Astris Ex Tremere 1180-1186

First post, reserved for anything that needs to be here.

1180.1 (Takes place Summer 1181)
The Tourney of Sir James
Intended Difficulty: Difficult

Objective: Astris visits the Tourney to watch over his brother James, a neophyte knight seeking fame and glory. James has a rival who may be seeking to kill him in the heat of the melee. Astris wants to protect his brother, preferably without being noticed by him.

Expected Complications: Dealing with mundanes with his Blatant Gift. At one point, James is losing against another knight and Astris has to intervene more directly. His brother does not appreciate the assistance if discovered. But mostly, someone is trying to kill James!

Plan: Teleport to Sussex. Travel by ship to Normandy, where the Tournament will be held. Astris arrives at the melee ground the night before the Tournament, and prepares magical defenses to allow him observe from within the melee grounds unobserved. Watch for James and keep him safe.

First Post:

The moon is bright and the stars shine clear in the night sky above, but the sanctum is dark and the large windows are open to the night air. Astris studies the stars, pointedly ignoring the scroll tightly wound, sitting on the small table, a wax seal bearing the arms of the Testor family. It arrived yesterday and Astris hasn't touched it. A few times his glance lingers on it, but a vague uneasy feeling discourages him. He finds something more pressing. By the time the moon has reached the apex of her nightly journey, Astris has exhausted all reasonable other activities.

He sighs as he reaches across the table to the letter. Unrolling the letter, he makes the gestures for the light of the stars and speaks aloud the words to a spell. Shining Star of Illumination (on character sheet). Total = 19+die (6 TeFo + 1 Sta + 3 cyclic + 3 method +6 aura). Astris reaches above his head to touch a point in the air, where instantly a tiny glowing star appears. The pinpoint of light is too bright to look at directly, but the sanctum is cast in to light. Unrolling the parchment, Astris begins to read the letter from his sister, describing his brother's plans to compete in the upcoming Summer Tournament in Normandy- his first. Her Latin is improving, Astris thinks, but it remains rough and plain. Reading on, Astris reads that James has developed a fierce rivalry with another knight. Strong words have been exchanged, and vague but dire threats made about what can happen in a Tournament. Astris's sister suspects that this knight may plan to do more than capture James. Accidents are known to happen in Tourneys. She ends with a request that her big brother watch out James on the field “in his special way.”

Astris chuckles dryly; that last bit is his father's work, if not his hand, Astris is sure of it. But his father wouldn't have asked Cecile to write, and certainly wouldn't have sent the messenger to the weird old castle in the forest where the magi live if the request wasn't serious. “Maybe I should go to the Tournament, just to watch for any trouble. Besides, a good melee sounds like a lot of fun.”

Astris packs his armor and shield in a large wooden chest, along with a spare set of clothes and a goodly amount of silver coins. He includes food, water, some wine and anything else that he would realize he might need for a few days of camping, including a few blankets. He also gets one of the grogs to provide him with a heavy leather cloak, in case he runs into rain.
To make sure he has what he needs to survive: 4 +die (2 Int + 2 survival)

Once he has the hear he needs, he will wait the last few days to the summer solstice- finishing up the reading he is doing for Autumn.

The night before the start of the season, Astris computes a horoscope for the night. Cast Horoscope total 5 ( 2 Int + 3 Astronomy) vs 9.

He then casts the following spontaneous spell.

The Herald's Confusion is My Gain
MuIm 10
R: Touch Dur: Moon Target: Individual
(Base 1 (affect one sense ArM5 p. 145) +1 Touch +3 Moon +1 Precision)

This spell changes the way the blazon of a shield appears. The caster selects a design, and the shield appears to bear that design for the duration of the spell. The extra magnitude ensures the illusion is high quality. Astris version covers the shield with a starfield, like a patch of the night sky, which fades over a few dozen seconds to reveal the new image.

Astris will cast this spell as a ceremony. He only takes enough time for the ceremony to allow 2nd magnitude effects.
Casting Total = 24+die (12 TeFo +1 Sta + 3 Cyclic (+2 AL OR +2 Favorable hour)+6 aura)
Goal Level for Chaotic Magic: 14

In this case, Astris makes his shield bear a made up blazon that doesn't (as far as he knows) exist.

After that spell, Astris waits until around 1 hour to dawn and casts:

The Obedient Chest
ReTe(He) 10
R: Touch Duration: Hours Target: Individual
(Base 3, +1 Touch, +2 Hours)

This spell makes a touched object levitate to waist height, and follow behind the caster at a distance of two paces. The capabilities are similar to Unseen Porter (ArM5 p. 156) in terms of weight and height restrictions. Astris's version has the chest rise from the ground amid a shower of star motes.

Astris will cast this spell as a ceremony. He only takes enough time for the ceremony to allow 2nd magnitude effects.
Casting Total = 18 (6 TeFo +1 Sta +3 Cyclic Magic +2 AL +6 Aura)
Goal Level = 11
Goal Duration: 6 Hours so total = 8 (2 Int + 3 astronomy +3 horoscope) vs. 12.

Astris casts this on the chest with his gear in it.

Astris rests until dawn. He then casts invisibility on the chest of his goods. Personal Veil of Invisibility with Range increased to Touch, and placed on the chest with his gear. Casting Total = 16 (6 TeFo +1 Sta +3 method caster +6 Aura).

Astris then heads to the Pylon. He has never been to Normandy, but frequently visited Hastings, where a large port is available, and the distance to Normandy is short. Strongly visualizing a secluded wood just outside of Hastings, Astris waves and speaks the magic words and

to a safe but secluded copse of trees a short walk down the road from Hastings, hopefully beyond the Dominion aura.
[Total to find safe area: 5 ( 2 Int + 3 Area Lore: Sussex Geography].

