Teaching Magic Theory to the Grogs

Is there anything in the Code that prohibits this? Ie, teaching Bonisagus' Magic Theory to non-magi? In context, my magi wants to set up the equivalent of a parish school in the covenant, to teach the grogs Latin, and a smattering of Magic Theory, Farie Lore, and Artes Liberales. The main reason for this is "He doesn't like being surrounded by stupid people" (Int 5, Com -2, Magic Theory 10). Realistically, he knows that most aren't as smart as he is, but he's really getting irritated by the idea that folks don't even know what wards or vis or Realms are. (Plus, he's using this as a trial run before he starts teaching apprentices).

But anyway - the only thing I can find is the strict prohibition against teaching Parma - and while I suppose you could (in theory) deduce Parma from MT, it's not fully integrated - so that doesn't seem to be an issue. Also, I'm guessing it's pretty easy for long-term grogs who work around the magi to have already picked up a level of Magic Theory, just by exposure.

Finally, there's the example in A&A, pg 97, of the Jerbiton actually teaching a class on MT at a university. The story seed here doesn't seem to be that Jerbiton is letting loose the secrets of Magic, but rather that the magus is doing so on the PC's turf, without telling anyone, and potentially sniping apprentice-quality grogs.

In contrast, the difficulties of teaching a non-Gifted student is that MT is completely abstract - which is why he's only planning on teaching the low level stuff: Magic Theory (Identifying) at a 2 is a decent score to have, if the only thing you need to do is to be able to understand that it's a bad idea to scuff the chalk line of the circle the magus is standing in.

Anyway - am I missing anything, here? This came up at today's gaming session, and I was rather surprised when most of the other players thought this was a bad idea. (Mainly in the "exposing secrets of the Order" line, rather than "why are you teaching the Grogs magic, they're going to get us all killed in a thaumaturgical fireball of idiocy" line.)

I don't know of any provision in the Code or Peripheral Code that prohibits teaching Magic Theory to mundanes. Within reason, that is: regularly holding public courses on Magic Theory at a university might be considered "interference with mundanes" by peeved sodales at the discretion of SG and troupe.
On the other hand, an intelligent shield grog living in the lab of his magus, an Autocrat managing covenant Vis supplies, or a copyist scribe in a covenant library, are all bound to pick up a smattering of Magic Theory some time. The Virtue Custos (ArM5 p.41) hence allows grogs to also already be created with Arcane Abilities.
If your magus (Int 5, Com -2, Magic Theory 10) wants to teach a grog explicitly, and can make her stay a season in his lab loathing his Gift and low Com, he might do so efficiently using the Training rules (ArM5 p.164). He might perhaps first win over his sodales for an Advanced School to instruct in Magic Theory those grogs to become Custodes: grog sergeants, the Chamberlain, the Steward, the librarian, the Confessor (if there is one) or such.


This looks more to me like he should be teaching them Magic Lore (and possibly the other Realm Lores) rather than actual Magic Theory.
Wards, Vis and Realms should all be covered then, and his grogs will be better equipped to recognize a Ward, rather than arguing whether that circle is a valid ward, of it's clearly not, because "See how the sign of sagitaurus has been misdrawn? Clearly this is just the work of an amateur! No reason to worry about stepping into that, it couldn't hold your mother at bay, drawn like that!"

I'm not aware of any explicit rules against it (either in game or in the Order), but I would think that most magi would consider it a waste of time. Unless he intends for the grog he's teaching to either scribe texts for him (since, if you don't have Magic Theory, you can't properly copy any magical texts) or to be a lab assistant, that is.

Why would the student be loathing the teacher's Gift? If it doesn't occur to the magus in question to extend his Parma over the student at every session, he doesn't deserve to be a teacher :laughing:

The PC magus in the campaign of KevinSchultz might see other benefits. So would I. Consider e. g. an Autocrat needing to know how to store vis over longer time, a Grog occasionally having to operate an enchanted device and interpret its interactions with auras or even regios, or a guard for an area protected by a ward.
My current PC magus made sure that his shield Grog is reasonably intelligent and cold blooded, and had him acquire a basic understanding of Magic Theory asap. So the Grog can think on his own feet in a wide range of emergencies, also with magi occupied in spell casting, concentrating, invisible/inaudible, passed out or for other reasons unable to tell him what to do.

I certainly learned to never take actions of PCs for granted - and we are speaking about a PC magus here. :laughing:


Sure, but that can be answered with a simple question. For seasonal activities I think it is reasonable that a magus would do things that maximize his efforts. Extending Parma over a student is one of them. Of the PC doesn't want to he needs to say so explicitly, rather than being the killer GM and presuming the character is stupid.


