Question on Longevity Rituals

I'm a bit confused on Longevity Rituals so I was hoping for some guidance. They seem to end rather abruptly and have some unresolved issues...

1. Once a LR is created, it can be used by the original magus again and again (with LabT), correct?

2. What if the original LR utilized the services of assistants and sodales to get a higher score? Can the single maga still replicate it after an Aging crisis without them?
-Not counting any additional vis that was used the first time, this question just refers to the use of the combined scores without their involvement going forward.

3. What about the amount of vis used? If it is more than the receiving magi can handle, can they still reuse it?

4. What if it was created by Magus A for Maga B, with Maga B assisting. Can Maga B reuse the LR later without the assistance of Magus A?

5. Reusing the old LR still requires a new investment of vis "(of an amount based on your current age)"... so is there a point where you simply can not reuse an LR based on Magic Theory score and age?

The reason I ask these questions is that it seems a magi basically fades away in about 4 years after the loss of their LR at old age. Since their MT is not high enough to supply the vis for their current age, they are unable to make an LR of any strength (without someone else with a higher MT) and, therefore, have NO LR... At age 130, you pretty much suffer a Crisis/Decrepitude every year and then die. Rather abruptly.

The other creepy thing, if played out in-game, is that a maga will know this... Unlike a 70 year old man who knows that each year is a gift but does not know the hour/time, the maga knows that they have less than four years left. Period. Nothing more to be done unless they find someone with much higher MT and convince them to assist.

1 Like

Not answering all your questions, but my understanding is:

  • Designing a longevity ritual for the first time is a seasonal activity that needs a laboratory. However, subsequently repeating the ritual after it fails isn't, and doesn't take any significant amount of time. I don't therefore think you need to be able to replicate the lab total.
  • You can therefore re-perform it without the aid of any assistants.
  • You need to have the lab text to re-perform it, but so long as you do, you can do it without the designing magus' assistance.
  • Vis usage limits are indeed rather more of an issue, although the cap is the performer of the ritual's ability to handle vis rather than anything to do with the specific ritual (unless the original ritual had extra vis used in it which is taking you over your limit).

This also just occurred to me recently. A magus needs to raise his MT almost every decade of life just to maintain his LR when it fails. At some point there won't be time to do much other than work on MT just to stay alive.

1 Like


Yes, the maga can still replicate the ritual: this is no longer a laboratory activity, but is more akin to a ritual spell (by my reading, since it takes no significant time), and there is no need to recalculate a Lab Total (or for that matter a Casting Total; erally, at this point it's more a cooking recipe :slight_smile: ).

That... is not quite clear. I would say yes, since by my reading this is no longer a laboratory activity and the limit applies only to laboratory activity (again by my reading, the rules could be clearer, but the limit of vis use is in the Laboratory Section, which is after the Hermetic Magic section which put no limit on the amount of vis a maga may use when casting a spell...).


Since I don't believe the limit on vis use applies to a longevity ritual, then the only potential problem is getting hold of enough vis of the right type, not using them. To me such use of vis is no different than boosting a spell with vis, and there is not a hint of a limit on vis use for spell casting

It's not that bad: first, most Aging rolls will still only give one Aging Point, at least until the maga is well above 200 (although a roll of 13 is, certainly, a very unlucky one, it's only one number; it's when you regularly roll above 22 that things are very grim). And between living condition modifiers (which can be improved with the right magic items/rituals) and a familiar's bronze cord, a maga of that age should be able to get a hefty bonus even without the LR...

This is something like what once happened in a game, a character otherwise with zero problems, suddenly has an unlucky aging roll and some bad circumstances made it impossible to redo the LR the same year, and so the magi died at an apparent age of around 50...

Ever since that, we added the minor change that for the first year after LR fails, aging rolls are based on apparent age instead of actual age. Definitely a highly recommended houserule.
There was some discussion at the time to make it 1+Stamina bonus if positive and a few other versions on similar tracks.

In terms of impact to the campaign, is a character still in play at 130 years old, and would it be reasonable to see a magus being played at 200? I ask as I've not gm'ed or played a game where more than 20 to 25 years of game time had passed. To my feel for the setting a magus at 130+ should be at fair risk of dying to age, with that risk dramatically increasing all the time.

Are we meant to have Magi regularly reaching 150-170, or more like 110?

