The Arts of Tremere duelists

HoH:TL writes (p.125): "Magi of Tremere usually desire to be excellent duelists, which means they specialize in four arts [2 Forms and 2 Techniques seems implied]. This is because the other party in a duel can veto their rival’s first choice of form or technique."

This makes little sense. Specializing in two Forms and two Techniques is a poor strategy for a Tremere duelist. A Tremere generalist, who spreads his xps evenly among all 15 Arts, is almost always going to be more effective for the same number of xps (and note that lower scores are generally easier to raise -- i.e. one tends to get more xps/season -- than higher ones). A slightly better choice would be to spread xps among 13 Arts, avoiding one Technique and one Form, and placing slightly more xps in each of the Techniques (a good rule of thumb is to divide the xps by 14, with each of the 13 Arts getting one "share", and the final "share" divided evenly among the Techniques).

Check it out.

At Gauntlet, a "standard" Tremere with 120 xps spread evenly among 4 Arts has a score of 7(2) in each (and 0 in every other Art). In a duel, he'll likely get one high Art (Form or Technique, depending on whether he's challenging or challenged) and one low Art. His final Arts scores will be 7/0; his Focus is useless since the lowest Art is 0.
At Gauntlet, a "generalist" Tremere with 120 xp spread evenly among 15 Arts has a score of 3(2) in each. In a duel, one of the two Arts is doubled by his Focus. Thus, his final Arts scores will be 6/3, which is somewhat better than 7/0.
At Gauntlet a "13 Art" Tremere with 120 xp would get 8 to 9 xps in each Form (about 120/14=8.5) and 10 to 11 xps in each Technique (about 120/14 * (5/4)=10.7). He would then have a score of 4 or 4(1) in all but one of his Techniques, and a score of 3(2) or 3(3) in all but one of his Forms. Vetoing the opponent should he choose one of the two weak Arts, the Tremere final Art scores will be 6/4, slighly better than 6/3 and a certainly better than 7/0.

Let's now look a magus 4 decades after Gauntlet, who's spent half of his seasons studying Arts (so 30xps/2 years). Such a magus has 120+30*20=720 Art xps. It's not difficult to see that the "standard" Tremere ends up with a score of 18(9) in his specialties, bringing to a duel an 18/0 Art pair. A "generalist" Tremere has a score of 9(3) in each Art, wielding an Art pair of 18/9, much better than an 18/0. A "13 Art" Tremere has a score of 9(6-7) in his "good" Forms and a score of 10(10-11) in his "good" Techniques, bringing an 18/10 to the duel -- again, very slightly better than the "generalist" and much better than the "standard" Tremere.

Finally, let's look at an Archmagus a century and a half old with 2000 xps in his Arts. The "standard" Tremere brings to a duel a 31/0 Art pair. The "generalist" brings to the duel a 30/15 pair. The "13 Art" Tremere brings a 32/18 pair.

I have always found that for certamen capability

2 very good techniques and 2 secondary techniques. 2 Primary forms (and 4-6 secondary forms) (4 good, 6-8 secondary).

You can always veto a certamen in technique with a 0 or a 0 form. In the rare case you will get hit with a 0 form, but it is not often and you will never have a 0 technique for certamen. Sometimes you will get hit with secondary technique or secondary form but that one gets doubled. You will always have one of your strong techniques or forms.

The 13 form tremere (4 tech, 9 form) will never get hit with the 0 for technique or form (you can always veto to something that you have a score) but it does spread you out.

So let's talk about a 13 art Tremere: Lets put 21 xp in each of the primary (that is 84 xp) . That leaves 36 xp for the other 9 or avg of 4 per. Let's instead make it techniques of 6 xp for 2 leaving 24 for 7 so 6-3-3-3-3-3-3

This gives result of 6 for two techniques, 3 for two techniques, 6 for two forms, 3 for one and 2 for the last.

In idea situation: They will have a certamen of 12(6x2)/6 (6 tech, 6 form). Otherwise they are at a minimum of 6/4(22) if they are challenger, 6 (32)/6 if they are the challenged. This is what 4 much stronger arts do with chosing not to ignore the others.

ladyphoenix, I think looking only at newly Gauntleted magi is somewhat misleading, for two reasons.

First, round-off errors have a much higher impact when scores are low. In my examples, I tried to stick to the basic formulas (total/4, total/15, total/14) ignoring any round-offs, which yielded scores of 4(something) in the Techniques and 3(something) in the Forms. 4 Techniques at 4(0), and 9 Forms at 3(0), cost a total of 94xp rather than 120xp; so if one really wanted to optimize, one could just redistribute 20 of the remaining xps into the Techniques, bringing an Art pair of 6/5 to the fight no matter what.

Second, newly Gauntleted magi are probably unknown quantities. Few other magi know of their capabilities, and they can quicky make an Art in which they knew nothing into their best Art, with a score of 10+. However, after two or three decades, other magi will know what your best Arts are, so they'll almost always be able to make the best choice against you.

So, let me ask you: how would you split a pool of 1500xp? The "13 Art" Tremere, reassigning the spare points to Techniques, gets 16 in 4 Techniques and 14 in 9 Forms, plus 11 xps to spare, bringing a 28/16 Art pair to the duel against any adversary. (In contrast, the Tremere "by the book" requires 1512xp to bring a 27/0 Art pair to the duel against most adversaries).

I would for 1500 xp:

2 techniques of 20, 2 techniques of 12
2 forms for 20, 3 forms of 12, 4 forms of 11

This makes you 40/20 if you are one of your best combinations (you will get it some of the time, especially if challenged) and 22(11*2)/20 as worst pair.

Considering by that time you have a good penetration, good parma and such, that should be enough to give you good results. That is the sort of model I would go with. This is especially important since doing it that way gives you 40 in your favorite four combinations for attack spells, defense spells, and the magics of that aren't certamen based. With 3 stamina and 3 int and 5 magic theory. you can easily have level 50 spells for powerful effects that can almost always be cast and level 5-15 spells with 40-50 (or higher) penetration.

Your generalist is a lot weaker out of certamen and not really better off in certamen.

First of all I wouldn't say the generalist is "a lot weaker" out of Certamen. Sure, his best Form/Technique combination is 30 rather than 40, but is that such a big deal? Anyway, the point I was really discussing is Certamen :slight_smile:

And I'd say the "13 Art" Tremere is somewhat better at certamen.
28/16 is better than 20/22.
First of all, the total is 2 points higher. Not much, but it can make a difference.
Second, a high and a low score give you more flexibility than two medium scores, particularly when combined with the Certamen style of HoH:TL.
There's also the issue of how many xps would be needed by a challenger (say, a filius) who tailored his Art scores so as to defeat you. I'd say in your case it's probably some 20% less.

In any case you do prove the point I was making in my original post. Your "specialist" can be hardly called a specialist at all. He's closer to my "generalist" than to the specialist "by the book", in the sense that you'd have to shift around fewer xps to transform him into the "13 Art" Tremere than in a magus with 1500 xp all in four Arts.