[OOC question: The ancients knew the Earth was round, so it should be night here, several hours before dawn in fact. I'm fine with my character being “pylon-lagged” and under the -1 for it being day in the time zone he left, but I will assume his cyclic magic is still in effect.]

He takes out about five times the amount of silver he would think reasonable from his invisible chest, and hopes it will be enough to overcome the social penalty of the Gift. Once he arrives, he'll head into Hastings and town and toward the dock. He is looking for a vessel to take him to France, and a captain who is willing take the money without too many questions. He doesn't need a big boat to go across the channel (in fact, on a clear day you can see across the Channel at this point; if only I had a sight range teleport spell, sigh). So, Astris is looking for smaller vessels. Ideally, he'll get someone to sail immediately, if not then first thing in the morning...

To locate a suitable ship: ? Total (+2 Per + 2 AL: Sussex OR -3 (P: Sailor, untrained))

I'll stop here because it could get interestin'.

1180.2 (Takes place Summer 1180, during the Grand Tribunal)
Grand Beginnings
Intended Difficulty: Easy

Objective: Get contacts with Celestial wizards, maybe trade for spell texts or items. Eventually set up to get an armillary sphere sometime.

Expected Complications: Astris offends a journeyman magus. How he handles the issue may affect his Hermetic Reputation. One potent Celestial maga is a lovely lady who shares Astris's unaging quality; she looks like a teenager but is about Viraxis's age. Astris is smitten; maybe she feels the same, or maybe she uses the kid; or maybe something else.

Plan: Personally, Astris's goals are to locate some fellow Celestial magi for contacts with similar powers. At this point he may contract to buy some lab texts for celestial magics, and try to set the stage to buy an armillary sphere later. Astris is looking to start off his magical career with a good reputation in the Order and House Tremere, so he will attempt to assist and aid his parens and House as requested.

First Post:

After the final initiation, and swearing of the Oath but before being sent to his new covenant, Astris wanders the grounds of the Tribunal as a magus for the first time. He marvels at the mighty Durenmar covenant, the ancient library, and the many varied magi around him. He sees that many view their magic in unique ways, and knows that his own, deep conncetion to the heavens is unusual, but not unheard of. He wishes to meet and get to know more of these magi who share his unique view of magic.

Astris will seek out magi who also know Celestial magic, in hope of trading lore and spells. First, he may already know who he wants to talk to: 3+ die (2 Int + 1 OoH Lore)

If he knows the right person,great. Otherwise, he will try to figure out observationally who may have the kind of knowledge he seeks Total 3 or 5 + die (+2 Per + 1 awareness OR +3 AL: Astronomy)

If nothing else, he asks Viraxis who may be a good magus to talk to concerning Astris's growing Celestial magics.

Once he has an idea who to talk to, he will approach the mag-us/-a and strike up a conversation. If the magus is open about his celestial knowledge, then Astris is happy to discuss it and look for advice from the older wizard. If not, he may have to finesse the conversation to the subject, or even just drop hints of his interest: 5+ die (+2 Com +3 etiquette). Astris tries hard to avoid a faux pas of inquiring too openly, if this sort of thing is frowned on: 5 +die (+2 Per + 3 etiquette).

Assuming he meets the right kind of magus, and gets past the preliminaries, he will have a nice discussion about the celestial arts. Astris will ask about useful magics he should learn, items he may want to buy, and good people to talk to. Astris tries to get gossip on other celestial magi, and leave his interlocutor feeling like Astris is an up and comer in the Order. 4+die (+2 Com +2 Intrigue).

The magus recommends that Astris speak with Sofia, a wise and old maga, living in the Iberian Tribunal and studying the art of th Heavens throughout the Muslim world.

Astris seeks out this gifted maga, who may or may not be at the tribunal.

Meanwhile, Astris is getting an introduction to political life as a full fledged Tremere. That is, he is doing a lot of watching and listening and very little talking. At various points, as one of the most junior Tremere he is sent to collect some item or person to be brought back to the Tremere contingent, or to deliver a message to another magus, etc.

During one of these errands, he is rushing down a hallway, when a journeyman magus of House Jerbiton is coming around the corner. Astris doesn't see him until the collide and crash to the floor in a tangle of robes and limbs.

“Watch where your running, foolish apprentice!” shouts the magus as he tries to extract himself from the Astris.
As they are rising, Astris's face is flushing red “Magus”
“No, you called me apprentice, I am none such- you'll give me the title I deserve.”
“Aye, then though are a magister of clumsiness and a doctor of foolishness!”
Astris's eyes flash hot, and his hand grips his sword handle tightly “Withdraw your words, or I'll withdraw them for you.”
“With that pretty pig-sticker, you little brat? You'll be dead before you clear the scabbard.” The Jerbiton's arms are raised, preparing to cast a spell.
“WHAT exactly is going on here” comes a voice sharp as thunder. Both wizards turn to see an elderly magus approaching, with a gloomy and dour expression.
“Nothing, Honored Sir, my good friend,” The Jerbiton wraps his arm around Astris tightly, “and I were just playing about. I was just telling him about a troupe of players I saw in Paris, and we were acting out a bit of the drama. We mean no harm and no offense, Master.” The Jerbiton is smooth as silk as he disarms the old man's suspicions.

Astris squirms at the offending arm, but sees the wisdom of silence.

“Oh, well, if that is all. 'Tis a bit unseemly lads, but there is no harm in it. Carry on.”

“Nay, I think the time has passed for that jest and I am expected in council with my Master Alistair.”

“Very well” the older magus says, walking past the young wizards.

As soon as he is out of sight, Astris squirms/is pushed free. “This is not over,” Astris starts.

“Actually it is. You simply aren't worth it.” Says the Jerbiton before turning his back to Astris and walking away.

“I challenge you to Certeman!” Shouts Astris, “Loser must announce his defeat in open Tribunal.”

