What if multiple apprentices were the norm in the Order?

Given the thread Ideas for a new campaign" https://forum.atlas-games.com/t/idea-for-a-new-campaign/5558/9

I've been thinking, what if Wizards of the Order of Hermes have always been able to train multiple apprentices, how would this change the OoH?

To be specific, say it still has to be one on one to open an apprentice's arts, but to actually teach an art can, multiple students can be taught. (To whatever the normal limit is, I think your Leadership or Teach score?)

Depends on the relative scarcity or difficulty in finding an apprentice.

One possibility (if apprentices are hard to find) would be that the Peripheral Code may only protect the right of a magus to have 1 apprentice at one time. Being greedy and "hoarding" apprentices can be interpreted as depriving your sodales of their right to an apprentice. So they could be allowed to claim one of your apprentices whenever they leave your sanctum.

Even if apprentices are easy to find, there is still the matter of your duty to train them. You owe them 1 season per year for 15 years, so the limit is 4 apprentices at one time. If you don't train them, you will lose them. Would training more than one at the same time be considered cheating them (because of reduced source quality) out of what you owe them?

Having apprentices easy to find would mean a much larger Order of Hermes, though. This may not be desirable. It means spreading magical resources over more magi eager for vis, auras, grogs, etc.

Maybe apprenticeship is dangerous, and many of them don't survive. :imp:

The interaction of all the apprentice's Gifts becomes a bit problematic. As the apprentices do not have Parma they are not insulated from the negative effects of each others Gift (unless they all have the Gentle Gift).

Obviously, to get around this the master can share Parma with the class. But that places a limit on the size of the class and also means that he in turn becomes (possibly) worryingly vulnerable to hostile magic. Also he needs to share Parma all the time --- not just when he happens to be teaching them --- because the students are interacting with each other all the time.

Excuse me, say again? Even with zero changes in rules, you can train as many apprentices as you want all at once, as long as you dont train them in Arts. There are no limits on how many you can train in Magic Theory for example.

Now however, the basic premise was:

Which means that the only limit is really based on how many apprentices that you can open the arts for without failing to provide the 1 season per year minimum teaching.
And since there´s actually nothing to say that you cant pay others to assist with that, the max number of apprentices can potentially get rather high.

We HAVE played with this option. We set the limit of number of people you can teach Arts to Leadership& Teaching score.
The result was 20-50% more powerful magi when they ended their apprenticeship and little else. We didnt make it easier to FIND apprentices however, it was really just that things got more specialised with order members that was interested were used for educating new apprentices to a much greater degree.

IIRC, the master is meant to share his Parma with an apprentice?

Sure but how many would take an apprentice and have less than 2 in Parma?
I would expect most old enough to take apprentices to have a minimum of 3.
Which is still far more apprentices than a 1-1 ratio gives.

Yes, but normally you only need to do it when you specifically are training them. The point is to protect them from your Gift (you are already protected from theirs). For a single student, you don't need to share Parma when you are elsewhere. A single apprentice can work away quite happily by herself for most of the year, without you needing to share Parma with her.

The problem with a whole class of Gifted apprentices is that they will be affected by the social penalty of each other's Gift even when you are not there. They need to be protected from each other's Gift. If you don't protect them the class will suffer from Extreme Social Dysfunction, which should be counter-productive to learning.

Me too. It still puts a limit on the class size (or at least the ratio of apprentices to magi). I agree that the limit is not 1-1.

And because you are protecting them from each other's Gift you are committing to sharing the Parma much more often than you are with just a single apprentice. Which is entirely possible. But it is a reason why some/many magi would be reluctant to have multiple apprentices at a time.

And keep them in his sight. But won't a year together be enough to negate whatever ill feeling they may have toward each others? Nothing says how long in close association you need to be for that.

15 years to get used to The Gift , 45 years for The Blatant Gift (from Rival Magic , page 07)

Neat, thx!

