The Psychology of Magi

I have recently begun running an Ars Magica saga for the first time (we are currently six sessions in). I think it is going well overall and I continue to have great admiration for the line. But a number of puzzling things have come up, some of which I would like to raise here. I am going to start with what is a pretty foundational issue that has left both my players and I scratching our heads. For all the great detail that ArM has on the practices, rules and allegiances of magi within the Order of Hermes there is comparatively very little on magi psychology - how magi think and feel. Magi have this extraordinary gift that gives them immense power, but both the Gift and the rules and practices of the Order cuts them off to a greater or lesser extent from ordinary society. Most don't have children or other close family connections (which must be so important for giving life meaning to members of the wider society). Nor do most seem to be particularly oriented towards using their magic for hedonistic reasons (pleasure and comfort) or altruistic ones (helping those in need, such as the sick or starving).

So what do magi choose to do with their time? Well, they do many different things of course, but we are led to understand that most magi choose to spend most of their time locked away in their labs engaged in study, research, creating enchanted items and, perhaps, writing books. The image we have of many magi is that of the scholar. Which certainly makes sense for some magi, but back in the real world only a small minority of people are suited for this kind of life. It takes a particular combination of talent, inclination, self-discipline, and enjoyment of solitary pursuits, to make a go of it. Should we assume that everyone with the Gift has the right disposition for the scholarly life? It seems unlikely. Furthermore, even a casual look at the published books shows that many magi have tendencies that would seem to make them rather different kinds of people: the hoplites, the mystics, the Jerbiton aesthetes, etc - are we meant to believe that for most of the year these magi simply put aside their main interests, perhaps their vocation as they see it, to work away day after day by themselves in a lab? Why would they want to do that? It seems unlikely to me.

I have three PC magi in my game. Firstly, there is a Bjornaer who is fascinated by the natural world, especially the large, magical forest where the covenant is located, and he wants to spend as much time as possible as a raven living there. Secondly there is a Rusticani potter who wants to live close to the local peasants making bowls and cups and so forth. Thirdly a Magus Trianomae who has deviated from his parens in being as much interested in mundane politics as Hermetic politics, and whose noble birth gives him connections that he wants to explore extensively in game - probably meaning he will spend a lot of time away from the covenant. Now I think these are all characters who make sense in the setting, but none are going to want to head to the lab any time soon. If they realise they need to improve their arts or learn spells to achieve a goal they may do so inasmuch as they think it is necessary, but no more. It will be a means to an end, not an end in itself.

The workaround that I have been pondering is this. Firstly, the Gift is distributed pretty randomly amongst the population, but being a successful magus of the Order of Hermes requires talents other than just the Gift. It requires intelligence, independence and strength of will, amongst maybe other things as well. So a maga looking for an apprentice would not take any child with the Gift but would cherry pick so they can choose someone with the right mental aptitude as well. This means that the vast majority of people with the Gift do not join the Order. I think this suggests an environment with stronger hedge traditions than is usually imagined (and in particular traditions which value or at least can make use of different kinds of people - perhaps cults based on an ecstatic magic, or more ceremonial, performative magic as just two examples). While 'Join or Die' may have been the policy early on, later the Order learned to live with hedge traditions and confronted them only they presented a threat. But I think most people with the Gift never get picked up by any tradition but rather find themselves living a troubled life in some remote village, confused by their magical nature, and likely regarded as marked by the devil in some way.

Secondly, I am imagining that the actual seasonal practices of magi in the Order are not as lab-based as suggested in the rules. I suspect in my game PCs will be involved in stories in three out of four seasons per year, and the players will largely be using their magi characters - and so might expect to receive story XP for two seasons out of four. For the other two I imagine I might be rather generous in my interpretation of what entails practice rather than exposure, given the freedom magi have. And I imagine the range of activities typical of my PCs will not be that unusual amongst NPC magi as well.

Any thoughts on this would be very welcome!


That's a interesting and very large topic.

I will start by highlighting some of your points that could be open to discussion:

It is open to interpretation, but the books tend to suggest a certain scarcity of gifted apprentice (look at the practice of auctioning children in Levant tribunal), so I do not believe that there is so much gifted children than magi have much choice. In House of Hermes: Tradition, the Jerbitons are willing to take less mentally apt child as long as he has the Gentle gift.
The way I see it, a mage is really happy when he finds a gifted child and will spent the next 15 years to use ANY means (depending on its proclivity) to turn him/her into a decent magus.
Two things happens: the master succeed and manage to brainwash the apprentice in a kind of clone, he fails and as soon as the apprentice pass his gauntlet, he will seek everyhting he missed during the 15 years of stringent education.
Of course, you will have all shades between the two extreme of the spectra, but I prefer to let the privilege to the PCs of being special snowflakes and tend to have NPCs a bit more caricatural and conforming to the "standard".

It is mentionned, that because of the gift, very often relatives are not too sad to see their child go away. To some extend, depending how miserable the child was, he won't be missing so much his family neither. And depending how early the child was taken (as early as 5 years old), he might only keep a distant and inaccurate memory of his relatives.

Would they seek other companions ? Considering how troublesome and adventurous teenagers can be, I would like to see how goes the 12-18 yr old age of an apprentice... This is the time when a mage has really the upper hand vs regular parents when it comes to handling trouble youth :smiley:

It's worth noting that the core rules page 106, and numerous other places, go out of their way to call out that the Gift is not necessarily completely random, as it does in fact almost invariably occur in those who show intelligence and curiosity that sets them apart from most in society around them. Whether this has a deeper reason or was decided largely because almost every player will choose +3 Int is basically anyone's guess (it's been long enough that I'd believe even the designers don't remember :laughing: ) but it is called out as being the case.

That said, none of that stops magi from having a wide variety of interests, and indeed what you describe tends to happen. It's not usually so neatly divided across House lines, but as a very general rule, Jerbitons prefer socializing and studying the arts (not to be confused with the Arts) to being cooped up in a lab, Bjornaer and Merenitae prefer the outdoors, and Flambeau will often train physically as much as learn combat spells. Really, Bonisagus and Verditius magi are the only ones whose House necessarily pushes the stereotype of magical activity on them... But even they aren't necessarily lab rats, it's just a lot more likely.

But what it comes down to is that whether or not to lab rat is almost entirely up to individual magi. Solely based on their intellect and how much power they can gain from it, I can see a substantial majority of magi making the measured decision to engage in regular lab activity, and for all the ways the typical methods of apprentice training are considered crappy for the child and self-serving for the master, at the very least being forced to engage in season-long activities alongside their master will teach them the patience to continue engaging in season-long activities in the future.

Of course, the thing that most people seem to forget when they treat magic as a dry, scholarly-seeming occupation is that magic is typically far more wondrous, fascinating, engrossing than most mundane pursuits. Laboratory work isn't hunching over equations or engaging in memorization (indeed, even a lab text shows you how to invent a spell rather than outright teaching it to you); laboratory work is grasping the underlying energy of the cosmos and getting to play with it, seeing how it works. It's mixing ingredients and watching supernatural effects burst to life, it's summoning spirits for advice, it's channeling and testing the output of fire and lightning, and it's so much more than this that a mundane person such as myself probably can't even put into words. The books mention in a few places that even non-lab rat magi can happen upon lab rat tendencies briefly simply due to lab work's addictive nature, with those who thought they couldn't be comfortable without their outside time looking up from their lab efforts to realize two years passed and indignantly huffing that nobody had told them how long it had been.

Also, I don't know where you get the idea that magi rarely use their magic for hedonism or altruism. Those things can be hard sometimes due to the Code, and I'll admit that several potentially-good magi will reserve their magical altruism due to being taught from life experience that the Gift means they'll never appreciate you for it, but ultimately plenty of magi still want to be good people, and lots of magi will use magic to make their lives more comfortable if they happen to specialize in something that would help that happen.

I don't necessarily see this as true. Most magi have until their early 30's to have children before their longevity rituals make them infertile, most everyone else in the setting has children and spouses before this age. The gift functions in many ways similar to having an undesirable reputation, yet magi have great power and wealth. If you had an NPC who possessed power, wealth, and a villainous reputation you wouldn't blink an eye at them having a spouse and children.

Here's my take on these points which is purely mine and not something that can be read from the books without a willingness to see stuff between the lines:

These two issues are related. I look at them and I deduce that the study of magic is a hedonistic pursuit. It is the joyful fiddling in the garage, it is messing with the rules of your favorite rpg, it is the best lecturer you've ever had for the most interesting course you've ever taken coupled with world shaking power. This thought makes the idea of powerful magi continuing their study of magic when they're clearly in a position where they can retire and spend decades sipping wine and enjoying sunsets more believable to me. The magi all retire at the end of their apprenticeship, studying magic is what they choose to do with their retirement because why wouldn't you?

It can also be seen as altruistic. Your lab notes, your devices and your tractatus are a gift to future generations of magi. They can be used to help the world. Think of the sorts of problems that one is likely to throw at a covenant over the course of a saga, for my games by and large, the work of the covenant turns out to be valuable for the well being of lots of people.

Thanks all. You make very good points. I confess I forgot the reference in the core book that states that people with the Gift tend to be intelligent and curious - that is important. I can also see how a mage could instil certain habits in the apprentice they are training. And the point about magical research being wondrous and absorbing and, in a way, hedonistic is very well made. And I do of course see how magi can engage in both hedonistic and altruistic activities (I didn't mean to suggest they couldn't), but I do still think the suggestion in the core book is that most of them spend most of the time in the lab. That certainly is the impression given at the beginning of the laboratory chapter of the core book. But it seems that the rules aren't pushing magi towards the lab as much as I previously thought, which is good, and I am beginning to see lab activity a bit differently.

LuckyMage wrote,

But power for what? I can see clearly how magi build up their power, but the picture I have for how and why they then choose to exercise this power they have amassed seems insufficient to me. They make their own lives more comfortable and engage in some Certamen and political manoeuvring (which can seem a bit petty and inward-looking but I guess it echoes the ruling orders of the time) and look for more vis to further entrench their power - but I feel that most magi must have greater hopes and dreams than this. Looking at the spell lists (at least in the core book) doesn't help much because they mainly seem like spells that are useful for adventures (which may of course be why they are in the core book because players will want to choose spells they think will be useful in game) rather than spells of intrinsic interest to magi. I would expect to see more communing with spirits, or seeing into deeper realms of reality. I sound like I am moaning now and I don't mean to, and I do recognise how some of the things I have been looking for have been bolted on at a later point e.g. in 'The Mysteries: Revised Edition' (which I like very much) to a core game that (at least in earlier editions) was a bit more shallow and cartoony in style and didn't worry too much about verisimilitude.

So going back to the actual subject of this thread, I would love to see more on the interior life of a mage. What does it feel like to cast magic? What does it feel like to have the Gift? What does it feel like in a magical aura, or regio? Of course we have bits and bobs on this but not much and that is a pity as unlike in games clearly based on particular works of fiction, there aren't clear external reference points to go to for this and most of us have little real life experience of magic to refer to...

Sorry for rambling!


One of the great things about Hermetic magic is that it's so incredibly broad that "what do you want to gain power for" can have hundreds of answers.

"I want to be the greatest healer Europe has ever known, curing people of their ailments to a miraculous degree!" You'll be learning Recovery-boosting and Ritual healing spells as you go, and boosting Creo, Corpus, and probably Arts and spells that help people travel around if you want to spread your services around rather than making people come to you.

"I want to be at one with nature, like I'm a part of the land and in synchronization with the animals and spirits of the forest." Lots of magic for this. Intellego Herbam to feel the "mood" and health of plantlife, Animal spells to communicate with the denizens of the forest and call them to your aid, maybe some MuCo(An) if you want to be an animal and weren't lucky enough to be a Bjornaer. Vim of various kinds for the forest spirits. And maybe you'd study Magic/Faerie/Area Lore tomes so that you're knowledgable about the great tree at the center of the wood, or how to repel Faerie spirits of destructive leaning, or how to entreat the great woodland baboon for aid. (Are baboons a medieval Europe thing? Probably not. Whatever, ecology!)

