A "new" Annulus Connectens

I think I’ll stick with my Animal specialist concept.
I read the effects from Adelberts last years and I’ll be doing something just different enough to be useful i think. To begin with, smaller effects. Spells to make birds helpful tools for a mundane spy ring. And later on birds helpful as spies or scouts themselves or in other capacities. Perhaps even on combat.
I just need to find a House for this magus.

You just stick with Aquam.

Have we concluded on what our relationship with the Templars will be? If I understand correctly, we've joined them in setting up a new outpost, presumably because there is a good aura, resources or other attractions. What's our excuse? (Presumably most of us aren't claiming to be Templars ourselves?) Are we false missionary-scholars? Who have we brought to serve us - or have we recruited locals?

In terms of lending as a source of money: my understanding is that one of the main ways this worked for the Templars is that crusaders and pilgrims would give them money (or donate land), and be reimbursed for its value when they arrived in the holy land. I'm not sure how we would be able to get in on the action, ourselves. Perhaps we could be the Templars' moneychangers? They must need to get the coins from somewhere, to do all that reimbursing. (CrTe would be very helpful, in this context...) On the other hand, if this is a relatively new settlement I'm not sure how big the population is, and how much money this would provide.

I suppose fishing (like Jesus...) on the sea of Galilee is a plausible minor source of income.

Also, apparently (according to The Apocalypse of Methodius) the Antichrist "will be conceived in Chorazin, be born in Bethsaida, and begin to rule in Capernaum." This because of Jesus' curse: "And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be thrown down to Hades! For if the miracles done among you had been done in Sodom, it would have continued to this day. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for the region of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you!" (Matthew 11:20–24). So... that's a plot hook, in my book!

The Covenants book is quite a useful source of inspiration (although I don't propose we stat one up fully). How about the following?

Level 5 Magical Aura (Minor Boon x2)
Powerful Ally (Major Boon) - the Templars
Healthy Feature (Minor Boon) - the sea of Galilee
Vis Grant (Minor Boon) - the presumably health vis sources from our contested source (see below)
[An income related boon? Rights granted by the Templars, as the official moneychangers, perhaps?]

Wooden (Minor Hook) - to reflect the temporary accommodation of the new outpost
Rival (Major Hook)+Contested Resources (Minor Hook) - perhaps we're taking vis from a source used by members of the Order of Suleiman?
Mundane Politics (Major Hook)+Church Territories (Minor Hook) - our close ties to the Templars
Cursed (Minor Hook) - by Jesus!

Sharing my two character concepts as either a Bjornaer physical combatant (lion or bear), or a Gentle gifted Jerbiton with talents in wood.

Interested in the sensory magic aspects of the Bjornaer as there are not many shared spells and I’ve not played one for many years. I’d like the character background to include exposure to a crusade and would “age” the character as a soldier who might mellow and explore a changing and maturing attitude. A lion heartbeats might match to some Templar-ish themes?

The jerbiton as a man of subtlety who dislikes the limelight. Potentially a spy-ish nature or a gatherer of intelligence and recon. Might develop a network, might build homes and tools.

My idea is a Jerbiton maga (went with maga because of the Mystery cult /templars, read below), who has Hermetic Arithmetic and all her spells would be rotes. My "problem" with this is it limits the level obviously, but the challenge I guess is, how much bang for your buck can you get from rotes?
I would take a Minor Magical Focus in Rotes - I believe minor is acceptable, because though it covers all rotes, the focus is necessitated by another minor Virtue and covers only small effects in general.

The other side is the Mystery Cult, which I would base on this (Real life description):

"Ermengarda of Oluja, along with her husband Gombau joined the Order of the Temple and donated land. They were clearly shuffled off into separate houses, and Gombau disappears from the record a few years later. Ermengarda, though, is unique. She is noted in documents as a Sister of the Order. Not a lay sister, consoror or donat, but as a sister, the presumed equivalent of a full brother. This again is astonishing to me, but there was more to come, and it blew apart all my preconceptions of the Templars, for in the historical record, Ermengarda is referred to as a preceptrix, commanding the house of Rourell in Catalunya. So not only do we have a female Templar which is forbidden in the rule, but she is no peripheral figure. She is a mover and shaker in the Order of that region and even commands a small Templar monastery."


"During the 12th century, the Teutonic Order (derivative of the Knights Templar) accepted women as ‘Consorores’ (“Sisters”) who wore its chivalric habit and lived by its Rule. These Sisters were in active service of hospitaller functions, but not military activities, and multiple convents were formed under otherwise “male” military Orders.

