rationalizing spell mastery

I thought that I'd had regarding spell mastery:

Our old friends magus A and magus B both decide that it is high time that they learn how to cast posing the silent question in a way that is actually silent.

Both magi spend their time practicing the spell until they gain a level and pick up the silent casting mastery ability which decreases their penalty for casting without words.

Magus A has no skill in spell mastery and picks up his first level in a season.

Magus B on the other hand is already a great master of the spell, having three levels of mastery already. It takes him a full year to pick up the silent casting ability.

I'm not looking for a rules patch to "fix" this. What I'm looking for is a rationalization for why it is easier for a neophyte to pick up spell mastery abilities than it is for a master to do it.

An explanation for why the rules are foolish might use an analogy to juggling. Two folks know how to juggle one of them can juggle throwing objects behind his back and under his leg. The other can not. both of them then try to learn how to juggle while bouncing objects off of their anti-cubital. the more skilled juggler should pick this up more quickly not less.

Can someone provide me with an analogy that makes the rules seem right?

You could think of it as having to learn a whole new way of looking at an old knowledge. If you learned to type on a certain key layout, it might actally be harder to pick up a new one for you than for someone who is starting with no knowledge of the other layout.

I wouldn't have a problem with one of my players changing their mastery ability in a season, losing the old and learning the new.

Looking or not I can think of a work around or two. If you have your lab text from the spell, couldn't you just "relearn" the same spell (probally in 1 season, getting exposure exp the same season too), and master it as the first spell again?

You could also allow a "second master ability" for the same spell, which would give more mastered abilites but not add as much to the other benefits of Mastery.

Reflecting a bit, here's my go at it.

A Magus's understanding of a spell has to be expanded to learn a new spell mastery ability. A character who already has a vast understanding of a spell has to unify the new trick with a much larger body of knowledge than someone who understands only the spell itself.

My analogy is to a computer program. It is simple to make a modification to a small program that doesn't do much. On the other hand if you want to make a fundamental change to a program that has all sorts of functions you have to workout how the change will carry out in all of the involved processes.

Magic doesn't follow "logic". That's why great academicians aren't all great (theoretical) magicians.

"The Gift" is a rare window into another world, one that doesn't follow the rules that other things do. Criamon understand this better than any, but no one understands them either.

How does it work? Just fine, thanks for asking.

The computer/typing analogy seems to fit best so far to me. I know you said you weren't looking for a rules fix, but I was curious: has anyone actually modified this rule in actual play? If so, what effect did it have?

Now that I think about it, it might create an interesting story if you allow the magus to use his new ability after 1 season of study, but give it some interesting flaws/mishaps until he has spent enough time unifying his changes with the rest of his knowledge, as Erik suggested. Perhaps some interactions occur between his other mastery abilities, or the magic responds chaotically for a time.

To add to what the others have been saying - you could allways let the magus learn a second mastery on the same spell - thus letting him cast the spell silenty, but when he does so, he uses the reduced spell mastery score (and none of the other mastery abilities)

Well - the mastery score in itself definately has it uses, but to a certain extend I think that would lead to a widespread use of 'one-dot' spell mastery to get a long range of nifty advantages easy.

I see the reasoning of the programming example but my gutts tells me to go with the 'Hound' on this one. "Just fine" even somehow gives me a ring of Ghandi.. hmm 8)

I other word I might just add that Spell Mastery is not a liniar development or achievement. It is the mastery of something already complex - namely a certain convergence of magical energy as wagely describable as by Bonisagus' in many ways crude system. Spell mastery is the slow dawning af insight - even if inspired by the works of others - that happen within yourself. Thus something mockingly simple to one sodalis might be an insurmountable challenge to learn to another. Regardless of their respective insight into mastering a spell.

But even in being a bit off handish I do think that finding rationalisations is one of the most intriguinging sides to ME - and a bit important too.

First off, I would argue that if Magus B wants to do said spell silently AFTER mastering it for, say, subtlety, penetration, and magic resistance for example, then B probably hs the lab total to invent a silent version and re-master for subtlty and penetration (MR same due to "similar effect" rule, I think). The time required may even be less depending on Art scores.

Secondly, I like to think of the issue in terms of "overhead" and the juggling analogy still works, but not in the same way. Consider:

Goal: Juggle three oranges
Complication 1: Add an apple
Complication 2: Walk around the room
Complication 3: Tell jokes
Complication 4 (the newest): Occasionally hop on one foot

Now, Juggler B (a cousin of Magus B) is a true master juggler, but performing ALL FOUR complications is a challenge even to him and takes Juggler B considerably more time to get right to the point where he doesn't botch. Juggler A, who has only now just picked up his oranges seriously, goes right to hopping occasionally. Less time required for botchless juggling, but he is not trying to do the same FOUR-complication act as Juggler B.

(Serf's Parma) The game mechanic appearently assumes that the magus is always incorporating all the complications that he or she is capable of all the time. What the mechanic doesn't really allow for is simplifying the act (except for loud voice and bold gestures and then only a little). Going back to the analogy, the master juggler would have no problem if ALL he had to do was hop on one foot occasionally.

The original goal of juggling three oranges (or plundering the mind) is still the same.


Well - the mastery score in itself definately has it uses, but to a certain extend I think that would lead to a widespread use of 'one-dot' spell mastery to get a long range of nifty advantages easy.

Those so called one-shot masteries are possible anyways, as one can allways re-invent a spell to have 2 versjons of the same spell...

To me such a thing seems rather counter-productive, usually one wants a combination of advantages, and having a high score is typically important for the spells one gains mastery of...