Character: Boniface

Thread for Arthur's elementalist

The character is coming along, though not complete yet.

Characteristics: Int +4, Per 0, Str 0, Sta +2, Pre +4, Com +1, Dex -2, Qik -3
Age: 26


  • Hermetic Magus (Social Status, free)
  • The Gift - Philosopher of Chartres tradition (Special, free)
    • (Philosophical) Summoning (Supernatural, major/free)
    • (Philosophical) Refining (Supernatural, major/free)
    • Elemental Air (Supernatural, minor/free)
    • Elemental Earth (Supernatural, minor/free)
    • Elemental Fire (Supernatural, minor/free)
    • Elemental Water (Supernatural, minor/free)
  • Elemental Affinity/Philosophiae (Supernatural, minor)
  • (Philosophical) Controlling (Supernatural, major)
  • Affinity with Controlling (Supernatural, minor)
  • Enduring Constitution (General, minor)
  • Free Study (Supernatural, free)
  • Inventive Genius (Supernatural, free)
  • Great Intelligence (General, minor)
  • Great Presence (General, minor)


  • Blatant Gift (Supernatural, major)
  • Deleterious Circumstances, when hungry (Supernatural, minor)
  • Driven (Personality, major)
  • Generous (Personality, minor)
  • Magical Animal Companion (Story, minor)
  • Obese (General, minor)

Personality Traits
Boisterous +2
Driven (improve elementalist tradition) +5
Generous +3
Choleric (Elementalist Fire) +1
Melancholic (Elementalist Earth) +1
Phlegmatic (Elementalist Water) +1
Sanguine (Elementalist Air) +1

Area Lore: Flanders (Ghent) 2
Area Lore: Triamore (library) 1
Artes Liberales (natural philosophy) 3
Awareness (searching) 2
Charm (getting fed) 2
Concentration (Controlling) 2
Craft: Potter (pots) 2
Finesse (Elemental Earth) 2
Folk Ken (villagers) 2
Language (native): Low German (Flemish) 5
Language (living): French (Waloon) 3
Language (dead): Latin (academic usage) 5
Language (dead): Classical Greek (academic usage) 1
Language (dead): Arabic (academic usage) 1
Legend Lore (creatures) 1
Organization Lore: Philosopher of Chartres (initiation scripts) 3
Parma Magica (elementals) 2
Philosophiae (Refining) 4
Theology (history) 1

(Philosophical) Summoning 4
(Philosophical) Controlling 9
(Philosophical) Refining 5
Elemental Air 2
Elemental Earth 2
Elemental Fire 2
Elemental Water 2

Equipment and items
Gaudy clothing, walking staff, satchel bag, writing implements, money pouch, eating knife and spoon, a few snacks (dried fruits and meat, hard cheese, nuts), a flask of watered wine, engraved silver bottle to contain summoned targets.

Boniface is tall, fat and bald. He has a booming voice and laughs loudly. Combined with his tendency to choose colorful clothing without much regard to how these colors clash with each other, he is very hard to miss.

Early Years
Born in a small village near Ghent, Boniface grew up hearing stories about wizards and supernatural creatures, for many in the village were descendants of covenfolk from something called the Spider's Palace. As a youth, this failed covenant became his playground, with its dead oak and the collapsed ruin of several buildings. There, young Boniface would chase imaginary dragons or defeat evil trolls. Or he would go hunting for the wild berries that sometimes grew between the piles of stones. A few times, he caught sight of an unusual bird flying away from the ruins, with feathers that looked like fire and gold. He could never find where it nested, nor see it from up close.

At home, he tried to learn his father's craft, but he wasn't very good at it. He liked handling clay and preparing the fire, as well as the almost-magical transformation of clay through fire. Unfortunately, he was clumsy when it came time to but his hands on the clay. As soon as he would try to use the turning wheel, clay would come flying away or the slowly forming item would collapse upon itself. He was never able to make anything beyond crude pots. This worried his parents greatly, and they started to wonder if perhaps anything trade would be best suited to their inquisitive and outgoing boy.

Then, not long before Boniface turned ten, the disturbances started.

Awakening of his Gift
At first, it was simply a few accidents. A cup the uncooked clay would fall off from the shelf where it was drying, at the same time as Boniface was failing at another attempt to shape something at the wheel. A sudden wind would slam open a door in an otherwise quiet night, as the boy was having a nightmare. These became more frequent and strange as the month passed.

At one point, fire from his father's kiln shot out and surrounded Boniface, who panicked and ran, scattering flames around and igniting trees while running away. In his panic, he felt himself being pushed towards the stream near his father's shop. He fell into it and the fire went out, leaving him unburned. Climbing back to his feet, he saw a single red and gold feather lying in the burned grass.

