1222-1227 Defense Discussions

(Since a lot of RP is happening in supposedly OOC spaces, I thought I'd create some spaces for it all.)

Out of curiosity, what does the average dinner look like at Mons Electi? Do the magi eat alone? Is there a huge feasting hall for all the covenfolk, mundane and magus alike? Does every magi attend dinner regularly? Or are there some magi who are only seen at the council meetings? How often do we have council meetings?

"I have written to Phoenix covenant, and requested the assistance of our necromancer, Cygna," Theraphosa mentions casually one night. "If she assents, I would like to enlist her aid in strengthening our defenses against that spirit creature which aids Valerian, and....certain other rituals and enchantments which will help us learn more about the enemy. If she agrees, we'll need to provide her with lab space and the vis necessary to perform her work." She states this matter-of-factly, and then continues to drink her glass of deep red wine.

(OOC: I wonder how Cygna would respond to being called a necromancer. Come to that, I wonder how the others would take the news.)

((Valerian's spirit familiar was killed. Alexei witnissed Regulus say he killed Valerian's spirit familiar, so if anyone knows about the spirit familiar they should know that he was killed. That being said, it doesn't mean that there can't be another spirit being.))

Any vis expenditure will have to be approved by the council. After a short pause... What other rituals? You do know that scrying on other members of the order is prohibited by the Code.

"I am all in favor of increased defenses, my own particular strengths lie more in mundane defense though, as well as magical offense. I of course will be happy to contribute where necessary, I know a somewhat strong version of the Wizard's Communion if that is required and will vote to increase vis towards such defense. Provided we are also committing silver and possibly vis to the physical defenses. Though those do not need to be extravagant, when they were last breached there was little that could have been done to stop him with mere walls and men."

Thera gives Korvin what would probably be called An Old Fashioned Look, if you discounted the multi-faceted eyes and exoskeletal face. Those bits of the look she gives him are quite new.

"Um....she's a necromancer. We're not planning on scrying on anyone or depriving any living member of the Order of their magical power."

Viscaria and Theraphosa practically start talking over each other when Alexei says this, until they finally drop down to a mutual glare. Then Viscaria lets Thera speak with a dramatic "as the queen desires" sort of gesture.

"Once the Tribunal City walls are complete, there should be plenty of stone left to rebuild those walls, and a small crew of men who are used to working with the equipment. What other sort of defenses would you like to consider, given a cheap, abundant source of dressed stone?"

"And an architectural specialist maga?" Viscaria chimes in.

"....and a Rego Craft chick."

Alexei quirks an eyebrow at the strange simultaneous reaction, but it seemed to be in the positive. "I...well mainly the walls being repaired and built up where necessary. It sounds like that is in the making already though. I'm no mason...but I do have experience storming castles. Testing the walls would be my honour and privilege. If they could keep out someone like me, that would be useful."

((I've said this before, I don't see Alexei having the skills of being able to test walls and breaking sieges by destroying walls. Climb the walls of a castle? Sure... Beyond that, I just don't see the skills or the Arts able to do this.))

Korvin will return a steady gaze.
She is a necromancer does not answer the question. Other than wards vs spirits, what other rituals are you planning on casting? If we have a visitor with a spirit familiar, will it be denied entry?

((It's more of a metaphor really "Storming the castle", not actually breaking the walls but getting into a fortified castle and testing the defense overall. Then again it wouldn't take much effort for Alexei to create a spell in the lab at Touch range that destroys stone, sections of wall or possibly even a whole structure. He just doesn't have it right now.))

(It is clearly a subject they've been discussing a lot, is why they're trying to talk over each other)

"Come now, Alexei. This is unseemly behavior. You have taken on this responsibility. What you do not know, you must learn. It is easy to attack, to destroy. But to use that knowledge to preserve and defend? That is the true test of a man."

Theraphosa's insectoid eyes remain unreadable. "The point of hiring a specialist is to consult her and then decide on proper courses of action. And as the safety of the covenant is a matter for the council to decide, nothing will be done on that scale without their consent. If the body of our captured assailant has value to Cygna which we can harness, it may be that the council will decide that it, as a legal entity, cannot undertake what one individual might do."

