Table of Contents
This saga allows you to play multiple characters of various types. These include Magi, Companions, Grogs, and variations thereof. I am not concerned about how many characters a player controls. The more the merrier. The only limit is how many characters are actively played in a given story, which should be limited to one main character and a few supporting/side characters. Further, these rules allow you to develop characters of various ages and levels of experience. There is no worry about imbalance, for tales and challenges shall be presented as befits your capabilities, and the young have certain advantages that make up for their lack of experience.
Following along with the rules for Detailed Character Creation (ArM5, p.28), changes are as follows…
Characters are granted a slight increase in overal experience points for creation and development. This is due to an expectation to have scores in a diversity of minor abilities (such as Area Lore, Order of Hermes Lore, Profession-Scribe) and etceteras). It also takes into consideration the high demands of the saga, and encourages you to play with power.
Early Childhood (Representing the first five years of life)
Begin with (Native Language) 5, (Native Area Lore) 2, and 45xp for Childhood Abilities
Youth & Later Life
From age six onward (until apprenticeship), you gain 20xp per year. If you are Wealthy you gain 25xp per year, and if you are poor you gain only 15xp per year. Magi and certain other characters cannot choose Wealthy or Poor. If applicable, they may choose Privileged Upbringing instead to represent their past.
Apprenticeship (magi only)
Apprenticeship usually begins between age 7 and 21 (10 to 15 is the more frequent range), and lasts 15 years. During this time, you receive 300xp for Arts and Abilities, plus 150 levels of spells. You should spend no more than half your xp on Arts, and should not have any Art score greater than 10. Your spells may come from the main rulebook or elsewhere in cannon. but at gauntlet many of these may also be original or unique spells, invented or obtained by your parens, which they have passed on to you. Newly gauntleted magi may not begin with spells above the seventh magnitude.
Describe your Gauntlet.
Mandatory Minimum Ability scores new magus are: Latin 1, Magic Theory 1, & Parma Magica 1.
Suggested minimum scores, however, are: Artes Liberales 1, Latin 4, Magic Theory 3, Magic Lore 1, Order of Hermes Lore 1, Parma Magica 1, Profession-Scribe 1, & Philosophiae 1.
You may play a magus fresh from their gauntlet, or you may choose a more advanced age. Developing a few years allows you to start off with a few accomplishments. However, younger ages are also encouraged, and will be treated with generosity. Encounters and opportunities will be scaled to be fitting for your character's age and power.
Advanced magi are divided into four categories, though new players are limited to the first one only. They are as follows.
- Spring (Years of Growth): 0 to 15 years post Gauntlet (up to three cycles). This is the suggested limit for new magi entering the game.
- Summer (Years of Power): 10 to 35 years post Gauntlet (up to five cycles). This is restricted to NPC's and characters that have been in the game for awhile and are grandfathered in under former rules.
- Autumn (Years of Austerity): Undefined. These are NPC magi that hold prominent positions of fame and power and prestige.
- Winter (Years of Dotage): Undefined. NPC magi, who may still powerful, but are in decline due to age and twilight.
Cycles of Advancement
Development is based upon Season, Year, and Cycle.
In a Season, you may…
- Take 10xp Advancement (average quality of the average abstract source is 10)
- Work in the Lab (normal rules, including gaining Exposure xp)
- Earn extra Vis Wages (3 pawns per season of any Form)
- Do anything else that requires a season's worth of time (write a book, copy texts, run errands, go on vacation, visit your relatives, etcetera). You gain Exposure xp for this as well as for the results of your activities.
In the four Seasons of a Year (Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall), you may…
- Take up to 3 seasons Advancement
- Work up to 3 seasons in the Lab
- Earn one extra season of Vis Wages
- Do whatever else that fits
- You Must take a point of Warping if you are on a Longevity Ritual[/list
This is to be viewed as a ratio when extended to a Cycle. So you could, say in the course of a seven-year cycle, spend twenty consecutive seasons in the lab and study the rest of the time.
A Cycle is an average of 7 years of abstract development (the actual length of a cycle may vary between four to ten years). Regardless of the adjusted length, each Cycle you may…
- Draw a Vis Salary of 21 pawn of any Form of vis. You may spend or use this vis at any point in the cycle.
- Gain one new Virtue from a Mystery, Adventure, or other appropriate source (see below)
- Describe a Major event in your life (the frequency of Major life events may serve as a guide to vary cycle length).
