[Actual Play] Ruins of Andresina

Starting Material - Also a good place to make comments and begin discussions if one is concerned about breaking the flow of the thread.
[center][u]Beginning of Winter Lent: Intro Scene[/u][/center]
And so, it's the scheduled meeting of the Rhine Tribunal in Durenmar, and the newly gauntleted journeymen have gathered to make their presence known and the current members of the Covenant of Andresina approved of the decision to accept them as probationary members and full members once both parties meet each other.

The two magi of the Covenant of Andresina are not here, having chosen to not personally. They meet Wickerus of Mercere, a well-fed and jolly man, who had been given their voting sigils with the instructions to abstain from everything. Wickerus gets them up to speed on his duties, which include making the rounds at least once every seven years to give announcements and inform of impending Tribunals. He agrees to make a stop-over in a year to discuss potential correspondence with Karl.

The rest of the group mingles with other magi and their higher ranked servants, eventually finding interested pen-pals for Correspondence; an activity which is hand-waved in the interest of not bogging down the first session of the saga with names.

And so, they met up with Eustace, one of the covenfolk who got promoted to teamster by the covenant (didn't have a dedicated one until now). Eustace is a grog saved from the gallows and has lived with the covenant for three years. Gotvinus casually interrogates him to figure out his backstory.

Upon arrival, they see the place being run-down and in dire need of repairs. Iovhar, a bit frazzled, invites everyone into the Aegis and shows them to their rooms. There is some debate regarding the finances, which will be at a deficit if Sanagos and Prokui continue to use their labs at +6 Upkeep, as well as Govtinus spending a day going through the rolls to try and figure out what they're doing in their research; to which he's figured out that they (can't figure out who's asking for what) has gotten a fair number of books delivered from the east, numerous astological texts and equipment, and siege weapon engineering materials with an emphasis on ballista. He also finds references to a source of vis that had ceased around the time of Luc's death, the only note being a cryptic phrase of "Cave of Magic."

Luc was a Criamon/Tytalus magus that was in charge, went into Final Twilight about 27 years ago in a large explosion that took out the Garden Shrine of Apollo. According to Iovhar, his loss started much of the real decline of the covenant, the other magus having left in frustration with Sanagos and Procui.
Remembering Iovhar thinking of a subterranean section in one of the outer towers, they think this might be the location of the Cave, so they head out. A handful of the more martially-capable covenfolk have been self-training to be the grogs, having lost the dedicated members of the turb about seven years ago due to reduced pay (coincides with a huge purchase of 'stone' according to the rolls). They grab two of them to help, Gotvinus carrying the torch.

In bear form, Joseph leads the expedition, and run into a coalescing knight, toe-headed and scruffy beard. He declares the area under his protection for Luc, and commands the intruders to begone. The group say "screw you" and so begins the close quarters fight. After about four solid rounds of the magi's spells bouncing off the ghost's magic resistance and trading light wounds between him and Joseph (3 on Joseph and 1 on the knight), they try one more time by throwing a critical-pumped sleep spell that penetrates the knight's Might, then quietly run in terror.

Count Adalbrecht sneaks stealthily while the magi research more on this knight, finds its corpse and what can only be the Cave of Magic. When he comes back up, Gotvinus spontaneously casts a "understand speech" spell on himself to translate the cat's speech. They cast a horoscope for the knight (Sir Gillard, former bodyguard for Luc, disappeared after his death), and Count Adalbrecht goes back down. From there, a Fear of the Mouse and double-applied Suffocate the Dead annhilate the Might 20 ghost and everyone comes down to collect the ghost's vis (4p of Vim) and figure out how the Cave of Magic works (as per Covenant).

On the third night, they finally meet Sanagos and Procui in the Council meeting. There's some debate on reducing their expenses to Upkeep +4 instead of +6 (Priceless to Precious materials, essentially) in exchange for amending the Charter to make them count as Masters in all matters within the covenant. They are signed in as full members of the covenant, let Procui cast the Aegis with everyone present, including Iovhar.
Joseph recovers in a week. Everyone begins construction of their labs.

Tune in next time, where Gotvinus takes a two week break between Winter and Spring seasons. His quest? To replenish the empty turb with trained grogs. He's heard that Tremere is the best source for trained covenant warriors.
[u]Endpoint: Winter 1220 Adventure & Spring Season 1221 AD (Two Seasons Later)[/u]
Joseph - Lab ConstructionAdventure 8xp (5 Animal, 3 Creo)
Exposure - 2 Magic Theory
Correspondence (Animal Ken) 1xp
Rhine Lore 2xpTim - Lab ConstructionAdventure 8xp (3 Penetration, 5 Magic Theory)
Exposure - 2 Magic Theory
Correspondence (Magic Theory) 1xp
Rhine Lore 2xpKarl - Lab ConstructionAdventure 8xp (undecided)
Exposure - 2 Magic Theory
Correspondence (Woodcarving) 1xp
Rhine Lore 2xpGotvinus - Lab ConstructionAdventure 8xp (5 Intellgo, 3 Mentem)
Exposure - 2 Magic Theory
Correspondence (Parma Magica) 1xp
Rhine Lore 2xp[u]Covenant[/u]
Vis Income +4 Vim, +6 Creo
Coffers £122

[u][center]Beginning of Spring: 1221[/center][/u]

A full three months before departure, they send a letter through one of the teamsters to Triamore of the visit between Winter and Spring.

And so, Gotvinus grabs Gregory and Dobbins as his shield grogs, and travel to Triamore. Half a pound of silver covers their expenses pretty well, and within 5 days, they arrive with Gotvinus quite tired because of his lack of any Ride ranks. Upon arrival, they are quickly greeted by Morris the Steward. As Morris arranging the stay, he's about give Gotvinus access to the private quarters and lab designated for magus guests when he's interrupted by Tabanus, who cites the very particular rules that access to the magus room/lab suites and the associated Aegis invitation require said guest to make the Oath of the Covenant as if he were a visiting Pererinatores. Gotvinus finds this too onerous and accepts the lodgings of a regular guest (communal guest room and all) and accepts the lack of magic under the covenant's Aegis.

After they situate themselves, it's dinner-time in the hall of Triamore. Daria has chosen not come down, but Sicero and Remi are making themselves friendly to the visiting magus while Dobbins throws around a Carouse of 12 at the grog table. Gregory spies an extremely large black wolf with burning red eyes outside, staring into the castle and accompanied by a pack of mundane-looking wolves nearby. When he brings up the issue with sergeant-at-arms Froese, he's told they're going to look for Gigot (sergeant of the gate) to have him investigate.

After dinner, Remi gives Gotvinus a tour of the covenant, with an emphasis on their high quality library. As a sign of both apology for Tabanus's behavior and goodwill toward a visiting neighbor, they give him a copy of Reason over the Passions [Mentem L12/Q10]. Later, Sicero plays a game of chess, and gets beaten by Gotvinus. Sleep is then performed by everyone.

The next morning, Sicero and Gotvinus discuss business, mainly Gotvinus wishing to speak with Daria for assistance in obtaining better trained grogs. Sicero offers to essentially pull a favor to get an audience with Daria that evening, on the condition that Gotvinus beats him in certamen. If Gotvinus loses, he must vote in favor of what he calls the Lotharingian Tribunal.

The two meet outside of the castle to perform the certamen (since the Aegis still restricts Gotvinus), and much of the covenfolk join outside to watch. Dobbins starts taking bets and acting as a bookie, throwing down a Carouse of 13. Thanks to a well placed use of Guile vs Folk Ken, Gotvinus manages to trick Sicero to choose Intellego as the technique of the certamen. On Gotvinus's choice, he chooses Mentem, gets veto'd, and chooses Imaginem; both of which are at 0 for Sicero. The eldritch mists form between them, their astral forms diving through in what can be best described as submarine warfare. Gotvinus wins thoroughly.

While everyone waits the four hours for Sicero to come to, Dobbins tallies everything and walks away with £1.5 from the betting pools, and Gregory has a talk with Gigot; who had disappeared early in the dinner last night and never came back. He manages to read him sufficiently well to tell that while Gigot says he only found tracks, he's hiding something out of a strong sense of self-preservation. Gotvinus talks up Richildis and manages to find out she's the well known philosopher and poet, Effugio. He mentally files this away as potential information to take advantage of in the future.

After Gregory relays the suspicious behavior on th epart of Gigot, Gotvinus does a casual casting of Peering into the Mortal Mind to get a better idea, and learns that the black wolf spoke to Gigot last night with a warning that it knows what he is. Gigot is a wolf transformed into a human by a defeated enemy of the covenant, and is terrified of Remi and the rest of Triamore learning of his dark secret and possibly removing the enchantment that gave him a mind. This black wolf seems to be of infernal nature, but Gotvinus plays it safe and doesn't alarm anyone.

Later that night, he meets with Daria, who is impressed with his credentials and success at certamen. He brings up his covenant's sorely strained lack of defenses, and asks for assistance in obtaining such. Daria tells him that there is a covenant in Transylvania that can provide him such, the Black Cloaks, an order of amber-eyed mundanes trained from a young age to be guardians of Hermetic Magi; not unlike the Unsullied from George Martin's novels, though not quite as severe as to make them eunuchs. Daria, while not personally interested in such a show of force, recommends their quality when purchased in small numbers and agrees to set up correspondence between the Covenant of Andresina and the masters of the Black Cloaks; their standard rate being 6 pawns of vis per soldier to own essentially as a slave.

With that, everyone leaves amicably and things continue onward. Tune in next time, where Joseph explores the forest where Juniper discovered a magic aura at rating 3.
[u]Endpoint: Start of Summer 1221 AD[/u]
GotvinusAdventure 10xp (3 Intellego, 2 Magic Theory, 5 IntrigueCovenant
Coffers £122

[center]Beginning of Summer: 1221[/center]

Joseph, Juniper, Karl, and two grogs head out into the principal forest southeast of the covenant to investigate the magic aura that Juniper found in her prior seasons of exploration for vis sources. It's a short trip, but a few hours, and the location is a copse of linden trees. The aura can be felt, measured with a cast spell and a Magic Theory test to determine it to be a rating 3 Magic-realm aura. Examining the place in greater depth, Karl attempts to Crystal Dart one of the blackberries in the copse, only to see it bounce off the berry. He attempts to touch the berry with his hands, and is completely unhindered.

Rosid the Linden Tree Copse - Genius Loci Autumn 15 - Magic Aura 3
Abilities Civil & Canon Law (Roman) 7, Faerie Lore (forest fae) 5, Finesse (Herbam) 3, Folk Ken (Testimony) 4, Magic Lore (forest creatures) 5, Penetration (Herbam) 3, Rhine Lore (Lorraine) 5
Virtues/Flaws Ways of the Forest; Magical Air, Anchored to the Forest
Qualities/Inferiorities Eidolon, Presence, Ruler of Plants, Linden Shield (MuCo 25; 0pts, R:T/D:Sun/T:Ind, Bestow +2 Soak), Ward from Axes (ReTe 25; 5pts, R:P/D:Sun/T:Ind; Terram Ward); Reduced Abilities x5

While examining, they are interrupted by a 3' grey-blue goblin standing upside-down from a tree, who greets himself as Juniper's father. He then starts berating Juniper for not having gotten married yet, pointing out the perfectly suitable bachelors right there; though he gives a back-handed compliment to Joseph when he turns into a human (enough to father some grandchildren, at least). With the banter between Juniper and Quick-as-Thought, it's mentioned that he feels the copse can be an officiant for the wedding once a suitable partner is chosen.

Quick-as-Thought - Terram Faerie Summer 20
Size -2
Characteristics Int 0, Per +2, Pre -3, Com -2, Str -1, Sta +3, Dex +2, Qik +4
Personality Traits Vengeful +3, Greedy +2, Doting +4
Pretenses Athletics (running) 6, Awareness (underground hazards) 2, Bargain (mortals) 5, Brawl (fist) 5, Craft: Tailor 6
Virtues/Flaws Increased Faerie Might (Major), Immunity from Terram (Major), Improved Characteristics x2 (Minor), Faerie Sight (Minor), Faerie Speech (Minor), Humanoid Faerie (Minor), Lesser Powers x2 (Minor), Personal Powers x2 (Minor); Little (Major), Monstrous Appearance (Major), Traditional Ward: Church Bells (Minor), Traditional Ward: Critique (Minor), Aloof (Minor); Narrowly Cognizant
PowersSartorial Magic (CrAnTeHe 20, 0pts, R: Touch/T:Ind/D:Until Dirty; Creates an outfit of masterful construction)
Steal Judgement (Mentem 15, 2pt, R:Eye/D:Sun/T:Ind; Believe any lie, Int EF 6 resist)
Appear Human (MuIm 5, 0pts, constant)
Run (0pts, Base 15, 50 pace 'teleport', restricted to regular movement)
After a bit more debate, Quick-as-Thought agrees that properly, he can't just accept any random schlub to marry his daughter; they need to pass the muster. To which he declares that the man able to bring either of the two magi in the group to unconsciousness with a trout shall be deemed skilled enough to be his son-in-law. As he announces this, ten men with large fish in hand are heard crashing through the woods, all overly gullible in their belief in Quick-as-Thought's claim and assurance that the magi are just pretending their incredulity.

Karl has Flexible Formulaic Magic, which he uses to enhance his Marionette spell to target a Group. The villagers promptly slap each other with fish into senselessness, forced to eat some of the fish, then released from the spell and told to go home. Quick-as-Thought clucks in shame at how pathetic that lot was while Joseph chews on the fish left behind, comments on how the outfits for all of them will go to waste, and promises Juniper that he'll find a suitable partner soon before he zips away.

Thanks to the goblin's banter, Rosid has been introduced and begins a conversation with the magi. It wishes to be a jurist and place of law again after centuries of neglect. If the party can rebuild the stone dais and podium, it will give them access to its vis, active and in potentia.

On their way home, they are accosted by a pack of five wolves (ArM's magical wolf, specifically). The fight is intense, especially after Karl's Cthonic Mortar (3 pace diameter version of Earth's Carbuncle) is extended to Diameter duration and fails to penetrate the magic resistance (discovering that the wolves are magic); so the grogs can't approach without risking being harmed. The wolf keeps its group bonus on defense throughout the fight and finds itself unable to get through Joseph's soak. By the time one of the wolves is killed, it slows down enough to curse at Joseph for killing its mate. The party implores that Joseph did no such thing, and agrees to go before the Linden Copse to prove its innocence.

Joseph is acquitted, but the wolf isn't happy and warns him that he'll rip out his throat if he so much as pisses on one of his trees.

At the end of autumn, in the middle of the day, Prokui gathers a bit of a crowd as he wheels out a large sextant onto his balcony and starts taking measurements and makes calculations while looking to the southeast. He then conjures a scorpio, loads it with a solid metal bolt from his robes, then launches it. There is an incredibly loud crack of thunder as the bolt disappears. Prokui then looks to where the ballista was pointing, teleports, teleports back about a minute later, and goes back into his lab. Gotvinus climbs around to get a better vantage point to look in the direction of where the ballista was pointed (Eyes of the Eagle), and sees a small crater in the side of one of the Vosges Mountains.

They are awoken several days later in the middle of the night by the same thundercrack sound.

[u]End of Summer 1221[/u]* Joseph - 2 Ruins Lore, 3 Animal Ken, 5 Animal, 1 Animal Ken (Correspondence)

  • Karl - 2 Ruins Lore, 1 Woodworking (Correspondence), 5 Rego, 3 Penetration
  • Juniper - 2 Ruins Lore, 5 Magic Lore, 3 Second Sight
  • Tim - 2 Ruins Lore, 1 Magic Theory (Correspondence), 2 Magic Theory (Lab Construction)
    [u]End of Autumn 1221[/u]* Joseph - 2 Ruins Lore, 1 Animal Ken (Correspondence), 21 Corpus (Summa)
  • Karl - 2 Ruins Lore, 1 Woodworking (Correspondence), 10 Finesse (Summa)
  • Tim - 2 Ruins Lore, 1 Magic Theory (Correspondence), 24 Terram (Summa, 7 cap)
  • Gotvinus - 2 Ruins Lore, 1 Parma (Correspondence), 2 Imaginem (Learn Aura of Ennobled Presence)
  • Juniper - 2 Ruins Lore, 4 Bows
    End of Winter 1221* Joseph - 2 Ruins Lore, 1 Animal Ken (Correspondence), 21 Rego (Summa)
  • Karl - 2 Ruins Lore, 1 Woodworking (Correspondence), 10 Finesse (Summa)
  • Tim - 2 Ruins Lore, 1 Magic Theory (Correspondence), 24 Corpus (Summa, 7 cap)
  • Gotvinus - 2 Ruins Lore, 1 Parma (Correspondence), Xxx
  • Juniper - 2 Ruins Lore, 4 Bows

Vis Total - 6 Creo, 4 Muto, 7 Herbam, 10 Vim

[center][u]Winter: 1221[/u][/center]
Gotvinus is given a complaint by the librarian of Durenmar. Leczyca, of the Novgorod Tribunal, has been distributing multiple copies of the Ars Percipiendi (Intellego L17/Q18) for 5 pawns apiece; of which there were originally only two known copies, one in their library and one in Magvillus. For those wanting minor spoilers, refer to this case as my inspiration, but with Gotvinus instead of Tabanus being given the case. Much like the source thread, Gotvinus gets stonewalled by Leczyca for his investigation, but is able to Folk Ken that their agent was readily available. Curious as to how the leak managed to make a perfect copy while in the covenant without access to spellcasting or time to scribe, he scried the minds of Durenmar's scribes to figure out what Boris sounded like; which was a very odd accent that was almost British. He got to examine unsold copies of the lab texts scribed by Boris during his time in Durenmar, which had some personal scribbles in the margins. After wanding around to speak with older members of Bjornaer in Stonehenge, he finally figured out that the scribbles were of the lost Pictish language. By this point, Winter is nearing a close, so he reports back that he's gone as far as he can for the time being, and the situation right now will be a matter for Tribunal. He takes his vis income in Intellego.
During the Council meeting of the covenant, it's put to vote that Prokui and Sanagos should collectively contribute at least some effort toward the covenant's renewal due to their financial troubles. Prokui accepts, and will agree to writing up some lab texts for a season for the Covenant to sell. They go over the financial reports with Iovhar; the expenses have turned out to be lower than expected, so they're at a net gain of £46.55, Gotvinus later checks and figures out that Sanagos is apparently maintaining his lab at -3 Upkeep. They also agree to spend 18p of vis for half a dozen Black Cloaks this year, and again the next year, the remainder going toward summae for the covenant library. Iovhar is designated the one to travel to Transylvania to pick up the purchase (Redcap for payment delivery/safekeeping).
The Redcap arrives shortly after the Solstice to drop off and pick up messages, receiving his usual double pay from the covenant. He drops off a package addressed to Joseph Miller, the Bear. No information regarding the sender is provided. Inside is 6 pawns of Vim vis in the form of brimstone; and Owlowiscious predicts injury for any who touch it. They show it to Prokui, who recognizes extraordinary Vim vis that will cause 2 Warp to any who touch it, transfers it into a metal ladle to stabilize the effect, then leaves.
During Spring, Juniper finds another Magic aura in the forest, evading notice of a large black dog with a single cyclopean eye. Following, it meets up with a rough-looking man with a heavy accent, retrieving some dirty stones carried by the 'dog'. The man goes down the road to a family's house, the dog hides from view, and convinces them to let him stay the night. Around midnight, a 70 year old Petalichus the Weaver (later revealed to be Karl's parens) walks down the road and lets himself in through having the family's clothing wrap around their heads (so they don't see him) and choke them into unconsciouness. Speaking in Latin, which Juniper doesn't know, Petalichus is handed the stones (in the better lighting, they're in the shape of eggs); who in return gives the man fine clothing made from the family's garb and a fistful of conjured silver. Turning to another page in his tome, Petalichus teleports away and the stranger takes his leave, strange dog in tow.
At the end of spring, half a dozen soldiers arrive with Iovhar, who looks worn and stressed about the hooded crow that had been following them the entire trip.

In addition, Prokui comes out with a stack of lab texts from his season of work, tells them it should be a sufficient contribution to the covenant, collects his 2p of vis, and teleports back into his sanctum.

[u]End of Winter 1221[/u]* Gotvinus - 2 Ruins Lore, 1 Parma (Correspondence), 5 Intrigue, 4 Awareness

  • End of Year Coffers £169.05
    End of Spring 1222* Gotvinus - 2 Ruins Lore, 1 Parma (Correspondence), 15 Magic Theory (Summa)
  • Joseph - 2 Ruins Lore, 1 Animal Ken (Correspondence), 19 Vim (Summa)
    []Tim - 2 Ruins Lore, 1 Magic Theory (Correspondence), 2 Magic Theory (Exposure), 5 [list]Spell Invention w/Experimentation - Sober Withdrawl (ReCo 20; R: Per, D: Mom, T: Ind; Teleport 500 paces, restricted to when not any alcohol is on or in the caster)[/:m][]Karl - Karl - 2 Ruins Lore, 1 Woodworking (Correspondence), 10 Finesse (Summa)[/:m][]Juniper - 2 Ruins Lore, 2 Exposure (Magic Lore)[/:m][/list:u]

[center][u]Summer 1222 to Winter 1222: The Cheese Stands Alone[/u][/center]
The hooded crow is spoken of in annoyance by Iovhar, as it followed them all the way from Transylvania, telling the Black Cloaks stories of chivalrous romance. That, and it attempted to instigate a confrontation with an ogre in the nearby mountain. Wanting to investigate, Gotvinus goes into the village to speak with the crow personally; the two end up hitting it off as they are both meddlesome, as the crow (Miruna) is a consummate matchmaker and feels that the cheesemaker and her magic bison (limitless milk) living on the mountain to be a perfect match for Anton, one of the Black Cloaks.
After some conversation, an agreement is made. If Gotvinus can hook up the cheesemaker with Anton, Miruna will stick around and become a familiar to our resident mage cop. Complications are obviously present: the cheesemaker is being held hostage by an ogre with one arm/leg/eye for her magnificent cheese, and Anton's ego requires him to make slay the ogre in order for him to be most attracted to the cheesemaker. In regards to the cheesemaker, she refuses to even consider being romantic with someone (no matter how hot they are) if they love cheese. This latter part is easily fixed, as it turns out Anton is mildly lactose-intolerant and a few MuIm spells when offered ensure his limited exposure to cheese is poorly received. The former results in Gotvinus & Joseph declaring their desire to travel to a nearby mountain to help reduce the potential threat a rampaging ogre poses, bringing four of the Black Cloaks with them and Anton declared the vanguard/leader for their unit.
After a few days of travel, they arrive at the cheesemaker's cottage in the mountain and offer to free her from the beast's hostage, to which she happily agrees. After laying out her day's work on buffalo mozzarella, she hides in the cottage and the magi/grogs lay in wait. Hopping into view is a fachan, angry that humans are around to threaten his delicious cheese.
Our magi are wide-eyed at the ogre's visage, Gotvinus taking a Light Wound from the failed Bravery test (the Fearless grogs are fine), and equally wide-eyed at how thoroughly they trounced the ogre; they won initiative and landed four incapacitating blows, to which Anton finishes him off. Spontaneous casting a detection spell, Gotvinus finds the decayed apple with the ogre's vis and the party acquire a new specialist for the covenant. Anton acquires a new girlfriend, and the two will likely spend much time together learning to understand each other.

After they return, time passes. A new companion joins the covenant, teaching Magic Theory to the scribes that arrive that Summer. At the cross from Fall to Winter, the redcap delivers another package to Joseph Miller the bear, a silver amulet with sigils for angels inscribed upon it. Gotvinus and Tim work together to figure out what it does, using a house-rule that identification requires a week of work instead of a season...

Joseph's fine with this mysterious benefactor deciding bequeath such an item, and adds a chain to the amulet so it can be worn in human or bear form.
Later that winter, premonitions of doom are given by the owl a week in advance, and so they prepare; a team of 27 bandits being led by a trio of Thathaboath.
Our players are new to combat, and this is the first true one of the campaign, so I go easy on them when they make some major mistakes; they merge all six of the Black Cloaks together to fight on their own and Gotvinus, Joseph, and Tim all split up to fight on their lonesome. Joseph ends up with three Light Wounds, to which those bandits end up sprinting away from the covenant at top speed. In the end, Tim gets stabbed by a lone bandit for a Medium wound and except for the three bandits who escaped, the Black Cloaks rolled over everything like a murderball. Prokui comes out shortly after to destroy the demon corpses and looks for the tracks where the three bandits escaped, as they have Joseph's blood; their bodies lay dead at a crossroads, swords missing.
Gotvinus casts a scry spell on the sword that struck Joseph, using his wound as the arcane connection, and sees a nearly naked man chanting and scraping the blood into an inscribed jar. Then he continues to chant and cast with a figurine of a man (which Joseph is, currently), where Joseph's amulet erupts in white flame that is promptly extinguished by its other power. Unfortunately, Gotvinus can't get a read on where the man is, and they don't know of any spell that could locate Joseph's blood.

Experience for 1222
Summer* Gotvinus - 2 Ruins Lore, 1 Parma (Correspondence), 2 Intrigue (Exposure; Guernicus work)

  • Tim - 2 Ruins Lore, 1 1 Magic Theory (Correspondence), 2 Latin (Exposure; writing Q12 Vim tractatus)
  • Karl - 2 Ruins Lore, 1 Woodworking (Correspondence), 10 Finesse (Summa)
  • Joseph - 2 Ruins Lore, 1 Animal Ken (Correspondence), 19 Vim (Summa)
  • Juniper - 2 Ruins Lore, 5 Artes Liberales (tutor), 14 Latin (tutor)
    Fall* Gotvinus - 2 Ruins Lore, 1 Parma (Correspondence), 18+9 Intellego (Summa)
  • Tim - 2 Ruins Lore, 1 1 Magic Theory (Correspondence), 2 Latin (Exposure; writing Q12 Rego tractatus)
  • Karl - 2 Ruins Lore, 1 Woodworking (Correspondence), 10 Finesse (Summa)
  • Joseph - 2 Ruins Lore, 1 Animal Ken (Correspondence), 21 Creo (Summa)
  • Juniper - 2 Ruins Lore, 19 Latin (tutor)
    Winter* Gotvinus - 1 Ruins Lore, 18+9 Intellego (Summa)
  • Tim - 1 Ruins Lore, 1 1 Magic Theory (Correspondence), 5 Penetration (adventure), 5 Muto (adventure), 0 (Writing Q12 X tractatus)
  • Karl - 1 Ruins Lore, 1 Woodworking (Correspondence), 10 Finesse (Summa)
  • Joseph - 1 Ruins Lore, 1 Animal Ken (Correspondence), 5 Animal (Adventure), 5 Muto (adventure), 0 (Spell invention)
  • Juniper - 1 Ruins Lore, 19 Latin (tutor)

[center][u]Spring 1223 to Winter 1223: Fire Sale[/u][/center]
While relying on the safety of the amulet, Joseph opts to stay in the Aegis for the year, reading up on the infernal for a possible defense in the second half of the year.
Meanwhile, in spring, Juniper begins his search through the forest for the place where she suspects the vis source is after the encounter with the one-eyed dog last year. After a time, she manages to locate it, right at the same time as a Barking Beast (see RoP: F). With a film of webbing over its eye, it stares at the incredibly cautious Juniper while it lowers its head into the shallow where the eggs rest (looking like rocks under Second Sight). It then swallows the eggs and backs away slowly, the baying of sixty hounds left in its wake, given only a Light wound by Juniper.

Juniper spends an entire day tracking it, eventually catching it at the Linden Copse, licking up the one pawn of Herbam vis that's grown in. It jumps upon her, failing to harm him. The ensuing flurry of arrows and recriprocated bites end with it Incapacitated from arrows. When Juniper kills it with a skinning knife, sixty puppies spew from its belly, scattering to the four winds. Juniper catches one, the acquires the rock eggs and herbam vis the barking beast ate. After getting the magi's attention to bring it over, they find themselves unable to find any of the beast's vis and presume it to be hidden in one of the escaped puppes (none have good enough Faerie Lore rolls to know how they store their vis). But they're satisfied with the presence of 8 pawns Terram in the eggs, and Juniper now has a white foxhound pup; who will be looked after in the beginning by Briehilda.
By the time summer rolls around, Karl has finished making a second Ring of Peasant Control and the scribes have made copies of Tim's tractai, so with four Black Cloaks and the teamster Gregory (former bandit) he travels to the Hermetic Mid-Summer Faire. Upon arrival, he makes camp and plies his wares with Presence+Bargain to sell the various items; successfully selling the ring, the tractati, and copies of Prokui's lab texts. It's a good haul, netting 70+ pawns of vis in various Art flavours.
On the trek back, they are accosted by a dragon that smelled their vis asking for a toll for passing through its mountains. Not wasting time, the declares the charge. The initial gout of flame is miracuously resisted by the Black Cloak unit (critical soak roll) with only Light wounds, who in turn inflict their own set of four Light wounds on Simon and Karl flails his magic uselessly against its Might. The next exchange is ultimately uneventful, except in a short bit of banter, Karl asks for the name of the mighty dragon about to defeat him. Gregory shoots an arrow that actually manages to pierce its scales (light wound), to which Karl yanks it out with magic and hides behind a boulder. Simon looses a torrent of flames, inflicting Heavy wounds to each of the Black Cloaks, who in turn deal another set of Light. Karl uses spontaneous and a lucky Finesse roll to make a sympathetic connection. The following round, the wounded combatants fail to harm each other, but Karl's Call to Slumber manages to penetrate the beast's magic resistance (blood, nickname, model).
The trek back is barely in time for the next season because of the need to go slowly and purchase another cart and riding animal, due to the extreme burns on the four Black Cloaks. But they now have a nice set of teeth and claws, which Karl will fashion into jewelry as a mark of their service. The subsequent healing circle made for them for a season and 1.5 months will earn the Black Cloaks their first point of Warp (doubled because of their flaw).
There will be a flashback next session for Gotvinus's season of service.
Tim and Gotvinus spend a season each binding to their new familiars.
During the final days of Saturnalia, the door to Prokui's balcony violently erupts off its hinges and into the field some distance away. Ranting and raving, cursing the name of Hjuki, he summons a scorpio. Then he loads a bolt into it, kicks it into a random direction, and pulls the lever. With a crack of thunder, the goose standing nearby within the covenant is no more, and there is a good sized crater remaining. The eldest magus storms back into his tower, continuing to yell about finding Hjuki. Miruna lands close to a window, and hears him quietly sobbing the name, wishing to be close again.
Meanwhile, the crater is not still. The bottom is sizzling and melting, sparks slowly creeping out. With a sudden whoosh, the earth erupts out with a terrific wind. As the dirt cloud settles, three man-sized figures can be seen walking out of the crater

They glance around, then transform into birds; a hooded crow, an owl, and a goose. At which point, they take flight and begin to circle the inner boundary of the Aegis.

Spring[]Gotvinus - 18+9 Intellego (summa)[list]Miruna - 5 Intrigue (practice)[/:m][]Joseph - 21 Terram (summa)[/:m]
[*]Tim - 2 Magic Theory (exposure), 9 Rego (Discovery), 15 Penetration (Discovery)

Owlowiscious - 2 Magic Theory (exposure)[/:m][]Karl - 2 Magic Theory (exposure), makes Ring of Puppetry[/:m][]Juniper - 5 Second Sight, 4 Magic Lore, 1 Bow (adventure)[/:m][/list:u]Summer[]Gotvinus - Adventure (flashback next session)[list]Miruna - Adventure (flashback next session)[/:m][]Joseph - 2 Rego (exposure)

[/:m][]Tim - 5 Mastery of X (practice)Owlowiscious - 8 Latin (practice)[/:m][]Karl - 2 Magic Theory, 9 Rego, 15 Penetration (Adventure)[/:m][]Juniper - 11 Faerie Lore (summa)[/:m][/list:u]Fall[]Gotvinus - 2 Magic Theory (exposure, Familiar bond)[list]Miruna - 2 Magic Theory (bonding)[/:m][]Joseph - 12 Infernal Lore (summa)[/:m][]Tim - 2 Magic Theory (exposure, Familiar Bond)Owlowiscious - 2 Magic Theory (exposure)[/:m][]Karl - 18 Intellego (summa)[/:m][]Juniper - 2 Hunt (exposure)[/:m][/list:u]Winter[]Gotvinus - 15 Intellego (summa)[list]Miruna - 15 Magic Theory (summa)[/:m][]Joseph - 12 Infernal Lore (summa)[/:m][]Tim - 22 Muto (summa)Owlowiscious - 15 Magic Theory (summa)[/:m][]Karl - 19 Vim (summa)[/:m][]Juniper - 11 Faerie Lore (summa)[/*:m][/list:u]

[center][u]Summer/Winter of 1223: Storm Rising[/u][/center]
It is now time for a flashback. Gotvinus is told of ruin being brought upon his sodales due to mundane interference. Rheingasse is under house ransom by Duke Waleran III of Limburg; demanding Wilhelm to craft him magic items to make up for his providing of them to Margrave Philip II of Namur in their war.

Gotvinus makes way to Cologne, readily evading Waleran's stationed soldiers for an audience with the co-leader of the Apple Gild. Wilhelm is unsure what's happening, other than hearing of rumours that Philip got ahold of some fairly effective magic items, and evidently Waleran believes he provided them. After some general questioning, Gotvinus headed out for Philip's castle, hearing rumours of a guerilla catapult team and his own castle able to slay entire teams of horses at a glance.

Posing as a diplomat hired by Waleran, Gotvinus obtains an audience. It's a long-winded set of time, but he leaves behind a point of Warp using his more potent mind-reading magic. Philip was approached by a poor man named Boris who claimed to be a magus from Cologne, selling the Staff of Vilano and the Phobos Flagrum; both bearing Hermetic runes. Philip had gladly paid the magus much for the items, then proceeded to hire a team of half a dozen men to go forth with the staff and wage war upon Waleran's castles in retaliation for his aggression. As Philip's own castle is under seige (Gotvinus use simple ReMe magic to get past Waleran's men) the Phobos Flagrum is kept within the castle and brought out twice a day to kill some of the horses. Gotvinus leaves with a 'failure' to satisfy potential negotiations between Waleran and Philip, and makes his leave.

Once outside, he makes haste to Waleran, this time under the explicit position of being an envoy from the Order of Hermes. Making his case, he tells the Duke that the items were never supposed to be sold as it goes against their code, and so Rheingasse's aid under his threat simply cannot be done. Waleran is unconvinced, but is convinced that were Philip's own magic items to be removed, he would cease attempting to force obedience from Rheingasse and other magi for aid in his fight against Philip II.

Gotvinus travels for a time and finds the location of the team carrying the Staff of Vilano, strangely unarmored and bearing not a single bit of metal, using their position as serjeants to the Marquis of Namur as payment for drinks when in the tavern. Staying out of sight, Gotvinus manages to overhear their boisterous carousing, bragging of their invulnerability to iron weapons so long as they willingly bear one in turn. Later in secret, Miruna overheard them recount the tale of a strange man in rags giving them the blessing as thanks for giving him bread.

Later that night, under the cover of invisibility, MuIm for the voice of the wind, and sleep magic, Gotvinus keeps the men asleep and absconds with the staff. Under the rush of success with magic, Gotvinus then disguises himself as a merchant to go before Philip and slaps down the Mentem until he walks out the door with the whip. At a later meeting with Wilhelm, Gotvinus agrees to not lay down the law on Wilhelm, who had used magic to bankrupt several of Waleran's soldiers and their access to funds through gambling; on the condition Wilhelm subtly resolves the conflict between Waleran and Philip.

Gotvinus impounds the magic items to Durenmar for storage, their sigils showing their construction being from before the Schism War. He then gets paid for his service and returns to the covenant.

And now we return to the present, three birds circle the inside portion of the aegis.

The goose lands on Tim's lab and explodes most of the roof with lightning. Struggling to think of what to do, Joseph spontaneously casts an elemental version of Demon's Eternal Oblivion, successfully destroying 3 Might. Due to Weird Magic, he does get blasted in the face with lightning from the effort, but the penetration fails to do a thing. The elemental blows away their grogs, failing to even budge the magi's hair because of the Aegis. Karl targets the owl with a spontaneous MuAu to transform 13 Might into stone for a day, knocking it into Incapacitated.

Threatened by these magi, the two elementals swerve down and surround Karl and Joseph's heads for their suffocate power. Each of them attempt to cast a spell, but fail to penetrate their magic resistance. Not trusting their ability to continue doing magic with two fatigue levels already on their person, they opt to sit down and recover a fatigue, as the elementals can't tell they can still breathe.

After a minute or so, the elementals realize it's not working and begin fighting the others, blowing everything everywhere and beginning to suffocate others...

duh duh duh dunna chargin’ my attack

Using the arcane connection from some of the collateral damage, they enhance their penetration and heavily damage them with MuAu for the same effect as before. One of the Black Cloaks nearly chokes to death because it was transformed into goose feathers while in his mouth/throat (Joseph's weird magic again). But the threat is now handled, and they store the transformed bits of vis in air tight jars at the suggestion of Sanagos; who they are believing to not have the Gift since they've yet to see him cast a single spell.

Next is exploring the ball of violet energy in the crater below that the elementals crawled out of. Through experimentation and Magic Theory, they eventually deduce it seems to essentially be an excessively Warped, 10 pase diameter, circle ward against Animal, Terram, Aquam, and Herbam that's been around for anywhere from 50 to 200 years. It's carved onto a plate of brass inscribed with various Hermetic Forms indicating what it's warding against, but seems to be otherwise empty. After a couple days of excavation, they get the hemisphere completely exposed with a walkway to it. Stripping naked, Gotvinus enters the circle to start using Intellego magics; including a lack of aura and the presence of regio boundary. As he exited, he swore he heard the rustling of pages. Juniper goes in next. Within the boundary of the ward is two layers of regionnes, the middle one seeming to be an empty void, and the top-most one filled with clouds and sunlight along with a huge tome floating within.

Juniper, traversing the regio boundaries, finds herself unable to catch the massive codex, but does manage to 'herd' it into the bottom regio long enough for Gotvinus to use InAn magic to find the table of contents.

Ars Fulgrum
A massive, 36"x21", tome with the sigil of Tempestus of Tytalus embossed on the cover. It floats out of reach of any who attempt to grab it, but were they to get it to listen to gravity, it would weigh 75kg (Load 21). Within its covers are the following books.* Efficacious Conjuring: With Applications for Earth, Water, Air, Fire, Body and Spirit (Creo L10/Q15)

  • Study on Storms (Auram L10/Q20)
  • Lab Text on Fulgrous Orb - As per incantation of lightning w/Potency 7 and the component of an agate set into a wand
  • Casting Tablet of Fulgrous Orb
  • Ars Fulgrous Orb (Fulgrous Orb Mastery L5/Q18)
  • Calculations on Transient Lightning (Fulgrous Orb Mastery, Q18)
  • Boundless Realms of Zeus (Fulgrous Orb Mastery, Q18)
  • On Meteorological Events (Fulgrous Orb Mastery, Q18)
  • Lightning Strikes Six Times (Fulgrous Orb Mastery, Q18)
  • On Crafting Thunderstones (Fulgrous Orb Mastery, Q18)
  • Cyclops’ Illumination (Fulgrous Orb Mastery, Q18)
  • Correspondences of Tempestus and Others (Fulgrous Orb Mastery, Q11)

You totally stole the name of a Creo book of mine. :smiley: And I know from whence you stole it.

I didn't steal it, Tempestus did :stuck_out_tongue:

[center][u]Spring to Autumn of 1224: Salt the Earth[/u][/center]
Spring is a busy time for the covenant. Approval has been made to dip into the coffers and break ground for a new covenant great hall, with eight wings attached equilateral around it for mage labs. For their first year, they are going to contract two teams of masons to start construction on two of the labs, and enlist Ehren to continue his Magic Theory lessons with the familiars and three of the scribes; the plan is for all four scribes to spend a season this year toward constructing/moving the labs into two of the buildings that should be finished within the year.
Meanwhile, a large & heavily armored fellow w/his team of soldiers ride up to the entrance of the covenant, claiming to be Hoplite Joseph Miller (the Bear) of Flambeau. He demands a return of his vim vis and amulet, displaying a written statement of the original sender as proof of him being the intended recipient. Remembering prior incidents of the amulet bursting into flames, Joseph Miller opts to give him the legal finger, to which he is then challenged to certamen; the winner gets to be the caretaker of the items in question until the Tribunal case is resolved.

Joseph Miller wins the certamen!

Miller leaves with parting words to the effect of warning that Malachi is likely following the bearer of the amulet, and sarcastically wishes him luck as he leaves.
They later figure out the regio should be 'stable' if they break the ward, and do so. Then they manage to coax the Ars Fulgrum to fly into a corner of their 'library'.
Just before Summer, Sanagos returns, not seemingly with greater burden than before. The next day, they see him wandering the grounds near the exposed ward. When Gotvinus heads out to inquire this relatively unusual behavior on the part of Sanagos, the elder exclaims that the Queasitore's crying over their finances with his trip has evidently paid off, because he just found where all the salt from such tears had been found! With a kick at some dirt, revealing a salt vein, Sanagos promptly turns around and goes back to his sanctum. After some Intellego prodding, Gotvinus determines that it's a singular mass of sea salt that's over 1000 tonnes.

Use 7: Defend yourself from giant slugs.

The party debates amongst themselves at how to handle this sudden discovery of wealth, eventually coming to the temporary conclusion that they should at minimum use it to reduce provisions by 20% & start throwing £12/yr (two per magus) into the market directly as a source of income, so as to stick to the silver guideline.
About midway through Fall of that year, word spreads that four wealthy-looking hooligans are messing with the village adjacent to their covenant. With a disguise, Gotvinus heads down and uses Peer into the Mortal Mind to find out what their deal is: they are a gang of former bandits enlisted by the new lord of Neufchateau, Malachi. The handsome, raven-haired youth had earned their favour by granting them entry to an orgy or two, then asked them for a small favour in return. They are told to head over to Andresina and look for a man that goes by the name Joseph Miller. If the opportunity seems easy, kill him and bring what they can back to him in exchange for actual gold. If it seems like it would be difficult, then simply returning to the castle and telling him what they can will be sufficient.
As added incentive, Malachi advises against failure, especially if they attempt to run off with the money he's given them (several shillings). To back up his advice, he welcomes a terrifying looking demon.
Gotvinus directs the hooligans under an Aura of Rightful Authority, places them under guard with an equal number of Black Cloaks, then convenes an emergency meeting with the other available magi. While discussing the matter, they hear cries of agony suddenly cut short. Running to the room, they see their Black Cloaks hacking at the hooligans with blind rage, eventually calming down enough to angrily shout that they were a threat to Joseph Miller and must be put down. Simple InMe magic shows their minds to be virtually empty except for vengeful rage, and Gotvinus does his best to calm them down.
After further debate, Joseph Miller (obtained some Infernal Lore texts after the last demon attack and has since gotten to Ability 2, and rolled a 17 with a lucky crit) sends a servant to have Ehren check the library for a text that may identify the demon Gotvinus describes. While they are initially ready to rock to take out the obvious infernalist at Neufchateau, Ehren arrives with the book, white as a sheet.

The demon is known as Olrox, Lord of the Broukalak. Like his brethren, unable to being born on a Saturday makes you protected (none but Ehren and Count Albrecht of the players), and can breathe fire. This dampens their enthusiasm dramatically; as suddenly realizing they may be facing a fire-breathing vampire demon lord that can penetrate their aegis. So, they send word to potential other magi of the diabolist's presence and plan to marshal their forces in the comparative safety of their hearth.

