Skilled parens and opening the arts

As far as your comment about 3 magi with familiars, I did better than this only a little more than 10 years out of gauntlet, so it's definitely possible. Most won't do it, but I pulled off a CrMe lab total over 200 for a single season, while normally my CrMe lab total was far below that. And my character certainly wasn't Jesus.

I'm not not acknowledging the issue. It can be there if the SG decides to let it be. In the one game I run I made sure the players didn't set themselves up so their Arts couldn't have been opened. It only become an issue the SG chooses to let it be one, as there are ways to avoid it being an issue. There are even ways that allow the Virtues you suggested that don't require the lab total you suggested.

What I'm saying is that your statement about the only way this can work is blatantly wrong. I've shown a whole bunch of other possibilities, while you say no others are possible. And by far the easiest way is via Teaching, not your lab total method. Seriously, to what lengths do you need to go to insist that your statement about InVi-200 lab totals is right even when it's been proven incorrect repeatedly, especially when one of the other methods is far, far easier?

No, you didn't. "Minus a million xp, you need 5 at least in one season," isn't a counter to me showing you how to get a Teaching Quality of 21 to teach two Supernatural Abilities to someone whose Arts have been Opened. Not only is it not a counter, 15 is quite different from "a million xp." Exaggerating ridiculously to sound like you're right when you're not is no valid counter point whatsoever; and saying it is only makes your reasoning here appear so questionable as to make me wonder just how little I should trust the rest of your reasoning.

Oh, another RAW method: someone else Opens your Arts as part of a deal with your parens.

Can't beings of any of the Realms get Ritual Powers that grant Virtues and Flaws? No Lab Totals, Initiations or any of that necessarily involved?

Well, it's not. It is just the part from ArM5 corebook. I pointed you to Apprentices p.10f Inherited Virtues and Flaws and p.32ff Hermetic Apprenticeship already in this very thread.


Apprentices is without doubt rules as written.

It was some seven years in the making, hence its planning should have started soon after corebook release. Already at corebook release it was quite clear, that apprenticeships in the Order of Hermes were more diverse than p.106f Training Your Apprentice could cover. With more books appearing, that diversity increased while Apprentices was being worked on.

When it finally appeared 2012, Apprentices contained p.10f Inherited Virtues and Flaws, which allow apprentices to 'discover' Virtues and Flaws at convenient times during their apprenticeship, without the need of teaching or initiation. This is only a part:

Apprentices is meant to provide rules for role-playing an apprenticeship. So it has indeed lots of calls for troupe adjudication, both within its text and in the comments of its author on this forum.


Yes, indeed: RoP:M p.38f boxes.

It has the catch of RoP:M p.40 Ritual Powers:

Recovery of these points from the Might score is slow and "at the storyguide's discretion" (p.40).


I believe the big power-gaming caveat on that one is the magical quality which lets you substitute vis and confidence in place of permanent might.

Yes, though I thought the bigger power-gaming bit was that you can do these rituals to get down to virtually no Might so that you can do tons of Transformation with ease to pick up lots of stuff, and then do Transformation with more difficulty to get back to the Might you had. In the end, you're able to do all that Transformation a ton cheaper than if you had not put your Might into the rituals. And you could even have a ritual that gives Improved Characteristics, so you can use it to boost yourself; or you could sell the ritual for vis so that you can get your Might back. I have house rules about Transformation and Might to prevent just this sort of abuse.

Aren't using that book. Now that you're caught up. What you just inherit past opening? No. Sorry. There is nothing to then prevent a player from taking everything as "child" then get arts opened by a scrub, then inherent all the same adult versions. So to avoid munchkinism, become a munchkin that just gets the virtues later. Slick all my npcs will do that. So there is no point to having the lab totals at all now with that book.

When a player creates a magus by the corebook or with Metacreator, she follows ArM5 p.28ff Detailed Character Creation, choosing the Virtues and Flaws of her character within its limits. She and her troupe don't need to consider p.106f Training Your Apprentice before her magus takes on an apprentice.

Enter T Riffix Rex.

After being told, that there is an entire book on playing Apprentices and developing them over play, that expands on p.106f Training Your Apprentice, he answers:

After having been shown the relevant quotes from Apprentices, he continues:

Yes, indeed.

Just as if the - oh so munchkin - player had followed ArM5 p.28ff Detailed Character Creation to create her character in the first place. See the logic?

Of course there is no need to have the detailed stats of their masters when statting NPC magi. Creating them with ArM5 p.28ff Detailed Character Creation, while keeping their background in sight, is generally fine and already some work: many storyguides and authors will use faster ways.


I'm not sure I can parse the paragraph above but... why would you see as a game balance problem if a PC has a backstory mentioning that most of his "supernatural potential" emerged after his Gift was opened (as long as his Virtues and Flaws remain balanced)? Mechanically, this is supported even in the corebook, by the General Virtue "Latent Magical Ability". Saying that this makes a high Lab Total useless seems like saying that if magic devices can be won through stories, then having a high Lab Total for enchanting magic devices is useless.

Lol. Your analogy is a bit off.

Why would anyone construct a character with virtues that will get lost? Why would they construct their npc apprentices or children with anything else? Basically to get around the rule. So if building characters which circumvent the rule is the suggestion from players, why the f is there a rule? Other than to give a way players can deny other players interesting characters?

You guys also forget it's the player's choice not mine, not anyone else's, the player says "I had these at birth". That's all the player has to say. Do I now strip the virtues? Or do I make a parens capable to open the arts? You guys are hilarious here. Defending something busted as though I'm a jerk pointing out it's busted. Coming up with Story ideas, on a forum that finds deviation anathema, and changing a player's background and story just because of a stupid rule.

You could just remove dumb rule.

Ok. Have a backstory, it's why I have 5 massive artefacts with no matching virtues. A more appropriate analogy is killing off a character's Animal Companion every time they make one because arbitrarily decided they were poor so it starved.

Because it's not the player, but the SG/troupe that decides the nature of npcs. This means that if a PC magus wants an apprentice with, uh, Second Sight, either the PC a) finds an apprentice with Second Sight, and makes sure it's preserved when the Gift is Opened or b) finds some way to get the apprentice instructed/initiated in Second Sight after the Gift is Opened or c) finds some way to divine which potential apprentice will develop Second Sight spontaneously after Opening the Arts. c) is by far the hardest of the three :slight_smile:

I am sorry but I really can't follow you. Would you mind making the situation a bit clearer?

Well, if the player insists on a detailed backstory (which is not strictly needed), you are perfectly right to require that it should make sense mechanically. So if the player says: "my character had all these supernatural virtues up and running before his gift was opened to hermetic magic, and the opening did not ruin them", then you may want to point out that this would be an incredibly unusual circumstance -- and require appropriate changes to the backstory, that still lead to the same character, or some explanation you and the troupe are happy with (like a wildly successful but not replicable experiment on the part of his parens, in which the character played the part of the guinea pig).
It's a bit as if a player claimed his character has Mythic Blood, of the Bjornaer lineage (which is perfectly ok) and then says "because Bjornaer was my PC's mum". You can say "I'm fine with the Virtue, but the backstory makes little sense: Bjornaer has been dead for centuries. How is it possible for the PC to be Bjornaer's son?" Maybe the character got caught up in a regio or something. But if something acceptable to the troupe can't be reached, it's perfectly ok to veto the backstory (albeit not the character per se).

I confess I just don't understand what you are saying! Character creation runs like this.

  1. The rules tell you what the endpoint can be (balanced Virtues and Flaws etc.). That's what you get at the end of character creation. No more and no less.
    Backstory is mechanically irrelevant at this point.

  2. Generally speaking, virtually every PC created "by the rules" can be explained by an appropriate backstory that could have happened in play; even if it was a truly rare event that cannot be replicated ("Saint Guineford inexplicably appeared at the PC's birth and blessed him with the ability to understand animals -- that's how he gained the Animal Ken Virtue!"). If player makes a backstory that is incompatible with the character and/or the Ars Magica "cosmology" ("Aliens implanted the character with translation nanoware -- that's how he gained the Animal Ken Virtue") then the troupe is perfectly within it rights to say "sorry, you did get what you said you got, but not how you said you got it". Ideally, constructively ("Maybe it's not alien nanoware, but a blessing by little green faeries?").