In the 12th century Order of Saint John (Malta), women were given the title ‘Soeurs Hospitalières’ (“Sisters of Hospitality”). There were chivalric Hospitaller convents in Aragon, France, Spain and Portugal, until at least ca. 1300 AD, and in Buckland England until 1540 AD. The Prioress of a convent was given the title of ‘Commendatrix’. [10]

Also in the 12th century, the Order of the Hatchet was created by the Count of Barcelona in 1149 AD, for the women of Tortosa in Aragon, who defended and freed the city when the battle-worn men could not find reinforcement soldiers. The women were all made hereditary Dames of the chivalric Order, and thereafter were treated as female military “Knights”. They were given the titles of ‘Equitissae’ (from ‘Equites’) and ‘Militissae’ (from ‘Milites’) [11] [12]

The earliest use of the title ‘Militissa’ as a “female Knight” was the Order of the Glorious Saint Mary founded in Bologna, Italy in 1233 AD, and approved by the Vatican in 1261 AD, until it was suppressed by a later Pope in 1558 AD. In France, other chivalric Orders of women were founded in 1441 AD and 1451 AD, granting the French title ‘Chevalière’ (feminine form of Chevalier) or the Latin title ‘Equitissa’. Continuing into the 17th century, the female Canons of the Monastery of Saint Gertrude in Nivelles were “knighted” with the titles ‘Militissae’, and were given the accolade of dubbing with a sword at the altar. [13] [14] [15]

In Old French since the 14th century, women held the title ‘Chevaleresse’ in connection with acquiring a male fiefdom conceded by a man, or as the wife of a Knight, and the title ‘Chevalière’ as a Dame of an Order. [16]"

So a mystery cult of Sisters (and brother magi) of the Templar Order with ties to them. This is where the dominion things would come in - like virtues and maybe new target, ranges and duration, maybe even initiating Powers as spell guidelines.

I would probably go for a Jerbiton, who finds beauty in aligning with God...

We need to somehow justify having some sort of alliance between a chapter of templars and hermetic magi. We need for the templars to be cool with magic use, perhaps the magi only (as far as the templars know!) use magic to help the templars or aid the crusades? Even the magi are christian, or at least seem to follow the faith, the templars need to be more open minded than perhaps the bulk of church-folk are. I don't think they should be too holy. And perhaps a gimmick could be that one or more of them are prone to lapses in faith to the point where they are candidates for demonic corruption? So not only do the magi help them fight the infidels, they also need to safaguard against demons?

The easy solution would be for the covenant to have a jewish money-lender on the roster, then no rules are broken. Otherwise, as I mentioned before, the people borrowing money don't pay interest butpay in different kind perhaps in farm resources?

Boons and Hooks sound good.

What is the nature of the curse?

Warning: I'm currently having a cold - and that always leaves me about as smart as a head of lettuce.
Feel free to proceed without me, I won't be able to create a coherent character concept until that cold clear up.

That sounds fun to me. Your biggest concern will be Quaesitorial interest, if you are open about being tied to the templars. Although it sounds like that will be a concern for all of us! “I will not interfere with the affairs of mundanes and thereby bring ruin upon my sodales", and the gloss in HOH:TL implies that allying with a particular faction (say, the Templars) against another (say, their Islamic enemies) is generally seen as bad. On the other hand, it's also suggested that attitudes vary by tribunal. Plausibly, in the Levant, given the Order's enemies among the Order of Suleiman, allying with crusaders is not looked upon too harshly.

How about the following approach: by my calculation, if we're intending to end up +75 years in 1220, we're starting around 1145 (although I know we're not being too strict about dates). This is still fairly early in the templars' history, some 20 years after they were founded, 6 years after they were given papal sanction. Their founding is a remarkable break from tradition, in the name of expediency: warrior monks, when previously great pains had been taken to forbid monks from fighting. This can only be justified by the holiness of their mission, to guard the pilgrim routes, and the threat from Islam to the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Their situation around Caepernum will be fairly perilous; access to the freshwater sea of Galilee is crucial, but they are effectively a colonial force imposing themselves on the native population. They are well-funded, but Christian manpower is still scarce. This is a context in which I think they will not be too scrupulous about looking for allies. They are recruiting from desperate penitent knights who hope their service will redeem them for their former sins. (Susceptible to infernal influence? Oh my, yes.)

So, they receive an offer from a group of magi who, while not wishing to swear vows, offer to join them in establishing a new settlement at the site of Caepernum. They offer a healthy sum of money to purchase land (which was presumably initially granted to the Templars), and undertake to guarantee supplies for the Templar garrison, and to help them in its defence. [Looks like we have several Jerbiton, so it's likely that our mundane ties, including those of ROF's character, smooth this process.]

This would give us income from the land, through our ownership of it and especially fishing on the sea of Galilee. (That also helpfully could provide some inspiration for our aquam specialist!)

Where did the resources come from, to set up the covenant?

We could say the Levant tribunal is riven by the politics of the crusades. The regional tribunal itself is largely impotent. Factions of magi (Crusader, Islamic and Isolationist) can block almost all actions. This makes most Quaesitorial prosecutions fail - only the most blatant abuses of the Code can be escalated to a Grand Tribunal, and prosecuted. There is something of a wild west frontier atmosphere. (I think this is largely consistent with canon? I haven't read the 4th ed tribunal book.)