For the first time the other magus looks generally angry: “You think so, Tremere. I don't fear you or your house. I accept!”

[Let's see if I have any idea who this is, now that I'm really looking at him... (TL p 134) Lore 3+ die (+2 Int +1 OoH Lore)]

Assuming I don't know him from any other well dressed magus, I'll call for Rego; expecting the Tremere reputation to get it vetoed, I'll select Intellego as the technique.
I veto anything other than Mentem or Imaginem, but will accept either of those.

My Init: -1+die (-1 Qik)
Attak: 2 (Pre) + Te OR Fo + die
Def: 2 (Per) + Te OR Fo + die
Weakening: 4/5 if Mentem (2 Int +2 Pen(Mentem))
Resistance: 2/3 if Mentem (1 Sta +1 Parma (Mentem))

1180.3 (Takes place Summer 1182)
All politics is local politics
Intended Difficulty: Easy

Objective: Make himself known to the local Tribunal, learn the names and faces of the politically minded magi. Assist the representatives of House Tremere.

Expected Complications: Hermetic politics, what could go wrong?

Plan: Travel to the local tribunal. Get shown around by the Tremere, meet some wizards, look at the wares offered and get an idea of the resources of the Tribunal.

First Post:

Astris packs up a handful of vis as a gift for the Praeco, and heads for the Pylon. OoH lore to determine if this is a reasonable gift ( 2 (Int) + 1 (OoH Lore) = 3+die). [Can I use 5p of the vis I will receive during this cycle for this gift? Otherwise, there is precious little for Astris to offer.] If he can find a magus to travel with, via Pylon, he will. Otherwise, I'll need to know where it is so he can plan to get there.

Once he arrives, he follows the custom of gifting to his host, “As I come from a new Covenant, itself raw material for the growth of the Order, I have brought you the raw material of magic, that I and my sodales my learn its proper and wise use by observing your skillful works.”

Hopefully he makes a good impression 3 (0 Pre + 3 Etiquette).

Once the formalities are complete, he will head to the eldest Tremere to pay respect and get any necessary briefing on the upcoming Tribunal.

He'll spend the tribunal doing what his superiors tell him, generally trying to be helpful as befitting a Tremere of his station- he is just biding time, but he knows he has to play to the Tremere group ethic before he starts rocking the boat too much.

Otherwise, he makes casual conversation with the other magi attending. He files away a lot of mental notes about the various magi, tries to get involved in gossip among the younger magi and absorb what he can while revealing as little as possible about himself. 4 (+2 Per + 2 Intrigue).

Finally, he will browse among the local Verditius, getting an idea of the potential for enchantment in the Tribunal.

1180.4 (Takes place Spring 1181)
Lay of the Land
Intended Difficulty: Easy

Objective: Learn about my new home. Scout the terrain, prepare for future mundane conflict in or around the covenant or Kiev.

Expected Complications: He encounters someone/thing strange one night while out. Could it be bandits, or Cumans? A faerie? A troubled noble girl/boy running from some awful fate?

Plan: Explore the land at night, make notes about it.

First Post:

After long, cold, months studying and learning, I grew tired of the confines of the laboratory. I look about me and I see a rich city, and a richer trove of magic and power. If there is one thing I am certain about, it is that war will come to this place. My father and my master have taught me enough to expect that this place will be attacked, eventually. I will be prepared for that day.

Pulling on my armor, and strapping my blade to my hip, I step outside. The early spring air bites with lingering winter chill. The moon overhead is bright. A brief spell is cast, [Eyes of the Cat, +6 (TeFo) +1 Stamina, +3 (cyclic) + 3 (method) +6 (aura) = overkill+die] and the scene jumps into sharp relief. I pull my cloak tight around the leather armor to keep out the chill. Inside my pockets are a small vial of ink and a half dozen quills and a roll of parchment for notes.

I then set out, as I have these past six nights, walking with the stars my companion. I stop every hour or so, jotting notes about the terrain, choke points, checking the stars to see where I am relative to the covenant.

Suddenly, I hear a crack in the distance; as a person stepping on a fallen branch. I clasp on hand on my blade, and strain to listen...

+2 (Per) +2 (Awareness:Alertness) = 4 +die.

1180.5 (Takes place Summer 1183)
Final Exams
Intended Difficulty: Difficult

Objective: Escort Viraxis to Coeris, where he challenges an ancient Tremere for the title of Archmagus.

Expected Complications: Part of the challenge involves testing all of Viraxis's former apprentices. Thus all his filii are gathered and are tested. The test scales with the age of the filius, so Astris's is the easiest, but still a challenge.

Plan: Travel to Viraxis's covenant. Do what he says.

First Post:

I quickly re-read Viraxis's letter, for the tenth time or more today. It is curt and to the point, meet him at his covenant on the first day of Summer. Bring nothing magical. Wear your House robes. Come alone.

Odd, and somewhat alarming. But, I owe the old man a lot. I'm willing to play along, see where he is going. It sounds a lot like the old tests he gave me as an apprentice. I received his letter almost 6 months ago, but he has answered none of my letters since then. With a last look around the sanctum that has come to be a home, I strap my sword to my waist, step into the afternoon sun, and lock my sanctum door.

Checking that all is well, I set off for the Pylon. A few words and wave later I... standing just a short walk from the boundary of the Aegis of Viraxis's covenant. As I approach the older covenant, I feel a great sense of nostalgia- this was home for longer than any other place has ever been to me. The gate house guard is a young man, I don't recognize him.

“HALT!” he cries in English leveling a deadly spear in my direction. I know the magus that enchanted the spear and I know very well how dangerous it is, even in mundane hands.

I respond in his language, arms spread down, wide and palms open, “Peace good man, I am Astris ex Tremere filius Viraxis, your master.”

