Apologies if this has been covered but there are 70 odd pages & the vague search engine!
Ars Magica 5th ed
magi starting spells states that take spells of no
higher level than tech + form + int+ magic theory + 3 on
page 29 sumary)
However, in darius's example, page 32 - tech + form + 10
(shouldn't that be tech + form + int + magic theory +
Please put me straight on this as i,ve scoured the rules
& can't figure which is correct.
I think that the assumption is that you learnt your starting spells in an "average" magical aura (and an "average" unaugmented starting covenant has an aura of 3), so your starting spells are just bought "with your lab total, aura 3"
This avoids players winging that "I was trained in a rating 10 aura"...
It only clicked for me last week...
I would guess that the Darius example has grouped "aura + magic theory + intelligence" into the "+10" part of the equation (this part is static) and left out the tech+form (as they vary by specific area),
That's exactly what's going on.
Darius is the continuing example in that Chapter. The example is a specific example of that specific character, using the values already established for Int & Magic Theory.
Looking at the very top of page 31, we see that D has Int = +3, and looking at the middle of page 32, we see he has Magic Theory 4.
Tech + Form + Int+ Magic Theory + 3 = T+F +3 +4 +3, or +10 as a constant, for this Character, for this CharGen.
Then it's just a matter of adding Te/Fo, which varies. And this is confirmed later in that page 32 example, in the paragraph that starts "Darius adds 10 to his Tech + Form to determine the highest spell level he can learn..." - that's for Darius, his spells - your mage might well differ.
And welcome to the game! (We'll be here, you just keep asking questions.)
(GL - I wouldn't assume the "+3" is specifically referring to a generic Aura. I'ts a CharGen mechanic more than a model of game play, even if apparently similar.)