Why don't you do it. I'm working on fixing the familiar story and maybe initiating a story about Mare.
Yes, my idea for Astris, at the "start" of the regular campaign very definitely has this hound as his familiar. I'm inclined to re-work the Sirius connection because I'm not sure that I want him to be a hunting hound- I was just going with the astronomical connection. The Dalmatian is smart, energetic, has high stamina and makes a good guard or war dog. That is what I'm going for with Astris's familiar. He'll be smart, energetic, stubborn as a mule and quick to jump to Astris's side. The star pattern coat and pack leadership further cement the connection between them. Maybe the dog isn't from quite so famous a lineage as Sirius. I'm thinking Might around 10, maybe 20. Arts would be Rego Vim (since Vim seems to be most associated with astrological magic).
I want the familiar to, much as Astris does, blur some lines. Astris is a scholar who is also a warrior. A Tremere who is also independent and hotheaded. Likewise, his familiar blurs the lines. I'm thinking his familiar is a leader among a pack of dogs. But maybe also a rebel? Sort of a "troubled prince" in a great shadow kingdom of mythic beasts?
One thing for sure is that "Hunter" is not where Astris is going, and not where I want his familiar to be. Let's rework that. I still want the Dalmatian, I love the "star/pelt" and the personality of the breed is exactly perfect for Astris's companion.
1180.6 part 2
I have your back!
Plus Aura--which is probably Dominion 1 here. It's a near thing; you are almost spotted while casting which startles you and you nearly fumble the spell! But you don't, and you arrive safely and undetected.
"Laugh at me, will you?" says the little man, struggling to his feet.
"We'll just see how you like falling flat on your arse," he continues. He yanks the ground as though to pull out a rug from under you. Your Parma Magica in Terram is not sufficient (MR 2), and wham! You tumble flat on your behind as the land itself is briefly pulled out from under you. (Reminder: Canonically, an indirect magic of this kind would require a finesse roll and MR would not work; here, the precision is built into the effect--which can be resisted.)
"Not so funny now, eh?"
Everything is back in its proper place.
1180.3 part 8
It is as though the world containing you and the Tribunal is a sack turned inside out, and you are dumped rudely upon the ground.
You do not know it yet, but you receive two separate Warping Points; no Twilight roll required.
It is early morning, and the sky is bleak grey. A shrill wind blows a stinging drizzle across your face and skitters fallen leaves. It is much later in the summer than you realized.
Of the Tribunal, there is no sign, except for the grog you had brought with you. He has been dead for more than a few days. Insects crawl upon his flesh.
You had brought some vis with you for trade and had traded well. You won some minor competitions, were given gifts--yet the books, the rare items of virtue and the Technique vis you acquired are handfuls of dried leaves and dust, but the three pawns of vis you gave remain truly gone. You have only the clothes you are wearing and your sword. Your pack, your provisions, left where you sleep--gone.
You are in a deep, deep forest that you do not recognize. There is the faintest hint of previous human habitation, all but swallowed by the forest. There was a settlement here once, perhaps the beginnings of a village. Now, there are a few rotting timbers, a rusting axehead buried in a tree that will engulf it within a few years' time, and what you think is a footpath. You taste fear upon the air, but perhaps it is your own.
DANGER: Astris retains some script immunity, so will not die here. But Bad Things can and will happen if you and he are not careful. This is a friendly GM warning, as is the implication that 2 Warping Points, a dead grog and losing 3 pawns of vis do not qualify as Bad Things in this context.
Ok. I just wanted to be sure that this wasn't lost.
Ok. Think over what you want, post the appropriately edited first post, and we'll take it from there.
Astris raises his head, sitting up, so that his head is about the same height as the little elf (for lack of a better term). He musters his best deadpan: "No, seeing things from your perspective, it is rather less funny. Allow me to, with much more respect, introduce myself; I am the magus Astris. To whom do I have the unique pleasure of sitting down with?"
1180.5 part 6
The darkness is dispelled, leaving you alone in the chamber with a single, very senior Tremere magus; you can tell by his robe that he is more than 140 years past Gauntlet.
You are down two LTFLs; you still have to piss.
The magus says, "The second test: Leave this room and make a right turn. Open the third door on the left and use this sword to slay everyone in the room."
He hands you a sword whose blade is incandescent with glyphs the likes of which you have never seen.
Doing my best to ignore my fatigue and the full sensation in my bladder [1 (1 Sta +0 Conc)], sheathe my sword and gingerly take the glowing sword from the magus's hand. I give it a few practice swings to get the weight of it.
"Am I free to use my Arts, master?"
After he answers, I nod and follow his directions to the door. As I walk I wonder what the test can be. I think that this is the test of Loyalty and the heart of loyalty is Trust. I am loyal to my House because I trust them. I'm suspect that I must "kill" an image or illusion of someone they would know that I would not want to kill. The test may be an illusion of Viraxis, or maybe even my family. I steel myself to face whatever it may be. I'm telling my self that more likely than not, whatever I see when I open the door will be an illusion. That I can be Loyal because I trust the House not to make me a monster. With that thought, I open the door.
[OOC: While I'm swinging the sword, I try and get an idea of the glyphs functions, I don't know if I even can attempt it, but for what its worth I have 4 (2Int +2 OoH Lore: Tremere) or 6 (2 Int + 4 Magic Theory). Also do I notice anything unusual about the sword (besides glowing and covered in glyphs) while swinging it 4 (2 Per + 2 Single Weapon)?]
[OOC: Did I bring a grog? With my parma, I can't cover multiple people, so I have been travelling without (for example, see the problems in 1180.1 that would have been solved by having a non-Gifted soul along. I'll assume I did since he's lying there dead, but if you tell me I really didn't then won't do what I am about to do. I'm going to write this as though I did bring one, but that's just because I'm rolling with what you have so far.]
I look about the immediate area, scanning for threats. If, after a few moments nothing seems immediately threatening, I walk over to the corpse of Antiov, the grog. I cast Whispers through the Black Gate (on my sheet) with a duration of Hours. Casting Score = 9+aura +die (6 TeFo + 1 Sta, +3 Method, -1 Nocturnal) vs 20. Goal duration = 1 hour 4 (2 Int +3 AL Astronomy -1 Nocturnal). I probably take a FL, so I'll sit while I talk to the grog. Hopefully I'll recover the FL before the conversation is over.
Assuming the spell is cast, I'll interrogate the grog about what happened. When he died, how he died. Anyone he saw or anything he heard. How long has he been here, and is this the place we came to from the covenant or a new place. What have I been doing since he last saw me. Does he know where we are know, where the path leads, or how to get home.
1180.6 part 4
"Bob," he says. "No, Harry. Yes. Harry. You owe me one picklefish (no, you've never heard of such a thing, unless he means 'one pickled fish') for letting mine get away."
1180.5 part 8
That's a 0, because you are down 2 LTFLs.
"Everything is a weapon," he quotes. By which he means yes.
The room is dark.
It's a superb sword.
The glyphs continue to be beyond your understanding; you recognize none of them.
1180.3 part 10
You cast the spell, and false flesh falls away from your 'grog' to reveal a much older corpse.
This is not your grog; of course you didn't bring a grog!
The corpse answers you in Russian, but a dialect different from the one you know. He doesn't know when he died. He was killed by the trees, one of the lucky ones. He obviously knows nothing about the covenant, but asking him regardless cost you nothing. The path leads to a hideous death, but there is no other way. The old stories are true, he warns you, and she kills all with Russian blood.
Then the corpse decays further, into uselessness.
1180.1 part 8
(Weird; I remember posting an response to this, but I don't see it. Now I have to type pretty much exactly the same thing.
Taken out of order:
Yes and no.
You didn't specify concentration, yet normally I'd happily let Astris concentrate to move the chest about.
Then he went and made the chest invisible. He cannot see it either, because it's invisible. He cannot sense that the spell is active without InVi, let alone exactly where the chest is. Indeed, the only reason he knows that the chest followed him from Kyiv is because a few people have had close calls with it, bumping into it and then going about their business. (He's been lucky with this so far.)
If he concentrates, he can do simple things, like hold the chest in place so that he can find it and open it. But maneuvering a chest he does not sense requires more Precision than his spell has.
It's a pretty speech, yet you don't have a chance to get past the first few words: As your hand reaches for your sword, all three knights rush you!
That's going to happen very quickly. If you want to get off a spell before the knights grapple you, their obvious intention, you will need to fast-cast. Otherwise, you can try to cast while being Grappled, or trying to dodge three trained knights!
"Pleased to meet you Harry. I'm afraid I have to disagree about the picklefish as you fell without any action on my part. Your taking time to respond to a friendly traveler's chuckle is your own concern and you must bear the consequences. Surely you would agree. But if you tell me more about the picklefish, perhaps you may convince me to aid in catching another."
1180.5 part 9
I crouch down and cast Eyes of the Cat (on my sheet) CS= 8 (6 TeFo + 1 Sta +3 method -1 Nocturnal -1 Fatigue) vs 5. Holding the glowing blade before me, I'll work my way slowly into the room, thinking of how a hidden attacker may attempt to ambush me 4 (2 Int + 2 Single Weapon).
"Thankfully," I say in French to the rotten corpse, "I am English."
I take a good minute to really look around, I'm trying to see if there is anyhting I'm missing, or anything that is out of place. I pay particular attention to the trees. (3 = 2 Per +1 Awareness).
If nothing jumps out, I start trying to gather some more information.
I start by confirming what I already suspect: I am in some magical place.
I cast a non-fatiguing spell:
Sense of Power
Range: Touch Duration: Momentary Target: Individual
As ArM5 P. 157
Casting Score = 7+aura (6 TeFo +1 Sta +1 Exg. Gestures -1 Nocturnal). Goal Level 3
After looking around, and confirming I am in an aura, I'll set out down the only available path. I keep a very sharp eye on the trees, I'm ready to duck and dodge if they do anything funny. Total = 4 (+2 Per +2 Awareness:Alertness).
[Edit: added more now that I have my books]
1180.1 part 9
Fastcasting in a city isn't going to happen, at least not during the early morning when I'm tired to begin with. Grappled is not good, but it gives me a chance to use some formulaic magic, rather than fastcasting. I'll make with the dodging, but I'm frankly expecting to get caught. I'm not drawing my blade. Let's keep this fight nice and friendly (and non-pointy) until the wizard can get the upper hand.
Dodge= -1 (-1 Qik +1 Brawl-1 Nocturnal)
1180.7 (Takes place Autumn 1186)
Hunt for the Hound v2
Intended Difficulty: Difficult
Objective: Astris heres rumors of a group of magical canines whose fur is marked out in patterns like the stars. He investigates these rumors, learning more about this pack of magical dogs and eventually goes to meet the leader.
Expected Complications: He finds his future familiar, who sets him to some task to prove his worth.
Plan: Hear the rumors and head to meet this magnificent animal. Eventually convince the dog to return to Russia with him. This may take more than one season, and once Astris is committed he will take as long as it takes.
Astris sits in the great hall of the Covenant, sharing stories with several of the covenant's magi. They are recently returned from Tribunal, and he is getting an update on the gossip, rulings, and affairs of the gathering. During the course of the conversation, one of the magi mentions a Merinita maga telling a tale about a pack of intelligent, spotted dogs who live together along the sea. Apparently, according to the maga Merinita, the dogs live near several villages. From time to time one will join a village for a while, being adopted by a family as a guard dog, hunting hound, or pet. When that happens inevitably some terrible event happens to the village. A fire or a ravaging wolf pack. Somehow the dog that joined the village will mitigate or avoid the worst of the disaster's effect. After the tragedy, they disappear back into the night. Some of the villagers, the maga said, claim that the dogs talk to each other, and carefully study the stars to learn when and where the next tragedy will strike. Many now fear the dogs as harbingers of disaster, but also will never chase one from the town as the stories say that when the dog is not present when the disaster strikes it is always much worse.
Upon hearing this, Astris feels an immediate interest in these dogs. He discusses the merinita maga at length with his sodales, learning all they know of her. He sends her a letter, asking her to recount her story. After several weeks, Astris receives his reply. The maga sets out the full story, the gist of which was largely accurate. The maga identifies the area where the dogs have been seen as Dalmatia, in the Theban tribunal. She warns Astris that they could well be nothing more than a rumor, that the maga heard about the enchanted dogs from an old man who claimed that his village had chased one of the spotted hounds away. He knew the Lore and when they didn't listen, he fled the village for safety in the nearest town. The maga goes on to say that shortly after the old man left his village, a renounced renegade magus made his last stand there, against a coterie of Flambeau Hoplites. The maga, who wasn't at the battle proper describes the remains of the village as "cinders piled upon charcoal heaped upon ashes." [OOC she doesn't mention it in her letter, but the maga was on the "cleanup crew" modifying memories and the like so that the mundanes assume this was nothing more than a terrible, freak fire that got out of control]. The maga closes by saying that the whole time she was in the region, she felt as though someone was watching her.
Ever since hearing about the dogs, Astris has been having dreams of a spotted hound- its hide covered in spots corresponding to the constellations above. He suspects some deeper, meaningful connection. Possibly even that this is the animal that is meant as his familiar. He sends a letter to a covenant near/in Dalmatia and asks them about the dogs. They respond with much the same legend as the maga described. The elaborate that the animals are supposed to be able to talk. Astris replies with a request to visit the covenant and temporarily use it as a base. He feels simply driven to meet these animals.
[OOC: I think this better reflects what Astris is looking for in a familiar. I also like the parallel between the hounds being harbingers of disaster but also of salvation. I think it meshes nicely with the Blatant Gift that means Astris always makes the wrong first impression, even when he has good intentions.
I'll answer these in a batch, as is my norm, but something caught my eye that you might want to look at first, and edit accordingly:
This spell (and its associated guideline) is not available due to the different Realm rules. Check game background. You can do something similar, but the guideline has changed, per game background