Magi's Children

I have a question and cant find an answer. Is the Gift hereditary? has a gifted character's child higher chances of have the gift?

Many people have many opinions.

There is evidence that the Gift runs in some families: notably, House Mercere 's few Gifted magi are all descended from Mercere himself. There are other magi who are children of magi. This may be a cooincidence, though; possibly magi are simply more aware of the Gift and more likely to detect it in the family of magi.

There are also people who argue that the Gift can be a result of astrological alignment (in which case perhaps it is predictable), or pacts with supernatural entities (in which case heritability may vary according to terms of the pact), or possibly a variety of factors.

It isn't even clear that the Gift is a particular condition - perhaps it is a condition related to a variety of causes.

There are even those who theorise that the Gift is just that, a Gift.

House Mercere managed to keep itself in magi with a dedicated campaign of encouraged breeding and the use of spells like Mercury's Blessing (HoH:TL). If we assume that the 'average' lifespan on a Mercere Magus is 140 (lowball, IMO) and there are 12 of them, they need to produce one Gifted child every 10 years to maintain replacements. And that's with them trying and using magic to get results (also, with some coming from Redcap families with Mercere blood and/or non-Redcap families with Mercere blood as well).

Given all that, the rate of Gifted children in bloodlines known to produce Gifted offspring 'reliably' is pretty darn low. I think that effort to produce offspring is probably the most important factor here. It's a numbers game.

There's one exception: a magus at Durenmar whose semen contains Vim vis, and who generates a 100% success rate in producing Gifted children. Murion has been putting him out to stud (and the shy guy is not really on board with this). This is so far more of a story hook than an industry though.

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If it makes a good story, there's nothing wrong with the child of a magus being Gifted. The timing of a magus or maga having a child is relatively low, though, since most magi gauntlet at age 25, that leaves 10 short years to have children. The Gift can make finding a partner for that a bit difficult, too. I've had children from a magus be Gifted and I had children from a maga be whatever (based on dice rolls from SubRosa #11).

It certainly doesn't have to be that the magi of Mercere come primarily from other Merceris magi, there is a lot of the Founder's bloodline, and I imagine that there is some element of prestige that arises from being the father or mother of a Merceris magus. I'd have to say that there's a fair bit of them that come from these Redcap or quasi-redcap families.

FWIW, I have a Merceris magus in a saga, but he has Illegitimate lineage, but he was seduced by a female redcap of the Founder's bloodline to try and have a Gifted child. Also, magi of other Houses may be descended from the blood of Mercere. For a player in my saga I made a magus with two Gifted children descendants of Mercere.



The main reason why a specific child is Gifted is because that's the story you want to tell.

Remember that modern genetics might not hold true in Mythic Europe. Blue eyes is not a recessive trait, but it may randomly pop a few generation down the line just like Faerie Blood might.

Finding a way to reliably generate Gifted individuals would be a huge thing for the Order of Hermes, and would probably see a scary explosion in the magus population. Probably to a degree that the Order can't actually control.

It could make for an interesting saga (the discovery and the aftermath).

There's a few different references in different books to various ways to guarantee a Gifted child. Here's a few:

Ancient Magic: Fertility magic allows the creation of a Gifted child. This does, however, require some significant research.
Mythic Locations: There's a Mercurian ritual that gives someone the Gift, but again it requires some serious research work to get it operational; bordering on saga-defining.
Magi of Hermes: Aurelentis is from a direct line of magi, father to son. His lineage is the result of a faerie blessing.
Guardians of the Forests: The aforementioned magus who is being put out to stud.

The common thread here is that there is no common thread. :slight_smile:

So no, it's not typically hereditary. However it very well could be in some circumstances. I'd probably allow all children to be Gifted if a player takes a lesser benediction. Whether the virtue itself is passed on to the next generation is something to work out for your saga.

Despite all these options, the answer to 'is it hereditary' is still, from a canon perspective, no.

Thanks to all!

But the response from Kid Gloves was that made me understand that this is not a good idea and why i must be careful about it.

Good luck and sorry for my English

Would it really? Because it seems that magi looking to have an apprentice have only minor difficulty acquiring one - and by that I mean a few seasons looking for one, assuming one doesn't fall into their laps (via Redcap or Tribunal procedure as in Thebes).

Now, being able to guarantee one's offspring is Gifted would have the effect of magi being more prone to having children at all, and then more prone to take apprentices early, but this might well dissuade them from taking more apprentices later in life - just as people that have children naturally are less prone to adopt orphans. That means a lot of the 'randomly' Gifted will be left out in the cold and the magical traditions outside the Order will swell.

