Requirements for an Archmagus

It has come to my attention that the description of Archmagi in GotF does not include the requirement that a challenger first train an apprentice. In the game I am running, I like to do things old-school. This means a prospective challenger must meet three requirements...
Invent a spell or enchantment of at least the seventh magnitude
Do something to earn prestige or glory in the Order
Train an apprentice that has been gauntleted as a magus.

Now, keeping in mind that I am old school, and that a SG does have some leeway with how the setting is interpreted...
Am I being fair?

  1. Your game, your rules. So long as everyone is having fun
  2. I would have sworn that the apprentice thing was in 5th edition, since I am only familiar with 5th edition and I was thinking the apprentice thing was RAW. IIRC, there was some other book which explained that the Archmage description was Order wide and not limited to the Rhine Tribunal, maybe the apprentice thing was there?

I don't recall, off hand, in RAW a requirement to train an apprentice to be an archmagus. Although that could be (a quite reasonable) challenge set by the existing archmagi, I suppose.

You need, in the Rhine at least, to be able to train an apprentice without causing damage to their Gift to be considered a master. And you need (I think) to be a Master to be legally entitled to train an apprentice in the Rhine.

Yeah, his Arts are pretty poor. Nine zeroes. Over-specialized.

I simply do not think he is ready to be a contended, and I cannot imagine any Archmagus accepting his challenge until he has demonstrated he is capable of training an apprentice.

Agreed. If you can't demonstrate that you have good knowledge of all the arts, you might be a one trick pony...

I agree. With Art scores like that he shouldn't be a master, let alone an archmagus.

Of course, in character, magi don't have direct knowledge of each others Arts scores. But a Master needs to be capable of training an apprentice (without causing damage to the apprentice), he isn't with Scores like that.

So, if he wants to be considered a master (or archmagus) (and he doesn't want to just improve his Arts Scores) he needs to have some way of fooling other magi into thinking that he is better than he is at his poor Arts. Which, I suppose is possible, but it is risky.

This really highlights several inter-related issues that I think are often mis-identified.

Firstly that the fluff/setting material of the game, and the intended progression rates etc, don't really jive with the mechanical setup of the game. This is a longstanding issue. Especially compounded when discussing 'specialists'.

Second is that some peoples knee-jerk reactions against 'specialist' builds in favor of a 'generalist' approach to me encourages Magi and that look/feel more -generic-. I don't like this. I base almost all of my characters on the ideas represented within/by the magical lineage that I see them as descended from. Dacian Necromancers are not usually students of say Creo Ignem.

Specialists, really, embody Magi that to me honestly are -more- realistic than the generic generalist. Lineages and magical traditions are better represented that way.

Archmagi from various traditions that 'aren't' these generic builds aren't going to look the same. They are -going- to be specialists. That is the nature of the beast.

This is also one of the reasons why I don't like the minimum art requirements to open the arts of an apprentice. Dacian Necromancers are not students of Creo Ignem. They don't need it to be able to train someone else to be a Dacian Necromancer...

I always thought an Archmage had to have gauntleted apprentice, but then, I'm only slightly less of a dinosaur than Mark. :slight_smile:

The issue at point I think is that such a requirement is explicitly stated in a 4th edition book, not a 5th edition book. The older players largely assumed it was still in play and the newer folk, reading their 5th ed materials, don't like being surprised with said assumptions when they get ready to issue a challenge. :wink:

No, it's in an ArM5 book, Guardians of the Forest.


The rank of Archmage is expounded upon yet I do not note any requirement for having trained an apprentice in the 5th ed. writeup.

As I said before, my exposure to Ars is almost exclusively 5th, and I thought I recalled an apprentice requirement as well. I remember some text stating that Archmagus was not exclusive to the Rhine Tribunal and thought the requirement for taking an apprentice might have been in the same book, but sure don't remember where that was said. Does anyone remember where it was stated that the Archmagus was an order wide phenomenon?

Having all your arts above 5 is not a requirement for taking an apprentice, at least not for House Ex Miscellanea. There is a whole sub branch dedicated to opening the arts of apprentices of other members of the house. Or House Bonisangus can just steal one who was close to graduating anyway, and pump their Magic Theory Score to pass the Bonisangus gauntlet.

