Well, this Idea comes from the ancient latin concept of genum, the live principia of Vitalis. Near to the concept of the faeric need for Vitality, all livieng things, liviengs in the sense that grow and that is born have a Vitality concept, the "Vitalis" in latin. Then this Virtue works exactly like Elemental Magic, but with the Forms of Menten, Corpus, Animal and Herbam. What do you think?
I think that as far as game flavor goes, it is a fine idea.
My concern comes from the potential to meta-game, something that I dislike. Right now, if you make a Corporum specialist for Longevity Potions, you are limited in what you can do. Now, take this character and give him the advantages of this Virtue and the focusing in the one form becomes less of a issue. I can almost see every game in which this virtue is allowed devolving to "Ok, who is gonna take the Life Magic virtue and make our potions".
I think it fits very well with the flavour, and I might bring it to my own games.
As to metagaming, I'm lucky enough I've never had to worry about it.
I'd just let someone take the virtue during character creation. It's a bit better than Elemental Magic, but Elemental Magic is weak.
I think that this virtue is more useful than elemental magic, for a number of reasons. Among them, the fact that the four forms are more often requisites for one another than the elemental ones, the fact that they are more complementary, and the fact that Corpus is such an important Form. Also, I think that Mentem does not fit so well with the other three thematically.
Well, this isn't necessarily the right virtue to take for a LR expert right out of the box. All of the virtues below deserve greater attention:
Affinity with Corpus
Affinity with Creo
Puissant Magic Theory
Cyclic Magic (seasonal) -- 2 seasons for lab work or adventuring, 2 seasons for reading books
Major or Minor Magical Focus that includes aging
Affinity with Magic Theory
The magus who really likes this virtue is the Hermetic Polymorpher, with many spells like MuCo(An) or MuCo(He).
It definitely is better than EM. But EM is one of the weaker major hermetic virtues. I'd never take it, especially in a game that enforces the rule that you can only start play with one.
Only 3 forms for me (Animal, Corpus and Herbam) and only able to affect items that are ALIVE. So no effect on dead wood or to raise (or destroy) a few skeilles there. Major, definitively. Extremely powerful virtue.
Eh, it's not that powerful really.
A good major focus is better.
Flawless Magic is better.
LLSM is better.
What i think... is that i posted this myself last year(as "Life Mage") or possibly even the year before that, although not with any of your latin connections... :mrgreen:
It works just fine ingame, we have used it since almost from start. Totally recommended for inclusion.
Reasonably useful without causing problems(as noted, Flawless Magic is still better, but its nice to have more useful options).
I also have the "Master Manipulator" which works the same but with Cr,Re,Mu,Pe; and "Master Etheralist" which uses In,Im and Vim(and Ether if used)(if otherwise using RAW, allow at least an extra XP to be placed on either(or give 2 XP to each) when the XP gain is activated("at least" because its requisite advantage is reduced quite a lot by mixing Tech and Form and with just 3 Arts total)).
And even though the MM is very good, its still not clearly better than Flawless Magic, so not a real problem with these either. Although more powerful than Life Mage, not badly so. And both are yet another interesting option.