Magical Focus merit, redux


I'm working on a character design - a Tremere with Mythic Blood. The problem I run into is that House Tremere grants MMF: Certamen, and Mythic Blood grants (as part of the package) a MMF in an area representative of your forebear. Do you feel that these merits are allowed to be taken at the same time, as long as they don't stack (i.e., only one of the boni can be used at any given moment)?

On an entirely unrelated note, it's tricky finding good merits for a Gentle Gifted magus. The major social ones are not accessible, the major hermetic ones forbidden (only one major hermetic merit per character), and the more physical oriented ones aren't often appropriate. But you can have only 5 minor merits, so....

Oddly enough, this is far from a min-maxing exercise. I had no trouble finding suitable flaws - in fact, I'm still trimming down to 10 points! I'm just stuck at 8 or so points of merits unless I can find a major that actually works for the concept and the rules :slight_smile:.

Yes, that is an issue many have mentioned. In the game I'm working on setting up I've house-ruled the Tremere House Virtue to be Minor Potent Magic in Certamen (giving +3 attack and +3 defense), opening up magical foci.

A lot of this confused me. Why are major social virtues not accessible? They may well not fit character concepts, but that's a different issue. Yes, Major Hermetic Virtues are out as this character already has one. What are you talking about with the limit of 5??? I think you have confused Virtues and Flaws. You are limited to 5 Minor Flaws, so if you want a full 10 points of Virtues you need to take two Major Flaws. No such limit exists for Virtues.

Or just add two more Minor Virtues.


Social Status for magi is limited to "Hermetic Magus", which locks out merits such as Master in Artibus, Landed Noble and many others.

The rules allow for a maximum of 5 minor merits, so if you can only find 1 major merit that is suitable to the character concept, you are stuck at 8 pts in merits. Of course, after character creation you could conceivably pick up merits (and flaws) through mystery initiation, but that's pretty much cheating if you do that in the seasons immediately after the Gauntlet has been passed.

Yeah, Hermetic are blocked, Supernatural tend to duplicate magus powers, Social are sometimes forbidden.

What still fits well with Gentle Gift...

  • Greater Benediction/Power [RoP:F/M] could be anything, really.
  • Magister in Artibus or Doctor in (Faculty) [A&A p90] boosts your Medicine or Law. Academic politics, anyone?
  • Strong Faerie Blood (Nymph or Sidhe) have a Com/Pre bonus in addition to aging, Second Sight and darkvision.
  • Way of the (Town) reduces the Dominion penalty and helps overall.

Picking another Major Hermetic doesn't really open more choices.


Nope, the errata makes Magister in Artibus compatible.

Magister in Artibus, afaik, is a Social Status and thus forbidden to magi. It also makes you quite a lot older, although that can be circumvented if you have outstanding favours or are a CrCo specialist. Reference: AM5, page 45. Listed in my edition as Major, Social Status.

Strong Faerie Blood and Gentle Gifted, hrm. I would think that is almost a contradiction, given that the SFB has readily visible side-effects. But if you can find a reasoning around that, it would be a strong choice. Lots of story potential, and mechanically not weak either (especially the reduced aging is golden).

Way of the Town is a good call, though. Although it doesn't help me directly, it's an interesting line of thought.

Greater Benediction, again hrm. I'd probably rule that counts as a hermetic merit for character creation purposes if it simulates an existing hermetic merit, but that's me. I tend to feel that RAW should take a strong backseat to the intend of the rules.

See the errata

Awesome! Thank you very much. Might not use it now, but that's good to know for later. It's a flavourful merit, after all.

Where is that written? It says at least one, which means no fewer than one. It is possible to have more than one.

Where is that written? As I said, that is true of Minor Flaws, but not Minor Virtues.


What I'd like to see is a Magical analogue to Strong Faerie Blood. I liked it very much when RoP:M came out and we got Magical Blood - but a Major version too, please!

Also, we tend to not completely disallow Social Virtues for magi. A Jerbiton or other social magus (Gentle Gifted, we hope) can benefit greatly from Gentleman and Social Contacts.
BTW as GotF lists the Rhine Tribunal's ranks for magi as Social they can't be forbidden per so I think.

Interesting, but how do the foci work on conjunction with Certamen?
With Formulaic spells they must be invented as Potent versions, using a specific focus for a specific bonus. So there is an element of preparation?

A.) by Merits, I assume you mean Virtues?
B.) No, you really aren't. As others have mentioned, that restriction only exists on flaws. You can have 10 minor virtues - indeed this is often an excellent idea. Remember that Virtues and Flaws aren't balanced 1-to-1 directly. Only the sum values have to match.

You know, once in a while it's good to be wrong :slight_smile:. Glad to admit to it, in fact. I'm a recent convert to 5th edition and as such am not fully familiar yet with all the details. I shouldn't assume so much that I recall things correctly. Hubris gets you every time.

Of course, by now I've got half a page of background written with my revised character build in mind, but that doesn't mean I'm any less grateful for all of you pointing out my mistake. Much appreciated!

I just wasn't going to use them. I figured a net bonus of +6 was a reasonable replacement for the Minor Magical Focus, and this opens up Minor Magical Focus of a player's choice. I suppose you could invent special versions of Certamen in which a potent bonus could apply. Or perhaps there are 50 cases (50 Technique/Form combinations), and a season could be spent learning a potent version of one of those. I wasn't planning on using that part so I hadn't considered it much.


One very basic advice: Remember that limits on Virtues and Flaws are really suggestions, if it doesn´t work for a character, ignore. Just make sure any players involved are ok with any modifications.

And for the Tremere, if you want to stick close to canon rules, just replace the Focus with a Puissant(Art) style direct bonus, ie., a straight +3.

And for Virtues overall, Strong Faerie Blood is nearly always good.
If you don´t already have a few Affinity or Puissant, adding such up to the limit is a simple way to spend Virtue points.
Using 3 points for Subtle and Quiet Magic would allow the character to cast silently and without gestures with zero penalties, combines VERY neatly with being Gentle gifted.

See the insert in the Virtues Chapter. "You must take one Social Status and may only take more than one if the descriptions of the Virtues or Flaws explicitly note that they are compatible."

Very few are actually explicitly noted as being compatible with "Hermetic Magus"; although MA is compatible via errata.