Monthly Tasks

So I was just thinking on the potential of transforming the long-term projects guidelines from Seasonal to say Monthly. Thus instead of getting four you get twelve in a year. I could see modifying slightly, ie reducing, the actual experience gains to make things similar, though not identical, to what it is currently. The benefit of this is to provide more options for project work and such while also making it, dare I say it, more 'realistic' since most things really don't take three months.

Some things I would do as part of this :

Adventure XP - This is above and around any other tasks. The limit on this is ST creating adventures. Which means some years there might be say one big one and others there might be a bunch of little ones or maybe none.

Schooling XP - I think this should be a category of XP gain to represent taking numerous classes and learning various subjects. The XP gained from this could be used to enhance a number of related and connected Abilities.

Anyway, I was thinking about this and so I figured I might as well share it with the Ars Magica community.

PS. While I don't mind disagreements if all you feel like saying is 'this is stupid' please just don't.

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The obvious downside is more bookkeeping for the same amount of down time. There were reason that the system was originally done in seasons that are no longer truly relevant, so...
exposure should probably by 1xp per month- even this will boost exposure from being a potential 8 per year to a potential 12 per year. virtues which increase exposure experience become more problematic.
Similarly, correspondence becomes an issue- currently it provides a +1SQ under limited circumstances per season. If this is per month then experience will be gained much more rapidly.
Adventures, to be of similar relative value, would range from 2-3 xp rewards, which simply feels like it is on the low end...
honestly, aside from these issues, the amount of restructuring required for various rules sets makes this seem like a prohibitive exercise...

I'm hoping this community is above that sort of thing.

I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on labwork

Did you know that ArM 1st ed actually used monthly advancement rather than seasonal?
I don't remember all the details, but I have a copy at home. And some years ago there was a SubRosa article where someone (Mark Lawford probably) attempted to play it.
IIRC inventing a spell invented it at an effective level higher than it should be, but subsequent months could be used trying to optimize it and shave unnecessary levels off.

My only real complaint is using 'realistic' in a context of discussing magical research :wink:
So, as @Christian_Andersen mentioned, 1st edition did this. And only first edition, for some reason.

I would also add that, based on personal experience, (scientific) research does take a lot of time. IIRC, my old Alma Mater is actually working more or less in seasons.
That doesn't mean that seasons are the only way to go, but they aren't actually all that bad.

Pretty common house rule. We only stopped doing that because we were play testing at the time and needed to stay as close to RAW as possible.

Isn't this actually already possible, at least in a limited way?
IIRC, according to Arts & Academe, when you study an academic ability, you can divert some of those XPs to Latin (and possibly Artes Liberales, noble's parma).
It's not as wide as what you're suggesting, but it's there.

My suggestion is to go forth and test it - and then come back to this thread in a few seasons, and tell us how it's been working out please?

You know all of this is in the core rules except for the ability to split up laboratory work, right? That is the only thing that is canonically tied to seasons. Everything else can be split up, spread throughout the year as you see fit, which could be monthly. And if you split up learning into three months, each month you get 1/3 the experience you would have gotten for the whole season. So the only thing you would need to consider altering at all from the core rules is how laboratory seasons work. Then you'd just have to get the players to record things monthly instead of seasonally. You do end up with some fractions you might not like (e.g. 2/3 experience from a month of exposure), but you can handle those.

So I was just thinking on the potential of transforming the long-term projects guidelines from Seasonal to say Monthly. Thus instead of getting four you get twelve in a year. I could see modifying slightly, ie reducing, the actual experience gains to make things similar, though not identical, to what it is currently.

Hi, folks.
IMS we switched to a monthly long-term structure a few years ago. The main reason we did this, is because we didn't like the RAW for "distraction from lab work" missing an entire season (core p.103) It's just a complicated and unlogic system. If you're 10 days of you're fine, if you are 11 days off, you reduce the labtotal by a fixed 10, +2 for each additional day..

We also ignore the complicated rules for multiple laboratory activities on p. 102.

We simply decided, that if you are away from lab for up to one month, you can still work for the 2 month
left of the season (for (Lab-Total/3)*2). But you could also get 2/3 of any advancement total. All rounded down.

As the SG I went through all possible seasonal activities and made a long list. Most of the seasonal activities, are now still possible at a full season (and are also normally taken as full season), but there is always the option to divide for 1/3 (one month), or 2/3 (two months) Btw. as you already suggested, we give 3XP for a season of exposure.
If you're interested, I can also send you the word.doc.. Just PM me!