Alexei had been reaching for his cup when Viscaria makes the comment. His hand freezes and he looks up in an instant, as if expecting an attack and his jovial mood is immediately gone. After staring at Viscaria for several uncomfortable moments he finally speaks, his wine left on the table.

"I'm sorry Sodales." he says with a voice straining at formality. "I may not have heard you well, did you you just say I was both unseemly and unmanly?"

(OOC: adding this to the discussion)

Viscaria seems not to notice the change in his demeanor at all, as she flippantly replies, "No, I said that denying your own abilities would be unseemly, and that as Imperator, you are squarely faced with a test of courage greater than any I have ever faced.

"I have spent most of my life concerned with how to defend myself and my sanctum against magical assault. But to task yourself with protecting and preparing an entire covenant against an unknown foe with a vast range of barely imaginable powers? To commit yourself to feeling personally responsible for the death of every grog or milkmaid within 20 miles of your standard? It is a responsibility that I am simply incapable of, though I admire those who take it on, and always find myself seeking to help them -- so long as I can avoid being responsible for the quality of its success."

Isen prefers to eat alone. The other magi are fine, but, well, he's not that sociable, unless it's for something that interests him.
Of course, when it is important, he shows up. He just avoids mundanities.

I'd say we have quite a few council meetings currently, given the situation, although not everyone may attend. At least one per month, maybe more.

For the record, there's also Aska, the Tremere Necromancer I've developped for Laguna Sententia. Viscaria knows him, and can also call on him :smiley: This would be great, and he might befriend Cygna! :smiley:
And he's got his dead sister's ghost with him, too :smiley:

Isen acquiesces.
It will be required. I have learned the 10th magnitude Wizard's Communion that was in the library, but it'll lose in efficiency if I can't muster enough Penetration for it. With your help, we should be able to do it, although barely.

As per the physical defenses, this is more your side of things, but, not only do I trust you on this, I also agree wholeheartedly. You should confer with Viscaria on this, since she is our builder. In fact, we three should see each other on this, in order to maximize fortifications, physical defenses, and magical ones.
We should consider both mundane and magical assault.
Especially how to stop or slow down an opponent who's able to destroy stone, like they did before, and spirit intrusions.
He is then followed by thera and viscaria's declarations
I think that settles it, then.

And then... The rest follows... And isen... :unamused:

After Viscaria has explained to Alexei how she admires him...
Viscaria. I'm thinking of the last time. It is easy to destroy a part of a wall through a spell like Undoing the Stonemason's Handiwork. This'll leave our enemies free to enter. How can we stop this? I have some ideas, but I don't know if they are doable at all.
The first, and most obvious, would be to have at least 2 concentric walls, with a pit between them. This'll slow them down a little, and the pit, hidden by the first wall, will further slow any attack force.
We could also have a layered wall. If, for exemple, I invent an item that creates and maintain a circular wall of Ice, we can encase it in stone. Our enemy would destroy the exterior, and then find it against an ice wall, for which he ain't prepared. Fiona could do something similar, with an item that constantly changes a stone wall into unnaturaly strong wood. Or Korvin an item that created it.
We could also put up traps. Imagine a Watching Ward put in our wall that fires a volley of Daggers of Ice to the exterior should it be breached. Or an item that does something like this, creating an immense pit around Mons Electi. This would take some time, but would give pause to almost any earthbound enemy.

Alexei's intense expression changes to one of surprise and then becomes chastened. 'Don't I feel like an ass now.' Alexei clears his throat after a sip of wine.

"I'm sorry, I-I did not hear you well the first time. Thank you for cleaaring that up, and please forgive my tone earlier. But...I am still not the expert you are as well as these others you mention, but I endorse any efforts and cost to bring them in. With respect, I will never be quite the craftsman you are, not likely ever even close. So learning how to do that and putting in my in-expert efforts might actually slow things down. That is the way of things. When war is on, you listen to the general, when there is peace you listen to the seneschal and they are not usually the same person. But both will help the other...and so again, you will have my help." he pauses as he reflects on some of the plans.

