Character creation discussion

Who are you and what do you want?

Petronius of House Bonisagus, a Mercurian magus just out of gauntlet. His Gift originally manifested itself by a magical movement from one archway to another (something that was unfortunately subsumed when his pater opened his Gift to Hermetic magic), as well as some other ReTe effects. Now that he is out of apprenticeship, Petronius wants to research and develop portal magic (which is currently only represented by Hermes Portal in current Hermetic Theory).

Petronius' pater is Octavius of House Bonisagus, a healing specialist who is very involved in the politics of the Rhine tribunal and a member of the Oak gild. His political scheming is aimed at preserving what he sees as the "traditional" values of the Order or Hermes. Octavius is a leader in a coalition of other Mercurian within the tribunal. They tend to offer "adjust" their rates for services provided (vis-saving) based on the political leanings of their customers. Petronius is not aware of this, simply accepting the advice of his pater and mentor as to who to help and support.

The character will be looking for a stable base for his research, and investigating anything that can help him develop his "portal magic". That may include looking into old Mercurian rituals, correspondance with Mercere magi who build Mercere portals, sites/items/texts related to portals, etc. He will use his abilities as a Mercurian as a bargaining tool obtain information, services and resources to support his researches. He will be interested in helping covenants based on the advice of his pater, including possibly setting up a new covenant. This might be in the Rhine tribunal or elsewhere, based on what the other players are interested in.

As a player, I am looking to advance the character 40 to 50 years post-gauntlet during this "game", so that I can use him as an NPC in a future saga. I have some fairly clear idea of what the character must be able to do for that saga, but am interested in how he can get there.

Wido of House Bonisagus had his Gift maimed gravely while assisting his parens in laboratory only months before his gauntlet. It is not that he lost his Gift, but his ability to manipulate magic was severly limited. He had to struggle to find will to live again as he had just started to see what he could with his Gift - his parens Martinus ex Bonisagus had dedicatedly taught him spells that he had taken great delight in casting, but now all of them were beyond him. Only smallest of spontaenous spells were possible to him.

His natural understanding of magical theory and brilliant mind that looked where theory had weak links were still there. What was more important to those pondering what to do with him was that he was still able to make magic items - without that he would not have had anything left of his Gift. With his parens using his political might as one of the dendrophori others of House Bonisagus were willing to let him join Order of Hermes. He did not take much joy in passing the gauntlet, but barrage of questions on fine points of the magic theory took his mind off his misery for a whole day.

After the gauntlet he shied away from others when it was apparent they would be casting spells that were beyond him. He hid himself in a laboratory and sometimes walked among mundane folk, but they took no liking of him as his Gift still shone to them as strongly as ever. Life among mundane people was beyond him and he knew not any skills he would have needed to make living as one of the farmers, merchants or craftsmen even if he had had some way of overcoming the Gift. Perhaps joining the clergy would have been an option had it been not against Oath he had just taken - he knew both letters and latin well enough.

Perhaps most fortunate thing to happen to Wido was that a passing Criamon told about how she had spent a year as a plant. It was something that sparked interest of Widos curious mind and he spent next season inveting an charged item to allow him to spend a month as a tree. It was interesting. He spent following two years transforming himself into various animals and things that caught his curiosity. Martinus ex Bonisagus was not quite sure it was very constructive way to spent time, but it was good that Wido applied himself with a healthy obsession into something.

It was perhaps during his time as a puff of smoke that Wido started to wonder why it was really that you could enchant say a sword and not a puff of smoke or flame of torch. Practically it was very obvious - those were transient things and even if you managed to enchant that puff of smoke it would disperse soon enough - and it was unlikely smoke would hold much vis even if enchanting it was possible. Still he started to study philosophiae of essential nature and magic theory of enchantment with more interest and exchange letters with couple other young magi. His mind saw links between this question and question of Hermes Portals that was central to Petronius - an another young member of House Bonisagus. There was a talk about forming a covenant and Wido was willing to join - especially if there would be an another scholar with whom he could talk occasionally.

Now he is intent on finding out what it is indeed possible to enchant - his next idea of study is to attempt to enchant a ball of mist to hold itself together. Should this be possible he wonders what else it is that he could enchant. Fire? Air? Water? Spirit? What do you need really to make an enchantment? Could magic hold itself together?

