Bernat del Cavall (Development)

Being Asilano's companion; a young spy from the court of the Bishops of Urgell (who, at least IRL, hold joint nominative dominion over Andorra from around the time of the saga). The intention is that he discovered something about his employers that either a) he knew he would not be allowed to know at all, or b) made his position morally untenable to him, and he knows he wouldn't be allowed to live outside the court knowing it. Details undecided. So he's sought sanctuary with the nearest powerful body he knows of - the covenant of Andorra (I was pleased to note that Urgell is but 6 miles from Andorra, and only 20 or so from Arans - a not insignificant but entirely manageable distance).

Bernat del Cavall
Characteristics: Int -1, Per 2, Com -1, Pre -2, Str 0, Dex 3, Sta 0, Qik 2
Age: 18-ish
Virtues (7 points):
Premonitions (minor)
[tab][/tab]Roll Per + Premonitions vs variable ease to predict danger
Light Touch (minor)
[tab][/tab]+1 to rolls, -1 botch die to subtle manipulations
Ways of the Town (major)
[tab][/tab]+3 to all rolls, including combat, that directly involve that area and its inhabitants; -1 botch die than normal (down to 0). Town animals don't molest
Puissant Stealth (minor)
Privileged Upbringing (minor)
Peasant (free)

Flaws (7 points):
Enemies (the court of the Bishops of Urgell) (major)
Judged Unfairly (minor)
[tab][/tab]No-one can see past the fact Bernat is a spy; they assume he's untrustworthy, whereas actually he has a very strong moral code
Dutybound (minor)
[tab][/tab]Having grown up with a taste of privilege, before being squarely brought back down to near-poverty, then re-elevated to a comfortable position, Bernat feels it is his duty to champion the weak and downtrodden, even if inconvenient or if they are undeserving
Nocturnal (minor)
[tab][/tab] -1 to all rolls between dawn and midday
Social Handicap (minor)
[tab][/tab]Bernat has a stutter. -3 on appropriate rolls

[table][tr][td]Language (Occitan)[/td][td]5[/td]td[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Area Lore (Pyrenees)[/td][td]2[/td]td[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Artes Liberales[/td][td]1[/td]td[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Single Weapon[/td][td]1[/td][td](short sword)[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Language (Latin)[/td][td]1[/td][td](Church documents)[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Civil & Canon Law[/td][td]1[/td]td[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Animal Handling[/td][td]2[/td]td[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Concentration[/td][td]2[/td][td](keeping watch)[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Legerdemain[/td][td]2[/td][td](lock picking)[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Folk Ken[/td][td]1[/td]td[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Church Lore[/td][td]1[/td]td[/td][/tr][/table]

Bernat grew up in the town of Adrall, just 10 miles from the Andorran border. His father was groom to the Senor d'Adrall ("Lord Adrall"), who kept a fine stable of six horses. Senor d'Adrall also had a son, Ramon, who was 3 months Bernat's senior. The two boys were natural friends, and often got into mischief together. Occasionally, Bernat attended young Ramon's lessons, gaining a broad, but scattergun, education.

Sadly, when Bernat was 12, Senor d'Adrall lost a quantity of his fortune in a misguided trade venture; the stables were reduced, and Bernat's father was let go. Bernat had to bid farewell to his childhood friend, and set off to pursue a very different life. Eventually, at the age of 15, Bernat found employment with the court of the Bishop of Urgell. His speed and talent for going unseen had impressed the Bishop's spymaster, and Bernat was recruited as a field agent. In this capacity he excelled for 3 years until, returning from a mission one night and entering the bishop's stronghold by an unorthodox route, he overheard a conversation between the Bishop and... someone. Stopping to listen, Bernat realised that the Bishop was entering into a deal with some kind of supernatural being, promising it money from the collection plate in exchange for continued favour at court.

The deal may have been more involved still, but Bernat unluckily dislodges a loose chipping from the window ledge he was standing on, and the conversation stopped abruptly. As he fled the scene, Bernat heard voices behind and below him shouting for him to stop. Knowing that he would be identified, and fully aware of the fate of spies who know too much, Bernat ran for his life. As he headed into the surrounding mountains, wondering where he could seek refuge from beings not of this world, he remembered the tales of a group of magi living in Andorra. With the dual promise of another territory, and magical protection, Bernat turned his steps north, heading for the covenant at Arans.

Due to Andorra being full of, you know, wizards, it may be something supernatural-related, like the winchester brothers. This'd explain why he didn't flee to a nicer place.

Hum... Maybe the bishop is in league with some Faerie that helped it gets its place or get what he wants, and Asilano witnessed their talks. He may have mistaken it for a mage or demon, but he faced (weak) supernatural retribution.

Maybe someone with supernatural powers wanted him to spy his master for him. He tried to get him apprehended, but the culprit escaped and try to avenge himself.

Maybe he angered some supernatural entity, like refusing to marry a faerie princess.

For the virtues, it all depends if you want him to be a social spies à la Lord Baelish (multiple social contacts, puissant intrigue, ways of the town*...) or a burglar, catwoman-style (premonitions, light touch, puissant steatlh, ways of the town*, perfect balance. Enhanced senses are nice)

  • Go back and read it. This is the virtue you want your urban spy to have, really. Unless you don't expect him to spend much time in towns, that is

Given the Albigesian crusade that just happened in languedoc, the bishop might be discovered to be actually a simpathizer if not an aotrught believer of ther Cathar tenets. While he has been officially supporting the official papal war effort he has been also helping the Cathars as much as he can.

This, or bhe could have plotted against the count of Barcelona and only the use of a scapegoat has saved his ass. he came out clean, but you have discovered evidence that it was him that was the brains of the whole plot. The plot can be a test to foil the invasion of Mallorca unless the king approved more prerrogatives for the nobles and church. this plot actually happened IIRC (will have to check my sources; I found this when investigating Arnau's background), so it is believable to be a potential plot where he was taking part.

All good ideas. I like the Bishop-in-league-with-Faerie one. I also found a description of Ways of the Town online; so, +3 to all rolls and -1 botch die when interacting specifically with a Town? Er, yes. I was going for the cat-burglar type, for what it's worth. Let's go edit the virtues a bit.

Edit, after updating the sheet up top: I wonder about "Plagued by a supernatural entity" if his dark secret is that the Bishop of Urgell is in league with the Fae. Perhaps they know, and there's a faerie keeping tabs on him?
I do have a slight concern that he's becoming munchkin-y or at least one-dimensional, with basically every Virtue saying "Look! I'm good at being sneaky and observant"

Just one note, Ways of the Town is actually in the main Ars Magica book if you want to see the complete virtue writeup, it's listed as Ways of the [xxx] (Ican remember what the "xxx" is but it's generic so you can make Ways of the Forest, Ways of the Desert, etc. Also, there's a feat in the Grogs book (which I don't have on me right now) that might be cool. I can't remember the name, or even the mechanics of it, but it basically is the virtue for someone whose face is forgettable. I think that would be perfect for the type of spy you're looking for. Hopefully someone with the Grogs books can jump in with the info, or I can try and remember to do so when I get home tonight.

Ah, so it is. It's Major, I'd blanked on it. And yes, having a forgettable face might be handy.

More thoughts on status etc. I'd want to be literate, which requires Academic abilities; I'd also like to take Thrown, which requires Martial abilities. The only semi-plausible way I can see to do that is to be an Educated Outlaw. But "Outlaw" seems a bit harsh; the general populace shouldn't know I'm bad, because the Bishop would keep his spies secret. Any suggestions? I may, of course, be missing a useful status from a supplement.

You would need 2 virtues to get both. Or have covenant upbringing, which does not fit very well. With your virtue selection you have space for both

Premonitions (minor)
Light Touch (minor)
Puissant Stealth (minor)
maybe Keen Vision / Sharp Ears (you can avoid those IMO)
Clerk or Educated (I prefer the second. A stealthy agile spy clerk? Well it does have potential after all)
Veteran or privileged upbringing or troupe upbringing (I like the last one for your skills)
Perfect balance (that would work for the ninja type infiltrator spy)

So you can have it all :slight_smile:


Looks, in general, like an excellent list; but I'm still missing Martial abilities. I assume Veteran would give them (it's non-core); but Privileged Upbringing explicitly doesn't, and Troupe Upbringing doesn't either. Unless I could argue that a Troupe Upbringing in knife-throwing should allow me to take Thrown (but not other Martial abilities).

I also prefer Educated to Clerk; but finding a fitting social status, and a way to get Thrown (if not other abilities) are causing me a real headache :frowning:

You want Warrior, a minor Virtue that grants access to martial abilities plus grants 50xp for such.
Almogavar is a free social status Virtue from Grogs that grants martial abilities. I wanted to create "Soldier" as a social staus, but they wouldn't let me. But you can substitute the word "almogavar" with the title of some other mercenary social status.

There are 2 XP virtue-granting virtues in the list. Pick 2 that grant you the needed abilities. privileged upbringing grants martial abolities for sure. Just checked.
Troupe upbringing grants +2 to a selected field. If you choose knife throwing (explicitly stated as an example) your SG would be a real ass (and in this case we know him and he is not) if he did not allow you to take Thrown weapons even if your background does not include access to martial abilities. Much more fitting than having a warrior IMO to have a nice knife thrower with thrown weapons and brawl as his combat skills. It fits.


... Oh, I see, I was misreading it. It gives 50XP which may spent on General, Academic or Martial, but doesn't allow any other spend on Academic/Martial barring other Virtues.

In any case, that does give several options. I'll ponder which I like best. Possibly Troupe Upbringing. I think it's between that and Privileged, as I can't really see Bernat being a "Soldier". It does still leave the Social Status floating, although a Troupe could go with Peasant. Doesn't really work to have a Privileged Peasant, but perhaps a Privileged Wanderer could be made to work.

There's a Minor General Virtue called Forgettable Face (p. 74): "Never will this character be the one noticed or picked out of a crowd. Moments after speaking with him, very few people can give an adequate description of him. He often gets away with things because people are not sure it was actually him. If other characters must make a roll to identify him, it is at –3. On the downside, this trait is incompatible with great beauty, charisma, or commanding presence. Virtues like Venus’ Blessing or Inspirational are prohibited, although Curse of Venus could work."

Basically, you are so generic-looking that people just...overlook you, in a lot of ways. Joe the Generic Guy.

Aha, I think I have it. I'll take Privileged (which allows both Artes and Thrown, so no need for Educated as well) and Peasant. The reasoning will be thus:

Bernat is the son of the former groom to a minor noble in Adrall. He happens to be the same age as the heir of the estate, and they were friends in their youth. As such, Bernat was often allowed to sit in on the young master's tuition. However, when the family's fortunes declined slightly in Bernat's early teens, they were forced to reduce their stables, and lay off Bernat's father. Hence, Privileged Upbringing, now a Peasant; and the possibility for a story hook if it interests Marko!

I may opt to have the spymasters further his Artes so he can read another script (I guess Arabic); or I may choose to do that in-play if I feel like it.

Right, almost done - as in, Virtues and Abilities set. I'll write in the back-story soon. I'm still undecided on the precise nature of the dark secret that's caused him to flee to Andorra, although I like the general area of "Bishop Urgell is treating with the Fae".

Um, might the covenant be considered a few powerful people?

The magi of the covenant would be a few powerful people, but they are innately powerful, as opposed to powerful through politics. Plus, as noted above, the flaw is more about justifying actions than actually holding to your vow.

Good point. And Dutybound is not a Vow and does not work like this at all.

That's the idea. Once Bernat identifies as part of "the covenant", he'll be inclined to do the magi's bidding if it furthers the aims of "the covenant". He's less likely, to pick a stupid example, to sneak into the local taverna and change tonight's bookings so Pere gets a good table. When it comes to grey-area actions, as per the flaw, Bernat will likely act in his own interests - but then spend time angsting about it.

Worried now. When you say "does not work like this at all", do you mean I've got the wrong end of some stick somewhere?

You have it set up as a Vow to do/not do something (and working for an exclusive order of magi count's as violating that).

What you want is Vow.

Dutybound means you are compelled to your duty, even if you don't like it. Vow represents some more abstract ideal, such as what you describe. But I would change it, for as worded it precludes you from working for magi. I suggest you stick with Dutybound, drop everything you wrote about it, and just say Dutybound. You feel it is your duty to champion the weak and downtrodden, even if inconvenient or if they are undeserving. One day you knock a beggar over because you are in a hurry. You feel bad about it all the next day until you rationalize that he should not have been in your way during an emergency.

Done, and backstory added. Does it all look good to you? When does Bernat reach Arans?