unusual apprentice training

I don't have the Apprentice book. Trying to work out if the following early training is against the rules.

A Tytalus mage wants his new apprentice to help out in the lab ASAP. So:

  1. Opens the Apprentice's Gift to the Hermetic Arts.
  2. Teaches the Apprentice enough Latin.
  3. Teaches the Apprentice enough Magic Theory.
  4. Employs apprentice in Lab.

However, being a Tytalus, wants the apprentice to practice spellcasting on their own time. Hence gives the apprentice several casting tablets of relatively harmless spells, authored by different magi, and teaches the apprentice the rudiments of being a careful sorcerer.

Is there anything noticeably wrong with the above scenario?
is it possible for the apprentice to learn Arts through Exposure this way?
Is the such a thing as Special Circumstances - using a Casting Tablet?

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Note that (Covenants p.90):

Casting Tablets do not aid magi to learn spells the way laboratory texts do.

So instead of offering these, if the apprentice were to learn for herself the Tytalus master would better provide books on the Arts and some lab texts on useful spells.
But by enduring similar abuses of his master, he might just have become an inefficient sod himself.

This works usually only, if the Tytalus master is a (ArM5 p. 40) Cautious Soncerer himself.

I realise that Casting Tablets don't help with learning spells.
But what of Finesse and Concentration? And exposure to the Arts? Being able to recognize other magic's sigils. Tactical and strategic evaluation of when to lose fatigue in spellcasting.

I am also trying to think like a Tytalus. Give the apprentice just enough to make them scheme to get more.

The Cautious Sorcerer virtue does sound like something you should be able to learn by trial and error.

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You might well be able to learn Cautious Sorcerer by trial and error - but mostly it will be the errors and mistakes that teach you something.
Unfortunately magic tends to be somewhat unforgiving towards mistakes.
If you are going to learn Cautious Sorcerer during your apprenticeship solely through trial and error, you will most likely have to suffer a number of magical botches along the way - with the accompanying warping.

If you want the apprentice in question to get the Cautious Sorcerer virtue and his parens can't teach it, a better way is to simply pick it as an Inherited Virtue (Apprentices p10)
(Short version: An Inherited Virtue is a virtue that a character is born with but which doesn't actually manifest until some suitable event happens while they grow up.)

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I am not sure exactly what you are asking. Of course, you can teach your apprentice every season early on, to get a useful assistant ASAP, but you have to keep providing at least one season one-on-one every year. You cannot provide early teaching seasons in lieu of late teaching seasons.

In principle, all you need to do to get a useful assistant ASAP is first season to open arts, second season to train magic theory while you do something useful, and third season you have an assistant with some bonus (at least if the apprentice has 0+ Int). Latin is not a requirement.

Caveat. I know that some players argue that magic theory can't be trained.

Note that by Apprentices children are penalised in all characteristics, so young apprentices will have negative Int.

As to training for Careful Sorcerer, I would devise the season as practice (finesse, concentration, mastery - penetration maybe, but then you need a target with MR to practice on, no?). That gives the story explanation when the apprentice picks up Careful Sorcerer as one of their starting virtues, or exchange it for a child virtue if you use Apprentices rules.

I'd say that the apprentice can learn arts by exposure when assisting in the lab or inventing spells. They cannot learn arts during a season of practice or training. I would not allow exposure when you practise something which cannot be practised by the rules, such as the Careful Sorcerer virtue.

I'd love to see the training programme you end up with, @lvgreen.

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A couple of things:
*A magus is expected to teach once per year. Not doing so is a breach of the code. This includes if you are not teaching because your apprentice is being fostered;
*So by definition, front-loading the teaching would also be a breach of the code, as would a reorganisation of the teaching schedule. So yes, your plan is a low crime, technically speaking;
*An alternative to wasting your time teaching Latin is to take the apprentice to your covenant, and put him in the care of a scribe or a scholar to teach him pre-apprenticeship, thus delaying opening of the arts and keeping the teaching for more valuable subjects such as the arts. Admitedly, maybe a Tytalus doesn't want a potential apprentice so well treated;
*Even though fosterage is technically a low crime, anyone sueing over it would be on the receiving end of so much negative feedback from his peers, he would probably reconsider sueing at all;
*An apprentice cannot sue the master for poor teaching. His only recourse is looking like a victim yet a potential asset to other magi, who can sue on his behalf, take the apprentice if a Bonisagus, or steal him in a Wizard's War. In other words, the only rights your apprentice has are enforced by other wizards - if they care and dare;
*A magi has the right to kill his own apprentice without prosecution. If a Tytalus learned a quaesitor was inquiring about his teaching schedule, well in advance of a Tribunal, there might be no witness anymore 3 years later, and therefore, no crime. This would make any inquiry into the apprenticeship something swift, or needing discretion;
*The Tytalus are notorious for mistreating their apprentices, and being vindicative is someone gets in the way. If I was a Bonisagus, I would be careful whose Tytalus' apprentice I take, because having someone declare a wizard's war back for no reason, or making a nuisance of himself for the next 50 years in Tribunals is a price I have to be willing to pay, which I might not have to pay by taking the apprentice of another House;
*The Tytalus are also notorious for doing stuff hoping to be sued in order to evolve the Code. They are also the House responsible for the apprentice's poor condition in the first place, having their Book of Apprentice literally written in the peripheral code... if I was a quaesitores, and I learned that, say, a Tytalus had taught his apprentice two seasons in a row every two years for the past fourteen years, I would ask myself whether sueing over a technical low crime is worth risking falling into a Tytalus ambush that is intended to weaken the peripheral code, considering that the apprentice isn't an actual victim here, and that maybe the Tytalus intends for the trial to be a gauntlet, and that's why the apprentice is whispering sweet things in my ear. On the other hand, if I believed the apprentice had not been taught in five years, and demonstrated no knowledge of the arts, that would be an entirely different story.

