you were starting a game where the Magi were all Primus' of their respective houses. Each of these Magi would (no doubt) be in their seventies or eighties (at least)...Would you make them pay for a longevity ritual, or would you assume it to be part of the character? Would you assign it as a Virtue/Flaw if you did give it to them?
If you didn't charge them for the LR (assuming status or something), then at what point (assuming you are going to charge this magus) do you start charging for it? 60? 50? 40?

Making a Magus assumes 30 exp per year. In a two year span that could account for assisting someone in the lab, and creating a LR...
Since the character in question is that old to start, you could assume that his Parens would give it to him as a "Gauntlet Gift"...

It's essentially a barter economy. So ye need to figure out what you can provide that he doesn't have if you dont like the price charged. Everyone will value their time differently depending on what they want/need, and there is no easy formula.

True, but that's exactly why I'm asking for advice. :slight_smile:

Does my idea sound like a reasonable price at all? Too cheap? Something other than "Well, it's up to the Storyguide" would be helpful, as that's me and I need an idea of how to work it.

This is a sticky topic which has lead to considerable disagreement in the past.


Well, this kind of character is rather different from the case the thread starter asked about (old in age, newbie as mage), and in the former case the situation is settled quite easily by the character reserving one season of Lab work somewhere in post-apprenticeship development to create own longevity ritual. Same case as joining a Mystery or bonding a familiar in post-apprenticeship development.

If the character and the parens enjoyed a reasonably amicable relationship during and after apprenticeship, with genuine affection, why not ? Especially if the aging threshold would arise in the next few years just after apprenticeship. I'd still rule that the character would have the social informal obligation to return a somewhat minor favor, something worth a season's work, to the parens, when and if (s)he would call for it. If the parens and the character really shared a friendly-affectionate relationship, it would be bad RP not to rush to the parent's side for help (unless the character is an ungrateful cold bastard, which would cause its own social repercussions). But overall, it's a rather minor quibble. We are talking about returning a favor or service worth a single season of effort, once.

Ah, I see. Thank you!