- You Must loose a season somewhere due to miscellaneous whatever.
- You must take a point of Warping for some reason that is certain to happen sooner or later. Take more if there is a good reason (such as a related Flaw).
Other Important Considerations
- If you possess a Virtue that affects how many xp you gain from a study source (such as Apt Student or Book Learner), add 30xp per Cycle of Development. This is invariable no matter how you tweak things. If you have two such virtues, add 45xp. If you have three then you are really pushing it, but that would add 52xp per cycle. For further consideration, there are certain Virtues & Flaws that may not mesh well with this advancement system. Though they operate fine in regular play, for pregame development they are modified as follows…
- Secondary Insight: The bonus xp are gained whenever the relevant Art reaches a score of 4, again at 6, and again at each point of increase beyond that.
- Free Study/Unimaginative Learner: Because study from vis requires a roll, it is treated as an independent seasonal activity, much like lab work.
- As a young developing magus, it is presumed you have access to a Standard Lab in a Magic Aura of 5. No further concern is needed unless you wish to tinker with this.
- During Development, it is presumed you have access to Lab Texts for spells from printed cannon or another approved source (such as the Andorra wiki). It is not that you had access to every spell, just the ones you happened to be researching. Other spells and variants will need to be invented from scratch. The same shall apply for texts concerning Charged Items and Lesser Enchantments, provided they qualify as a Similar Effect to a cannon or approved spell (e.g. a Lab Text for a charged PoF wand or a constant effect Doublet of Impenetrable Silk is fine; a wand that shoots bees or a doublet of steel silk are too original for a text).
- Certain Virtues grant bonus xp during character creation. Examples include Warrior, Educated, Arcane Lore, Hermetic Experience, Skilled Parens, Well Traveled, etcetera. Treat these as more than just a bonus to your char-gen package. They are part of your characters essential history. They include contacts and ties to your past; an eclectic cabal, old army buddies, a university, etc. This is not to be treated as a Story Flaw or an extra Virtue. It is just a resource that gives as good as it gets. Complimentary Virtues and Flaws may be taken to accentuate your past experience.
If you are 35 or older at the start of a cycle, or turn 39 by the end of it, you must check for Aging that cycle and each thereafter. Calculate and consult your Aging Score.
Aging Score = Age/10 (round up) - Living Conditions modifier - Longevity Ritual modifier - other bonuses (Bronze Cord, Faerie Blood, Lab, etcetera)
Then subtract 2.
This system is lifted from Grogs chapter 5, which is based on solid ten year cycles. However, these cycles average only 7 years and are variable. Thus there is incentive to develop using longer cycles, you don't age as rapidly when you live a slower pace of life. You age faster with shorter cycles, but not to a crippling degree.
The Aging Score is calculated and applied at the end of the cycle, using your age at that point and all conditions as that then exist. So even if at the end of a ten year cycle you just turned 41, made your longevity ritual at the start of the last year and bonded a familiar with a +3 Bronze cord the last season, all these factors apply for the whole cycle.
Your adjusted Aging Score, if positive, is how many Aging Points you accumulate that cycle (distributed as you will). If 5 or higher, you suffer a Crisis that cycle. If the adjusted score is negative, your Apparent Aging is slowed. Starting at an Apparent Age of 35 (or younger if you look longevity for youthful vanity at an earlier age); your appearance ages a number of years equal to (10 + your Aging Score), with a minimum of 0 and not to exceed the number of years in that cycle (or years since you turned 35).
Gaining new Virtues & Flaws
In a given Cycle, you may gain up to 3 points of new Virtues &/or Flaws from Mysteries or Adventures. This requires discretion, and should not be indulged in every Cycle (unless you are part of a Mystery Cult). New Virtues & Flaws may also result from Warping, Twilight, and other miscellaneous circumstances.
For Mysteries and Adventures, the basic formula involves an investment of Time and XP. Base Time os one season, plus another season for each point of Vitue gained. This may be reduced by incorporating up to Three points of Flaws, each point reducing the required time by one season to a minimum Time requirement of one season. The XP cost is ten times the Virtue points gained, unaffected by Flaws. Participation in a Mystery Cult that teaches this Virtue reduces the cost by 5xp per point of your score in the appropriate Cult Lore.
Time Required = One Season plus One Season per Virtue Point, minus One Season per Flaw Point.
XP Required = Ten times the Virtue points, minus (Cult Lore x 5)
Maximum of 3 points of Virtues &/or Flaws, Minimum Time Requirement of One Season.
