Chapter2: Patrick and the Magic Trough

1226 Spring, Patrick will also get some livestock for the covenant from our village friends (probably have Leon do it), specifically poultry and some milking creatures (goats?). From my modern perspective, the poultry is most likely chickens. He'll get twice the number of chickens we need, and feed half of them with his Trough of Alterations to see what sort of mutants he can create -- while the possible source of vis is valuable, he's really looking for any interesting mutations which will breed true.

This means we'll need someone in the covenant to look after the animals. One of the unclaimed servants, perhaps? Or should we draft a local?

1227, when the goats have their kids, Patrick will add the weakest of them to his Trough experiments.

(In addition to being a great source of milk and compost, goats can also be used as pack animals, which might affect covenant flavor.)

Miklos's seasonal activities seem pretty obvious: training and soldier'ing. As a Companion, he's entitled to seasonal advancement. Does anyone have specific directives for the grogs? If not, he'll be picking up Local Area Lore, Local Language, and Teaching (exposure). If he actually has a "free season" of time over the years for himself, he'll spend them reading mundane books from the library, I guess.

Updated Miklos :
Updated Leon:
Updated Patrick the Unrepentant:

Changes are marked in green.
Need to know the name of the local area, and the local language. Is it Rus?
Need to know how much EXP Patrick gets for adventuring in 1226, Spring.
Chose to have Patrick read the Aegis mastery text, and am assuming he'll cast his lvl 20 version of the Aegis.

Does Patrick find any vis sources or (evidence of) magical beasts while hunting, scouting and corresponding?

Does Patrick successfully obtain chickens and goats for his Trough of Alteration? What happens with them?

The Trough generates up to 24 points of warping/day across these animals, though some of these warping points may end up being applied to the infestation of Vole Wranglers and other warped vermin that inhabit his fields. Still, that's up to (2 years * 365 days * 24 uses =) 17,520 points of warping, which could be up to 233 creatures warped to Lvl 5. Since this is a breeding experiment, most of those critters will be culled, and he probably doesn't feed them every day -- more likely, he feeds them until they gain visible mutations, then stops long enough to understand the warping effects, kill off the uninteresting ones (hopefully obtaining vis), and then move on to the next stage.

(My brain boggles at the amount of warping that device creates. I had not worked out the full implications previously. I'm glad I came up with the idea of the infestation of warped vermin for his lab.)

Patrick presumably has set up some ring wards to keep these warped vermin from escaping beyond the borders of his lab-field.

Note: Still waiting on some ruling on the Trough of Warping. I'm tempted to just ditch the thing, since it's sort of mind-boggling how much damage that thing can do to an eco-system.

Sorry, I must have lost it in the shuffle again. What's your concern? I don't see it as unbalancing, but it could certainly create a bunch of useless (and potentially annoying) warped animals, as well as perhaps a few useful ones. What's Patrick's motivation for using it (other than having been given it and wanting to get some value from it)?


Hrm...well, first, he's hoping to get some useful guard/work animals out of it eventually. Muto vis would also be valuable. Then there are the lab stats. After that....they might eventually count as Specimens?

But the chief desire is to find if he can breed true any of the useful mutations.

And what are you concerns about it? I'm hesitant to do anything like banning it outright, since it seems to be entirely canonical (and furthermore relies on a core mechanic, warping, rather than some esoteric effect added in an expansion).


Mostly, my concern was that it seems to be taking so long to rule on its effects. It was meant to be a side-story.

Do you need me to rule on the effects, or simply to do the dice-rolling and judgment calls?

Tell me first off exactly what animals you're feeding.


There's no clear mechanic for the flaws/virtues gained, so I can either devise a random table, or you should rule on the effects tell me what dice to roll, etc.

Patrick has obtained some chickens and goats for the covenant. A portion of these goes to the Trough for experimenting. Old goats in particular are little loved in agrarian societies like these, so he should be able to pick up a handful of those for pretty cheap.

As noted in his lab writeup, local vermin may also be getting into the feed (at SG consent), and those would need to be dealt with eventually as well.

I will have a look at the warping rules again tomorrow (Tuesday, probably late) and give you some results.


OK, I need more information on how Patrick is doing this, because the vermin raise a tricky issue. The trough has 24 uses/day, and the trigger presumably is the act of eating. If Patrick isn't carefully controlling access to the trough, and keeping vermin away, chances are that none of the animals he intends to be affected are actually being affected, because vermin could be activating all the uses (with very small bites) before the animals get there. (Or maybe only a few of them would get to the trough first--in any case, I need to know how Patrick is conducting the exercise.)

By the way, Patrick does realize that Merinita and Bonisagus magi are often infuriated by this kind of thing, right?


He'll only fill it while he's actually at the covenant, and toss in the slops while the animals are nearby, so they'd get first crack at it before the vermin do.

I can't find the other references quickly, but there's been one or two other places where I have tried to encourage the other players to RP their wizard's reactions to the Trough experiments.

I picked it up partially for the moral dilemma it represents -- I'm still feeling my way around the Tytalus mindset, but it feels very characteristic of the house to do something like this simply to provoke the debate around the dinner table. "Aye, t'was created with malice aforethought, but t'was given in payment for an act much less cruel. Is any object evil in itself, or is it in the manner it is used? We're magi, after all, could we not find some divine being to sup' with us and give his views directly? Or would that be hubris?"

So far, it seems like no one has been interested in having theological and philosophical debates in character about it. Or possibly, it just hasn't been clear to the others that one of the points of the device is to have those sorts of conversations about it.

I think you probably mean Bjornaer rather than Bonisagus, unless I'm missing something?

That does sound right, though I had thought that RoP: Magic said "Bonisagus".

I'm not sure how clear it is to the other magi what Patrick is doing. Did he actually tell them, or simply wait for them to find out?


RoP:M says Bjornaer (page 79).

Oh, wait. You mean the general opinion of devices and experiments like this?

Patrick is not aware that there is a public opinion on the matter. He's not aware that anyone has ever done this sort of thing before, aside from the magus who traded him the device.

He's public about his plans to use the device, since he'll need to discuss the acquisition of chickens and goats for the covenant. Maybe that's when the discussion first takes place?

OK, in that case, Viola is not going to be thrilled with "torturing innocent animals". Mind you, with the Hermetic Code and all, she's not going to deprive Patrick of his magic by doing anything to stop it, but it greatly displeases her.

Also, the Cat wants to make darned sure you don't let any of her kittens near this trough.


"Torture? Any more than keeping them penned in a tiny field, and burning our names into them? Why, the average persona willnae even sit down and chat with a rabbit before tossing him in his stew. And if I'm not mistaken, didn't you hunt down a horse and sacrifice it on an altar, without so much as introducing yourself first? I've told the chickens and goats what I'm doing to them. They don't care. Mind you, chickens are a wee bit daft and goats are pretty cynical about what life's got in store for 'em already...."

Viola takes out her quill to make sure that she's not misunderstood. "Yes, sometimes I talk to rabbits. It's difficult to talk to the ones you cook in a stew. But see, here's the thing: if I sacrifice a horse, to a faerie god or to my hunger, I do it quickly; it's a different thing making an animal half-blind and then having it grow gills, and making it walk around like that the rest of its life. How would you like it if I grew a horn on your head, just to see what else might happen?"


"The goat has already got a horn on his head.

"Have you ever tasted old goat meat? Probably not, because every farmer knows the meat is stringy and the taste is foul, so they slaughter em young. Now, I gave him a choice -- he could either stay where he was and get slaughtered, or he could come with me. Not the most enviable of choices, I agree, but they were the only two that I had to offer. I didn't sugar-coat it, and he decided he'd rather live a longer life as a test subject, who might get to breed again before he dies, than get cut down in the prime of his life.

"Ye ken, I'm not saying t'is a nice thing that I do. But I think I'm doing it far nicer than the magus who made this Trough would have done, and right now I'm only doing it to animals who were thought of as livestock already.

"I tell you one other thing which has me thinking quite'a'bit. Do you know what the other goats have been saying since his horned turned ta wood? Nothing. Not a thing. Doesn't bother them* in the least. It's just us people that think he's all different now. His own kind ain't calling him unnatural, and he don't sound like he thinks he's been tortured. I tell ya true, I don't know what to make of that, but it lingers in my mind, that it does."

  • RoP:M, pg 48: "Animals are not usually bothered by monsters -- the character still has the correct scent, and behavior -- and a single monstrous bull might be found happily living among a herd of otherwise normal cattle, for example.