Our covenant is sponsored by magi of the Crusader faction (the largest, comprising almost half of magi in the tribunal). The 'Crusader' faction's official business is prosecuting a long-simmering conflict with the Order of Suleiman - although it is well-known that many have links to genuine mundane Christian crusaders. Caepernum is tasked with securing the magical resources of the area, and acting as a base from which magi can act against the Order of Suleiman. Individual members (semi-secretly) will have ties to the local Templars (as, perhaps, do the covenant's other hermetic supporters).

(Apologies for the double post) Updated list of proposed boons and hooks:

Level 5 Magical Aura (Minor Boon x2)
Powerful Ally (Major Boon) - the Templars
Healthy Feature (Minor Boon) - the sea of Galilee
Vis Grant (Minor Boon) - the presumably health vis sources from our contested source (see below)
Dedicated Covenant (Major Boon) - to resisting the Order of Suleiman

Wooden (Minor Hook) - to reflect the temporary accommodation of the new outpost
Rival (Major Hook)+Contested Resources (Minor Hook) - perhaps we're taking vis from a source used by members of the Order of Suleiman?
Mundane Politics (Major Hook)+Church Territories (Minor Hook) - our close ties to the Templars
Cursed (Minor Hook) - by Jesus!

And we would be funded by three (lesser) sources of income:

  • A small group of fishermen (Two hamlets of local residents, who fled after the initial arrival of the Templars, have been coaxed back.)
  • A fertile stretch of farmland on the banks of the sea of Galilee (Grogs we have brought with us are beginning to till it. Most are still getting the hang of their new profession.)
  • A regular stream of donations (From our hermetic backers.)

I see Hroppa's boons and hooks. They're fine, they're great, but they also are an expansion of scope and with a +5 aura the created characters differ from the standard advancement as presented in the core book. For all of the synergistic, laboratory optimizing goodness that went down with Annulus Connectens the final characters were technically made in accordance with the detailed character creation system from the core book. Now two points of aura is a small deal compared to covenant wide laboratory enchantments and group longevity ritual creation but it makes me wonder if everyone has mostly similar goals.

My goals are, in order:

  1. use the context created by our collaboration to inspire a whole mess of fun spells and devices which work together and are new to the game
  2. make a character that someone might want to use as an NPC

The covenant and background, for me, are just a means to an end.

Do the rest of you see this endeavor fundamentally differently than me? If the answer is "yes we do" that may not necessarily be an issue, to some extent more detail helps me with my goals - restrictions lead to creative solutions and all. I don't take quite as much joy in the setting as some of the rest of you, I don't expect it to be my focus.

I added the +2 aura from an earlier suggestion in the thread; I'm not at all wedded to it, and we could simply ignore its presence for mechanical purposes.

I don't want to get caught up in over-designing the covenant and background; fundamentally, I also see the primary aim to be inspiring new spells and devices. For myself, I think I will find it helpful inspiration to have a clearer idea of where the characters are, and the challenges they might encounter, both in designing spells and in creating a character.

To me it is partly also about envisioning the growth of the covenant, and see it evolve - part of this is describing some hooks and boons, which might change over the years, and hereby also an Aura, which may or may not differ from the standard 3.

I'm torn between two aims - one is wanting to explore areas currently poorly illustrated (like with how we covered houses that didn't have an entry in Magi of Hermes), and one is wanting to create useful game material to drop in to someone's saga (like the vanilla covenant project). We can use a minimum of setting, like the last time, but if people's desire to develop the covenant details allows us to create some useful material I'm really happy. I don't know, maybe I've got a hunger for a Levant saga that I'll probably never get to play and this allows me to channel that desire into creating good stuff.

Regarding income - hospitality is one - if we're close enough to the pilgrim trails of people wanting to see where Jesus spent his early life and did miracles at the start of his career, then hosting pilgrims can be worthwhile-after all, it's how "knights hospitaller" fund themselves.
Magical solutions - CrTe is not necessary when there's so many other ways! Our Aquam mage could use CrAq to fill barrels with olive oil, which will sell well and is a well-known agricultural speciality of the middle east.

Just design a Tytalus. If he later on turns out to not make sense, it’ll be that more of a challenge.

I don’t see any problem with these goals. I don’t know how those 2 points of aura suppose any threat to them. I mean, there is no rule that forces NPCs to have any specific “power level”. It could be different if you wanted to use them as PC. Also, 2 more points of aura suposse an easier time for the magi inventing things.

Although unless we're willing to regularly devote some quantities of vis to this, the users will be rather upset when it vanishes after a month!

If aura 3 is considered average, then NPCs for generic use should be based on this. Characters developed with an aura of 5 have an edge, can invent higher level spells and gain more exp on average from vis study. It’s not a lot but over time it’ll mean something.
Do to keep the characters closer to the average we should not have a higher aura. So I’d prefer an aura of only 3

Right now I'm thinking a leper magus who does a lot of grappling.
I have no idea why that seems like a good idea right now, but it does.

I fear such a person would quickly be disarmed in a fight...

Pun very much intended I assume.

This post has exploded. I would express an interest in participating, but holidays, family, work, et cetera have slowed my response times and you have a lot of interest already. :slight_smile: