unfinished, but for you to see where I'm going)
Morphiste ex Miscellanea (at Gauntlet)
Apprenticed by her mother, a shapeshifter who was killed by Bjornaer magi.
Joined the order to destroy the house (using intrigue).
Introduced into the order by a maga of Pralix line, but taught herself hermetic magic.
Plans for the near future: Quickly make a longevity ritual, gain a positive reputation, observe House Bjornaer (improve Order of Hermes Lore and Codex of Hermes), improve Parma
Virtues/Flaws (house virtues and flaws in brackets)
(3 restriction: cannot cast spells on non-magical animals, including Bjornaer in Heartbeast form, at all, except on himself)
3 Driven (sabotage house Bjornaer)
3 dark secret: plans to destroy House Bjornaer
1 Hedge Wizard
1 Unimaginative Learner
1 Ability block: Martial abilities
( 3 shapechanger)
(1 affinity with muto)
1 puissant shapeshifting
1 bound tongue (see HoH: MC, Bjornaer)
1 subtle magic
3 life-linked spontaneous magic
1 Pack Leader
1 improved characteristics
1 book learner
1 Venus blessing
Int 2 Pe 0
Pr 1 Com 2
Sta 2 Str 0
Quk 0 Dex 0
Early Childhood (Year 1-5: 45xp + Language)
Shapeshifter 1 (bear) +2 (forms: Bear)
Native Language Gaelic (telling stories) 5
Guile (shapeshifting) 3
Area Lore Scottish Islands (animals) 1
Charm (old men) 1
Awareness (alertness) 1
Childhood (years 6-18): 195xp
Carouse (staying sober) 2
Charm (old men) 2
Awareness (alertness) 2
Chirurgy (binding wounds) 1
Concentration (shapechanging) 3
Etiquette (nobility) 2
Intrigue (nobility) 4
Leadership (political) 2
Shapechange (bear) 4+2 (Bear, salmon, falcon, cat)
Apprenticeship at (19-33): 240xp (115xp skills + 125xp arts), 120 lvls spells
Magic Theory (Me) 3
Parma (Mentem) 1
Latin (Hermetic) 4
Artes Liberales (Ceremonial Casting) 1
Order of Hermes Lore (House Bjornaer) 1
Profession Scribe (diligent) 1
Code of Hermes (Wizard’s Marches) 1
Medicine (physcician) 1
Philosophy (Ceremonial Casting) 1
Skills (alphabetical): Area Lore Scottish Islands (animals) 1, Artes Liberales (Ceremonial Casting) 1,
Awareness (alertness) 2, Carouse (staying sober) 2, Charm (old men) 2, Chirurgy (binding wounds) 1, Code of Hermes (Wizard’s Marches) 1, Concentration (shapechanging) 3, Etiquette (nobility) 2, Guile (shapeshifting) 3, Intrigue (nobility) 4, Latin (Hermetic) 4, Leadership (political) 2, Magic Theory (Me) 3, Medicine (physcician) 1,
Native Language Gaelic (telling stories) 5, Order of Hermes Lore (House Bjornaer) 1, Parma (Mentem) 1, Philosophy (Ceremonial Casting) 1, Profession Scribe (diligent) 1, Shapechange (bear) 4+2 (Bear, salmon, falcon, cat)
Enchantment of detachment (PeMe15)
Loss of but a moment’s memory (PeMe15)
Invention of but a moment’s memory (CrMe15; B4; +1 eye, +2 day; works best if target talks about Memory during duration, so he or she has a non-magical memory of talking about it)
Aura of Rightful Authority (ReMe20)
Doublet of Impenetrable linen (MuHe20, cf. Doublet of Impenetrable Silk MuAn20)
Disguise of the new visage (MuCo15)
The call to Slumber (ReMe10)
Wizard’s Sidestep (MuIm10)
Cavebuilder PeTe 10 (B: 4, +1 Touch, +1 Part)
Makes one cubic pace of stone or dirt diappear. Morphiste will cast this spell thousands of times to build her lab inside Ailsa Craig.
