Requirements for an Archmagus

I don't see why magi are at great risk of becoming generic and alike because of the demand for a score of 5+ in all 15 arts. A specislist with huge scores in his favoured Te/Fo combo could easily have spent a little time getting to know the basics in all the other arts. It's usually not hard to get this grounding. After all, Hermetic magic is not highly specialized as some of the parent styles, the very fedinition of it is the unifying theory.
SO IMHO it is not unreasonable to assume that any Master or Archmagus knows the basics of most magic. Those speacislists who don'y do this or don't want to just aren't accepted as Archmagi among their peers - atlough they migth be highly regarded as specialists.

To answer Marko's original question, yes, I think your take is completely fair. Although having a Gauntleted apprentice is not stated explicitly as a requirement - this may have been an oversight - I would certainly think that it is expected in practice. It is going to look very odd if you claim to be ready to join the ranks of the greatest of magi, yet have somehow neglected to pass on your knowledge to descendents. An applicant lacking filii ought to have a very good reason why not! And the applicant certainly ought to be capable of training an apprentice with ease - this means all Art scores at 5+. Still, since this is an in-game requirement, a specialist magus might be able to get away with one or two gaps. I can't imagine that an archmagus who is challenged bothers to set basic tests of proficiency - such will be assumed (and is usually evidenced precisely by having trained apprentice(s)). The magical test for archmagushood should however typically be of sufficient subtlety so as to tend to expose any weaknesses in the applicant.

A magi(especially a specialist) can probably get away with letting someone else open the arts for an apprentice, this would show some political ability in getting another magi to "do your bidding" and also taking responsibility and making sure that any shortcomings of your own isnt passed on to an apprentice.

Yeah, so a specialist will probably have a hard time anyway. But a crafty one that isnt TOO overspecialised might handle it anyway.

Actually, the examples we are given in GotF aren't of that type at all. They do require some specific knowledge, but hardly require very broad competence. Philippus Niger's challenge is to capture and publicly execute a powerful hedge wizard . Vinaria of Merinita's challenge is to win the favour of four elemental kings. Urgen of Bjornaer's challenge is to change into animal form, find him, and defeat him in physical combat. Even Stentorius of Tremere's challenge (defeat him at certamen) is probably more easily met by someone with very specific strengths and weaknesses than by someone with more rounded magical skills.

Yes. That seems entirely appropriate.

Being an Archmagus is essentially a recognition by the Tribunal that you are a fearsomely competent magus.

At first glance, being unable to Open the Arts of an apprentice without damaging the apprentice's Gift is a strong argument that you are in fact an incompetent magus. So it is an issue, and a magus in this position, that wants to be recognized as an archmagus, needs to be able to explain away (or hide) this apparent shortcoming.

How hard or easy it is for the magus to do this, depends on the exact circumstances of your saga.

Agreed. The individual challenges in GotF are best met by specialists.

However, a candidate needs to fulfill multiple challenges. So, a specialised magus will find some of the challenges really easy, and some of them really hard; depending on his specialty. A character who is highly specialized may find himself so highly specialized that some challenges (outside his specialty) are impossible.

I thought only one was necessary - and that the would-be-archmage could choose whom to challenge. Thus, your argument is actually in favour of specialized magi.

I think this comes down in part to assumptions about what an archmage should be. If this is pure raw power, a specialist fills the bill nicely. If this is magical accompishment and "perfection", a generalist is probably better suited.

Me, I see archmages as mostly being about as good as an average magi everywhere, and awesome in their area of specialty, OR very good everywhere. In game terms, this'd give most arts at about 10, specialties being in the 25-30, OR about all arts at 20. Something like that. The idea of an archmage unable to, for exemple, create a simple flame to light some candles (Cr 0, Ig 0) is hard to swallow for me. Powerfull one-trick-pony, sure, but that's all.

Of course, YMMV. But you should consider this question, since it'll determine the rest.

I agree that a specialist is more likely to be suited to most archmagus challenges than a generalist, at least if the challenge is in the applicant's specialty area... However, a test of archmagushood is a story, and all kinds of things can crop up in a story... For example, Urgen's challenge seems to be a test of wilderness and fighting prowess, but it could manifest in many ways. For example, he hides himself away in the cold of the ultimate north - Ignem will be needed for warmth. Or he hides underwater, requiring Aquam. He could even be found in a city in human form...

I imagine that your typical archmagus is likely to have a surprise or two up his sleeve, and that the challenge may well not end up being as the challenger predicts! Also, the archmagus is likely to tailor it so as to expose any (perceived) weaknesses, especially if he thinks (or suspects) that the challenger is unworthy.

Having said that, one of the great strengths of the ArM magic system is that there is more than one way to skin a cat. Thus, having a major deficiency in one particular Art is unlikely to prove an insurmountable obstacle. If you have too many poor Arts, however, you may not be able to sufficiently adapt to any curveballs which the archmagus may (and likely will!) throw at you. Basically, a candidate for archmagushood should be able to excel in her strengths and overcome her weaknesses. A good SG will run a challenge story taking both of these into account.

Hmm...Serf's Parma.

I had thought that you needed to successfully challenge several archmagi for their support. Perhaps I am confusing archmagus with master which (in the Rhine) needs to be conferred by 3 masters?

Although as APSmith notes lots can happen in an ostensibly "simple" challenge.

Though a magi with lots of very handy spells, or very inventive with how they use their magic might be more effective than their Art scores would suggest, so scores alone shouldnt determine it i think.

I myself prefer to keep the Tribunal out of it. I would rathersay that being an Archmagus is recognition by other Archmagi that you are a fearsomely competant magus. I view the Archmagi as an unofficial rank not covered by the oath or code at all. Archmagi are a shadowy societas that secretly controls the Order (or trys to anyway) from behind the scenes.