Character Creation for Reminiscent

To discuss the creation of all of Reminiscent's characters (magus, companion, grogs, familiar, apprentices). This includes the concept, drafts, background, advancement, lab work, etc.

Final versions of the characters will have their own topic.

Pando of Bonisagus, Filia of Occultes of Bonisagus

The boy was born in the city of Bamberg in 1174 to one of the numerous brewers of Bamberg’s famed Rauchbier. His parents brewed excellent beer and visitors to the Bierhaus included many kinds of people: locals ranging from the common man to members of noble households; as well as all kinds of travelers.

The boy was born in a dramatic fashion while the emperor Frederick Barbarossa was preparing his fifth and final foray into Italy. Soldiers from Erfurt were drinking and merrymaking at the family’s Bierhaus when every vessel of beer suddenly exploded into a foamy yeast (picture something like this happening to every beer in a crowded beer hall). The soldiers went to the back of the Bierhaus to investigate, and found the walls, ceiling, and everything else absolutely covered in the yeast. Everything, except for the newborn babe, held by his parents in the middle of the room. Many of the soldiers were frightened, while some were impressed.

One young knight proclaimed that the child was surely destined to be no mere brewer, and swore he would find the child again one day. This young knight then gifted the family a small bag of fine woad dye — the main export of Erfurt, and left with the others. The family didn’t hear back from the young knight, nor did they expect to after the Holy Roman Empire’s disastrous defeat two years later.

The child was off-putting to most patrons of the Bierhaus, so he spent much of his childhood off in the forest instead. He spent some days wandering the city’s streets, but his true love was seeing the fungus of the forest. Many times he snuck aboard a traveling wagon and would spend many hours getting back home through the forested undergrowth.

He liked the forest, but he loved the world underneath. He thought the innumerable tendrils of fungi just below the earth made an even richer forest than the one he could see above. And sometimes the world below would reach out into the world above with mushrooms bearing medicine, poison, or faerie rings…

Usually the trips home would be alone, but on occasion they boy would meet an apothecary foraging for raw ingredients. Those apothecaries who were not off put by the Gift served as his first teachers, showing the boy where to find tasty chanterelles spontaneously growing on the forest floor, or how to spot the faint bioluminescent glow of the bitter oyster.

It was during one of these trips that the boy was found by his future pater. Occultes was searching the area for the mythical tree Drudenbaum, and stumbled upon the boy. Despite the child’s youth, Occultes thought it fate he should find the Gifted child while out adventuring, and so took in the boy as an apprentice after letting him say goodbye to his family.

Rest of the owl (magus)

Occultes brought the boy to the ancient covenant of Durenmar, where he took the name Pando. Occultes was an indulgent pater, leaning into Pando’s interest in controlling the fungus that so enamored him.

Pando learned much about controlling the spontaneous mushrooming of fungi, and his magic too grew freely and instinctively. Just as a mold grows by draining others, Pando’s magic grew by draining himself. Occultes was perhaps a bit too indulgent. He encouraged Pando’s gifts with fungus and spontaneous magic, but Pando’s disinterest paired with their time spent on the road meant Pando was left completely unable to cast ritual magic, as well as a large gap in his Ignem art.

At Durenmar, Pando got along best with Ricardus Caespuus, the reclusive plant collector. A Bonisagus of the Linden Guild like Pando’s pater, Ricardus’s passion for plants matched Pando’s passion for fungi. Pando made sure to let Ricardus know of any unique fungi or plant life he came across during his apprenticeship, and would occasionally send a plant or note to him even afterwards via Redcap.

Although Pando only spent a brief time at Fengheld, it was long enough for Peter Von Würzburg, the famed Verditius winemaker, to take a liking to him. Pando’s conversations about fungi inadvertently acted as a catalyst for Peter to start using a gray fungus to create a delicious sweet wine. Peter has since thought of Pando fondly, even sending the occasional bottle of wine, despite the accidental nature of Pando’s help.

Occultes would take Pando on his many expeditions, and Pando was just as likely to study Herbam deep in an ancient forest or Rego amongst a council of trees as he was to study in the covenant. Some of these expeditions were spent searching for clues regarding the ancient Hercynian Forest. The Hercynian Forest once covered all of western and Central Europe that fragmented into dozens of smaller disconnected forests like the Black Forest and Jura Mountains. These expeditions were exciting for Pando though ultimately fruitless for Occultes, who gave up searching after several years.

Nevertheless, Occultes had searched above the ground in the forest for clues to the Hercynian Forest. Never below. And never from the fungal denizens who saw many a forest come and go. Pando saw clues and heard whisperings from the subterranean fungi of each forest explored, and made it his life’s mission to find the true Hercynian Forest. Pando would discover that first, ancient, powerful forest that still lives on across all of Europe, merely hidden in the fungus that lies beneath. One day…

Now competed Pando at Gauntlet

Pando at Gauntlet
Age 21, gauntleted 1195, born 1174
Int +2, Per +2, Str -2, Sta +3, Pre 0, Com +1, Dex -2, Qui 0
Personality Traits: Curious +3, Optimistic +3, Cheerful +1
Hermetic Journeyman (free)
Affinity with Herbam (+1)
Affinity with Rego (+1)
Life Boost (+1)
Life Linked Spontaneous Magic (+3)
Minor Magic Focus: Fungi (+1)
Puissant Magic Theory (free)
Skilled parens (+1)
Social Contacts: Apothecaries (+1)
Study Bonus (+1)
Deficient Form: Ignem (-1)
Driven: to find Hercynian Forest (-3)
Limited Magic Resistence: Ignem (-1)
Optimistic (-1)
Mentor: Occultes(-1)
Rigid Magic (-3)
Abilities: (120/120)
Area Lore: Bavaria (Franconian Forest) 1
Artes Liberales 1 (Ceremonial Casting)
Athletics 1 (navigating forests)
Awareness 1 (mushrooms)
Brawl 1 (dodge)
Concentration 1 (Spells)
Language: High German (Bavarian) 5
Language: Latin 4 (hermetic)
Finesse 2 (Certamen)
Folk Ken 1 (magi)
Magic Theory 3 + 2 (Spells)
Parma Magica 1 (Mentam)
Penetration 1 (Rego)
Philosophiae 1 (Ceremonial Casting)
Profession: Apothecary 1 (mushrooms)
Profession: Brewer 1 (Rauchbier)
Stealth 1 (forest)
Survival 2 (forest)
Swim 1 (lakes)
Arts: (180/120+60xp)