He is willing to help others with their problems as long as his raw feelings about maiming of his Gift are not aggravated. He easily becomes obsessed with strangest of things and happily will explore magic theory or philosophy with other magi if their questions are interesting enough. Practical matters are not his strongest point, but it is not because he is incapable of understanding them - they just don't happen to be very interesting usually. Luckily magi of House Bonisagus are not expected to be most practical of people.

He easily trusts people who are able to hold an intelligent conversation with him and his dislike of maiming of his Gift is rather obvious so he is easily provoked by those willing to do such things. How his ire is expressed is not always obvious, but he does not enjoy violence.

As player I'd like to write about Wido, his research and small stories on his interaction with covenfolk, magi and other dangers.

My character concepts are typically exercises in logistics. Working within the framework of the rules to try new and interesting things. They can be min-maxed a bit, but I don't think that's always a bad thing.

So, I have the superlative teacher: Puissant Teaching, Affinity Teaching, Good Teacher. Possibly Gently Gifted. I can also see him pursuing mysteries as a means of getting access to additional virtues and flaws. This would also allow a better exploration of Art and Academe for me, similar to my issue with City and Guild below.

A Verditius, I've never played one, I've never really cared for item creation, although I see the appeal of it, since items never fail. His specialties are to be determined, since this 'concept' is so open ended, I can see him fitting in anywhere between the other players.

The trader, a Gently Gifted PC who focuses on mundane trade and acquires fast amounts of mundane wealth, if Jerbiton maybe a member of the The Ponderers of Weight and Distance and I can explore leagues, factors and issues related to City and Guild, which has been generally underused in my sagas to date. In many ways this concept is better suited to coastal environment, but perhaps with the help of Portals, a chapter could be setup somewhere else.

Someone mentioned a Longevity specialist, and I have an idea there, if that person doesn't do it.

My question to Kellopyy and Arthur is to how you see the original research your characters intend to do working out? And for Kelloppy specifically, have you considered turning him into a Verditius at some later date, or just make him a Verditius? His reliance on items would seem to make a Verditius a better fit for the character.

For my part, I'd like to see Petronius eventually develop a minor Hermetic virtue called portal magic, which allows spells in ReTe to open portals similar to Hermes Portal (but at different ranges and durations, and without an automatic need to be a ritual) without the need for requisites based on the Form of things going through the portal. Possibly even making it easier (lower guidelines) to invent spells doing this. Only those with the virtue would be able to learn those spells, or use the new/revised guidelines.

He will approach his research by inventing various spells that teleport things and beings (so Rego with various Forms), investigating the origins of the Hermes Portal ritual, trying to find similar magical effect of Mercurian origin, regiones that act as portals between distant locations, etc.

I don't know if you want fully detailed statistics for the magi, but since I had most of the work already done, here's a first proposed draft for Petronius. Comments and suggestions are welcome. Note that I haven't used all the V/F points so I could make some adjustments.

Clavius Petronius Mercurii ex Bonisagi
Filius Clavius Octavius Mercurii ex Bonisagi

Age: 24

Characteristics: Int +3, Per +1, Str -2, Sta 0, Pre 0, Com +2, Dex -1, Qik +1 -- (Total 7 points)

Virtues: The Gift, Hermetic Magus, Puissant Magic Theory (House), Mercurian Magic (major), Affinity w/Rego*, Affinity w/Terram*, Affinity w/Magic Theory*, Cautious Sorcerer, Inventive Genius, Minor Magical Focus w/Portals -- (Total 9 points)

Flaws: Deficient Mentem, Difficult Spontaneous Magic, Driven (major), Magical Animal Companion (cat), Mentor, Temperate, Weak Enchanter -- (Total 9 points)

Abilities (Total 45+60+124 xp):