Notes (further development): I’ll assume 8xp for a season, 2xp for a lab season, I’ll use as many books as possible (I have not yet used the virtue Book learner for calculations up to gauntlet). I assume that a standard lab is available at no cost (unrealistic, I know, but “no cost” means favours repaid with adventure seasons). I will have to produce all the vis myself.
Power/abuses: The character’s virtues and flaws are chosen in a way that is powerful (Life-linked spont. Magic and shapechanger are very powerful virtues). The dark secret virtue can easily become another major story virtue (e.g. feud, enemies). Choosing muto as an affinity is weak, but in character.
The skills are chosen in a way that focuses a lot on social skills (etiquette, intrigue, guile), for which players in pbp-games usually do not roll dice but just roleplay them: To balance this, I made my maga start her apprenticeship late. Her spells are useful (except the disease-healing spell).
Morphiste is very social (positive presence/com + venus blessing + leader + social skills), but also a good fighter for a freshly gauntleted maga (using bear shape against magi and the shrinking spell against mundanes. She can turn into a falcon and run when a monster shows up).
1183 winter: Blood. Everywhere. The young woman had whimpered a last time before she had stopped moving - forever. The priest made the sign of the cross and closed her eyes. He frowned when the midwife took the baby, a bald girl with big blue eyes, and dabbed her little hands in her mothers blood. He knew she was a good midwife, but he also knew what people said about Catriona: that she was a witch, performing rites in the dark of the night. People said that she was of the bear clan, and they lowered their voices when they did that.
“She is mine now”, she said, looking the old man firmly in the eye. “Baptize her on the name of Artia, because I will adopt her into the bear clan. She is my daughter now.”
“Don’t argue. Just do it.”
He knew better than to argue. He just swallowed and began.
Year 1187 summer
“Your mother is a monster! Your mother is a monster!”
“No, she isn’t!”
“Yes she is!”
“My mum says so! My mum says that when the moon is full the bear clan people turn into animals and hunt on the heath. And you are a monster, too. I can feel it. You are not like us.”
“These are stories for stupid little boys. Only babies believe everything that their mothers tell them. Do I look like a bear, do I? Och, nonsense. But look there’s old Cedric. Let’s ask him.”
The children run to the old man who comes in their direction whistling at his dogs that flank the sheep. Artia and the boy run up to the old shepherd. Artia snuggles up in his lap, and the old man strokes her head. She starts crying softly against his chest.
“What have you said to upset our little princess?”, he asks the boy.
“My mum says that…”
“Oh, in the name of bloody Christ on his bloody cross. We all know what that sharp-tongued bitter harlot has to say. You made a girl cry. Away with you.”
Year 1188 spring:
Artia caresses the huge she-bear in front of her. She is not afraid. She is old enough now to learn about The Change. She will serve the clan, as a healer and as a protector. She will be a peacemaker, a leader and a judge. She will speak to the Norman noblemen for her clan one day. The bear is talking to her, singing to her. She closes her eyes and embraces the rhythm. I is a song about the hunt, about the fish in the stream and the deer in the meadow. She feels The Change, feels the smells of the grass identify and hears the beating of nature’s heart. When she opens her eyes again, the change is done.
Catriona licks the girl’s face and ruffles her fur before they run off into the forest, to celebrate the event with a fresh kill.
The knock on the door is ill-timed. The Norman woman was just starting to believe what Artia was telling her about her husband and that busty maid from the kitchen. If she succeeded, he would have more than enough trouble in his own tower, enough to stop pestering the clan with his constant plans.
A servant came in, and said: “Artia, wise one, a messenger from the clan is at the gate. He ants to talk to you. He says it’s urgent.”
She bows to the lady follows the servant out.