And asking that question is something quite different from just stating "If it doesn't occur to the magus in question to extend his Parma over the student at every session, he doesn't deserve to be a teacher".


Which goes to PBs original comment in response to your mentions the Gift in the first place. It is safe to assume extending Parma. If he says he isn't explicitly than PBs statement is true.

Thanks for the responses, all! To turn this into a story hook, what actually ARE the things a grog can do with Magic Theory? Several have been mentioned already:

  1. As a requirement for scribing Arcane texts.
  2. Being able to at least in theory follow a conversation with a magus.
  3. Using enchanted items without completely freaking out.
  4. Being able to act when the spells start flying and/or the magi is otherwise occupied.
  5. Storing vis.

Some other ones that I can think of:

  1. Know when the Jerbiton is trolling you. ("Oh, yeah, a wizard's power is contained in his staff. Really.")
  2. Identifying magical effects, such as Intangible Tunnel.

Is there anything actively malicious that can be done? I'm trying to conceive how someone might be able to set up an opposed Order using nothing but Magic Theory that was cribbed from grogs, and I can't really see it - the Order isn't THAT secretive, and if someone wanted to know more about MT, there are easier ways of getting reliable sources (ie, stealing a book.)

That being said, a noble having someone in his court that actually knows what magi can and can't do is certainly a bonus to that court. But that would require Hermetic Law, Hermetic Lore, Magic Lore, as well as Magic Theory. But in looking at my Lords of Men (pg. 40-41), it seems that most nobles know the basics anyway. So in general, the worst that can happen is that a grog leaves the service of the Covenant and gains employment as an advisor to Nobility. Which, while an interesting plot point, doesn't seem to be particularly harmful.

Is there anything else? To be fair, one of the PC's didn't care for point 2, above - there are many times in which PC's don't want the grogs to know what they're talking about - but that was mainly in reference to teaching them Latin, as opposed to Magic Theory.

You can use this topic to start in your troupe a useful discussion about basic covenant culture - perhaps along the following lines:
A. Is there a local idiom all the natives speak at the covenant?
B. Are newcomers supposed to learn such an idiom quickly to a reasonable score (like 3), so it could be used for all everyday communication within the covenant?
C. Is there a command language of the military Grogs?
D. Is there an Autocrat or such running the covenant like a hotel for magi, who address all their requests to him?
E. Are there interpreters translating for the Grogs what magi or some companions say?
F. Do foreigners not speaking any local idiom frequently visit the covenant?
G. Does the covenant maintain academic/ecclesiastical/hermetic contacts and/or studies, which are not limited to the magi?
Once this is settled, you can discuss, how necessary/desirable it is for Grogs to speak Latin in your covenant. And in the meantime you have already learned a lot about it.


Some ideas...

Knowing about vis and potentially the sites where it can be found. You certaintly can't detect vis with just Magic Theory, but (along with Area Lore, say) you can speculate on the sorts of places that it might be found, and therefore perhaps attempt to interdict/destroy such places. The value of this would perhaps depend on the rarity of vis in your saga.

Knowing about the impact of auras on spellcasting, and therefore the benefit of ensuring that if you must fight magi that you are holding relics whilst standing in a church.

Knowing that Parma Magica must be re-cast at dusk / dawn.

Knowing the rough magnitude of effects, so therefore being able to guess what the capabilties of an apprentice, freshly-gauntleted, and master magus are.

Knowing about The Gift, and therefore the problems that may be caused to the Order by kidnapping / murdering any children who show signs of it. Obviously, without a definite way to actually detect the Gift, such a pogram may lead to a total blood bath. The value of this would also depend on the rarity of the Gift in your saga.

Knowing about the sorts of Durations, Ranges, and Targets that magi can use --- so that you can try to avoid making things easy for magi.

Ah. So, someone with lvl 1 in Magic Theory has basically memorized the Spellcasting and Laboratory sections of the core rulebook. That's... actually a decent amount of information.

Not necessarially memorized, but yes somebody with Magic Theory knows that sort of stuff. The level of detail known by the character, and his ability to recall it properly, should improve with his Magic Theory Score.

Having said all that, I don't think there is a huge risk in teaching grogs Magic Theory; a rouge grog needs lots of resources and motivation to really cause problems. The benefit of teaching (at least some) grogs Magic Theory (i.e. reliable scribing, and a turb that is better able to survive and report on magical incidents) is quite compelling.

