Chapter 2h (Spring 1228): Preparing the Covenant's Defenses

And here I thought I had missed a notification again....

Scott

[Ooc: I think we're set to ask about Tremere to vis cast a wall, and investigate other forms of defence. Better defences probably a covenant goal anyway. We can wrap up I assume, and do the meta-magic stuff ooc?]

[OOC: Sorry. Yes, I'm okay to wrap up and do the Tremere wall building in summary. Also the recruiting extra soldiers - I'm assuming as we have Cavalry in the covenant boons, this shouldn't be too hard.

So I think the things we're doing are:

  • Gregorius: Try to arrange for re-inforcement from the village
  • Gregorius: Try to arrange for the Tremere to create a wall around the covenant.
  • Viola: Use her knowledge of Imaginem to create devices that will help us get advanced warning of an impending attack (although that's less useful if we don't have anywhere specific to aim them) and/or try to recruit faeries to do useful things.
  • Fray: Things to make the watchmen better and/or developing relevant combat spells

Am I missing anything/getting anything wrong?]

Keep in mind, though, that the local villagers will remember the last attack--and if they get wind that you're facing potential magical opponents, things could get tricky.

Go ahead and lay out how you plan to do each of these things. I'll have to figure out what Viola is going to do, though she's certainly open to suggestions.

Scott

"Ah," says Gregorius. "One other problem that I've just realised hasn't gone away. Tasia was due to cast our Aegis at the end of the season."

Arranging for re-inforcements: What Gregorius really wants is a well armed defensive force permanently stationed at the covenant. Unfortunately, on reviewing his options he realises that the barracks and stables aren't built yet, so they don't have room to house such a force even if cavalry made good defensive troops.

So he'll change his goals slightly, and aim for an auxilary offensive force the covenant can use, that's still based and housed (at least for the time being) at the local village. To try to recruit this, he'll therefore wait a day or so after returning so as not to seem desperate, then request a meeting with the village headman. He'll tell the headsman (via interpreter) that they've got some initial leads on the raiders who attacked the previous covenant and, whilst we're not currently ready to strike at them, we are likely to want to in future, possibly with the village's help. To that end, he'd like a band of the villages young men to start training with the covenant, and going on small missions together, so that they can work together better when the time comes. The covenant would of course be prepared to recompense them...

The magical opponents thing is a problem, and one that needs to be overcome. Assuming that he's successful in recruiting the horsemen, Gregorius is going to try to introduce them to magic slowly and try to get them somewhat familiarised with it. He'll start with little things like Constantine, Viola's butterfly familiar (with Viola/Constantine's permission, of course!) and showing them armour which has had Doublet of Impenetrable Silk cast on it (and suggest such protections could be available to them...) and gradually work his way up, although it's probably a forlorn hope that he's ever going to get the horses to be comfortable around Alcimus.

On the wall point, I have drafted a letter to go to the Tremere Tribune (https://forum.atlas-games.com/t/card-board-games-archive-links/116/1). It may get modifed before sending depending on people's responses to the Aegis situation.

OOC; I'm digging for my notes for our plans for Spring 1228 and don't think I locked in a lab activity for Fray. So, can we assume this adventure didn't expend enough time to cause a distraction from lab? Or if so, to what degree?
Obviously Fray won't be inventing any of the defensive spells that season as the impetus arrived mid season.

[OOC: I think Fray and Stepehn are probably within the 10 days (we've got 3 days scouting, travelling there and back, plus a day or so watching the camp and finding Tasia). Gregorius isn't, though, as he spent a while searching on foot before the other magi joined him.]

Just for the record, I'm still mulling what to do here, including what Viola can do.

Scott

There's also the matter of paying for them in some fashion.

We can play out that meeting whenever you're ready, but first, what kind(s) of payment do you have in mind?

Scott

As for Viola, I'm thinking either something involving Muto Imaginem, or a Muto Herbam effect involving Animae Magic that makes the terrain around the covenant hostile. I'm going to have to try to find my House books tomorrow to look up Animae Magic--they apparently never got unpacked after the last move.

BTW, what Viola can do in the lab is going to depend in part on what happened with her own story about the attempt to lift the curse in the lab....

Scott

Gregorius will talk to Theodoric to see if he has an idea of what the village are likely to want (and settle for, although he'd prefer to avoid going for the bare minimum in favour of goodwill). Whilst it may just be a matter of silver, he suspects it's not going to be that simple.

[OOC: The boon in the covenant write up states "Cavalry--it should be possible, if it's desired, to recruit some of the local Kipchaks as a fighting force, perhaps in return for allowing them to graze their animals on the covenant site, and (this goes to their reason for not doing so already) making sure no supernatural nasties bother them while they do so." Although presumably that's just an example, and I assume we're not talking the direct covenant site itself here, given it's not big enough to be particularly appealing, I wouldn't have thought.]

He'll also question Theodoric on what the horsemen are usually doing (both in the sense of "are they fishermen who mount up occasionally or fulltime warriors" and "do they spend half their time raiding the neighbouring villages"). If there's a possibility the covenant is going to end up getting drawn into the local power struggles, he wants to know that going in.

The covenant grounds aren't that big, but remember that the aura is quite large (Vast Aura)--and I'm sure they've occasionally encountered odd things there on occasion.

Though their culture has a nomadic history, they're villagers--they practice settled agriculture, as well as fishing, though their agriculture does include livestock, hence the need for grazing land. I'm sure conflicts between villages happen on occasion (there's no strong central authority in this region), but it isn't that common.

Scott

So we're not inserting ourselves into (another) war. That's something.

So Theodoric isn't aware of any particular things the villagers are likely to want? Gregorius will speak to the other grogs and see if they've picked up anything from the villagers - I think Petrus has been spending time with the local village wise woman, and Damianos has been hanging around the horsemen.

Your inquiries indicate that he grazing is probably a good start. The villagers are also aware that some of the wild horses that graze within the aura have "special" properties, and might appreciate some help in capturing them.

Scott

Gregorius remembers that Viola has been interacting with the local horse-herds (well, having them tracked down and sacrificed, but close enough), so he'll ask her what she knows about the magical horses. (Can I assume he gets roughly what's in the relevant thread, or do you want to play it out?)

He'll also ask her whether she thinks she could capture one of the magical horses without excessive difficulty.

The main other thing he'll do is think about what legends he's heard about things likely to disturb pasturing horses during his explorations, and ask Theodoric the same question. (Gregorius' relevant stats are Int +1, Area Lore: Don Delta 2.)

That's up to you, though I don't recall our ever specifying what sorts of magical alterations exist within the herds.

A warped animal, sure. That Beast of Virtue? That would be difficult.

A note here: the rules on magic are really vague about whether there's a category of animals in between Warped and Beasts of Virtue. There are mentions that seem to imply the existence of magical beasts that aren't tragically flawed but also aren't as powerful as the virtuous sort, but no real rules for them. Thoughts?

Horses, in general, are extremely skittish, and practically anything could disturb them....What is he getting at, though?

Scott

Fray could spont something to make them easier to catch - MuAn15 will make a beast small for a few minutes. (Base 4, voice diam) That'll slow them down a lot. Or turn a horse to a frog or sloth muAn15 (base 5, eye conc), they're easy to catch. All depends on their MR.

The relevant sections I'm thinking of are primarily:

Admittedly, it's a little awkward that I GM'ed that story.

My take is that there definitely exists a third category of magical animal that is neither a former mundane animal or a Beast of Virtue (despite what page 55 of RoP:M says). For example, dragons. The Birds of Nephelococcygia are also explicitly not Beasts of Virtue (although some may have been transformed, that's only some and the truth of it is questioned).

As far as rules for such creatures, I'd just create them in the same way as another magical creature, but not apply the limitations and requirements for Beasts of Virtue. (Up to you whether you want to make it possible to create Enriched items out of them. I'd say probably not?)

Mostly he's looking to know whether there are known specific supernatural (or otherwise) problems for grazing horses. Basically, he's just checking before he goes to the meeting to reduce the risk of agreeing to something that turns out to be a lot more difficult than he was expecting.

That could work. Once we're close enough to touch, you can put a longer duration spell on them so we can get them back to the covenant. I had been thinking about Alcimus' "Eyes Like Lanterns Power" (paralyzes a person or animal), until I realised it's got zero penetration. Plus it appears to be a Mentem only power for some reason.

Once Gregorius thinks he's got what information he can quickly and easily, he will get Theodoric to arrange a meeting with the headman of the village.

For the meeting, he'll take Theodoric with him to translate. He's briefed Theodoric beforehand on what he's hoping to achieve (a group of light cavalry which can be deployed on occasional missions at fairly short notice, plus training), and is expecting Theodoric to handle the detail of the bargaining if it comes down to it (not that Theodoric is particularly good at bargaining, but he's better than Gregorius). Gregorius would rather try to capture horses than protect them (as the latter sounds potentially rather open-ended), but is willing to do either should it come down to it.

Once the pleasantries are dealt with, Gregorius will get to the point.

"Would any of your young warriors be interested in doing work for the covenant?"