Character Creation Discussions (OOC)

Alrighty, through Gauntlet is posted!

Now before I dive any deeper, I just want to make sure for one final time that everyone's going to be alright with a summoner. For reference, he'll be able to summon/bind things in the 30-40 might range pretty easily when all is said and done (and have the true names/daimon summoning spells that would allow him to do so). And he'll likely be staring down a familiar somewhere in the aforementioned 30-40 range too. So all things considered, the potential to have some pretty bloody big and stompy friends is very real.

Now to be clear, I'm a firm believer in niche protection, so I'm not gonna go anywhere near folks' areas, nor do I intend to hog screen time as it were. But I'm also aware that this has the potential to change things in terms of saga scaling, so I wanted to check one final time was all! Again, I promise I won't be offended if someone pipes up now and says they're uncomfortable with things. But I can't promise the same six months down the road?

Cheers, and thanks again for having me folks!

I'm a summoner fan in general, but we both knew that already. It doesn't bother me, but then I know and love (and like to play) the archetype as it were. I also however have experienced the negative reactions at times of other players when doing so. So ... I totally understand why you feel the need to verify how people feel about things.

I do think that niche protection is good in general but also particularly with summoners since summoning as a magic/play style inherently lends itself to flexibility.

Mechanically ... summoners tend to get flexibility and access to "strange" and/or funky things. But to not be strong in direct spell confrontation etc. So it really depends. It certainly isn't an "I win button" type of character, though some people seem to see it that way. But the Flambeau Pilum (or BoAF...) Master almost certainly is going to out spell battle them if it comes to direct confrontation, even if they have a pilum spirit or two.

It does however have kind of unique considerations and concerns that go with it. My biggest concern personally would be making sure every spirit/summon has an established sheet and personality that the troupe can agree upon. And then making each one come off in play like a full character. The exception being "spell spirits" I suppose. But even those are nominally "alive" if you will. All of that can also make summoners a lot of work to play, as much as anything else. But also rewarding with everything that gets built around them. Perhaps the spirits (or some of them) could be handled like Companions by the troupe.

I suppose somewhat this begs the question of whether there is an intended power level for the game as well. And whether people are concerned about that being changed over much.

Vorsutus for example ... isn't going to be in the power league for a bit (I'd like to think I'm planting a good seed though). At least as regards raw penetration like that. Though I might surprise myself if he got his hands on an AC. But regardless right now he is aimed at a somewhat broader collection of lower level spells and staging to grow those later. An adventure involving the two of them at the same time would be dealing with very different competencies if you will. But ... I suppose that is often true in Ars.

Interested to see how your build starts to shape up. I'd also suggest getting up through apprenticeship down for people to see. Right now it is hard to judge by more than prior experience if you will without any numbers to look at.

Just to make sure I get all the details. Even with summoning daimons, aren't they usually summoned for specific services? This depends on the daimon I suppose, but most of them aren't going to accept something as "follow me as long as I command you" are they? (On that note, Pukis seems like a nice option!).

Generally speaking, I can't say if I will have a problem with something before trying it. But I can compromise to keep an open mind. =]

I agree with Vortingen about the spirits having an agreed and established sheet, but I think that's just basic (the same as each spell being clearly described).

The key stakeholder on that is Arthur, I believe.

In general this is true, though not universal. There is also discussion of theurgists bonding with daimons as their familiar (a pact if you will) for example. But in general you cast the ritual to summon them and they perform whatever kind of special magic/service they can do, and then they leave.

Other kinds of summons however (say with standard hermetic spirit magic) could be summoned and bound longer term. I've played summoners with a stable retinue of spirits in the past and I think that is what he is aiming for here. And concerned whether it will get negative attention. (It has for me sometimes, and sometimes not.)

That is partly why I suggested handling them like companion tier characters in his retinue, because it would flesh them out more.

Very much so, since they also have powers and the like (part of the point!) which need to be clearly defined.

I would concur with that.

I think a lot depends on execution with summoners. I think that is why Nithyn mentions niche protection. Because flexibility can be annoying regardless of how someone gets it. It doesn't matter if you are spont build generalist or a summoner, if you step in every chance you can do the thing even if someone else can ... you are stepping in a lot. A lot of the time I think that is part of the issue. But beyond that Nithyn is right that in the scale of things those are some high might scores he could theoretically toss around and/or have in his retinue.

There are ways and there are ways. 8P

My general feel so far is that things are aimed at a simulationist style of play? Which ... hey, I like that. The school of gaming thought I grew up with if you will. But hard to say if power level enters into that in any significant way or not.

The general scale of say the library however makes me wonder if things are purposefully aimed at a lower tier? Or no?

I'd say average (remember, at the moment we are recently gauntleted magi in a spring covenant (or rather, going through a second spring)). I surely hope we improve our library in due time!