  • Area Lore: Cologne (Archways) 2
  • Artes Liberales (ritual magic) 1
  • Athletics (climbing) 1
  • Awareness (ambush) 2
  • Brawl (dodge) 1
  • Charm (being witty) 1
  • Code of Hermes (mundane relations) 1
  • Concentration (observing people) 1
  • Craft: Leatherwork (cobbler) 2
  • Finesse (Terram) 1
  • Folk Ken (townsfolk) 2
  • Language: French (Norman) 2
  • Language: Latin (Hermetic usage) 4
  • Language: Low German (Cologne) 5
  • Magic Theory (inventing spells) 4*+2
  • Order of Hermes Lore (House Bonisagus) 1
  • Parma Magica (Mentem) 1
  • Philosophiae (ritual magic) 1
  • Profession: Scribe (Hermetic texts) 1
  • Penetration (ritual magic) 1
  • Stealth (hide) 1

Magical Arts (Total 116 xp): Cr 4, Re 9*, Co 8, Te 9*, Vi 4

Spells (Total 120 level):

  • Cloak of the Duck's Feathers (ReAq 5)
  • Bind Wound (CrCo 10)
  • Gentle Touch of the Purified Body (CrCo 20) ritual
  • The Chirurgeon's Healing Touch (CrCo 20) ritual
  • Doorway to Doorway (ReCo 15, Te) new spell, focus applies
  • Lamp Without Flame (CrIg 10)
  • The Crystal Dart (MuTe 10, Re)
  • Scales of the Magical Weight (InVi 5)
  • Sense the Nature of Vis (InVi 5)
  • Wizard's Communion (MuVi 20) free due to Mercurian Magic
  • Aegis of the Hearth (ReVi 20) ritual

Childhood and Early Life
Peter was born in the city of Cologne in Germany, the third son of a cobbler (a shoemaker specializing in repairing them). He spent a mostly normal childhood in the streets and back alleys of the city, for his Gift only begun manifesting itself when he was 8 years old. Thus, he was able to make friends his own age and learn his father's craft as his brothers did, although he wasn't very good at it. Even at that early age, though, he had a fascination for doors, archways and other stonework within the city's architecture. He would spend long hours perched on fortifications observing the townsfolk going about their business in the city.

The normal life changed as his Gift begun manifesting itself. Other children, even those who used to be his friends, stopped inviting him to play with them. Even his family became ill at ease with him. At the same time, his mind grew more inquisitive and his fascination for stone grew. His father's efforts to train him at his craft were met with limited success, for it was obvious that he had limited gifts for leathercraft. And with his brothers being much more talented in that area, Peter was often assigned to run errands through the city.

At the same time as he was becoming estranged from other youths his own age, Peter begun being plagued by strange events linked to the awakening of his Gift. Once, as he was being chased by older boys trying to bully him, he slipped through an archway to come out of another. Another time, a locked door opened itself to his touch while he was leaning against it.

This period of Petrus' life changed forever the day when a man wearing a red cap came into his father's shop to get his boots repaired. When Peter was tasked with delivering the man's repair boots at his inn, the man asked him many strange questions. For some days later, he kept having the strange sensation that someone was either following or watching him...

A few months later, the man was back, with more repairs to be done. He asked specifically for Petrus to deliver the repaired footwear. Another man was with him, a disturbing man who asked even more strange questions and muttered words in Latin to himself while examining Peter. The next day, the man with the red cap came back to Petrus' father shop. After some discussions and negociations, he took Peter away to apprenticeship.

Travelling with the redcap to the mountains in the South of Germany, Peter found himself living at High Lake, a covenant about 40 miles south of Cologne where strange people lived. There he was apprenticed with the disturbing man from the inn, the magus Octavius of House Bonisagus. Bewildered by these sudden changes, and intimidated by the fact that his master was a sorcerer, he was at first unable to accept that one day he would also be one.

Those feeling passed quickly, as he was immediately put on a severe training schedule. First he was tutored in Latin, and had to learn to read and write, under a severe teacher who was quick to punish him. Once he was fluent enough to read by himself, he had to learn philosophy and mathematics, as well as the Hermetic Theory of magic. And throughout this period, he was also assigned chores and tasks by his master. Days began before the sun rose, and ended well after it set.

Eventually, when his letters were acceptable and his knowledge of Magic Theory sufficient, he was also put to work copying texts for his master. He was also taught strange and elaborate ceremonies, often exhausting and sometimes painful -- to open his Gift to the summon magical energies through old Mercurian rituals, ceremonies and customs.

After a few years of this regimen, he began assisting his master in his laboratory work. His apprenticeship became more fulfilling, as he became able to apply his newly-learned ability to work magic. While Octavius was himself a specialist in healing magic, he allowed Peter to develop a natural kinship with portals and an affinity with earth magic, while shaping him to the peculiar Mercurian tradition. But this meant that Peter was never able to truly master the full power of spontaneous magic. No matter, he was content to learn everything that his was taught, or told to learn. Delving into the intricacy of rituals, both ancient and new, was a delight to Peter.

After a decade of apprenticeship, Octavius brought Peter with him to Durenmar, to be further tutored in magic under different members of House Bonisagus. Still, even that tutelage failed to overcome a small flaw in his ability to master the full extent of Hermetic magic, so he remains weak in the art of Mentem. Another disappointment was that the initial manifestations of his Gift were tamed and diminished by the way Octavius awakened his Gift to Hermetic magic. He discovered this while trying to invent a new spell (Doorway to Doorway) to replicate his travelling through archways in the city, which proved much more difficult with Hermetic magic than it had been with his untrained Gift.

Shortly before passing his Gauntlet, while he was traveling for his pater in one of the deep forests of the Rhine tribunal, Peter met and was "adopted" by a magical cat. This wild cat apparently felt kinship with the young magus' magic due to its own magical powers of movement (it can teleport from one patch of shadow to another). It deigned to accept the name Rufus, given by Peter fur the reddish highlights of its tawny stripped fur.

When he passed his Gauntlet, he received the name Petronius from his pater and offered a position of prestige in House Bonisagus, to work for the benefit of the Order. Now a full magus, Petronius is has the overriding goal of recapturing his early abilities to travel by magic, and developping what he calls "Portal Magic".

I certainly expect all magi to be fully detailed, increasing magical prowess is a big part of the stories we will tell.
Companions of note we create to assist our magi should be detailed and advanced, as well. Grogs, since it is their nature to come and go, I don't see a huge need for it, but certainly nothing to stop anyone from doing so, especially if it helps flesh out the character concept.

Well, I would like to test a variation of the "I wanna live forever" longevity expert. He will seek books to teach apprentices with no shame (they provide bonuses :slight_smile: ) and will probably be slightly expensive in the lab-department. Paying for this by providing longevity rituals for the covenant could be an idea, I hope.

So, when I get back from traveling I can dig out the books and try to stat him up.

He'll probably be Ex Misc (since there are some nice ways to use the Ex Misc virtues+flaws packages for this).

How do we handle Story Flaws? With a rather mechanical approach like this they could mean little unless we remember to activate them ourselves.

Titus Aurelius

Titus Aurelius was born as 4th son to an impoverished noble with little to his name but his (possibly false) claims of decent from on of the early roman emperors.
A 4th son added little to the family save to further complicate the future inheiritance disputes and so his father happily handed him off when a strange but clearly powerful woman asked for a page for her retinue.

The next few months were a chaotic mess for little Titus. The woman who'd recruited him for her retinue served the Tremere of Roznov covenant, but Severicus owed a favour to a Bonisagus magus at Durenmar, whose former apprentice had recently become a master in her own right. Titus only really remembers these months as a nightmare and still becomes uncomfortable when near any of the involved parties, despite now having learned Parma Magica and so being unaffected by their respective Gifts.

15 years passed as the apprentice of Maria of Bonisagus, a relatively young master formally of Durenmar though she travelled a fair bit and insisted on bringing her apprentice. This was also the years were Titus learned that he was a (physical) coward, with no talent for combat what-so-ever.

Titus was most comfortable in the library or the lab, and plan to spend a lot of his future buried in research.
Titus is fascinated by by Aurae and Regiones, and to some extend with magic that affects magic, and hope to contribute to the future of the Order via his research into these subjects.

Story Flaws are up to the participant to activate, unless he wants to offload that to someone else (not necessarily me) to SG a particular story. I'd see major flaws being activated a couple of times, three max over a 10 year period, and minor flaws being only once in that same period, maybe twice on an odd chance here and there.
Some story flaws probably shouldn't be story flaws, the most obvious one I'm thinking of is Miles. Or at least it shouldn't count against the story flaw limit. If you're a Miles, you're going to go out and fight, everyone knows that. I'd like something pulling you off your ability to fight and be in the lab... Make sense?