Or, past the general stuff, you might also treat magical advancement as stepping stones for people who have much more personal and specific goals. "There's something I need to know that only my father does (editor's note: Not necessarily arcane knowledge or a special secret or anything, it could just be sentimental) but he was a crusader and thus projected straight to Heaven. I am learning to call on Magic spirits with greater strength and precision until some day I might be able to break a Limit and call down my dad's spirit from Heaven."

And then, as you mentioned, there are people who just want to learn for its own sake. Those people who use numerology or spirit magic to peer into the deepest spiritual levels of the cosmos. Magic is still dominant here; Intellego is one of the best ways to gather information, and often you'll need magic to traverse the necessary places to find new depths of insight. Crossing through the Magic Realm requires Breakthroughs, special and difficult-to-obtain workarounds, or the befriending/enslaving of a Magic being to even be possible, and that's ignoring all the extra work to do that stuff safely. And there's more kinds of learning than just exploring the metaphysics of the world; since the Gifted are naturally inquisitive, it's quite likely that many of them develop fascinations much like those of people in the real world, but which have more pronounced immediate effects. It's like people who are really passionate about physics or biology or chemistry, except in Ars Magica, learning and engaging in experimentation results in creating rings that bestow fire resistance on their wearers and spells that give people really strong emotions rather than mixing up quirky chemical compounds and discovering how the pancreas works.

I won't go into as much detail about them, but similar trains of logic can apply to people who simply want power, wealth, or political influence for its own sake. There's an ineffable feeling of vastness when you can exert your control to have all your whims met on a larger scale than with your covenfolk servants, which pairs nicely with the natural tendency of magi to consider themselves inherently superior to everyone but other magi.

As for what casting spells, having the Gift, and being in Auras feel like... Let's see.

I imagine having the Gift is probably more of a loneliness factor than anything. It doesn't necessarily feel like much by itself. It really only manifests in the form of people hating you for no reason... Or at least, this is what I used to think, until I read the Apprentices supplement and found out about Turbulences. Now my opinion has shifted somewhat. I still think that the Gift can't really be quantified in feeling terms most of the time, but it can be interacted with by children, whether controlled or not depending on their luck for the most part. So since reading about Turbulences I've started imagining other potential symptoms of the Gift which probably vary a lot from person to person for no knowable reason since magic is art, not science. Things that could be more described as internal churning and fear of losing control of yourself, or maybe the longing sensation of being close to something really special but not being able to touch it until your emotions go haywire, or heck, even just the very vague and cliche feeling that you're unlike others, not just socially but like there's something in your blood.

Learning magic is, in a very real way, getting in touch with both that ineffable internal feeling and connecting yourself to the magical energies around yourself. And in that vein, casting spells probably feels... Well, indescribable to mere mundane humans, but perhaps akin to feeling all the energy of the world around you flowing into you, with you forging wonders out of the essence of creation with your hands. For some people at least, perhaps casting spells is similar to crafting items, where some feel detached and methodical towards a functionality-based pursuit while others feel like they're putting a bit of themselves into each spell (like some crafters feel with every sword or horseshoe they forge). Except again, exhilarating energy and potential glimpses of the cosmos' secrets pouring into you and flowing out at your discretion, which could make it either awesome or torturous, educational or madness-insighting. The possibilities are covered by Flaws (Painful Magic and Magic Addiction) and Twilight results (positive experiences and negative ones) but also just vary from person to person.

The fact that magi have to use spells to determine the existence and strength of Magic auras tells me they probably don't inherently feel different, though you probably feel even greater power washing through you during spell casting, and you probably feel more in control during lab work since you have so much magical power at your disposal. Then again, magi would still feel the normal effects of high Auras that affect mundanes equally, since places of high Magic Auras tend to be extremely vibrant and healthy, with everything within living at their natural peak levels.

I think "psychology of magi" is a hard thing to address in such a way, because while they'll often have similar experience and all have the commonality of phenomenal potential for power, magi are still people, with all the psychological variation that implies. They aren't a different species or anything.

Magi spend their time doing many of the things you think they don't do. And power is usually a means to an end, not the end itself. The psychology of a magus is not really that different than that of any other human being. At least at first. Warping and Supernatural experience are a factor in mental development as one ages.

And the gift isn't that rare. A rate of one-in-tenthousand. Not bad odds really. Out of a population of 100 million, the estimated numbers for the high middle ages, means there is about ten-thousand gifted individuals wandering mythic europe. Only a fraction are Hermetic magi.
Finally, I would caution against stereotyping by profession (magus) and House. Every individual is different.

To get a detailed grasp of the psychology of a player character magus, mentally run him through his formative years - his apprenticeship. For this, Apprentices provides a nice framework.

The most important influences typically are, in order of importance:
(1) the parens (also consider fosterage, a Bonisagus claiming him, and the many possible Virtues and Flaws related to the parens),
(2) the covenant (yep, "it takes a covenant to grow a magus", and if the parens doesn't live in one the apprentice suffers),
(3) the other apprentices there, if any.
All of these are filtered through the impact of the Gift, of course. And just how traumatic was parting from his real family?

This means, that most beginning magi have had little contact with the middle ages around them during their formative years. They are usually socialized for a role in the Order of Hermes, not in the world around it.
Think of 17th century noblewomen raised for the monastery by their families, if there were no resources or chances to marry them off: all the dolls dressed as nuns, curate tutors, edifying books, frequent visits to their aunts in the nunneries and so on.
Thus, many beginning magi may conform more to wizards from 20th century fantasy literature than to medieval scholars - which AFAICS is intended.


Thanks so much, guys. This is really very helpful indeed. I haven't been thinking so much about the influence of the covenant over an apprentice's formative years (which of course must be so very important). And the ideas from LuckyMage, such as what it might feel like to have the Gift, are excellent. I will be sharing a lot of this with my players because I think it it could help them too. Also, I should really buy (and read!) the Apprentices book.


I can only recommend this, it's rather interesting, I thought.

There is certainly room for all sorts, but I tend to favor a different view.

Baring covenant upbringing, characters are brought up in the rest of society until the age of 10-15, their dreams, their values and their understanding of the world is built on medieval society not the Order of Hermes, then during their apprenticeship and beyond most of the people that they interact with aren't magi in fact I'd wager that most of the ones closest to them aren't magi.

If everyone in their lives has a mundane upbringing and a fair share of the people in their circles have mundane lives, how different can the society of the OoH be?

13th century monks lived lives of work and prayer separate from the rest of society. I see OoH Magi living lives or study and magic that are rather removed from others but not as separated from the rest of the world as the lives of the Monks are.

I once read a criticism of Lion and the Lilly where someone said something like "Why are the magi pretending to be knights?" which struck me as misguided. The magi are medieval people, if anything, they should act more like knights than they do presently.

No rule prevents players from having their magi start apprenticeships that late.

Apprentices p.32 has the typical apprenticeship start between 8 and 14. ArM5 p.24ff assumes player character magi who started theirs at 10. And players optimizing their characters will try to start theirs as early as the troupe allows after 5.

Anyway, a player looking for the psychology of his magus knows into which category he belongs, and can judge the impact of his character's early youth outside of the covenant, affected by the Gift and all.
I don't need to explain that to him - especially as it is usually overridden by 15 years of Hermetic education afterwards.

Think of a contemporary chap with 4 years elementary schooling - and then, at 10, off to help his family at construction work. Compare him to another chap who after elementary school passed through 15 more years of education - some 8 of schooling, and some 7 of university, so likely a Master or even Doctor. On how many matters will those two see eye-to-eye?


I thought that 7-10 was a more common age to take an apprentice - and a kid who's that young is likely to be more resocialized into an Order-specific mindset than a kid who came as a teenager. Either way, of course, magi are going to be eccentric by the standards of Mythic Europe, but it's a matter of degree.

Anyway, I should just bring up the fact that the stereotype of the magus-as-lab-rat is partly there because the Order of Hermes was designed by Bonisagus for magi Bonisagi. Magi are like athletes in one respect: the most powerful are the ones who can afford to train all year, or in this case, do lab work and study books. And in the Order of Hermes, the most mystically-mighty are usually the ones who make the rules. Therefore, the Order and Hermetic magic are both built around magi seeking power through lab work and book work, there's a reason why most magi do a fair amount of lab work and book work, and why the standard covenant charter expects each magus to get out of the lab for a season to help keep the covenant from collapsing. (Also, hoplites in particular have to train and study as much as they can for this reason - because they have to be ready when a Wizard's March is called. They also get preferential access to books and lab texts over magi who sit in their labs all day and who aren't magi Bonisagi, because they're working for the good of the Order.)

Your magi have other things they want to do, of course, and "become the strongest magus ever" isn't their ambition. I suggest that if they're actively adventuring much of the time*, they pick up Independent Study (HoH:MC 86) - I hammer on this Virtue a lot because it fits a lot of magi who don't spend their time cooped up in lab and library. Also, I'd emphasize to the Rusticani that if he's making his living from selling pots to peasants, he's spending two seasons a year working and getting Exposure experience, and there's a reason that most magi don't do that. If he still wants to, more power to him - I look forward to the looks of horror that he'll elicit on the faces of any passing Tytali!

*Even a very adventurous life, however, rarely amounts to more than one season of adventure per year, or two in interesting times - for example, a knight who goes to war every summer and maybe has an eventful winter at court or a faerie meddling with his land around harvest-time.

That does make me wonder, though, what the general sexual mores of the Order would look like. After all, in Christian lands, each of the three estates has its own approach to marriage. (Nobles marry, priests take concubines or remain celibate, nuns are celibate or run away with men, and peasants may marry, but often they just cohabit rather than bothering with a priest - and in the British Isles, this has the force of law.) The Order is more insulated from the other estates than most, magae have equal rights with their male counterparts, and the average covenant doesn't have a church or chapel - and this is before you get into the expressly pagan magi, the Lineage of Mercere, Petrus Virilis (though that's just Murion being a law unto herself), and other oddballs. I wouldn't be surprised if some preacher got it into his mind that the Order was a haven of sexual license, which of course means all sort of Infernal-inspired depravity.

I also think that there would be a noticeable trend within the Order for magae to remain unmarried and openly take lovers - being a wife has always been an uncomfortably restrictive role, but just because magae reject it does not mean that they'll remain chaste, and once a couple of them start going Catherine the Great, they'll set an example for the younger generation. The development of this as an institution of the Order, and reactions to such behavior by pious (or simply self-righteous) meddlers, might be a story seed in its own right (though a kind of limp one, given that I imagine the Order having a fairly laissez-faire attitude towards other magi's personal affairs in general).

Keep in mind that social mores are a lot more relaxed anywhere that isn't a town or monastery. Stories of the miller/blacksmith cuckolding half the town's males are practically a trope, the young folk (and not so young!) 'spend a night in the woods' on occasion, and nobody blinks an eye at being a bastard unless you are high up the social ladder.

If magi come to wield significant temporal power, they'll attract the attention of moralizing priests. Jerbiton magi probably have these problems, but since they also generally have the trappings of nobility, they are effectively treated as nobility (i.e. get away with a lot so long as they're not restricting the rights of the priesthood, which attracts the attention of Bishops/Popes). Your average covenant, however, has minimal temporal power, is far away from a town, and lacks clerical support, meaning they can basically do whatever they like.

Young folk will still have their natural urges, but the Gift makes finding a partner difficult - though growing up at a covenant means that many at the covenant will become used to their Gift over time. Switching covenants would be a very lonely time for most magi, as they leave behind the people who are used to their Gift. I imagine that magi bring some of their people with them if at all possible. Setting up an apprentice's servants (and potentially, their spouses/lovers) well ahead of their gauntlet is something a considerate master would do.

It should also be worth noting that, for an ambitious and decent-looking servant, getting cozy with a magus is a good way to raise one's condition. The Gift may turn off most of them, but it is bound to happen once in a while.

There are also other options for a magus desiring offspring, like entering into a contract with a semi-professional, using mind control magic or outright slavery. Those are all options that magi may consider, even if some of them are objectionable from our perspective.

Reason and way of a player character magus/maga to have or not to have children is a very good touchstone for his/her personality.

