Turb Trained vs. Custos

Reliable sources have informed me that Grogs (pg. 76) includes a "Turb Trained" Minor Virtue that allows a character to learn both Martial Abilities and Latin. Since a character can get exactly the same Abilities access with Custos, what's the point of the new Virtue? I suppose Custos has the added advantage of being a Social Status Virtue, but why have a second Virtue that gives less for the same cost?

Scott Orr

I don't have an answer...
To confound you...
Turb Trained is also a social status virtue.

It makes me wonder if whoever created the Virtue was actually familiar with Custos.


Grogs has a lot of virtue 'echoing', a lot of it being different ways to limit the 50 bonus ability points from training. I suspect this was simply seen as a different social status with about the same game effects.

Maybe it's an attempt to back off from Custos, which offers a Social advantage and Ability-access combined with a form of "Patron/Protector". Many grogs are seen as disposable and so not exactly "Custos", per se, and "Turb Trained" would be perfect this sort of red-shirt.

Mechanically it might be similar, or even the same, but from a character point of view is miles away from the social status of a custos. Having another way for grogs to know latin without skyrocketing their status to that of a custos is a good thing IMO.


Though I agree that Turb Trained is a poor design choice, there are two subtle differences with Custos.
The first, as already noted, is that it gives the grog less status, which is a disadvantage from the point of view of the grog, but it may be an advantage if you want to design a Covenant where the turb has no high status.
The second is that technically Turb Trained gives you access to any one Dead Language that the magi speak; it makes a difference in Thebes (though I agree that Custos should be probably read expansively in this sense).

It would seem to me appropriate if this virtue were to hybrid Custos and Warrior, giving say 25 points in martial abilities and access to Latin or other dead language in use. Maybe artes liberales- the idea of written orders is very useful (especially sealed orders)

It seems like it would make more sense as a Free Virtue.


Grogs can only gain access to Martial Abilities in a limited number of ways. In fact only three!

Custos is flexible, giving either Martial, Academic, or Arcane Abilities. It gives access to latin as well, plus it gives some special position or status within the covenant, but with no game mechanical benefits. Minor, Social Status Virtue.

Warrior gives access to Martial abilities, plus bonus experience for these. Minor, General Virtue. So, with this you still need a Social Status, but Covenfolk is Free after all.

Privileged Upbringing, gives a lump og exp to be spent on General, Martial, or Academic. By using 'or' and not 'and' one could assume it is only 1 of the 3, not all types. Plus it does not allow buying Martial or Academic with other exp, unless you have another Virtue allowing it. So this option is limited.

You could choose Outlaw (Major Social Status Flaw), theoretically. Although ArM page 17 states that Grogs should not have Major Virtues or Flaws, even if the box in page 37 does not say so.
Outlaw Leader (Minor, Social Status Flaw) is specifically prohibited to Grogs.

So, assuming you want to either create an upstanding, trusted Grog or a combat veteran - or simply ignore the words or intentions of certain rules - you're ok.

But Turb Trained allows some other design. A design that does not have Warrior like most other Grogs may have. Should it have been Free? No, even though it is weak compared to Warrior, by substituting extra exp for Martial Abilities for mere access to Latin, it gives too much to simply be Free. A Free Virtue giving access to Martial Abilities would have been a poor design choice. With the level of granularity available all V&Fs can't be totally fair and balanced to cost.

A new option seems in place

In addition to Custos, Warrior, Priviledged Upbringing and Turb Trained there are definitely more: Berserk, Knight, and Mercenary Captain from the Core, and Mentored by Demons from RoP:I are just four that come to my mind right now.

I agree that Turb Trained, as written, gives too much to be simply Free. However, it also gives too little to be a Minor Virtue.

I find the argument that "with the level of granularity available all V&Fs can't be totally fair and balanced to cost" unconvincing. If you feel that adding Latin should "cost" some xps the Warrior Virtue grants, no "granularity" argument forces you to take all 50 of them. You can snip away 25, as another poster suggested, or 20, or 5.

Alternatively, you can leave all 50xp intact, and add instead a small penalty to Turb Trained that would "pay" for the access to Latin and make Turb Trained more flavourful: for example, a -1 penalty to all social rolls with mundane people unrelated to the Order of Hermes, to reflect the fact that Covenants tend to have a culture of their own markedly different from that of the rest of medieval society (though there's already a canonical way to do something like this, with essentially same explanation: take Warrior + Covenant Upbringing).

In any case, you can give Turb Trained better balance than it was given, and ideally make it somewhat more "diverse" than a Custos without social status, or a Warrior with Latin and no fighting experience.

In terms of game mechanics, Turb Trained just seems to be the special case of Custos where the specialism of the character is "fighting stuff". However, as others have mentioned, Custos implies some sort of high status within the covenant; whereas Turb Trained does not seem to imply this.

So, as I read it, Turb Trained is what the covenant's footsoldiers have, and Custos is what the Captain of the Turb has. Both options equally allow the character the opportunity to learn Martial skills and to follow the orders of magi (i.e. speak Latin). Prior to the Grogs book you would have just given the whole turb the Custos Virtue. The new Virtue just allows for an extra bit of a distinction between your grogs, and because the "high status" of a custos is only really meaningful within a covenant it's not worth enough to make the Virtues have different costs.

Maybe 50 points in martial abilities, Latin and artes liberales, but has a -2 when fighting alongside predominantly non-covenant units.