"But, there are some things I would do. I use transportation spells frequently. They require an arcane connection or visual confirmation to use with any effectiveness. The first defense against it is of course the Aegis. Assuming that they are able to bypass that defense, then we must rely on others. They will unlikely have connections to different parts of the whole Covenant, just certain places, and there's not much we can do about that. But visually they can go anywhere they can see...or think they see. Illusion, simple mirrors and clever architecture can foil that, lead people to blink into dead ends, rooms with no exit, or other traps. Could that be accomplished? And I like the idea of the walls of different materials, we should add bone to that as well, it was how one was trying to kill me in the joust."

Well, I think that'd partly be up to JL as to whether he'd allow it, and who it would be cool to play him. None of the Laguna Sententia stuff has been explicitly labelled as in-world by JL.

Also, what would his relationship to Viscaria be? He's part of a covenant that has been deceiving/bribing everyone they can for decades. How did he react when Norbert Gunthar won Viscaria in a dice game with a faerie, and then proceeded to experiment on her for years before anyone noticed she was Gifted? There's a pretty complex relationship there, we'd need to flesh out more.

"I dislike the notion of anything so obvious as the series of walls. Better to have no defense but a strong guard, then to have ugliness in the name of safety.

"Enchanting the wall so that it requires penetration and multiple forms to affect is certainly a good way to solve that problem, but deprives me of some of my primary attack methods -- I favor Vilano's Philosophy* when it comes to attack, but I've spent little time thinking about how it applies to defense. At any rate, making pits under peoples feet, or encasing them in earth with Rego Terram, these are my preferred attacks. Now, I seem to recall that Alexei here favors The Methodology of Ramirez*, and Isen falls within The Arboreals. What do these scholars have to say about creating a solid defense? I think that if we were to establish a solid plan that draws from all three masters, diversity would be able to overcome our attackers.

"And really, the damage to the covenant's buildings was minor and resulted in few deaths. The big problem was the teleporting jerks with their spirit creatures."

*Yes, she got the name of the Schools wrong, like she's overheard them but never actually been told about them.

Viscaria ignores his apology with good grace (it is entirely possible that, given her history of abuse, she is literally incapable of hearing it).

"This is an excellent idea that takes maximizes our advantages."

Alexei is both surprised and impressed that anyone outside of the Flambeau would know of the more obscure Schools within his House.

"Well, both the School of Vilano and Ramius, which is my School, would put more emphasis on the mundane defense. The school relies on a mundane attack that is enhanced by magic. But, it is a school that heavily favors fast attack and implacable offense. So it doesn't always , look to defense. When the enemy is seen near the walls, you teleport to them and attack. That is the defense. Walls with good viewpoints, men to watch them, magical aid in detection, and a fast means to engage would also complement this, along with what I earlier said. This is our home, we should have the advantage, teleporting in should be risky, while those who know will have connections to various points."

He pauses and thinks a moment. "Chambers inside the walls, with view points pointing in and out to different areas. A magus with a connection could teleport there, gain a commanding view and teleport to where he is needed. And an enemy magus would likely not be able to see those and so not use them to his advantage. That would be something to add perhaps."

Viscaria and Theraphosa both latch on to this idea eagerly and those conversing with them begin to understand how such disparate-seeming creatures could forge a familiar-bond. Within seconds, they're talking over each other, yet completely keeping pace with each other.

"If we limit the areas in which guests are allowed, then we could even boobytrap high-traffic areas, such that only our own covenfolk know about it, with passages within the walls to allow the mundanes to avoid battle altogether..."

"Given our strength in Rego, a teleportation-based defensive line makes sense, and keeps our grogs focused on attacking that which they can actually deal with..."

"...enchantments which allow covenfolk to walk across walls because the floors are trapped..."

"...ice and fire, with unexpected Hermetic forms protecting our murder holes..."

"...seasons of service creating defenses..."

"....enhanced senses, a sort of passive detection, is definitely harder for magi to notice, let alone counter..."

"...once you start thinking in three dimensions, you don't even need your vantage points to be ground level..."

"...properly mapped our boundaries, who knows what defensive and offensive advantages..."

"...capture the flag games between squads of grogs and magi..."

"...regularly scheduled evacuation drills..."

"...mundane poisons and smokes..."

