A Mercurian Covenant?

This is an idea that's been rattling around my head for a few months. How would you built a saga around a Mercurian Covenant? (that is, a covenant where all of the magi have the major virtue Mercurian magic.)

The Wizard's Commune, and the advantage of saving botch dice and vis even with large casting groups, never comes into play in my sagas. It's unusual to have one, let alone a whole crew, of Mercurians. Yet it is such a great theme. And a saga paced around big bespoke rituals would be unusual.

The two immediate challenges that come to mind are (1) having a variety of different character concepts taking advantage of house powers and ideologies, and (2) building a plot-line of adventure scenes that do not rely on spontaneous magic as the solution to problems.

What do you think? Any far out or offbeat Mercurian character concepts jump to mind?

  1. There could be a philospohical/theological schism or debate at the covenant, where some of the Magi see the Mercurian magic as a worship to certain gods while other see it as anon-paganistic tool of magic.

  2. Look at Wizards Grimoire and see what bonuses the "old version" had and the magi could specialize in the various forms that the Mercurians got the +20% bonus at.

  3. You could play the difference between Neomercurians and old traditional mercurians.

  4. there could be disputes between worshipping Mercurians (who follow mercurius) and christian magi

Dunia has some useful thoughts.

As for a few concepts, I'd like to add the Healer (since rituals are at half cost, any Creo expert really) and the Theurgist, who uses spell spirits to overcome his weakness vis-a-vis spontaneous magic.

The manufacturer is also a good concept: creating lots of permanent mundane tools at a discount. Read: weaponry and especially mail (that was really expensive) to be sold abroad, preferably though a lot of intermediaries so it is not accused of mundane interference.

And obviously we have the builders: conjure a ship, a manor, a bridge, a tower, a castle or even a whole town able to house 1,000 people (or more!) in ritual casting.

The harbingers of doom can also work. Hurricanes, tsunamis, active volcanoes in the middle of the Rhine tribunal... Magical artillery by any name. Useful to march a covenant at arcane connection range. Even if it is not a very common occurrence, it is useful to have when the occasion develops.

The Dragon master is also a good concept. Conjure up magical beasts of virtue (or directly, magical beasts that have no mundane equivalent) and control them with powerful spells. Communion also works for those when you need LOTS of penetration even if they do not need to be rituals. Controlling a Might 40 beast is always useful. In that sense the supernatural hunter cadre is also a good development.

This sounds really fun. What a great hook to bring the players together!

It would also imply more for the Companion/Grogs to do, if you can't just send the Magi off to do stuff.

...They can only cast ceremonially, right? OK, then the ReVi "Delay Effect" and Circle/Ring Watching Wards (no vis cost!) could be liberally used to get around the issue. You could also use the Arcane Tunnel Touch/Moon variations to send the grogs and companions out to do things, and then communicate back to the ritualists at base. (Or use "maintain the demanding spell" touch/Moon effects to have powerful buffs on the grogs, to keep them alive.)

In that vein, the Warding Specialist works well - especially if they have the virtue from the House Ex Misc chapter that allows them to turn Circle/Ring wards into room/boundary effects.

Recommendation - use the Ritual Casting rules from the Jerbiton chapter to get the ceremonial castings down to 1 minute/magnitude, as well as for the massive bonuses for large props. (+5 for the alter, +5 for the ritually inscribed pentagram, etc.)

I looked in ArM5, and I don't understand how you make watching wards that don't cost vis.

Do you mean that the spell contained in the ward is triggered whenever someone crosses the circle rather than on a condition ?

You use rego vim to make a ring container for a spell, and when ring is broken, the container is broken and the spell is released. You can probably come up with some clever ways to break the ring if intruders enter.

From the Tjapaki tribe of Northern Australia- make your ring out of loose stones. They make "houses" this way by cursing the stones so that if anyone steps over them other than the owner of the house the curse will land on them. I had an interesting conversation with a Tjapaki medicine man once...

Ok, thanks. So the ritual condition isn't used because the spell doesn't have a special duration (until condition is satisified), but a standard duration instead ?

