Thebes Tribunal longevity rituals: how good are they?

Currently in the planning stages of a Thebes Tribunal saga, and while I don't expect it to come up immediately, my players are presumably going to be looking to save up their tokens for the really good Longevity Rituals from Epidauros. And so I'm going to need to figure out what sort of Lab Total they'd be paying for.

Epidauros is a bit of a special case in the Order, because on the one hand it's exactly the sort of dedicated specialist magi with a dedicated specialist lab and reliable support from the rest of the Order that usually features prominently in char-op discussions, but on the other hand their magi spend half their time in service- a season a year each of running the hospital and of crafting longevity rituals, generally. So they're probably not going to have 40 in their Arts.

Some fiddling around with Covenants ended up with a laboratory with a total bonus of +25 to Creo Corpus Longevity Rituals, plus Aura 5, +6 for sleeping in the Enkoimeteria, and +12 for use of the Blood of Medusa, so +48 before any people are involved. The lab requires a Magic Theory of 7 (it's Refinement 4), so we can assume MT 7 minimum, so that's +55 minimum.

At this point I could go build a dedicated longevity ritual specialist with functionally unlimited resources but only half her time available for study and personal projects, and see what her Lab Total is at various ages, but I think I'm gonna save myself that headache and just say "flip a coin twice; if they're both heads, you're in luck, you get Xenias the Leper; otherwise, you get one of the other magi there."

And I'm gonna pull some numbers more or less out of thin air and declare that Xenias ("has a great affinity for healing and longevity, and is probably the Tribunal’s foremost expert in such matters.") has Int +3, MT 10, Creo 25, Corpus 30, a relevant Focus, no Familiar, and no Potency or other miscellaneous bonii (Lab Total 141 + whatever the recipient's assistance is worth), and the other magi have MT 7, and relevant Int+Arts+familiar+Focus+Potency+miscellaneous bonii of about 60 (could be Cr30Co30, Cr20Co20Focus, Cr25Co15Focus+Familiar+, whatever), for Lab Total about 115+assistance.

I'm not super concerned about game balance; frankly I'm not sure the saga's going to last long enough for it to be relevant, but I would like the numbers to be...perhaps generous, but still plausible. Compared to the Lab Totals in the mid 200s I've turned up discussion of without very much googling at all, they're downright conservative, but I'm wondering how they compare to totals other people have seen in play, and particularly how other Thebes storyguides have ruled this.

80's seems about right, depending on the magi's age. I have a maga with lab total about 65 before Aura and lab. But she's more focused on Herbam. She is originally from Epidaurus.

The numbers seem reasonable for Xenias - though I don't see why you assumed he has no familiar.
For some other, younger (and thus less skilled) mage who is also specialized in longevity a lab total of around 100 seems reasonable.
For those not specialized in longevity a lab total of 80-90 is probably the best you can hope for.

I don't see why you assumed he has no familiar.

You know, you're right- he of all people definitely needs an Aesculapian Snake of Virtue, doesn't he? It even sheds its skin- perfect for a Leper Magus. So we can throw in another...idk, Creo spec and owed favors by everybody important in the Tribunal, can probably pull off increasing his Familiar's mental Characteristics or having them increased, so eight or ten points of Lab Total depending on the snake's Magic Theory?

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I don’t think it’s “half the time” in service. One season in the hospital but isn’t it only one LR per year on auction for the Tribunal?

The Tribunal only sponsors one Longevity potion per year, yes.
Then there are likely a number of other magi who are willing to pay from their own pockets for a good Longevity potion.

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True enough, but most magi often have their own use for their time, so politics/influence is probably more important than just throwing vis at the wall. This guy probably has all the vis he wants already.

115+assistance is fairly realistic. NPCs are seldom super optimized, but that Magic Theory is way, way too low. The ability to handle the vis requirements is the real limiter on LRs (1 pawn per 5 years of actual age), so magi 100 years old require someone with Magic Theory of at least 10, and given average hermetic longevity (i.e. twilight/warping related), Magic Theory 13-14 will be required to handle 'most' ancient magi.

Note that keeping up with this requirement isn't as difficult as you might think, at least as it applies to making a LR for yourself, a LR focused magus should have no problem handling the LRs of anyone as old as themselves or younger. Xenias probably has a Magic Theory of 17-ish, given his age (167).

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You only need that high Magic Theory if you are creating a new Longevity Ritual for someone quite old.
If you are re-using your old LR, then the vis limit is based on your Arts not on your Magic Theory, since then it is not a seasonal activity.

In agreement with the above I would assume there are a number on reasons more than one LR might be made in a year at Epidauros and, yes, none of them are vis or even direct token transfer.

  • shard removal (IF an Epidaurian generates a shard and is unable to find someone to negate their shard for comparatively free, comparative to spending a season on an LR)
  • for a friend or someone they greatly admire
  • for themselves

I have a feeling the “profit motive” is never a reason for these magi having chosen a pretty selfless vocation by joining Epidauros. So I would be unsurprised if two were made in a given year, maybe three, but four seems highly unlikely.

