Character Creation for Julia (OOC)

Man, I can't even say how much I like the character concept. XD

A few comments:

Just curious, what are you going to answer when every other mage ask her why doesn't she invent a new version now?
(Better yet, don't answer here. This is likely the first thing my magus is going to ask, for professional reasons.)

I believe that since the range is touch, not voice, it should be "Dispels an Imaginem effect of lvl15 + stress die (no botch)".

Should the spell have a +1 for intricacy? If not, I'm afraid your whatdoyoucallit will have low pixel resolution. =9

Why not go around tanking pictures then? I mean, that 40xp per year is a general guideline. If I'm not mistaken the current iteration of the guidelines is this one: Character Creation Guidelines

Thinking about your first season: writing spells from your lab texts is done at 20 x Latin, meaning 80 levels. A distraction of 2 months from your writing means you could still write about 50 levels of spells (2/3), so why not take a few photos? Sure, you copied books for your parens, but you also made one 1 month trip to the nearest city to photograph the landscape, and learned etiquette from a minor noble (10 xp). If the problem is the snow, you could spend the boring winter season gossiping with the other Jerbiton and unravel some kind of minor plot against a friend, or against yourself. Nothing serious, just a practical joke... but still worth 10 xp in intrigue.

On the other side, winters would be the natural choice to prepare for further trips (inventing a spell to protect her from the cold so that next year she can go take pictures of the frozen lakes), so maybe those are the seasons you want to spend inside the lab.

Lol! Funny.

The spell to dispell is lvl 10 only, so it doesn't matter, but thanks.

I think that the rules as written say you can only get xp from one source of learning per season, which just goes to show how unrealistic they are. Example: You live in a foreign country. You'll learn the language, study there and live through (minor) adventures - been there, done that. I see the necessity why the xp maximum should be defined, namely game balance and general fairness, but I can't see why all the xp have to come from one source.
I assume that, in any season, she is spending some time taking pictures, but writing forty posts about photography would be boring. In most books, characters are not shown going to the toilet (Ulysses being a notable exception) - still it happens. Like the pictures she takes that show moments only, my posts aim at showing different moments in her life and not at being a full chronic. That wouldn't be beautiful in the Jerbiton sense of the word, it would be craft rather than art. At heart, she's a Cyberpunk, so it's form over function.

I like that idea, and will quite likely use it. She is likely to invent spells that help her with traveling and being comfortable outside. I had one spell in the first draft that helped with animal photography that she'll have to invent post gauntlet for rules reasons. I have always felt that most magi have unreasonable spells. I'd expect all magi to have at least a few spells for daily comfort, because they are used often and having them as formulaic spells reduces the risk of accidents a lot. Light, heat, being dry, having good sex, having food, all these things are imprtant to magi. Maslow's pyramid of need applies to Mythic Europe. These needs come before safety needs for a reason.

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Correcting myself:
Since the guideline is "spell level + 4 magnitudes" for a general spell, the end result of Reset the Mirror should be Lvl 3 to affect a lvl10 spell at range touch (level 3 + 3 magnitudes + stress die = level 10 + stress die).

Maybe she should use fatiguing spontaneous spells after all? :grimacing:

Craft magic would be one way to do it, but there are others, such as MuTe to turn silver liquid or CrIg to actually melt it inside a mold. Which one is easier? That depends on your maga's specialties. She might even decide to reinvent her mirror-crafting spell to use T:Group directly a few years down the road.

I think it is a bit more complex than using a smartphone, since she is casting the spell at the same time as she is aiming the mirror. I'm even wondering whether using Per + Finesse is the correct combination, since it is actually a physical manipulation of the mirror to have it catch the correct frame. But you are correct that this is essentially a minor detail, unless there is a time-senstive lement at work. So I'd also be fine getting rid of the roll altogether, but stating that one may be required in exceptional circumstances (the modern equivalent would be getting the perfect video of the winning goal in a footbal game).

Again, most of the time the Finesse roll won't be an issue, as this mostly happens "off-camera". But shaping and polishing a silver mirror is a relatively time-consuming task for a skilled craftsman. She needs them to be circular enough to serve for a T:Ring spell, as well as smooth enough not to distort the images. All of which is why the Ease factor should reflect that, so I'd stick with a 12 for a useable mirror. With her current Finesse score, she can easiely make several dozens acceptable ones and a handful of higher-quality ones in an afternoon.

Unless you plan on having her make and keep several hundred of her pictures every year, the cost shouldn't be too much of an issue either. I'm assuming she will offer some of them to other magi, so they would certainly be ready to pay in silver. They would certainly be interesting in Jerbiton circles, at a minimum.

It's not like this saga will be about counting pennies and pounds of silver.

The good thing about the narrative approach to post-Gauntlet advancement is that you get to tell us what happens to her after she becomes a maga. The actual xp is based on her actions and decisions.

Rafael linked to an old post about the advancement guidelines. An updated version (not much changed) is available in the About the Ars Magica 5th Edition: The Heir of Laimunt Valley category - #3 by Arthur post.

The main thing to realize is that the guidelines represent an average over time. So if she spend a year reading good books, she might gain 60 xp in that year. The following year she might spend time travelling around and socializing, only gaining 30 xp.

Where that xp is spent depends on the narrative. And still need to respect the rules (single source of xp in a season). Note that I've often seen a short story (5 xp) done during a season of lab work use some of the story xp to reflect the exposure xp. So, for example, 2 xp would be gained in Magic Theory (lab work) and 3 xp in Area Lore (events of the story).

She could still do it using a level 2 spell, it simply wouldn't be reliable (5 + stress die means she would succeed more than half the time). If it means she can avoid the risk of botch for casting a fatiguing spontaneous spell, it might be worth the extra time.

Second attempt at the first season

January 1195
It was bitter cold as the two of them approached the hut that looked tiny beneath all the snow. They had no idea who it belonged to, nor did they care. They wouldn't get a second chance to get out of the cold. Ironically, they were just two day rides from Valnastium, but it had taken them a full week to get this far. Lucio, sweet Lucio, so young and funny, the young grog who had warmed her at night just a fortnite ago, was dead and cold somewhere in the snow behind them.

And Eikona knew it was her fault. Her father had made that very clear. He had warned her not to go, then he had begged her not to go, then, finally, had declared, he was going to come with her. She had been proud of having swayed him, a maga, a leader, old enough to take decisions. He had been mercilessly honest with her, but had cradled her when the tears had come, and had taught her what it meant to be responsible for others. She had sworn never to repeat her mistake.

Now he was delerious with fever, tied to Unicorn like a sack, screaming weakly at times. Eikona's heart lept with joy when someone opened the door after just two knocks. An old man, beareded and filthy, looked at the two of them, then wordlessly helped her take down her father and lay him in front of the fire. He didn't speak much, but a division of labour was quickly established: He was taking care of her father, brewing stinking soups and vile ointments, and she was to look after the pigs, the dog and her horse.
It took her over a week to get a message out to Valnastium using her communication magic, and yet another week for her (ex)parens to step out of thin air, a disappointed frown on his face. He cured her father with a few well-placed magic words, then left again, leaving them behind.
When he was gone again, the old man living in the hut told them, smiling toothlessly: "If you want to keep eating my food until spring, you will keep looking after my animals, and you can use this useless magic of yours to entertain me."
And so it happened that Eikona ex Jerbiton, freshly gauntleted maga, started her career serving a swineherd.

Adventure: 5xp leadership, 5xp animal handling (horses)

Is this better than the first text?

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More colorful and dramatic, to be sure (which is not necessarily the goal). Experience allocation makes sense. It will be interesting to see where the narrative leads her. :smiley:

Sheet at gauntlet edited to include the changes we've discussed:

  • spell levels adjsued for the mirror crafting spell and the picture taking spell
  • finesse raised by 3 for both spells
  • first attempt at first season marked obsolete
  • post gauntlet xp and skill development marked obsolete. I'll do the pg xp bookkeeping in the post after the character sheet at gauntlet. That post is easier to find. It originally contained a question of how to proceed.

I just created the stats topic for Eikona. You can put her stats there.

Durenmar, Grand Tribunal of 1195

It was early April when the weather finally improved enough for traveling safely, and even then, a few rivers, swollen with the melting snow, were hard to cross. She returned her father to Valnastium and, after recovering for a few days and stuffing her saddlebags with a dozen mirrors to record the events, accompanied a procession of Primus Andru and a number of other Jerbiton magi to Durenmar, a giddy debutante at the feast of the decade.

The mood at Durenmar was excited, and her head was swirling with all the invitations and gifts. The first person she sought out was Amhránaí ex Merinita, who had come all the way from far Hibernia to record the event. She petitioned the Gaelic maga for Membership in the Daughters of Echo, who promised to consider her application if she could present three elegantly filled mirrors on the closing day of events. Blushing with excitement, Eikona promised not to disappoint her.

Other Jerbiton leagues were also present, and she was invited to the Gastronomer's dinner, filling the seat of the chicken reserved for potential members. She managed to avoid making a fool of herself, and her gift of a mirror showing the opulent celebration was well received by the current host, the inadply named Paul le Recluse ex Jerbiton.

Demosthenes found her the second day, as earnest and gorgeous as she remembered him, urging her to speak to the Keepers of the Pearl of Great Price League as well, but although she admired his dedication to such a noble cause, her swineherd episode still lingered on her mind, and so she felt no desire to renew her acquaintance with squalor and poverty. He also told her the Theban tribunal was working with the Hibernian sodales to prevent a motion that favored Latin over other languages from getting passed, and she promised him her support. Together they went to see Primus Andru, and talked with Murion, right hand of Primus Avarret of Bonisagus himself, only to realize that their plea was not well received. When Mirabelle heard of their efforts, she laughed and said they were wasting their time.

Day after day, they sat side by side following the proceedings at the forum of Hermes, Demosthenes commenting under his breath with shiny eyes, Eikona enraptured by his voice. During the breaks, she strolled around the grounds, looking for species to catch in her mirrors.

When the Tribunal confirmed Latin's prominent role, Demosthenes was downcast, but her promise to visit him in Constantiople in a year or two visibly improved his mood.

When the tribunal came to a close, Eikona talked to Amhránaí ex Merinita again, who confirmed her membership in the daughters of Echo. That night, Demosthenes, Mirabelle and Eikona celebrated until dawn, with Eikona turning the sour German wine into exquisite Bordeaux, Demosthenes reciting ancient poetry and Mirabelle curing their hangovers. The photo Eikona had taken of that night's revels didn't fit her artistic standards, and yet she kept it, sensing that the happy memories of the Great Tribunal would make her smile in days to come.

Adventure: 5xp Code of Hermes (intertribunal politics), 5xp intrigue (magi)

Amhránaí ex Merinita is horrible for tricking Eikona like that. Durenmar is "protected by a very high magnitude Aegis of the Hearth" (GotF, p.52). Since Magvillus Aegis is thought to be around lvl 50 (HoH:TL, p.43), I'd expect no less from Durenmar. Unless Eikona was granted a casting token she is going to have a hard time with this quest! =9

Durenmar aura is 7, with Eikona's +18 she will succeed unless she botches, but she will lose fatigue every time unless she rolls more than 10.

Of course, the task is not impossible, just exhausting.

Now, a question that my character is bound to raise sooner or later: does The Eternal Mirror Image counts as scrying? I understand that, the way Eikona uses it, usually not, but it sure could be interpreted in another way by some (specially if used in other situations).

I (myself, not Regulus) would also like to raise the following question: can a mirror image be used as sympathetic connection, as a symbolic representation of the target, for penetration purposes (I don't think this was the original intent of the spell, but i like the possibility)?

Before receiving a flat "no": Rego Craft could produce a simple representation with a Finesse roll of 12 (9+3), and a complex one with a roll of 18 (12 + 3 for using rego craft +3 for month's work). The idea of a photography being used for sympathetic purposes is not weird itself. With a proper Finesse roll to capture a clear, usable image, I don't really see a problem.

It's a grand tribunal. Of course, visitors are given aegis tokens.

This is something I had thought about before creating the spell. "Using magic to scry" means "using magic to discover hidden knowledge". Since she only takes pictures of things she can see, it's not scrying, because by the time she takes the picture, the knowledge is no longer hidden since it has been revealed to her by mundane means (sight). It could be scrying if she took a picture of a secret she hadn't visually preceived before with her eyes closed, but she has no intention of doing that.

No, despite some similarities this isn't photography. The spell "sees" the original species (hence the Imaginem requisite). Then it creates a constant stream of species that look like the original species. None of the original species are conserved, therefore it's not sympathy. In other words: I, the player, have decided that she, the character, has invented a spell that can't be used that way. It may or may not be possible to invent a spell that creates a connection, but this spell doesn't.

Summer 1195

Mirabelle's spell had healed Eikona's hangover at the end of Tribunal, but now her friends had packed and left, and the glorious event was over, she felt strangely planless and empty. She had been invited to the gastronomer's next dinner, but what would she do until then? She was tempted to follow Demosthenes to Theben, but was afraid this might be too much too soon.

And so she saddled Unicorn, and travelled through the Rhine tribunal, from covenant to covenant, even straying into the Tremere lands to the east, her mirrors always close to hand. She discovered that animals were hard to record and that they ran away even when she used an invisibility spell, scared off by her human smell and the words she had to speak to cast her magic. After a few weeks, she learned to weave her spell quietly, and was rewarded with a perfect shot of a stag drinking from a forest pond.

At some point, in Cologne, she met a witty young redhead who called herself Renardine. She knew how to party, and to flirt, and for about two weeks, they took the pubs of the city like a storm. Renardine also showed a keen interest in Eikona's mirrors. And then, suddenly, Renardine was gone, and so were two of Eikona's favorite motifs, an Alpine panorama and the picture of the stag.

Using Summoning the Distant Image and a lock of Renaldine's hair, Eikona was able to track the thief easily. Much to her surprise, she discovered that Renaldine wasn't just a woman, but also a fox. When she confronted the strange fox-woman, she learned that Renaldine was a magic fox, and that she had stolen the mirrors in hope they contained magic to help her stave off the magic degradation that was eating away at her substance. Taking pity on the wondrous creature, Eikona offered her a pawn of her Imaginem vis to heal. She also promised to return to Cologne after the cold season with a more permanent solution.

As summer came to an end, and the morning air got fresher, she decided that she needed a covenant to stay for the winters to come, a home away from Valnastium. So she took up an offer by Fengheld to join the covenant as a house guest and directed her horse to the Harz mountains as the days grew colder.

5xp Mastery The Eternal Mirror Image

Not sure if declaring this an adventure to get both the mastery xp and the magic lore xp is being greedy, because usually mastering a spell takes a whole season just by itself.

At this point, I have a few questions:
1.) Can a character simply join a covenant by me writing they do, or is there a cost? I assume, the labs/aura are standard no matter what the coveant descriptions say?
2.) Talking of cost, how much vis does her personal vis source provide? Is that in addition to the vis characters seem to be getting automatically (3 pawns/year?)
3.) My character would like to have a white wolf familiar. Do I spend time to get it? Or vis?
4.) If I gather this correctly, 1 twilight point per year is gained. Do I lump these into twilight episodes? Do I have to write about how she comes by each of those points? If she decided to buy her longevity ritual early to conserve her good looks and as a form of birth control, would these twilight points be on top of the others? What are the time/vis requirements to buy a longevity ritual?
5.) How about teachers: Some mundane skills I want her to have, like better Artes Liberales, or classic Greek so she can go to her sweetheart, could be learned from books or from a teacher. Can I assume she has the money to hire the necessary teachers, or does this require an investment in time or vis?

I'm sorry for asking so many questions, but the answers will hopefully help me speed up character generation.

EDIT: seasonal xp reduced to 5, Triamore replaced with Fengheld.

An Arcane Connection and Sympathetic Connection are not the same thing; an AC either was part of the target or has a close and personal connection to the target (for example, clothes), while the SC is usually something that represents the target (horoscope, painting resembling the target, target's name, target's signature). The biggest difference in rules is that an AC can be used to target someone at distance (beyond giving penetration bonuses), while the SC can only be used to improve penetration effects if you already have an AC to the target (and cannot be used for purposes of AC range).

One possible SC is "a symbolic representation to the target". The description says this is "an illustration or model of some sort". If it can be a painting (that also has no original species of the target) I see no reason, rules wise, for a captured/reproduced image to be invalid. Even more so since Rego Craft could do the same, using exactly the same rules (a finesse roll).

Also, note that a symbolic representation can only be used by the one who made it (no risk or people stealing Eikona's mirrors).

This is a totally valid reason. But for the sake of having common grounds (and because I'm curious), I'd like to hear the opinion of the troupe about this. It's more about knowing how people understand hermetic magic should work (I'm fine if everyone agrees it shouldn't/won't work).

I think Arthur's post above with the guidelines help with some of these. I will comment on my thoughts based on what I have seen on the others' Character Creation topics, but take these with a grain of salt.

  1. Labs/aura are standard no matter where you are (explicitly stated on the agreed guidelines). As for joining, I think only minimum reasoning is necessary, and the base setting shouldn't be contradicted (for example, usually the Alps don't accept newly gauntleted magi, and the Rhine gives only temporary membership on the first 3 years, while expecting the guest to pay 3 pawns a year (or services)). Comment about Eikona joining Triamore: if she is going to stay only a couple of seasons i think 1 pawn/season (or equivalent work) would be a fair payment, but this is personal opinion.

  2. I remember it being agreed to be 3 pawns/year in another topic, but I'm not sure.

  3. All standard rules apply (you must befriend the wolf, spend the season an vis to bind him, etc). Storywise I'd ask why the wolf accepts you as his master, and what arts are being used to bind him (meaning, what is the nature of this magical wolf?).

  4. As I understand, it's your choice. It must fit narrative. Speaking for myself, I'm not thinking of giving Regulus any more warping points, both because he already has a few from apprenticeship and because he has Cautious Sorcerer, but if it end up being reasonable storywise that he should gain some I'll woven it into the narrative. For LR, I've no idea. I've a few rules I apply in my games when magi are looking for other magi to work on a contract basis, but that's basically a house rule. I'd prefer to see what is the standard here.

  5. My understanding for resources in general: highly demanded. For teachers, they will not always be available. Eg., why would a teacher in Triamore teach you Greek instead of teaching Latin to the covenfolk, since that would benefit the covenant more (in Tugurium I will surely expect the teachers to follow the covenant's schedule and to not be immediately available for guests). On the other side, I can see a guest convincing the covenant to postpone Latin and teach Artes Liberales that season (so that you could join class).

Arthur, I'm giving some replies and sticking my nose in several topics and posts... If you would like me to refrain from this and only give more general comments (some story guides don't like) please, tell me.

The same for you Julia, if I overstep any boundary, please let me know.

At first glance, this seems a low-intensity story, which would usually earn someone 5 xp. Pratice also works. It is a bit of a stretch to gain 10 xp in that season, but the narrative approach is flexible so if you want those xp, then feel free to do that. In the end, things should average out, so gaining 10 xp in that season means you have less xp available if you wanted to read a high-quality summa later that year.

The same is true with your later question about Twilight Points gained. Less intense stories can be used to justify gaining fewer Twilight points, but that should also mean less xp gained on average. For example, my path during Clusius narrative resulted in an average xp/year that was significantly lower than 45 (even accounting for lab seasons), so I decided it made sense for him to have gained fewer Twilight Points than average.

Joining a covenant or not is a narrative choice. It should make sense in the setting, so as Rafael mentioned the Alps would not accept your maga because she is too young, for example.

Whether you join a covenant or not, you should integrate a season of unproductive endeavours pretty much every year. This often represent services provided to your hosting covenant, either as a member or a visitor. You can sometimes substitute that with raw vis, but that would come out of any vis you accumulate during those years (or from a personal vis source).

This is a slightly higher-powered saga that usual, so a Personal Vis Source would yield up to 6 pawns/year for most Forms (though Corpus or Vim should probably be a bit lower) or 3 pawns/year for a Technique.

The 3 pawns/year from the guidelines is really not "automatic", but rather represents what can be gained from stories, for some specific services rendered to covenants, vis hunts, etc. This is the currency you can use if you want to pay for a longevity ritual (either created yourself or from someone else), enchanting items, binding a familiar, etc. Much like xp, higher/lower average vis collected over the years should mean more/less Twilight Points gained as well.

At least one season to find and befriend the potential familiar. That season is less productive than a regular story, so a maximum of 5 xp can be gained. If your narrative would indicate an unsuccessful search for that season, than regular story xp can be gained.

You need to spend the normal time in the lab to bind it and the vis comes out of what you accumulated from stories, services and such (as stated above). If what you collected isn't of the right Arts, you can make trades in the narrative. The trade can be with a host covenant or individual, thus not subject to the Mercere exchange rate, or you can work the narrative so that you found more vis but "wasted" some of it doing the exchange (it is the net quantity of vis that is considered in the guidelines).

These Twilight Points can represent spell botches that didn't lead to a Twilight experience, an actual Twilight experience, or being subjected to a powerful magical effect (which can you no long-term benefit, like being teleported somewhere).

Anything else, such as having a longevity ritual or getting someone to cast a stats-raising ritual on you, should be added on top of the guidelines.

Making your own longevity ritual is simply a season in the lab and spending the corresponding vis.

Getting someone to create a longevity ritual for you is expensive -- at least 1 pawn for 5 points of the lab total, plus the cost of casting the ritual itself. So for example, getting someone to create a level 50 longevity ritual (giving +10 bonus) when she is 29 years old would cost her 50 pawns, plus 6 pawns to cast the ritual itself.

No actual spending needed. This is simply part of the narrative. The actual xp gained comes out of the what is allowed by the guidelines (45 xp per year).

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I had a similar though to Rafael's. Will a magus raise your picture-taking as a form of scrying? Seems like a story hook to be used at some point.

Even if it isn't deemed to be scrying (which is not a certain thing), would this lead a Tribunal to establish the equivalent to a "rights to image" similar to what we know in modern society? Consent forms?

Although your argument that since it is something one may see without magic is a valid one, a counter-argument could be made that capturing the image may allow you to discern something that wasn't so obvious initially.

It also doesn't prevent a magus or maga to be offended if you take a picture without their consent. They could challenge you to certamen to force you to destroy the picture and forbid you from taking more pitcure of him or her.

All potential stories! :smiling_imp:


Thanks for the detailed replies. I think I'm starting to get it.
I believe that 6p per year is too much for a personal vis source - it's only a minor virtue after all: That would be 60p form vis by the time the game starts (or a longevity potion plus buying 3!? magical items). I'd like her vis source to produce only 4p of Imaginem vis per annum.

So, the character is currently at 25xp for the year. If she reads a primer (+21xp), she'll end up with a total of 46xp for this year, no season worked for a covenant (only a member in season 4), no game vis gained, 4p of personal vis gained.
Ideally, she'd get slightly fewer xp next year, and a warping point. Seasons of service for a covenant sound fun anyway!

I hope that she will become involved in stories that deal with how the order likes her signature spell. I'm not someone who enjoys law questions too much, but I fully expect magi to be opposed to having their picture taken, and arguments, certamen, theft, blackmail, wizard's war are all fair game, although for her wizard's war would probably mean hiring a hoplite or running. She's no fighter so far, but the sack of Constantinople will make her a bit more martial (a bit like Germany suddenly waking up from its pacifist dreams in 2022)