The spear doesn't waver, as he calls for his companion to send for the magi.

A moment later another soldier comes out from the gatehouse and speaks a mix of English and broken Latin: “You wait here. They be here sooner. No moving or he will use that spear.”

Some minutes later a young wizard arrives at the gate, his attire a painfully bright yellow and orange coat with an aqua scarf wrapped around his nexk. He quietly speaks to the soldiers and the spear carrier lowers his weapon, but keeps a wary eye on me.

“Salve, Astris ex Tremere filius Viraxis. I am Dontheos ex Miscellanea. Please pardon the welcome, we rarely see magi traveling alone. You parens regrets he cannot see you as of yet; he is deep in meditation. If you will follow me to the great hall, we'll see about accommodations and get you a token for the Aegis.

Dontheos leads Astris to a well decorated sitting room inside the covenant. Soon a steaming heap of roast beef is brought to the table, along with a bottle of local wine. Astris checks to see if his host is eating. The flamboyant Dontheos is already piling his plate high with vegetables and beef. “Dig in, magus, you'll want to make sure you've had a good meal.”

Astris considers, “What do you mean by that?”

“Your master hasn't told you; oh I guess he wouldn't. We'll you'll be traveling a lot and things may get difficult for you. In those times, a few extra helping of beef may be exactly what you need.”

I snort, “Ok, whatever you say.”

After dinner, I am shown to an unused bedroom, where I pass the time working doodling out some ideas for new spells.

Long after the sun has gone down, a loud knocking disturbs me. Opening the door I see my former master, thinner than I recall. With him are two other Tremere, his other filii. One is a tall, bald man looking nearly 50, the other is a long haired woman of middle age. Viraxis himself looks older than he ever has. He nods to me, and the others step out of the way. Clearly I am supposed to walk with them. I don't break the eerie silence, but walk with the group. We climb a high tower, eventually reaching an archway blocked behind seven doors. One each of pine, oak, glass, iron, lead, silver and gold. Once we have passed through these (surely mighty) protections, we stand before a simple stone arch. With a wave from Viraxis's staff, the archway fills with thick, glowing smoke. He nods at me to go first. I swallow, grasp the handle of my sword and step into the thick smoke.

I find myself moment later walking into a dark stone room, lit only by dim candles. I have arrived at Coeris. Soon my master and his filii arrive, the female next, then the male, with Viraxis last. Once we arrive we are greeted by an older Tremere, the Gatekeeper, who monitors these portals.

We are separated and directed to individual cells inside the fortress of Coeris. Again, I am dropped of first. The senior magus leading us turns to face me and says:

“Meditate and prepare yourself, the challenge will begin at dawn.”

I nod formally and the door is closed behind me. Once the heavy lock slams home, I mutter “I love a good early morning.”

Some time passes, in sleep and in meditation.

As the dawn breaks, the door to the cell slams open and there is an ancient wizard waiting for me. “Your master is challenging for the title of Archmagus. By his works he is known, including his filii. Are you ready?”

“Yes, Master. I am ready”

“Very well. There are three tests. You will be tested for your discipline, your loyalty, and your skill. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Master.”

“First, your discipline. Follow me.”

He leads me into the fortress, eventually to the grand dueling floor. There he draws a circle upon the ground, about 5 paces across, with me inside.

“Your task is simple. Do not leave the circle. Use no magic.”

As he completes the circle he says a word, and the world outside the circle vanishes. Solid darkness is all I see around me. Inside the circle, I can see the ground. But around me and overhead is impenetrable, inky blackness.

I know this is a test of discipline, so I go over my instructions, "Don't leave the circle, use no magic." I assume I am being watched so I wait calmly for the test to end. After what seems like an hour my legs are arching and I can't find a comfortable way to sit on the hard stone ground.

1180.6 (Takes place Winter 1185)
Home for the Holidays
Intended Difficulty: Easy

Objective: See his family. Arrange protection for them, if possible.

Expected Complications: Family drama times 100 due to Gift. He finds a court of Faeries, but can he negotiate a guardian for his family?

Plan: Teleport to Sussex (after collecting his vis for the year). He has arranged by letter to stay with his family in their manor for the season. He'll avoid notice as much as possible, limiting his interaction to his immediate family. During his free time he walks the lands around his families manor to get a feel for the supernatural landscape. If he runs intro some supernatural power, he see if he can leverage it to help his family.

First Post:

Astris arrives in Sussex in the mid afternoon. The air is cool, but moderate, and there are no signs of the snow that was falling in Kiev. Shaking the heavy powder from his shoulders, Astris sets out for the manor house he knows so well. As he agreed, he casts Personal veil of invisibility 10 (6 Te Fo + 1 Sta +3 method) before approaching the house. He bypasses the workers in the field and makes his way to the manor. He waits for nightfall, and with it the dispelling of his invisibility. Soon, he spies his sister, Cecile; grown from the little child he remembered from his disastrous visit during his apprenticeship, to a tall, lithe and lovely young lady.

He presses himself into the shadows and she looks about, before calling “Geoffry? Geoffry??”


She jumps at the voice.

“Is it you.”

Geoffry steps into the light coming from the torches inside the building, “Yes, sister. I'm here.”

Cecile squeals and leaps onto Astris, nearly knocking the slight man over in her enthusiastic greeting. Astris stumbles backward, catching her weight and pivoting to avoid falling over. “I'm so glad you're finally back, Father lets us write to you, but he always looks around before saying your name, like he's afraid you'll pop out of his shadow. Don;t just stand here in the cold, come in!”

Astris meets his family members, one by one. They each seem a little put off, but able to contain it. Cecile is the only one that seems to get close to Astris. Over the next few days, he tries to converse with his father and mother but they remain distant and strained. His older brothers are gone, both knights in service to the King and living in different area. His older sister is long since married to a minor nobleman. His younger brother is studying for the priesthood

Only his sister is close to him. She seems unaffected by the Gift, and Astris adores her company. They spend long hours together, discussing the family, mundane life and his life at the covenant.

As Astris usually sleeps late and stays up all night, he has a lot of time to himself. Often he will walk away from the manor at night, covered in his Personal veil of Invisibility and explore the area around the manor's lands.

On one such visit he comes across a tiny man, who comes up to Astris's knees, rushing along a stream. When the small man spies Astris, he jumps comically in the air, and failing his tiny arms and legs, before falling flat on his behind. Astris walks toward the man, chuckling at the pratfall.

“Pray, what manner of folk are you?” Astris asks, in English.

1180.7 (Takes place Autumn 1186)
Hunt for the Hound
Intended Difficulty: Difficult

Objective: Astris heres rumors of a mighty King of Hounds, a clever beast who's hide is speckled black and white in patterns matching the constellations, and claims descent from Sirius, one of Orion's hunting dogs and the brightest star in the sky. Astris instantly knows this is meant to be his companion. He sets out to follow the rumors and befriend this might animal.

Expected Complications: He finds the Hound, who sets him to some task to prove his worth.

Plan: Hear the rumors, follow up, head to Dalmatia to find the animal. Convince it that he is as much the hounds companion as the Hound is his.

First Post:

Astris sits in the common room of Great Hall, discussing the recent local Tribunal with the magi who attended.

“I wish I could have gone, tell me again about the talking dogs?” Astris asks, amused.

“Aye” a fellow maga says, “you see, they had these dogs, all spotted black and white. And they could talk see. Not like you or me, but the bark was like a person coughing a word, Faeries they was, I'll wager.”

“No,” another magus cuts in “the owner said he found them in the Theban Tribunal, not magical, nor fae; just clever and easy to train.”

“I doubt it.” Astris says “My father has hounds, you can no more teach them to talk than you can teach a hedgie the Ball of Abysmal Flame. “

The other young magi laugh.

“Well,” one says, still chuckling “He did say the pack leader was like no hound he'd ever seen. Tall, lithe, and fast.”

“Yeah,” the maga says “claimed that one talked as clear as you or me. Said the beast warned him he was the descendant of Sirius the Hunter.”

“Wait,” Astris says “he said what?”

“Who, the dog?!”

The magi laugh, but Astris persists: “No, the magus, what did he say about the leader?”

“The magus said the talking dog told him he was the descendant of Sirius. I don't even know who Sirius is supposed to be.”

“Sirius... he was the hunting dog of Orion. The Gods places him in the sky along with Orion to hunt forever... his descendant....” Astris says, feeling something stir within him. “Tell me the magus's name, I must meet this so called talking dog.”

Some time later, Astris finds the magus who met the talking hound. Astris wants the location and the whole story. He tries to find out where the Hound was seen. ( 0 (Pre) + 3 (etiquette) or +2 (intrigue) = 2 to 3 + die.

Assuming he learns when and where he saw the dog, Astris will arrange for transport to Dalmatia by whatever means he can manage. Most likely he'll travel down the river to the sea, and sail for Dalmatia from there.

Once he arrives in Dalmatia, he'll check in with local Tremere and see if they have any leads.

Once he has an idea of where to find the hound, he sets off to meet this marvelous animal.

One Confidence Point, for being first with stories!

rubs hands gleefully It's like a wealth of riches. I will look at these more closely when I'm less tired.

1180.1 part 2

Reality check: James is older than Astris, who is at least 29 at this point. James probably has kids of his own by now, and has competed in many tournaments. Is this really his first?

Obviously still alive, then, but in late middle age, even maybe old.

Astris thinks his mundane preparations are fine, as long as he doesn't get caught in the wilderness. The environs of the tournament are pretty tame.

What is the horoscope for? (My guess it is to get a favorable hour for the spell at +3

Thank you for pointing me to pg145.

I think you mean Casting Score, not Casting Total. Why is it OR? If you cast ceremonially, you get the bonus; if you go for a favorable hour, you get another bonus, unless I'm missing something. I'll go with your choice of 24, since Astris doesn't have to apply the Casting Total...

...and a good thing too. The spell seems to do what he it is supposed to. Chaotic Magic being what it is, however, Astris might discover otherwise over the next month!

Next time, please include a parenthetical Ability Total that tells me how well he did at this. I chose Int+Etiquette(nobility). Astris realizes that he is no herald, but is confident that he isn't duplicating anyone from Sussex, and pretty sure about southern England. He is a lot less sure about Normandy!

Apparently done. :slight_smile: Gotta love Chaotic Magic.

Klaatu Barado Nikto and bam, you're there. In the future, you don't need to give me the total for remembering a place you have already been. If you have been there and remember it well enough to think that you want to go there again, that is sufficient.

It is still in effect. And I won't even give him the -1 yet.

It could... if he lets it! Finding ships is easy.... head toward the water and look, there they are! The rest is about finding a suitable ship, and if he is willing to ignore his pride. First an urchin offers to guide him, accepts a coin and then runs. Later, ship after ship turns him down, some because they aren't going there, or so they say; others show more open hostility and contempt.

One ship's master is particularly insulting! He is obviously heading toward Normandy. Indeed, it appears as though some knights are actually boarding: Is it for the same tourney? But he says loudly that he doesn't need a pretty boy like you--what would his honored passengers think? Well, it is clear what they think: They laugh at you, especially as the ship's master makes a gesture with his hands and hips that leaves little room to pretend that the serious insult he has rendered you really meant something else.

Also, the chest is invisible, but that just makes it easy for people to bump into it as you negotiate the docks of Hastings. There are a few close calls as people bump into the chest yet don't realize it, but you realize that keeping the chest invisible is not sufficient in a bustling crowd or narrow lane. You've been lucky... so far.