The villagers started to think that a spirit had been disturbed the nearby ruins. Now, who was seen going there again and again but that boy… Where once they had told stories of times past when the Spider’s Palace was a place of wonders, now they remembered the darker ones, of evil spirits and dangerous magic. Ironically, by that time Boniface had started realizing that he had some influence over the disturbances and he was beginning to exert control over them. But it was too late, for by that time no one in the village wanted him near and even his own family was feeling ill at ease in his presence.

Reaching out discretely through his contacts in Ghent, Boniface’s father got in touch with a scholar who lived there, and was apparently interested in unusual phenomena. When he turned up to investigate, he quickly realized the source of all these turbulences and offered to take the boy as his apprentice.

Apprenticeship with Salazar
The scholar was a Gifted scholar from the School of Chartres, bearing the outlandish name of Salazar. Seeing a talent in the boy, he began educating him. Mindful of the burgeoning Gift, which seemed particularly strong, Salazar decided some strong measures were needed. He travelled with the boy to Triamore, where the covenant's magical Aegis damped down the uncontrolled manifestations of his Gift. This would allow him to learn to read and write Latin. It is only after four years that Salazar felt the boy was educated enough for his Gift to be opened to the tradition of the Philosophers of Chartres, a small society of wizards within the Order of Hermes. Salazar was knowledgeable enough to preserve the boy's talent in controlling the elemental forces around him, something he thought might become quite valuable to his society in the future.

Boniface liked it at Triamore, with its incomplete walls and strange people. He was quickly growing up, which meant he was always hungry. But always, he could beg the cooks to provide him with a piece of cheese, or bread, or even the occasional sweet. Once in a while, he would see his mystery bird flying around the covenant. He was disappointed and a bit angry when Salazar told him it was time to leave for Chartres and Paris, to meet others Philosophers and continue his education.

Chartres and Paris
In Chartres, Boniface was introduced to the inner workings of his master’s hidden society. He learned more about the elemental arts, lore and skills. He found those fascinating, but always he question the limits. Some of his teachers became angry, at least at first. But none could deny the young man’s genius when it came time to come up with other things that might be possible, if they spent sufficient time trying. They could not deny his great charisma and inquisitive nature. The first, they felt, could be put to good use when it came time to initiate others into additional mysteries of their tradition. When he turned 19, he took the Oath and became a member of the Order of Hermes.

The first time he tried summoning a magical creature by himself, his thoughts naturally came to his mystery bird. Something wonderful happened then, for there it appeared inside the circle in all its splendor. Standing half as tall as a man and wreathed in flames, looking at Boniface with eyes of deep saphire. Slowly it folded its wings, the fire surrounding it fading away as it stood there. On an impulse, Boniface took out some snacks he had taken to carrying around, presenting it to the magnificent bird. This broke the summoning circle, freeing the bird from any restraints. But yet it remained, eating the snacks calmly. After a few minutes, it took flight and disappeared into the sky.

In the following years, Boniface tried summoning the golden bird accosionally. Sometimes it would come, while at others it would not. When he spoke of it with Salazar, his master seemed troubled. Could this be the fabled pheonix? Or some eagle of virtue? Though he tried, Salazar was never able to summon the bird despite his greater prowess in the summoning arts. And the bird never responded to Boniface's summonings when Salazar was present. After much thought, Boniface presented the bird with the Harlan, which the creature seemed to accept.

When Salazar announced that it was time to go to Paris, Boniface was eager to do so. In Paris, he discovered a whole new world. Never had he seen such a huge city, nor met so many educated people! There, he had a chance to meet other students of knowledge, including Frère Sulpice, a student of law and theology, but more important, a fellow member of the Order of Hermes. During those years in Paris, Boniface also had a revelation about how many people were less fortunate than he. Here he was, with an allowance paid by his master, taking classes with the educated and magical abilities at his disposal. And there, all around Paris, were people who were ill and dying, or struggling to feed their family. This led him to move to a less comfortable lodging and give the money he thus saved to charity. He also increased his desire to learn more ways to use his magical abilities so that, one day, he could help others. When he spoke of his feeling and decisions to Harlan, his fiery friend seemed to approve.

At the end of those years, a letter arrived from Triamore inviting Boniface to join the covenant. Remembering the huge library there, the young man decided this was an auspicious and wonderful opportunity to find a place to broaden his magical abilities.

Philosophers of Chartres
Philosophical Elementalist Society

This is basically the same as the Ikhwan as-Safa’ (Berthren of Purity) elementalist society from Hedge Magic p.28, although with a more western approach. The founder is Thiery de Chartres in the early 12th century, perhaps even before. It focuses on christan Theology instead of that of Islam, and Latin instead of Arabic.

Arts: Philosophical Summoning, Philosophical Refining, and all four Elementalist Forms (Elementalist Air, Elementalist Earth, Elementalist Fire, Elementalist Water)

Initiation Rituals
To be added as they become relevant.

The Virtues look good. I just was not able to follow on which ones were free and which not. If "(Philosophical) Summoning (Supernatural, major)" is free, while "Free Study (Supernatural)" and "Inventive Genius (Supernatural)" is not, I understand their choice and classification, and they also sum up correctly.

Aline's tradition, the Pillar of Hiram in Triamore p.51 box, is related to geometry and architecture. Its name is related to the pillars Boaz and Jachin of the first temple of Jerusalem, not to Elementalism.
We may well change Aline's tradtion to make it match with Boniface's interests. But shouldn't we then change its name too?

Could Brigid/Brigantia/Saint Brigid gracefully lend her name to Boniface's tradition?

About which virtues are free and which aren't, there was a formatting problem that I fixed.

Regarding the name of the tradition, I figured we could use the same name because, if we switch Aline's tradition to something else, then the Pillar of Hiram has no more reason to exist in the saga. But I'm cool with using a different name.

I looked at the entry for Brigid, but don't really see a link with philosophical elementalism, however. A dawn goddess, associated with the spring season, fertility, healing, poetry and smithcraft? Might work, maybe, for a society of medicinal elementalism. She is much harder to link with philosophical one.

Before I decided to make the link with Pillar of Hiram, I was thinking of using the Pheonix as the symbol of this trradition. Stronger elemental link, strong rebirth theme, a supernatural animal that some members could befriend.

In fact, I was thinking of having Boniface's magical animal companion be a pheonix. If it is considered too powerful for this saga, it may not be present with Boniface day-to-day, most often appearing to drag him into a story (but not always). Boniface's Philosophical Refining could help it recover lost Might and heal (or die and be reborn).

Make it a magical ignem aligned hawk. Less powerful and still can have a lot of phoenix-like stuff.

Maybe you could take ulisterius as your contact int Triamore if you prefer. He used the tower in the courtyard, and that seems to fit better than the underground vaults of Aline, right? We can easily change Remi to have been apprenticed to Cardrew, for example. Only if that fits you of course. Daria and Anaxagoras are set as Virgilians, but the rest are open. For a can also be an option if you prefer a maga with no definition at all.

Basically I plan aline's vaults to be a plot hook. Nobody has been there in the last 4 years. The last group that went there lost 2 members to something unknown. So unless you are specially tied to the idea.of the Pillar we could leave that door open :slight_smile:

Brigid works as a goddess / saint associated with fire. But if you wish to really get a tradition associated with philosophy and all the elements, there could also be a brotherhood starting from pre-Socratic philosophers of the elements, continuing with Platonic elementalism from the Timaios, via Plotinus, the Eriugena and the 12th century School of Chartres.

You sound much more knowledgeable about the subject than I am! Would you like to design the tradition's history and rituals? :slight_smile:

No real need for that. We can simply say that Boniface spent a year or two studying at Triamore during his apprenticeship, when his master came to study from their library. What I am looking for is a connection with Triamore, which explains why he would have been invited to join.

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I don't know, whether you accept, that the (HMRE p.23) type of target Philosophical leads to a background in philosophy of the tradition of Boniface, like the HMRE p.27f Apostles of Apollonius are based on pre-Socratic Greek philosophers, and then on Apollonius of Tyana.

If the tradition of Boniface would take its origin from Plato's elements (see A&A p.17 "The cosmos is also divided ..."), it could actually be based among the French 11th and 12th century scholars of the School of Chartres, perhaps especially on the somewhat shadowy Thierry de Chartres, who as Breton in ArM5 might have known some Celtic magical practices still.

In that case, Boniface might have even contacts at Paris university and know Sulpice - but would need some education to back this up.

Would that be interesting? Or is Boniface a more down-to-earth practitioner?

In any case, initiation rituals must be designed between @Xavi and you.

It would certainly be interesting for the definition, history and outlook of the tradition. But this would mostly be background, with Boniface himself a bit more down-to-earth than the average philosopher.

He is (at I am) rather more interested in the results than endlessly talking about it. Theory is fine and good, but the applications are better. With his Driven major personality flaw, he wants to expand the capabilities of his tradition, by inventing things like: some sort of formulaic spell-casting, enchanting items, making the magic safer, inventing new initiation scripts for additional virtues, etc. That is the main reason I gave him a higher Int and Per, as well as Inventive Genius (which is otherwise of very limited use for an elementalist).

If you don't feel like writing up the tradition, I can use the material you linked to and do so. I will probably simplify, mangle and distort it to some level, but that is the fine Ars Magica tradition. :blush:

That sound like you need a theoretical knowledge there, not just practical stuff that works. I would make him educated. At least philosophise seems important for what you want to achieve.

Philosophiae is indeed essential to the concept and tradition.

That doesn't mean he needs the Educated virtue, IMHO. He would have received his education from his master, who is of the same tradition. Much like a traditional magus-apprentice relationship, he would have been taught Artes Liberales, Latin and Philosophiae either before or after his Gift is opened. The tradition would expect him to expand (post-apprenticeship) that with additional scholarly languages (Greek, Arabic), Theology, Medicine, and possibly others.

EDIT: I added the Abilities that I see him having at saga start in the first post of this topic. For now the abilities are grouped by period of life (childhhod, early life and apprenticeship). I used 30 xp for apprentice and after, based on what is indicated in Hedge Magic p.30: For each year the Brethren are engaged in studies, they receive 30 experience points to spend on Arcane and Academic Abilities. I think it is reasonable to include Profession: Scribe and Organization Lore in that scope.

Updated the first two posts. Boniface stats are almost complete, and the description of the elementalist society has been updated.

That kind of apprenticeship - leading to more xp and a new type of Abilities available at character creation - is not automatic for hedgies or provided in HMRE procedures. AFAICS HMRE p.80 Mathematicus of Bologna comes closest, and requires a further Social Status Virtue. ArM5 p.40 Clerk would fit well with Boniface's background as a pupil of Salazar, Gifted scholar from Chartres.

Anyway this is no skin off my nose, can be decided by the troupe, and depends on the overall importance and weight intended for the main characters of the saga.

Except that this is a Social Status virtue, of which characters can only have 1. And the House Rules state that characters must have a Social Status that represents the character's tradition ("Philosopher of Chartres"). Finally, Clerk only grants access to Academic abilities, while an elementalist also need access to Arcane abilities.

Ergo, since this tradition needs to have access to both Academic and Arcane abilities, the corresponding Social Status should include that access, starting at the time the character is inducted into it. To the rest of the world, members of the Philosophers of Chartres are probably perceived as someone with the Clerk social status.

Xavi, can you rule on this? If needed, I can replace Free Study for another virtue.

Check HMRE p.80 Mathematicus of Bologna (Free, Social Status): "A mathematicus must also possess a Social Status that defines his role in mundane society, suitable examples include: Clerk ..." So you are wrong here. There are indeed many characters with more than one Social Status Virtue.

Check HMRE p.12 Common Hedge Abilities: "The (Hedge Wizard) Social Status Virtue that represents the hedge wizard's tradition gives him access to at least the Arcane Abilities Finesse, Magic Lore and Penetration. Many hedge traditions also have an Arcane Ability analogous to the Magic Theory Ability of the Order of Hermes."

This is an argument to allow at least some Minor Social Status Virtues as Free. I consider this a troupe decision, which certainly will not ruin the saga - but should then be spelled out clearly and made available to all players.

The left over issue to rule on is, whether there is an apprenticeship period for Hedge Wizards, and how many xp per year it yields. Checking the character as is now, it looks like 10 years at 20 xp each. This better gets troupe approval too, but I would certainly not object.

Thanks for all the references. I see that most of my objections are moot, though this is all about a free virtue. :blush:

I used 30 xp per year from the moment he began studying under Salazar. That is what is indicated under the "Characters" section of the Berthren of Purity (see my Edit 5 posts back). It is not a real apprenticeship.

Once this is known, I expect others to quicky line up. :nerd_face:

I see! HMRE p.30 Characters has indeed: "For each year the Brethren are engaged in studies, they receive 30 experience points to spend on Arcane and Academic Abilities. (boldface mine)". This should work for the pupils of Thierry de Chartres as well.
It excludes xps for Arts, but allows to learn indeed all those Arcane and Academic Abiltiies flagged as Apprentice (total 205 xp) on the above character sheet at 30 xps per year.
The Arts (total 125 xp above) are not covered by this way of study, and "All members must be literate before they are even considered for initiation, ...".

Ooh, Blatant Gift. I'll have to remember that when interacting with him.

Don't forget the extra Personality Traits, as they factor into Soak and other things.