Character Creation for Bearlord

All of Bearlord's character creation discussions will take place here. Once a character has been finalized, it will be moved to a separate thread for evolution during play.

I'll start with a proposed background story.

Tamas of Flambeau, born Nicolae Baniya

Nicolae of clan Baniya was born in 1182 just outside of Constantinople. His parents were part of a greater family and social group of the Romani people, also called Gypsies. The site where he was born and spent most of his first few years was like a village of tents, wagons and carriages. People came and went but there were always a couple of hundred of their people staying there at any one time. Nicolae's father and uncles were merchants so they went back and forth between the big cities in the area, primarily Constantinople. Nicolae started traveling with them at the age of three.

Nicolae and the other Romani kids helped their adults with their craftwork and peddling, but they also used their innocent youth and nimble fingers to pick pockets in crowds and play con games with people on the street.
A Jerbiton magus named Thellamassus noticed Nicolae when the boy was nine years old. He was in Constantinople with his older brothers and cousins. There was something peculiar about the boy so he followed him and later approached him to find out more. After some further tests the magus was certain that he had the Gift and even better, it was gentled. A perfect Jerbiton, Thellamassus thought.

At about the same time Kiranko, a Flambeau magus born of the Romani people arrived in Constantinople from Europe. He visited Thellamassus' covenant Xylinites and learned about the newly-found Nicolae and his gift. Kiranko had only heard of one other Gifted Romani before, besides himself, so it was a very rare coincidence. He decided immediately that no other than himself must teach young Nicolae in the Hermetic Arts. Thellamassus had found the boy first so he was formally the rightful master of him, but Kiranko sought out Nicolae's family and talked to them. They agreed on Kiranko taking him as his apprentice. There was no way they would leave the boy to a gadjo (non-Romani). The stalemate between the two masters was settled with certamen which the Jerbiton won very closely and a bit surprisingly. However, Kiranko would not let the matter settle at that, so he did something dangerous and highly illegal according to both moral and Hermetic Code. He stroke a deal with a demon that he had been in contact with for a few years!

The demon somehow got rid of Thellamassus. Kiranko didn't want to know how. He just wanted Nicolae alive and take him as apprentice. The pair took off from Constantinople as soon as possible. Nicolae changed his name to Tamas and they dyed his hair just in case someone they met would recognize the boy. No one did, and they settled in a small and secluded covenant in the Macedonian mountains where Kiranko had some connections. Here they stayed a couple of years until Tamas had opened his Arts and learnt the basics of Hermetic Magic.

Most of the apprenticeship after that were spent travelling between different covenants where they stayed as guests for a while before moving on, travelling people as they both were. Because of Tamas' gentle gift they could also stay in more civilized places for a while. They moved from the Theban Tribunal into Transsylvania, staying at the oppidum of Laniena* in Hungary for a couple of years where Kiranko had spent most of his own apprenticeship.

The demon that Kiranko had stroke a deal with in Constantinople kept haunting them, or it haunted the older magus in particular, since the demon didn't think he had recieved his part of the deal with the Flambeau master yet. He therefore threatened to take Tamas.
As it turned out Kiranko, Tamas and the demon met on a mountain slope in the Transylvanian mountains. Here they battled to death at sunset. After a rather long fight, Kiranko dealt the demon a lethal wound, but the demon was about to overtake the magus' battle-weakened body and mind. Kiranko's last pledge to Tamas, who had been standing on the side for most of the fight until then, was "Kill me!" Realizing what was about to happen the young Flambeau called forth his powers and killed both his master and the demon in one last attack.

Tamas was crushed. He had lost his master, his teacher, his travel companion and his only real friend. He went back to Laniena taking the body of his pater with him for a proper burial. He told the magi there what had happened leaving out the details from the past. No one objected that Tamas had passed his Flambeau Gauntlet.
For two weeks Tamas locked himself into a cellar room with complete darkness, arranging only for a servant to bring a cup of fresh water and a small piece of bread once a day. When he came out a redcap from the Rhine tribunal had just delivered a message from Fengheld that they looked for young newly gauntleted magi. Tamas thought it was an opportunity to start looking for his own fortune.

*[size=85]I just know Laniena by name and that it is located in Hungary, but I don't own the Transylvania sourcebook so have no idea if it's suitable for my characters here. If it doesn't matter to this saga we can just assume it works as a stopover for a couple of years on Tamas' route to Fengheld.[/size]

And here are some proposed stats

[size=150]Tamas of Flambeau[/size]

Appearence: 5'4 tall and weighing 61 kgs (134 lbs) he is rather thin but sinewy built. Dark brown hair to shoulders with long fringe held in place by a headband. He grooms a thin mustache and wears loose linen clothes, trousers and a long tunic with bright coloured buttons and collars.

Age: 25 (25)
Size: 0
Confidence: 1 (3)
Decrepitude: 0
Warping: 0

Personality traits: Curious +2, Impatient +3, Deceitful +1

Int +3 (creative)
Per +1 (intuitive)
Pre 0
Com +1 (convincing)
Str 0
Sta +2 (hardy)
Dex +1 (nimble fingers)
Qik +1 (quick reflexes)

Hermetic Magus, The Gift, Puissant Ignem (free)
Gentle Gift (major hermetic), Affinity with Perdo (minor hermetic), Life Boost (minor hermetic), Mastered Spells (minor hermetic), Minor Magical Focus: Darkness (minor hermetic), Improved Characteristics x2 (minor general), Well-Travelled (minor general)

Twilight Prone (major hermetic), Diabolic Past (major story), Offensive to Animals (minor hermetic), Weird Magic (minor hermetic), Compulsion: lying (minor personality), Oversensitive to uncleanliness* (minor personality)

[size=85]*Romani definition of uncleanliness. Examples: Urine and feces from any live creature, other people's worn clothes of the lower body, pregnant women or women that just have given birth, dead people and their close relatives for a while just after the time of death. Tamas will try to avoid these things and certainly not touch them. Of course he need to take care of his own worn clothes and doing his natural needs, this means he will be unclean himself at times but then he will be very careful washing himself as soon as possible. After the death of his master he considered himself unclean for several weeks.[/size]

Area Lore: East Thrace** 1 (geography), Area Lore: Hungary (geography) 1, Artes Liberales 2 (geometry), Awareness 2 (searching), Bargain 1 (cloth), Charm 2 (first impressions), Folk Ken 3 (townsfolk), Greek 4 (Thracian), Guile 3 (fast talk), Gypsy culture Lore 1 (traditions), Hungarian 1 (street talk), Infernal Lore 2 (demons), Latin 4 (hermetic usage), Legerdemain 1 (pick-pocketing), Magic Lore 1 (creatures), Magic Theory 3 (inventing spells), Order of Hermes Lore 1 (history), Parma Magica 1 (mentem), Penetration 2 (perdo), Romani 5 (storytelling), Stealth 1 (urban areas), Survival 1 (mountains)

[size=85]**incl. Constantinople[/size]

Creo 3, Intellego 3, Perdo 8, Rego 3
Ignem 6+3, Mentem 3, Vim 6

Pilum of Fire CrIg20 +16; Mastery level 2 (Penetration, Multi-casting)

Demon's Eternal Oblivion PeVi15 +17; Mastery level 1 (Penetration)

Unravelling the Fabric of Mentem PeVi10 +16

Circular Ward Against Demons ReVi10 +11

Trust of Childlike Faith PeMe10 +15; Mastery level 2 (Quiet casting, Still casting)

Lay to Rest the Haunting Spirit PeMe10 +14; Mastery level 1 (Penetration)

Rusted Decay of Ten-Score Years PeTe10 +11; Mastery level 1 (Fast casting)

Vision of Heat's Light InIg20 +14

Chamber of Midnight PeIg15 +28; Mastery level 1 (Fast casting)
A room is plunged into complete darkness.
R:Touch, D:Diameter, T:Room
(Base 3, Touch +1, Diameter +1, Room +2)

At the beginning of his spells for a quick moment, less than a normal blink of an eye, all light around Tamas disappears so he only appears as a shadow.

Voting sigil
A silver chain with a silver pendant in the form of a wagon's wheel. (Kiranko's voting sigil)

Combat stats
Dodge: Init: +1, Defense +1
Fist: Init: +1, Attack +1, Defense +1, Damage 0
Kick: Init: 0, Attack +1, Defense +1, Damage +3
Soak: +2
Fatigue levels: OK, 0, -1, -3, -5, Unconscious
Wound Penalties: -1 (1-5), -3 (6-10), -5 (11-15), Incapacitated (16-20), Dead (21+)


A few questions and comments.

Puissant Ignem + Affinity with Perdo. Is your goal a cold or darkness-based Flambeau? Hard to tell without the spell selection.

If he's Twilight Prone, I'd probably give him a few points of Warping at the start of the saga (probably something along the lines of 1 simple die), along with a minor Twilight Scar of some sort (neutral or even just cosmetic)

Dark Secret vs Diabolic Past is really a matter of the kind of stories you want him to be involved in. Diabolic Past would tell me that you want stories about diabolists or demons causing problems for him. Dark Secret would be about hiding what happened to/with his pater and the demon. If what happened is known and he was exonerated of any guilt in the matter, it could be Enemies or Feud because some other magi believe he is a diabolist himself. As a major flaw, this will come up regularly, so it's Worth taking more time to define what it is about.

Fear: uncleanliness is a bit hard to grasp. How would a fear like that play itself out? Seems more like something he would be Oversensitive about. How would he react to, say, a peasant who just shoveled manure coming to talk to him? Or a cow defecating right in front of him?

I know there are different schools of fighting within the Flambeau house but neither Tamas nor his pater has followed any of these. My thought is that Kiranko, the pater was mostly Ignem based, therefore the free Puissant Ignem but then Tamas showed some affinity for Perdo during apprenticeship. His name Tamas is also chosen because it means darkness in Sanskrit, which their mother tongue Romani is based on. Kiran (which I tweaked a bit to Kiranko) means light.
Spell-wise I'm not done yet but here are my thoughts so far. He will have Pilum of Fire as main combat spell, then he will have a Diameter-version of Vision of Heat's Light and a self-styled spell that will create complete darkness within a room. I will put the details here later for you to accept or comment. He will also have the Perdo-based spells Demon's Eternal Oblivion and Lay to Rest the Haunting Spirit so he will be some kind of demon and ghost hunter.

No problem at all. Sounds very good. I think Twilight Prone and Weird Magic represents his and his paters slightly odd culture mixed with Hermetic magic. At this time the gypsies have not reached Europe further than Constantinople and possibly parts of Greece.

I actually would like if there would be some demons haunting him so perhaps Diabolic Past works best then. Still the secret about what happened to his first Jerbiton-master is not revealed, but Tamas is not really responsible for that and the person that is, is already dead.

True, Fear didn't seem right when I first picked it. I read some about Romani culture and thought I would like to get parts of it specified in some of the Flaws. Oversensitive of uncleanliness might be better. He will try to avoid going near a peasant shovelling manure or an animal defecating or urinating, definately not touching any such things. Pregnant women or a woman that just have given birth is also considered unclean. (This is from what I have read about Romani culture and it seems to be quite important in their culture. I hope I don't insult anyone.) He will also be very careful washing himself of course so when he can't for a long time it will affect him. However just normal dirt from crawling in mud or soil is not considered unclean in this way.

Sounds good.

Updated the character stat post above and added spells.

By my calculations, your Pilum of Fire won't have much penetration. Your basic Casting Bonus is +14 and you have Penetration score of 2. Of course, with the Life Boost virtue you can always decide to burn additional Fatigue to punch through, but it means your main combat spell isn't dependable against supernatural opponents.

On the other hand, your Demon's Eternal Oblivion is better. Casting bonus of +17 and a score of Penetration of 4 when including the specialization and spell mastery. So you should be fine affecting low-Might demonic creatures, unless you are in an Infernal aura. :smiling_imp:

You should probably adapt the name of Vision of Heat's Light to reflect the modified duration, in order to avoid confusion with the standard spell. I note that you could have learned the normal version if you'd wanted to. Any particular reason for not going with the standard spell?

My guess is that he invented Chamber of Midnight himself? With his scores, that would have taken him 2 seasons. What's the story behind your master giving you access to a lab to invent a personalized spell? Just curious.

When I calculate I get Casting bonus to +16 and Penetration score of 4 with Mastery level added to both, but I know it's still quite weak against tougher opponents. He is struggling with the Creo part. But as you say he can compensate it with Life Boost.

Yes I was thinking about the name but didn't come up with a good one so I let it be for now. I may take the standard version instead and drop Sense the Nature of Vis. The reason for making the change was that I only have +14 Casting Total and thought that it will be cast in combination with Chamber of Midnight so Diameter duration would suffice, but this spell can be quite useful at night with Sun duration.

Good question and one I have been pondering over. Tamas and his master had a very close and friendly relation much due to their common culture that hardly anyone in Europe shares at the time and then the way Kiranko got/took Tamas as apprentice meant a lot of guilt was involved. This is one of the last spells he learnt during apprenticeship and he was given access to a lab in a covenant in the Transylvanian Tribunal where Kiranko had some contacts. Kiranko let him get it because he knew Tamas was good at darkness effects. I may even change the Fast Caster virtue to Minor Magical Focus: darkness to emphasize it.

I forgot to account for the Mastery on Pilum. Makes it a bit better. But in any case I just wanted to make sure you were aware of that weakness.

I almost made that exact suggestion. It's fairly easy to learn Sense the Nature of Vis and for the moment he can easily spont it. Of course, that comes with the risk of a botch, but unless he turns into a dedicated vis hunter that shouldn't be too much of a problem.

That can work.

I'm sure you realized that these have been comments rather than objections. The concept is sound and well executed. It will be interesting to see the character played.

Quarantined for now.

[strike][size=150]Emil, Hungarian ostler/warrior[/size]

Characteristics: Int 0, Per +3, Pre -1, Com -1, Str +1, Sta +1, Dex +1, Qik 0
Size: 0
Age: 38
Confidence: 0(0)
Decrepitude: 0
Warping Score: 0(0)
Virtues and Flaws: Wanderer, Animal Ken, Warrior, Afflicted Tongue, Temperate
Personality Traits: Brave +2, Loyal +3, Calm +3, Avoids people +1
Reputations: None
Dodge Init 0, Defense +2
Fist Init 0, Attack +4, Defense +3, Damage +1
Kick Init -1, Attack +3, Defense +1, Damage +4
Shortspear Init +2, Attack +9, Defense +6, Damage +6
Shortspear and Round Shield Init +2, Attack +9, Defense +8, Damage +6
Javelin Init +2, Attack +7, Defense +4, Damage +6, Range 10
Shortbow: Init -1, Attack +10, Defense +4, Damage +7, Range 15

Soak: +4
Fatigue Levels: OK, 0, –1, –3, –5, Unconscious
Wound Penalties: –1 (1–5), –3 (6–10), –5 (11–15), Incapacitated (16–20)
Abilities: Animal Handling 4 (horses), Animal Ken 3 (horses), Area Lore: Hungary 2 (geography), Athletics 2 (climbing), Awareness 2 (alertness), Bows 5 (shortbow), Brawl 2 (fist), Craft: Blacksmith 2 (horseshoes), Folk Ken 1 (peasants), Hungarian 5 (terms referring to horses and animal handling), Hunt 2 (tracking), Latin 2 (everyday vocabulary), Profession: Ostler 5 (evaluate horses), Ride 6 (fast galloping), Romani 3 (stories and legends), Single Weapon 5 (spear), Survival 2 (plains), Thrown Weapon 3 (javelin)
Equipment: Shortbow, shortspear, javelin, round shield, leather scale armor, battle-trained riding horse, quiver and arrows

Appearence: Broad shoulders but slightly hunched. About 5'7 tall and moves with some gracefulness, even more so when in the saddle. Black hair with grey streaks on the sides.

Emil is the illegitimate son of Kiranko and the daughter of a Hungarian ostler living close to the oppidum of Laniena where Kiranko was apprenticed and lived for a few years after his Gauntlet. Emil was raised by his mother and grandparents and since he was very fond of horses at an early age he spent a lot of time with his grandfather in his occupation as ostler for the local lord. Emil even seemed to be able to talk to the horses and therefore knew when there was something wrong with them before they got seriously hurt or ill.
Kiranko visited his son as often as he could even if the boy's grandparents and mom didn't like it and tried to stop it.
Emil spent some time as a teenager in the local militia for the lord and learnt how to use a spear and bow , but he usually kept to himself as people usually made fun of his stuttering talk.
When he was 20 years old, Kiranko came and asked him if he wanted to come along on a trip to see the world. At first Emil was reluctant because he didn't want to leave his unmarried mother and the horses he was responsible of. After some bargaining and persuasion he decided to go with his father. Kiranko arranged for Emil's mother getting a house of her own and some land under protection of the lord and he also bought Emil's favorite horse from stable so he could bring it with him on the trip.

They went southwards and eventually came to Constantinople where Kiranko took Tamas as apprentice. Emil loved the boy immediately, one of few people he actually liked. They all started their trip northwards again and finally came back to Hungary and oppidum of Laniena for a few years until Kiranko was killed. Emil has sworn to follow Tamas even after the death of his former master and father. Emil treats Tamas as his younger brother.

Advancement [/strike]

I have posted Tamas' shield grog above and I have also done some minor additions and modifications to Tamas in the original post (marked in red).

I'll post a letter of introduction to Fengheld later.

Are you sure you want a grog that old? He might start the saga with some effects of aging (I'll roll for that if neede once the character has been finalized).

He probably doesn't need a seperate Profession skill for evaluating and running a stable. I consider these aspects minor enough that they can be folded into Animal Handling.

He doesn't have a virtue that would allow him to have Latin. I'd suggest Custos, to also reflect his special standing as Tamas' personal guard. I know this would cut down on the xp he has available, but considering he doesn't need Profession: Ostler, you'd still have some room for additional abilities.

As for Abilities that might be missing or could be added: Bargain, Charm, Chirurgy, an additional Living Language and/or Area Lore (based on where they travelled).

Also, having him be a great horseman seems to be of limited interest, considering that Tamas himself doesn't have a Ride score. Just saying. 8)

Finally, as I mentioned there should be some collaboration between the players regarding the creation of the personal grogs/servants, as the others will be the ones playing him. This won't be your character, but theirs. So they may very well suggest some modifications to the concept, background and stats as well.

Sorry I forgot about that. I just came up with this concept that he is the son of Tamas' pater and got a little carried away. That's also the reason he became so old but I don't really mind about that specifically. He could of course be much younger and still be Kiranko's son...

I'll just post a concept for Tamas grog in the OOC-thread and let the other players get a say on the rest.

I just got hold of a pdf-version of Against the Darkness and read the parts about Hungary and some of the covenants/oppidums there. Then I found Kezdö Válasz. This isn't really a covenant but more like an organisation within House Tremere which allows membership from other houses. Their main objective is to respond quickly to threats against the House and the Tribunal primarily. Kezdö Valasz means something like initial response in Hungarian and it should suit Flambeau magi as well if they have close ties with Tremere. So my idea is that Kiranko was a member of this oppidum.

Where I want to come with this is that Tamas now has a few connections with Tremere magi, at least one rather influential at least, that he will use as reference in his letter to Stentorius and Fengheld.

I'm good with that. :slight_smile:

Tamas letter:

[i]To the esteemed Member’s Council of Fengheld, led by His most Honourable Archmagus Stentorius Tremeris.

I, Tamas ex Flambonis fili Kiranko, write this letter to express my interest in filling one of the membership places you are looking to establish a new chapter house.

I have spent the later part of my apprenticeship in the Transylvanian tribunal where I also completed my Gauntlet recently. I currently stay with Kezdö Valasz in one of their forts but I don’t see a future here at the moment. Archmagi Essedarius and Leona Tremeris were friends of my late pater, who tragically died in a lethal mission a couple of months ago. These two magi can vouch for my magical abilities and my seriosity in this application.

My expertise lies in the Arts of Ignem and Perdo, but I’m also specialized in destroying denizens from the infernal realm as well as spirits of evil.

I shall await your response but I stand ready to travel to Fengheld or wherever you ask me to in an instant.

With greatest honor and respect
Tamas ex Flambeau
Kezdö Valasz at Sarmizegetusa, Transylvanian Tribunal in the Year of Our Lord 1207[/i]

How many warping points did you have in mind because of the Twilight Prone flaw?

Shouldn't this be Vlach (Romanian), as per AtD p.10?

Actually no. The Romani language is different from Romanian or Vlach as it is called here.
Romani is more directly linked to the Indian language Sanskrit but it usually has no written language. Google Romani language.
In the early 13th century it has not yet spread into Europe but should be present around Constantinople.