But first.... the ship's master. Also let me know how Astris might notice the attentions of a cutpurse! Hypothetically speaking, you understand. Because there are no such people working the docks of Hastings, and Astris is certainly not a target of choice. Oh, wait. :slight_smile:

BTW, it is now past dawn. Astris is at -1. He has been up all night, and realizes that he will soon start feeling tired. (Currently down 1 Long-Term Fatigue level from being busy all night and tromping warily around a hostile neighborhood; current penalty of 0.)

1180.2 part 2

EDIT: To fix quotes.

Swearing the Oath is one of the very first things that happens at GT... which lets you participate as a full magus! It also means that you cannot break Hermetic Law. Well, at least you're not supposed to.

Durenmar is indeed a mighty covenant, and not exactly like the one in the tribunal book.

The first time you ask about seeing the ancient library, a docent of the covenant gently turns you away from the mighty tower and says with great pride, "There it is!" His broad gesture encompasses the hundreds of magi spread out across the rolling green, some sheltering under pavilions, other talking with animation on benches, some walking the paths. Docents and more ordinary covenfolk can barely keep up with their demands for food, drink, reference texts and weirder things.

As you take it in, he admits that the books are worth seeing too. There are many of them, but the library is dead compared to what is going on around it.

His OoH Lore is sufficient to realize that he will eventually want to talk with a suitable Bonisagus, if he is to advance even further into this Mystery. Indeed, such a magus is likely to know many other astrologers!

Viraxis tells Astris, kindly but definitely, to find his own way for the rest of the Tribunal unless called for, that this is a time to make discoveries and connections of your own rather than repeat his. Which, in typical Tremere fashion means, "We're going to watch how you deal with your first encounters as a magus. Let's see how you do."

And indeed, you eventually do find a Bonisagus named Julian who engages you enough to find out what you know, grudgingly points out a few other magi who show potential, and tells you that you might be interesting someday. Arrogant prick. But maybe with reason. He talks for a bit about the advantages and disadvantages of building your own astrological tools.

If the Bonisagus is impressed, he doesn't show it. But it couldn't have gone too bad, if he pointed out other magi and allowed a "someday," which is pretty normal among Bonisagus. And (you reflect in some later season), he at least seems sane. You know enough about the Order to realize that he is not likely to offer you more unless you do something interesting and noteworthy, or offer him an apprentice you have found and opened.

She is not! She left a note with the Redcaps four years ago, apologizing for a sudden emergency that will prevent her from attending.

But there is another celestial maga there named Mary, and you discover that she is most unvirginal if you don't want Astris to resist her seduction. Astris finds out at some point that she is Unaging, as he is. He may or may not learn that she is Viraxis' peer; she is very good at playing the ingenue. Surprisingly, she is a Flambeau. It turns out that her real name is Mare, Latin for 'sea.' Astris might even discover some of the reasons for this. She does not like Julian, but admits that magi who follow his advice do grown in power and knowledge--if they survive.

Sometime later, a Tremere magus junior to Viraxis--but still a good 21 years senior to you gently berates you for your handling of the situation. His Hermetic name is Wolf, which suggests that some Tremere magus thought very highly of him.

"You let him take the initiative. You gave credence to his lie, and for what? 'Mobility. Flexibility. Initiative. Cohesion,'" he reminds you. "You had to challenge him anyway."

"Next time," Wolf suggests wryly, "get something useful out of it. Other magi don't understand what defeat in Certamen means. A forced apology, or simply a reminder, that they understand and will remember."

About this time you realize that as a magus, you have more superiors than ever. "Yes," Wolf agrees. "You're no longer a cub but you're just learning to hunt."

You do not, but... this is an Easy story, so you luck out: Journeyman, just like you. And Jerbiton, as specified.

And so it happens! He chooses Imaginem right off the bat and accepts Rego.

I'm going elide the back and forth with Certamen: I rolled a few dice for each of you to be sure there was no botch, I know what your scores are and have a pretty good idea of the Jerbiton's.

The result is that you win, but you are more fatigued than you expected.

Later on, when Wolf has you review the Certamen, he says, "What were you thinking? He's a Jerbiton. Mentem and Imaginem are their favorites."

He frowns. "I want you to develop an element. A Mentem/Imaginem combination leaves you vulnerable to Jerbiton, Criamon and," he pauses meaningfully, "Guernicus. And next time, keep your temper."

We can go deeper into this if you want, but I think we've covered the basics of this season? Your call. Your next post either agrees to a wrap or continues some of the dangling threads.

1180.3 part 2

Your including a total to determine whether this makes sense saves you some embarrassment--and vis! You are beginning to suspect that vis is not so rare out here in the boondocks. After all, here you are, brand new with lots of vis! And what if the Praeco is a Jerbiton, who might consider your gift of raw power puerile, or worse, a Criamon?

No, you realize (with a very good roll), better to see the Tremere first and get a reliable feeling for the land. After all, that's where your first duty lies anyway.

You show up for Tribunal; never having been there you must travel there the hard way.

When you get there, things go very well for a while...



Until you realize that you are the only real magus here. The others are all Faeries! Or worse!

This takes you an embarrassingly long time to figure out. Weeks! But the coincidences get stranger and the discrepancies and excuses harder to brush off.

But now you know. What do you do?

(BTW, this does remain an Easy story. Just weird is all. :slight_smile: Welcome to Novgorod!)

1180.4 part 2

Someone has even named the covenant with an expectation of war. Expectation? Or is it an invitation? Astris lacks the lore and experience even to venture a guess. Telemachos is the man most likely to know, and he isn't talking.

Parum Sanctus Bellum. WTF?

Spring at night in Kiev is still plenty cold. You've lived through warmer winters in England! Fortunately, you have luxuriant furs to wear too, and before venturing forth you have already made good decisions about what to wear.

