[Rhine] Reaching status of Master, any input

I know there is a fairly clear writing of this in Guardians of the Forest. But I'm interested in how people practically handle this in play, in actual Rhine sagas.

You need some sort of Reputation, how do people handle starting out this Rep, and how fast do you progress it? How high a Reputation? How does the Troupe decide which Reputation a magus starts out with, and is more or less stuck with?

You need recognition for magical prowress, either a single, great feat/device/spell or several smaller but related things. How do people handle how knowledge of this is spread? Should one publish lab texts, distributing them for free? Should ne try to make a show of it in public (Hermetic) forums?

Published books, how many and which ones? Without getting into a heated debate about why only super-quality books are ever circulated, please! But I do have troubles seeing how a relatively young magus could ever publish a "weightly summa", this seems like something very old magi do, to sum up their entire life's worth of knowledge, making it either high level or sacrificing some levels for better Quality!
Can a below-average author get any recognition from publishing books (tractatus I presume)? How long does it take to get recognition for books? Will it seem pushy to simply send a copy to each and every covenant for free?

Also, if Rhine magi suffer severe stigma if their parens are not Masters, and if mastery typically takes 30-40 years to achieve (as per the book), or at least 20, isn't that a bit late to take apprentices? A magus who spreads his focus a bit can concievably find primers to get all Arts to 5 well before a decade since his gauntled has passed.

Or should it mean that a freshly Gauntleted magus suffers stigma is his master by then is not yet Master, so you could very well take an apprentice as a Journeyman with the intent of becoming Master before the 1 years have passed?

Now, does anybody have some good experiences to share?
Because I don't! Not yet anyway. Our Rhine saga is some years underway, and we had the idea of easily accesible primers so all Arts could easily be raised to 5, with intention of taking apprentices early. But the Rhine's rules circumvent this.

The Ars Magica corebook handles gaining and raising reputations (in particular, see p.167).
Apparently, you do not need such a high reputation. Falke of Bjornaer has a "Master of Aquam magic" reputation at 1, probably fueled by her adaptation of a Volkov Ritual into the MuAq level 60 Ritual "Appease the Queen of Winter".

It really depends on the situation; I think that having enough witnesses over time is sufficient. However, if your magus is somewhat reclusive and shies away from his peers, circulating copies of his work (or even just sending them to Durenmar) will certainly be helpful -- and can provide other benefits beyond mere reputation.

It's certainly unlikely that a very young magus could write a "weighty Summa". However, a specialist in Art with some 40 years of post-gauntlet experience, and a good communication score / good teacher etc. could certainly pull off a pretty good Summa, perhaps even a new Root of the Arts. And you do not need a very high score in an Art to produce a number of excellent tractatus!

I'd say it will only get the character a reputation as a vain author...

Well, that's how things are done in the Rhine! To pass on your legacy, you are supposed to have something worthy to pass on -- being barely competent enough to avoid ruining an apprentice is not enough. In many ways it's the same in our society; one could be a very good teacher well before having sufficient "formal" qualifications to teach.

Remember that to keep population "stable" every magus need only have, on average, one apprentice. It does not then seem problematic, to me, that a Magus should become a master at age, say, 60; have a fully trained apprentice by age 85; and have a second fully trained apprentice by age 110. That said, the examples of magi in the GotF suggest quite a sizable fraction of magi who become masters much earlier -- no later than their 40s.

All writing suggests that only once one is a master is one supposed to begin training an apprentice (see e.g. the description of Falke). Would a freshly Gauntleted magus suffer stigma if his parens became a Master in mid-process? Hmm, I guess some stigma would certainly be involved, though perhaps not as much as if the parens had been a master right from the start. Note, however, that the situation would be extremely unusual: by taking an apprentice before one is a master, one is explicitly rejecting the whole system.

I think there are four ways to handle this.
The first is to take it as a challenge: it's rare for a magus to become a master very early, say in a dozen years, but it's certainly not impossible if one devotes enough energies to politicking. The second is to accept the social ramifications of training apprentices without being a master. The third is to move to a new tribunal -- perhaps just maintaining a chapter house there. The fourth is to simply rule that, in your saga, things are different from the "canonical" Rhine!

In a Rhine saga I played in, one of the magi took option one, and became a master in ... 14 years (great stories came out of it)? Another took option two, being an ex-miscellanea who'd be held in contempt as a hedge wizard anyway.

So, one Troupe has seen it done in 14 years. That's an ok time frame. Anyone else?

Look at the statted up magi in Guardians of the Forest, now why didn't I think of that? :stuck_out_tongue:

Tabanus ex Guernicus is 38 and Journeyman and has Reputation: Meddlesome Upstart 4, Quaesitor 3

Felicia ex Bonisagus is 24 and Journeyman and has none

Philipus Niger is 125 and Archmage ahd has Reputations: Master of Perdo 5, Archmage 4, Don't mess with this magus 4 - nothing specific about when he made Archmage

Imanitos Mendax ex Jerbiton is 55 years old and Master and has Reputation: Amoral 2, Master of minor Mentem spells 2 - nothing specific about when he made Master

Prima Falke ex Bjornaer is 49 and Master and has Reputations: Prima of Bjornaer 5, Master of Aquam 1- nothing specific about when she made Master but it is indicated to have been recently, however she was already Prima when this happened!

And what can be interpreted from this?
Masters have Reputation 1-2 in the field they are known for and have spent 25-30 years as Journeymen.
Falke may have made Master with less Rep for magic because she was already Prima for her House, which is a big thing, and also earned her a reputation of its own.
Archmages seem to have Reputation of 5 for mastery of magic, and earn a Rep as an Archmage aside from this.

