Advice - Oleg, Verditius farmer

Hi guys, once more, I am tapping in the forum hive mind to look for some advices.
With a group of friends, we are going to start a Solo campaign (using the rule for Solo Play somewhere on this forum), with young magus fresh out from gauntlet, each of them being the sole magus of their own covenant/tower/cave.

I would like to take this opportunity to test some aspects of the game that I refrained so far to touch. Thus was born Oleg, the Verditius farmer.

Concept: Oleg has faerie blood from Domovoï (helpful, household and farm faerie from the Russian folklore). He will settle nearby his village of origin and will take care of his inhabitants (whether they like or not - Oleg feels compel to do it). Thus he will develop most of the magical items proposed in Covenant to ease the work of farmers. He will also develop underground crops, so when the harvests are really bad, he has grains and food to share. Obviously, it will give him plenty of opportunity to have adventure between the daily activities of the village and the nosy Quaesitor checking if is not violating the Code.

List of selected Virtues (so far):
The Domovoï side:
Faerie Blood: Domovoï (+1) - core of the concept
Inoffensive to animals (+1) - I need it to be able to handle cows and sheeps
Oath of fealthy (-3) - it is the closest I found to describe his obligation to take care of the village and a good flaw to be dragged in a lot of problem
Faerie friend (-1) - you know, the kind of friend who always wants to help, but end up messing stuff
Carefree (-1) - he is a happy fellow, enjoying the little he has.
Nocturnal (-1) - it is at night that a Domovoï do his deeds

The magical side:
Puissant and Affinity with Magic Theory (+2) - It is so important for a Verditius to have high MT that I almost feels these two are mandatory
Hedge wizard (-1) - his magic and his habits put him aside of the Order - he is humble, almost an unforgivable sin for a Verditius :smiley:
Inventive Genius (+1)
Free Study (+1)
Secondary Insight (+3) - these three virtues are part of one thing I want to test: is it possible to have magus using regularly experimentation to invent spell/items and virtus to study ?
Weak spontaneous magic (-3)

Finally, to round up:
[strike]Adept[/strike] Apt student (+1) - he is a practical guy who learn quickly by doing more than reading. I found that Verditius more than other House needs a lot of non-hermetic skills and Adept Student is more likely to help than Book Learner when you are trying to master various Craft skills. I also believe it is a fair trade of for the usual Puissant (Craft skill) - I start lower, but can progress faster in several skills.

I limited myself to the Core book since my friend only have it, but I would like to see if it is possible to improve the initial concept.
I would love to have Strong Faerie Blood, but I cannot fit it in considering the other virtues I feel I need to have (open to debate).

He will start as a 20 year old magus - taken at the age of 5 for apprenticeship.
His Craft skill of choice will be Stone cutting (at +2 at the beginning), but later on, he will probably learn Craft: Jewlery, possibly Woodcarving.
No high level skill at the beginning (MT at 3, possibly 4 at most since I do not have so many skill points due to the young age).

Arts priority: Rego, Creo, Herbam, Animalem, Aquam
Here againg, I selected two Art I am not used to work with: Animalem and Aquam. I don't find them very appealing as magic tools, so I want to force myself to explore these two.

Advice and suggestion welcome (and if somebody can come with an other name than Oleg, I am open - so far, it suits a humble, unassuming Verditus mage.)

To experimentate spells and items, having inventing genius is wonderful.
And secondary insight is very interesting as you can earn experience in art when experimenting, and thus learn at the same time in other arts.
I like the idea of a magus just feeling compelled to help is fellow villagers.
The problem is being verditius as it necessarily gives you hubris, at least at one and you visibly do not want your character to have that flaw... (which for verditius help doing magical objects)
With his faerie blood, I think that he could be merinita, even nature merinita even if faerie blood would lead him more towards faerie merinitae.
Of course, if he is not a verditius, he won't have verditus magic and hubris to add to his lab total, but I guess such a character will not only make magical objects for farmers, but help discretely the crop to grow nicely and the livestock to be healthy. So I would see him very good in animal and herbam.
you propose laboratory adept student : it would mean he will need to take lab text of others to get the bonus, but he won't have them necessarily so why not magical memory instead?
Anyway, such a character is quite interesting, but will you play it for long in his village? Which future, which aventures do you imagine for him? I imagine such a farmer staying the whole year in his laboratory or walking in the village to help the villagers... wonderful NPC certainly... but I feel it a little bit to narrow for a PC.

The way I see it is, Hubris grows only when you trade magical items. He does not intend to do that. He will make them, then himself or is faerie friend will use it during the night to make the life of farmers easier:
"My whole field has been harvested, the chaff separated from the grain and milled. All that before the storm hit the village ! I must put some fresh cream and bread in front of my door step..."

In fact, Tormenting Master could be another appropriate flaw: his master is so disappointed with Oleg lifestyle choice. It will reflect poorly on him to have trained a mage who lives like a farmer and use magic to milk cow and make cheese... how mundane and boring it is... Whereas his sodales display flying chariot, powerful golem and Dragon-killer sword, Oleg shows the mighty Churn of Wonder which allows you to get from one bucket of milk up to three different types of cheese... yeah...

My mistake, I meant Apt Student. It increases the Quality of teaching your are getting by five. It is the equivalent of Book learner for a class or a one to one teaching.

I know that Faerie blood tend to put magus in the Merinita group by default, but some abilities coming with Faerie Blood could be sought after other House. Typically, I was going to consider that Domovoï blood gives the same bonus as Dwarf blood (+1 to all Craft skills), to make it simple and easy to explain to my friends who are starting with the game.

Serf's Parma, but isn't there a Flaw Humble somewhere (maybe not in core) that allows Verditius Magi to not get Hubris?


As an alternative, if Oleg wanted to justify his choices, he could be the gentleman farmer who enjoys growing plants and maintaining his rural estate more than any city-based activity, and takes inspiration from the ancient Roman senatorial class, and emperors like "Agricola" (who liked farming so much he was nicknamed farmer). He can point to the civilised and healthy nature of his existence.

In fact, he could be a Jerbiton and have developing food plants as his favourite art or hobby. Rules-wise, Apt Student or Puissant Craft(cooking) or Puissant Profession(farming) could satisfy the requirements for the Jerbiton house minor virtue.

I like very much this alternative. I also checked the general level of the various magical tools proposed in Covenants and they are of relatively low level that with a proper labtext, I can create them in one season even without the advantage of a Verditius.
In this case, I don't need as much Puissant and Affinity with Magic Theory, which allows me to take other advantages like: Minor magical focus (food), or Strong Faerie Blood.
Hehe, maybe Oleg will be brewing some faerie ale...

I will wait to see what my friend wants to play, so we don't overlap in term of House and this option allows me to choose between Verditius, Jerbiton and possibly Merinita.

Apt student is interesting, true, but only as long as you have a teacher... will you have regular teacher after your initial training?

Initially, instead of a library, Oleg will have three-four grogs looking like peasants in his farm, but those grogs would be strangely well educated :slight_smile: (top skill at 6, nothing extreme). It fits with two ideas I had in mind: his flaw "Hedge magician" and virtue "Apt student" which kind of imply that he is more comfortable with oral tradition than paper, second is that his "covenant" will look like a farm, with nothing noteworthy, except is well-hidden lab.

Of course, after ten or twenty years, he would have to look for other teachers and with the effect of the Gift it will be more complicated, but that what stories are made of.

Finally, I see him trading his skills and enchantment for private lessons with experts for non-Art related topics:
"I will gladly prepare this wand for enchantment if you can manage to let me enroll three seasons of class in this University, or spent two seasons with your master weaponsmith".


Secondary Insight from the core rules does not affect experimentation, only study. Unless I'm really missing something. It's a really bad virtue.

Free Study affects xp gained from vis, which is usually a terrible waste of vis, especially for a Verditius who needs to sink every pawn into his enchantments. Not recommended.

Apt Student doesn't help with xp gained by doing, only from being taught by someone else. I see you have grogs for this, so ok. :slight_smile: Outside of core (Merinita chapter of MC iirc), there's a virtue that increases xp gained from Practice and from Adventure (+2/+3), which might better reflect "learning by doing." But if you want teachers, flaws like Mentor can explain this.

Strong Faerie Blood is a fantastic virtue, even if you only use core, and especially if you want lots of skills, such as farming, crafting, etc: Start your character 15 years older and with 225 extra xp.

Your Oath of Fealty can just be an Oath. If you go beyond core, Faeries has a minor flaw (that really is closer to major, imo) that represents a magical compulsion to increasingly act according to one's reputation and nature. I forget the name: Warping to a Pattern? Something like that. Once you're here, though, a Faerie Correspondence might be appropriate too.

Farmer who Crafts Items, Core Only
+0 Your House Virtue
+3 SFB (many good choices: remember to take your 225xp and +15years)
+1 Personal Vis Source (more is better if you make items, unless your saga is already vis rich)
+1 Apt Student (because it's part of your concept)
+1 Cyclic Magic (+3 spring and summer; great for casting spells and great for lab work; spend your other two seasons learning; very appropriate for a farmer)
+1 Inoffensive to Animals (concept)

That leaves you 3 more points. Inventive genius for experimenting, and +2 Puissant/Aff in MT? +3 for Ways of Field and Pasture? Major or minor focus? (Minor Focus in maturation: CrHe, CrCo, CrAn spells that age a younger form to its perfect peak of maturity. Seedling to tree, various fermentation, etc.) Pu+Af in one of Creo or Rego? LLSM because it's a great fallback? Good Parens just because it's great for a starting character? Ditch Inoffensive to Animals and go full-on Gentle Gift?

Core Only Cultivated Gentleman Cultivator with a Fine House and Library on the Hill
+0 House Virtue
+3 Gentle Gift
+3 SFB
+1 Good Reader
+3 Puissant/Affinity/Cautious Finesse

This version can craft items, but is also especially expert with Craft Magic, able to perform all kinds of artisanal activities using Finesse. (And also great at School of Vilano stuff.) Make him an Ex Misc (you define the tradition) to give him 3 more virtue points.

As for the Faerie Friend, you might also consider making your character the guy who messes things up for the mundanes (the local lord notices that yields have increased and increases taxes accordingly; your item puts the miller out of business; two families fight over who gets to use the magic thresher first and it's a matter of pride so reason isn't likely to prevail; too much leisure time leads to sin; the next village over accuses someone in yours of witchcraft; etc), and giving him a faerie true love that eggs him on or something. Like an Entwife :slight_smile: urging him to greater heights of cultivation.



But it affects study with virtus, so that's ok. I always considered Secondary Insight as a relatively poor virtue, that's one of the reason I selected it to test how really bad it is. If I follow the Verditius path, I will probably keep it because I see Oleg more as a generalist which is the only way to make Secondary Insight worth something. If I make Oleg a specialist, no doubt that I will get rid of it.
Technically, I need to benefit from it at least 15-20 times to make it on par with Strong Parens (60 xp), minor virtue, so yes, it is really bad... Just writing it and yes, it is even worse than I thought.

Very good point. Otherwise I don't really leverage the potential of this virtue.

Free study will remain, even if it is bad for a Verditius since it is part of the concept of the oral tradition. Fortunately; virtus won't be too much of an issue since he will be the sole mage of a covenant build with 250 BP (with about 10-12 paws virtus income a year).

Perfect suggestion, very much in concept.

So far - for the Verditius version:
Inventive Genius +1
Free study +1
Strong Faerie Blood +3
Cyclic magic +1
Inoffensive to animals +1
The remaining points could be: Gentle Gift, Magical Affinity (harvest, minor; edible plants, major ?), Puissant/Affinity with MT...

As I was going through Legend of Hermes, Herisson's research is very interesting. Not so much the vis culture, but the ability to enchant living plant. I was thinking of going one step further and have some special Range, like "Under canopy" for large tree and the ability to make it into invested item. But I believe there is already an example in mage of Hermes with an enchanted sapling.


Free Hermetic Virtue: Primary Insight
You know not to take Secondary Insight. If you forget, the SG is required to remind you.

It's a fantastic virtue! Searching this forum for my periodic panegyrics might be helpful.

IG isn't as good as a virtue that directly affects MT, unless you plan to always experiment shudder. Bigger MT means more vis per project, for example.

GG replaces I2A, which gives you one more point. If you want it. Ways of the X (Fields and Pastures, or something like that) helps deal with both animals and people, but isn't exactly gentle: A different flavor.

Educated gives you 50xp up front and lets you spend SFB xp more flexibly. Appropriate for a cultured, educated, noble farmer, but not a true hedgie.

If you aren't sure what focus you want, I might avoid it, in favor of something that affects an Art (Puissant or Aff). Or just Major Focus: Farming, so you don't have to worry about it.




It's only the Inner Mysteries that give you Hubris, not the initial Outer Mystery for basic entry into House Verditius. So it's possible to be a Verditius without Hubris, but it means foregoing a lot of nice virtues.

I suspect what you're thinking of is the write-up of the Verditius primus Stouritus in The Sundered Eagle. Whilst he is Humble, my take on it is that it's only an indirect effect - because he's humble (and knows that developing an excess of false humility isn't going to be helpful when trying to lead the House), he avoids doing the standard things which would cause him do build Hubris. He'd still build it if he did do them, though, and it's implied he has at least a little Hubris.

(Humble is in the main book, and doesn't mention Hubris, not that it would anyway given it came out first.)

To be more correct, it is not that I don't want to have this flaw, it is more Oleg does not start with it.
Since Soloplay is about telling interesting story, I will see where dice lead me and what tickle my fancy. I cannot exclude that after a decade of work, possibly rediscovery the secret of Herisson, Oleg does not start to be proud.
At least, I do not count initially on Hubris to help him in his work.

CrRe thread since I can't find anything on this matter.

Are there special rules to enchant living plants, or is just assumed you can?

There is conflicting messages:

  • According to Legend of Hermes and the chapter on Hérisson, it requires a breakthrough, once Viresculture (already a breakthrough itself) is known.
  • According to Magi of Hermes and the chapter on Gwidion, he was able to find a sapling and enchanted it into his talisman. There is also a side note (p43) where Gwidion is able to enchant numerous living plants without any issue as long as they fit into his lab.

The difference is that with Hérisson breakthrough, it is possible for the enchanted plant to sprout or multiply plants carrying the same enchantment. These enchantments are also always following the lesser enchanted items rule (where as Gwidion seems to be able to enchant living plants without this restriction).

So one possible interpretation could be that as long as you are not expecting the fact that enchanting a living plant does not bring any additional benefits, it can be enchanted as per normal rules. But if you expect to get some benefits because it is a living plant - typically being able to multiply, then you need a Breakthrough. The examples of Gwidion enchanted plants does not explain if you can further enchant the plant as it grows and therefore should be able to contain more virtus and more enchantment (as long as you can fit it into the lab).

However, if you rule that it is possible to enchant living plant, it will lead to the question, that it should be equally possible to enchant animals as well, and finally why not enchanting human... which is clearly not possible.

So since my character is dwelling in this area, the suggestions I will make to my troupe are going to be:

  • Gwidion was able to enchant his sapling into his talisman because it was already magic and he made it his talisman;
  • the other enchanted plants do not exist (my personal preference) or Gwidion learnt Viresculture and it is missing from his character sheet;
  • Enchanting plants requires two breakthroughs: Viresculture and a second one to allow enchanting living plants.

According to Hérisson research, Viresculture works equally on Animals and Plants, and should also works on elementals phenomena and minerals as well. Then natural conclusion is that it should also be possible to enchant animals with the proper breakthrough. Enchanting human is not mentioned, so it should require at least another breakthrough and it might simple be impossible (maybe because of the soul - but it is only one suggestion to explain why it could not be possible - your house rule may varies).

No special rules, although there may be some considerations regarding the size of the plant. There are a number of interesting notes and examples of this in Magi of Hermes (Gwidion of Verditius).

Thank you!

It actually is possible to enchant tattoos on people (see page 51 on HoH:MC).