Switching to Apprentice Wizard career

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Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:34 pm

Thu Aug 01, 2019 9:01 pm

How would you set up learning to do magic after a switch from a mundane career?

I have a player who wants to play a wizard. I did random careers for character creation, he had no luck. He is not advancing in his career, instead is saving all his xp to switch to the Apprentice Wizard career. I have warned the player that he will probably need 200 xp (career switch) + at least 400 xp (advances) before he can actually cast any spells, and those will be Petty Magic. I have also already introduced the character to a potential wizard mentor in game.

But, so, we have a character who does not have any magical skills or background becoming a wizard in game. I am going to rule that probabilities* do not matter at all, he actually has the talent and will be able to learn. WFRP 2e p. 141 lists four criteria for casting spells: Magic characteristic, Channeling skill, Speak Arcane Language skill, and access to spells (Petty Magic talent here). [Hedge Wizards do not need to Speak Arcane Language contrary to the list, but whatever, we are going the Arcane route.] Out of the Apprentice Wizard's magical skills and characteristics this seems to leave only Magical Sense off the list. Thus, the character will take some time to develop witchsight.

I would like comments on how to proceed in-game:
My current plan is that the character will get to learn the basics in just a few months. While I think it might be more in keeping with the Warhammer background to tell the player to roll up a new character to continue adventuring while the current character goes through the joys of true apprenticeship, for which he is too old to being with, that seems a bit harsh on the player, and the other PCs need to keep going.

This training break will probably happen during Death on the Reik. 400 xp will get him the four advances he needs.

I am considering that I would not give the character the full set of Petty Magic spells, though, but, rather, require him to learn the spells on his own or with his mentor one by one over a longer period of time. I would probably make him study them in CN order, meaning he would get Magic Dart and Sleep (and Marsh Lights) last. Still, he could get Drop as his second spell, that has some usefulness in combat.

Thoughts, comments from my more experienced colleagues?

* WFRP 2e p. 141 flavor text seems to indicate one in a million can be a wizard and one in ten billion a Battle Wizard. I estimate the population of the Empire to be around 5 million citizens, so these numbers seem totally off.
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:24 am

Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:08 am

That's great that he wants to be a wizard! Magic in Warhammer Fantasy is one of the really cool unique things that it has and it's fun to explore that with a character.

In my opinion it would make the most sense to rule that he always had a little of the witch sight. Likely he saw things that were strange throughout his life but never really thought anything of it, or even knew what they were. Until his mentor began to explain things to him. Saw that he possessed "the sight" and that it needed to be shaped and molded in order for him to really use it in a useful way. In that way he wouldn't be much unlike any of the natural mages just one that never really came into his own. That way you don't have to trouble yourself over, "But how can he learn at such an old age! he has to be one in a million!". Stuff like that.

I wouldn't make the guy roll up a new character, that just doesn't sound like fun to anyone. He has a lot of thought and effort (probably) rolled up into that character and he should get to experience that. Assuming his character is highly motivated and has a tutor, I would let him advance at a natural rate that keeps up with how much XP he's being given. Obviously he'll need the 4 advances before he can actually cast any of those spells and that will take some amount of time. But at the end of those 4 advances, let the guy get his first petty spell, light or whatever it might be. Then keep giving him more as time goes on. How long it takes to learn magic is kind of up in the air, and probably a highly individual based experience.

Remember that when Magnus was leading his armies to defend against Chaos that Teclis managed to train hedge mages to use battle magic in very short time. All your mentor has to do is teach an aspiring pupil to cast Drop.

If that isn't enough to balance out the feel of a new apprentice getting his bearings what I like to use is Chaos Dice. Basically an extra die added to your casting roll that only counts for the purpose of invoking Tzeenchs Curse. Maybe at first when he starts learning he has 2 extra chaos dice he has to add to his casting roll. Then as he gets better and months go on he drops some of those dice until he's just like every other apprentice.

As for the number of people in the empire, it kind of follows the same rules as everything else Games Workshop does. The number of any given race at any given time is equal to how many that race needs. "Oh jeeze elves are a dwindling race on the verge of being wiped out, but oh here at this battle there's 200,000 elven warriors!" There's always as many as the story requires. The Empire is probably about the same. You need there to be 10's of thousands of soldiers at a battle? there's enough humans in the empire to accommodate! Need 100 battle wizards? Sure thing, there's just enough!

Real talk though most people assume the Empire would have a population roughly equal to that of the Holy Roman Empire that it's so strongly based on. Which was probably around 15 million. Still way off like you said for the numbers you quoted. But again, there's always enough ;)
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Orin J.
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Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:39 pm

Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:34 am

rykof seems to have gotten the enthusiasm down so i'll just add in this little suggestion- magic in warhammer is an inborn talent, rather than simply an acquired skill and shouldn't be simply handed about. i'd suggest that if he's getting close to the XP he needs to make the switch to make a quickie adventure for the group where they're to courier an item for an established ally of theirs to altdorf: only the item is nearly stolen and when the would be wizard picks it up to restore it to it's container it turns out to be a "cursed" item that accidentally causes their suppressed magical energies to flare up and trouble the party! a few minor encounters where the player and anyone nearby are troubled with flashing lights and buffets of howling winds would be enough to drive home the problems in magic alright.

at the end of the adventure you can reveal that the item was secretly for training mages and they didn't want to attract the attention of the official channels when they brought it to the (wizard collage of player's interest), but noticing that your would be wizard has reacted to the item, offers a discounted entry to compensate for the problems it's unexpectedly caused to help fast-track them.
Edit:spelling corrections
Last edited by Orin J. on Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:18 pm

Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:04 am

Machete_Matt wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 9:01 pm
WFRP 2e p. 141 flavor text seems to indicate one in a million can be a wizard and one in ten billion a Battle Wizard. I estimate the population of the Empire to be around 5 million citizens, so these numbers seem totally off.
Heh. I remember the playtesting for second edition. In the playtest documents there was this reasoning of 'only one in a hundred people gets born with a magical talent. Of those, only one in a hundred has a talent strong enough to actually do something with. Of those people, only one in a hundred actually begins a study to become a wizard. Of those ...'

I calculated that, given these numbers, if there was only one single battle wizard in the whole WFRP world, that world would have more inhabitants than our current, almost overpopulated one. The designers were not happy with that remark. We shouldn't take things so literally. Oh, Gods, the stupidity ...

Anyway, as people said, it's great that your player knows what he wants. You could let him have witchsight, just don't tell him what he sees or why he keeps getting these strange visions. Or why strange things happen when he is around - why cows start giving sour milk, dogs bark at the player, and so on.
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Mister Moe
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Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:19 pm

Mon Aug 12, 2019 6:01 am

I completely agree with GeneralRykof. Let him play his wizard and put the rules a bit aside. Keep things simple. An apprenticeship is a boring thing to play - either have the teaching wizard join the fellowship as an NPC, at least for a time, or just skip it. Orin J.'s idea with the magical item is a nice one - maybe the item throws the character back in time where he completes his apprenticeship, and while the rest of the fellowship still wonders what all these howling things and marshlights are and where the future Apprentice has vanished, the aged Apprentice steps into them from the back, grinning: "Hey folks, I have been waiting for you."

He tells them of his adventures which started when the item threw him back two years in time (or so), joining his master, completing the first part of his apprenticeship and have his master tell him to seek out on his own now, just a few weeks before. So he went here to the place and time when he knew his old existence was already gone and his friends would battle with the lights, thus avoiding time confusion with his old and his new existence.
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