Artair is waiting at the gate, nervously turning his cap in his hand. She sees at once that the clan smith has been crying. The strong man, who stands nearly two heads taller than her, hesitates, and mumbles: “Catriona.She’s dead.” When she looks at him, unemotionally and questioning, he remembers his male 7dignity, draws a sharp breath and tells: “One of the warlocks from that continental cult that has been nosing around came to Catriona’s house this morning. Catriona didn’t invite her in. Before long they were shouting and arguing on the porch. Then he shouted something about shapeshifters and when he heard Catriona’s angry reply, he hit the ground with his staff, and it swallowed Catriona. Then the warlock raised her dead body from the ground, paraded it through the village and asked for other members of the bear clan. Of course we didn’t say anything. Artia, you must hide! We will call the priest to give Catriona a decent burial. He pauses for a moment, then he speaks: From the bear I come to call the bear. You are the bear. Serve us and protect us!”
Artia is standing still, her face hard as stone. After Artair has turned to leave, a single tear runs down her face.
A month later:
Cedric the shepherd is happy to see Artia. Too old to be outside, he spends his time at the fire. Artia asks him: “I have observed Catriona’s murderer carefully. I have learned that he is a mighty warlock, a member of a clan of powerful shapeshifters that call themselves Bjornaer. There are many of them and they are strong. Their clan is part of an organization called the Order of Hermes – probably the most powerful organization of wizards that has ever existed. Catriona has warned me to stay away from them. What should I do?”
Cedric laughed his toothless smile: “You have already decided, don’t you know that? To seek revenge for Catriona, you have to make this warlock and his clan pay. To do this, you must seek their knowledge. Join them and destroy this warlock and his house from the inside. Vengeance is a dish best eaten cold.”
1201 years winter, Ungulus:
“Teach me! I am a hedge wizard. I want to join the order of Hermes.”
Flavius ex Miscellanea looks at the translator, then at the young woman in front of her. Hesitantly, he stretches out her hands and casts a spell on Artia. He is impressed that the pretty woman doesn’t flinch at the open display of magic. His eyes widen when she feels the gift in the dark-haired beauty in front of her. Flavius looks at Artia for what seems like an eternity. Then he nods and says: “I think I’ll start by teaching you to read Latin. You will serve me for 15 years. You will be my slave. You will have no rights. I have no time for teaching you but I will grant you access to books. Kiss the hem of my robe if you agree.”
Artia listens to the translator, then falls to her knees. Flavius can’t see Artia’s smile as she bends her head to kiss the robe.
1215 years Fall:
Some magi murmur derisively when Flavius presents his apprentice who is much older then the other apprentices. Artia has already passed the private examination and the questions at the public presentation are a mere matter of form.
She answers calmly but is already thinking about the future. She has learned a lot as an apprentice, little from Flavius who was often too busy to teach her, but a lot from the books and scrolls in the library. She has learned about the invisible differences in the order, has noticed the sneering behind her master’s back and has learned some more about her enemies. She knows that the warlock who killed Catriona has been hunted down by the order for breaking the law. She will need more time to prepare her revenge against house Bjornaer. Once before a house was marched – the Diedne. But it wasn’t easy. She will need respect, allies, and a sound knowledge of Hermetic Law to bring them down.
When they ask her to choose a hermetic name, she chooses a Greek one: Morphiste, the lady of change. Changed she has, and change she will bring.
Reputation must be bought with xp
1216 years winter:
Freshly gauntleted, Morphiste realizes that she has few friends in the order, and that she is getting old and first needs a decent longevity ritual. She negotiates with Flavius, who wants to keep her to fill Ungulus with life again. She has to promise to make Ungulus her covenant for the next 20 years in exchange for a potent ritual (-15 on aging). She also has to promise to assist him in his plans for a rejuvenation of the covenant.
She spends a season in the lab assisting Flavius [exposure: Magic Theory 3(2)]
1216 years spring, summer, and fall, 1217 years winter: Morphiste now turns her attention to the Bjornaer problem. Analyzing her strengths and weaknesses, she discovers that she needs to learn more about them. In the library at Ungulus, she finds a weighty, albeit poorly written summa “History of the Order of Hermes”, which she devours [source quality 8 +3 book learner = 11 x 4 seasons: 44xp: Order of Hermes Lore 3(19); apparent age: 34]
1217 years spring: Morphiste decides to get rid of her reputation as a hedge wizard and writes a knowledgeable tractatus “A concise History of the Order of Hermes (Q8)” [exposure: Order of Hermes Lore 4, Reputation: Active Interest in the Order (magi) 0(1)]
1217 years summer: Morphiste searches and finds a few travelling scholars who she pays to copy her tractatus [adventure: Bargain(books) 1, Mentem 8(3)]
1217 years fall: While the scholars start writing their books, Morphiste studies a tractatus at Ungulus to improve her Parma Magica [Q8+3: Parma 2(1)]
1218 winter: Morphiste travels to gift strategic covenants in Mythic Europe with her book; she learns quite a bit about behaviour patterns in the Order [Adventure: Etiquette 2(5), Reputation: Active interest in the order 0(4), apparent age 34]
1218 spring and summer: During her travels Morphiste realizes that she needs spells that allow her to transform her possessions with her. She starts planning her talisman.
She wants to be able to use it in all her forms, so she plans it to be a ring-shaped earring (fin ring in dolphin shape), made of copper, with a little silver cross (she knows her limits).
Basically, the earring will need an effect that is activated by her changing shape, and an effect that adapts the earring to her new form. Something that changes her possessions into little rings interlinked with the earring would be immensely useful.
- Perceive the Change InCo15 (see GotF, p. 96; Final level: 19)
- Change Ring MuTe5 (B4, R: P, D: +1 Conc, T: Ind.; +10 unlimited uses, +3 linked trigger, +5 maintains concentration: Final level: 23)
- Subtle packing: Changes dead possessions (An, Aq, Co, He, Te, Vi) into a tiny little silver ring interlinked with the earring. MuHe15 (An,Aq,Co,Te,Vi), (base 4, R: +1 Touch, D: +1 Conc, T: Group, freeReq: An, Aq, Co, He, Te, Vi, +1 interlinked ring/complexity; +10 unlimited uses, +3 linked trigger, +5 maintains concentration, Final level: 33)
She realizes she needs stronger magic to accomplish this and goes to the library to start learning. She both needs to increase her Animal, Aquam, Corpus and Terram skills so the requisites do not hinder her, and invest into Muto.
She starts with corpus and spends to seasons reading a summa [reading: 2x11 xp: Co 6(1)]
Year 1218 fall: The quaesitores call for an emergency march against a Bjornaer magus! Morphiste joins and manages to slay the enemy, whom she catches by surprise in bear form. She spends the rest of the season recovering from her wounds [Adventure: Code of Hermes 1(5), Reputation: Active interest in the order 1(2)]
Year 1219 winter: Slaying the Bjornaer has put improving her Parma on the top of her priority list. She returns to the library to find one last tractatus on the topic, which she reads, making little progress along the way [Reading: Parma Magica 2(12)]
Year 1219 spring and summer: Morphiste returns to reading, improving her Terram with two tractatus. [Terram 6]
Year 1219, fall: Flavius needs her support in dissuading the church from investigating a local nobleman from investigating Ungulus too closely. She finds out that a Tytalus wizard is behind the intrigue and reports back to Flavius who decides that he will bring the matter to tribunal [Etiquette 2(10), Mentem 8(5), Reputation: active interest in the Order 1(3)].
Year 1220: Flavius makes a deal with Morphiste. She assists him with his research on how to try the Tytalus, and in exchange, he spends to seasons helping her improve her Parma [2x 2xp exposure: Code of Hermes 1(9), 2x 13xp Teaching: Parma Magica 3(13)]
Year 1220, winter: Morphiste prepares her the earring she plans to use as a talisman, opening it with 6 pawns of Vi [exposure Magic theory 3(4)].
Year 1220, spring: Morphiste attunes her earring [exposure: magic theory 3(6)].
Year 1220, summer: Her work on the earring is interrupted by a call for help from her clan. A new lord has inherited the land and wants to reform his lands. She travels to Scotland and negotiates a deal with him [Charm 2(5), Mentem 8(8)].
Year 1220, fall, Yar 1221 winter: Morphiste reads a summa on Intellego [2x(8+3) =22xp: In 8(7)]
Year 1221 spring: Flavius and Morphiste attend tribunal, get the Tytalus that aused them problems marched [Adventure: Code of Hermes 2(4), Reputation (active interest in the Order) 1(6)]
Year 1221 summer: Flavius and Morphiste slay the marched Tytalus. Morphiste’s wounds take time to heal [Parma Magica 3(3), Reputation (Active interest in the order) 1(9)]
Year 1221 fall: Morphiste takes a book to learn more Intellego for enchanting her talisman [2x(8+3)xp=22xp: In 9(9)]
Year 1222 winter and spring: Morphiste improves her Corpus magic by reading [22xp: 8(8)]
Year 1222 summer and fall: Morphiste invests “Perceiving the Change” into her Talisman. She also opens it for terram+1 and intellego+2 [2xp exposure: Co 9, In 10, Magic theory 3(8)]
Years 1223 and 1224: Morphiste spends two whole years reading about Muto, all she can find in the library [(8+3)x8x1,5=132xp: Muto 17(15)]
Year 1225 winter: In a single season, Morphiste enchants her talisman with Change Ring. Now she can take it with her in all her forms. She also opens it for transform self +4. [Exposure: Muto 17(17)]
Year 1225 spring: Morphiste travels to defend the interests of the bear clan and meets her childhood love again [8xp adventure: Mu 18, Charm 2(10), Etiquette 2(12)]
Year 1226, summer and fall: Morphiste studies two tractatus on Aquam [Aquam 6]
Year 1227, winter and spring: Morphiste studies two tractatus on Animal [Animal 6]
Year 1227, summer and fall: Morphiste studies two tractatus on Imaginem [Im 6]
Year 1228 winter: Morphiste reads up on Code of Hermes to prepare for Grand Tibunal [Code of Hermes (Marches) 3]
Year 1228 spring: Morphiste travels to Durenmar to attend the Grand Tribunal [adventure: Charm 3, reputation. (active interest in the order) 2(2)
Year 1228 summer: Morphiste stays to meet many magi post tribunal [Adventure: Etiquette(gifts) 3, Leadership 2(5)]
Year 1228 fall: Morphiste returns to Ungulus and puts another 15 pawns of vis into her talisman (total: 21). She also opens it for passion+2 [exposure: Magic Theory 3(10)]
Year 1229: Morphiste spends all year installing the effect “Subtle Packing” into her talisman. She opens it for moving herself +2, protecting herself +4, damaging infernal creatures +5 and warding away supernatural+5; [4x 2xp exposure: Magic Theory 3(18)]
Year 1230, winter: News reaches Morphiste that a child has been born into clan Mathan that has The Ability (i.e. the major supernatural virtue: Shapeshifter). On the one hand, Morphiste is happy to know that she can train somebody who can take over her role as guardian of the clan, on the other hand she realizes that she lacks the skills to train an apprentice, let alone to preserve such a talent. She decides to start learning immediately so she can teach the girl all that she needs to know as quickly as possible.
She starts by reading up on Rego [Rego 6].
Year 1230 spring and summer: She reads through Auram [Auram 6].
Year 1230, fall, year 1231 winter and spring: She reads three tractatus on vim, so she can open the arts of the girl (In10+Vi10+Int2+MT3+Aura5).
Year 1231 summer and fall: She reads up on Ignem [Ignem 6]
Year 1232: she reads about Creo and Perdo, bringing her last Arts to a level sufficient for teaching an apprentice.
Year 1233 winter to summer: Morphiste is a busy mother who doesn’t get around to doing much but being their for Arcadia [Practice 3x 5xp: Teaching (single student) 2]
Year 1233 fall to 1234 fall: Morphiste adopts the girl on her third birthday and gives her the name Arcadia. Together, they travel Scotland for more than a year [5x5xp practice: Area Lore Scotland (animals) 3; Arcadia’s early childhood: Area Lore Scotland (animals) 2, guile (shapeshifting) 2, Awareness(Alertness)1, Athletics (hiking) 1, Charm(innocence) 1]
Year 1235 winter: Arcadia is finally old enough to learn about being a shapeshifter. Morphiste teaches her how to become a bear and tells her about the falcon shape [M: exposure teaching 2(2); A: Shapeshifting(bear) 1(9)+2]
Year 1235 spring: Morphiste reads up on Artes Liberales and Philosophy, so she can teach it properly [M: Artes Liberales 2(1)]. Aracadia is told to practice shapechanging and manages to assume falcon form [A: 4xp practice: Shapeshifting 2(3)+2]
Year 1235 summer: Morphiste teaches Arcadia Artes Liberales [M: 2xp exposure Artes Liberales 2(3), A: taught Artes Liberales (ceremonial casting) 1(9)].
Fall 1235: Flavius disappears in Twilight (he hasn’t come back by 1245). Morphiste looks around for another covenant, and makes Arcadia learn Latin words in the library in the meantime. She gets an invitation from by Ailsa Craig. [M: adventure: Swimming (saltwater) 1(5), Reputation (active interest in the order): 2(7), A: Latin (hermetic) 1(3)]
Winter 1236: Morphiste and Arcadia prepare to move to Ailsa Craig, which is much closer to her clan. She inspects the site and then decides to build a special grotto inside the rock. She invents a spell for that purpose:
Cavebuilder PeTe 10 (B: 4, +1 Touch, +1 Part)
Makes one cubic pace of stone or dirt diappear. Morphiste will cast this spell thousands of times to build her lab inside Ailsa Craig. Arcadia practices shapeshifting.
Arcadia practices shapechanging [M: 2xp exposure Magic theory 4, A: shapechanging 2(7) but doesn’t manage to assume dolphin shape yet.
Summer: Morphiste creates a minor enchanted item.
Agate of the Chamber of Spring Breezes [B1, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 unnatural, +1 2/say, +1 environmental trigger, final level: 9]
This stone permanently makes the air in Morphiste’s sanctum breathable even though there is no connection to the outside. Arcadia practices shapeshifting. [M: 2xp exposure Magic Theory 4(2); A: shapechanging 2(11)]
Fall 1236: Morphiste spends a season carving her lab into Ailsa Craig. She starts under an overhanging cliff (in order to be within the Aegis). In dolphin form she dives 7 paces below sea level and creates a narrow tunnel spiralling up and into the rock at a gentle slope, just large enough for a dolphin to swim through. Then she makes it rise vertically, too narrow for humans, but manageable for a falcon. She also creates a labyrinthine collection of tunnels that are dead ends. Finally she excavates a hexagonal chamber, and as large a ring as possible on the floor. Arcadia practices shapeshifting. [M: Practice: Finesse (terram) 1, A: Practice shapeshifting 3+2].
Winter 1237: Morphiste opens the arts for Arcadia, preserving her ability to shapechange [M: 2xp exposure Magic Theory 4(4); A: arts opened].
Spring, and summer 1237: Morphiste sets up her lab and refines it. Arcadia is sent to parish school to learn Latin [M: 2x 2xp exposure: Magic Theory 4(8) A: Latin (hermetic) 3].
A steep cliff hangs over the sea. About 7 paces below the waterline, there is a narrow entrance to an artificial cave, just inside the aegis.
There is a labyrinth of narrow tunnels inside that can only be mastered by someone with both the ability to fly and to dive.
Morphiste’s sanctum is a large hexagonal room, and has a large stone ring on the floor for circle spells. Since there is no contact to the outside air (the only entrance is under water), the air has to be kept fresh by a minor magic item (an agate). There is a second room for sleeping nearby.
Minor structure virtues:
Auspicious shape: +1 Aesthetics, +1 Vim
Spacious: +2 safety, +1 Aesthetics
Well Insulated: + safety, +1 Aesthetics
Free structure virtues:
Superior construction: +1 Safety, +1 Aesthetics
Free structure flaws:
Disguised: -1 Aesthetics
Subterranean: +1 Upkeep, (-1 Health, countered by Agate), -1 Aesthetics, +1 Terram)
Minor supernatural flaw/virtue:
Labyrinth (modified): -2 Aesthetics, +2 Vim, (-1 Safety, -1 health for other users only)