Chapter 2: In the Autumn of 1210

(In general, I will read the vim summa)

"I didn't expect this to be easy, but this is ridiculous. We don't even have the money to build the houses we wanted. Bah. I am getting tired of waking up to grogsmell every morning. Beats Lübeck, though, even with the slightly murderous ghost."

(So we have the two smaller houses finished and one of them is fully installed with lab and living quarters for one magus? Do you want this for Prochorus, Wits? Or do you prefer to stay down at the inn?
Did we even try to find a stonemason or was it a failed attempt? How did it fail then?
Is Herman arriving this season?
I'm not sure what Japik will do this season, it depends on the answers of the questions above.)

"Hahaha, my friend. You were spoilt in Lübeck. I saw the living standards there and I must say it was a little too dry and cosy for my tastes. You are right it's going slower than expected here and I hated to see Quercus and Pytheas leave so quickly but we need to continue. Where are we standing at finding a stonemason to help us build the larger house? Bernhard could you perhaps help us find one in Bremen or Hamburg next time you leave for the mainland and then have have him sail back here with Trond and his men?"

"We should also see if we can harvest some vis from the tree perhaps and then you might be able to sell one or two pawns for some silver, Bernhard. What do you think?"

(To clarify, the lab in one of the houses is not fully installed. Only the first season of work was done there, so it is only a Basic Lab giving -3 to lab totals. It will need another season to be completely set up. Also note that when Quercus left, he did so with some of the lab supplies he had brought with him. So at this point the covenant only has enough supplies to complete the first lab, with nothing left over for a second lab.)

(You had Trond and the sailors looking for a stonemason whenever they sailed out to trade, but they couldn't find one willing to come to the island.)

(At this point, you don't know about Herman. I plan on introducing him a bit later, probably in Spring of the next year. Right now he's at Fengheld. So presumably you'll tell Bernhard that you would like him to look for additional members.)

Bernhard stammers, "Ye...yes, I... hmm... I got in with a Verditius mag..magus you was... was willing to pu..pu...purchase some more of th..the Perdo vis." The nervous redcap wipes his sweaty brow with a hankerchief. "I was... hmmm... planning on bringing him some when I... when I leave?"

"As for a st...stonemason," the rotund man gulps audibly, "I... I... don't, err, I mean, don't know any...anything about stonemasons. An..and I can't ask around too much, for fear someone will ask too many questions." He looks at the two magi, "Sorry...I...I can't be of much help there?" He looks apprehensively at Prochorus and Japik, obviously fearing their reaction.

"How much do you think you can get from him? I don't think we can afford the masonry anymore. That plan was hatched when we were still filthy rich and populous as the King's court. Today's estimate says we just get another muddy hovel up and reconsider the mason if we stumble into Solomon's treasure."

"Oh, and if you happen upon any destitute magi, Bernhard, don't forget to mention the opulence that awaits them in our little retreat. We could use a pair of unnaturally strong arms around here."

(Japik will spend the season to finish setting up the lab then. Regarding lab equipment, don't forget that we found and retrieved some from the sunken ship as well, even if it's only worth 1/10th of a lab it's still something.
I can't find the prices when we discussed the different types of houses to build. How much would it cost to build a 2-storey stone house if we can find a stonemason? What if we build a 1-storey house now and then add another level later?)

"Don't be so pessimistic Prochorus. We are doing fine here. Setbacks will only make us stronger" Japik chuckles "I'm starting to sound like those two Tytalus that left us."
The Bjornaer magus gets more serious "I will finish the lab Pytheas started setting up so we have a decent place to do some laboratory work in at least. I'm not too fond of that kind of stuff but I have a few ideas on spells I want to develop. Bernhard you try to sell as many of the Perdo vis you can without drawing attention, and as Prochorus says if you find Hercules or a son of his then he is welcome to come and stay with us. Perhaps a Terram-expert? Or anyone with a positive attitude!" he blinks at Prochorus.

(Dug up what the price of the large 2-floor house was estimated to be, which was about 20 pounds.)

(Adding a second floor to one of the small houses wouldn't work, as their basic construction is not skillful enough to support a second floor. That's why you'll need to hire a stonemason to build it -- the villagers just pile up the uneven rocks and crudely mortar them together. Adding a second floor to that would run the risk of it collapsing at some point. If you build it as a single-floor house using unskilled villagers, chances are that the stonemason will have to tear it down before rebuilding it.)

After much stammering, Bernhard reminds the magi of the price he hopes to get for 2 pawns of Perdo -- a total of 40 pounds of silver. He also says that he cannot risk selling too much at once, for that might draw attention to him and to where he got those pawns.

"Fine, then it's settled. If you can sell two pawns of vis for 40 pounds of silver, give or take, then we have more than enough to hire a stonemason." Japik looks at Prochorus "Do you know anything about stonemasons? None would trust us enough anyway. Perhaps Yulia and Dieltinde could go with Trond next time to see if they can find any? Yulia can be quite intimidating at times and she knows a few things about craftsmanship in general. Dietlinde could take care of the civilised and social side."

"Good. We might make it out of the hovel after all. Hm. Is it smart to send out both our only people persons at once, though? Maybe just Yulia?"

"So true. Yulia should go and Trond can assist her. Dietlinde is better needed here. Is all set for the coming months then? "

"All set."

So, to summarize your plans for Autumn 1210:

  • Prochorus studies the Vim summa (L11 Q9)
  • Japik completes the first lab's setup (2 xp of exposure in Magic Theory)
  • You send Yulia with Trond to try and locate a stonemason willing to be hired to build the large house
  • You send Bernhard to sell 2 pawns of Perdo vis to get 40 pounds of silver, and to discreetely look for additional magi to join you

Dietline continues to manage day-to-day running of the covenant, hiring local help as needed (and possible), while Hjalmar and Alruna provide a modicum of security.

The ghostly woman appears regularly, although your personal grogs aren't too fazed by it. Did you dispose of her remains or were you waiting until such a time as you can lay her to rest first? I'm assuming the second, but just want to make sure we all share the same understanding.

Yes to all, lay to rest first.

Looks good. I assume you will fastforward this season and let us know Yulia and Trond's result in trying to find a stonemason.

Yes, I do indeed plan to move forward with this season, to give your characters a chance to evolve a little bit.

As for the stonemason, there are various possibilities. I can roll a die and see whether Yulia and Trond are able to locate someone (and more importantly, convince him to come to Helgelund). That would be an NPC grog-level character. Or, if one of the players is interested in introducing a companion-level character, we could also go with that.

I know I have not allowed companions so far, as I wanted you all to get a feeling of the location and context, but by now I think you've gotten a better feeling of it all. So a companion might first work for the magi to build the large house, then move around the island for other jobs (and stories) while coming back regularly for additional jobs as the covenant can afford them.

Of course, if the concept of a (mostly) mundane stonemason doesn't interest either of you, then the subject is moot. In that case, I'll go back to the die-rolling method.

It would be interesting to play a companion as well but I think perhaps a stonemason character will need something more than just the masonry to be interesting to play. I might be interested in giving it a try but will the character be part of the covenant eventually or will he be working more freelance seeking work elsewhere to be able to make a living?
I think it would be more interesting to play a companion that could provide something more to the covenant or the group as a whole. Maybe not directly from the start but over some time.

Agreed. The way I see it, the covenant cannot employ him full-time at this point, but as it develops further it might. You initially had plans for underground space, stairs, etc. So he could be a way to attain those. Furthermore

So the way I was envisioning it would be that he could work for the covenant to build the house, then move one for a few contracts elsewhere on the island (so he'd be a hook for some stories). Then come back to the covenant for more work, then a few more contracts. Then come back more permanently. So he'd become closer to the covenant as time goes by.

He can have some supernatural feature (virtues and/or flaws) but he should not be focused too much on the supernatural, I think. He'd need to be able to navigate mundane circles without too much trouble.

If you want to give it a spin, then go ahead and post the basics in the Character Concepts topic.

I'll give it some thought and post later today or tomorrow, unless Wits or Joel really want to work on a concept.

Go ahead, I think it's a good idea to make a companion of him.

Yulia departs for Bremen with the Baltrum in the middle of October. The ship is gone far longer than is usual, over a month this time. When she comes back, she lets Japik know that finding a stonemason willing to relocate to Helgelund to work for the covenant was not easy. Most simply turned her down, while others asked for extravagant payment. Eventually, however, she was able to locate a stocky stonemason willing to travel to the island. Still more expensive than what the magi had hoped for, but this was a master of his guild. He would only arrive in the spring, for he had to complete his current jobs and relocate his family. (Yulia gains 5 xp in Bargain for the season)

Trond reports that the additional delay required to assist Yulia will impact the revenues from trading, although he was able to limit that loss by trading for more valuable items to bring back to the island. (To be detailed in The Business of Trading, as usual)

The oak is harvested for Perdo vis, yielding 4 pawns. Bernhard takes 2 pawns with him in November to sell for silver. He only returns with the silver at the beginning of Winter. (I have updated the Vis Stocks to reflect this)