Advancements Season (max. 10 days off) Month (round down) Day
Exposure 3 (statt 2) 1 n/a
Practice 3-8, normally 4 /3 n/a
Training full source quality /3 n/a
Teaching (normally only full seasons) full source quality /3 n/a
Books full source quality /3 n/a
Adventure 5-10 5 0/1
Vis full source quality /3 n/a
Writing Books (Exposure) Season Month* Day
Summae, writing: until points = level points: Com+ Language /3 n/a
Summae, copying carefully: 6+artes liberales or prof. scribe /3 n/a
Summae, copying quickly: (-1 quality) 3*6 +artes lib/prof. scribe 6+artes lib./prof.scribe n/a
Tractatus, writing 1 full season n/a n/a
Tractatus, copying carefully 1 full season n/a n/a
Tractatus, copying quickly: (-1 quality) 3 tractatus 1 tractatus n/a
Commentary, writing (Cov p.90) (as Tractatus +1 Quality) 3 tractatus 1 tractatus n/a
Correspondences max. +1 XP / Season n/a n/a
Lab Activities (Exposure) Season Month (round down) Day
Creating a Laboratory (p.94) 2 n/a n/a
Upgrading refinement (max. ref. = MT+3) can be combined with installing, replacing or removing virtues 1 n/a n/a
Install/replace a free virtue in laboratory n/a n/a 1
Install/replace a minor virtue or remove a free or min. flaw in laboratory 1 n/a n/a
Install/replace a major virtue or remove a maj. flaw in laboratory 2 n/a n/a
Fixing arcane connection (1p Vim-Vis needed) n/a 1 n/a
Vis Extraction (creo-vim LT/10), rounded up pawns of vis full LT LT /3 n/a
Vis Transfer (max. amount of vis to store in item = shape & material bonus) n/a n/a 1
Spells: Learning from teacher: (p.95), teacher’s highest LT = total lvls of spells in season, max. lvl of spell allowed = LT of student full LT of teacher /3 n/a
Spells: Inventing (LT - spells lvl = points/ season; until spell lvl reached) 1 or more /3 n/a
Opening Invested Item: vim vis needed = shape & material of item, (max: MT x2) 1 n/a n/a
Invested Items: Investing effects 1 or more /3 n/a
Lesser enchantments: only 1 power, max. effect level = LT/2 full LT (+shape/material) /3 n/a
Enchant charged item: LT: every 5 pts. or fraction >= lvl of effect = 1 charge full LT (+shape/material) /3 n/a
Investigating Enchantment (p.100) for each power = 1 month n/a StD + IntVim LT n/a
Longevity Ritual (p.101) Cr + Co LT 1 n/a n/a
Learn from Labtext: (p.102) LT ≥ Lab-Text, multiple lab-text same TeFo allowed full LT /3 n/a
Use Labtext for charged item creation: number of charges = LT/5 (round down) full LT /3 n/a
Decrypting Labtext: (so u understand it) accumulate TeFo-LT, until you have the same amount as the lvl of the encrypted Labtext, then u can write it down (s.u.) full LT /3 n/a
Writing Labtext (so others can read it) your own Labtext or a decrypted one Language (latin) * 20 lvls /3 n/a
Copying Labtext (only, if u can read it) Art. Lib. / prof. scribe * 60 lvls /3 n/a
Casting Tablet creating or copying (Cov.p 90), together with writing Lab-Texts full LT /3 n/a
Finding new Shape and Material Bonus, mit tractatus MT - 1 season n/a n/a 1
Guide a Craftman for ceremonial prop creation No fulltime labactivity
Crafter’s Workshop Activities (Exposure) C&G p.65ff Season Month (round down) Day
Create a ceremonial casting prop No fulltime activity
Build a workshop (inexpensive goods 1p, standard 2p, expensive 5p) 1 n/a n/a
Improve workshop innovation (100 +1, 300 +2, 600 +3 Labor points) 1 n/a n/a
Improve workshop raw materials (50 +1, 150 +2, 300 +3 Labor points) 1 n/a n/a
Craft lvl 5: 1 suit of chainmail or 2 longswords or 8 heater shields 1 n/a n/a
Experimental Philosopy Activities (Exposure) A&A p.67ff Season Month (round down) Day
Use a formula from a Labtext (Tractatus) 1 n/a n/a
Conoct a formula (LT ≥ Lab-Text, one or more seasons) Full LT /3 n/a
Search for Incredients (see Apothecary) +/- 1
Creating a Ligature (Int + academic ability + StD) A&A p.68ff n/a n/a a few hours

if there is still something written in german, tell me and I'll translate it..

Maybe its just me but I don't see this being that much more bookkeeping. (Of course I am basically running a single solo campaign for the lolz so what do I know, hehe).

Basically though the ST gives a time period between adventurers, say four months, and you then pick four activities. You then roll for said activities and then summarize the result. Afterward XP is rewarded and every oohs and ahhs on the achievements.

