Non gifted persons/things and magic theory


I have been thinking about magic theory and come up with a question. Can non gifted persons/things/creature use magic theory? The rules allows familari but what about non gifted humans or automata. Even if this is a matter that the players and the storyguide should decide about I would appreciate your thought on the matter.



IMS we have houseruled that mundanes (as our arrogant magi have labelled non gifted humans) can indeed learn magic theory.

Of course without exposure xp for using it they find it very hard to get it very high.

The main use of this we have found is to prevent our scribe (who has had some magic theory training) from making basic translation errors when copying magical tomes.

We imagined that without magic theory, copyng a magic book would be liked copying a book in a foreign language, very hard to do and very easy to make mistakes.

Magic theory is just that, theory, it is a understanding for how things work and the philosopy behind it. I would say this is somthing anyone inteligent enough can learn, everyone can understand the consept of why such and such words and gestures conect to such and such forces and produse a fireball, whitout the gift though, they can not practice it, but the theory itself I think an ungifted can learn.

So the quick answer would be.... yes. :slight_smile:


Could a magus the benfit from having a mundane with magic theory in the lab beyond the use of the servant vitue. Improving the magus lab total much like an apprentice.


Well, I'd certainly say so... got another quote for ya :wink:

But there is another spot in the laboratory section talking about lab assistance that says any gifted individual can help you in the lab (no book here to give a page number)

So it comes down to "what does a lab assistant actually do?"
Do they just help lay items out, draw symbols, grind ingredients, ect...?
or do they some how add their magical energy to the process?

out of the 2 inconsistencies we ruled (which not sure i totally agree on)that they must have the gift to help as a lab assistant so they can work as a "battery" adding their energy

So if the gift was burnt out then that just effected their ability to use it. The gift is actually still there and can be tapped into by the other magus.

I agree with Agnar.

You need the Gift to help out in the lab.
Forge assistants can add a +1 per five levels of a craft...(IIRC)
If you wanted a similar "House" rule, you could say that for every five levels of MT, a non-gifted helper could add +1 to your lab total..its not cannon...but...

The Gifted help you receive in the lab is like a battery. The primary operator uses their energy and skill to power his work. If this were not so, you could use anyone without the gift...
You could spend the time to get your leadership up to 10 (ugg thats high :open_mouth: ). In the mean time, you could have someone teaching ten mundanes MT. When you go into the lab, you could then have your basic lab total increased by 100. (ten for each mundane-assuming no Int bonus)
This opens a can of worms best left sealed...
Killing mundanes could then be considered a High crime...
Leadership would become the most important skill a 'Lab Rat' could have.
All those 'Lab Rats' running around with 10 Leaderships...what do you think they would start doing with it...? After all, they have ten loyal servants (?) and this HUGE leadership score...

I'd say anybody who knows MT can serve as a lab assistant, Gifted or not.

The main problem is to find somebody who would bother learning MT if they don't have any use for it. That is, IMHO, why the Failed Apprentice virtue explicitely allows you to take MT (and thus act as a lab assistant). Hermetic apprentices are lured by the promise of actually learning magic. Not just theory and how to assist you in the lab, but to actually cast spells of their own.

Beside Magi, someone who knows MT is likely to be either an eccentric academic (and likely in religious orders) or, while still non-Gifted, either have a supernatural ability or two, or possibly practice something like ArM4-style Natural Magic (if you consider that non-gifted work), where it complements Philosophiae.

I don't think you can expect most people to stay motivated to learn the useless, nonsensical crap that Magic Theory would be to them. Personal interest is the main limitation. In the world of computing, Ada Lovelace was an exception, not the rule.

On the other hand, trying to explain why you need the librarian of the local monastery to come help you with your magic work might prove highly entertaining...

On page 103 in the paragraph named Help in the Laboratory it says: Anyone who has the gift and a score of at least one in Magic Theory may help you to perform any activity that uses your Magic Theory.
So a lab assistant clearly needs the gift.

Hail Eris!

and what about the familiars... ? Are they an exception to the rule of the Gift to help in the lab?

Yes they're an exception

Inorder to reduce confusion/exploits the wording on one of the following should be modified in a future printings...

Otherwise (since there is nothing about testing for the gift that I can recall) you could claim anyone who has a supernatural virtue (since they are obviously different and "gifted"), start training them as an apprentice and get a lab assistant. (essentially creating as many grogs with the Failed Apprentice virtue as you like)

Yes but it takes time to train somone so let us say you take Maggi the kitchen hand whit a few visions now and then and train her in magic teory and basicaly, well train her as an apprentice for several years, sure you will have a nifty asistant but you have used alot of time on it. I dont think this loophole is a problem, considering the time involved.

Your covenant hires a latin instructer to teach your new assistants latin for a year. Then you sit them down in front of a magic theory texts and have them spend a yea of more studying. During this period every week the group of them come to two of the magi for one hour each when the magi test them strenuously on their progress with appropriate rewards and punishments for their failures. After two years of study you have a group of lab assistants for the covenant and no one lost even a single season.

I do believe that it is a loophole.

Most covenata I have played in dont have tat type of resoures to rent in pepole to teatch a group of lab asistans, nor to buy alot of books. In adition you still need to find pepole inteligent enough, that will be willing not not only work for mages, but actualy help them doing magic.

But if a group of magi really want to acquire wealth and books they have the ability to make it happen. They are wizards after all. While your characters might not be able to do this now, in ten years of game time it has been my experience that nearly any set of magi characters will be living as comfortably as prudence allows.

Sometimes subjects come up for discussion repeatedly.

Here's the last one on the necessity of the Gift for helpers in the lab:

Kind regards,


Thank you for the link.

My opinion is however that if a mage is willing to spend that mutch resorces on getting themself an Igor, let them or one mage can only have one helpers as far as I know.

I agree.

Oh, those lab helpers who know all the large and little secrets of their masters ... :smiling_imp:

Kind regards,