[center]Autumn of 1224: Winter is Coming[/center]
During Gotvinus's travels, he meets a Redcap with a similar outlook on life and interested in a covenant that isn't a Mercere hub; due to the fact she experiences some level of discrimination by not physically showing many of the physical traits of the Mercere bloodline. In addition, Wickerus is being redistributed after the incident between the two Joseph Millers, so a regular Redcap is needed to replace. And thus, a new Companion is added to the ranks.

In an undisclosed residence at Neufchateau, Karl sits in the back while cloaked in shadow. At the start of Summer, a message was sent to a merchant by the name of Urban with the promise of white gold. In whispers, Urban is tasked to sell a tonne of salt within the year, with the promise to keep a fifth of its sales. If Karl is pleased with the proceeds, then an even greater amount of salt will be tasked to him. Urban is further warned, with all the force given by the Gift, of the dangers in attempting to cheat Karl of his due.

"Pass the salt" seems so much more ominous in this context

In light of the news of Malachi, they decide as a group to have Alfonso investigate Neufchateau. Transforming into an eagle for overland travel to get there in like 20 minutes, she then shifts into a sparrow to investigate more closely. The day reveals that Count Barathias remains in control, but has elevated Malachi to an exceptionally high position of respect after fighting off potential assassins without his skin being broken. Within the castle, she sees Malachi, with surprising immaturity, enjoying the women draped around him. The elderly infernalist enters and gets berated by Malachi (in a language the women don't speak, English) for Joseph Miller still being alive and wondering why they don't just take The Item. The infernalist placates Malachi with the request for patience and subtly insults the boy's lack of understanding at how to control Olrox.

After a few more hours, Alfonso picks up a dropped hair from both Malachi and Count Barathias, and spies on the Count, who is writing letters of praise about Malachi to Duke Matthias II and trying to convince a couple of the village elders to increase production of armor and weapons.

The news is reported back, and Gotvinus attempts some nocturnal spying on the Count, only to find him sleeping alone in a wholly mundane manner. His first attempt with Malachi is a failure due to insufficient penetration, but the second attempt is sufficient to discover him also asleep in his room with an innocent look on his face. Passing the attempt to Lady Vivienne, she opens an Intangible Tunnel to the Count (having previously cast a Sustain the Demanding Spell) to attempt to cast a couple Unravel the Form of Mentem spells on him, including a spontaneous variation to dispel an infernal version of the effect. About a minute later, through her Second Sight, the intangible tunnel glows red and then she's engulfed in flame. It fails to penetrate her Parma, as does the second burst of flame, at which point she unravels the tunnel so the inconvenience stops.

[center][u]Winter of 1224 & Spring 1225: Make Like a Tree and Bleed[/u][/center]
There was some weirdness shortly after the news of Malachi was revealed. Prokui stepped out, conjured a boat, made it hover, then handed a scroll to a naked human who stepped out of his sanctum. The ship then rocketed to the West. Early winter, Alfonso picks up a casting tablet of Ritual Communion (level 25) to be delivered to the covenant, and a mercenary company arrives. The one in charge of the company is a Giant-Blooded man by the name of William, who holds the goal in life to slay demons. There is some initial distrust, but William is permitted to move into the village as a general guard against the infernal.

Lady Vivienne DuBois has an extended conversation with William via Iovhar, as she desires a small scaled reptile with wings. After some debate, a conclusion is reached that she will make a number of single-use rings

As agreed in the Council meeting; Karl, Joseph, Tim, Lady Vivienne, & Gotvinus each use the casting tablet to boost Prokui so as create a level 50 Aegis to protect themselves from Olrox. By majority vote, they also decide to follow the spirit of the code against magically created silver by restricting the sale of salt to £16/year above and beyond personal covenant use.

Karl's response on the right when Urban's sales come in

Late spring, a team is sent out to scout out the vis source that's been giving them trouble; Gotvinus, two Black Cloaks, William, and a team of his soldiers. As they near the place, Gotvinus notices a trio of pale trees are swaying counter to the wind direction, which while enough warning to save him, is not enough to prevent the rest from being attacked by the vampire trees. It's a long and protracted battle, where Gotvinus learns a valuable lesson with his invisibility magic; trees don't have eyes.

The ambush probably doesn't work as well if they did

Fortunately, he spontaneously removed his Black Cloaks' touch species, which seems to confuse them enough to help hack out William and his men. Ultimately, one of the soldiers is killed and two are incapacitated (luckily they don't die), and everyone is brought to a healing circle they set up in one of the empty lab buildings and recover over four+ months. Half a dozen pawns of Herbam vis are stripped from the trees, three pawns of Terram are harvested from the source, Alfonso is shown the location and harvesting so they can have it registered to the covenant.

[center][u]Spring & Summer of 1225: The Stars Hurt[/u][/center]
During Spring, Karl gets a message to meet with Urban for the conditions of salt, and is paid £80. He's also told the tariffs become more lenient with a greater volume, £90 to the tonne in quantities of 4 tonnes or more. Karl, remembering the Council vote very recently, takes the money and tells him to wait a day or two for him to check with his sources. An emergency Council meeting is held, to which Karl argues that he did it before the Council voted, and emphasized the fact it needs to bring ruin upon their sodales before it's a problem; to which it's a single tonne of salt to a mundane merchant who works in Champagne in a region with no monopolies, and doesn't even know his source is from a wizard. The vote comes up again, about the same results, except this time it's Sanagos going "since it's Gotvinus who gave us this salt from his tears, fallout is to be on his head" and voting in favor of continuing the 1 tonne/year rate.

Some time later we have a coincidental meeting of grogs and companions. Alfonso, Ehren, Villenc the Illuminator, and the two teamsters Dobbins and Gregory. They had been doing some travels for business for the magi, and were spending the night at an inn in Neufchateau. Dobbins is woken by speech just outside the window in an alley, where two figures discuss the hurried arrival of Joseph Miller's materials as well as confirmation of his location. It's incredibly dark because of the new moon, so the torch really stands out, giving Dobbins a view of several astronomical papers and maps and other items. He wakes the others, telling them his view, to which Ehren identifies the papers as a nativity horoscope.

Realizing what's at stake, the group jumps out of bed and heads out to intercept the scoundrels. Villenc shifts into a stag, while Alfonso into an asp[sup]1[/sup]. Skipping the pleasantries, they ambush them; the one in furs and carrying the horoscope whipping out a dagger and wounding Villenc while dodging its attack, the other being knocked down and mildly wounded (resists the asp venom). The fight progresses, the asp repeatedly biting the same man who keeps resisting the poison until Dobbins stabs him to stop the madness, while the one in furs keeps dodging the stag and other attacks until a sword gives a distinct thunk when it strikes him for the first time. At which point, throwing his hair back, the 20 year old looking man shouts them down as Malachi. He takes a look at Villenc and tells him to run, at which point the stag bounds away. As the fight progresses, the asp spends a turn or two trying to shift, and Gregory is commanded to kill Dobbins (Villenc, upon release from his control, decides to keep running).

Meanwhile, Ehren has since run away to grab his stuff at the inn (the man in clothing had Contagious Obsession, which spread to Ehren). The innkeeper asks what's up, and gets unusually frightened by the events and starts trying to rally the town, claiming they're under attack.

Malachi, by this point having lost the horoscope in the fight from a sword slash, starts moving back slowly while Gregory & Dobbins struggle. Alfonso shifts into lion form, causing Malachi to lose his cool and run around the corner. Bounding after, Alfonso finds him bowled over inside a family's home, shouting for help. She growls and steps out while the rest of the town begins to gather. Dobbins gathers the horoscope remnants and joins the others in hitching up their wagon and getting the hell out of town. They pick up a small, wounded, naked man with only a deerskin out in the field on their way out.

Around midnight, the group rouse the magi to tell them of what they encountered. Prokui, tired of the threat, asks Alfonso to sneak into the castle to get a hair of Malachi's. Alfonso is granted invisibility and silence enchantments, transforms into an eagle whose casual fly speed is 30mph, and readily infiltrates the castle. The infernalist is nearby, with the demon in scary looking owl form, trying his best to scold Malachi without hurting his feelings while he's bandaged from the light wounds he received. Once they leave, Alfonso snatches a bloody gauze and stores it in her pouch to fly back to the covenant.

At this point, Gotvinus spontaneously generates an image of the room Alfonso is in with the Arcane Connection, then Prokui throws out a ceremonial version of Strings of the Unwilling Marionette with increased range. Malachi is dragged across the castle with a greatsword, stabs the infernalist a few times, then slits his own throat.

Prokui teleports back to bed.

At the end of spring, Lady Vivienne hands the team of men from William's company magical rings that will grant immunity to fire for a day (+25 fire wards), and they set out on their journey to capture a dragon for her to bond to.

Writing to the King of Cats, Ehren implores his liege to revoke his banishment and return to where it is safer. The King of Cats responds with an offer of redemption. There is a party being hosted by the League of Gastronomers, to which Ehren and a +1 is invited. Sanagos is also invited, and is permitted a +1. RSVPs are expected from Ehren, and if the party goes well, he will be permitted to return.

  1. The next day, I realized that the Dominion aura for the town should've applied to Alfonso's shapeshifting. Taking advantage of the fact it was at night, and New Castle is more of a town than a city, meant it was merely a -3 to checks; we decided to just keep it in mind for next time.

[center][u]Summary of 1224[/u][/center]
GotvinusSpring - Adventure (5 Intellego, 5 Parma)
Summer - Queasitore Exposure (2 Intrigue)
Autumn - Reading (21 Creo)
Winter - Reading (19 Vim)Joseph MillerSpring - Adventure (5 Muto, 5 Vim)
Summer - Lab Exposure (2 Magic Theory)

Autumn - Reading (18 Intellego)
Winter - Reading (18 Intellego)[u]Tim[/u]Spring - Adventure (5 Magic Theory, 2 Magic Lore, 3 Parma)
Summer - Reading (18 Magic Theory)
Autumn - Translation (2 Scribe)
Winter - Lab Refinement (2 Magic Theory)[u]Karl[/u]Spring - Adventure (5 Penetration, 5 Finesse)
Summer - Reading (19 Vim)
Autumn - Reading (7 Vim)
Winter - Reading (15 Creo)[u]Lady Vivienne Dubois[/u]Summer - Reading (15 Creo)
Autumn - Reading (16 Auram)
Winter - Lab Exposure (2 Ignem)

[u]Familiars[/u]Miruna Spring (16 Magic Theory), Summer (15 Magic Theory), Autumn & Winter Matchmaking (4 Intrigue)
Owlowicious Spring (15 Magic Theory), Summer (16 Magic Theory), Autumn & Winter Predictions (4 Premonitions)

[center]Be Very Quiet: We're Hunting Dwagons[/center]
The search for a dragon suitable for Lady Vivienne's needs as a familiar isn't established in the rules, so I kit-bashed the rules for searching for an apprentice. After spending a season searching, make a Perception + Magic Lore stress roll against an EF 18. If you fail but still get a 12+, you get a +3 for the next season.

And so, the team of Williams's grogs searched across the land for three seasons before they found rumours of a tiny dragon. Stealthily, they sneak up upon it, and the resulting combat goes surprisingly well for them as they grapple and scuffle it into unconsciousness. They triple muzzle it and begin their trek back home.

Might 9 (Animal)
Characteristics Cun -3, Per +2, Pre +0, Com +0, Str -3, Sta +2, Dex +3, Qik +4
Size -2
Season Spring
Virtues/Flaws Magical Animal; Lightning Reflexes, Piercing Gaze, Puissant (Brawl), Tough; Mute, No Hands; Magical Monster
Qualities/Inferiorities Affinity for Magic Theory, Ignem Resistance, Improved Abilities, Improved Defense, Improved Powers x2, Improved Soak x2, Lesser Power, Personal Power x2, Puissant Magic Theory, Unaffected by the Gift; Essential Flaw (Avaricious, major), Miniature; Susceptible to Deprivation
Personality Traits Avaricious +6, Fierce +4, Territorial +2
CombatBite Init +3, Atk +11*, Def +12*, Dmg -2

  • +9 group bonusSoak +11
    Fatigue Levels OK, 0, -1, -3, -5, Unconscious
    Wound Penalties -1 (1-3), -3 (4-6), -5 (7-9), Incapacitated (10-12), Dead (13+)
    Abilities Athletics 2 (flying), Awareness 3 (alertness), Brawl 2+2 (bite), Folk Ken 2 (peasants), Hunt 2 (virgins), Ignem Resistance 1 (dragon breath), Leadership 2 (group combat), Stealth 4 (stalking), Survival 2 (mountains)
    Gout of Flame, 1 point, Init -5, IgnemR: Voice, D: Mom, T: Ind
    Range of 30 paces, dealing +15 damage
    CrIg 25 (Base 20, +2 Voice)Beast of Three Heads, 0 points, ConstantBase 25, +2 Sun, +1 constant, +2 additional heads

[center][u]1225: Mysteries & Recruiting[/u][/center]
It's early spring when Alfonso does a season of Redcap service, keeping an eye out for potential recruits for the covenant. She rolls a successful Perception test to find someone desperate enough to live in the covenant with creepy people (EF 6); to which she runs into a priest managing a gaggle of people stricken with mental demons, one woman who speaks in naught but tongues and is untouched by the innumerable insects around. As Alfonso has Gift of Tongues, she figures out the woman is actually an Egyptian beekeeper (under the rule of Ramses II), mysteriously stranded in a cold and dirty foreign land when her village was attacked by a huge swarm of locusts. Alfonso offers to take the woman, Beetrice, under her wing to help heal her; the worried priest complies, happy to have the space.

During Spring, Tim researches a new spell, which he casts around the covenant.

Count Adalbrecht Werahamun Sylvester von Tutankhamun pulls some strings, and gets in contact with Profundus who lives in Valnastium. With an agreement of the covenant, they offer him a magic item in exchange for him to visit for two seasons to provide Etiquette tutoring for the people invited to the party, which are made by Joseph Miller.

They don't beat around the bush when it comes to bribing a gardener.

In preparation for the party, Alfonso and Lady Vivienne send a letter to Petalichus in hopes that he could make a cloak to aid in Alfonso's shapeshifting and a dress for Lady Vivienne (she'll enchant it herself). He writes back in agreement and tells them to anticipate his arrival in Summer, and will need access to a lab; charging 5 pawns of vis for each item. I am presuming that Petalichus uses his loom on his off days to try to make the best cloth he can, and so has a decent supply of Excellent (+2) fabric bolts in which to work with. It will take repeated castings of another assumed ReAn spell to craft clothing (super low level, and very in character to have), and restricting him to a simple die, but he is numerically able to make Excellent (+2) work on his Finesse checks. Then, his plan is to use Item of Quality on the violet amethyst he's going to have woven into the dress and on the cloak itself, giving a +4 to each for "ascendancy over the masses" and "transform wearer" respectively. And so, 2xp into his Hubris and 10 pawns richer, there will be a breathtakingly beautiful dress with sparkling amethyst and a fabulous cloak that dramatically eases Alfonso's transformations.

Encrypted (EF 15) message on secreted text with S&M bonuses listed. Message is to be burned outside the Aegis, mixed with wine into a paste, and buried beneath the tallest white birch within a day's march
During spring, at sunrise, a goose calmly flies into your lab. It attempts to honk for a moment before it stands up straight, stares at you with eyes of fire, and speaks...

"He who is called Tim. Know that you have been chosen to join our Order, where you will be taught much. That earlier tome is but a shadow of an echo of our secrets. If you wish to probe into the depths of mystery, keep an eye out for a single rose growing without a bush. Tell it where you where born and the day of your birth, then leave. Upon doing so, arrange a trip to this location upon your birthday at least three hours before the hour of your birth."

[Image removed by moderator due to complaint/demand for license from Getty Images]

Golden eggs would probably be preferred over strange messages, but you take what you can.

It's early in spring when Owlowiscious finds the rose, to which Tim walks out to tell it he was born in Brunswick in the middle of July. When the time comes, Tim gathers his things, two Black Cloaks and Eustace. He tells the covenant only that he'll be back in a couple months.

In Brunswick, he is approached by a masked figure wearing a robe. It provides him with an equal robe & mask, along with another rose, telling him to crush it two hours before the hour of his birth and then walk to the place where he entered the world. Donning the clothes, he crushes the rose at the appointed time and begins the walk. While travelling, three other equally disguised figures slowly join him in the walk. At the site, they use imaginem magic to shield their activities from active viewing.

There are some who used to call me...Tim

They afterward cast another ritual and create a magical locus inside [strike]Tim's[/strike]Scolarus's mind, with a summae of Conclave Beneath the Rose Lore L4/Q14, and tell him that instructions for the next meeting will be within the pages of the book in his mind. He then returns home, having told none his business.

[center][u]1226: Year of the Party[/u][/center]
It is a focused year. Profundus comes for Summer and Autumn seasons to teach a gaggle of the covenant in the ways of proper manners. The Weaver spends Spring & Summer in Karl's unused lab ("my student's obviously not using it!") to make Alfonso a Cloak of Quality and Lady Vivienne a Dress of Quality, Karl ranting at the betrayal of his covenant by giving an atrocious man vis.
Sanagos pays Alfonso a pawn of mentem vis to swiftly deliver a message to the host of the party in Geneva, Cybele, and to obtain the best coachman with a reputation of asking no questions to arrive a week prior to the party. Two weeks prior, everyone going to the party but Sanagos loads up into their carriages and begin the trek. One week prior, a crotchety older coachman arrives and Sanagos departs on his own. Everyone gets there with a day to spare, and begin to file in.
The party goes off pretty well with the following attendance.* Cybele of Jerbiton (46yr AG) - Disfigured host and sole mage of the chapter-house for Valnastium. 46yr past Gauntlet, last keeper of the Most Venerable Diamond Sword spell.