Hmm. Well, you wouldn't get exposure when you do those activities that grant other sorts of experience.

I need to double check the rules for this but maybe simply fold it into other activities or have it give a bonus to dice roll or something (to represent the correspondence providing access to information that makes your actions easier.)

On this the thing for me is that Adventure should NEVER be counted as 'just another period' but instead is what separates the player magi from everyone else. Others don't go on adventurers they 'gather resources' or 'investigate magic' or whatnot, meaning they use the monthly activity system. Players though players get to do certain things outside, around, their normal activity system.

Honestly, even if I was to drop the whole monthly thing and keep the seasonal thing I would want Adventure Experience to be its own thing uncoupled from the activity system. Player magi get four seasons (or twelve months) plus however many adventure slots that they and the ST wish to play out.

It doesn't seem to be that much internal restructuring. I mean more "replace 'season' in every task with 'month'" and "use a slightly differnet formula" for XP gain.

Yeah so do I but I wanted to make sure there would be dialog. I mean I totally have no issue with someone saying "this isn't a good idea and here is why" but in that case there is a reason and that reason can be intriguing. Really though, I figured it was better to be safe than sorry.

I think I heard that before and I am pretty sure I looked it up with the result being that while nifty the fact that as everything else is sooooo very different in that rules it wasn't super easy to translate to the modern rule state. That said nothing stops me from looking it up again so I will.

Hehe. That is why I added the ' before and after the word. lol


I don't mind seasons for big projects but I just think that forcing it so that even simple things take that long is a bit frustrating. I don't mind broad things taking a season and then letting the player divide the result on a number of tasks - like say, spellcrafting, a single roll covers how much levels can be used, which may be one spell or it may be ten, but together it equals the single number. I would like to do that for say learning too, you get a certain amount of Academic Experience in the season which can be divided as one wants into the abilities that represent the subjects the student learned.

The game kind of does it but only partly and I wish it was fully.

Yeah. Honestly, as I said above, even if I dropped this particualr idea of going monthly, I would always, ALWAYS, have it so that Adventure is outside the time activity system. Player magi get to go on adventure, a fact that others do not.

See, its things like this that show the system already going halfway into what I want. So the rules allow for the subject being taught plus Latin and I say you could pick maybe Intelligence Bonus (or something, just spitballing here) abilities plus Latin in abilities the experience can go based on the subjects taken. This, as a note, represents 'classroom' or multi-subject learning.

Hmm, actually, no, I didn't realize this. I will have to read that section even more thoroughly if it is there and I missed it. I mean I know it mentions there is a potential for delay and such but I didnt take it as if you could spread things around in a more monthly task focused way.

Cool though, will have to re-read it.

Ooh shiny. This seems really cool. Totally gonna (well, already did) PM you about the file as I would be interested in seeing it.

Your chart looks awesome by the way, a very efficient way to sum everything up.

Well, minus the Adventure XP as I would make that independent of the chart. Buuut all in all its really cool.

On the laboratory activities I noticed a lot of N/A for monthly. Have you thought of making some of those activities monthly too rather than seasonal.

Honestly though this looks really interesting, so thanks for posting.

So thanks folks, I gotta say the many comments in this thread was very interesting to wake up to. hehe

I appreciate the ideas!

(now back to me thinking mostly about Transylvania and the Tremere)

I'm nore sure what you are referring to precisely.
But some lab activities like Fixing ACs or even Opening for Enchantment seem "pedestrian" and often a magus is loath to spend his time on that.
Maybe if you Open for Enchantment with considerably less vis than your max, you could do it in a month.

Maybe the Lab Activities need to have a category of "Lesser Activities" which need not take an entire season, which can be bundled, and can be fitted in when time in a season is lost on travel, healing etc.
Things like scribing lab texts - sometimes I just need/want one spell written down, but spending an entire season produces a lot more.
Fixing ACs should maybe only take a month as well, so you could stack with scribing 1/3 you max lab text and Opening a device with 1/3 your max vis.

So I am still very much inclined to make things Monthly, though I could see Season as something still useful. That said when it comes to something like Teaching in a monthly system would one reccomend dividing the Advancement Total by say 3, to create a balance.

It sort of depends- for example if you are making exposure 1/month then you need to decide between faster advancement and keeping the scales balanced- do you divide totals by 3 or by 1.5, or just divide by 3 and round up and let the irregularities fall where they may? Similarly questions of correspondence, virtues which give bonuses to seasonal activities, etc.

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If you move to a monthly system, I would not use correspondence XP bonuses. I'm already not a fan of the rules for correspondence... but adding them into monthly makes it a mess. If you still want them, I would suggest only allowing it once a season.

Another possibility is to partition (book and teaching)learning totals so that it still takes 3 months to get the XP but not concurrently in seasonal form.