Some of these discussions were held in the Saga Discussions (OOC). A few things are bound to have changed, but I reckon most still hold.

When I said Arthur is still the key stakeholder, I meant for power level and change in power level (but yes, also for the style, and for a lot of other things).

Indeed. Though it's not necessarily, hey cast this power you've got for me once and then go home. It's one 'order' as it were. Order being something of a misnomer since you've paid the daimon extremely well to come do whatever it is you want to do. And these orders can, potentially, stretch over a longer period of time. The big thing is just making sure that the agreements are well defined, and not nebulous. Teach me about X for a year, or destroy Y, or heal all these people, are all valid orders. Follow me around and destroy my enemies is not. Though guard me from harm for Z length of time might potentially be.

Daimons can be in multiple places at once, so it costs them nothing to do that sort of thing after all. Of course there is one pretty large limiting factor. Namely that aspects don't recover might, and when it's gone, it's gone. So you're better off using them for super unique things (like ritual powers etc), and using your 'regular' (IE non-daimon) spirits for the day to day.

That is precisely my intent! In fact, in any year that he learned a true name/daimon summoning spell, I plan on hitting pause on moving forward until said character is fleshed out. Seems the best way of preventing problems in the future. That and if I hand off creation of a spirit to another player, it seems a good way of preventing any future hard feelings about what precisely any given spirit can do?

Nail on the head here on both fronts!

I thought he was a cute little bugger, and precisely the sort of thing an apprentice would learn to summon first! Baby steps and all that. Plus he has ties to Novgorod... so thematically it felt fitting?

Summoners can be a lot of work for the SG, since each designed spirit need to be vetted, or even completely designed. But not all of that load needs to be on me. Every troupe member should be ready to pitch in on that.

Just be aware that the spirits should never be designed exactly as you would like them to be -- they are supposed to be independent and have their own goals. For example, I don't think it would be reasonable to have a spirit designed specifically as a high-SQ teacher of Magic Theory. Just makes no sense to be. They also have some independence and they don't have human minds -- and understanding -- of what you will be asking of them. They will perform the task you ask them, to the best of their ability to do so, but they may very well do so in a very inhuman way. And the more complex the task, the more likely that the way they perform it will generate unwanted side effects.

And in the same as with every way to attain flexibility, it should always remain less efficient to perform anything. To me, versatility always comes at the cost of efficiency. You mention that for combat, but it should be true for pretty much everything.

I'm not as worried about screen time, since PbP usually revolve around individual or small-group stories that will run in parallel. Also, power level should be kept relatively fair. If your character ends up growing is power at a much higher rate then what is possible for others, them you will see roadblocks appear to prevent it. That is particularly true for pre-saga advancement.

For Lab purposes, is the entire Manor House inside the +5 aura? Or do we choose between a lesser aura or being underground say?

Rafael, would you like to discuss more about your Lynx of Virtue for your familiar? I think that sounds like something interesting!

Nithyn and I have been discussing a Companion attached to Belisarius that is a former Varangian turned mercenary captain after the troubles in Constantinople. I have in mind the name Thorsten.

Potential v/f spread.

V: Cautious: Single Weapon (1), Essential Virtue: Strength/Killing Blows (1), Inspirational (1), Magic Blood: Jotun-Blood (1), Mercenary Captain (1), Mythic Strength: Killing Blows (1), Puissant: Leadership (1), Puissant: Single Weapon (1), Tough (1), Unaging (1)

F: Curse of Venus (3), Essential Flaw: Quickness/Often Surprised (1), Heroic Personality (1), Proud (1), Tragic Quickness: Often Surprised (1), Wrathful (3)

I have in mind a literally heroic, inspiring, even picturesque and decidedly lethal captain/grog-sergeant, but with a fatal flaw in that he is horrible on initiative/surprise. Don't leave him alone on watch? Someone make a scout? It might keep him alive.

A veteran who feels he failed in the siege/sack and now is trying to leave it all behind. I see him as fairly bitter about Constantinople but looking to build a new life rather than getting pulled back into the quagmire of the Empire. Though Belisarius likely has other plans for him.

All the labs are inside the +5 aura.

Are we looking at a magical human? I think RAW he needs to have might if he is to take heroic V&F?

Otherwise, seems interesting.

Currently he isn't designed as a Magic Human, but I wouldn't be opposed to building him that way in theory. Right now he is simply a Magic-blooded normal human. But I could do a different version of him as a Companion grade Jotun if that were viewed as preferable.

The Heroic Personality flaw opens up the capacity for the heroic v/f I believe, so that is what permits the build as it is.

To open heroic V&F you need either Blood of Heroes (making him a Mythic Companion), the Legacy Flaw (which assumes he is either a magus or a redcap) or Mythic Blood (check Heroic in HoH:TL p.104). RoP:M extends that to magic humans who buy those using qualities and inferiorities.