1 Like

IBT - What is "meant" would be up to the SG and Troupe. If magi are swimming in high-Level texts and vis, with nothing to do but study Creo and Corpus, then pushing bi-centenarianism would not be unexpected - and is certainly supportable via the core rules. Otoh, not every Saga (or SG) is going to give magi that sort of opportunity. :wink:

Okay, to address the Original Post (and while we're talking LR's, I'll toss in some other, related points, for other readers) -

First, let's be clear on one point - "inventing" the Longevity Ritual and then "performing" it are not the same thing, nor are they tied together by timing (except through abject procrastination). The LR could be invented early (during apprenticeship?) and then not ever used until decades later, and only then does any vis get used. This is key to understanding what's going on.

1. Once a LR is created, it can be used by the original magus again and again (with LabT), correct?

(Not 100% sure whether you mean "with Lab Total" or "with Lab Text". I'll assume the latter, lemme know if that's not the case.)


Note that the value/bonus of the LR is identical the first time or later via Lab Text, but the cost of the Longevity Ritual in vis is based on current age (p 101, col ii, last par, 4th sentence), plus the same amount of any "additional vis" that was used before (p 101, col iii, par 2, 4th sentence). The base amount of "age-vis" changes, the "additional vis" doesn't (not until/unless the LR is reinvented with a new, different (and new constant) amount of additional vis).

So, if a mage is 40, they use a base 8 vis, and if 100, they use a base 20 vis - regardless of Lab Total or Lab Text or LR bonus, regardless how old that Ritual is. Any "additional vis" is added to that, and that is a constant for that LR according to the Text as written at the time of invention.

(Note that if a mage were to lose a more recent Text, they could use an older one (with a presumably lower bonus) - but the base vis cost would be their current age, either way (plus the same amount of any "additional vis" spent for the LR as written in the text they're using).)

2. What if the original LR utilized the services of assistants and sodales to get a higher score? Can the single maga still replicate it after an Aging crisis without them?

Assistants etc. are only needed for "invention" of the LR, not to perform the Ritual itself. Once the season is completed and the LR has been invented, a LR is a LR is a LR, and it's all written down in the Lab Text - the final value is the final value, regardless of how one got there. Apparently, a mage could have had his memory wiped and his personal Art Scores returned to 0's, and be without any access to a lab, and if they have the Lab Text then the LR is there for them to use when they need it*. (Re-inventing is a different matter.)

(* unless there were specific rare ingredients thrown in the mix "for color" - which I personally recommend, especially for older magi/stronger LR's, but ysmv.)

At this point, a mage sets aside the "not significant" amount of time*, blends the vis up in a food processor and drinks it down (or whatever), and it's done.

(* A few hours? Hal above suggests that it is sim to a Ritual Spell - no direct canon support for that, but imo it's a good call if the exact time necessary is important to the story; maybe 15 minutes/5 of final Lab Total (including +5/additional vis) - or something similar. But if it's not important to the storyline, then it's just not that important to worry about.)

3. What about the amount of vis used? If it is more than the receiving magi can handle, can they still reuse it?

P 92, col iii - Vis Use - [style= Times New Roman]"...The magus cannot successfully integrate any more vis (than 2xMT) into a single project (in a single season)..."[/style]

However, it's also true that, once created, a LR is not a "project" in this sense - it takes "no significant investment of time" (col ii bottom), so... it seems there is no limit.

(If a SG wanted to apply the same limit as that for using vis in boosting spell casting, no more of a type of vis than their Score in that Art, that might be reasonable - but I can't find any canon limit for this purpose.)

4. What if it was created by Magus A for Maga B, with Maga B assisting. Can Maga B reuse the LR later without the assistance of Magus A?

Yes. Even if Maga B did not assist in the invention process*, so long as the LR is invented for her, then it's hers to use whenever (Col ii par 3 and col iii par 3). And see #2, above.

(* The Rules don't say so, but I've always assumed that the subject of the LR has to be "present" for the season - no mail-order Longevity Rituals. Whether this takes up their Season or not is up to the SG, but I've always ruled it takes more than half, so no simultaneous personal Lab Work - altho' some limited study/adventuring is possible.)

5. Reusing the old LR still requires a new investment of vis "(of an amount based on your current age)"... so is there a point where you simply can not reuse an LR based on Magic Theory score and age?

Not apparently in canon - see #3, above. "Inventing" the LR takes no vis - only performing the Ritual requires vis, and there doesn't seem to be any (expressly stated) limit on that.

Yep! :laughing: Even without any vis/season limit, a mage will reach a year when they just can't get all the bonus they wish they had, and they know, year by year, their name is now on Father Time's list.

Not all that diff from a younger mage who is approaching 35 is facing becoming sterile by their own hand in a season of their choosing - tough call for some, regardless of the inarguable math.