The Order in general is disinterested in it. Many of its members, with the exception of most Gifted Mercere, are so as well.

But each Hermetic magus/maga will have to address that issue for him/herself, and do so in time before the longevity ritual resolves it.
Is having and raising offspring, which most likely will turn out mundane, just a waste of time, to be left to mundanes who anyway have too much of it? Is it part of life's fulfillment? Is it a duty?

Only once a character has decided this for him/herself, the way to follow can be decided.
How should a child of the magus/maga be raised and educated? In whose care? For which role? Who shall be responsible for the resources the child will need now and in the future?

These issues help players to find in time their main character's personality, and ways to live up to it. Resulting children also enrich a campaign.


I play a magus who is now in his 50s and has yet to start Longevity. Various reasons. Avoiding Warping is one. But mainly he is holding out for kids. There are complicated circumstances at hand. He is Catholic and his true love is a pagan faerie queen.
But no adverse aging as of yet. Living conditions, lab health, and Bronze cord. These factors combined serve him better than the average LR. But it required effort. So "psychology" has made an impact on his lifestyle and work habbits.
I have another character, a maga close to the same age (but more hermetic years). She started young, a vanity LR when she was 21. Hermetic birth control. Now she is near 60, looks 30, and silently regrets her decision.
So then I suppose that, to contemplate the psychology of a magus, start with a normal average human, born and raised in the time and place they are from, and think about how that otherwise normal person would grow and evolve as they are exposed to the benefits and disadvantages of the magical gift.
The first magus I mentioned, he has often commented that the Gift is a curse. He had a good relationship with his parents, but they died when he was young and the social effects of his developing Gift made life difficult growing up. So he fell in with thugs, mercenaries, and Flambeau magi.
He has since developed a Gentle Gift (True Love connection).
But still, he regrets never having the opportunity at a "normal" life. He consideres most wizards to be freaks and perverts. He is protected from their gift. He just sees how they act and shakes his head. He figures many use their adverse social aura as an excuse to simply abandon societal norms.
That is not me reading between the lines and superimposing a conclusion. That is me thinking in-character about how that character thinks. Based mainly on the other wisards he has met (PC magi run by actual players through the course of three sagas he has been a part of). Thus, a lot of that is based on the ideas and presumptions those other players have made as made manifest through their characters.
So nothing in any of that is remotely universal. Indeed, none of thepropositions and ideas posed by others should be thought of as universal. Gamers are a superstitious and cowardly lot :mrgreen: and always unpredictable. Be wary of phrases such as "most magi" or "the Order at large" or anything that implies something as common usual. It might be. Or it may never be. You never know what a gamer is going to do, and whatever ten munchkins in a row do has no bearing on what the eleventh may decide.

What such a norm does is it sets the standard for the PCs to break. :mrgreen:

I would assume that most magi, being raised from early age as such, would use their apprentices to satisfy whatever parental tendencias they might have, since they themselves probably looked up to their masters as parental figures. You could say that in Hermetic society most people consider "adoption" as a satisfactory enough substitute for natural offspring, much more so than for our society.

Of course, there will be those that don't ever feel such tendencies, and those who would still wish for natural children, but I don't think that they would be a majority.

This also makes me wonder about... well, freaking bizarre stuff, sorry. Magi can't impregnate women, magae can't get pregnant... But I assume that a Rego Corpus spell could induce a fake pregnancy in a woman (since this can happen naturally, although I don't know how people in the XII century reacted to that... probably a curse/changeling/possession or stuff like that), in an attempt to fulfill some of her maternal instincts (or paternal, for a man who would want to see himself impregnating a woman). Even more bizarre, I also assume that a spell could relocate an unborn child into a different womb, considering that there's a magus in one of the books that can relocate heads (also would probably involve fertility magic). For a great deal of extra bizarreness, a spell could do crazy stuff such as turning somebody (like an apprentice) into an unborn child and place it in a womb for a very grotesque form of fake pregnancy.

I'd say that you'd need more than a few screws loose to do stuff like that, but I bet that'd make for a very horrifying villain, lol.

Less bizarrely, one could always be one of those magi working on the breakthrough to create artificial children in the lab.