What would likely happen is an erosion of the House structure of the Order, as actual bloodlines within houses become more important than house culture. Magi could have as many as 7-8 generations of blood relatives. The Order already takes the teacher-student lineage seriously, add parent-child to the dynamic and you'll get some very strong lineage ties. Even House Mercere doesn't have lines that strong, if you assume that a magus might have to wait a generation or two for his bloodline to pop a Gifted relation.

Take for example the right of Bonisagus to take an apprentice. This one probably causes resentment already, but if a Bonisagus tries to take your blood offspring, the knives will come out. It's notable that Mercere himself kept his children rather than giving them to Bonisagus as he did all the other Gifted he found, and that may form enough of a precedent to act as a loophole. But it's a largely untested one, given how few magi have Gifted children of their own. I think most Bonisagi magi know enough to not try to claim the apprentices of Mercere magi, if for no other reason than to avoid Redcap censure. If the majority of magi come direct bloodlines, Bonisagus' right will be sorely tested, if not outright altered.

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And yet, for the above reasons, Trianomae would have a strong incentive to exercise that very right early and often, up to stealing apprentices solely to hawk them to existing elder magi who've undergone their longevity ritual. A strong patriarch or matriarch (the latter being more likely through Fertility Magic) with eight generations of descendants could be another Tremere, and establishing a rejection of the vulgar bloodline as a tradition of the Order would be in the interests of anyone adhering to Trianoma's agenda. Now, all they need to do is do this without pissing off the Mercere - but the Redcaps would probably not want to see an explosion of magi Mercere either.

Speaking of Tremere. If there were a consistent way to generate Gifted children, what do you think the chances are that they would use this to build up their magical and political power? Not every magi is going to take advantage of easily generated apprentices, but the Tremere might dedicate a few magi some members to constantly training apprentices.

The Mercere Maga that I play had a desire for children in the hope of furthering the bloodline (she didn't want to be a "broken branch" in the family tree) but i as a play had no expectation of her getting gifted children .

The SG then revealed that she had given birth to gifted twins.

I as a player am not heavily invested either way as to whether they stay in the campaign (I have understood that House Mercere likes to apprentice its Magi far from home as a back story to the House Virtue), so could see them being apprenticed far away, but If another player wishes to companion them I'm cool with that too.

But by default she was only sleeping around to increase the number of descendants, not in the expectation of getting a gifted child.


Yep, the Tremere would be getting the magus factory churning, though I doubt that they'd set up dedicated teachers like that (teaching apprentices is still a prestigious thing).

Can I recommend the Mirarion? Especially the post-war chapters?
In particular chapters 22* and 25.

  • chapter 22 was originally "the missing chapter"
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My point was that apprentices are already easy to come by.

House Tremere probably already has an apprentice-finder system in place, the limiting step is how many magi are willing to train them (yes, they can order compliance from most, but then they can't get them doing other projects).

Being able to create Gifted folk on demand doesn't change that much. Most magi won't want to train more than 2-3 apprentices in their lifetime. A fraction of those won't survive to train their own successors, so you get a slow-growth over Hermetic generations, regardless of how easy it is to find/generate Gifted children.

What would change radically if you could produce gifted folk on demand would be house Mercere. Probably 1/4 of the redcaps would be looking to spend their accumulated vis on gifted children...

Just farm them out to other Mercere magi - they are literally family, after all. If you're young enough to be having children, you're probably in no position, Arts/Abilities wise, to be teaching them. It's possible if you're set on it (less than 4 years preparation will do it), but most magi aren't in that position until their 2nd or 3rd decade past gauntlet.

When I played a Mercere magus my backstory was that he had one Gifted child while still an apprentice. By the time my magus was gauntleted, the child wasn't old enough to be apprenticed yet, but my magus was in no way ready to train an apprentice, so the child went to the pater of my pater. It's all in the family anyways.

But who would train them? The first ten might find Mercere magi willing to train them. After that, wait 15 years for an open slot? Even then, who wants to train apprentices non-stop?

I said it would have an impact, I didn't say it would be well organized. What would house Mercere do with a sudden glut of gifted children from their lineage? Or would they decide that children created with fertility rituals don't count because their 'bloodline' had been manipulated with magic? Or would they start allowing other houses to train them with those "of the blood" being given the right to change to house Mercere after their gauntlet if they so chose...