Character & Covenant Development

This thread is for development, commentary, and all things pertaining to what happens before our story begins. As regards character creation:

  • Your maga can be anything up to or around eight years post Gauntlet. Use the standard advancement rules.

  • Once I and the troupe have approved it, post your final draft of your character sheet in the Cast of Characters thread. Update this final draft when any advancement occurs.

  • You decide where you have come from and how long you’ve lived at the covenant. The White Lady has only opened up to outsiders in the past decade or so, and new additions have rarely stayed and been denied many of its secrets. Needless to say, that is about to change.

  • In addition to any other history or description you do, include or PM me a short (one-line) description of your character. I will put these in the first post of the Cast of Characters thread as a summary of who the PCs are for our own reference or anyone thumbing through.

  • Companions and grogs are entirely optional, and can be as detailed or as one-dimensional (but still fun) as you like.

  • In addition to the mechanical work and the description stuff, use this thread to tell us about your magus’ beliefs and goals. Try to encapsulate them into brief statements that get to the heart of what’s important. Cool points for goals with high stakes. Examples might include: “Marcus of Tremere killed my parens in Wizard’s War. He must die,” or “Suffering is wrong. I will change events as much as I can to ensure their outcomes are apt,” I hope spelling these out (even though they tend to be inherent in your V&Fs) will lead us all to better, faster-paced, more engaged storytelling.

  • If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, fire away.

True enough, but I’ll let you in on a secret. All this vagueness is deliberate. I didn’t ask for specific character types in my pitch because I want to see what you do. I’m serious about the game being character driven, so maybe I should explain what I think that means. It means everything that’s important in the setting (other than basic framework) will come from you, during this process. My job is framework, complications, and synthesizing your ideas. A fully detailed world comes after, because everything important should come from all of you, things you care about.

I have ideas (some are below), but my ideas don’t matter nearly as much as yours do. This is fun for me because I get to react to you, not because I’m writing a story for you to slog through. Whatever you create, I promise there’s space for it. I solemnly swear to give you awesome things to use your spells on, and plenty of trouble to get into as a result. If you make a combat magus, you’ll get all the honor and glory you can handle, and maybe some tough choices and conflicts along the way. If you make an Intellego magus, there will be things for for you to Intellego. Whatever your player goals are, I will do my best to see them realized. Take a risk on me. Create a magus you really want to play, one who can get into all sorts of trouble, and tell me why you really want to play him.

What I really want? I want people with big, strong, beliefs and goals. Sitting at home and knitting is not an option. Give me connections, enemies, unrequited love, problems, nigh-impossible goals, sketchy cult leanings, things you really, really care about. Tie yourself to the saga. Don’t see a part of the setting you want to tie onto? Make it up! You want a nemesis? Awesome! Make him up, propose him here. I may have to compromise and synthesize a bit, but I want something you’re passionate about firmly ensconced in the saga from the get-go.

For inspiration and thought, here’s a list of covenant related hooks to start your brains running. This is just a sketch. What comes out in play will depend on the kind of magi we end up with.

  • Jacopo of Tytalus is one of the current senior magi, and is not well liked in the Order. Recently, he’s been sending out offers of membership, especially to magi who have no reason to like him. These offers are cryptic and usually contain not-so-subtle hints that he has something you want. A few magi either have already accepted or live there for another reason.
  • The covenant is in a high elevation side valley, which means agriculture is harder and isolation is easier. There are several buildings, mostly created by magic, as well as a small village of covenfolk near a hot spring. We have no military operations (which you may already know or may find out when you get there). No guards to speak of, no shield grogs trained on site, no nothing.
  • Mundane situation: precarious. Technically the covenant rules our little valley as a sort of feudal lord, which is sketchy under the Peripheral Code, especially if our neighbors (minor lords who rule their own side valleys) come calling. Previous magi were indiscreet about buildings and magic use, which doesn’t help. We don’t have a lot of natural resources, either. Balancing isolation and the economy of the village will be key.
  • The local hotspring has been used by some Mystery Houses (and maybe some cults as well) for initiations in the past few decades. This practice has stopped recently.
  • Jacopo is openly feuding with another magus in the covenant, Cato of Jerbiton. It has come to Wizard’s War at least twice, and they won’t even be seen in the same room together.
  • We’re within spitting distance of Provencal and Rome, two Tribunals with very different politics from Greater Alps.
  • There are many former magi, and not all of them have left peaceably.
  • The nearby mountain has a large and mostly unexplored regio overlapping it, where it is constantly winter. Inside the regio (if you can get to it) is a massive hall, not of human make, whose doors are said to lead somewhere different every time you open them.
  • Your hook here. Seriously. If there’s something you’ve got the itch to play out, we’ll make it work.
    Be proactive. Surprise me. Give me hooks to react to. Nothing here is set in stone. I know this medium doesn’t allow as much back-and-forth due to simple time constraints, so put as much of what you want in a short space as possible. I want player goals out in the open where everyone can see them, because I want to give you what you want!

