Anulus Connectens: Janus of Mercere

Janus of Mercere originally comes from the region where the covenant Anulus Connectens is later founded. He was discovered by a Redcap keeping tabs on offspring by members of his house, looking for Gifted children. Upon discovery Janus was brought to Harco for training after a Redcap had negotiated with his mundane mother.

During apprenticeship Janus was taught Mutantum magic as well as a broad repertoire of arts and spells useful for aiding travelers. He was discovered to possess a knack for magic regarding comfort and health in living spaces, and many of the same arts were appropriate for this as well. This aspect of his magic was encouraged and he was highly trained in labwork order to best serve his house as an enchanter and caster of supportive spells.

With these skills in mind Janus was chosen to build, manage, and constantly improve a small, strategically placed Mercer house linking two neighboring tribunals and in terrain difficult to traverse. By offering a safe and comfortable place to stay and by being able to cast long-lasting support spells for the journey on Janus hopes to become a nexus for Redcaps and other traveling magi, drawing them off their normal routes to enjoy his hospitality.

Another priority for Janus is to father many children, in the hopes of producing a Gifted heir. While his Gift bothers mundanes, those with magically aligned abilities or powers are unaffected and are even drawn to him. Whether or not this increases the odds of his success is uncertain. He plans to offer all his extended family positions at the covenant in order to better keep tabs on them.

All in all Janus' main driving goal is to ensure the legacy of his house and his own lineage.

Design notes:
Design is centered around the concept of creating devices for the covenant. As Major Hermetic Virtue I went for a Focus in 'Home & Hearth', to cover effects for comfort and healthy features in the Mercer house. Effects in mind are heating, cooling, clean air, ward against weather, ward against vermin, disposal of garbage and latrines, cleaning up. Not effects on the structure itself but rather on what's inside. I went with Major because of the broad scope and many Tech Form combinations.
To complement the lab applications I chose Affinity with Magic Theory, Puissant Magic Theory, Inventive Genius plus Cyclic Magic (Autumn and Winter) to optimize the general bonus. Plus the Cyclic Magic gives an excuse to be outside he lab a fair deal of the time.
Since Gentle Gift is not possible because a Major Focus already occupies the Major Hermetic slot. But in order to not get run out of town by a mob with pitchforks and torches he has not only Inoffensive to Magic beings but also Alluring to Magic Beings. Note that these virtues also affect mundanes with magically aligned virtues, flaws, and abilities.
As free house virtue I went with Mutantum Magic instead of the standard Puissant Creo or Muto, this is listed as an option in True Lineages. Not that a Puissant Technique isn't sweet all the same. Coupled with Enduring Magic there is bound to be some interesting use of this.

For Flaws he has a Major Driven personality trait; he is dedicated to his house and lineage and it is an never ending goal. Slow Caster and Weak Spontaneous Magic limits his field expertise with magic, but that's where devices and spells cast in advance come in handy. I'd like to have had the limitation of only casting spontaneous magic by ceremonial methods, but this does not exist as a separate flaw only as a drawback of Mercurian Magic. I could have invented it as a new minor flaw, but I was already drowning in them and needed something Major. I was also looking to limit Janus with Deficient Form (Imaginem) and Incompatible Arts (Pe & Mu Im) since illusions and appearance change are real useful tricks. In stead I went with Deficient Tehcnique (Intellego) to make tracking missing Redcaps challenging. For Story Flaw I went with Close Family Ties because of his ambitions of a large family. Plus Busybody specified to be about amorous liaisons among covenfolk and villagers, in order to try and track the best traits to try and bring into his family.

New Spells:
Most of Janus' spells are customized versions of common Hermetis spells, designed with specific parameters to take advantage of his use of metamagic and Mutantum properties.

I just reread mutantem stuff for the first time in years

So the plan for the tethered spells is that he tethers them to an item and then gives the item to a redcap. later the redcap uses the item and the spell goes off on him or her? The redcap maintains the concentration on D;Conc. spells.

The inanimate object casts it "automatically when an appropriate target comes in to range" How does that work with range personal?

I can imagine range touch
1 Janus puts an object in a bag
2 Janus casts the r: touch tethered spell on the object and closes the bag.
3 the bag is handed to someone else
4 that person reaches in to the bag and touches the object when they want to set off the spell

Range personal is not clear to me. Am I missing something?

Cool character. I like how enduring magic works with the mutantes tethering, and having the big list of low level spells makes him really useful as an NPC.

As I wrote you earlier, I think that home an hearth is at least debatable as a minor rather than a major magical focus. It seems similar in scope to self transformation or healing which are the listed examples in the text of the minor magical focus virtue.

I had done this a while back, essentially making potions via spells. Same idea as your object in a bag. Here are a few things:

D: Concentration - There was a potentially valid objection to this. The item on which the spell is placed controls the spell. Since it cannot concentrate, the spell fails right away instead of handing off control to the recipient.

R: Personal - This won't work unless placed on a magus's Talisman.

The concept is that Janus cast a useful travel spell on himself R:Per D:Conc, then casts Monthly Maintenance of the Demanding Spell D:Moon (x simple die for Enduring Magic) so the concentration is kept for a long time. Then he transfers the travel spell to a Redcap via Tethering as well as the ReVi spell, with the latter being Harnessed. So now the Redcap carries along the travel spell as if he himself was the caster, and it lasts a long time, plus he can end it at will because it is Harnessed.
At least this is how I think things work.

Be careful. That doesn't work how you think it does. If you cast a R: Personal spell on yourself and maintain it and then give control to the Redcap, you'll still have the spell on yourself, and the Redcap will be able to end the spell that's on you. You need to cast the spell on the Redcap.

This nearly exactly what Beatrix is doing in Loch Ness: A New Dawn. However, she is taking it yet another step further. She also has a ReVi suppression spell. So she can cast a spell on a Redcap, maintain it for D: Moon. Then she suppresses it and maintains that suppression for D: Moon. Then she hands off control of the spells to the Redcap. Now the Redcap can activate the spell by canceling the suppression's maintenance and end the spell by canceling its maintenance.

Blast! So I've read too much into Tethering...better be corrected now than later. Tethering an active spell to another person is then not as useful as I thought is was, and functions differently than Tethering to an inanimate object.
So, all Janus' spells need to be T:Touch instead, so he casts the travel spells on a Redcap. They affect the Redcap but he still must maintain concentration himself to keep them running. He still casts Monthly Maintenance of the Demanding Spell to take care of keeping the duration running. And then he Tethers the travel spell as well as the Maintaining spell to the Redcap - the Maintaining spell is also Harnessed so the Redcap can end it at will, which then ends the travel spell as well (unless he for some reason keeps concentrating on keeping it, which defeats the purpose).
I'll make the - relatively minor - changes and post a new version of Janus.

I see the clever things Beatrix dies, but Janus won't be getting into those kinds of shenanigans. When the Redcap feels a need to end the spell, or it has run its course, he is back to his mundane self. And Janus wants the Redcaps to swing round again and again and often in order to be loaded up with supportive spells again.

You don't need R: Touch if you are decent at MuVi. You could use MuVi to bump R: Personal to R: Touch.

Also, if you're only worried about canceling spells, D: Concentration is not necessarily the best way to go. It depends on your ReVi. Remember that you're going to want to penetrate a foreign Aegis with these spells so a Redcap doesn't lose them when entering another Aegis. That might be easier with D: Moon, or it might be easier with D: Concentration + ReVi. That depends on the caster and the caster's plans.

I thought about suggesting Muto Vim but he has all sorts of arts going on there and (baring extrapolation from the unfortunate text of wizard's boost) he'd need a Wizard's reach for each of his arts. I suppose that you're suggesting that he gets Janus to a spot where he can do the Wizard's reach with ceremonial magic or even spontaneous magic but that is a hefty amount of study.

