Character Creation: Lucius of Flambeau

Greetings to the troupe!

I will be using this thread to create and develop my magus for the saga.

The concept is that of a Perdo specialist of House Flambeau, centred on the use of Flexible Formulaic Magic and spell mastery. Personality-wise, the character is ambitious and has great potential as a leader, so he will play the political game as needed to help the Order thrive and grow.

My first question is about spell mastery. Would an Affinity with Spell Mastery be possible? If so, would it apply to all spells? My rationale for thinking it would be possible to have an Affinity with Spell Mastery that applies to all spells is a deconstruction of the major virtue Flawless Magic (note that said affinity would be a minor version of the major virtue and cannot stack with it). Flawless Magic doubles the xp received in spell mastery (essentially a double-strength affinity) as well as providing free xp in spell mastery both at game start (equivalent to the minor virtue Mastered Spells) and to any new spell learned during the saga (bonus for being a major virtue).

Re: Affinity with Spell Mastery.

I'm inclined to allow it, but I'd like to hear what other people think.

I'm amenable to it. Oh and welcome!

Regarding the restriction I highlighted in red, I assume that a magus with an affinity would be allowed a starting score of 12 in that Art? That is roughly the same amount of xp as a score of 10 without an affinity (52 vs 55).

And lower than one with a Puissant, again, no issue here in my mind.

I believe that's the way it was interpreted for the other characters.

No issues for me. Welcome!

Some early background for the character. Comments are welcome.

Claus was born to a family of miners in the Vosges Mountains in Upper Loraine. His family was one of forty to fifty families forming a group of wandering miners. The group would establish themselves for a time at the location of a suitably rich vein of silver, exploit it for a few years in exchange for paying taxes to the local lord, then move on when the vein became depleted. It was hard work, in an environment that was often unhealthy, but this was the life they had chosen. It had its rewards, for the families had access to more wealth than simple peasants did and were not bound to a single piece of land. And if the demands of the local lord became excessive, as they occasionally did, then they would simply pack up and move on.

The boy was never very strong, but he still worked along his father and family at the mines, by carrying water and supplies at first, then sorting and washing raw ore to extract silver nuggets from it, as well as eventually working the narrower tunnels and putting up the shoring in new tunnels. Claus had a talent for inspiring the boys his age to work together, a natural leader within the mines. Claus’ life changed dramatically at age eleven. That winter, sickness came to the families, perhaps brought by a stranger passing through or perhaps the work of the devil. Many became sick, and most of those died within a week. Claus was different, for while he was one of the first ones to fall sick, he survived even though fever and pain continued for almost a month. Despair filled him as he saw his family become sick and die, one after the other.

Those families that were spared by the sickness were scared by so much death. Even though it was the middle of winter, they decided to abandon the mine and move on, leaving the dying behind. So it was that when the men of the local lord came by to investigate why shipment of silver had stopped, all they found was an abandoned village with a few frozen bodies. And Claus. They looked at him with suspicion, thinking that perhaps the boy had been touched by the devil. Thankfully for the boy, word of the tragedy and of its lone survivor came to a magus of the Order who was travelling through. Upon examining the boy, he soon established that the boy had the Gift. A well-placed bribe made it easy for him to take custody of the boy.

Thus did Claus become the apprentice of Severus of House Flambeau. He brought the boy back to the Greater Alps to begin his training at the covenant he was residing in, although he moved several times to a new covenant during the fifteen years of Claus’ apprenticeship. Sometimes it was only for a short visit to one of Severus’ filii, Procurus and Iustus, who contributed to Claus’ training. In these travels, the young man learned to be self-reliant, studying and practicing on his own as much as learning directly from his master.

Being a practitioner of the school of Apromor, Severus shaped the youth’s Gift to allow him great capabilities in the Art of Perdo, but also taught him to be flexible in his use of magic. Severus was also a believer in leadership, loyalty and discipline, instilling those precepts to the young Claus.

After succeeding at his Gauntlet, his pater gave him the name Lucius. The honorable name also means ‘pike’ in Latin, something that Severus found appropriate for his former apprentice, whose name often sounded like ‘claws’ in English, his native language.

Looks good to me.

I like the affinity with spell mastery.

Preliminary stats at Gauntlet.

Age: 27
Characteristics: Int +2, Per -1, Str -1, Sta -1, Pre +2, Com +1, Dex 0, Qik +2

Virtues: The Gift, Hermetic Maguc, Flexible Formulaic Magic (major), Affinity with Perdo, Affinity with Spell Mastery, Fast Caster, Independent Study (HoH:MC p.86), Inspirational, Mastered Spells, Puissant Leadership, Puissant Perdo (House virtue)
Flaws: Ambitous (major), Deficient Muto (major), Close Family Ties, Overconfident (minor), Unimaginative Learner, Visions

Area Lore: Upper Lorraine (Vosges) 2, Greater Alps (covenants) 1
Artes Liberales (geometry) 1
Athletics (contorsions) 2
Awareness (alertness) 2
Brawl (dodging) 2
Carouse (drinking songs) 2
Code of Hermes (Wizard's Marches) 1
Concentration (spells) 1
Craft: Wood (carving) 2
Finesse (fast casting) 1
Folk Ken (women) 3
Leadership (inspiration) 3+2
Language: High German/native (Swabian) 5, French (Lorrain) 3, Latin (Hermetic usage) 4
Magic Lore (magical traditions) 1
Magic Theory (Perdo) 3
Organization Lore: Order of Hermes Lore (House Flambeau) 1
Parma Magica (Mentem) 1
Penetration (Perdo) 1
Philosophiae (moral philosophy) 1
Profession: Miner (silver) 3, Scribe (copying) 1

Magical Arts: Cr 6, In 0, Mu 0, Pe 12+3, Re 1, An 5, Aq 5, Au 0, Co 5, He 0, Ig 6, Im 0, Me 0, Te 5, Vi 0

Parching Wind (PeAq 20) - Mastery 3 (Multiple Casting, Magic Resistance, Penetration)
Bind Wound (CrCo 10)
Grip of the Choking Hand (PeCo 25) - Mastery 2 (Imperturbable Casting, Penetration)
Pilum of Fire (CrIg 20) - Mastery 1 (Magic Resistance) +1 xp
Veil of Invisibility (PeIm 20) - Mastery 1 (Quiet Casting) +1 xp
Trust of Childlike Faith (PeMe 10) - Mastery 1 (Quiet Casting) +1 xp
Pit of the Gaping Earth (PeTe 15)
Stone to Falling Dust (PeTe 20) - Mastery 1 (Fast Casting) +1 xp
Unravelling the Fabric of Imaginem (PeVi 10) - Mastery 1 (Unravelling) +1 xp

Replaced Waster of Vis by Deficient Muto.

I'm having some trouble with the Post-Gauntlet advancement. :confused:

How does the flaw "Close Family Ties" interact with the correspondence, adventures and even mystagogues? I took this minor story flaw to represent the fact that Lucius had a close relationship with his pater and his other filii (as well as their own apprentices and filii). Could these also be considered pre-existing correspondents? Could they become mystagogues? What about stories/adventures that get triggered by the flaw? How would they be categorized? I would expect that such an adventure would get triggered at least once per cycle, in addition to the maximum of 5 allowed in the Magus Character Creation Rules.

It also seems to me that for a more action-oriented magus such as Lucius, adventures should also occur as he performs covenant services, instead of simply being lab work/ (which is what an "exposure season" seem to imply). Other adventures that don't seem to fit into the different categories, but that would make sense for Lucius, are participating in a Wizard's March, or hunting down a threat to the Order or Tribunal. Right now the adventures seem more geared towards what lab rats would be expected to do. Am I simply not being imaginative enough?

The whole concept of adventures was meant to be a huge abstraction. If we advanced normally, there would be just xp given and adventures would be even more abstracted. Feel free to add in whatever details you like about the adventures you have, the correspondences you pick, who your mystagogue is, etc. If you'd like one of your filii to be a correspondent, take the correspondent adventure and say that they were the guy you formed a correspondence with. (Maybe you'd never written to them before and only started because of some event.) Do you get a bonus correspondence because of your backstory or a Flaw you have? No. But you can use that backstory and Flaw to fill out the details of your adventure. LIkewise, if you want to say that Close Family Ties provoked an adventure, pick an adventure and fill in details such that that Close Family Ties was the reason for the adventure, It makes sense that some of the adventures you have would be provoked by your Flaws. But do you get a bonus adventure because you have a Story Flaw? No. Everyone else has Story Flaws and they didn't get bonus adventures because of them.

The season of covenant service was meant to represent that every magus (even the adventurous ones) was going to have some drudge work. There would be some season when you had to do something for the covenant that seemed like a waste of your time, but that was needed. (Copying texts, teaching, assisting in the lab, something else). Everyone else had to suffer through that too.

Again, the adventures are meant to be abstract. You could fit many of the existing adventures into the examples you gave. Let's take the Wizard's March example. You could pick the following adventures for that:

  • Vis find: The marched wizard had vis on him when he died and the quaesitor determined that the wizard's participating in the march should share in it. Lucius gets 5 vis and 7 xp
  • Treasure: The marched wizard had items of worth on him when he died and the quaesitor determined that the wizard's participating in the march should share in it. Lucius gets 10 MP and 7 xp
  • Learn something: It was a valuable experience and you learned a lot from it. Lucius gets 12 xp
  • Meet friend: You struck up a friendship with one of the other wizards on the Wizard's March and struck up a correspondence with him. Lucius gets a correspondence and 7 xp
  • Information: The marched wizard had a library and the quaesitor determined that the wizard's participating in the march should share in it. Lucius gets a level 12 tractatus and 7 xp
  • Resources: The marched wizard had other resources and the quaesitor determined that the wizard's participating in the march should share in it. Lucius gets 10 BP and 7 xp
  • Apprentice: The marched wizard had a new Apprentice whose arts he was about to open and someone had to take over the apprentice. Lucius gets an apprentice and 10 xp

Similar possibilities exist for any other adventure you might choose. They might not all apply, but a lot would. Fill in the details as you like for any of the adventures.

As for numbers of adventures, for game balance reasons, I limited adventures to a certain number per cycle. It was, admittedly, an arbitrary number. But no one balked at it at the time and no one suggested they be allowed more. Now I'm in a bit of a quandary because these were the rules everyone else played by. I feel funny changing the rules after the fact. I'm open to you taking more adventures, especially since I've altered the rules already by saying you and Solon would get fewer cycles. But I'd want to make sure that no one else felt cheated.

What do my other players say?

Don't worry, I'm not fishing for additional benefits. Just trying to wrap my head around what would actually happens to Lucius as the seasons goes by and trying to fit his ambitious plans into the advancement rules.

Advancing a character after Gauntlet without a narrative story to carry the "need vs want vs constraints" balance has always been something that I find difficult. I want to avoid creating a bunch of stats that have no spirit. The status and the capabilities of a magus just out of Gauntlet are clear to me, but what he does afterward with that power, and how he moves forward, are much murkier in my head. In my experience, what a character wants to do and what he actually does when the saga occurs are two very different things.

Ok, just to recap my understanding of what would need to occur if I want Lucius to be initiated into the Legion of Mithras, along with some remaining questions on this topic:

  • 1 season of "Adventure - Meet a friend" to establish a correspondent. Am I correct in my assumption that the subject of the correspondence, and the nature of the xp gained during that adventure, have nothing to do with the eventual link to the Legion of Mithras?
  • 1 season of "Adventure - Mystagogue" to tranform the correspondent into a mystagogue. Again, am I correct in assuming that the adventure itself has very little to do with the Legion of Mithras? It is simply to deepen the relationship with the correspondent and the correspondence with him remains the same? Is this the point at which Lucius become aware that his correspondent is a member of the Legion of Mithras?
  • 1 season of "Adventure - Quest" for Lucius to fulfill the requirement of the initiation. Again, the experience gained during the quest has nothing to do with the Legion of Mithras?
  • 1 season of "Adventure - Initiate" for the actual initiation. Would the initiation itself count as exposure to the lore of the mystery cult, or is nothing else gained aside from the mystery itself?

In short, at what point would Lucius begin picking up experience in the Lore of the mystery cult?

I would say that as early as "Meet a Friend" you could start potentially getting Lore of the Mystery cult. That could be the adventure where they secretly tested you to see if you were worthy, in doing so revealing a little bit of the lore of the cult. Then you deepened the bond by having another adventure with your new friend in which he revealed that he was a mystagogue and taught you a little more to see if it was something that you were right for. Then you performed the quest. And there's no way that performing the quest wouldn't have the potential to teach you something about their secrets. Finally, they initiated you and you learned even more.

Ok, now I am trying to rework the way I am approaching post-Gauntlet advancement. There are some things that I as a player will want Lucius to achieve during that time. So I will set a number of goals and build a narrative that will explain why this happened, instead of setting Lucius to float upon the events thrown his way.

So the goals would be:

  1. Improved combat capabilities: As a Hoplite wanna-be, he will need a stronger stick than what he had coming out of his Gauntlet. He needs better penetration on his initial spells, in addition to some stronger spells. Some specialized spells as well. I expect that this will probably be of limited use during the saga, but it is a mean to an end rather than an end goal.
  2. Talisman: A talisman would fit well with the previous goal, as it gives a boost to casting totals.
  3. Joining the Legion of Mithras: It is a powerful organization, well connected within the Order. It fits well with Lucius' ambitious streak, as well as being compatible with the values that his pater taught him.
  4. Finding a familiar: Although not a high-priority goal, it will be useful later on when Lucius starts some serious lab work. So getting one early on is probably a good idea as the familiar will start getting experience early. Took a long look at the animals suggested for Perdo, and the one that appeals to be the most is the polecat.
  5. Transportation: One thing that will be important is a way for Lucius to travel around from one covenant to the other. I'd like this to be thematic to a Perdo specialist, instead of relying on high-level Rego effects that he could purchase.

An apprentice isn't a priority at this time for Lucius. It takes away too much time better spent on other pursuits.

A polecat. I like it. Very different.

And I'll be interested to see what Perdo transportation you come up with. Destroying gravity? I don't know that I've ever seen a Perdo movement spell before.

Goal 5: Transportation

For a more Perdo-oriented solution to travel, I was thinking of a boat made (mostly) weightless by Perdo. I could then be made to float by a low-level Rego effect and sailed with some assistance from relatively low level CrAu or ReAu winds. It wouldn't be particularly fast and would have some drawbacks, but on the other hand it it will allow him to bring grogs and cargo with him wherever he goes. It would probably handle much like a small dirigible would. Adding in a PeIm effect to make it invisible would avoid drawing too much attention.

I've noticed the other magi discussing magical ships, but I assume their approach is Rego-based. Since I prefer something in line with Lucius' specialties, I am ready to accept a less efficient design.

Let's try to rough out some of the effects Lucius will need to achieve to make this happen.

First effect is to make the boat itself basically weightless. HoH:S p.37 has "Base 5: Destroy one aspect of dirt, such as its weight or its cohesiveness." Can I use this guideline for any solid object, using an Herbam requisite? Or an equivalent PeHe guideline? I will assume for now that a Base 5 works. To affect a good-sized skiff he will need to add 1 magnitude for size, perhaps even 2.

So PeTe(He) Base 5, +2 Sun, +2 Size for a level 25 base effect. As an enchanted effect, adding an environment trigger to make it a constant effect. Total level: 28.

Second effect is to make the boat float even when loaded with passengers and cargo. The is essentially a ramped up version of Unseen Porter. So a level 15 ReTe(He) base effect (Base 3, +1 Conc, +2 Size). When invested into the item it would need +5 levels for the item to maintain concentration and say +4 levels of 12 uses per day. It is a conentration spell rather than a constant effect in order to give the use some control on the motion of the boat. This provides the lift to get the boat to rise as well as stability and small-scale motion for docking or landing. Total level: 24.

Third effect is for faster motion through actual sailing. This is by the way of a wind, so small CrAu 5 base effect (Base 2 for a normal weather phenomenon, +1 Touch, +1 Conc), with +5 levels for the item to maintain concentration and +10 for unlimited uses. I may need to throw in a Rego requisite to control the strength and direction of the wind, but I think that the use concentrating should provide this so I don't think it is needed. Total level: 20.

Fourth effect is to make the boat unconspicuous when travelling. Lucius will want it to be invisible, yet allow those within it to see each other and the boat itself. PeIm base 4, +1 Conc, +3 Structure, +1 changing image. Using T:Structure so that the species of everything inside the boat is only destroyed as it leaves the boat (ideally at least an arm's length away). This would be basically a level 25 effect, so I could add another magnitude to affect all the sense other than touch. Again, enchanting the effect I would add +5 levels for the item to maintain concentration and +4 level for 12 uses per day should be sufficient. Total level: 34.

So overall this would represent 4 effects: PeTe(He) 28, ReTe(He) 24, CrAu 20 and PeIm 24.

Right after Gauntlet, Lucius has the following lab totals (excluding aura):

  • PeTe(He): Int 2 + MT(Perdo) 4 + Pe 15 + Te/He 0 = 21.
  • ReTe(He): Int 2 + MT 3 + Re 1 + Te/He 0 = 6.
  • CrAu: Int 2 + MT 3 + Cr 6 + Au 0 = 11.
  • PeIm: Int 2 + MT(Perdo) 4 + Pe 15 + Im 0 + 4 similar spell = 25.

So, a lot of studying would be required to reach a point where each effect can to enchanted in a reasonable timeline. Knowing similar spells would certainly help, but he will also need to study Auram, Herbam and Imaginem. A familiar will also help there. He could also hire someone to enchant some of these effects.

Overall, this is also quite a bit of raw vis in there. Preparing the boat for enchantment is 10 pawns of Vim vis, while the effects themselves represent 11 more pawns in various Arts.

I think you have the numbers wrong with this one. Structure is +3 not +1. So your final cost should be:

Base 4, +1M Conc, +3M Structure, +1M changing image, +5L device maintains concentration, +4L uses/day: 12 = 34

Then there's the question of whether you could enchant the boat itself, or whether you'd have to enchant a device to make the boat invisible. If the former, you're probably okay making the effect Personal. But if the latter, then you'd have to make the device Touch, which would up it to level 39. Yea, it's expensive to make a boat invisible.

Whether you could enchant the boat itself depends on whether you could realistically fit it into your lab (and get it in and out again). I'd be interested in hearing what the rest of the troupe has to say about that. Could Lucius enchant the boat itself? How big do you envision it being?

I worked on making a boat invisible in another saga and went though all of these issues before. I'm also working on making a ship fly and become invisible for New Atlantis, and I'm running into the same roadblocks.