  • Cr 6, In 7, Mu 6, Pe 6, Re 11 (44+22)
  • An 0, Aq 0, Au 0, Co 0, He 11 (44+22), Ig 0, Im 0, Me 0, Te 1, Vi 0

Spells (150/120+30)
A * indicates custom spell

Spell Lvl R D T CT Description
The Jongleur’s Steps ReAn(He) 5 voice +2 dia +1 ind +14 Make a single animal/plant derived item dance under your control. (apprentices 46)
Wizard’s Leap ReCo 15 per mom ind +14 teleport self up to 50 paces (see HoH:S 36)
The Making of Mushroom* CrHe 5 voice +2 sun +2 ind +26 Base 1 effect to create a natural mushroom up to a pace across
The Making of a Mushroom Cube* CrHe 10 voice +2 moon +3 ind +26 Base 1 effect to create a living mushroom cube a pace across
Intuition of the Forest InHe 10 touch +1 sun +2 group +2 +21 You get a +3 to all nature- oriented rolls (not including spells) when in a forest or similar area (core book 136)
Pass the Unyielding Portal MuHe 5 touch +1 dia +1 ind +20 Makes a wooden object pliable, allowing the magus to bend it as they desire (core book 137)
The Shroom Servant* ReHe 20 touch +1 sun +2 ind +36 This highly useful spell animates a fungus so that it follows simple commands, and solves simple problems, without the direct oversight of the magus (fungus version of Carved Assassin from ToME 55)
Leap of the Fire ReIg 10 voice +2 mom ind +7 (deficiency) Causes a bonfire to leap of up to 10 paces in any direction, where it catches if there is fuel, or burns out if there is none. (core book 143)
Wizard’s Sidestep ReIm 10 per sun +2 ind +14 Your image appears up to 1 pace from where you actually are, so attacks aimed there are likely to miss you (core book 147)
A Pestilence of Fleas MuIm 5 sight +3 conc +1 ind +9 This sensory illusion makes target itchy. Tasks requiring Concentration or physical activity are penalized by –1 (apprentices 47)
Rock of Viscid Clay MuTe 10 touch +1 conc +1 part +1 +9 Softens rock enough that it may be dug out, molded, and otherwise manipulated. (core book 154)
Key of Theodorus ReTe 10 touch +1 mom part +1 +14 This spell opens any lock (City and Guild 78)
Piercing the Faerie Veil InVi 20 per conc +1 sight +4 +10 Allows the caster to see the boundaries of regiones, and therefore seeing the path to the next level (core book 158)
The Patient Spell ReVi 15 touch +1 conc +1 ind +14 When this spell is cast in conjunction with a second spell (requiring an Int + Conc roll vs 9), the other spell is delayed in taking effect until the caster ceases concentrating, can be used to fast cast second spell (MoH 113)

Appearance: Pando is a young man with curly dark blonde hair and gray eyes. He is often dirty from foraging in the woods and dresses mainly in shades of brown.
Casting Sigil: Every spell cast by Pando has echoes of fungi, be it in tiny tendrils or images of mushrooms
Voting Sigil: Pando’s voting sigil is an iron statuette in the likeness of a mushroom cap.

  • Mundane Items:
    • Small bag of powered woad - blue dye (from family)
    • Pot of live yeast from Bamberg for brewing Rauchbier (from family)
    • 2 fine bottles of sweet red wine, vintage 1184, 1195 (gifts from Peter Von WĂĽrzburg)
    • Excellent living specimens of Death Cap, Bitter Oyster, and Black Truffle mushrooms (gauntlet gift from Ricardus)
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Spring 1195

Pando had finally completed his gauntlet! He was quite proud of creating his first lab text — The Making of a Mushroom Cube, and delivering it to the Great Library of Durenmar. He was nervous about the oral examination, but happily passed it without a hitch. His Gauntlet of delivering his first lab text was counted as a contribution to the Great Library, permitting Pando two seasons of study. However, Primus Avarret’s dislike of Occultes meant Pando would need to contribute significantly more to Durenmar if he wished to stay much longer.

As is tradition, Pando wished to prepare a feast and gift for his pater to thank him and celebrate becoming a full magus. What better gift than some delicious, fresh beer brewed by his former apprentice? Brewing beer takes only taking a few days and some common herbs, so Pando thought it would be easy given his experience in both brewing and foraging. Despite some lucky finds while foraging, Pando missed finding the final ingredient of laserwort seeds. Nevertheless, he plod on and made a rather bad beer. Said beer might make a decent whiskey one day, but Pando couldn’t possibly gift such bad beer to Occultes today. Pando needed a new gift fast. He scrambled, and found the sweet wine he made with Peter Von Würzburg only a few years into his apprenticeship. A fitting gift. He gave the wine along with the feast, and Occultes was none the wiser to Pando’s beer making debacle.

Occultes offered Pando a gift of his own, a copy of (almost) any text from his extensive private library. Pando chose the book Frivolous Ties: Controlling the Tethers that Bind, by Einarr ex Tylatus. Occultes warned it would likely take 2 or 3 seasons before he could get a scribe to make a copy. Pando could wait.

Pando’s free time was utterly filled with preparing the feast and gift. With what time he had left, he spent the rest of the season learning some common spells so that finding herbs in the forest would not be so difficult next time.

  • Exposure: Profession: Apothecary +1 and Profession: Brewer +1
  • Lost sweet wine vintage 1184
  • Gained 2 gallons of bad beer vintage 1195 (can age to okay whiskey by 1197)

Learned common InHe spells
Lab total InHe: 6 + 11 + 2 + 6 + 3 = 28
Converse with Plant and Tree 25
Hunt for the Wild Herb 5
Botanist’s Eye* 3

Assuming no comments on season 1, here’s the rest of Pando’s first year.

Summer 1195

Henry the Lion, once duke of all of Saxony and Bavaria, died landless and alone on August 6. The death of his former prince made Pando think wistfully of his former life. Best avoid familial connections. Still, he could write to distant acquaintances. Pando sent letters to apothecaries in LĂĽneburg and WĂĽrzburg, and heard back from Wald the apothecary in WĂĽrzberg.

Pando spent his last permitted study season at the Great Library studying the spells of a long lost magus named Severin of Tytalus. Pando already knew a spell inspired by Severin’s work, so was eager to study the spells of the original.

In his free time, he ventured out with Durenmar’s expert huntsmen to try out foraging with his new spells. He found enough ingredients for 2 whole batches of beer in a single day using spells to track herbs, commune with the forest, and ask the plants themselves for direction. (Hunt for the Wild Herb, Intuition of the Forest, Converse with Plant and Tree). In the 8 remaining days he spent with the hunters, he gathered a variety of mushrooms and seeds from rare trees, which he shared with Ricardus once he returned.

  • Exposure: Intelligo +1 and Herbam +1.5
  • Correspondence: Profession: Apothecary +1
  • Gained herbal ingredients needed for 2 batches of beer
  • Gained 3 rare tree seeds (Meierotts Whitebeam, Schuwerk Whitebeam, WĂĽrzburger Whitebeam)
  • Gained 5 excellent living specimens of common mushrooms (Porcini, Chestnut Mushrooms, Umbrella Mushrooms, Birch Mushrooms, Red Cap)
  • Learned ReHe spells
    • Lab total ReHe: 11 + 11 + 2 + 6 + 3 = 33
    • Acorns for Amusement 5
    • Carved Assassin 20
    • Rough-Hewn Servant 10
    • 3 points wasted?

Autumn 1195

The House Primus towered over Pando. Pando had gone to Avarret to ask what service he could provide so that he could continue to stay at Durenmar. Avarret slammed and locked the door behind Pando with a spell, and came so close that his frame dominated Pando. “As you know, Durenmar has not always had the.. closest relationship with the fae. With the Grand Tribunal this year, we have need of additional vis. The magi of Durenmar are barred from harvesting faerie sites, but you are technically not a Durenmar magus, so you do not have this restriction.”

“Could I not still be charged of interfering with the fae?”

Avarett shrugged. “Such is your risk for you to stay another two seasons. Fourteen pawns should be sufficient. The sites haven’t been harvested in some time, so should be plentiful. You’ll be given the site locations and grogs that cannot be traced to Durenmar.”

Pando ventured deep into the Black Forest with grogs and a complement of Carved Assassins, and waited near a clearing. Herbs of virtue dotted the clearing, and a large willow tree stood at its center. Pando was warned a Bockman guarded the area, and suspected it was near when the grogs became more and more jumpy and fearful. Pando sent two of his Carved Assassins to loudly run across the clearing into the other side of the forest, and the less than intelligent Bockman followed. The grogs quickly gathered the herbs of virtue, and Pando opened up the willow using Mold the Unyielding Portal to enter the faerie court of Lord Salix, a prince of the Willow Maiden.

Once at Lord Salix’s court, Salix held a grand feast for Pando and his grogs. Pando ate the food, and accidentally even insulted his host, as he was unfamiliar with faeries and not the best charmer. Pando just wanted to find the vis and leave.

At the conclusion of the feast, Salix proclaimed “I require 3 things from you, traveller. First, as you have eaten my food, I wish to drink your drink. Second, as you have so roguishly insulted me, you are to deliver to me a rogue yourself. Third, to be given the Cornucopia of Plenty, you must complete the Trials of the Harvest here and now. Do you accept?”

Pando relented, and was able to finish the Trials after much struggling. He was given the vis-rich Cornucopia of Plenty, and had a year and a day to provide a drink and a rogue to the Salix Prince.

He and the grogs left the Faerie Court, and headed back to Durenmar with even more than the required vis. Pando missed the Grand Tribunal, but had enough time to brew a batch of beer.

Pando wrote to Peter Von Würzburg, telling him about recent Würzburg events Pando gleaned from last season’s correspondence with Wald the Würzberg apothecary. Pando also asked if Peter knew of any good botanists, as his growing fungus collection was growing out of hand. Pando wrote to Peter lamenting the difficulties of negotiating with faeries, and asking for advice on how to negotiate the hire of a prospective botanist.

  • Adventure Experience: Faerie Lore +5, Bargain +3
  • Correspondence: Bargain +1
  • Gained 3 pawns of vis (extra Herbs of Virtue - Mistletoe 2 pawns of Intelligo, Periwinkle 1 pawn of Mentam)
  • New Obligation: deliver human drink to Prince Salix by the first day of winter 1196
  • New Obligation: deliver a rogue to Prince Salix by the first day of winter 1196

Winter 1195

A quiet season. Pando checked out a good Root summae on Terram (L6Q18) and read it beside the rocky cliffs of the watchtower, bundled up to keep warm. He found a lungwort lichen on the cliffs while reading.

Pando spent his free time preparing a way to keep his side of the Faerie bargain with Prince Salix. He listened for news of roguish bandits. He brewed a batch of beer. He left the beer in one of Durenmar’s rings of preservation for safekeeping.

Peter Von Würzburg also responded to Pando’s letter, giving the name of a botanist and inviting Pando to stay at Fengheld once his hospitality at Durenmar runs out.

Occultes also finally gave Pando a his Gauntlet gift, a copy of one of the finest books from Occultes’ collection: Frivolous Ties: Controlling the Tethers that Bind, by Einarr ex Tylatus. Pando was enormously grateful for the summae, but didn’t think he would have the time to read it for quite a while.

  • Study: Terram +20 (18 + 2 Study Bonus)
  • Correspondence: Profession: Apothecary +1
  • Brewed 2 gallons of beer, using up 1 batch worth of ingredients
  • Gained 1 new fungus (lungwort lichen)
  • Gained book Frivolous Ties: Controlling the Tethers that Bind, by Einarr ex Tylatus, a L17Q14 Rego summae, also acts as a tractacus on Intrigue L9
  • New Opportunity: offer to stay at Fengheld

A few general comments. Don't take them as criticism, they are meant to iron a few things and to help me with future ideas.

  1. I like Pando. =]

  2. You have a lot of custom spells, spells from other books and corebook spells with non-standard RDT at gauntlet. Even accounting for you being in Durenmar, I think this might be stretching things a bit, because it would indicate that, as an apprentice, you gained unrestricted access to the library (or that Occultes really went all out teaching you). Maybe tone down on the spells? The 120 standard levels could come from corebook and the 30 extra levels could be you perusing the library (with Occultes help?) for a few spells focused on fungi? This also gives us something to investigate a bit more! Who was this weirdo that was developing fungus spells 70 years ago? Maybe he has a legacy somewhere?

    2.1. started to write this before reading Summer 1195. Maybe Severin of Tytalus was the weird fungus magi???

  3. Spring 1195, you are using Durenmar's aura of 7, right? If I'm not mistaken the guidelines we are using tell to use a standard lab (+3 aura, +0 bonus) independently of where you are staying. Maybe this means that you used a poorly equiped lab at Durenmar, or that you had a setback on your research that compromised part of the lab total?

  4. Social Contacts: Apothecaries. What does Pando wants with these people? It would be nice if your narrative development showed a bit of how he interacts with this group. =]
    Also, what do you (Reminescent) wants with this? Would you like to experiment with the rules for apothecaries on Art & Academy, for example?

  5. Autumn 1195: You gain 3 XP in Herbam due to correspondence. If I'm not mistaken, correspondence XP is 1 XP, and must be applied to something else you did that season (as you didn't increase your Herbam you can't gain this extra 1XP in Herbam, but you could gain one extra point in Faerie Lore if you traded letters with a Merinita about your adventure, for example).

  6. Winter 1195: same considerations as Autumn 1195.

Happy holidays and thanks for the constructive comments!

  1. Thanks! :smile:

  2. I’m going to push back a little on this one. Clusius had 45 levels of spells from other books at gauntlet, and Wolfgang had 60. Pando has 40 levels from other books, 35 levels of mushroom spells, and the remainder from the corebook or apprentice cantations. That doesn’t feel wholly unreasonable to me, especially with the skilled parens virtue and Occultes being the librarian of Durenmar during Pando’s apprenticeship. At the same time, I recognize Pando’s spells from the corebook/cantations have a ton of non-standard RDT. Would cutting out all of the non-standard RDT and reducing the fungi spells from 35 to 30 levels be a satisfactory change?
    2.1 I really like this idea. I am growing concerned that Pando’s character concept may be getting a bit cluttered (like his junk hoard :wink:), but I may further pursue the old weird fungi magus idea.

  3. My bad, I was unaware of those guidelines! I’ll adjust his lab totals down.

  4. Long winded reply here, but basically they’re Pando’s mundane pen pals that also collect weird plants. What Pando wants with these people - to chat about fungi, occasionally send or receive a fungi/ingredient of interest, story seeds — i.e. “My client rambled about an animate mushroom in a cave near Mummel Lake”; “I’ve just acquired a Latticed Stinkhorn, it’s yours for a small favor”; “A trader from Byzantium is selling the complete works of Theophrastus's Enquiry Into Plants! I can delay the sale for a season, but you’ll surely need to offer him something equally valuable if you wish to get it”.
    4.1 What I (Reminescent) want with these people — I honestly thought of them mostly as the people most likely to get along with Pando. My other thoughts were a) a mundane/social side to his fungus focus, and b) story seeds or support (maybe an apothecary’s hut in the woods is our base camp before adventuring deeper in the forest/cave/etc, or someone’s seriously wounded but if we send someone to the nearby apothecary we can get the medicinal herb needed to keep them alive until we get back to the covenant). My plan pre-saga was to mostly build these relationships with apothecaries via letter because of Pando’s Gift, with occasional visits when Pando is nearby for other reasons. In A&A I think there is no experimental apothecary, but that would be really cool if there were (apothecaries have some interesting abilities already like foraging or slightly preserving arcane connections in time spans that wouldn’t interrupt lab time).
    4.2 I read the apothecary skill as covering the encyclopedic knowledge of herbs and fungi (among other things), and also the skill of foraging (A&A 63: “apothecary knows where and when to obtain the raw ingredients of his trade”. Also the rules for finding ingredients on 66). So a skilled apothecary is really knowledgeable about plants/fungi and really good at finding them in the wild. Logically, these are also the likeliest people to share Pando’s weird hobby or have similar interests in other plants. Narratively, they were Pando’s first teachers pre-apprenticeship (who else would be out foraging for mushrooms in the middle of the woods?), and the mundane side of his passion for fungi (Pando has foraged for ingredients or for story reasons in 3 seasons out his first year, spent his first season learning spells to help with foraging, and his correspondences have mostly been about apothecary or botany).

  5. Whoops, it would seem I’ve fundamentally misunderstood correspondences. I’ll change them from 2xp to 1xp. When you say it must be applied to something else he did that season — do you mean it only applies to something else he gained experience in? He did use Herbam in the Autumn story, with the specific spells bolded. Assuming it only applies where he gained experience rather than did something, I’ll change that correspondence and the other ones where he gained apothecary experience, since he didn’t gain apothecary experience otherwise.

  6. Ditto above

  1. Fair points about Clusius and Wolfgang. I think I was surprised by the rather large amount of spells and their variety. I don't think cutting down from 35 to 30 levels of fungi is necessary (my earlier comment was just me thinking out loud), but I think that limiting (not necessarily eliminating) spells with non-standard RDT would be better (the section about Durenmar in GotF does have guidelines for how available a non-standard spell would be). But this is just my personal opinion, and I am a bit nosy sometimes. :sweat_smile:

  2. (Here just because if I don't put this the forum messes with the numbering.)

  3. Ok! I was asking half out of curiosity, half to know how to include this in future hooks if I have the chance, and half (yes, three halves) because I find the rules for theriacs and etc. interesting, but I haven't had the chance to really explore them until now.

  4. and 6. I might be overreading. My comment comes from "A magus can participate in many correspondences, but can only gain benefit from one per season, which must be on a theme that is associated with the magus’s research or reading." I've always understood this as "something else you gained xp" but indeed I think I'm wrong in this. (It is, however, 1 xp.)

Anxious to see more of Pando. =]

Your comments were helpful to me. I appreciate the time you took thinking about them and in reading through Pando’s info.

Pando’s apprenticeship was certainly very wide rather than deep in what spells he learned. I edited his gauntlet spells down, now none of his book spells have altered RDT, and keeping the 35 levels of mushroom spells. Also edited down the lab totals and correspondence xp, and changed the Autumn xp from Herbam to Bargain. Moving forward, I’ll try and keep any correspondence xp aligned with the central activity of that season (which should generally match whatever the main xp of the season is).

Very excited that we’re getting started with the giant story!

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Here’s Ludolf Bückler, the hunter outlaw

Ludolf Bückler was a born in a small village near Strassburg to a forester’s family. At ease among the trees, and an excellent charmer, Ludolf was destined to become a forester like his father. But when he heard of the possible glory of going on the next Crusade, he signed up, confident that an easy campaign would lead to his future riches. The 4th Crusade was not as he expected.

Ludolf was told their aim was to retake Jerusalem, then told Damietta in Egypt, and then told the Christian city of Zara. Ludolf watched the citizens of Zara hang banners of crosses along the outer walls, professing their Catholic faith as the crusaders’ siege engines bombarded the city. It was here Ludolf began to grow disillusioned with the wealthy nobles, killing fellow Christians while the common man starved and died of disease and bloodshed. Still, Ludolf fought in the siege and remained at the aftermath.

Likewise, at Constantinople, Ludolf fought. And during the brutal and violent sack of Constantinople, Ludolf was among the looters. Disgusted with the crusaders and himself, Ludolf deserted the crusader army to return home. Once he returned, he was reviled — both for the desecration of the 4th Crusade and for deserting his lord. Ludolf swore he would repent for his sins to his countrymen and to God, and took up a life of banditry. As a crusader Ludolf looted the livelihoods of countless good citizens. He would now loot from the people who caused that awful crusade, the rich and powerful, to return livelihoods to the common man. For every house he burned, he would pay to build a new one.

Ludolf left his homeland with a small band, and they have been bandits ever since. Stealing from the obviously wealthy, and providing for those who are in need. Most people don’t know why Ludolf helps the poor, and he hides that he was once a soldier in the 4th Crusade. Ludolf has recently moved to forests near the covenant, perhaps he can be persuaded to drop his brigading ways?

Stat-wise I’m just tweaking the hunter template to add additional virtues/flaws, and 5 or 6 years for social abilities. Combat stats and unlisted stats are the same as the hunter template.

Age: 26
Int 0, Per +3, Pre 0, Com 0, Str 0, Sta +1, Dex +2, Qik +2

Improved characteristics 2x +2
Puissant hunt +1
Puissant charm +1
Ways of the Forest +3
Warrior +1
Dark secret (actions during the 4th Crusade) -3
Outlaw leader -1
Overconfident -3
Higher Purpose (help the poor) -1

As hunter, plus
Charm 3+2
Folk Ken 3
Guile 3

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Happy new year! Another year for Pando to get back into things.

Spring 1196
Pando would have to delay his last season of study at Durenmar. In springtime, the Willow Maiden’s court, and by extension Lord Salix, would be at their weakest. More importantly they would be at their most compassionate, as they are under the sway of the benign and kindly Alder Prince from the west (GotF 34).

Pando had more than enough beer to fulfil his first obligation to Lord Salix, and perhaps enough to attempt a bargain of his own. There still was the problem of finding the rogue. Redcaps reported two groups of bandits — one by Strassburg and another near Würzburg. Pando decided to intercept the Würzburg bandits.

The redcap said that the disappearances near Würzburg were because of a man named Danniel Görtemicheel and his gang after one of his victims escaped. Pando resolved to travel to Würzburg to bring Danniel’s gang to justice and fulfill his bargain with the faerie prince Salix.

Pando thought about how best to travel the 120 mile journey to Würzburg. Walking would take a more than a week through the springtime mud, and a coach would do little better. Pando’s Gift and lack of riding ability meant he couldn’t ride horses to travel faster. With Wizard’s Leap he could teleport 50 paces, but that would require casting the spell thousands of times. Ultimately, Pando decided that traveling on a chair carried by magical porters would be the fastest way he can travel, though more pompous than he would like. He cast Rough-Hewn Servant to carve wooden statues, and Carved Assassin to animate them. Since the statues could travel at all hours of day and night without rest, it took Pando and 2 grogs only 3 days to journey to Würzburg atop chairs carried by the statues.

Once at WĂĽrzburg, Pando arranged to stay with his friend Wald the Apothecary until he could capture the bandits. Wald was an amicable host, and he talked about plants and where to find them during downtime. Pando cast Converse with Plant and Tree to ask the plants of the forest if there have been any trees cut down or meadows trampled in places away from the city or roads. There were trees recently cut down near a cave south of the city.

While lacking in offensive combat spells and unsure of how many bandits there were, Pando ventured out with his 2 grogs and 6 carved assassins. Pando cast Wizard’s Sidestep as a precaution, and they journeyed to the cave.

Pando’s group was spotted by the bandits, who retreated to the cave. In the mild magic aura, Pando could spontaneously launch logs at the bandits without fatigue (1+11+11+3)/5 = 5 vs 5 while dodging attacks using his altered image. Meanwhile, the carved assassins and grogs advanced to attack the bandits in melee. By the end of the battle, 5 bandits were wounded and the remaining 2 surrendered. Pando himself suffered a light wound from an arrow to the stomach, a grog was wounded by an gash to the shoulder, and 5 carved assassins were irreparably destroyed.

After searching the cave Pando’s group found 2 chests (opened by casting Key of Theodorus) and took their most valuable contents — amounting to silk, fox pelts, and coins worth a total of 3£. There were also bulkier goods such as bushels of oats, calf hides, and brandy that Pando left.

Pando gave each bandit a choice — face the judgement for their crimes by a human lord, or take their chances of being offered to a faerie lord. 4 chose to face judgement while 3 (including Danniel himself) decided to take their chances with the fae.

Pando returned to Wald’s home with the grogs and prisoners in tow. Pando thanked Wald for his hospitality, and told him about the remaining treasure at the bandit hideout, as well as how to find it. Pando and the grogs spent a week recuperating under Wald’s care, and Wald was delighted at his windfall of goods. After recovering, Pando left the 4 bandits with Wald to turn into the authorities, and began the long journey to Lord Salix’s Willow domain with the remaining 3 bandits in tow.

Pando reached Lord Salix of the Willow Maiden, who was entertaining a Lady of the Alder Prince. “Lord Salix, I have come to bargain. I bring you a gallon of human drink and a human rogue to complete my obligations to you. I also offer another gallon of human drink and another human rogue for a favor. The Hercynian Forest…”

“A poor bargain offered by a poor bargainer,” Lord Salix cut him off. Then he gestured to the Alder Lady. “And yet, there is no need to be cruel
in the season of renewal.

For the offered drink,
the remainder of rogues,
and your divinatory mistletoe;

then I think,
to not pain her vogues,
I have a favor to owe.

Six moons from spring to fall,
so six years the favor I forstall.
Do you accept?”

“Yes.” And Pando handed over the 3 remaining bandits, his beer, and his mistletoe containing 2 vis. He received a fly agaric mushroom, and the promise of a favor in 6 years time.

Adventure Experience: Imaginem 5, Bargain 3
Fulfilled obligations to Lord Salix
Gained 3ÂŁ of fox pelts, silk, coins
Gained 1 mushroom: fly agaric
Gained 1 favor from Lord Salix - redeemable in Spring 1202
Lost 2 gallons of beer
Lost 2 pawns of vis (mistletoe)
Scarred - healed puncture wound on stomach

Summer 1196
Pando spent his last season at Durenmar reading an Herbam summae in the forest. He also made arrangements with Peter for a guest lab at Fengheld and to meet his new botanist Hendrik Persoon at Fengheld in autumn.

Pando noted that his magic had gaps in combat and fast transportation, based on last season’s adventure.

The last week of the season, he collected some forest mushrooms and a rock from the road by Durenmar, and began his 300 mile journey to Fengheld via carved assassin porter, arriving by the start of autumn after 9 days of travel. One of those days was spent overnight at WĂĽrzburg visiting Wald the apothecary. Wald showed off the new apothecary equipment and expanded work area he bought using the trade goods Pando gave him.

Study experience: Herbam +24 (L14Q14 + 2)
Gained 4 fungi (destroying Angel, panther cap, shaggy inkcap, Devil's bolete)
Gained 1 rock (arcane connection to road near durenmar)

Autumn 1196
Pando was welcomed to Fengheld by his friend Peter Von Würzburg and began settling into his accommodations. Soon after, he was joined by his new botanist Hendrik Persoon. Hendrik was an excellent apothecary, farmer, and herbalist — and studied botany in Byzantium itself. Hendrik was a true mycologist with a passion for fungi — a good match for Pando. Hendrik specialized in agricultural fungi, and brought along a sizable collection of his own to join Pando’s.

When Pando unpacked in Fengheld’s elaborate guesthouse, pots and jars of growing fungi took up a substantial corner of his guest laboratory. All along the windows were sickly looking plants, exemplary examples of thriving fungal rusts, smuts, and other plant infecting fungi. There was even an example of ergot, the infamous source of Saint Anthony’s Fire.

Peter, the famed winemaker, of course wanted to show Pando all the improvements that were made to the yineyard since Pando’s apprenticeship. Pando gladly obliged and spent some time on the guided wine tour. Pando even grabbed a few samples of fungus growing on the grapes.

Fengheld’s library was large, but focused primarily on lower level books. Pando hoped to find a good corpus or mentam root summae to study, but the best basic summaes not already in use were for aquam and vim. He decided to study the vim summae within Fengheld’s magic aura.

He wrote to Occultes. This was the first full season away from his pater. Pando wrote about his studies at Fengheld, lamented his problems with combat and travel, and inquired about Occultes’ most recent research. Occultes responded that he could use Pando’s assistance next year, and if Pando helps with his research he would help with Pando’s spell gaps.

Study experience: Vim +21 (L6Q19 + 2)
Correspondence: Vim +1
Gained 13 fungi (wheat leaf rust, wheat stem rust, wheat yellow rust, leek rust, barley crown rust, red rust; covered smut, loose smut, ergot; black root rot, powdery mildew from Hendrik. Noble rot, grey rot from wine tour)
Joined by Hendrik Persoon the botanist

Winter 1196
Curious as to the nature of his pater’s request, Pando once again exchanged correspondence with Occultes. Occultes responded that his research would likely require an expedition next year, but would not elaborate further.

Meanwhile, a mentam summae became available, so Pando read the mentam summae beside Hendrik and investigated where he could best study the rego book he received from Occultes. Quedlinburg was just less than a day’s travel from Fengheld and where Henry the Fowler, founder of Germany and father of Otto the Great, was offered the German crown nearly 3 centuries ago in 919. The castle where the king himself was offered the crown of East Francia, leading directly to the resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire would be the perfect place to study rego. But how to do so?

Pando pondered. Perhaps he could study rego in Lord Salix’s faerie court instead? Regardless, he thought it would be prudent to have somewhere to stay nearby Quedlinburg castle. He wrote to a friend of Wald’s who lived in Quedlinburg, Ludwig the apothecary. Pando introduced himself and inquired if Ludwig had any spare rooms that Pando could rent in the coming year or so.

Study experience: Mentam +21 (L6Q19 + 2)

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Another 2 years, one eventful, one not.

Spring 1197
Occultes wrote to Pando elaborating on his planned expedition. Occultes was financing a ship to Scandinavia, and Pando would join Phyllia of Bjornaer (GotF 97) on a ship setting out from the Baltic Sea. Occultes wrote that he was finalizing the itinerary, to meet Phyllia at the covenant of Cintera that summer, and that he “confident in Pando’s discretion” to not tell anyone else about the expedition.

Until then, Pando decided to study aquam to prepare for the voyage and was free to plan a way into Quedlinburg castle to best study his rego summae. Ludwig wrote back that he had a spare room available in the heart of Quedlinburg. Pando was developing the start of a plan.

Quedlinburg was ruled by the princess-abbess Agnes II of the imperial abbey from the castle hill, but the royal Pfalz (palace) itself was in the valley, along with a male convent. Both the male and female convents were used mainly by unmarried sons and daughters of greater nobility and royalty, though there were of course exceptions. If Pando could procure 2 documents - one to claim that he was a relative of far off nobility, and a second to request he join the convent, then he could gain access to the convent, and more importantly the Pfalz, fairly easily.

Fengheld’s chapter house of Rheingasse in Cologne could manufacture such documents easily, as they organized the mundane contacts for Fengheld as a whole (GotF 93). They could even gather a handler for Pando to mitigate any gaffes arising from his Gift, limited social graces, or complete lack of religious knowledge. Of course, such services are never free.

His friend Peter Von Würzburg would arrange the documents and handler for Pando to stay at the Quedlinburg convent — for a favor. A nearby regio contained creo vis in the form of grapevines. Peter wanted to add these magnificent grapevines to his vineyard. Peter could not get them himself as he was too busy tending to his vineyard, and could not send grogs as they couldn’t find the regio’s boundary and would be bewitch by the regio’s fauns anyway. Therefore, Pando was the best option. Autumn was the best time to pick grapes, so Pando would get the vines then.

Study experience: Aquam +21 (L6Q19 + 2)

Summer 1197
Pando journeyed on foot the 240 miles to Crintera. He met the talkative Bjornaer Phyllia, who would lead the expedition, as well as a variety of mundane experts in exploration. The purpose of the expedition was to acquire runic artifacts for Occultes’ study by finding Jomsborg, the legendary stronghold of the Jomsvikings. Occultes wanted Phyllia and Pando to recover runic artifacts from the site, with Pando acting as the leading forest expert, and Phyllia leading everything else.

Phyllia showed Pando the three regions they would explore on a map. They would start with the two locations deemed most likely by most scholars. First, the island of Rügen itself — where they would investigate known ruins under the supervision of the domus magna of House Bjornaer. Second, they would sail east to thoroughly explore the Oder Lagoon, where Jomsborg is rumored to be by most. Third, across the sea to the explore around the ruins of the temple at Uppsala.

On Rügen, they began by investigating the ruins of Arkona. The remains told of the four-faced sun-and war-god Svantovit, but nothing of Jomsborg. Likewise, the goats’ stones and Buskam boulder were wholly unrelated to the Vikings, though intriguing in their own right. After over a week in Rügen, they sailed to the mouth of the Oder river.

At the Oder Lagoon, they searched for several weeks before finding shattered stones. Pando’s Piercing the Faerie Veil revealed the stones as a gateway to a Faerie regio. The regio contained a fortress along the sea filled with vicious horned Vikings and Gothic warriors from the days of Rome. This was perhaps a faerie vision of the Jomsvikings inspired by popular fear and superstition, but it was not their true home and held nothing of value relating to their actual history or rune magic.

Finally, they crossed they spent over a week crossing the sea to Uppsala. After investigating the area and the ruins of the temple for over a month, they eventually found slabs of stones shaped as a boat covered in unknown runes.

Phyllia cast a spell and saw that the stones were arcane connections to a body beneath the center of the stone ship — proof of rune magic. They dug up a skeleton buried with the remains of an axe, shield, and armband — all covered with runes, though many were rotted away or otherwise destroyed. They took the remains and Phyllia shrunk the stones to be transportable, and began the journey back.

After an uneventful trip to RĂĽgen, Phyllia and Pando travelled south to meet Occultes in a hidden grove near Durenmar. It was unclear if the artifacts were from the Jomsvikings, but they were nevertheless examples and proof of rune magic. Occultes was eager to receive the stones and items, and thanked Phyllia and Pando for their time and discretion. Occultes gave Pando an enchanted wand made by a Flambeau apprentice.

After Phyllia left, Occultes also privately gave Pando an Herbam summae that was glossed by Severin of Tytalus, the lost fungi magus that Pando had studied previously. “I believe Severin wrote this gloss only a few years before his disappearance. I have given up searching for such things, but perhaps it may help you find the Hercynian Forest at long last or retrace Severin’s steps. Best to keep the book close.” Pando accepted the book and returned to Fengheld by the start of Autumn.

Adventure Experience: Area Lore: Scandinavia +5, magic lore +5
Gained lesser enchanted item: wand of verutum of fire - 20 (lvl 15 version of pilum of fire doing +10 dam, +5 for 24 uses a day)
Gained book Sub Quercubus Praeteritorum by Erland Ex Miscellanea, glossed by Severin of Tytalus, a L17Q12 +1 Herbam summae
Gained arcane connections (rocks) to RĂĽgen, Uppsala, Oder Lagoon
Gained 1 fungus (salt-loving mushroom)

Autumn 1197
After an exhausting summer of travel, Pando yet again had a season of service. At least this adventure would be at a location nearby. Henry VI’s sudden death and a budding conflict over the German throne meant any longer travel would be quite dangerous. To get the documents and identity of an invented great yet obscure noble, Pando needed to get creo vis grape vines from a regio for Peter Von Würzburg.

Peter told Pando where to find the regio and how to enter. He requested Pando bring back several grape vines, and the bring any surviving grogs from the failed prior expeditions if feasible. Pando spent time brewing a batch of beer and waited. On the night of the full moon, Pando animated 2 wooden sculptures to carry him and went to the regio’s location — a rotted wood shack at the center of a clearing. The shack was overgrown with vines and collapsed in on itself. At its center, a doorway was all that remained intact.

To enter the regio, Pando simply walked through the doorway in the moonlight while drinking his beer. He emerged in daylight. The shack was now a well kept inn, full of fauns and humans. Everyone was drinking, dancing, and carousing. Quite a party. Pando turned around to exit the inn, and emerged in a thriving vineyard.

A faun stopped playing music and briefly frowned at Pando. Then smiled again. “Can I offer a drink? You seem uninterested in dancing to the music”. Pando accepted the wine but was wise enough to not drink it. He then gave the faun some of his beer and looked around the people for the grogs, but did not recognize any of them. Pando traded the remainder of his beer for two grapevines, and returned to Fengheld. Peter thanked Pando for the grape vines and promised the documents and handler by autumn.

Adventure Experience: creo +5, bargain +3
Gained promise of documents to become a relative of a distant noble/letter to join the Quedlinburg convent/competent handler next autumn.
Gained 1 fungus (black foot disease)

Winter 1197
Pando decided it would be best to spend his time studying his new Herbam summae in the forest while the HRE grew unstable. Besides, he had to wait almost a year before he could study in Quedlinburg. Pando quietly studied his Herbam summae in the forest.

Most of Severin’s notes were study observations that improved learning. As a result, Pando hasn’t gleaned much relating to the Hercynian Forest from Severin’s comments — but one scribble piqued Pando’s interest. “…only the oldest oaks know the secret, but they’re the ones wise enough not to tell…”. What did it mean? What was the secret? Did Severin ever learn it? Which oaks were old enough to know? Pando ended the season with more questions than answers and no closer to his goal of finding the ancient fungal forest.

Study experience: Herbam +22.5 (L17Q12 + 1 +2)

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The uneventful year.

Spring 1198
Pando began a quiet year in study, much as the winter before. He read more of his Herbam summae and contemplated Severin’s glosses.

Pando noted that there now two rival German kings have been crowned, and is glad to be locked away in private study.

Study experience: Herbam +22.5 (L17Q12 + 1 +2)

Summer 1198
Pando again studied his Herbam summae for the last time. After finishing the book, he wrote to Occultes about his studies and that he regrettably failed to learn more about the Hercynian Forest.

A third heir to the Holy Roman Empire was crowned, this time as king of Sicily. This succession crisis was getting quite out of hand.

Study experience: Herbam +16.5 (L17Q12 + 1 +2)
Correspondence experience : Herbam +1

Autumn 1198
Peter Von Würzburg met with Pando and provided the promised dominants and handler. They were documents proving Pando was Peter, a distant relative of the House of Welf, a letter requesting sanctuary at the Quedlinburg convent, and a handler to handle Pando’s interactions with mundanes while at the convent.

Pando sent the letter a few days before he showed up at the convent. His handler made arrangements for his quarters and study while Pando did his best to look noble-ish and not say anything.

After settling in, Pando spent the season finally starting to read the book he received at Gauntlet. He also found some black mold in the building, and added it to his collection

Study experience: Rego +24 (L17Q14 +2)
Gained 1 fungus (black mold)

Winter 1198
Pando had to spend a few days attending mandated masses, but otherwise continued to study. After the adventuring of last year, Pando was content to have a quieter one.

He certainly got looks from the other members of the convent, but stayed apart from them enough that he didn’t bother anyone.

Study experience: Rego +24 (L17Q14 +2)

Remember to integrate some unproductive seasons once in a while for things like covenant services. These should have pretty much only exposure experience, and happen once a year on average.

Edit: Note that Fengheld's library is described as being vast but dominated by books of lower levels than one might expect from a covenant this large. L17Q14 summae is pushing it, IMHO. Just be careful not to have access to too many of those.

Ah, I’ve been treating the unproductive seasons as doing an undesired service for a covenant like gathering vis, but still getting adventure experience. Moving forward I’ll make those seasons less productive to only have exposure experience.

I noted that Fengheld’s library was low level as well! All the books Pando has read from Fengheld have been beginner summae (Roots on aquam, mentam, vim).

The L17Q14 Herbam summae was from Occultes in Durenmar given as a reward for a season of adventuring service instead of vis. My broader thought was for Pando to be forced on a bigger adventure every few years by Occultes, with rewards being some kind of high quality book (though no more lvl 17 summae) since Occultes was Durenmar’s librarian and Pando can’t use vis anyway. I can scale that back if preferred, though

Just tone it down in the future. Having a season giving story xp as a justification for getting access to a higher-level summa is a little bit of double-dipping. Proper seasons of covenant service are usually something dull and boring, not worth the time of more experienced magi.

Edit: For example, you might be tasked to enchant a minor item that is of limited use to you, asked to scribe some lab texts for spells you know, collect and fix an arcane connection, collect some vis source that isn't dangerous but time-consuming (and not possible for a mundane), spend a season tutoring an apprentice who isn't good enough with Latin to study from a book, etc.

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