In other words, your plan is a low crime for sure. Whether anybody does anything depends on a lot of things. Ironically, what is most likely to get a Tytalus to teach his apprentice a season out of every year is not so much respect for the code, as much as knowledge that he's made rivals who would love an excuse to score points against him, especially rivals within the same House.

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where do you find that it is a breach to not teach if your apprentice is being fostered? by my reading the teaching becomes the duty of the fostering magus

"and other magi also foster apprentices. This is a breach of the Code, and if brought to trial, each fostering magus could be accused of a low crime if they are not also providing each apprentice a season of personal instruction during the fostering period."
(Apprentices p40)

The Peripheral Code says you have to teach your apprentice for at least one season per year. It doesn't say you can let someone else teach them instead.

Yes, and the end of that section also says most magi would find the accuser in a negative light, even if technically correct, due to how prevalent the practice is.

I could easily see fostering being approved if it was ever brought to tribunal. AFAIK no case has been brought yet.

The Oath does not say anything specifically, so it is all down to interpretation. What we know is that a mundane teacher, even teaching abilities which the apprentice obviously need, cannot replace the magus' teaching. That would be like asking nursery school to do the parents' job. Fostering parents are actually supposed to do the parents' job. The case is clearly different from the well-known rulings of the past.

One could even make the case that parenthood is transferred, which is legal, at the start of fosterage, and then transferred back at the end, which would also be legal. That brings it above board, without creating any loopholes for the cases previously ruled against.

If anyone knows of canon peripheral rulings which would say otherwise, I would be pleased to hear about them.

Yes, I could see fostering being officially approved if brought at a Tribunal. As I could see a magi pointing out that, while he doesn't teach every year, he has an education plan that is on target for providing 15 season of education at critical moments during the apprenticeship which will produce a stronger magus by the end of gauntlet than if he stuck by the one season per year teaching. There's the code, there's what you can get away with, and then there's what zealot quaestori can try you over that you can muster a reasonable defense for that can bring magi to vote for your acquittal anyway. Most magi will stick to the code and the one season of teaching to avoid dealing with the risks of tweaking the education of their apprentice.

While a mundane teacher can not replace teaching by the Magus, covenants which employ mundane teachers have many advantages for helping apprentices grow into strong and well rounded Magi. In point of fact, if the covenant sets up a program of teachers who educate all the children growing up in the covenant (along with providing the occasional class for older people) then you end up with a much more capable covenant.

Consider for example if you have two teachers, each providing their two seasons of teaching per year. If all the children of the covenant are taking the equivalent of one season each year, this would allow up to 20 x the lowest Teaching skill children.

Any apprentices taking part in this will develop several important skills along with having the potential to socialize and gain friends among the mundanes. The direct exposure to gifted people will help build the covenant mundanes ability to resist the negative effects of the gift.

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It'll help those exposed build an ability to ignore the gift of the apprentice, but not of the Gift in general. Which is still potentially useful if you're planning to have them work for said apprentice in future - if what doesn't happen instead is lifelong resentment and enmities building up due to the social effects of the Gift in the meantime.

Yes it is to the gift of the apprentice specifically. However the way Covenants treats it, it reduces their overall penalty if they stay on as a member of the covenant. If they leave the covenant after gauntlet, sending some covenfolk who are already used to their gift (with the possibility of one or two even being friends) is a great boon to the former apprentice.

It also serves as a great source of stories if the group engages in troupe play. While some groups try to have the Magi involved in every adventure, many have games in which one or none of the Magi take part.

Maybe my group is weird since we enjoy all grog stories, apprentice stories, and even familiar stories. Sometimes not playing the all powerful Magi makes a fun change of pace.


Fundamentally, a magus may gift or sell an apprentice to another magus and be therefore relieved of the burden of having to teach that apprentice. Fostering follows this same pattern except that it is a loan for a set period rather than a gift or sale. Which is the argument I would make to support it if it did come to tribunal.


That's an excellent argument. And if the Tribunal for some reason doesn't rally to common sense and condemns the magi, that logic just introduces a practice of contracts to sell and buy back apprentices, and folders to document a rotating ownership of apprentices. I'm not sure the Order needs more bureaucracy that makes magi decision about apprentice education look like filling out your tax returns.

I am playing around with the idea of an antagonist who was a Hermetic Apprentice for a couple of years, got spirited away along with a supply of Casting Tablets. Years later, he can till use these Casting Tablets, and has a black market operation to acquire more.
If his Gift could be Opened to another Magical Tradition, while retaining his Hermetic opening, it would be optimal,

Right. You can certainly give him a two-year boot-camp, with a combination of Hermetic tutoring, mundane teaching, and forced reading, to make him a threat. I don't think that's unusual in any way whatsoever.

The casting tablets could have been provided either as useful work, or practice material. I am sure there are plenty of tedious covenant improvements which could be done by an apprentice with casting tablets. It is plausible enough.

Opening to a second tradition should be possible in theory, I think. Previous arts and abilities just make it very hard. I could not be bothered to look up the rules just now.

Yes, that is why I was asking if using Casting Tablets might give some experience towards learning the Arts.
My scenario is that the Apprentice had no formal training in the Arts before being given Casting Tablets of low-level spells.

Right. I find it reasonable to give exposure in arts if the season is spent on improvements using (e.g.) craft magic from casting tablets. Not if the season is spent practising finesse or penetration by using the casting tablets. YSMV