Opening the Arts Confusing me!

I am, to all intents new to Ars Magica (played it around 20 years ago), and so I'm starting fresh.

I have read the "Opening the Arts" section on page 106 of the Ars Magica 5th Edition book.
If I understand it correctly it says that a Parens must have 5 in every art in order to open his apprentices arts. However, when looking through the book at the NPCs there seems to be few-to-no magus that has that requisite. From that, am I to conclude that magus who can have students are very rare?

I don't have many of the other books yet, but I'm guessing that the ratio must be similar. I other words there are few mages who have at least 5 levels in every single art?

The example magi in the core book are all starting characters, fresh out of their gauntlet. Whilst it's possible to create a maga with fives in all their Arts immediately following their apprenticeship (it takes 225 xp for the Arts, so you need xp granting virtues if you want Magic Theory and Latin), it's going to restrict you from being good at anything. Most magi are unlikely to train an apprentice until they're at least 10 - 15 years out of gauntlet - quite possibly older.

In our games magi start training apprentices way later than that; a lot of years can pass with magi getting into trouble, setting labs and pursuing personal interests before even bothering to raise to 5 these Arts they never cared about.

The good news, MirrorNexus, is that it's quite easy to get these Arts up to five quite fast (or at least some of them). The roots of the Arts (books of level 6 and quality 21 or level 5 and quality 15) can get you one Art from 0 to 5 (or 6) in only one season, with the exact purpose of getting magi ready to train Apprentices faster.

If I remember correctly, you can usually bribe and cajole the redcaps to acquire you these books for your covenant's library for 3-4 pawns of vis each, but the exact numbers escape me at the moment - don't have my books, and the default vis prices for books confused me when I was last looking through it.

The specific statement is

Now, we might note that when scaled against other books, their quality/level combination puts them at the equivalent to vain summae, which would typically cost 2-3 pawns from their author at this level. Damaged summae are readily available for 1 pawn or as sweeteners in other trades, so it's unlikely the roots would go for 1 pawn. Due to the "widely and cheaply available" comment along with these, my guess about 2 pawns is standard using the costs in Covenants.

Going back and checking my saga notes, I can see that was the same conclusion I came to a while ago, as I set their fair market price at 2 pawns.

Most PC Magi are unable to open the arts of an NPC version of themselves even after decades.

The Flambau needs a InVi lab Total of 30 to have his arts opened in the first place with his Greater Immunity. The Merinita has the same problem with Strong Faerie Blood.

Much of the game will entice players and then make it mathematically impossible. I recommend facilitating story and fun for your players instead.

Only if they had their Supernatural Virtues already when becoming apprentices. Or the artificial 'NPC version' had them.

This is not necessarily so. Apprentices p.10f Inherent Virtues provides the means to play apprentices, while allowing them to discover some of their Virtues during the game: like a Flambeau apprentice discovering an ArM5 p.43 Greater Immunity (Fire) during life with her Wrathful master. For an NPC apprentice this is just a SG decision. For a PC apprentice the player can choose it as an Inherited Virtue and thus retain more control over her character's development as a child.

See this thread, especially this post for the quote.


In our current saga, my character, that is lacking 5's in 7 or 8 arts (we are less than 10 years out of the Gauntlet and it wasn't a priority until very recently) is asking a senior magus to open the arts of a gifted child. I think It may cost up to 10 pawns for the service.

It may be cheap : I am not afraid of the child being stolen by another magus as he had his Gift tampered with, so as his former master also already teached him parma magica the only alternative was to slay him. Long story. :slight_smile:

But even for a regular gifted child, you could ask for a more senior magus to open his arts, for a price (maybe more than 10 pawns in this case).

Indeed. The answer and the outcome depend on your Tribunal and your saga. A young magus should study his situation carefully before asking for such a service.

In the Rhine Tribunal e. g. you must have earned the rank of a Master (GotF p.22ff) before being allowed to take an apprentice. In Tribunals where Gifted children are scarce the senior magus asked might indeed open the child's arts, but afterwards just thank you, refer to Hermetic custom (e. g. HoH:TL The Hermetic Oath Apprentices p.52) and claim the child as his own apprentice.


I did at one point play a bonisagus who bonisnatched an apprentice well before she would have been able to open the arts, then had to foster them for a couple of years while she got her own abilities up to where she could teach the apprentice anything of signifigance beyond really high magic theory. Of course an apprentice with Int:+2 and MT:7 tends to be very popular for fostering...

Thank you all so much. What an amazing group of people.

The campaign is about the beginnings of a covenant that is a school.

Please don't all stand on my head at once. :smiley:

It's based roughly on something we saw in the Covenants book (the school that lures gifted children), and we are firmly committed to this campaign idea. So from what you amazing people have said, I guess we will all have to start play at aruond 35-40 years of age.

I'm also very interested in any help and sugestions.

Again thanks so much. You are all a breath of fresh air.

Opening tricky Gifts can be handled some fun ways; One of the ones my group talked about was having a damaged-Gift former apprentice who was dedicated to having no child's soul hurt the way his was; He couldn't cast magic, but he had a good intelligence and amazing magic theory, and sold his services to Magi for small favors. If your Covenant is a Gift-magnet, I suggest trying to scavenge the funds for a spare lab dedicated to Intellego Vim work. Also useful for deciphering strange enchanted items you may recover.

Yes I read your post on my thread.

Then there is no reason to have rules opening the arts for supernatural virtues. Every character ever made can then just "Inheret" it seconds after their arts are open. The rule is just is there to limit players.

All rules are there just to limit players, expect for the very few that limit GMs.

For obvious reasons.


But there's absolutely nothing to stop you from deciding that every new magus begins with a base score of 5 in every Art, rather than a base 0.

You can do this! You will break nothing!

There's also nothing to stop you from tossing the rule "all Arts must start be at least 5 to train an apprentice," especially if this is a school where Hagrid can teach about monsters but know about nothing else because other teachers pick up the slack.

You can do this too! Or instead!

Rules create limits, but they are useful for defining a game's reality. Best of all, they are yours.



Unduly so. If applied to the PCs during apprenticeship, anyone that takes Strong Faerie Blood, something that manifests at birth prior to apprenticeship, has a parens with an InVi of 60. It makes little sense and is a rule only applied to disappoint players. It's ignored until a player wants to do something, like many rules.

I'm not interested in hijacking the thread, so won't argue it further.

Or with InVi 30 strong faerie blood could become Mythic blood...
it seems to me the Merinita should get some kind of bonus for this...

It could, but that's not what the PC bought. Plus Mythic Blood has a power and affects hermetic Casting, that's not what Strong Faerie Blood does. I don't railroad players like that and don't think it's conducive to fun.

No. The rule is there to play apprenticeships of your characters, instead of handing their development during apprenticeships to the storyguide. It shifts important decisions affecting the future of an apprentice from storyguide to player.

The storyguide can decide - even on the spot - what an NPC apprentice gets or loses from that lab accident with her master, that she survived. The player gave her PC apprentice the Inherent Virtue Greater Immunity (Fire), and after the same accident tells the storyguide, that it should have caused this Virtue to manifest.


Search this forum and you will not have much trouble finding a few discussions on the subject of a school for apprentices.

Some think it's possible, if handled correctly. Others think it is impractical.