Old Magus/Maga at beginning of Saga

Hello all,

as a thought experiment, but also plausible for play, I was thinking of the following:

say a player desires an old magus/maga from the beginning of a saga. He builds the character with virtues like Arcane Lore and Educated, so he can place exp. in Academic skills etc., and Unaging so as not to accrue aging points etc.

The player accepts that starting above the age of 35 entails aging rolls. The player lives at a covenant (Covenant Upbringing) which has a healthy feature x3 (as per Covenants), and as it is wealthy/relatively influential it gets a standard +2 as per the table from the Core Rulebook. Though somewhat improbable for a Gifted to live at a covenant and not be apprenticed early, let us say the magus/maga has The Gentle Gift to keep him/her "hidden".

How old would you accept the player's magus/maga to be from the start (having added in his/her apprenticeship, when he/she is finally revealed to be gifted)? 50? 75? 100?
Yes it would be lots of aging rolls, and decrepitude could build up, but barring very unlucky crisis rolls (which only uses a simple die), the magus/maga could conceivably be 100 years old at game start.

Mundanes tend to die at 60. durenmar.de/aging/#5
A mundane would only get {+1+3 = +4}, therefore you should die at around 100y old.

There's 2 issues with your plan:

  • why would magi even take an apprentice that is already 35y old?
  • why would other players accept that you'd be so much better than they are?

The second one is crippling. Your character will repeatedly steal the limelight with his Abilities.

Depends on what those abilities are.

Why would they care? I´ve seen plenty of chars similar to this, except they were aged as magi rather than pre-apprenticeship.
Compared to their age, they tend to be WEAK, relative to those that are played up to the same age. That alone is one good reason why other players usually don´t mind. It´s also often very useful to have 1 or 2 older PCs around if the saga is going to be dangerous.

That´s a non-question. There´s any number of possible answers.
A favour to a friend? A valuable specialist in the covenant that could be even more valuable as a magi?
A pet project? Do it as someones service to the covenant? etc etc...

And that´s why i round down on the aging modifiers, as it´s not realistic for people to die of OLD AGE by 60.
For someone that avoids crisis/bad health, 75-90 is more realistic.

Also consider Strong Faerie Blood, as it allows you extra years before aging rolls AND a very important +3 bonus to aging rolls.
And if the person in question is valued by the covenant, he might even get a Longevity ritual.

And nothing useful was said.

The main thing with having an older magus/maga at the start of play is the disparity in the power levels of the magi.

This is only an issue if you expect the saga to be very short (<5 in-game years) or you are not planning on giving the magi any time to study, because very quickly magi develop their own personalities and capabilities and end up excelling in some areas and being very bad in others.

A character with a very late apprenticeship is fine. They get more abilities, sure, but they also find themselves in need of a longevity ritual much sooner and probably have to convince someone else to make one.

Once magi are more than about 10 years past apprenticeship they start to settle into their chosen arts/power/whatever, and in that field they can expect to perform reasonably well even compared to more senior magi (unless the senior magus has the exact same specialty). For example, just because the older magus is twenty years senior does not mean they will be able to cope with everything that comes at the group. They might be rubbish in combat, or rubbish in investigative situations, or rubbish in dealing with mundanes/faeries/demons/whatever. Age and even power does not equate to blanket capability unless the magus in question is a generalist, and if they are then any magus who isn't a generalist will quickly eclipse them despite having less years.

The saga I am playing in right now has PC magi ranging from 5 years out of Gauntlet to 50 years out of Gauntlet - and these are all characters that developed through play so are considerably more powerful than a pre-generated character. There is no doubt that the older magi are more powerful, but this doesn't preclude the younger magi from getting involved in stories and contributing. Older magi tend to spend more time in their lab, so younger magi tend to get more stories.

If you feel you have nothing to contribute, then perhaps you shouldnt post nonsense?

Mechanically there is not problem I can see why you wouldn't take an older apprentice so long as you are willing to invest in the to get them a longevity potion early. Roleplay is where the problem comes in. Have you ever tied to teach your grandpa how to program their DVR or use E-mail? Now imagine teaching them quantum mechanics. That would be teaching them magic.

It's not that they can't learn, it's that they don't want to. Older people are set in their ways, often stubborn and hard to teach because of that stubbornness. Young people are more open to leaning and experience. Additionally imagine being 65 and being told you need to go through elementary school through high school, it would be exhausting to even think about. What elderly people want to do is rest, not try and do 15 more years of grueling studies.

You also have to factor in that most peasants don't live to see 50 in that era and nobility who do live longer won't want to give up their worldly goods to go live in a magic tower and give up their station. Don't even get me into the religious aspect of the problem. I'd say being in your twenties would be pushing it, thirty years would be the max and even then it is unlikely. People are too vested in their mortal lives or to set in their ways after that. Anything older would require some kind of extraordinary situation. So in my opinion, mechanically there is nothing wrong with the idea. But it stops at the mechanics.

Completely irrelevant for the discussion I know, but:

3rd edition had some comments about this.

The same edition (3rd) also had the flaw Old (ArM3, p. 72), where you started at age (40+stamina) and had to make aging rolls without Longevity magic before start of play. Each 3 years beyond that was an additional 1pt flaw.

The same flaw (without the option for extra points for each 3 years) is found in the 4th edition, ArM4, p. 37

Beware of overgeneralisation though. I´m dealing pretty well with teaching my parents doing computer stuff(both are 70+), but it would probably be easier to teach my mum quantum mechanics...

And when i studied linquistics, that course included a an 80+ guy, he ended the course as one of the top 5 students.

Heh, all the people i know that are retired, what they WANT is to do MORE.

Beware of the skewed statistics when it comes to normal ages historically. Average and median age are both severely reduced due to infant and child mortality.
Having been involved in a project to digitise historical population statistics, i can say with certainty that there was no lack of people age 60+, that you could find surprisingly "many" 80+ and even a rare few 90+ people.
Also, the game is set in high medieval times, a time of very good life expectancy(while most of the work i did was in later times, high medieval life expectancy was actually higher).
Most peasants not dead by accident would live to 50+, many to 60+ and a fair share of them to 70+.