How would the spell level(s) be effected by the change ? The basic watching ward spell says as many levels of spells as your watching ward's level, but I assume that this is because the ritual absorbs the complexity. Would that new spell be able to trigger an amount of spell levels equal to the circle ward's level minus the number of magnitudes from momentary to circle ?

Also, back in the concept of a mercurian magi, what would you think of a mage that prepares several circles in his laboratory, then creates a spirit that stays in the lab and breaks the circle when ordered (through a communication link, or through a rego mentem spell cast before leaving). Would the spirit be able to do that ? I guess there would be issues with targeting other people, of course... but nothing that can't be solved (someone was talking about leadworking in another topic).

That really depends on the nature of the circle and the orders given to the spirit.
Though if I decided to set up a spirit guardian, I doubt I'd bother with a circle.

I was thinking about having a pretty simple spirit which could be ordered simple things such as "Break the mirror number four" (on which an inscribed circle would contain a leap of homecoming through arcane connexion on myself). You could have one or several such daemons, and the only thing you would have to do in order to access your spells is casting a comunication spell to them (ReMe ?).

Necromancing this thread because I think it has useful ideas and want to add some of mine.

For covenant specializations:

-Neo-Mercurian theurges: Every fellow Mercurian has a few Communion spells and the group can work together to make their spirit pacts on the equinoxes and solstices. And then they summon daimons for a variety of benefits, using Mercurian Magic to drop the vis cost and Wizard's Communion to summon daimons in one spell. (Don't botch.)

-A contracting house: A covenant for Mercurian magi who have a variety of useful rituals for sale to other covenants, earning their vis on the margin.

-Cult of Heroes hero-crafters: A covenant specializing in increasing Characteristics. Caution: the covenant's magi are likely to have suspiciously similar statblocks after a while.

-Bookwriters: See above, but have the covenant's finest specialists boosted to +5 Communication (if they're fortunate enough to have Good Teacher, this is even sweeter).

-Specialist wealth creators: Ha, ha, ha. We are all very amused.

Plot hooks:

-Mercurian covenants are almost certain to contain a Flambeau or two (since there are a lot more Flambeau Mercurians than, say, magi Mercere). Quite possibly a Guernicus Terrae-magus as well. And they can Communion up either really high-magnitude destructive rituals (the Harbingers of Doom option), or else reduce the level on an Arcane Range Clenching Grasp of the Crushed Heart so low that the covenant's Protector can punch straight through an Aegis. A Mercurian covenant known to cooperate in Wizard's War will be feared, and their enemies will plot against them subtly rather than risk facing their anger in open war. Conversely, a Tribunal may come to rely on this covenant as the sword of justice against Marched wizards and threatening hedgies. And does someone in the covenant tend to pick up Arcane Connections wherever he goes? Vewwy suspicious even if it's legal...

-If the covenant grows larger, will it stay purely Mercurian? Anyone can learn a communion or theurgy, and very few rituals require more than a core circle of five or six Mercurians. If the covenant accepts more traditional Hermetic magi (either to perform specific tasks on the covenant's behalf or in general), will the covenant be able to maintain its Mercurian identity? If not, will the Mercurian circle remain a distinct group within the covenant? (The latter is likely - someone has to cast a big honkin' Aegis and the benefits of Mercurian cooperation don't go away.)

-The second generation of this covenant is going to have a reputation from the very beginning for a specific kind of magic, and many of their advantages (Mercurian Magic and likely a Focus - and this is assuming no Neo-Mercurians, and that nobody's going to awaken an apprentice to super-intelligence). To what extent will they continue the Mercurian tradition? Will they remain at the covenant, start their own all-Mercurian covenants or join other magi? If these magi remain in Mercurian covenants, particularly if they're pagans, then within the lifetimes of the founders we'll see a dozen or more magi raised in an insular tradition who may see their magic as not entirely Hermetic, and who other Hermetic magi may view with suspicion for their strange ways and magic. If the apprentices circulate among the Order at large, what legacy will they bring with them from their home?