School for Generalist Flambeau

I was rereading the Flambeau chapter, and one thought stroke me:

there ought to exist a school for generalist Flambeau, i.e. the ones that strive to develop a truly flexible combat style which combines aspects from the Founder's School, Apromor's School, Vilano's School, and the various Schools of Sebastian. They would have comparable scores in most or all Techniques (Cr, Pe, Re, to a lesser degree Mu) and Forms (An, Aq, Au, Co, He, Ig, Me, Te, Vi) that are capable of dealing damage and useful in combat. Their signature Virtue would be Major Magical Focus (Damage), in likely combination with any of Puissant Creo, Puissant Perdo, and Puissant Finesse.

Well, why not? In that case, however, the "free" virtue would be an effinity, with the major focus being taken through V/F points

I'm just playing devil's advocate here. There's no heat behind my counter arguments, just questions for you to ponder.

I think that being a generalist is a more difficult track than the schools that are presented. Couldn't being a generalist combatant be described as taking up two or more of the other schools?

A fine thing to do if you can pull it off but I hesitate to include a lineage that focuses in "everything". I think that the generalist combatant is for individuals not for "schools".

Would a focus in damage even apply to a creo ignem spell? how does the focus know whether you're casting the spell on a person or a lake? (You could probably come up with a decent answer to this)

Generalist by it's very nature is just about the most bland theme that you could come up with. Why would you choose to wallow in blandness?

A generalist "focusing" on three schools would only have about a third the time to spend doing study and lab work on each when compared to someone who focuses. (granted that makes them more than a third as dangerous, also some specialties such as the school of Boreas combine well with others). I would imagine that more often than not being an expert in one combat technique would be more useful than being a novice with three.

Truthfully I imagine that most Flambeau pick up a spell or two to cover for the weaknesses of their primary techniques. If you look at things from this angle the generalist is not so unusual as to warrant their own school name.

(Once again I'm only playing devil's advocate to encourage you, and promote discussion.)

Just to add my own two mythic pounds' worth...

In my reading of the Flambeau chapter, it was my own general impression that anyone wanting a more generalist approach would already be accommodated within the School of Sebastian anyways. Perhaps it isn't specifically the letter of the text, but it was certainly the spirit of the text to that effect in my mind anyways.

I do tend to agree with Erik, even if I personally do love the idea of a magus capable of wielding all the art combos to the level of a master. Unfortunately the reality is that dividing studies amongst 15 Arts and ancillary abilities does simply take many more years than one would hope, leaving the generalist considerably behind his specialist peers in their more focussed Schools, even if he/she manages to become an adept combatant.

Fine. :slight_smile:

Of course, but it's rewarded in flexibility.

I suppose so. Indeed, if you realize that the Founder's school, and most of the Schools of Sebastian (e.g. Auram, Aquam, Terram) share a focus on Creo methods, and the School of Vilano and rest of the Schools of Sebastian generally use Rego methods, you may come to realize that almost all of Flambeau schools rely and focus on three Techniques: Creo, Perdo, and Rego. This is one of the cornerstones of our generalist school: focusing on 2-3 Techniques. It isn't too hard. Combine this with a generalist spread of development in most or all of the Forms that may be useful in combat (most or all of the elemental forms, say at least 2-3 for flexibility, the living body ones, Vi to deal with demons and spirits, possibly Me to deal with non lethal combat) and you have a good all-around setup. The key is focusing on Techniques.

Generalists are distinct subpopulation of Hermetic wizards. Why Flambeau should be different ? There are always the guys that prefer to be good at most than best at one.

Hermetic magic, and indeed all magic, is built on intent and symbolism. They mold the spell, activating the focus. The Gift of such a mage is especially attuned to harmful magic. It doesn't matter what you are trying to hurt, provided your intent is to damage. Sure the focus applies to CrIg. The damage focus expressely applies both to spells that harm by creating (or moving) a damaging medium, or by directly harming the subject.

It's not about blandness, it's about flexibility. Being a mystical jack of all trades has a flavor and theme all its own.

There is a significant overlap. As I said, mostly you need to focus on developing Techniques, instead of Forms. Sure, you may need some added effort, but the reward is that you never defangled by the opponent being especially resistant to your specialized Form or Technique. This is where having a focus in damage comes almost essential to such a school, since it allows to focus on combat Techniques, and boost the effective scores of matching Forms, regardless of which these Forms are.

Now that I understand Wanderer's idea better, I like it a lot. It is distinctive enough to be a separate school and I think it would work.

The schools in the Flambeau chapter were never meant to be an exhaustive list. Wanderer, I would encourage you to expand on your ideas some more, perhaps writing them up as a school like those in HoH: Societates to share with other players. You could post it here, on your own Saga Web page if you have one, or even as a short article in the new fanzine Sub Rosa.

Something that comes to mind about this general school is that some magi may find themselves forced into it, if they belong to Spring covenants or otherwise have relatively weak libraries. It is better to make the most of the books you have, than swim upstream trying to study Arts which your library lacks.

The virtue that does favour generalists is "study bonus". It is of no good once you reach high levels in the arts but as long as you are aiming at moderate levels it is very useful.

Im going to go out on a limb here and likely get pincushioned for suggesting something unorthodox, but...

with all due respect to the guideline boxes for both Major and Minor foci, wherein Damage is suggested as a Major Focus, could one not possibly take it as a minor (sacrificing the "add lowest score twice" (uncapped) for the "double lowest score" (capped by primary form score))?

The reason I suggest this is because it occurs to me that far more so than Study Bonus, the best virtue for this sort of Generalist school would be Secondary Insight.

Couldnt have that and a Major Focus as we all would agree.

*waits for the flaming arrows to start raining down on him for his insolent munchkinism

Yes, that too. As a matter of fact, generalists stand to gain a lot from having the combo Study Bonus - Free Study - Book Learner. IIRC, that would allow to increase benefits of studying either source by 1.5.

As for the generalist Flambeau School, I'm quite persuaded that the defining "school" Virtue should really be Major Magical Focus (Damage). It's just a perfect fit for the purpose of the school. (it covers all but the Rego projectile magic). That being a Major Virtue, what to do of the Flambeau "free" minor Virtue ? Personally, I'd allow characters to buy that as the free Virtue, provided a balancing extra Minor Flaw (Hermetic or Supernatural) is picked to pay for it. Something similar to the Ex Miscellanea system. One might justify it by the fact that when a Flambeau enters the school he is initiated into MMF (D), and the typical script has loss of the vanilla Flambeau Virtues (esp. if they are Puissant Forms) as an Ordeal. Alternatively, one might buy the Mutable version of MMF (D), which is a minor virtue.

Other good Virtues to have for this school would be Puissant and/or Affinity in any of Creo, Perdo, Rego, Penetration, and Finesse. And the aforementioned Study Bonus, Free Study, Book Learner. Since this is meant to be a generalist school, the character should not have too limited a focus in any hermetic Art or method of study, so that if one has an Affinity, it should be at least one of a pair, at least. i.e. if one has Study Bonus, it should also have either or both of Free Study or Book Learner. If one has Puissant Creo, it should also have Puissant Perdo or Rego, and/or Puissant Penetration or Finesse, and viceversa. Skilled Parens and Self Confident are also appropriate, too.

To complement the Focus in damage, one could also develop a Potent Magic in Rego projectile magic. I dunno whether it would be minor or major.

Our generalist War Wizard Flambeau could either focus on precise, powerful applications of formulaic magic, in such a case either Flexible Formulaic Magic or Flawless Magic would be appropriate (both if you can get them by Initiation by other members of the school), as well as Life Boost and Method Caster, or on flexible, creative uses of spontaneous magic. In the latter case, either (or both if you can Initiate them) of Diedne Magic, Chthonic Magic, or Life-Linked Spontaneous Magic are very appropriate. Enduring Constitution, Withstand Casting, and Spell Improvisation are also good complementary Virtues to have.

As it takes mystery Virtues, Charm Magic, Spell Timing, Animae Magic, Glamour, Hermetic Theurgy, Names of Power, Invocation Magic, Synthemata Magia, Hermetic Geometry, and Consummate Talisman are all good Virtues for develop, both for the formulaic and the spontaneous War Wizard.

As for Flaws, a broad attitude for destructive magic often indicates a mystical sympathy for aggressiveness, poor impulse control, a bit of anti-social attitude, and a tendency to go "wild" and loose with one's magic, as represented by Flaws like: Careless Sorcerer, Deleterious Circumstances, Magic Addiction, Rigid Magic, Unstructured Caster, Loose Magic, Restriction, Unpredictable Magic, Blatant Gift (or Social Handicap), Fury, Personality traits and Flaws that indicate a problem with impulse control (Ambitious, Proud, Lusty, Wrathful, Optimistic, Carefree, Overconfident, Reckless), Bound Magic, Fettered Magic, Poor Memory, Poor Formulaic Magic, Susceptible to Divine Power, Supernatural Nuisance, Vulnerable Magic, Vulnerable to Folk Traditions, Warped Magic, Weird Magic, Greater or Lesser Malediction, Lycanthrope, Chaotic Magic, and Weak Enchanter.

A basic feature of the Generalist Flambeau school is the acknowledgement that the vast majority of the Flambeau combat techniques is based on one among three Hermetic Techniques: Creo, Perdo, and Rego. Therefore, members of this school strive to maximize all of these Arts. As it concerns Forms, the vast majority of them can have useful combat applications. Elemental Forms (Au, Aq, Ig, Te) have both good destructive potential, widespread presence, and usefulness for either or both of direct damage and projectile attacks. As a result, all generalist war wizards strive to develop all or at least 2-3 of them. In most areas, He may also be a good substitute for elemental Forms, so some generalists study it, especially if they spend much time in wilderness areas. Co is fundamental for employing Perdo spells and some elemental attacks to their full potential, so all generalist Flambeau strive to have good mastery of it. Like He, An may be useful to develop if the mage spend a signficant amount of time in the wilderness. Me and Im have less of direct combat potential, but some generalist war mages come to realize their usefulness for subtle attacks, distractions, and defusing unnecessary confrontations, so they may often develop their abilities in either of these Forms (although not both of them, generally). Typically, Me is the more common choice. Vi is developed to a good degree of mastery by most generalist Flambeau, thanks to its fundamental value in fighting demons, spirits, and all kinds of magical creatures, as well as the combat applications of metamagical spells.

As it concerns Abilities, Concentration, Parma Magica, Penetration, and Finesse are as important as the Arts for the generalist war mage, and they develop them accordingly. Athletics, Awareness, Brawl, Chirurgy, Stealth, Survival, and all Realm Lores, may have some usefulness for combat specialists, so few generalist Flambeau are confortable in remaining completely unskilled in them.

The generalist Flambeau school was born out of two main sources: the first was the mages who in the course of their lifetimes managed to master several other Flambeau schools, then realized the basic common factors (such as the reliance on the combat Techniques) underlying many of them, and strived to transmit their apprentices a unified approach to magical combat. Other mages had aptitudes and peculiarities of one's Gift (such as a focus for damaging spells, or affinities for multiple Arts), that made them sympathetic to a skill of magical combat that downplayed the overreliance to any one Art. Their combat techniques spread among those Flambeau that preferred a generalist approach to Hermetic magic and valued flexibility over specialization, and became popular among those mages who lacked the means to specialize to a very high degree in any one Art, such as mages from Spring Covenants, without very good books or high amounts of Vis in any one Art.

Wanderer, this looks great. All it needs is a name -- do you have a PC we could name this school after?

Well, my current PC is a Merinita, not a Flambeau, but in some ways, he could have been a Flambeau, in spirit (hothead :wink: ), and he is a generalist (even if he is a pagan spont specialist and hates Latin purists), and for some ideas about the school I got inspiration from or tested in RPing him, such as an Initiation for MMF (D), and I would love to make him a regular guest attendant to Flambeau tourneaments (honorary Flambeau 8) ), so you have my absolute blessing to call it the School of Julian (let's say in another timeline Julian switched to Flambeau post-apprenticeship instead of Merinita; most likely alternative House, in fact).

I've devised a possible combat-generalist Initiation Script for Major Magical Focus (Damage):

The mage must track down and defeat three opponents of comparable or superior power from different supernatural realms, either supernatural creatures or humans affiliated to the realm. The opponent must be slain, or forced to give up a powerful Arcane Connection, such as a True Name, body part, talisman, or synthemata, which has to last decades at the least (set of three Quests, +9). Subsequently, the mage must travel to the site of a powerful magical battle on the day of his first manifestation of the Gift (special place and time, +3), which he must discover if not known (+1), and defeat the Mystagogue (or a designated champion) in three subsequent certamens (+1) using different Technique/Form combinations worthy for combat magic (sympathetic bonus, +3). The ritual brings forth great mystical potential for damaging magic (the mage develops the Virtue Major Magical Focus: Damage), scarring the spirit, and gives him an aura of menace, which aggravates the social effects of the Gift (Major Ordeal: the mage develops the Flaw: Blatant Gift, or loses the Virtue: Gentle Gift, +9). If the mage already had a different Magical Focus, the ritual erases it and substitutes it with the Major Magical Focus: Damage (optional Minor or Major Ordeal +3/+9).

The Script was developed by a founder of the school of Julian and has been since used, often in self-initiation, by Flambeau that come to espouse the philosophy of combat generalists. Variants of the script may also be used to give apprentices the trademark focus of the school if they lack it. Sometimes, initiation may even be offered, for a fair price, to mages of other Houses whose raw potential or established ability in combat magic has properly managed to impress some Flambeau luminary. Therefore, variants of the script have sometimes surfaced in other Mystery Cults that value combat magic, such as some offshoots of the Legion of Mithras, the Philosophers of Rome, and Houses Bjornaer, Tytalus, and Merinita. Flambeau of the school of Julian may not mind much if their ancestral script is used to enhance someone whose combat prowess and dedication to the fighter-adventurer lifestyle they respect, regarding them as "lost kindred", but they are also known to ruthlessly persecute, up to repeated Wizards' War, recipients they see as unworthy.

hmmm overall looks well devised but I would balk at replacing a pre-existing MMF/mmf with yet another virtue on top of the MMF:Damage conveyed by the script. You are handing out two virtues for one intiation which is going overboard IMO.

It should be more than sufficient that any pre-existing MMF/mmf is replaced by an MMF as broadly ranged as is "Damage".

Argh, sorry, that much for trying to finish the Script before going to bed. :blush: I've corrected it to mean that any preexisting Focus is erased and substituted with MMF (Damage).

What I meant to write is that if the mage had a previous Focus that gets substituted by the ritual, he would have a big sympathetic bonus, and would treat the Virtue as known if self-Initiated, in order to regain it as the equivalent Potent Magic Virtue in another subsequent Initiation (provided the mage in question actually cares to regain it in a different compatible form). Which is how I would deal with all similar cases of Focus substitution by Initiation as a general rule.

That, I could agree with. Good work.