You should stop looking at is a negative - yes, there's disadvantages. There's also story opportunities. The delight of the RPG is to craft stories, not crush them. I haven't been in a single game in-person where the group enjoys bullying through a dungeon and breaking the story open (There have been some cases online, but that is because the anonymity of the internet lets people be rude to each other easier). "Why would they construct their NPC apprentices or children with anything else?" you ask. Why would they want to construct their own apprentices? The few times I've had people look for apprentices, they always eagerly asked me what they got, they were super excited when they couldn't train them because they lacked lab total, and excitedly started trying to raise Intellego while hiding the existence of the child from the nearby mages.

Just to confirm my understanding, a player has designed a character, by flooding supernatural power into his young magus, that requires an InVi of 200; He's paid off the virtues with flaws, making it 'balanced' again. You're arguing that he should have infinitely more spells because his parens is a master of Intellego Vim; You're also complaining that this character is abusing the rules and there's no way to stop them? I mean, the troupe and/or storyguide could raise a complaint. This thread started with a simple question, which was answered with a couple rather reasonable answers - all rejected. The latter half of this thread turned into a full Flambeau war about the apprentice book and power gaming. I've almost lost the thread of what your question trying to answer is?

If you're unhappy with it, you can ignore the rule. Go for it. Do your house rules, brother. The boards are offering alternatives, you don't have to take them, but attacking back and forth is not going to help.

Interesting backstory - is this a character being added as a new character? Virtues please. Is a character killing off their animal companion? That's a story flaw, and I'm sure something bad will happen because they're mistreating animals. Minimum, a really bad reputation, maybe as a goat molester, or possibly an infernalist, since they're obviously sacrificing these animals ritually.

You miss the point. If a player takes a Virtue and you just remove it, you're destroying the character. You don't just take Virtues away after the fact whenever you feel like it.

"House rule" lol. I'm on the boards for verification the lab Total of the parens is very large. That's the point. The troupe should say "no" is arbitrarily deciding. Which case why the rule, just decide as a troupe. The problem is when a troupe mixes and matches between using said rules and vetoing other things and hand waving things it doesn't care about.

Very quickly this leads to the perception of favouritism.

The large lab Total is the logical consequence of the ArM rule. So, I want to apply said consequence where appropriate.

It doesn't matter what they got because it will go away if they aren't InVi munchkins. Why spend time as a Storyteller making them? Why would a player character scour a certain area looking for something in particular?

It's like stripping a familiar of all Magic powers. Sorry I know you spent 2 seasons looking, and you found it. But now I'm just going to make it impossible for the character.

No, it's not necessary for the parent to have that lab total. Even if the player insists the Virtues existed prior to apprenticeship, as I pointed out above it could still be that someone other than the parens Opened the child's Arts for the parens.

You're not applying logical consequences. You're choosing one of multiple possibilities and complaining about the choice you've made.

Which were countered. So there is a society that reinforces this? It's and common thing to have people open Arts for others? In Theban tribunal maybe, but not in the order of Hermes in general.

I'm complaining about the baseline rule. Storytellers especially on these boards are going to bend over backwards to explain how the rule isn't applied to your character.

What you fail to understand is if you make allowances for a PC as the new character, you must make the SAME allowances when they open he Arts of their apprentice.

You can't say a character has a parens with different criteria than his character must adhere. Its blatantly punishing the player for being a PC.

What you fail to do is read what I wrote properly. I didn't say make allowances. For instance, I said the parens might have a lower lab total but got a different magus to Open the Arts. There are magi who do that (since they get their Focus to dealing with the non-Hermetic magic. With the actual parens assisting along with both their familiars and maybe the other magus's real apprentice, that could easily be +30ish for the Focus and +30ish for assistance. That other magus could have a lab geared toward Intellego Vim. That can already get us to the 155 ballpark. Now, if you're bound to hit 200, maybe some more favors were called in, and maybe the other magus is the senior-most Pralician with Arts.

If the PC's want to do the same, sure, they can build up the favors and call them in and hire the senior-most Pralician. That can make for a lot of roleplaying fun.