Vido would find idea of joining House Verditius at least a little bit strange. Why would you leave House Bonisagus? Mechanically I can see the advantage of gaining Verditius magic, but it would not be as big boon as it is for magi with skills in crafts. It is not as if Vido chose his flaws - rather they were product of his parens mishap that he tries to deal with.

As for original research - I'd see that there'll be plenty of curious little items when he tries to find out what it is possible to enchant. From rules perspective it seems as if it should be possible to enchant magical beings and to create magical beings (ref. Awakening and CrAn base 50 guideline) - and I seem to recall that enchanting living trees should be possible. Mystery of Inscription on the Soul implies that Gifted spirit can be enchanted. Mystery of Assencion to Hall of Heroes is interesting from this perspective.

From Vidos perspective he has some idea about CrAn base 50, but he doesn't know about Awakening. He would suspect that enchanting has to do with Platonic forms (as is implied by need of superior quality items for enchantment and theory of magic) so he would have to experiement if he can enchant perfect forms (a perfect ball of mist). He would try to see if it is matter of recognising a form or if it is matter of form itself by ecnhanting something that has perfect form, but he does not know it and doing it in reverse by believing something to have a perfect form, but item having none. Also he would try out if he can enchant something from which he has destroyed some or most qualities that item has (for example item with no weight, or only point like weight remaining). He would also try out enchanting living things like trees or perhaps animal. I think he would find out that immaterial things can be enchanted if they have intangible quality of having a spirit - essentially that spirits can be enchanted and hold magic from which he would gain major breakthrough Inscription on the Soul. After enjoying ability to simulate magic by enchanting himself he would resume reserach to study what else is it possible to do.

Here is Vido first immediately after the gauntlet and 9 years after the gauntlet. He started apprenticeship extremely early as he was precogcious child - brilliant and his Gift manifested at birth. His parens heard about birth appartitions so knew to keep tabs on Vido which saved him from most of his parents aversion to Gifted baby.

I am still wondering if I should change some of his virtues - 3 x personal vis source seems overly much. Any suggestions?

Vido ex Bonisagus
Age: 20
Int 5 Per 2 Com 2 Pre -3 (Scarred)
Str 0 Sta -2 Dex 2 Qck 1
Size: 0
Personality: Helpful +1, Bitter +3, Lost +2

Virtues: Puissant Magic theory, Free study, Great Intelligence x 2, Inventive genius. Personal vis sourcex3,
Affinity w/ Creo, Study bonus

Flaws: Unstructured caster, Rigid magic, Weak spontaneous magic, Oversensitive(Damaged Gift)

Charm (Ladies) 2
Folk ken (Merchants) 2
Guile (Peers) 2
German(Town) 5

Magic theory(Experimentation) 5+2
Philosophy(Moral) 1
Artes liberales(Astrology) 1
Latin(Hermetic) 4
Parma(Ignem) 1
Penetration(Mentem) 1
Finesse (Graceful) 1

Creo 6/2 Rego 5
Herbam 5 Animal 5 Aquam 5 Corpus 5
Sigil: Magic appears playful and complex

Vido of House Bonisagus
Age: 29 (90+240+240-4*10=430exp) - he spent 4 seasons working on his laboratory projects. I don't remember how you take that into account so I figured he'd lose 10 experience for not studying that season.

Int 5 Per 2 Com 2 Pre -3 (Scarred)
Str 0 Sta -2 Dex 2 Qck 1
Size 0
Personality: Helpful +1, Bitter +2, Curious +3

Virtues: Puissant Magic theory, Free study, Great Intelligence x 2, Inventive genius, Personal vis sourcex3,
Affinity w/ Creo, Study bonus

Flaws: Unstructured caster, Rigid magic, Weak spontaneous magic, Oversensitive(Damaged Gift)

Charm (Ladies) 2
Folk ken (Merchants) 2
Guile (Peers) 2
German(Town) 5
Rhine lore (Covenants) 1 5
Greater Alps lore (Covenants) 0/4 4

Magic theory(Experimentation) 7+2 65
Philosophy(Moral) 1
Artes liberales(Astrology) 1
Latin(Hermetic) 5 25
Parma(Ignem) 1
Penetration(Mentem) 1
Finesse (Graceful) 1

