Hey everyone whilst reading through some of my Magica Tomes I seemed to recall a passage that people born with the gift were usually brighter than most. This makes sense when you think about it and I was thinking of changing the Gift Virtue to include a bonus to the characters intellience. (i.e 1 free point to spend on intelligence only). However as the Gift is usually free it would be a bit unbalanced. How should I go about balancing it? Prehaps make the social penalties a little higher?
I wouldn't do so.
ArM Virtues and Flaws should be kept as simple and distinct as possible: the more they get muddled and intermixed, the more they hamper character building.
I don't see why Intelligence and The Gift need to be that strongly correlated to warrant linking them in the Virtue. Yes, Hermetic magi prefer intelligent apprentices. So a SG can ask just why that magus character obviously lacking in Intelligence was picked up as an apprentice: but I can imagine many reasons for it. Also, other magic traditions - like Muspelli or Folk Witches - do depend far less on Intelligence than Hermetics.
That The Gift usually comes with a social penalty is defining its position in Mythic Europe. This penalty is the reason and background for further Virtues and Flaws, and is at the base of the organisation of all the different magic traditions. Just increasing or decreasing its effect in a campaign can change the campaign world, even make it implausible or unworkable. I'd recommend to gather a lot of experience with your players and the game before making changes there.
I concur with One Shot that this is a bad idea. But hearing you out, my question is if it is 1 more point in characteristics that must be spent on Intelligence or is it a +1 to the final Characteristic Score, say allowing a +3 Intelligence to become +4 and effectively bypass the Great Intelligence Virtue?
Out of 10 points to spend on characteristics, adding another point isn't all that unbalancing, but I wouldn't do it. If instead you're adding to the final purchased characteristic score, that is most assuredly unbalancing, and I definitely wouldn't do it.
Yeah I was going with the +1 to the total amount of points to spend not a +1 on the final score as that would be too unbalanced.
So... Gifted characters would start with 8 characteristics points instead of 7, that's all it would do.
Even giving them a Faerie Blood-like Virtue of +1 to intelligence "but not to more than +3" wouldn't change much. After all, The Gift is worth more-or-less 10 Virtues, 11 with free House's. So a 12th...
Actually, there is a line in the core book somewhere about the Gifted often being intelligent or something to that effect. So they are definitely that correlated, by RAW.
I agree that they shouldn't be correlated mechanically, however, as that's just not needed and sours some interesting character concepts. One of my first Fifth Edition characters had -3 Intelligence.
I don't think adding +1 to Int (a la Faerie Blood) is going to ruin the game, however. Ars Magica isn't so well-balanced. And it isn't a change that needs compensation through increased social penalties or anything like that. Ars Magica so well-balanced....
The quote everybody appears to recall hazily, but nobody really refers to, is:
(underscore mine, as usual). And this "almost invariably" stresses, that the phrase does not posit a hard correlation - like by rules.
The Gift, alone, is worth zero Virtue points - and you can build a companion just with The Gift, one free Supernatural Ability and the resulting social penalty. Being a Hermetic magus, however, is worth the 10 Virtue points you refer to.
So these 15 years of subservience as an apprentice are an incredibly huge boon, as every Tytalus will tell you.
In that case, why not just decide in the troupe to start every character - or every mage-slot character - with 8 points to buy characteristics instead of 7, and be done.
I don't see how this could harm any campaign or cause any unintended rules after-effect. You even can easily reconfigure Metacreator to allow it.