Adjusting the Initiate career

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Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:34 pm

I am bothered by the contrast between the Apprentice Wizard and Initiate basic careers. Am thinking about changing the Initiate career as a house rule. Wondering if anyone else has pondered the same thing and come to a solution, or if there are great arguments for why the career is perfect as is.

Basic juxtaposition
The Apprentice Wizard gets spells from the start. The Hedge Wizard gets spells from the start, though fairly lousy ones.

The Initiate has to wait until becoming a Priest to get Petty spells. What they get as Priests is fairly weak buff spells (when compared to the Petty (Arcane) list), though especially Might and Protection can be very useful. The Priest career stage perhaps fits a D&D cleric stereotype, where the role combines combat ability with buffs.

The Initiate does have combat-related advances, both characteristics and talents, that the Apprentice Wizard does not get. This gives the character something to fall back on while waiting to become a Priest. The Initiate career might also work as is very well for combat characters in their 3rd or 4th careers who are becoming members of religious knightly orders (Career Entries include Knight, Vampire Hunter, and Witch Hunter).

The query
What if one were to separate the mundane religious initiate (with combat skills) and the divine magic user to-be from each other, instead of forcing both types into one career? The divine magic user could gain petty magic already in the first career, if a few skills were moved over from the Priest career. Note that the Priest has a very large number of advances, even if coming from Initiate they still need 22 advances (quick count, may be off by one or two) to complete the career. So this would not really weaken that career, I think.

As a follow-up, the Priest - Anointed Priest - High Priest sequence would have to be adjusted. Is there any ill effect from making High Priest Magic advance +4, or should the max Divine magic be kept at 3?

Would this break the underlying idea of religion + combat + magic too much? Or would it be overpowered because of Warhammer society's reaction: the magic-wielding initiate will be viewed positively, while the Apprentice Wizard encounters suspicions that dampen their power?

Thoughts, do you agree or disagree? Has someone already done this?
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:24 am

I think you're last statement pretty much nails the main reasons as to why they did this originally. Divine Magic is supposed to be safer, and is in actual game mechanics less risky than using arcane magic. If divine spellcasters got all the same benefits at the same time as their arcane counterparts, and then also had the safer Divine Punishment as opposed to Tzeench's Curse then they end up just being a lot more mechanically blessed. Not to mention what you also said about divine magic being much more acceptable so you don't have that RP stigma with it.

I think it fits with the lore for divine magic to be weaker than arcane. But of course an argument could be made for the later. The Tome of Salvation 2e book gives guidelines for switching many divine careers over to more spell casting and less martial skills. You could look at those and apply it similarly to initiate as well in basically how you said. Wouldn't have to do much just bumping everything down a notch so that initiate is magic 1 with petty, priest 2 with specific divine lore, and then high priest gets 3; but it is a big buff to priests so you'd have to be willing to go with that. If you do go with this then I would say you'd have to think about dropping the Armored Casting Talent. Otherwise you just end up with armored spell-casting warriors who are great at everything. I mean Warrior Priests are already that but you have to wait a long time to get to that career.

You're the DM though so if you want more powerful priests then I say go with it! See how it works out.

Warhammer Fantasy has never been about balance. It's all about staying in the flavor of the lore, and of course, having fun.
Posts: 30
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:16 pm

I believe it comes from the fact that in the Old world you are born with the ability to use the Winds of Magic, and it suddenly appears one day in the open, while a Priest uses Faith and prayer to communicate with his God and do 'spells', hance why an initiate is basically a student staring up while the apprentice wizard just need to pass his exams.
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Orin J.
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I've never had the issue of divine magic taking too long, and in fact found it frequently comes too damn early because of how powerful it often is over all. personally i required most divinely empowered types to undertake a quest to "prove themselves" before actually letting them take any magic. Really, the real problem is more to me that D&D has enforced this image that priests should all have magic on the RPG settings when for warhammer it should be very very rare that any of them ever actually do.
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Actually in OD&D clerics didn't get spells until 2nd level.

In the lore of WFRP I'm happy with the 1e/2e approach as it means that not every priest is a spell-caster. Divine magic is relatively rare, not ubiquitous. It also allows for most of the clergy to be non-spellcasting, making friars, flagellants and all the other non-spellcasting religious careers make sense. It also means you can have the toady, fat, gold ring-toting corrupt Lector of Sigmar who can't be gainsaid when Sigmar stops giving him healing spells.

3e I think moved to the other direction.. Nearly every priest could dole out spells.
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Personally I prefer 1st editions approach where they don’t have spells in the initiate career but gain access to 1st level spells as soon as they become priests.

It makes the field more even in late careers but still underlines the whole “you are just a servant who happens to be religious “ aspect in early careers.
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I've run two campaigns where Initiates started out with magic. In both examples, the PCs started out with a bit more Exp than usual*, and I "forced" the players to buy Mag+1 & Arcane Language Magic (& Channelling? can't remember... do you need it to cast spells in WFRP2, or is it just an extra?), and in one example they bought a Petty Magic (Divine) spell list talent, while in the other we went for two Petty Magic extra spells and/or easy Lesser Magic ones (can't quite remember). From there, the PC just carried on as normal through the Initiate career, and it was all fine. In one example, we did not add any in-game explanation beyond ("you're been studying above your grade"), while int he other campaign the fact that the Initiate had magic was a core facet of the character and story, growing into a subdued "chosen one" trope thingy. And they had to practice their magic in secret, which added many good character moments for the PC.

The only problem with this approach, especially in the campaign where the Initiate started out with a Petty Magic (Divine) spell list, was that advancing from Initiate to Priest was a bit underwhelming.

*We do this, starting out with additional Exp, simply to avoid the starting-from-scratch scenario every time we begin a new campaign. Sometimes it is fun to start out with characters more involved in various aspects of society, or whatever. I don't see any reason why you couldn't use the above fix to run an Initiate character with magic from scratch too, however.
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Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2021 10:44 pm

I don't think this is necessary since Priest is also a basic career and thus can also be a starting career. If you want to start with magic then start as a Priest (assuming that you are picking starting careers).

Comparing Initiate to Apprentice Wizard is an apples to oranges comparison. An Apprentice Wizard is a basic career but it also has several entries that do not have spell casting abilities. Should we modify those careers to have spells if you plan to go on to Apprentice Wizard next? Give Petty magic to Apothecary, Astrologer, Dilettante, Embalmer, Scholar, Scribe, or Student if you plan to go into the Wizard path from there? Priest is already the comparable starting career to Apprentice Wizard.

Initiate gives your character lots of benefits for this delay to access to magic. It gives you a start in a lot of the Priest skills. It also gives access to several nice talents, including four of the talents that add 5 to a base attribute. That right there is a huge benefit for taking this career before Priest. The trade off is you do not get spells until your second career, same as if you decided to start your Wizard path character as a Scholar or Student to get the benefits of that career first. That was the reason I chose to go with Initiate before going to Priest.
Knight of the Lady
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I just want to chip in that I totally agree with the sentiments that divine magic should be rare. I know that I love the "mundane" rules from Tome of Salvation as that offers a good way to play priest characters who don't have magic. Not to mention that less divine magic makes it easier to explain the presence of corruption among the clergy without the deities themselves becoming part of said corruption.
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