An allowance for MinMaxing, you may convert Time into XP or visa-versa. You may do this to best take advantage of your Cult Lore or for including more Flaws than Virtues, in order to fit within ratio limits of XP gain/expenditure, and etcetera. For magi, one season = 10xp, so flipped around either way, the formula can be look at as…
Cost in XP = 10 + (20 per Virtue Point) - (10 per Flaw point), - (Cult Lore x 5). Maximum 3 points Virtues/Flaws, Minimum cost 10xp
Cost in Time = Seasons equal to the formula above divided by 10 (round up)
For the purpose of these formulas, reducing/improving/increasing/removing a Virtue or Flaw counts as equal to the change in points. For example: Removing a Minor Flaw counts as 1 Virtue Point. Reducing a Major Flaw to Minor or Improving a Minor Virtue to Major counts as 2 Virtue Points. Removing a Major Flaw counts as 3 Virtue Points. Then Removing a Minor Virtue is 1 Flaw point, Increasing a Minor Flaw to Major or Reducing a Major Virtue to Minor is 2 Flaw Points, and Removing a Major Virtue is 3 Flaw Points.
Changing a Virtue or Flaw into another Virtue or Flaw also counts as equal to the value of the change. So Changing a Minor Virtue into another Minor Virtue is 0 Virtue points, changing a Minor Flaw into a Minor Virtue is 2 Virtue points, and so on. You can only change one Virtue &/or one Flaw in such a transaction, regardless of their value, and you may not include further additions.
You may use a tale of grand adventure to justify new Virtues and Flaws once, possibly a second time if developed three or more cycles and the story written up for it is good. This is usually something non-magical, but it doesn't have to be. Examples gaining a General Virtue or resolving a Story Flaw. In any case though, any new traits must be a plausible result of the story and are acceptable if they are. So major supernatural encounters can rationally justify new magical traits.
Because this is limited to one time only (maybe twice), this is the only method allowed for gaining XP related Virtues (such as Warrior or Educated) or changing Social Status.
A Cult Score of 1 is required for your first Initiation, a score of 3 for your second, and an additional point for each Initiation thereafter. The required XP cost is reduced by 5x your score in that Cult Lore, as mentioned above.
Initiation Scripts in printed cannon may supersede the limits and guidelines given here. Just follow what they say.
Cabal Legacy allows you to start with one Initiation for free (as part of your initial Virtue & Flaw balance). In addition, you qualify for an Initiation with each point of your score in that Cult Lore.
For non-magi with Warping, simply apply normal rules (Minor Flaw gained when Warping Score reaches 1, again at 3, Minor Virtue at a score of 5, Major Flaw for each point thereafter).
For Magi, refer to Twilight.
The theory is that, in the short term, the typical magus will have (on average) an equal number of Good and Bad effects from Twilight. These may include new Virtues &/or Flaws (up to 3 points either/each), gaining/loosing knowledge or spells, and etcetera. To incorporate Twilight into Development, simply choose an even number of Warping points (up to 32 in a Cycle), and divide between Good & Bad Effects (including Scars for two or more episodes). This requires no xp and the time is considered washed in the abstract of the season (until you reach a Warping score of 6). Certain characters may have special traits that may justify more Twilight points or adjusting the ratio of good/bad effects. Use common sense and troupe guidance.
This is a term I picked up from the old Traveler game, used to refer to the final steps of development, finishing touches, and any final bonuses to be applied. Here you determine the final disposition of the assets and resources you accumulated over the years. Specifically, your vis.
As you developed, it was not necessary to keep track of what kind of Form vis you had in stock (though you may if you wish). All that was important up to now is the amount.
Every Cycle, you received a Vis Salary of 21 pawns, and you were able to earn Vis Wages at a rate of 3 pawns per Season.
Vis distilled from an Aura is a separate Lab activity.
The Virtue of Personal Vis Source grants two pawns of a specific Form each year, or one of a Technique (this is doubled in actual play).
You were/are allowed to use or spend this as you went along.
Now, totaling the pawns remaining, you may spend and/or keep what you wish.
Of the vis kept, the Form and Container/Object must now be determined. The vis may be of any Form, or every two pawns may be traded for one of a Technique. Vis can be transferred between Artificial Containers (use the Shape & Material table as a guideline for capacity), or be found in a Natural Object (any type or amount in it's original material/state or a portion taken/siphoned thereof).