Appart form the issues of how The Gift interferes and the troubles with having PArma protect so many people at once:

ArM5 P 165, Teaching of Arts can only be done one-on-one. Opening the Arts is IMHO described like Teaching, giving a score in all Arts of 0, so again IMHO only one-on-one.
Learning Spells from a Teacher is different from normal Teaching rules, and not very specific as to whether more students than one are allowed. So either it's only 1-on-1 again, or perhaps it is at a Lab Total penalty as Teaching Quality is penaolized from the number of students, or perhaps the Teachers's Lab Aotal is simply divided among the students.
So a magus eally wanting to bolster the ranks of magi could take 4 apprentices, and Open the Arts of all 4 using an entire year. I assume he will have had someone else teach them Latin and Artes Liberales in advance of this. To keep his part of the bargain he just needs to personally teach the apprentices 1 season per year. If he simply avoids Arts and Spells he could teach all 4 at the same time, freeing 3 seasons annually for himself. If he allowed the apprentices to study Arts from books and borrow his Lab for inventing spells form Lab texts, they could (perhaps) become full-fledged magi in balance with RAW. But what the deuce would he want to teach for 15 seasons if not Arts and Spells? Magic Theory is a likely candidate, as are other Arcane Abilities. Verditii might focus on Philisophiae and Craft. Mystery Cults would perhaps teach Cult Lore. Merinita might teach Faerie Magic etc.

But I'm not sure the apprentices would end up like RAW, they might be weaker. Who says the Master's covenant has books on Arts available to mere apprentices? Who says there are spell lab texts and a lab available for them to invent spells?

Alternatively the Master needs to spend more than one season per year to teach, potentially resulting in his advancement curve stagnating, making him effectively weaker than his peers.

So it might result in a lot more magi, but they might be weaker or differently abled than what we're used to.

IMHO an organized House like Tremere might pull it off more easily, because of the aid the magi can draw from the House. If anyone can have the Summae, Lab Texts and spare Labs made available, it might be them. But if too many do this, even their resources will be spread thin.

UV, OP premise was that:

And this is the 2nd time i quote that.

Ah yes, true.

Looks like UV missed that bit?

If you want to go down this road, the way to do it is this. It takes 2 magi to do this, one social and good at finding apprentices. The other doesn't need anything but 5 ranks in every art to open a gift properly.

  1. Put a library together, all arts +15 quality to level 5-6, +10 to level 10. You don't need more than that really, as you aren't expected to get an apprentice arts higher than that. Quality needs to be reasonably high to avoid arguments that you are weakening their magic by making them read books instead of teaching directly.

  2. Add some lab texts for spells, a good mix of magnitude 1-6 spells.

  3. Add some textbooks for magic theory, the arcane lores, penetration and finesse 5 ranks in each (again, a graduating apprentice isn't expected to know more than 5 ranks). Maybe write a special text in Parma too, one that teaches the basics but not the final key you learn after Gauntlet.

  4. Hire somebody to teach Artes Liberal and Latin and Profession Scribe, so kids can read books.

  5. The social mage spends all his time finding new apprentices and arranging gauntlets for those about to graduate.

  6. The other guy opens arts. That's it. He just opens the 15 arts. In theory he could support up to 60 apprentices at a time. In practice you probably won't find that many. It is almost better if he is incomprehensible with terrible communication. It makes the argument that he's doing the responsible thing by letting them read books instead of training directly plausible.

  7. The rest of the time, the apprentices are either learning from the latin/art liberal/scribe teachers or they are reading books/lab texts, or they are making copies of books/lab texts in case not enough exist for the needs of the current apprentices.

With 3 seasons for sure, sometimes 4 seasons to study whatever the heck they want from the library, I bet those apprentices come out after 15 years better than the average. Your only real limit is the number of gifted kids you can find. With just a couple more mages you could expand this to a huge number of students. Or you could have one dude doing all of it, mixing finding apprentices with opening them, and leaving the rest of their training in the hands of mundane instructors and arcane textbooks.