Creo 6/2 Rego 5 Muto 9 || 45
Herbam 5 Animal 5 Aquam 5 Corpus 7 Auram 7 Mentem 5 || 56
Sigil: Magic appears playful and complex

Lab texts:
Moon as a Puff of Smoke (Charged item)
Muto Corpus(Auram) 50
Base 30, +3 Moon, Touch +1
Cloak with mercury held on its hem within glass beads transforms its user into a puff of smoke. (Cloak: Transform wearer +4, Mercury: Muto +5)
Int 5 Magic theory (Experimentation) 10, Item boni: 9, Muto 9, Corpus 7 (Auram 7), Aura 3, Inventive genius: 6, Experimentation bonus: 3+5
Sigil exaggerated many times (Puff of smoke seems to change constantly to different purposeful shapes - geometric, astrological - as if trying to communicate something)

Oaken month (Charged item)
Muto Corpus(Herbam) 45
Base 25, Month +3, Touch +1
Cloak with mercury held on its hem within glass beads transdorms its user into a oak tree. (Cloak: Transform wearer +4, Mercury: Muto +5)
Int 5 Magic theory (Experimentation) 10, Item boni: 9, Muto 9, Corpus 7 (Herbam 5), Aura 3, Inventive genius: 6, Experimentation bonus: 3+5
Major side effect (Transformed tree attracts birds in unnatural fashion)

Inspecting bottom of a lake (Charged item)
Muto Corpus(Animal, Aquam) 40
Base 20, Moon +3, Touch +1
Cloak with mercury held on its hem within glass beads transdorms its user into a large trout. (Cloak: Transform wearer +4, Mercury: Muto +5)
Int 5 Magic theory (Experimentation) 10, Item boni: 9, Muto 9, Corpus 7 (Animal 5, Aquam 5), Aura 3, Inventive genius: 6, Experimentation bonus: 5
Effect modified (First idea was to study what it is like to be a Clam, but effect changed Vido into a Trout)

Heights of sky as seen by Albatross (Charged item)
Muto Corpus(Animal) 40
Base 20, Moon +3, Touch +1
Cloak with mercury held on its hem within glass beads transdorms its user into a large albatross. (Cloak: Transform wearer +4, Mercury: Muto +5)
Int 5 Magic theory (Experimentation) 10, Item boni: 9, Muto 9, Corpus 7 (Animal 5), Aura 3, Inventive genius: 6, Experimentation bonus: 5
No extraordinary effects

IIRC, Parma is only taught after a magus swears the Oath. Magi usually extend their Parma to their apprentice if they want them not to be affected by the Gift of others.

You'll be swimming in raw vis. :wink:

Some possibilities might be an Skilled Parens, Magical Memory, Magic Sensitivity, Latent Magical Ability (some part of your Gift was not destroyed but cannot express itself through Hermetic Magic).

Yeah, it's tough to say what Personal Vis source is worth, too. As an SG it's tough to quantify because some vis is just worth more than other kinds of vis, so I take the 1/10th thing as a baseline. Herbam might be more, since it tends to be plentiful. Corpus might be less since it's so darn useful. And we haven't even begun selecting our overall vis sources. Oh, and I tend to rule that this source is discovered right after gauntlet, so 5-10 years could be a signifcant horde of vis that gets brough into the covenant, which does factor into things, too.

Entirely true.

I meant to communicate that even now (post-Gauntlet), Titus is uncomfortable around several of the magi he met 15+ years earlier, before he was formally taken as an apprentice.

Sorry, I misread! :blush:

Post gauntlet advancement (and this is a point for discussion, not a commandment) should be done according to the rules on page 32.

30 XP per year. Spells should be purchased with experience points. Why do I like this? It solves issues of what is available as a lab text for someone to adjudicate. When I started Bibracte, I started characters 30 years PG and imposed that limitation for all 30 years to represent that they were held back in some manner. I don't think for 5-10 years PG that this represents being held back too much. It just makes it easy and straightforward and no one has to ask a question and no one has to answer it. As far as available spells, generally HoH books, main rule book, Covenants. Am I missing anything?

Er... I was really unclear in the first version, my apologies.