For Spending, refer to the rules below for Hermetic Economics.
As a basic rule of thumb, one pawn is worth 4q.p.v. (quarter-pawns of vis). Lab texts cost 1qp per 5 levels, Tractati cost qp equal to Quality, Art Summa cost Quality plus Level, Ability Summa cost Quality plus three-times Level, Charged Items cost equals charges plus half the level of the effect, Lesser Enchanted Items cost 6qp per Magnitude, Longevity Rituals cost Age + half of the level, and otherwise 12qp per pawn of vis required (three times the base amount of vis for the project cost)
Then you may liquidate any assets you wish to dispense with and no longer need, getting whatever cash value you can from them. This is best for items you have used up (books and lab texts you purchased), things you cannot move or cost too much to do so (your old lab), and so forth. Whatever the QP value would have been to buy that item, divide by ten, and that is how many pawns of vis you receive.
Further information on Hermetic Economics can be found by following the link given. As a shortcut, here is a direct link to the Hermetic Price Guide
Advancement for other types of Characters
Grogs receive normal experience for Early Childhood plus Youth & Later Life, in addition to those for any Virtues. The standard is 20xp per year (or an average of 5xp per season), which is considered in abstract. Advancement isn't broken down into Cycles, just calculate what is due for the sum total of years (divide it into steps for yourself only if you want to).
Grogs do not normally earn vis, but they can earn magical services through their duty. Taken in abstract, this is done by spending experience as q.p.v. on things such as Longevity (age + half of level), Charged Items (half of level plus charges), and/or Lesser Enchantments (level plus magnitude).
Grogs aged 35 or more may gain a single new Minor Virtue balanced by a Minor Flaw. This costs 15xp or three seasons. Certain grogs can be created as a Minor Companion instead, being permitted five points of balanced Virtues & Flaws. This is mainly for NPC grog level characters, but can be used by players if the troupe permits or directs. You can also create a Companion that is otherwise perceived as a grog, it is part of their background &/or current function, but theirs is a more individual tale.
Companions likewise receive the standard experience for Early Childhood and any Virtues, plus 20xp per year for Youth and Later Life (the Wealthy receive 25xp per year and the poor only 15xp). Advancement is not broken down into seasons, but may be divided as a mental abstract.
Companions may develop up to 3 points of new Virtues, which do not have to be balanced by Flaws, but doing so makes it less expensive. The base cost is 5xp, plus 15xp per virtue point, minus 5xp per point of Flaws. Companion may gain Supernatural and Heroic Virtue this way, but must take an equal number of Supernatural &/or Heroic Flaws.
Companions can also earn magical benefits, spending experience points in abstract as q.p.v. the same way that grogs can. Companions may also acquire Invested Items, which cost two times (level + Magnitude, plus 12 points per remaining open pawn.
Familiars are created on a sliding scale:
- Might 5, Autumn Character
- Might 10, Summer Character
- Might 15, Spring Character.
They can only gain xp when their magus is involved in the process, using normal season rules for Teaching or Training, or Exposure when assisting in the Lab. They are eligible for xp from adventures alongside their magus, or from Exposure from just hanging around them. As an abstract average, Familiars receive 5xp per season of Association (average of 20 per year)
As an Apprentice, a Redcap receives 300xp and begins with 100q.p. worth of Redcap Items, which may be upgraded/exchanged at an improvement rate of 5q.p. per year. They also receive a level 50 Longevity Ritual when they begin aging. Finally, all Redcaps begin with a free Minor Redcap Virtue, which is the result of training or selection.
In Development and in Game, they are expected to devote half their time to their duties. They gain 5xp in Abilities relative to their duties, such as local Area Lore or Language. This counts as a combination of Exposure and Practice.
Each season of service also earns them 2q.p. on account, this plus an annual bonus equals the average 5q.p. per year improvement rate on Redcap Items.
Redcaps can spend their free time as they wish, advancing as magi in abilities (average 10xp per season), earning Vis Wages (3 pawns per season), working Overtime, or whatever.
Player Character Redcaps earn a Vis Salary of 21 pawns per cycle, just as other magi do. However, they no longer receive a discount unless the put time into it (see Hermetic Economics). NPC Redcaps receive a bonus of a Rook every cycle if they are independent members of a covenant and still connected with their house. Those who are constantly in motion or members of a Mercere Lodge (or are disassociated wanderers) receive no salary or bonus.
Detailed information about Redcap Characters can be found here.