Note that all you need is a library, a scriptorum (a place to write new books), someplace for the kids to live, a few mundane instructors and physical security/servants/administrators for the place. You don't even need a laboratory, although any full magi supervising the effort will have one in their sanctum in case it is needed. You might want some kind of area where people can practice spell mastery and not scare the animals/visitors.

Most of the things along these lines I've seen in games focused on the other side of things - how do we get more gifted kids? It was assumed that if they could get tons of apprentices, they'd find a way to train them.

In one of our saga, we made a school of magic.
Each student had his own master, but... the master was giving only one season a year, as compulsory, thus, he was giving opening the arts and arts, as well as house secrets, for the rest, it was given by volunteering magi (magical matters such as penetration, finesse...) or erudites (latin, artes liberales, philosophiae, other languages...).
We had around 12 students every 5 years for 15 full time years studies of magic (that is 4 seasons a year during 15 years).

Dunno you, but around here having a child read on his own about a subject that does not catch his fancy is REALLY time intensive for the teacher. When they are around 10-11 they will start devouring books, but until them it is really complicated to have them "sit in the library and learn on their own" as is being suggested.

IMS 1 apprentice per magus tends to be the norm. An apprentice is not just someone to be taught: He is your son.


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I have never seen the need for the master to actually spend a season of his/her own time teaching an apprentice: I've interpreted the requirement for 'at least one season of teaching' to be the minimum time that the apprentice needs to get, to prevent the master using the apprentice as a lab assistant for all 4 seasons of every year. Given that assumption (not shared by most of you, it seems), spending a season reading a book counts as the bare minimum. I also see no need for the Arts to be taught instead of learnt from books.

No sensible magus would be happy with an apprentice staying at that level, and it would take a very long time for them to qualify for being gauntleted - but, if you read the various 'fluff' articles over the years (particularly the peripheral code bits in 4th ed), it seems that keeping apprentices only as lab assistants and avoiding them being gauntleted was a problem. All PC magi I've ever seen go overboard the other way, training apprentices so well that they finish a lot better than the basic apprentices from the core book do.

I also allow multiple apprentices (opening Arts tends to be the only thing that is hard - in my saga, set right at the start of the Order, only Bonisagus himself has opened more than one in one season. He does batches of 6... because he has 'an unfeasibly high InVi score' and leadership and teaching of 6). No PC to date has tried to find more than one apprentice, but they are welcome to attempt to teach more, if their skills are high enough.

I hadn't thought about the Parma problem of multiple gifted apprentices being present on one place, but unless a covenant has an agreement to only let one magus have an apprentice at any given time, they must be sharing parma as much as possible anyway. (And Bonisagus has a high enough parma to be able to shield many apprentices.)


I´ve accepted "1 season of personal teaching OR BETTER" as perfectly fine compromise.
So if a magi has superduper good books but has Com -5 himself, letting the apprentice read from his library instead isnt just acceptable, its totally preferable! So as an extension, any good source, book or teaching i think is acceptable.

Absolutely! Especially if you play by RAW as then Arts can only be taught 1 on 1, which is simply a waste of time for any magi. And as i noted before, even if you require 1 season of personal teaching per year, thats zero problem anyway. Just have the magi teach all her apprentices MT, Finesse, Penetration, Concentration or any of the other useful Abilities.

Except the one who's being taught ... which is the point of the 1-season-per-year-for-apprentices rule.
Also, it's way more efficient to be taught spells than to invent them yourself, even with lab texts.

At those low Art scores, its relatively easy to get books with very high quality.
Spells though yes thats far better to teach.

The age varies - my sister and I started devouring books in the 1st grade. Other people never really like it. This is probably part of why apprentices below age 7 are extremely rare, and the default age to start apprenticeship in the core rulebook is age 10 (all those 25 year old example magi)

An apprentice that doesn't like reading is not impossible (such flaws exist) but would not thrive in the kind of environment being described here.