With each night, as you venture further from the covenant, it occurs to you that you are learning more about preparation than about the covenant.

You are dimly aware that there are professionals whose job it is to war. Strategos, it is called in Constantinople, and among the Tremere. But even back home, knights-in-training learn about these things less formally, how landscape matters, what is needed to lead, how to use the environment. You have not learned their ways, nor the magics to compensate. You are not covering much ground on foot--but are learning something about the difficulties of covering ground on foot. You have ink and parchment--but not the skills of a mapmaker nor the experience to know what notes to take. Are your notions of choke points valid? You hope so, but are not sure. What would a military man look for? The terrain on this side of the river seems much flatter than the Kyiv side; these subtle features might not be choke points at all.

How might a more experienced magus approach this task? You're not doing badly, you think, especially for your first time. What you do makes sense. But are you leveraging your resources well, out here in the cold and on foot?

Still, you are learning something, what it is to be out on a cold night, what it is like to take stock of the land--and of yourself. The Founder would consider the latter more important. Knowing what you need to know is a good first step. "Know your goal. Know your tools. Know yourself." He also said, "Know your enemies," but never "Know your friends." That came later, in the famous Commentaries on the Order of Battle.... "Know your enemies, know your allies, and know the difference..."

And that's when you realize that it's not a branch at all, not a person, but ice cracking, and it's all too close! With a lurch you realize that the rough surface upon which you are standing is not quite stable, as it begins to give way beneath you with an even larger crack whose meaning you are not likely ever to forget again--

And this is about where we need a reaction from Astris before he falls through into whatever lies beneath.

1180.5 part 2

Not to mention, of course, that Viraxis would probably have a few choice and Penetrating words to say to you if you did not...

Indeed! You have never seen a magus ever touch the Spear of the Golden Voyage whose Station is Illumination, for the spearhead recognizes the merest touch of the Gifted and inflicts two points of Warping, aside from its other effects. It has even more baleful effects upon Supernatural creatures. As for mundane threats... it is a very sharp spear whose point easily slides between mail links. It returns to the hand that throws it. These are just the powers you know about.

As for the magus who enchanted the spear.... he wasn't always a Criamon, but he took to his new teachings with a vengeance, demonstrating the effectiveness of non-lethal methods with a cruel creativity.

Is it your imagination, or does the spear want to strike you?

Some of the rumored powers of the spear include the ability to hurl itself, and the ability to fill the bladders of people in its vicinity.

This doesn't work out well for you. Not only is night usually your prime work time, but every time you drift off to sleep or achieve a proper meditative state, something disturbs you.

The first time, a grog knocks on your door to ask if you want anything. The second time too--and when you advise no one to show up, they obey your request. Yet then you hear a crashing sound outside, and later, there's a mosquito in the room! The fun keeps coming, so that by dawn, not only do you get to enjoy your -1, you're also tired, with no sleep at all, neither by day nor night. You start your day down 2 long-term fatigue levels and not in the best of moods.

Coincidence, or part of the challenge?

There is no other possible answer.

And after more time it feels like four hours, maybe more. You have to piss. You're down another LTFL. What now?

1180.6 post 2
Intended Difficulty: Easy

Objective: See his family. Arrange protection for them, if possible.
Before I can continue with this, I need to understand a bit more about this 'protection' he seeks as an objective for the season: From what? Of what kind? Why?

Bear in mind that story rewards and story difficulty march alongside each other.

1180.7 post 2

It is, indeed! For one thing, Astris has no score in Supernatural Lore. Everything he knows about Sirius is contained within this first post as a byproduct of his having a score in Artes Liberales. He also has no score in Animal Handling; he knows about dogs in the way a child might--except not as well because dogs hated him on account of his Blatant Gift, so he never hunted with them or trained with war dogs or anything like that. This dog might not react to the Gift the same way, and not all magi who find companions need Animal Handling--yet this is a hound, not a wild beast The proper companion to a hunting dog knows how to handle them. Finally, a hound of so august and famous a lineage might be more powerful than Astris at this point in his career! Or not. We'll see. Everything points to a companion that Astris will have to grow toward, not one he can obtain in a single story.

Also, I have done some reading about Orion and his faithful canine companion. Orion is a hunter; Sirius is the companion of a great hunter. Before we continue, I want to be sure you (though possibly not Astris, given his lack of Supernatural Lore) understand that hound of Sirian descent will want a hunter of some kind. Astris is going to have to not just prove himself in the hunt, but prove himself a Hunter, and he isn't one (yet). Of course, the beast could be lying about his ancestry--but do you want that for Astris?

This digression is all about what you want for Astris's development. I want to talk this over with you before em-bark-ing upon this tail (ok, I'll stop the puns now :slight_smile: ) since you suggested earlier that this might become Astris' familiar. I want to be sure you get what you want. Think a bit about Might, but also think about Astris and the hound sharing a common destiny. I am happy to give a magus every bit as much Might in his familiar as he can bind, so this matters: If Astris wants to bind sooner, the hound will be less powerful. The common destiny matters even more! Astris can always study Arts for a few seasons to get the scores he needs to bind the right familiar, but a hunting dog will not be bound by a magus who is not a hunter. The mythic association with Sirius is powerful; the pelt of stars confirms the first and greater association.

Also let me know if you want to devote extra seasons this cycle to the pursuit of this story, and if Astris is more likely to return to this later, if necessary.

In your followup post, feel free to either leave things be, or change some of the details to better reflect what you want. Either way, I will then tell you what Astris learns, and continue this story! I enjoyed the covenant conversation about the dog, and look forward to following this up.

1180.2 - warp up

I thank the Bonisagus for his time and wisdom. I make a note to look into creating my own astronomical tools. In later seasons I reflect that I may be looking for a few seasons apprenticeship with that metalworker I see around the covenant.