  • Shaunziel the Gelded of Jerbiton (30yr AG) Younger apprentice of the same lineage as Cybele, more politically disgraced of the two by their master's fall into diabolism.
  • Nomara of the Silk of Jerbiton (5yr AG) - Young, exotic, shaven-headed woman who dresses in the manner of and claims to be from Serica. Known for specialization of cantations.
  • Marno the Eternal Apprentice of Jerbiton (5yr AG) - Through a combination of theft, death, and unfortunate accidents, Marno's apprenticeship lasted for 25 years and five parens.
  • Rozin Tinwright of Jerbiton (20yr AG) - Current professor of philosophae, this middle-aged woman is prone toward deeply moral questions
    The King of Cats, Ehren, Count Aldebrecht, and those of the same court participated in their own party in a different wing of the manor.
    During the party, everyone but Lady Vivienne aimed toward using their Etiquette to improve the quality of the party. Every Jerbiton except Sanagos and Marno took a penalty to lower Vivienne's attempt. Altogether, the party went splendidly and Lady Vivienne was obliviously made a fool of due to the Jerbiton racism against fae.
    Right at sundown, in the open courtyard shielded from the rain of the storm, a flock of large crows was looking down. As soon as Cybele began his Parma ritual, the chef busted through the door and threw a spear at him, which Lady Vivienne fast-cast a mild disintegration effect to stop it from harming the host. In response to that, a dozen crows flew down into the courtyard, the Aegis (level 20, Cybele is the only magus in a covenant suffused with Dominion rating 3 aura) only being strong enough to stop the spell maintaining their animal-form spell. They 'revert' into a dozen armoured giants (+3 size) with swords and shields, and the battle begins as a micro-storm forms within the aegis.
    Cybele is quickly stabbed by half of the giants for a Heavy Wound from each. Shaunziel attempts to cast a spell and falls into Twilight. Nomara's magic is suitable for embarrassing people, so she contributes little. Marno screams like a girl and runs. Rozin pulls out a black stick and breaks it, disappearing altogether. Sanagos spontaneously throws half of them into a deep slumber. Everyone else jumped into the fray with a mix of magic and grog-fighting for varying levels of damage, until two white cats jump into incapacitate four of the giants (weaponized cuteness) with their magic and the King of Cats sends five of them into a coma by stealing their breath.

    I find your lack of cats disturbing
    In the aftermath, Sanagos used ritualized healing magic to restore Cybele. Gotvinus attempted to interrogate the chef on the balcony (a lacuna), only to see the man struck dead by lightning, prompting Joseph Miller to head out and dispel the storm. In their investigations and mind probes, they determine that a bald ginger by the name of Boris hired the mercenaries; he enchanted them into giants, turned them into crows, had used entrancement on several merchants, summoned the storm, and himself turned into a massive winged lion with horns to kill a vis source.

[center]1227: Travel & Twilight[/center]
Karl conferred with Gotvinus and Alfonso with regards to whom would be the best magus to bribe for the upcoming Grand Tribunal ruling over the Silver Consensus; leading him to an initial correspondance with the Primus of Tremere. Ultimately, if he provides a donation of a magic item that can weaponize cabbages, then Poena will advocate for a measure that will be favorable to Andresina's coffers.
Meanwhile, Alfonso flies south for the winter, ending up in the Kingdom of Nri; where she hears of a shapeshifter being tied to a stake for a pile of crimes. Heading out to where he's being held is a large tortoise chained down with intricately crafted bronze chains and covered with various palm fronds. Thanks to Alfonso's Gift of Tongues, they arrange a deal to be taught how to be a better shifter in exchange for his freedom; one season of practice as an accompliche, and one season of full-on training.
Back in Europe, Gotvinus travels to the Cave of Twisting Shadows to speak with one of the Criamon in Concentration training. After some debate, he is given access to three seasons of training by a seasoned ghost, and he is obligated to extract memories from the mundanes into a physical medium. Specifically, within the next five years, he must obtain at least 36 distinct memories of items. Examples of the kinds of memories include* True Love's first kiss

  • A bishop's first prayer
  • A king's coronation
    For every additional 18 memories obtained afterward, Gotvinus will earn 'credit' for an additional season of training.

    First gray hair?
    The Rhine Tribunal is ultimately uneventful except for two events. Scolarus manages to sell nearly a queen's worth of vis through copies of the fulgrous orb and his own personal lab texts/tractati. Also, Joseph Miller enlists the legal advice of the Gadfly of the Rhine to initiate a Queasitorial decision to give an ultimatum to Joseph Miller; hand over the misdirected amulet and 6 pawns of vim vis, along with a penalty of 6 more pawns of vim vis, before the end of the Tribunal. A couple silver pieces are dropped in Alfonso's lap to run and get the original vim vis, finally putting an end to the situation.
    At the end of Autumn, middle of the night, there is a terrible wind blowing into Prokui's lab. With a crack of thunder, the wind stops, and a soft white glow emanates from within. Out steps a glowing centaur that looks like a younger brother to Prokui, demanding to know where he was.

    The party finds themselves unable to satisfactorily answer the question of location, and find themselves threatened with assault. To which the Black Cloaks band together into a ball of murder...successfully butchering Prokui's adulteration, but not without each Black Cloak ending up cursed with a full understanding of their place in the cosmos; the psychological effects mechanically identical to that caused by Weight of a Thousand Hells. They get over it at the next full moon.

[center][u]1228: A hot time in the old town, tonight[/u][/center]
It's a calm Autumn day, when one of the covenfolk swiftly arrive with an unconscious Eustace in his cart. According to the covenfolk, he had been getting progressively more and more tired each day, and today he won't wake up at all. They attempt to rouse him, but he gives an exhausted mumble and goes back to restless sleep. Gotvinus avails himself of his less imposing magic to scan Eustace's mind for answers, and eventually figures out that he saw a prostitute in Neufchateau several days ago, and has since been unable to sleep at all due to nightmares of her riding him most vigorously. From the description and behavior, Joseph Miller makes an 18 on his Int+Infernal Lore test, and figures out that it's a succubus that's marked him.

She doesn't accept headaches as a good excuse

After checking when and where Eustance availed himself of the hell-whore, several black cloaks, Felicia (one of Lady Vivienne's grogs), Joseph, Karl, William, several of William's men, and Gotvinus made their way to Neufchateau. Knowing she/it only worked at night, they checked with the townsfolk, figuring out that she was the most popular prostitute in the town and the only one that operated out of the castle; technically out of one of the back doors to the grain storage area.

They wait until nightfall, having seeming outruled the possibility of any other prostitutes as being succubi. They do discover that there's been a rise in adultery in the area, which is where Karl got one of his new forge-companions recently; her blacksmith husband was not happy to find out it wasn't his child. The magi shielded themselves with a personal-range ward against demons, and Gotvinus went alone to the castle in an attempt to 'buy' her services. After a bit, one of the castle guard opens the door and takes a small bribe to leave the door unbarred while he goes on rounds.

Castle 'guard'

He shortly meets her within the castle, adjacent a small bed hidden in a corner of the hallway. They discuss silver, and Gotvinus's own silver tongue convinces her to provide the 'girlfriend experience' and walk with him to the tavern in town. Leaving behind the silver as up-front pay, they head out to a predetermined location where everyone else jumps out of hiding. Karl spontaneously uses a ReVi spell to command her to not dematerialize, the succubus uses a group target Obsession power to redirect the martial types' wrath into rapeful lust, to which the blackcloaks, Williams' men, and Felicia all succumb and attempt to gang-rape her before putting her to the sword. They manage to collectively pin her down, at which point Joseph Miller destroys her with a Demon's Eternal Oblivion.

Gotvinus and Karl head back to the castle to get the silver back, the guard not having finished his rounds. While inside, Gotvinus checks the aura, and discovers that it's a level 4 Infernal aura. Upon the realization, a cold gust of wind slams the castle door shut, simultaneously jamming the bar into place. Then, the torches near them begin to billow excessively caustic smoke. Gotvinus fails to unjam the bar, to which Karl uses (making the Concentration check) Arcane Translocation to teleport to the other side of the door (using a sliver of the door as the arcane connection since he doesn't have LoS to the other side) and then spontaneously uses MuTe on the hinges to allow Gotvinus to pass through. Catching their breath for a moment, they begin to leave the grain silo, only to be stopped by a fire starting in front of the exit. Joseph throws down a forceless & spontaneous MuIg spell on the fire to make it mildly dimmer, permitting Gotvinus & Karl to escape. Looking back, the fire extinguishes itself, they see sooty footprints appear inside the castle.

They ride back home, thankful that they sent at least one demon back to Hell.

As they know there's still someone there, they suspect it to be Olrox. Alfonso has heard of the Mulhidun, and makes plans to fly to where they hang out during the Spring of '29 and offer them a pile of silver for its True Name.