The Commentary Gambit

So I’ve been thinking about how a magus might make an impact on the order in general and gain some measure of permanent fame. Authorship is a path many mages choose but no matter how good a book you write someone will eventually come along and write one better (or at least as good) There constant competition to create a summa with highest level and the best quality and even if you do all your doing is helping some future author to raise his levels higher and faster so that he may some day write an opus grander then yours.

So what’s a forward thinking mage to do. Well you could write a primer and not just any primer you could write a perfect primer. A maxed out author with a com +5, good teacher and a magic theory of 8 can write a level 3 quality 17 summa and that’s before any mystical resonances have been added. Such a summa would be the perfect thing to give to an apprentice once they’ve learned to read, even a cheaper copy would get them to level three in two seasons. Experienced mages wouldn’t get any direct benefit but the convenience of it would certainly put the book in some demand.

Now the next step in this little gambit would be to write a commentary to your own book. Such a book written by a maxed out author could have a quality of 18 (with maximum resonances and the +1 bonus for it being a commentary). Such a tractatus is almost legendary in quality and could entice many a mage to actually study the summa for no benefit just to gain the ability to read the tractatus. (admittedly most wouldn’t it essentially transforms the two books into two slightly below average tractati) So there would be a fairly strong demand for the two books together.

Okay so now you’ve created a product that will be in some demand, the next step is to give it away. Actually don’t give it away trade them for a promise. The promise that any covenant that receives a copy of the two works will produce their own commentary of the summa and send it to the author. Further more promise a fully clarified copy of both books to the covenant that sends in the best commentary. (The pot might have to be sweetened depending on the game but the point is that you want to make sure that any mage that thinks he has a chance of writing the best commentary gives it a shot) Start the trades at the grand tribunal or one of the hermetic fairs put a 5 year time limit on the contest. In a few years hopefully the author will be swimming in commentary tractati of relatively high quality (some will be vain but meh).

This brings us to the final leg of our little ploy. While waiting for all the contest submissions our author has also been reading them (and probably glossing a few). Now he has say a 10 in magic theory and a large stack of tractati all on the same subject, he can put together the best five into a florilegia collection. This gives each tractati a further +2 on top of the +1 for them all being commentaries. Now you have a peerless collection of Magic theory tractati that includes at least one quality 20 tractatus all talking about the authors original book. Nearly any mage would want to read such a collection. Not to mention the collections value for research material. Plus there would be literally dozens of commentaries floating around written by contest applicants.

You could adapt this little ploy for almost any art or skill that would be in demand by mages. It’s both a good way for a mage to win acclaim and to gain a lot of tractati for his own advancement.


The next step in this series is for tractati to become obsolete, as all magi write commentaries on the standard primers to gain the extra Quality.

Perfect (Arts) summae are lvl5+q15, lvl6+q21 and lvl7+q28; I don't remember if the last is feasible. But the first certainly is! Each yields its complete benefit in a single season. Read one per Art and be ready to train an apprentices.



That's very forward thinking, to have started life with a Com of +5 and Good Teacher!

Unfortunately, not all magi plan that far ahead.

Or even 3 Quality higher, to account for the occasional poor student. A L8 Q18 on an Art (or L3 Q18 for Ability) is a joy for all concerned. :wink:

Initiation and/or creo mentem could cover that for the truely dedicated. Fame costs and right here is where you start paying. Actually good teacher is one of my favorite virtues so most characters I make have it.

Yes it DOES tend to be very useful doesnt it...

It is. The limit is twice the normal max quality. Needed art score is 42. Far from impossible.
Even if not common(to say the least).

However i must say i always read the RAW on Commentaries as quality being based on the writers tractatus quality, not on the summae commented on...


A Variant Rule for People who Don't Like the CrCo and CrMe spells that boost Characteristics:

These guidelines are not Creo but Muto, because even though such characteristics are natural for some people, they are not natural for a person who does not have them.

The new guidelines go something like this:

level 5: Raise a characteristic by 1
level 10: Raise a characteristic by 2



I consider primers to be Lvl6, Q21, far more useful. Forefils the concept that the book teachers you enough about a Art in a single season to be good enough to train an apprentice in it.

(And Foundations at L12, Q18 & Pillars at L18, Q12)


L7 q14 is not bad too.

For me a primer is a one season book as well. L5 Q15 or L6 Q21. L7 Q14 is a nice low level summae, but not a primer as I read it. Logiucal to have them since they are the next step up, but not a primer anymore.


IMS I decided that the Primers are L5 Q10 and cost 1 silver pound.


The lvl5s fulfill the apprentice requirement too.

With a constant Q15 representing a standard of excellence, we get lvl5 for the apprentice requirement. Then lvls 9, 14, 15, 19, 20, 24, 29 and 30. The last two probably don't exist.

Art 5 corresponds to Ability 2 and Art 14 to Ability 6, so a primer in MT still works as lvl2q15, with a standard reference at lvl6.

grin I can imagine an Encyclopedia Magica (Vis-kipedia :slight_smile: ) covering the Arts and Arcane Abilities all at 15xp per volume--and some magus making his life work the creation of a better version all at 105xp.



:laughing: :laughing: :laughing: