Andrew II of Hungary

Disclaimer: Any information I have obtained is only from Ars Magica supplements and Wikipedia. I am also probably unwilling to do deeper research than that.

I am currently running a saga in the Transylvanian tribunal as the alpha (only) storyguide. My players have established an Oppidum in the Bran pass. They are tasked by the tribunal to fortify this possition against grave threats based on a vision of future calamity (they have other tasks aswell but that one is the major one).

This fortification draws them into alot of mundane politics. Soon they will have direct dealings with the king of Hungary, and they will probably meet him and/or his decendants several times through the course of the saga.

I would like Andrew and the Árpáds to be a formidable force to be taken very seriously.

Andrew should have access to some powerful relic(s) from Saint Stephen. What kind of powers do you think Saint Stephen would possess?

The Holy Crown of Hungary (Virgin Mary), might intervene on behalf of the king or against him depending on the situation. What kind of interventions do you think the Holy Crown would do?

It is mentioned in Against the dark that Kings crowned by both eastern and western churches and of Magyar, Slavic, or Vlach decent gain the power to shapeshift. Would Andrew possess such powers? If he shapeshifts into a dragon does he gain divine might?

Would you say that the future excommunication(s) against Andrew were "Just"?. I am pretty sure I read somewhere that an excommunication only has an effect if it has a just cause.

Or perhaps the Árpáds should have a more magical/faerie/infernal power base? I am looking for suggestions as I am not sure myself of which route to go. :slight_smile:

Thanks in advance for any interest.

The Arpads have a collection of powerful relics, clearly. Try not to go too overboard on the Magic Resistance they grant!

Anyway, while I don't have a lot of suggestions on the powers of the relics and saints, I think that the ability to shapeshift into a dragon, if granted, should be Magic Realm. The Divine can grant Magical powers, and more to the point, this is a high-fantasy style blessing that does not depend on the faith of its user as most holy powers do.

Shapeshifters do not have Might, generally speaking.

Per RoP:Divine, page 43, an excommunication of any leader with a Commanding Aura only takes effect if the excommunicate accepts it as valid, or if the leader has fallen into mortal sin or otherwise angered God. So in other words, God should not intervene in disputes between clergy and crown unless one side is involved in black deeds or that's the tone you want to set for your saga.

Alternate power I personally wouldn't give the Arpads a Faerie power source unless you want them to be secret pagans. A Magic power source, granted by the Divine or not, is possible. Infernalism is also possible but I would think very carefully about making a character into an infernalist. In general, making a character into an infernalist is a codeword for using him as a black-and-white adversary, someone whose soul is corrupt and who engages in vile deeds to empower himself. Also, too much infernalism in general will give a saga a particular slant that, unless you're playing holy characters or otherwise fervent Christians, will probably be detrimental to the game.

Perhaps you should determine first the relationship of your covenant to the different groups around Bran pass, especially the Teutonic knights, Hungarians and Vlach.

Only once such basic things are settled, and you know where your campaign shall lead, you can assign the 'roles' of main worldly authorities, and the functions of celebrated relics.

Andrew II ( ) appears to be an indecisive ruler, driven by opportunity and external forces. Which means also, that you can posit some less obvious motivation of his politics and actions, if you need it for your campaign. You can compare the occasional threats to excommunicate Andrew to the actual excommunication of Friedrich II, and thereby put them in relation to Andrew's role iyc.
What if his participation at the crusade was from the onset also driven by a need to find and save specific relics, and bring them back to Hungary? What if his interest in Galicia ( ... 0_1240.jpg) was not (only) opportunistic?

Better do not assign conspicuous supernatural powers - like changing into a dragon - to key historical figures, unless you wish to have them drive your campaign far away from medieval history.


That is, however, a saga call. I think Newberg is trying to turn the high fantasy dial to 11, and so my suggestions were made on that basis.

Of course this is a saga call - and hence fully the responsibility of the only SG in Newberg's campaign: Newberg himself.

Making the pressure of the Catholic Church on Andrew a topic of the campaign, and then giving Andrew 'high fantasy dial to 11' powers, will determine a significant aspect of Newberg's campaign.
Also, because the Church pressure will - in real history - become most notable after the Golden Bull of 1231, when the role of Jews and Muslims in Hungary is disputed.
This dispute will be of interest in many campaigns in the Transsylvanian Tribunal, hence could also affect Newberg's covenant on Bran pass directly.


Taking as the powers of the Crown of Hungary ( ... s_doctrine) those of the Virgin Mary from RoP:TD, you are unlikely to ruin your campaign. Grant of Serenity, Resist Temptation, Leap of the Faithful and Celestial Immunity are those that strike me as most often applicable - but the crown is empowered by the Virgin watching over a faithful king.


I would probably go with defensive powers (resistance to magical influence - to allow his wearer to always make choice of his own free will), something like aura of courage (to inspire his people in dire situations), or maybe even Aura of Authority if you want to go towards something more intimidating or forcing respect. Maybe good health (bonus to aging roll, recovery roll and such). Wisdom in the form of bonus to Folk ken rolls and other social abilities or even knowledge skills could simulate divine inspiration - again, the King will make is own free choice, but he has a bit more information at his disposal. Does he use it wisely, can he interpret correctly this extra information ? it is still up to him to show the (right) way.
I find these kind of powers suitable for a Divine power driven by peace and care.

Instead of allowing him to turn into a dragon, allow him to command a dragon. It could be an ennemy of his ancestors who was defeated and bound to the family to do his biding until release - possibly as a Divine reward for the King and Divine punishment for the Beast. Thus the dragon can be of any origin itself, even if the biding is Divine.

You could even add a clause to the biding: "Would the King call the Great Beast for selfish purpose, The Beast would be free to exact revenge for her centuries of servitude". This kind of little "fine prints" in the contract would explain why past rulers have been so reluctant to use it (thus becoming part of the Legend instead of a "certified threat") and also give an opportunity for the players - would they end up on the wrong side of the King - to try to use the loophole by turning a rightful summoning into a selfish request by tempting the king into using the dragon when he would not really need it or for unjustified need (like crushing enemies after they surrendered).

Again, if used properly, it makes the king very powerful as long as he is acting with virtue but it does not make him virtuous or divine. He is not an agent of God doing his plan, he is still human with his weakness, thus can fail.

Based on Wikipedia summary of Andrew II, his reign was not really great (crusade's failure, issues with the nobility, conflict with the pope...). So you can either depict him as a good guy, surrounded by mischevious consellors and corrupted (not necessarly infernally corrupted though) vassals - maybe aware of his predicament he is reaching through outsiders for help and support - the magi. Maybe the real crown was stolen, replaced by an imitation and without her blessings, he cannot distinguish friends from foes. Maybe the Crown lost Mary's blessing due to past action/deeds which the King need to amend for (was it his own action, his father or another ancestor is up to you to decide).

Or the opposite, he has so much trouble because he is vain, concern by his own well-being, but very capable. The failure he is facing are only due to some guys - who saw through his charming facade - and want him to fail so he does not settle as a ruthless tyrant. By fostering constant troubles for Andrew, his enemies deprieve him of opportunity to solidify his power by distracting him from his great master plan.

Finally, is the shapeshifting ability a boon or a curse ?
History/legend report it as a gift. But what if it was a curse ? "Thou cannot serve two masters" (and since God's will cannot be fathom by men, you might not need to find a better explanation). Another reason why the magi could get involved: how to lift the curse. Maybe invading part of Rus was against God's will, thus the curse. To remove it, not only does he need to decide to rule only a part of his lands, but he must find the rightful heir for the part that he will abandon.

That has been the focus so far and will continue to be. The main difference is that the main players in the Teutonic Order, Alba Iulia and Campulung are fictional persons that I have made up myself. In this case I want to base the character on the historical figure (but properly mythical ofcourse).

The players have already made some friends and some enemies among the local powers and the king could be a very important factor in influencing events. Thus I don't want the king do be to easily influenced by the players. He needs power more to potentially be a strong ally or enemy if the players chose to engage him as such. Otherwise the locals will have much more influence in the saga ofcourse.

Ah yes, I do realize that the dragon thing was a very high fantasy example. It was mostly because of the part I read on page 122 in Against the Dark. I must say that I do rather like this suggestion though:

I'm thinking that you might have to be both of the Árpád dynasty and hold a relic from saint Stephen for the Dragon to honor a holy vow that it made to Stephen and his decendants. It sounds like a really cool idea and ties in well with a certain dragon themed story that one of the magis have/will have.

I forgot that there was stats for Virgin mary in RoP:TD. I see she is the patron saint of the Teutonic Order aswell... though it must be mostly their Hospital service. I can't imagine saint Mary approving most of the Orders actions since they tend to be very military.

Some more thoughts
Andrew is a weak king, but even weak kings have power. A weak king can be even more dangerous since it lets other "lesser men" potentially use the power that should rightfully belong to the king.

I see him as a king that tries to do act right and fair but fails partly due to naivity and partly due to conspiring events. As far as I can tell the crusade might well have failed because he was poisoned? And the idiocy of giving away land and power to his royal retainers might have been him being foolishly trusting, thinking them friends and allies.

I would say that his greatest failing is his obsession with Halych (Galicia?). It feels like a point of pride, since his father conquered it and gave it to him, and it was his first rule. After reading a bit I now imagine Andrew having a high respect for his father. Since it was his father that had pledged to lead a crusade and it was his father that conquered Halych.

I don't think being able to turn into a dragon would let a king change history much unless their dragon form was powerful enough to win wars. I mean...being a dragon doesn't really affect a king's ability to rule. It just looks impressive and makes him better at fighting.

Now letting him read minds, that's something that could change history.

A single dragon - able to fly and take a breach for just 5 seconds - can decide a 13th century siege, campaign and war, and can change morale for years or even decades.
Starting with kings being, or controlling, dragons, you initiate an arms race iyc that you better analyze and plan very carefully.


And even beyond that.
How many peasants would find comforting being under the protection of a king-dragon ? Blessed by the Church or a Saint ? Who would not want to be under the protection of a Divine Dragon ?
That's just better than anything! Whole country would revolt, turn against their master and seek being under the king-dragon.
Whether it is true or not, that's the perception and conviction people will have. Being divine or blessed means it is sanctionned by God, who, in the eyes of any Christian makes the person an leader appointed by God. So not joining him means that you are an enemy of God, an agent of Satan or anything in between.

So being able to change in front an army into a Dragon turns beliefs, legend and superstition into fact. And this is darn powerful to convert crowd, even to turn army against their leader.

On the other hand just having a legend, or rumors leads to much more interesting stories: will he turn into a dragon ? How ? When ? Does he need to perform some kind of lengthy ritual ? Does he loose control when he is dragon ?

Most people can't tell the difference between powers granted by the various Realms, though. Sure, your priest says that the Dragon King is granted his power by divine right, but there's also clergy saying that he gets his power from Satan.

Let me stop you there and note that the idea of the Crown is similar to the English idea of the Crown: it's not an item. The Crown of England is a legal entity separate from the wearer of the crown, or the actual crown she wears. Now, in Hungary, this entity is basically an angel sent by the Virgin Mary. You don't need to wear the Crown, indeed, you can't: that mistakes the crown for the Crown (now, let's spot the people who live in Commonwealth countries, where this makes perfect sense. 8) )

The Crown is coterminous with the land, and only principally represented by the Crown of Saint Steven. 8)

For those who can't their head around this, the Crown in Commonwealth countries means the same sort of thing as the State does in most others. King Andrew is part of the Crown, but so are some of his advisers. He wears the 'crown', but that may not actually have powers of its own. Indeed, the Crown is defended by an angel, but that doesn't mean (the physical object) the crown grants them; simply being king does.

Well, as an angel, the Crown could grant the sovereign magic resistance or the abillity to act with will unimpeded. The book also notes that the Crown will aid those that legitimately resist the king or the nobility when they break the laws of the Crown. One could also assume that the Crown will give no assistance to those that act outside its laws or act against a king or noble that has not broken the laws.

This does not rule out that the physical holy crown of saint Stephen has powers. Maybe it's a relic? Though as I understand it the physical crown is only worn ceremoniously during the coronation, so it doesn't matter much... (unless it's stolen O_O)