Yes, I'm aware of that, but I am assuming that most magi would be re-formulating their LR when they got awarded the tribunal sponsored LR. There's just too many bonuses for doing so (the special vis, the super lab, etc).

But I'm also assuming that any LR specialist will keep up their Magic Theory so they can reformulate their own LR if it should ever fail them (or whenever they feel the need to improve their current LR). It's not especially difficult, what with lab exposure XP in magic theory as well as reading the odd book about it every once in a while.


Serf's Parma, but it's explicitly one season in the hospital and "usually" one a year making a LR, for each of the 3-4 members. I suspect the covenant charter bars them from refusing to make an LR if they haven't yet that year, and there are usually (but not always) enough requests each year to use up a season from each of the members.

Worth noting that the Blood of Medusa requires four pawns for effect and gives 16 pawns per year.

And I assumed that most magi would get their "final" LR done from the best source available sometime around the century mark, and any future LRs would just be re-brews of the existing formula (which would be limited by Arts rather than MT).

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Yeah, that’s true it does say that. Didn’t reread that, just the culture and traditions part where I assumed it would be.

I actually built his surface stats in my game using the non-detailed approach, and 115 is the lab total I came up with, before I realized he needed a far higher MT than I had built him with. Rebuilding him with a proper level of MT (because remember, if your MT < the number of decades, you can't create a new LR due to vis restriction, you can only renew an existing ritual), and accounting for somethings I didn't account for at all - mostly lab quality, you should think of a lab total of 125-140 depending on whether you account for a basic lab, or a generously specialized lab which I would assume he can afford.

Relevant stats for LT 125 would be: Int +5 (Creo Corpus specialist), MT 15, Creo 35, Corpus 32, magical focus, Aura 5, lab bonus +1. This doesn't account for any bonus he would have from Puissant or Affinity or mysteries, or familiar, and again, is on the lowish end for what a magi of his level would have in terms of lab. I'd frankly think a LT of 140 would be realistic for the foremost expert in the Tribunal.

Yeah, I was including a fairly generous lab (not hard minmaxed, but pretty well up there for something that has to believably fit into the Temple of Asclepius at Epidaurus and still be a functioning hospital to boot), but it sounds like you were a bit more generous with regard to Art scores and MT and we ended up surprisingly close regardless.

Anyway, I wasn't expecting exact agreement, but it sounds like I'm comfortably in the ballpark of plausibility, which was really all the assurance I needed.

I'm not sure I follow? CrCo only gets you physical stats, though I suppose if he wanted to deal with the Warping he could certainly buy or rent a casting tablet for the relevant CrMe and have enough Creo to actually cast it.

"I'm not sure I follow?"
Don't look too hard for why I said Creo Corpus and raising mental stats, beyond fatigue. :slight_smile: That being said, when you get to Creo 35, even a low Mentem art makes this fairly easy to learn and cast.

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This is me being my usual 'less powerful' argument, but I would not assume the people making the longevity ritual would have a Focus that adds to it. While longevity rituals are great and powerful, I would imagine that the magi in Epidauros are more specialized in healing and medicine than counteracting aging - plus it lets your players decide to go all-in for longevity if they want. I might assume a Potent magic for Aging, but not a full focus.

Caveat: My games are less powerful than some.. or many even. I would probably napkin-math +3 or +5 int(if you assume commonly available rituals for it), MT 12, Aura 5, if you use advanced lab rules +6 for that, then Creo+Corpus of 65. +3 Potent magic, familiar for +12.

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This is me being my usual 'less powerful' argument, but I would not assume the people making the longevity ritual would have a Focus that adds to it.

I respect your opinion, however the foremost longevity ritual specialist in the tribunal is from the leper magi lineage of house Tytalus, which is described as having all members of the lineage with a magical focus in either aging, disease, or wounds. You would think if he has a magical focus in something, its the one thing he's known for. Its more of a stretch to think he's known for something, but his magical focus is on something else.

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I agree with @raccoonmask here, though that may well in part be because I really intensely dislike the 'Magical Focus' virtues and how omnipresent they seem to be.

New players might find them more pleasing, to enhance their focus, but I think as you learn the system more, you start weighting other options, since a Major Hermetic Virtue is such a limited commodity, and there are some great options.

That's a very fair assumption, but you still need the lab total to reproduce the effect, so if your LR guy dies/twilights in the interim you'll almost certainly need to re-brew. Because even if the 'new' guy can manage the LR, he'll need a clear lab text and somebody's got to spend a season (or more) translating it...and when your LR fails, you probably don't want to spend time waiting for that to happen (or doing it yourself).

Obviously the smart play is to get the translation ahead of time, preferably by the original LR specialist himself, but that will definitely cost extra!