Really, raising a level-4 spell to level 5, for example, for R: Touch isn't so bad. But the MuVi spells wouldn't have to be high level since they can be designed at R: Touch, so they may be worthwhile in the long run.

Ultimately, the big issue is going to be penetration. These spells are nearly guaranteed to fall when the Redcap visits the first covenant. You'll want to increase Spell Mastery on the ReVi spell to add Penetration as a special ability as well. A Penetration score, too. This is why Beatrix is developing lower-level versions of her ReVi spells. She wants to use the lowest-level version that is viable to maximize penetration.

Wouldn't it keep the redcaps from entering the aegis rather than being dispelled by the aegis.

Either way this is a drawback but not a fatal one. Having a handful of helpful spells in effect until you reach the next covenant is a darn site better than not having them.

No. The Redcap doesn't have Might, so the Redcap wouldn't be prevented from entering. You want to look at what happens to active effects entering the Aegis:

So if your spell can't penetrate against the Aegis's level, it "fizzles out."

I see some ambiguity in the phrase "able to block". That doesn't clearly mean keep from entering or make fizzle out...

But I just looked up the spell description myself and saw that earlier in the same paragraph it specifically says fizzle out. There's no ambiguity at all.

Well spotted.

Can the Redcap be invited in and granted a token as a way of preventing an Aegis from fizzling the spell, since it's been tethered to him? If yes, how likely are most magi likely to do that?

Generally speaking I'd say a visiting Magus would not be offered a token. The risk vs reward is too dramatic. Especially so for a redcap

I went with the easy method of simply bumping all R:Per spells to Touch. To keep within the 120 spelsl levels I sacrificed the largely irrelevant Arcane Lantern CrIg spell, and made minor adjustment to a few other spells to get the sums right.

Actually, there is.

The fizzle part is written right after wording that the spells that bring something into the aegis are resisted. If the spell can't penetrate the aegis, it fizzles out. This especially stands to reason for teleportation spells, of course.

This doesn't imply that any and all spells cast on a target are dispelled, especially as this would mean that the best way to get any kind of curse dispelled is to cross an Aegis border. Do we really want this? What about flaws like Lycanthrope, or Maledictions? This would also run counter to the first statement that the aegis works like the parma. Why go to all these legnthy explanations, when simply stating that the aegis dispels active effects would have been enough?

Unless you specifically want to deal with "resists" versus "blocks," we have:

Now, there is nothing explicit about what "block" means. However, it says "also," somewhat implying that the earlier comments about "resisting" were about "blocking." But, nothing explicit. If you want to consider them different, you would have to come up with some house interpretation as to what exactly it means to block these spells but not the things they're on. Most likely you would go with "block" = suppressing if you're avoiding "fizzles out."

But if a maintenance spell is suppressed, then the spell it is holding isn't maintained and so ends. Then the suppressed maintenance spell has nothing to maintain afterward. So even with suppression, it's effectively dispelling in this case.

If you play with the necessary interpretation of Lycanthrope and Malediction for this, then you could just use PeVi to remove the Flaw. Do you really play this way? I play Lycanthrope as attached to essential nature (which is pretty strongly implied in HoH:MC). From everything in HoH:MC nothing about Lycanthrope would be stopped. Malediction, depending on how a specific one is described, has always been potentially problematic. That's not an issue with Aegis of the Hearth but with all sorts of counter-magic in general, so really it's an issue with defining a Malediction in such a way that you find it acceptable.

All good points about the Aegis, thank you all.

I'll use the assumption fitting best with my view of things: Since Aegis if the Hearth is a rego and not a Perdo effect I see active spells with insuficcient Penetration as suppressed while inside, but return once thre Aegis is left again.

During my next periods of free time I'll be advancing Janus for the first 15 years post Gauntlet to see where things lead. Expect a "Janus +15 Years" soon.