I think this is a pretty good summary. To clarify on the vis, it matches the first point. The Magic Theory applies when it's made in the lab. Afterward the Arts limit the Vis. I'm pretty sure this was stated explicitly. The first point was an assumption that was later clarified, and I believe that later clarification applies to this fourth point, too.


Wow that's convoluted! One option to consider might be to junk all those special rules and just make it a straight CrCo ritual with the usual requirements for success and vis expenditure.

(You never played 4th ed?) 8)

Actually, no. :smiley: I pretty much skipped from 2nd to 5th edition, although I did pick up some of the books along the way in between.

Fifth edition is generally pretty consistent, but a few remnants like the Longevity Potion rules must be very confusing to new players. Now that we have Enchantments and Rituals, it would be nice if the Longevity rules used one or the other instead of the most convenient points of both jumbled together.

1 Like

One of the stated goals of 5th was to streamline all the diff formula and modifiers and adds into "simpler" rules - texts were hit hard, and study/learning bonuses, among others.

But the "formula" for LR is not convoluted - it's just a Lab Total. But once created it simply works differently than a standard enchantment because it has to. Nothing is created or consumed (no vis, no materials) in the season that produces a LR lab text - which is why the name of the thing was changed from Longevity Potion" (which gives the Reader the strong mental image of ending up with a vial of "Longevity"), to Longevity Ritual, which both can be customized to fit the color of the mage and makes the distinction clear(er) that the LR gets performed "later" and separately.

(I suppose it could be a unique type of Ritual Spell and nothing lost, but there would still have to be special rules added on to account for how the LR can be boosted/etc.)

So you are saying that the maximum amount of vis used in the Longevity Ritual is not bound by the creator's Magic Theory (x2), not even when the Ritual is first created -- but instead it's always bound by the Creo and Corpus scores, as a "normal" Ritual?

It's a reasonable assumption but it's not stated as such, as far as I know. Longevity Rituals certainly aren't "normal" rituals in several other ways either. Most notably, you don't need to actually have a CrCo casting total to cast them. Also, developing the ritual (for the first time) takes one season, not the time required to develop a normal ritual of a given level. There's no casting die and hence no botches when renewing a ritual. Then there's the bit about needing the Laboratory Text for the original ritual.

None of this makes a whole lot of sense within the internal logic of the magic system and, best as I can tell, is just there to make Longevity Rituals easier then either normal rituals or enchantments. Longevity is certainly far more effective in 5e than it was in 2e.

Guys, this is going far away from RAW. You use the Magic Theory vis limit for the first application, while follow-up renewals use the Arts limitation. See p.42 of TMRE. (I'd forgotten the page, but Google finds it quickly.)


1 Like

Depends whether you consider RAW to be the rulebook itself (at least as modified by errata) or a scad of unindexed and unremembered sidebars spread through about 17 published works. :frowning:

Which does come back to it being halfway an enchantment and halfway a ritual.

1 Like

Y'all skipped a jump on me. The Arts limit on vis is not mentioned anywhere in the LR section. That's quite a stretch, IMO, to apply the addition of a vastly different limit simply because it's not explicitly stated. It seems pretty self-evident that the MT limit (the amount of vis you can use in a single season), which applies in Lab Activities, is the one that binds the LR. I think we might be getting hung up on the Ritual name of it, but I'm guessing that was just to remove (as stated above) it from "Potions".

ArM5 is pretty astounding in that it's almost completely internally consistent. And I really like that... but there are some things that just have to fall outside of it. I think LR is one of them.

Don't have Mysteries with me so I'll have to check this tonight. That sure would change things. Not the eventual problem of simply losing the LR altogether but it would certainly keep magi in the world long enough that Twilight would usually be the terminus event.

Glad to hear there's a better solution in RAW, though it raises another question (at least IMS) - what if the magus in question has Rigid Magic? Is repeating a LR considered a ritual spell or a lab activity for the purposes of that flaw?

You are saying the vis should either be:

  • limited like spells, at cast time against Arts limit,
  • limited like devices, at enchantment time against MT limit.

But it has both constraints.

I'm not sure it has to fall outside the norms. On the one hand, you could go back to calling a LR a "Longevity Potion" and make it an enchantment, developed using regular CrCo rules and times, enchantment vis limits, a season in a proper lab to re-brew using a Lab Text, and normal levels of CrCo to do the rebrewing, as per creating items from Lab Texts. On the other hand consider it as a normal ritual, with required casting total and the chance of a botch, but with only 15 minutes per magnitude required to cast it and with the higher vis levels associated with spells.

It seems the only reason to fall outside the norms is to get the best of both worlds - instant casting and high vis limits, but no chance of failure and no need to have significant CrCo.

That's indeed the effect. Longevity Rituals are really effective in 5e.