The Apprentice Gauntlet in Ars Magica is the last event and potentially the biggest which a starting Ars Magica Magus character will have before gameplay begins. For some Houses this is just a formality and for others it is an arduous or horrible test. In some sagas the character background is not complete until the player has detailed the gauntlet, and that’s an approach I strongly encourage. The members of House Tremere use the magical competition called Certamen as this test of skill and capability.
The Houses of Hermes book for House Tremere describes a Certamen event between the Master and Apprentice which the Apprentice can lose and usually will. It is ceremonial in nature, and as in many other aspects of a Magi’s life are more complex, I’m imagining that often there is more to the process than a single round of Certamen.
Here are notes from a play-by-post game in which a Tremere character is arranging the gauntlet of his Apprentice (thread on the forums). Continue reading
When designing a Magus character is Ars Magica there are as many styles of wizard as you please. However a wizard who is over specialized, or who ignores some basic abilities might face some early challenges.
What should a beginning wizard be able to do?
- Defend or extricate themselves from a small group of mundane opponents. That could be a small bonus to soak and some weaponry, or a good few offensive spells, or whatever. Be ready for a basic scuffle.
- Neutralize, annihilate, or at the very least harm another creature; particularly at a Range beyond Touch. Touch is a little too close for many starting wizards.
- Affect a magical creature with a might score of 5-10. If the character has a large BOOM spell for inflicting large amounts of damage they should also consider another which is useful against creatures with Magical Resistance
- Because stories often take the character to new places – they should be able to travel in some manner with comfort. That might be teleportation, or transforming into a bird, or flying, or even just not suffering the chills and inconvenience of regular foot travel.
What should be considered?
- Spell to find & extract Vis.
- Be able to dispel your own effects if needed.
- Spell to maintain Duration:Concentration spells.
- A spell to bind wounds or mitigate damage.
- Interaction with mundanes, or ways to deal with it.
Shamefully almost every Magus I’ve ever created fails some these points. Ah well, that’s the nature of the game – to play interesting stories. If the magus has all the answers then perhaps the stories might be missing too.