GotF p24: "The status of archmage is not unique to the Rhine Tribunal, but is found throughout the Order (...) However, it is noticeable that of all the archmages in the whole Order, about a dozen of them reside in the Rhine Tribunal, a significantly higher proportion than the average.."

You don't need minimum Art Scores to Open the Arts.

What you need is 5 in Arts Scores to Open the Arts without running the risk of damaging the apprentice's Gift. So if you have 0s in your Cr and Ig, you can still Open the Arts of your apprentice, and your apprentice may still be a fantastic Dacian Necromancer, they will just have deficiencies in Cr and Ig.

The only restriction about Opening the Arts of an apprentice is the in-character social prohibition in some Tribunals that you cannot have an apprentice if you are so bad at one or more Arts that you cause your apprentice to be deficient in those Arts. This seems perfectly reasonable in character and there are ways to get around this; disguise the fact that your apprentice is deficient, pay a vis fine, convince the Tribunal to exempt you for some reason, get someone else to Open the Arts, etc.

Besides, a Score of 5 in each Art Score is hardly a huge imposition for a character a few decades out from Gauntlet.

I'm not sure about that It's still a season or two and I think that there will always be at least 2 to 4 of the forms that a character 30 years past gauntlet (a number chosen to fit my guess at the average age of taking a first apprentice) won't have had a sufficient need of to have studied prior to that point (having got by with clever use of their specialization and adequate technique scores). So that "hardly huge imposition" comes out to between six months and two years depending upon the number of arts and the quality of available books. In the long run the character might enjoy the added flexibility with spontaneous magic but on the other hand they might be just fine without five ranks in animal auram, aquam or what have you.

Having an apprentice is a 15 year commitment, and depending on the rarity of The Gift in your saga it might take at least a year or so to find a Gifted candidate. By comparison spending six months to two years correcting your own shortcomings in your understanding of the Arts doesn't seem overly arduous to me.

Anyway, you can always Open the Arts, give your apprentice a deficiency and then pay the vis fine...if somebody holds you responsible at Tribunal.

For me, the bigger problem (if you make a hash of Opening your apprentice's Arts) is the mockery of your peers and the fact that you have revealed some good candidate Arts for others to challenge you in Certamen.

Oh, nice!

"And now we have a complaint from Paybackus, the apprentice of Lamer of Tytalus that accuses his parens of damaging his Gift. He is not a full fledged magus yet, being only 12 years old (4th year of his apprentice's life), but the Tribunal has accepted this case for discussion because Lamer is on a happy hype about his apprentice trying to back stab him".


Thing is, knowing the game, things are probably a lot more extreme. If that's the character I'm thinking about, he has scores of 0 in all but 4 arts, and, out of these, I'm only sure of 2 being > 5. That'd mean a lot of deficiencies, at least 3 of them being techniques.
There's another potential candidate that comes to my mind, but IIRC, it is only slightly less extreme, with about 5-6 arts being > 0.

I think that's what's bothering Marko: An archmagus unable to cast most basic spells, and unable to teach an apprentice that won't have deficiencies in most arts, and thus, a HUGE disability in any certamen challenge (as well as unability to choose any magical path that might differ from his parens, which I must say I see as a crime of sorts: As a magus, I'd try to put my parens to tribunal for this killing of potential. What if I love CrIg but have deficiencies in both?).

That being said, I'm not really sure there's such a requirement (I might be wrong, too, huge noble's parma here), but I also recall there's room for "house rules" requirement and challenges: An archmagus might very well ask the training of an apprentice able to multicast a BoAF out of gauntlet with enough penetration to slay a faerie as a challenge.

It's the second magus in question.

Would it be considered unfair for a challenged archmagus to challenge his challenger to Certamen, with the prize being a withdrawal of the challenge? I can see the potential for abuse, since it would prevent an archmagus who's a Certamen expert from being challenged by many (but then, such an archmagus might well make Certamen at least part of his archmagus challenge), but on the other hand, it also opens up the possibility of a double prize for the challenger.

Do you mean that an existing archmagus challenges a proposed archmagus candidate to Certamen?

Certamen would be absolutely fine as a challenge. But I don't think you could use Certamen to prevent somebody from actually making a challenge. I guess part of the "responsibilities" of being accepted as an archmagus is that you accept challenges from other characters also wanting to be recognized as archmagi. If an archmagus doesn't want to deal with challengers he has to hide in a regio or something.