To build him as a Magic Human we need to decide how to advance him (it's the same discussion as for familiars, all over again =9).

Are the heroic virtues and flaws indispensable? He seems to work fine without them.

At least we have rules for that now! 8D

I am open to tweaking things a bit. I'll review when I have time.

Ok... i read a little about the campaing and now i have time to write a concept :slight_smile:
i will try to add points that could lead to some hooks (some more likely than others, but hey, i'm trying xD)

Name and house: Alba ex Merinita

Short history:
She grew far away from humans, in the black forest, with her mother, a dryad (hook: blood related or not?) who guards the forest and (maybe) a portal to a faerie world* that it contains (hook: which type of rego? something big or small?). Her childhood was hard, since her mother knew little about raising a human, but since she was resilient and many fairies helped them from time to time (wood-wives mainly, but they also had a lot of other types of visitors), she grew having an interesting early life (hook: she recognizes some faerie that travels near Tugurium).

One day, a man with weird clothes came and, after talking with her mother, he took her away (ofc it was a magus, but... hook: he found her by chance or did he have some previous pact with the dryad? it was her father or unrelated?).

He brough her to a covenant and after some deliberation, an old magus took her as his apprentice (hook: where it went the first magus?). He lived (lives, he is alive xD) in a laboratory inside the forest but at the same time not too far from the covenant (he has a focus on herbs, which he uses in his potions). For her it was a difficult way to enter into the human world, but surely less hard than going to live directly inside a covenant for sure.

From there onward, it's just a regular master / apprentice relation with heavy difficulties to understand the human ways**.

A specialist in Herbam maga with a strong faerie background. She would have some serious issues understanding the world and humans (think of her as a blank canvas... if she becomes worse or better as a person it could be related to her interactions with others, especially her fellow magi).
At the start her priority would be find a safe place for herself (she will see her lab more like a home than her workplace, so you can expect that she gives a lot of relevance to aesthetics and wellbeing). After that... who knows? Herbam is very flexible, so she could be helpful in general (i read about a Gardener role... she is the one for it xD) and since she wants to feel included and learn, it would be very proactive towards helping her sodals (for the best... and sometimes for the worst too xD).
As for what stories might work with her... she's an all-terrain character (not as "she's the most efficient" way, but in "the role-play can be fun" way). It works for a simple dinner with some philosophy talk, or to (awkwardly) help the villagers, or repairing/beautify the covenant, or whatever.

*) Since many dryads are related to one type of tree, i think that the one that would make the more sense is the hawthorn (they were said to be magical trees related to faeries, with some of them even being gates to the fairy kingdom).
**) I will stop here since my spider sense is tingling to tell me that this early concept is going for too long already xD

Interesting concept. Sounds almost like a Changeling sort of scenario.

These immediately came to mind for your concept.

Faerie Upbringing (ArM5, pg 54)

Faerie Heritage (RoP:F, pg 114)

And you might also consider this if her magic is strongly influenced by Faerie practices/influences enough to where it stands out to other Wizards.

Hedge Wizard (ArM5, pg 54)

It sounds as if so far you believe her reason for wanting to join Tugurium is due to its proximity to her Faerie mother? And/or previous Faerie family?

Interesting concept. Sounds almost like a Changeling sort of scenario.

Thanks! And yeah, but its an open possibility... it could also be her real mother... with fae you never know! XD

Faerie Upbringing (ArM5, pg 54)

This one for sure, no doubt. Maybe even double down and add Sheltered Upgringing (ArM5, pg 58)? I mean, yeah, they had faerie visitors, but basically was her and her mother alone in the woods xD

Faerie Heritage (RoP:F, pg 114)

That one is also interesting, but then it turns the dryad into a full high cognizant faerie... or maybe there is another one behind the scenes? :stuck_out_tongue:

Hedge Wizard (ArM5, pg 54)

Thats cool too, but then i feel like i should also take Virtues that really make my magic different... (and im not sure if i will take special powers instead of just just improve my regular hermetic magic).

It sounds as if so far you believe her reason for wanting to join Tugurium is due to its proximity to her Faerie mother? And/or previous Faerie family?

Maybe? It could depend if she knows where it is her mother xD I mean, the magus that brough her to the Order is not there, and its probable that she doesn't know the exact place (or kingdom... she doesnt know any of those common sense things). Maybe her parens know? Thats could be another hook perfectly :thinking:

But for sure, at least it would be that she doesn't want to go too far away, thats for sure. And not just for her mother, but for herself too... i mean, this zone is the only thing that she knows. Traveling to other lands even more unknown for her doesn't sound too good.

Alba seems like a nice maga to have around. =]

Do you have any strong ideas for story flaws?

Alba seems like a nice maga to have around. =]

Thanks! :slight_smile:

Do you have any strong ideas for story flaws?


If the concept goes forward, V&F are the first things that i usually think. But for now... no, not really xD