But as always the Troupes need to decide what works best for them. And Stories are always the most valuable currency!
Remember that to become a Master you need the formal approval of 3 other Masters (or Archmagi), from different Houses and Covenant as yourself and from 3 different Gilds.
I find that GotF implies that approval is only achieved if you invent spells or make devices, plus write about your field.

The core book rules for reputation is that you gain a score of 1 by doing something noreworthy in front of witnesses, who are assumed to spread the word.
Subsequently anything noteworthy you do - it need not be what gave you the original Rep - earns you another exp.

In our Rhine saga getting Master quickly has become an issue under two aspects so far: getting to cast more votes at Tribunal, and being allowed to teach apprentices soon.

Nobody of the younger magi (roughly some 10 years after Gauntlet) is a Master yet, but the plans are about as follows:

  • The Good Teacher high Communication Bonisagus happens to be already Colens Arcanorum, which goes with some House Acclaim and publicity. So a Quality 15 or 16 Tractatus on Magic Theory - with copies donated to the covenants of prospective token givers - might do the rest easily.
  • The Mercere is the youngest magus ever able to construct Mercere Portals, and expects his Mercere buddies in the Order to blow his horn and - if needed - apply pressure in the right places.
  • The Jerbiton relies on a creative Spell variant to be sent around, some reputation for a highly Aesthetic (Covenants p. 111) lab, and some political acumen. And he already has a familiar, too. :slight_smile:


If you are using Covenants extended rules on Quality, then the effort to clarify a reacted with two resonances will certainly earn you some cred if people see it. "Oh, yes. Do you like it? I milked the dragon venom for the green inks myself, but the pages themselves were imported from some Islamic nation in Iberia."

Actually we've never used these rules in detail. We even barely consider whether we have good binding, illuminator etc. This is sort of a counter-balance to the hyper-detail I used back in 4th ed with the expanded rules from WGRE. I liked that a lot back then, but nowadays I hover towards the simple. SOmetimes I even yearn back to the 2nd and 3rd ed ways of rating a library wiht a single number for each Art/Ability rather than spending time naming individual books...

BTW as for the original question of Reputations I suddenly see that the descriptions of the Social Status for Master and Archmagus actually list associated Reputations of 2 and 4 respectively. So this seems to be the numbers to aim for.

Isn't the requirement that you get 3 existing Masters to vouch for you? What my Rhine magus did was to travel to Arcadia and cure Titania from her terrible wound causing her to rip Arcadia apart with violent mood swings. That impressed the former prima of Merinita enough to vouch for him and to convince to other Merinita Masters to vouch.

His only reputation was a negative one as a "house jumper" (from being educated in Merinita and gauntleted as Ex Misc due to an accident that made his Mater disappear for a decade).

So we handled it through huge stories benefiting several existing Masters, asking for the needed vote as payment. If you're desperate for Master status, ask your most friendly Masters what you need to do to get their support. Lots of stories :smiley:

Yup, that's also what we're doing (or intend to do). I was mostly looking for pointers as what to do with the Reputations along with stories about what people actually did do in their sagas.
GotF says you need the approval of 3 Masters, not of your own House, not of your own Covenant and ideally of 3 different Gilds IIRC.

So my Trianomite who was trained at Durenmar and subsequently joined a chapter house of Fengheld's can't curry favours from Fengheld's magi and although she has connections at Durenmar she can't be approved by a Bonisagus. Of all things she is a member of the Ash Gild, so she'll try to find approval here. Although I intend to try with different Gilds as well.
IMHO this makes sense, to have to step a little outside the normal bounds to get recognistion as Master - both outside House, Covenant and Gild (to a certain degree). it helps to avoid "inside promotions" where existing masters ease their progeny up the ladder.

exactly the whole point

Don't get me wrong, I like the system. I can't wait to get time going in the saga so we actually have the opportunity to work for something and achieve something.

Which is why I also believe it should be 3 different Gilds, not simply 'preferably'. I have no issue with one using one's own Gild for one of the recommendations, but not them all. Gilds are less coherent than Houses, since they are comprised of several different Houses (well, sometimes) and one can switch Gild freely to conform with changes in political attitude or active plans. But Houses tend to be a more static thing.

Our Rhine saga has been running for 25 years. The magi are just on the cusp of Masterhood, in that they have or almost have the necessary stats, and have or are about to complete masterpieces (typically an original level 25 spell), but none has challenged for a sigil yet.

These characters are not notable lab-rats, and frequently get distracted by adventures. Without them, they would likely have made it 5 years ago.

Our saga (not set in the Rhine) is running a variant of the Rhine master system (no gilds), and while we had a few false starts at the moment it's worked out that the average magus who is interested in masterhood challenges for the position at roughly 30 years post-Gauntlet. We've had three magi buck the system so far, but one of those left the tribunal and another gave up the apprentice fairly quickly to someone else.

Reputation gains for making a showing at Tribunal of some sort, for writing books that get traded outside the covenant, for doing things to help other covenants in some way - over 30 years this will get you to a reputation of 2 (11 noteworthy events) without too much fuss and bother.

One side note on reputations: often an initial reputation isn't actually that descriptive of what a person ends up doing. While it makes sense that first impressions count, it becomes a little less believable when someone earns a reputation as a 'scholar of magic theory' early in their career (rep of 1), then proceeds to do enough to earn a reputation of 4 or 5 by never writing a single book or discussing magic theory, and instead by acting as a hoplite and frying other magi in wizard's war. Such a magus being known throughout the Tribunal / Order as a scholar seems odd.

Because of this, I like the idea of either letting a reputation change its descriptor to something similar each time the reputation value changes, or allowing a reputation to garner additional descriptors.