[spoiler]On the other hand, Father Joseph (from Antagonists) is an example of the trouble that a rouge grog can potentially cause with a plan and some Magic Theory (and some Order of Hermes Lore).[/spoiler]

Kind of a contrary attitude...
Teaching a grog Magic Theory makes him too valuable to be taken on adventure. Needs to stay safe in my lab, helping me out. Or something. :smiley: Certainly, I'm going to get some sort of benefit out of a grog I taught Magic Theory, before using him on adventures...

A lot of the reasons that have been thrown out as reasons for grogs learning Magic Theory are things that (in my opinion) a grog doesn't necessarily have to have MT to know.

  • Using enchanted items without freaking out: "Okay, Jehanne, here's the Wand of Painful Immolation. Just point this end at the enemy, and say 'Embroglio!' with a flick of the wrist. And, whatever you do, don't lose it!"
  • Being able to act when the spells start flying and/or the magi is otherwise occupied. I think that's just a part of being battle-hardened. Any shield grog [strike]is going to[/strike] should have at least a little bit of training with his magic before the vis hits the fan.
  • Being able to follow a conversation with a magus: Not sure I see the point, here. That would be more a function of having Latin:3 then MT: 1, unless the grog is being trained as a lab assistant/magical scribe.
  • Knowing the Parma ritual must be performed at sunrise and sunset. Pretty much all the grog needs to know is that the Maga is not to be disturbed at those times.

Teaching Grogs decent levels of Magic Theory willy-nilly, I think, kind of defeats the purpose of their being grogs, more-or-less replaceable low-level characters, and moves them into the realm of being pseudo-companions.

This reminds me of a conversation we had in our table-top game years ago, when one of the players wanted us to teach all, and I mean all of the covenfolk how to read and write, for no better reason (that we could discern) than because it was the modern norm and he couldn't quite grasp that in paradigm it was an utterly ludicrous idea.

That's quite a cheeky grog you have, rouge and lipstick goes hand in hand. :stuck_out_tongue:

Well, it's not QUITE an utterly ludicrous idea. Both Muslim and Jewish culture have relatively high literacy rates. Also, some Italian cities still have municipal education - mainly for teaching law and liberal arts to the sons (and daughters) of the middle class. (A&A, pg. 86-88) So while complete literacy is not a cultural phenomena, enclaves of culture within Europe do have it as an ideal.

But yes - I would imagine that the average peasant sees being able to read and write as something you need to know if you want to be a priest or bureaucrat, rather than something good in and of itself.

I would agree with that. Shield Grogs need to know about their charge's magic, or they misinterpret common events and risk getting in the way - but that is not what a magus would consider "decent levels of Magic Theory".
Magic Theory 1 - an understanding what Hermetic magic is about and what to expect from it - should indeed be mostly sufficient for a shield Grog to protect his charge properly in a fight. And it also is sufficient for a scribe to make good copies of Hermetic books.


Without the Gift (even whatever damaged remains of a Gift a failed apppentice has) he's not going to be much use, neh?
Except maybe to re-organize a lab after it exploded, while the magus-user is recovering (with a nice brandy).

Agreed. And as mentioned above, most of the uses given would be just as well served with Magic Lore - indeed probably better. [quote="KevinSchultz"] Both Muslim and Jewish culture have relatively high literacy rates. [/quote] As I recall (and I might well be wrong), the Quran states that you cannot be a muslim unless you have read the Quran - making an illiterate muslim a contradiction in terms. [quote="One Shot"] I would agree with that. Shield Grogs need to know about their charge's magic, or they misinterpret common events and risk getting in the way - but that is not what a magus would consider "decent levels of Magic Theory". Magic Theory 1 - an understanding what Hermetic magic is about and what to expect from it - should indeed be mostly sufficient for a shield Grog to protect his charge properly in a fight. [/quote] Again: Magic Lore. Or better yet, having trained at the covenant (sufficiently to be part of a group for combat purposes), what with the wierd sh*t magi get up to quite openly in their homes.

At least my PC magus thinks that a shield Grog needs to know what magi do and what can happen to and around them when they do or did it. That is Magic Theory ["Knowledge of what (scilicet: Hermetic) magic is and how it works" (ArM5 p.66)], not Magic Lore ["Knowledge of magical creatures, areas and traditions", "Magic Lore covers knowledge of magical things in general" (both ArM5 p.66)].
It is not that some Magic Lore hurts a Grog - but to know how to behave around that diagram your charge is busy tracing on the floor you need basic Magi Theory.