Teaching the Gentle Gift

I do not see where it implies that the gentle Gift cannot be taught.

HoH:S p56

  • The Gentle Gift is the most prized Virtue in the House, and Jerbiton magi go to great effort and expense to find Gently Gifted apprentices.

If it could be taught, there would be no need to seek them out.

It can be taught if the SG wants it to be taught. And if they do not want, then it cannot.For this reason, I think it should remain vague.


I agree that it's implied that the gentle Gift cannot be taught. I also agree with Marko that it's neither necessary nor preferable to nail everything down.

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Teaching a Major Hermetic Virtue isn't easy if the student has no other Hermetic Virtues. And if the student does, it quickly becomes incredibly hard unless you've got a Major Hermetic Flaw to share as well. Even then you've got to be willing to do so as well as having one that won't be considered a Hermetic crime to share.

Just because something can potentially be taught with great difficulty doesn't mean it's not worth seeking out people who have it.

Are you talking of The Gift or the Gentle Gift now? Just asking.

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Never mind me, I'm apparently sleep posting.

Yes, but if it could be done then there is no reason why a dedicated teacher who is a gently gifted Jerbiton might not offer to teach it. With a +5 Com and Good Teacher it’s not outside of possible to teach so that there doesn’t seem to be someone offering this training for your apprentices and Jerbiton often spend long times seeking out the very rare gently gifted implies it should not be possible to me.

Eh, I'm not sure it's so easy, even then. Look at the average at-gauntlet magus without Gentle Gift in the core book (since that's our best sample). The average magus has a little over 4 points of Hermetic Virtues. So the average target level is a little over 33. Since we're planning to do this regularly, we cannot count on Apt Student, nor can we count on most students simply lacking Hermetic Virtues. Com +5, Good Teacher, and a specialty handle 11 of it. That leaves 22 left. Let's say our great teacher has Teaching 10 and Puissant Teaching. Surely the teacher will have a lab with a +3 Teaching specialty. We're still left with 7 remaining. That requires a Major Hermetic Flaw (or possibly three Minor Hermetic Flaws, I'd have to double-check) to be given to all those apprentices. So our teacher needs:

Com +5, Good Teacher, Teaching 10 or 8+2 (appropriate specialty), a lab with +3 to teaching, and a Major Hermetic Flaw that many Jerbiton would find acceptable and that is neither Deficient Technique (Hermetic crime) nor Blatant Gift (contradictory). And the parens would have to find paying for this teacher's time is worthwhile despite the Major Hermetic Flaw being given, not just that Gentle Gift alone is worth it.

That really seems the sort of tweaked out teacher we would only see in a PC designed to do this rather than someone we would regularly expect Jerbiton magi to be able to turn to with ease rather than seeking out a child with the Gentle Gift, no?

I said bring your not gently gifted apprentice to the super teacher, preferably right after their arts are opened, not after they have gone through apprenticeship and developed a bunch of virtues and flaws which, in theory often develop or are taught during apprenticeship. If they have no hermetic virtues it requires an effective Teaching ability (possibly including a spec in Apprentices or Hermetic Virtues or Gentle Gift) score of 2. Sure, it can quickly get out of hand but a dedicated teacher can easily have a much higher score than 2. So, yeah, if teaching it is possible I assume there is someone in the house who would dedicate themselves to being able to teach that virtue pretty easily, possibly needing to inflict a minor (or major in some rare circumstances) flaw on these young apprentices.

EDIT: you’re forgetting the base +3 and the +6 for a single student which is how you must teach Hermetic Virtues which brings you to 19 before adding the Teaching ability.

Yes, you can bring your student to the super teacher early in their apprenticeship- but will that be done aften Also given that every virtue you teach makes it more difficult to teach additional virtues. How many of these super teachers are their going to be, and how many seasons a year will they be doing this teaching? Plus you have to give up the use of your apprentice for a season to have them taught (if you don't do it yourself it doesn't count as your obligatory teaching season) and even Jerbiton magi tend to take apprentices as assistances, not as an exercise in building the most tweaked out super mage that they can.
So it is certainly possible but that doesn't lead to it being inherently commonplace. On top of all of this it would be easier to locate a gently Gifted apprentice than a teacher to give a non-gently Gifted apprentice the gentle Gift.

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Compared to spending more years searching for an apprentice with the gentle “giving up” an apprentice for a single season seems a pretty minor cost.

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One of the tgings I have grown to dislike about Ars Magica is all the theoretical calculations. But I get it. I used to be more of a simulationist than a narrativist. Nowadays I prefer a balance between them. But as a SG/DM/GM/whatev, all that is needeed is Yes or No. The power of somehow will take care of the rest. The players do not get to see the number stats of the NPC doing it. Nor does the statistical math of the players have any weight in the matter. The one who runs the game is under no obligation to provide reasoning or justification for anything. All that matters is creating a fair challenge and respect for player agency. Rules exist to give players comfort and a common language. The SG is to use the rules as a language and guideline, but at no point ever should they be bound by the rules. Diplomacy is important though, and there is the issue of comfort and common language. Still, there are infinite potential variables, and sometimes the character simply will not know. Further, the SG is under no obligation to inform the player the character does not know. The player should be free to make that conclusion on their own or fully buy into a false conclusion.
So that means if the SG decides it cannot be done, the player should be free to think it can be done, and glorious fun stories can be created using this false belief as a McGuffin. Or, on the other hand, the SG may decide it can be done, and let the player think it cannot but later learn of this mystery in a future encounter.


I did leave out the House Virtues from my count for that reason.

Yikes! Yes, I most certainly did. That will help a lot for this dedicated teacher. I still don't buy that it will be so worthwhile in general, but it does make room for a specialized PC to pull it off really well.

But it’s not just the House virtues. Yes, some might be inherited or otherwise present even before the gift is opened (of course the natural ones for this are Gentle Gift and other virtues related to the gift’s manifestation such as Inoffensive to (Beings)) and those would count against this limit but by the rules some virtues could develop due to events during apprenticeship.

first you have to fid the teacher, which will be harder than finding a gently Gifted apprentice, and then give up a season with the apprentice, plus pay the teacher. So if it takes 8 seasons searching to find the teacher and 5 seasons searching to find a gently Gifted apprentice, you are already starting behind before you even talk about price or the time they take your apprentice for training.

But wouldn't said teacher become relatively known? Being able to teach a virtue that makes living amongst mundanes soooooo much easier? Sounds like something all of house Jerbiton would talk about, spread knowledge about etc., also sounds like something house Bonisagus might - if not use themselves - at least talk about positively as any teacher who can give Major Hermetic virtues would be seen as a positive thing.


Ronni’s thinking is how I view it. As soon as the maga/magus trained their first apprentice in the Gentle Gift they would let their Jerbiton siblings know that “just because their noble nephew’s bastard has the gift they don’t need to choose between keeping it in the family and finding a child with the Gentle Gift since the gentle gift can be taught for a measly [insert exorbitant fee here].”

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I think its more a question of how widely it would be known- certainly many of the nearby Jerbiton will be aware of it, but still not enough that I would call it a common practice to seek training instead of looking for a gently Gifted apprentice. There is also of course the possibility of frauds as well, who may or may not get a reputation for a while as well.

Yes, I suspect the teacher would become quite known and quite quickly. That's why I think it could work for a PC, and that might change the functioning. But notice we don't all argue that the Order should have a plethora of Q14+ tractatus floating about, and yet that's actually quite a bit easier to manage. Why? This only works well if you've got a great combination, and the economics are worse. All you really need for Q14+ tractatuses to be floating about is people having Good Teacher. You can give them Com +5 through Rituals. You can make a good profit selling those tractatus at moderate to low prices so there can be plenty of buyers to make it profitable. But in this case you need someone with Good Teacher, Gentle Gift, and a good Teaching score. Again, Com +5 can be added, but the effort put to improving Teaching so far is noticeable. So the entry pathway is much narrower, but it does overlap well so we could see this mage with the Gentle Gift potentially getting there by earning income via books and teaching. However, on top of that, you'll presumably be teaching one-on-one to get that +6. So you'll have to charge enough to make it worth your while for the one apprentice. Given that you can write the Q14+ tractatus in a season and may be able to sell half a dozen copies for 2-3 pawns apiece (and that's with the deflated value due to the plethora of Q14+ tractatus), it's more worth your while to do that unless someone pays you close to 15 pawns of vis or more. So the parens is looking at losing 3ish seasons worth of vis (figuring 5 pawns/season for a parens is reasonable for extraction) as well as their assistant for a season. As an alternative, they could offer the Redcaps a reward of 10 pawns for finding a Gently Gifted apprentice, saving themselves 5 pawns and an assistant for the season. Ya, I don't see this dominating the Jerbiton approach.