[OOC: How does this sound? I like the idea of Mare being a more long term participant in Astris's saga. Astris would resist a direct seduction, but Mare probably plays it better. By acting the innocent she lets Astris fall for her]

Astris finds and speaks with Mare, the celestial maga. They get along well, and she invites Astris to watch the stars with her that night. The night is filled with opportunity, but Astris is still pretty nervous around woman. Mare senses it, and promises that they could focus on the stars, and leave all else to its proper season. After that, they spend a lot of the Tribunal together. She occasionally brushes close to him, her hand accidentally touches his etc. The night before the ceremony described in the GT thread, Astris spends time with her, charting the starts, when she leans in close, to check his notation, before turning her head and kissing him.

She apologizes, Astris apologizes more. They spend the rest of the night somewhat awkwardly, as its clear there is more than mere friendly feeling there. [OOC: Or a skilled seductress at work.] Astris and Mare part with the promise of seeing each other again, hopefully before the next GT. [I'll post an eighth story, for when Astris goes to visit Mare, soon.]

"You are right, of course. But it was a pleasure to watch that twit admit defeat. I'll certainly take your advice and continue expand my magical repertoire. Thank you again, sir. I will take what I have learned here, and grow from it."

[OOC: I think this does it for this season.]

[Edit: Added last OOC note and the story number.]

1180.2 GM Summary and Close

Astris gains a tenuous contact with Julian.

Mary is a more personal contact. But she spends a lot less time with Astris than he believes, since you want things between them to be left unconsummated. Nonetheless, she has taken an interest in Astris and has invited correspondence.

Wolf is also a very definite contact. Sometime during the Tribunal, he lets you know that you are to report to him as part of his (loose) command, anything you believe House Tremere needs to know. He expects you to ask for advice when you need it. This is consistent with the way the House works and completely expected; you are far too junior to report directly to a magus of Viraxis' seniority, except as it directly pertains to your line of descent. Wolf has a very good Reputation within the House. He is based in Transylvania, and has made clear to you that he will not cross the Tribunal boundary.

5xp to spend as you like

xps for Reputations to be determined after OoH correspondence about the season

1180.3 part 3

Since I don't know where the Tribunal is being held, I'll consult with the Eilrick on the best way to get there. I'll guess there is some walking to be done. I'll prepare a sack of food and the like, again making sure I have what I think I need (4=2 Int + 2 Survival). Once I have what I need, I set out (3 = 1 Sta + 2 Survival).



Until you realize that you are the only real magus here. The others are all Faeries! Or worse!

This takes you an embarrassingly long time to figure out. Weeks! But the coincidences get stranger and the discrepancies and excuses harder to brush off.

But now you know. What do you do?

It's the "or worse" that really has Astris worried. If the creatures haven't done anything that makes Astris think his soul is in peril, he'll settle for worrying about his body. He checks the stars that night- he would hopefully recognize if time is being dilated or contracted, or if he is in some weird Faerie realm: 5 ( 2 Int (knowing what the sky should look like) + 3 AL:Astronomy). If he is still on Earth and time is running normally, he'll consider playing along. The next day he will join the Tribunal in session. He tries to get a sense of the creatures. Do the mean him harm? He waits for a debate that could reasonable touch on the affairs of magi and faeries (3=2 Int + 1 OoH Lore) and then rises to make a speech on that issue. He starts be suggesting that many magi have suggested stiffer dealings with the fae, hunting them for vis etc. while he does this he watches for reactions. Then he segues into the counter point; that the fae have much to offer the Order and closer ties may be beneficial, and again watches for reactions. Finally, he concludes that the status quo may not need to be changed, but that the learned magi must decide together how it is to change, if at all. (to make the speech 5 (2 Com + 3 Etiquette) to gauge reactions 4 (+2 Perception +2 Intrigue).

Astris's first instinct is to jump to and try to belly slide toward solid land. He's not the most agile, but he has some athletic talent. 2=(Dex 0 +2 Athletics). If he is safe at this point, he carefully scambles back to the clearly solid ground.

If he's still on cracking ice, he gets really worried. Astris has been swimming so, he's less afraid of drowning; but he knows well enough that cold kills. (4=2 Int +2 Survival) if it looks like he's going under fast casts (if needed) a "keep warm" spell that he'll name if he he doesn't die.
"Keep warm"
Cr(Re)Ig(Co) 4
Range: Personal Duration: Diameter Target: Individual
(Base 2 (ArM5 p. 140, +1 Diameter, +1 Rego, +0 Corpus)
This spell heats a human body to its normal temperature, and keeps it there for the duration. Rego magic insures that the body stays the right temperature, neither too warm, nor too cold. Corpus is needed only for targeting and does not increase the magnitude.
If fast cast: 0=( 6 TeFo +1 Sta + 3 cyclic -10 fast) (I'll probably have to spend confidence to get there) (Goal 4)
If time to cast normally: 10=(6 TeFo +1 Sta + 3 cyclic)(Goal 7)

If he ends up under water (and warm) his immediate concern is current; if he is being moved underwater, he'll have to stop that. If he can swim to the hole and grab solid ice he will 3 (+1 Str +2 Swim). If not he'll draw his sword and jam it into the ice, and hold on tight. 4 (+1 Str +3 SW: Arming Sword). If he gets a grip on ice, he'll at least get his head above water and work on climbing out. If he has to jam his sword in, he gets the fun of casting underwater...Blade of Virulent Flames Casting Score =-2 (6 TeFo + 1 Sta +3 cyclic -10 no words -2 subtle gestures)! Hopefully he's still near enough the covenant to pick up some help from the aura. If he can get the blade lit, he'll use it to cut away some ice, get a hand hold and try to drag himself out- or at least get air so he can worry about how to get out without drowning.