Magi Character Creation Rules

Repeated from the interest thread:

[size=150]Magi Character Creation[/size]

Characters are granted a slight increase in overall experience points for creation and development. This is due to an expectation to have scores in a diversity of minor abilities (such as Area Lore, Order of Hermes Lore, Profession-Scribe, etc.). It also takes into consideration the high demands of the saga, and encourages you to play with power.

[size=130]Early Childhood (Representing the first five years of life)[/size]
Begin with (Native Language) 5, (Native Area Lore) 2, and 45xp for Childhood Abilities

[size=130]Youth & Later Life[/size]
From age six onward (until apprenticeship), you gain 20xp per year. If you are Wealthy you gain 25xp per year, and if you are poor you gain only 15xp per year. Magi and certain other characters cannot choose Wealthy or Poor. If applicable, they may choose Privileged Upbringing instead to represent their past.

[size=130]Apprenticeship (magi only)[/size]
Apprenticeship usually begins between age 7 and 21 (10 to 15 is the more frequent range), and lasts 15 years. During this time, you receive 300xp for Arts and Abilities, plus 150 levels of spells. You should spend no more than half your xp on Arts, and should not have any Art score greater than 10. Your spells may come from the main rulebook or elsewhere in canon, but at gauntlet many of these may also be original or unique spells, invented or obtained by your parens, which they have passed on to you. Newly gauntleted magi may not begin with spells above the seventh magnitude.

Mandatory Minimum Ability scores new magus are: Artes Liberales 1, Latin 4, Magic Theory 1, Profession-Scribe 1, & Parma Magica 1.
Suggested minimum scores, however, are: Magic Theory 3, Magic Lore 1, Order of Hermes Lore 1, Parma Magica 1, & Philosophiae 1.

Advance in four cycles of seven years each. Each cycle you must spend at least 7 seasons studying/learning and at least 7 seasons doing lab/exposure work. The other 14 are up to you. However, you may have no more than five seasons of adventure. You can assume an Aura of +7

Allowable Activities

  • Train any General, Academic or Martial skill at SQ14, up to level 6.
  • Pay 3 vis for SQ15 teaching in any Art
  • Pay 2 MP for SQ15 teaching in any Ability, up to level 8 in any Academic/General/Martial Ability and up to level 6 in any Arcane Ability.
  • Read from the Library
  • Set up/improve a lab/workshop
  • Refine a lab
  • Conduct a laboratory activity
  • Teach or train a companion/grog
  • Conduct Covenant service, receiving 3 vis and 2 MP as wages.
  • Any other normal Exposure activity
  • Have an adventure

You can advance with a library having the following summae (distributed how you like).

Arts: one 24/11, one 20/11, one 18/13, five 16/15, four 12/17, three 10/19, ten 6/21
Abilities: one 8/11, three 6/17, three 5/20, seven 4/18
No summae on supernatural Abilities.

You can have the following tractatus (also distributed how you like):

seven Q13, ten Q12, ten Q11, ten Q10, ten Q9

Try and split these up so that you don't have them all in the first cycle. Remember, this is meant to be what is accumulated by a covenant over six cycles.

As per usual, it takes two seasons to fully set up your lab. You may take any free Virtues/Flaws that are appropriate to your starting lab (e.g., dedicated building, elevated, etc.).
Labs start out at Size 0, but can be made bigger with a season or more of skilled work.
You can start off with Superior Equipment and/or Superior Tools. (But keep in mind, the covenant will only pay £3/year upkeep for the lab).

I'll allow adventures. No more than 5 adventures per cycle. Adventures can achieve the following:

[tableborder][tr][th][left]Adventure[/left][/th] [th][left]Reward[/left][/th] [th][left]Allowable Frequency[/left][/th][/tr]
[tr][td]Vis find[/td] [td]5 Fo vis (or equivalent) and 7 xp[/td] [td]Twice per cycle[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Treasure[/td] [td]10 MP and 7 xp[/td] [td]Twice per cycle[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Learn something[/td] [td]12 xp[/td] [td]Twice per cycle[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Meet friend[/td] [td]Gain Correspondence and 7 xp[/td] [td]Twice per cycle[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Information[/td] [td]Gain a Quality 12 Tractatus on any subject and 7 xp[/td] [td]Once per cycle[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Resources[/td] [td]Gain 10 BP toward a future covenant and 7 xp[/td] [td]Once per cycle[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Longevity Ritual[/td] [td]Gain access to a 'premium' LR and 7 xp[/td] [td]Once per cycle[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Quest[/td] [td]Perform a quest required for initiation and 7 xp[/td] [td]Once per cycle[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Initiation[/td] [td]Initiate in a mystery[/td] [td]Once per cycle[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Transformation[/td] [td]5 transformational vis[/td] [td]Three times total[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Apprentice[/td] [td]Find a suitable apprentice and 10 xp[/td] [td]Twice total[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Talisman[/td] [td]Find expensive or rare materials for a talisman and 7 xp[/td] [td]Once total[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Familiar[/td] [td]Find a suitable familiar (Might 15, Summer) and 7 xp[/td] [td]Once total[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Mystagogue[/td] [td]Promote a Correspondence to a Mystagogue and 7 xp[/td] [td]Once total[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Challenge Archmage[/td] [td]Gain title "archmage" and 7 xp[/td] [td]Once total (in sixth cycle)[/td][/tr][/tableborder]
Everyone will get 4 Fo vis (or some equivalent combo of Te/Fo vis) each year and 3 MP. Lab expenses of up to 3 MP/year will be paid by the covenant.
A personal vis source will give either 2 Te or 4 Fo vis per year.

Everyone will also get two seasons of skilled labor at a skill+attribute of (Cycle + 10).

  • A Lesser Virtue in the lab takes one season of a skilled craftsman to make
  • A Greater Virtue in the lab takes two seasons of a skilled craftsman to make

A mystagogue obtained by upgrading a correspondence will have a Pre+ML of 9.
A minor Virtue can be obtained by spending a season questing and a season initiating (2 seasons total)

Covenant Service
Everyone must spend one exposure season each cycle in covenant service.

Anyone can find a Might 15 Summer familiar by spending one adventuring season looking.
A familiar can study/gain exposure along with the master and takes no Might penalty for that season.
For any season not spent with the master, familiars will be abstracted as getting 5 xp/season.

In most cases it will take one of your seasons of grog's work to get the physical device made.
If you want an expensive material in your talisman, you need to either pay for it with cash (we'll have to figure out what a reasonable cost is), or spend a season adventuring.
One season adventuring will get all the components you need for your talisman.

Everyone can take 6 points of Reputations to indicate how they have become known in the Order. These can be distributed how the magus wants (three +2, a +5 and a +1, etc.)

If a player opts to play a nonGifted Redcap as their magus character, the following special rules apply:

  • No covenant service is required. Redcap duties cover that.
  • The Redcap may be a Heroic character.
  • seven seasons of adventure are allowed to account for the Redcap being out and about more.

Everything Else

  • The character may purchase vis at 1 vis/15 MP.
  • They may purchase MP at 10 MP/1 vis.
  • They may trade vis at standard Mercere rates
  • The character may purchase a “standard” Longevity Ritual at 2 Vis and 1 MP per +1, up to +12. This also uses one exposure season.
  • The character may purchase a “premium” Longevity Ritual at 3 vis and 2 MP per +1, up to +20. This also uses one adventure and one exposure season (gain xp as normal).
  • The character may purchase at tribunal magic items at Verditius rates, i.e. 3 vis per ten levels (round levels up to the nearest ten). Maximum level for lesser enchanted items is 45.
  • The character may purchase books at the standard prices listed in Covenants.
  • Everyone will start with one correspondence on any subject with their parens.
  • Carry the fractions when dealing with Affinities.


I made a minor error in my initial posting. You get three Ability summae of 5/20, not 5/15. That's what the 'powerful' covenant gets. I don't know what I was thinking.

Added comment at the end that everyone starts with one correspondence on any subject with their parens.

What possibilities does transformation include? Are we talking about raising stats or does this just apply to magical beings and certain mysteries?

Also at nature lore:3 a maga can locate vis in an area with only a few days searching, once per season. How should this be treated in advancement? An additional vis income of some sort? As written it would seem that the search for vis adventure can be performed (without xp) once a season in addition to other activities...

That's an interesting use of nature lore. However, I don't want it to unbalance the game. I mean, a Virtue only gives 4 vis per year. This is just a 30 xp Ability. Even if it gave just 1 vis per season, it's giving the benefit that some people had to take a Virtue to get. That having been said, it should also have some effect.

I guess the question is whether there will be vis in the area to find, and whether it's already claimed or not. You might be very good at finding all the vis in the area, But if it's all claimed by your covenant, it's not going to do you a whole lot of good.

So, what do people think would be a good vis return for having a level 3 in Nature Lore? I'm curious what people think would be both balanced and fair.

It's using the standard rules from RoP:M. Assume that this adventure took you to the Realm of Magic.

Added comments to the rules about laboratories.

Here's what Erik Dahl had to say on the matter:

With respect to Initiation, many (I don't know if it's fair to say most) initiation scripts have sacrifices that involve taking Flaws. I'd like some indication of how an initiation is completed, and whether it would be appropriate to have a Flaw involved. It seems like in many cases it should.

Do we need to generate a mystagogue then to know what their organization lore and charisma are?
I tend to see Merinita initiations being heavy on adventure, and you have already declared initiations to be adventures...the "two quests and a special place" from mysteries p. 15 would be typical, or a quest and a season of instruction by the mystagogue, perhaps with a secret place as well... do we need additional seasons of adventure to cover this, and would it count against our 5 adventure limit?

And could we get this all worked out because I get frustrated having to go back and redo work because of a rules change...

Instead of adding a source, I would suggest using your score in nature lore as a bonus when finding vis on adventure. If you would normally find 3 vis, initiating in the mystery and investing xp to get to nature lore 3 would allow you to receive 6 vis from an adventure reward. Increasing your xp investment will further increase adventuring vis.

I think Presence of 3 and Org Lore of 5-6 (with a specialty in initiations) might be average for a mystagogue. Would this generate the initiation totals needed?

I think for simplicity sake, let's just keep initiation at one season unless the initiation itself specifically requires two or more seasons. I would count the examples above as a single season. This assumes the initiate meets all other requirements the initiation might need, for example, some Verditius initiations requires sacrificing prior made magic items.

I was thinking about this last night and considering Erik Dahl's comments that he thought this aspect of Nature Lore ought to have a maximum yield the same as a PVS, but be less reliable, especially if you keep going back to the same area over and over. In thinking about this, it occurred to me that a reasonable solution would be to allow Nature Lore 3 to get you 1d4 form vis per year. That way it has a maximum the same as a PVS, but is less reliable. (Just as Erik Dahl suggested.) The Form vis would be mostly animal, aquam, auram, herbam, and terram, with some ignem, imaginem, and vis tossed in from time to time. Corpus and mentem would be possible, but more rare.

I think Kuiti is right, combined Pre + Mystery Lore of 9 is a good number to go with. If you want to use the two quests and a special place option to get a minor Virtue, that's fine. I would tag each quest as a separate adventure, yes, counting against your 5 adventures/year limit. (Initiations are about sacrifice). I'm willing to say that going to a special place does not require an adventure, however.

You can replace one season with a minor ordeal, or both seasons with a medium or major ordeal. A medium ordeal will also replace one quest for your next initiation, and a major ordeal will replace an adventure on your next two initiations.

You can also replace one season by sacrificing something of value like a familiar or a talisman.

Initiations to get major Virtues will be more difficult, of course, like the Ordeal and Teaching example.

for my first cycle I have 5 adventures- meet friend, mystagogue, initiate, and two for learning forst lore- now do I need to go back and redo my first cycle? Do adventures for an initiation count as regular adventures? Does the base adventure for initiation count as one adventure?
Also with a mystagogue score of 9 and a target of 15 then travel to a special place and one quest are sufficient to reach the required score... as would travel to a specific place and the mystagogue provides a season of instruction...

Gah! Sometimes I hate mystery cults.

What I'm trying to do here is make for a reasonable cost for initiating to a mystery cult that balances out with the advancement of non-mystery cultists. In other words, if a mystery cultist can get a new Virtue just by spending a season adventuring, then even if I limit things to one initiation a cycle, the mystery cultist could potentially have six extra Virtues compared to the non-mystery cultist. All for the cost of six seasons of adventuring (for which the mystery cultist still got xp), plus one season to get a mystagogue.

I just want a fair system that balances out between MCs and non-MCs. And I'm starting to see that with all the moving pieces in ArM 5, that's hard to do. Typically, as I see it in the rules, the balance comes from having to find a mystagogue, getting one with a high enough skill/Pre, and either spending time doing all the quests, or making sacrifices. In theory, a non-MC would have many more seasons to study/spend in the lab than a MC. And while the MC would have a bunch of new Virtues, they'd be behind the curve in learning basic magic. But that doesn't happen if it's too easy to initiate.

That's why I tried to come up with a very basic rule that it took two seasons of quests to initiate for a minor Virtue. It seemed to me that at least two seasons of devotion for a minor Virtue without ordeal was about what the rules intended. Please correct me if I'm wrong with that.

So, that having been said, what do you think is a fair way to handle initiation? It's clear that you have concerns about what I'm proposing. What do you propose that's fair to all?


You could adapt Marko's rule from Andorra, since you have already started along that path. That's not a bad solution, very reasonable, and it also handles Twilight v/fs. If you go this way, I recommend allowing 3 closely related minor virtues to be treated as a major. But regardless. If you want something that feels closer to real development, these are good rules, and they do work with your saga-specific cycle rules.

You could adapt my rule from my abortive online saga, which is to handwave the whole thing, and just allow players to take any virtues they want out of Gauntlet, including Mystery virtues... but these must all be balanced with Flaws. The cost is higher, but the extra virtues come into play immediately and don't consume seasons of advanced development. Less 'realistic' but very simple, and the cost is pleasantly high. If you are concerned that the difficult adventures and seasons of sweeping the grandmaster's hut don't actually happen and special gifts of vis, this rule works nicely. (Naturally, I recommend this approach.)

Using the scripts from the rules is going to heavily favor certain concepts and mysteries over others, since different AM authors wrote scripts of different optimization for their Houses. So I don't recommend it, with the possible exception of Criamon.

Finally, I'd note that some canonical options are every bit as good as some of the weirder initiatory abilities, even when v/fs are out of whack. There is very little as good as a magus optimized to make use of Flawless Magic, good Arts scores and a solid lab. But I see you have already noticed this! :slight_smile:/2

Just me.



My suggestion would be this: you currently have one season adventure for initiation with no xp, and normally a second season is required which may include one adventure, so with base total of 9, assuming a specific place and one adventure included brings the total up to 15, for major initiations a total of 21 is required, which can be either 2 more seasons of questing (with xp) or a sacrifice of some significance or an ordeal (minor flaw), each of which can replace one season. The reason this normally puts initiates behind is because books are generally a much beter source of xp than adventures. According to RAW an adventure should be worth 5-10 xp while a book or tractus is generally 12-15 xp, depening on level (low level summae re worth more, tracti tend to be around 11). By trying to make adventures and books more equal you have eliminated part of the sacrifice. I would say make adventures worth 7 or 8 instead of 10, except for 'learn something', which should be worth 10, and books can be where they are, or else increase the available books so studying is a more desirable approach to learning.

Also worth noting: personal vis source indicates that it should be 1/10 the yield of a covenant, and typically a covenant is made up of 6 magi. At 3 pawns/yr income would mean 18 pawns/yr being distributed from coffers, unless the covenant has signifigant expenses the personal vis source and the vis income are out of balance, since the covenants should have 40 pawns a year income. I know that sounds confusing from me given that is what I set the income for in Ad Astera, but 40 pawns a year is wht I believe is a reasonable expectation for what that covenant can achieve before too long, considering the background some things just had to be fudged. I you assume 4 pawns for an ageis and another 6 pawns being banked each year that would be 5 pawns/magus in regular income for a 4 pawn a year from personal vis source...

That could work. Let me think about it overnight and I'll post something tomorrow about it.

I confess I didn't work out the numbers like you did, but just eyeballed them. 4 pawns/year for a PVS worked out neatly to 1 pawn per season. But I suppose you're right, that would equate to at least 4 pawns/year vis salary, or perhaps 5. I should probably up that number. Besides, it'll be good for you guys to have a little extra vis at the beginning for reasons similar to Ad Astera, i.e., you'll have expenses without a large amount of income until you can get vis sources up and running.