I have three vague ideas for a Flambeau magus.

One is a Gentle Gifted Flambeau, somewhat of a noble hero type. A Corpus magus with the Short Ranged Magic Flaw. He is of the School of Ramius, and focuses on magic that enhances his personal combat prowess.

The Second would be an Auram Flambeau of the School of Pietro. Yep, Pietro of Flambeau, formerly of Tytalus. He would be my former master, and I would design a Tytalean Flambeau.

The third idea is tro draw off of my Knights of Seneca idea again, and somehow make him not a clone of Roberto from Novus Mane.

Comments? Suggestions? All three ideas would be full of juicy storyhooks for us to use.

I'm moving forward with a Mutantes Mercere Mage.

Ok, so I've been cheating and working on her for a while (ever since Falls told me he was starting a game). Here's the first draft of my Intellego expert, gossip, and righteous old bat. If you see any book-keeping errors, let me know - I'm abominable with the numbers.

"Nonna" Francisca ex Miscellanea, Aged 81, 6 years out of Apprenticeship

Covenant of Origin: Orta San Guilio

Sigil: Simplicity - Nonna Francisca's sells tend to have results that are solidly functional, and she has a great difficulty working any sort of flair into her magic at all.

Warping: 0

Decrepitude: 7/1

Characteristics: Int:2 Per:2 Pre:3 Com:1 Str:-2 Sta:1 Dex:-2 Qik:-1

(free) Honest Tongue
(free) Subtle Magic
(free) The Gift
Gentle Gift
Social Contacts
Improved Characteristics
Quiet Magic x2
Affinity with Intellego

(free) Necessary Condition (Talking)
Leaky Magic
Indiscreet (story)
Deficient Technique (Perdo)

Personality traits:

Hermetic Magus 0

Abilities (specialization) xp / score
Guile 15/2
((northern italian)) 0/5
Honest Tongue (accelerated) 171/18
Animal Handling 30/3
Awareness 50/4
Bargain 75/5
Carouse 30/3
Charm 140/7
Concentration 30/3
Hunt 5/1
Folk Ken 140/7
Intrigue 50/4
Living Lang French 50/4
Profession (baker) 105/6
Ride 5/1
Survival 15/2
Teaching 15/2
Great Weapon (Staff) 15/2
Latin 50/4
Parma 5/1
Artes Lib 5/1
Magic Theory (In) 50/4

Magical Arts
Cr 36/8
In (80)120/15
Me 55/10
Au 30/7
Co 3/2

Peering into the Mortal Mind (InMe 30)
R:Eye D:Mom T:Ind
Throughly probe and understand the contents of the mind of the target, including his or her immediate and long-term motives, personal strengths and weaknesses, and any other information.

Posing the Silent Question (InMe 20)
R:Eye D:Mom T:Ind
Ask one silent mental question of the target, then detect the answer.

Subtle Word to the Distant Companion (CrMe 20)
R: Arcane Connection, D: Diameter, T: Individual
Allows the caster to create words in the mind of a person to whom she has an arcane connection.

Ear for the Distant Voice (InIm 10)
R: Arcane Connection D: Diameter T:Individual
Allows the caster to hear the words spoken by a target to which she has an arcane connection. This works very well in conjunction with Subtle Word to the Distant Companion.

Calming Glance (CrMe 15)
R:Eye D:Sun T:Ind
Makes the target feel great affection for someone or something of the caster's choice.

Mistrustful Glance (CrMe 15)
R:Eye D:Sun T:Ind
A counterpart to Calming Glance, makes the target feel antipathy toward someone or something.

Whispering Winds (InAu 15)
R: Sight D:Conc T:Ind
The winds bear their tidings to Francisca's ears, allowing her to hear words spoken by any group of people within line of sight.

Words With the Gale (InAu 30)
R:Touch D:Concentration T:Group
Francisca can speak with weather phenomena, and while they do not necessarily speak sensibly, they are at least intelligible.

Nonna's Balm (CrCo 15)
R:Personal D:Sun T:Ind
Temporarily supporesses the affects of Nonna Francisca's arthritis, allowing her to move if her joints sieze up and even perform delicate tasks without pain.

Accelerated Ability: Honest Tongue
Nonna Francisca's words have the power to change already active magical effects. This acts as a MuVi spell with casting total equal to Com + Honest Tongue + aura + stress die. It cannot affect a spell's range, duration, target, technique, or form, and can only change the spell's power by one magnitude. This ability can only be used on a spell that has already been cast, with duration higher than momentary.

Francicsca was born in the little town of Alpe Cheggio on the Swiss-Italian border, at the foot of the Weissmies. She was the town busybody and baker for many years, and her breads earned a well-deserved reputation as some of the best in Lombardy. She married twice, had five children and almost two dozen grandchildren, all of whom still live in the italian alps. At the age of 58, she was bedridden with a severe illness, and a healer-magus with a reputation as a friend of the common man, Flavius ex Miscellanea, was sent for from the covenant of Orta San Guilio, north of Milan. It was he who first discovered her Gift, and she became his apprentice at the ripe age of 60. In the years since her apprenticeship, she has set up a little lab and sanctum outside of her old hometown in Alpe Cheggio, and helped her eldest granddaughter run her bakery.

Goal: Nonna Francisca is a meddling busybody who doesn't know when to keep her mouth shut - her goals are always changing, but they tend to involve improving everyone around her (even if they don't know they need to be improved at all).

Marko, I like your second and first ideas better than the third. If I were in your shoes, I would be afraid of making a character too similar to one I'm already playing. Different is good.

I'm not sure what kind of character I want to play yet either. On the one hand there is the magus who wants to tame and train magical animals for fun (and some profit on the side). My other idea is a magus interested in plants, and wants to compile her own illustrated herbal book and create her own mega-garden. Both goals would include a lot of exploration by the magus, along with time in the lab. I'm not sure which house either would belong to yet, figured I would pound that out after I got a character going. Feedback is always appreciated.

Following discussion with Falls, I came up with a new goal for her, one that drives her much more into character conflict.

Francisca's third child, Guido, was born with the Gift and taken to the Covenant of the White Lady as an apprentice at the age of fifteen. He never sent word home, but her first husband's death and her subsequent inheritance of his bakery put it out of her mind. Unbeknownst to her, her son had vanished in one of the Wizard's Wars between Jacopo of Tytalus and Cato of Jerbiton that ripped the covenant. Now, some forty years later, a Maga in her own right, she has decided to visit her son in his new home, only to find him conspicuously absent and almost certainly killed.

Cool, I’d love to see more.

I also like the first two, but they all have great potential. I love the first one because heroes are great, absolutely great. I imagine he’d need a heroic quest of some sort, maybe some possibility for tragedy, but once we’ve got that, we’ve got a motivated, proactive character who’s got stuff to do immediately.

On the other hand, I do like the new House Tytalus. They’ve got the whole "I go for what I want" thing going on, which is a recipe for proactivity. Plus, they’re bound to already be up to their armpits in trouble even starting out, which is a recipe for delicious conflict.

Yeah, cat’s out of the bag. For the rest of you, Surefoot is member of my tabletop troupe who’s jumping in.

Good start. I will check the math at some point, and I encourage all of you to do the same. Also, I'm OK with the non-Hermetic virtue. As I understand it it allows you to change either the cosmetics of a magical effect or its "base effect", but only to within one magnitude. Like the good faeries in Sleeping Beauty (not death, but sleep...), and such. The scope is also just about right, according to Societates. If any of you want to weigh in, feel free.

I meant to write a big post pushing you on the goals, but we just had a really good conversation that solved the problem and produced this, so great. Basically, I want more concrete ties to the covenant and other people that give you reasons to come here. This is much more like it. She arrives and we’ve got game.

You’re mostly set. Update the character sheet with a bit more of her backstory (the baker thing, the son thing) and be prepared to edit if someone catches an accounting error or has an objection that requires compromise. Also, make it a bit more condensed for the final draft – Abilities on one line, Arts on one line, that sort of thing. Metacreator format or most of the character sheets from Light of Andorra are solid examples.

Both of these are great ideas. Animal and Herbam are two of my favorite Arts. We’ll work on getting you mired in the conflict once you’ve got it more concretely down.

For everyone, a comment on secrets: This may be counterintuitive, but I want them out in the open for your fellow players (OOCly). Broad brush strokes at least. Put a spoiler warning or something on them if you want, but I want them to be available for the troupe. Your Dark Secret does you zero good if it’s kept perfectly secret. Stories about keeping Dark Secrets secret are boring after maybe one. Stories about it being revealed and the drastic consequences you have to face when it is are much, much better. When everybody else knows them, can hint around and foreshadow them and bring them up at exactly the wrong moment, it’s so much better.


I'm also in the camp that likes option one and two better. Number two would be fun to deal with. Number one could be more interesting though depending on the back story and flaws. Tough call.


Like Nonna. Magi Den Mother whose out on a mission.

Could you give me an example of how Honest Tongue works? Say if she were to use it on Whispering Wind or some other spell? Just curious.

I'm working out two concepts:

-A Criamon with a penchant for running (trying to use that Endorphine high to better understand the Enigma or some such)
-A Tytalus with a sense of humor

Question: What is the White Lady? The mountain? Or do we have any idea going in?

She could use it on, say, Mistrustful Glance to change the emotion instilled, or change the subject of the animosity without having to recast the spell, or on a MuCo spell to change someone who had been turned into a pig into a dog. It's more built around flavor than combat effectiveness, really.

And Marko, I like the first more than the second, just because the heroic flambeau doesn't get seen too much in these here parts, but the second leads to conflict, which leads to fun RP and good stories. I'm on the fence - whoever you can make a better Goal for Falls around.

First pass at the Mutantes Mage. I'm still playing with this somewhat where I might change virtues/flaws and spells. Basically a healer at this point who is meant to help out redcaps.


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


Age: 28 (28), Height: 5'6'', Weight: 150 lbs, Gender: Male

Decrepitude: 0

Warping Score: 0 (0)

Confidence: 1 (3)

Virtues and Flaws: The Gift, Tamed Magic, Mutantum Magic, Mastered Spells, Arcane Lore, Improved Characteristics, Puissant Muto, Hermetic Prestige, Good Teacher, Hermetic Magus, Puissant Creo, Necessary Condition (casting tools), Pagan, Lecherous(major), Proud(minor)

Reputations: Hermetic Prestige (The Order) 3


Dodge: Init: +0, Attack , Defense +1, Damage

Sword, Short & Shield, Heater: Init: 1, Attack +3, Defense +4, Damage +5

Fist: Init: +0, Attack +1, Defense +1, Damage +0

Kick: Init: 1, Attack +1, Defense +0, Damage +3

Soak: +1

Fatigue levels: OK, 0, 1, 3, 5, Unconscious

Wound Penalties: 1 (1 5), 3 (6 10), 5 (11 15), Incapacitated (16 20)

Abilities: Italian 5, Parma Magica 3, Code of Hermes 2, Magic Lore 1, Penetration 2, short sword and heater 1, Survival(Mountains) 2, Latin 4, Artes Liberales 2 (Ceremonial magic), Medicine 3 (physician), Philosophiae 2 (ritual magic), Chirurgy 2 (diagnosis), Bargain 2, Brawl 1, Charm 1, Animal Handling 1, Concentration 1, Intrigue 2 (plotting), Order of Hermes Lore 2 (personalities), Teaching 2, Magic Theory 2

Arts: Cr 6+3, In 3, Mu 6+3, Pe 3, Re 5, An 4, Aq 0, Au 1, Co 10, He 1, Ig 3, Im 1, Me 1, Te 2, Vi 2

Shield, Heater (Init: 0; Atk: 0; Dfn: +3; Str: 0; Cost: Standard); Wizardly Robes; Cold weather /Mountain clothes

Encumbrance: 2 (2)

Spells Known:

The Chirurgeon's Healing Touch (CrCo 20) +27, Mastery 1 (tethered casting)

Gift of the Bear's Fortitude (MuCo 25) +21, Mastery 1 (tethered casting)

The Tireless Flight (ReCo 20) +17, Mastery 1 (tethered casting)

Gentle Touch of the Purified Body (CrCo 20) +27, Mastery 1 (tethered casting)

By His Works (CrMe 5) +12, Mastery 1 (tethered casting)

Heat of the Searing Forge (CrIg 10) +14, Mastery 1 (tethered casting)

Palm of Flame (CrIg 5) +14, Mastery 1 (tethered casting)

Curse of the Unruly Tongue (ReCo 5) +17, Mastery 1 (penetration)

Eyes of the Cat (MuCo(An) 5) +14

Gift of the Frog's Legs (ReCo 15) +17, Mastery 1 (tethered casting)

Ward Against Faeries of the Mountain (ReTe 5) +9, Mastery 1 (lab mastery)[/i]

Surefoot, I'm confused with the Vitue and Flaw combination you choose. Your mage has a Necessary Condition of talking, and you took Quiet Casting twice. Can she even make use of the second quiet casting, which allows for no penalties when casting without talking, when she has to talk to cast spells?

I am leaning towards an Herbam magus, envisioning a Bjornear. So my question would be: how unusual would it be to have a Bjornear in this area? I was toying with the idea that if not starting with a Bjornaer magus, then having my character join the house as one of her early stories.

Okay, here are some bare bones ideas. No Abilities yet, just Characteristics & Virtues and Flaws.

First is the heroic Flambeau...

Jonathan of Flambeau: John Brian of Yorkshire
Characteristics: Int +2, Per -1, Com +0, Pre +1, Str +2, Sta +2, Dex +0, Quik +1
Size: 0
Age: 32 (apprenticed age 17, gauntlet age 32)
Confidence: 1 (3)
Virtues: +0 Gifted Hermetic Magus, +F Warrior (School of Ramius), +3 Gentle Gift, +1 Deft Corpus, +1 Improved Characteristics, +1 Luck, +1 Mastered Spells, +1 Puissant Corpus, +1 Puissant Parma Magica, +1 Puissant Single Weapon
Flaws: -3 Compassionate, -3 Short Ranged Magic, -1 Difficult Spontaneous Magic, -1 Dutybound, -1 Mentor (an elder magus of the covenant or of a nearby covenant), -1 Unimaginative Learner
Personality Traits: Compassionate +3, Loyal +3, Brave +2, Dutiful +2

Then the Scool of Pietro Flambeau (I got more into detail for his background, but nothing more)
Leonidas filius Pietro of Flambeau: aka Hans Wulffen
Characteristics: Int +3, Per +0, Com -1, Pre +1, Str +0, Sta +1, Dex +0, Quik +2
Size: 0
Age: 26 (apprenticed age 11, gauntlet age 26)
Confidence: 2 (5)
Virtues: +0 Gifted Hermetic Magus, +F Puissant Auram (School of Pietro), +3 Flawless Magic, +1 Arcane Lore, +1 Deft Auram, +1 Improved Characteristics, +1 Mastered Spells, +1 Minor Magic Focus (thunder & lightning), +1 Self Confident, +1 Skilled Parens (Pietro)
Flaws: -3 Enemies (those opposed to his lineage), -3 Wrathful, -1 Infamous Master, -1 Dutybound, -1 Lost Love (dead sister), -1 Mentor (Pietro)
Personality Traits: Vengeful +3, Brave +2, Loyal +2, Dutiful +1, Grim +1
Background: Hans and his sister Gretta were abandoned in the woods by their impoverished parents, who could no longer deal with their gifted children. After escaping the clutches of a Hag that tried to eat them, they continued wandering until they were discovered by Pietro of Flambeau, Antares of the Archmagi. He happened to be in the midst of a Wizard’s War at that moment. The children were caught in the crossfire, and Gretta was killed. Enraged, Hans made a futile effort to attack the enemy wizard. However, this momentarily distracted the enemy, and Pietro was able to deliver a lethal attack and vanquished the enemy. Pietro snatched up Hans and made him his apprentice, trying to transform the boy’s anger and grief into focus and discipline. The nature of his Gauntlet is a secret shared by the two of them only, but he is now known as Lenonidas of Flambeau, whose roar is like unto the thunder and whose wrath crashed down like lightning. He is a very serious magus, not prone to joviality or humor.

Maybe that means he doesn't need magical incantations, he just needs to be holding a regular conversation?

The 2nd one looks familiar ( Roberto :confused: ) in just the virtue and flaws. In that case I would go with the 1st one so you do not end up playing the same character in different sagas( unless you want to do that).

:laughing:, that's just because of my design style. I love spell mastery. But I will go with the first one though, Jonathan of Flambeau. However, I think I will drop Luck in favor of Self Confident. For an action/adventure type of character, it is the single most useful virtue in the game.

I am not sure I'm comfortable with a virtue that shatters a default boundary of Hermetic Magic - MuVi on a spell that has already been cast. (p 159, MuVi Guidelines).

With a (current) Casting Total of 19+ Aura + stress die ( = 20+ +), if my math is right it could "superficially" change something up to Level 40-50 with reliability - and that includes (specifically) changing the sigil, of any active spell she finds (tho' labeling her own with a diff sigil would be easier by a magnitude). Combat is not the only form of aggression or conflict.

It's impressive that a player would spend 171 xp plus a major virtue on "flavour", but is it a coincidence that someone who's personality might include magically spying on other magi has the perfect ability to break Hermetic expectations and disguise her sigil from any Quaesitores? I'm not trying to veto it - yet - just trying to see exactly where it might lead before it's given a rubberstamp.

Honest Tongue, as a supernatural virtue, has to penetrate, doesn't it?

Penetrate what? Spells don't have magic resistance. To affect a spell active on someone who has resistance, then yes. Otherwise no.

I think it may be a moot point...

I think I've spotted one. The fact that the character seems to have used pre-apprentice points for Abilities, Arts and Virtues that she could only have learned post-apprenticeship.

Pre-apprentice xp can only be spent on such if the character has the virtues to gain access to those. And Nonna doesn't.171 Honest Tongue (accelerated) 171/18
_15 Great Weapon (Staff) 15/2
_50 Latin 50/4
_ 5 Parma 5/1
_ 5 Artes Lib 5/1
_50 Magic Theory (In) 50/4

244 Magical Arts

_50 (+ 120) = 170 Spells total

= 590, vs 480 (240 from Apprenticeship + 240 from 8 years)I didn't double check the math by adding up all the "mundane" abilities, but the "apprentice" half doesn't add up.

(btw - I made a mistake on the math, above. Honest Tongue is "18", not "8", making the spells she can affect MUCH larger. Edited above.)

And, sorry, not familiar with this - what "accelerates" Honest Tongue? an 18 score is superhumanly massive for any ability.