Fiona typically takes her meals in her cottage, prepared by her maidervant Moire, unless there's a reason to sup with the others. And, as far as I know, council meetings are once a quarter, on the solstices and equinoxes; although, as the Fixer pointed out, it stands to reason that,with the Tribunal drawing nigh, we would have them more often.

[color=blue]"Unfortunately, I doubt I'll be much use in planning, erecting, or testing our defences. As I've said, I'm not very martial...in fact, I'm likely an easier target then must, if we're talking mundane tactics. And my people's idea of strategy is typically 'smash it until it falls down'." Fiona shrugs and looks sincerely apologetic.

Isen smiles wickedly, clearly interested by the discussion (Yeah, it happens when you stumble on one of his pet peeves)
Great idea. We must absolutely implement this.
We could have either items or watching wards that cast illusions, fog or other things that obscure or change the view. I like that, especially as we can even have that as items given to custoded. This lets them be efficient in defending the covenant versus magical threats, yet if they're turned against us, we risk little.
Clever architecture is great, too, although way outside my abilities.
For exemple, maybe we can have some spots were a wall actually supports some weight, so that destroying it at touch range causes something to fall on you.

A wall of bone is great, and Fiona could maybe do it, or at least some items that cast limited versions, allowing custodes to "patch" breaches in our defenses.
It also just occured to me that it could be possible to have an item that, on command, changes our walls to, say, Diamond. Which would be immune to Perdo Terram spells designed to destroy stone, or even metal.

For the record, spend most of the WE updating him, 5 years per 5 years :smiley: Not yet finished, but it progresses.
As for your answer, you got in on the Laguna Sententia thread: His sister is way more susceptible to notice and help viscaria, and whip her brother into it. She's her Jiminy Criquet :laughing:

Well, nothing stops us from having it all.

My idea for the outer wall was for it to be stone, with a trap linked to it, and the inner wall be either hidden or created as a result of a breach of the outer wall.

The outer wall's main function is thus to both hide the other walls (or serve as a trigger to create them), and, through an item or a watching ward, spring a trap that activates if some section of it is destroyed, which makes it an effective way of counteracting people that may be undetectable through Intellego Imaginem, while also meaning we don't breach the code by scrying.
As to what kind of trap, knowing that, as you don't scry, you don't know where your opponent is?
Well, since the spells will probably be cast at Touch or Voice range, we need to affect everything that's up to Voice range of our walls. There are several options for this. My favourite implies creating a huge pit round the walls. But this may be difficult to do well, and will have lasting consequences, as well as potentially being detrimental to us. So another option is to batter the area with an offensive spell, like the kind of huge conflagrations Marcus can create, or to encase it in Ice.

I like this. Given sight-range spells, it also means that we can strike at them without them being able to reply :wicked:

There's no shame in that. And don't worry. I keep thinking of you as our Muto specialist, and don't forget it. You may notice that I thought about you for changing our walls to Diamond :wink:

Taken from here:
https://forum.atlas-games.com/t/table-talk-bibracte/6080/1061

Ah. I thought about covering only the buildings. Maybe we can fashion a boundary for them (like walls, or a trench!!!)

I don't want unlimited uses.
Charged items are great because:

  • They don't use vis
  • They use the full lab total
  • Once we're gone, it the items stays behind, he can't be used.

To be clear, I was also thinking in "cool factor" terms :blush: So I also like the statues, although a gate, aside from the "Stargate Effect" has a good SM bonus.

Which also implies 2 effects.
One of them being a teleport spell cast at arcane range, to summon the elemental. I barely managed to invest the Leap of Homecoming in my talisman. I doubt I could do something similar at Arcane Connection range.
Also, your solution implies carrying in permanence 2 ACs, one to that specific elemental, the other to the storeroom.

So, you see, it is you who over-complicate things, in fact :wink:

Yes :frowning:
Although if the ennemies all have MR, this works against us: I can coordinate the covenfolk, while their very protection will stop our assaillants from hearing them.
Unless, of course, they bring their shield grogs with them, in which case they lose their main advantage, their mobility.
Notwhistanding, of course, that any grog not protected by Parma should have been taken out by our Wall-triggered defenses. And those who are can't eavesdrop on us anyway :wicked: