character design and development

official character sheets will be kept on the wiki, I will create a list of links here as well as ensure the links are maintained on the wiki. I will also keep my own records on my own computer to "synch" against what is on the wiki. Initially each player should create (assuming this is from the beginning) two characters, an apprentice and a mentor. The mentor will be handed off to someone else to play, and will begin the game in 1100 AD as part of the "prologue" which ends in 1220 AD. After the prologue the mentor character should be unable to adventure for some reason or another. Magi joining after the beginning will join as apprentices.
Each player may begin the game with 1 companion character. Afterwards "related" companion character may be introduced to the campaign at a maximum rate of 1 every 5 years with preference going to players with a lower companion count. Related companions are ones who have a clear connection to the covenant in some way. Those who do not can only join if it is a reward of an adventure, or if they are faeries (who always have a reason to join a covenant- vitality). Companions may be mundane, magical, or faerie (or infernal, but message me privately if that is the route you want to take)
Grogs should be introduced either at the beginning of the game or should begin at the age of 5 as a child of covenfolk. Magical covenfolk are possible, though not (generally) as a matter of birth. There are exceptions to this. Grogs should not begin being infernal, that would be a later decision which is likely to raise them above the level of grog. Faeries cannot be grogs. Grogs can also be assigned in the generic sense through the expenditure of build points, which define a perpetually held position instead of an individual, such that if the person holding that position moves on in some way it will be filled by someone of functional equivalency.
Discussion of characters will take place in this thread.

I do want concepts and character discussion to go in this thread.

A few logistical questions, and a first stab at character concepts ...

At what age are the magi being introduced? (Newly gauntleted in 1100, or some experience in 1100, or some experience coming in later?)
When are we introducing the apprentices?
When are the magi getting handed off?

Magus Concept: A traditional Flambeau who relishes the thought of proving himself against invaders and thus gain glory in the Tribunal and Order. He can be a little over-the-top with his spells, and enjoys the power and spectacle of being a magus.
Apprentice Concept: Having developed the Elemental Magic virtue, the apprentice sees the good in a variety of Forms, much the the chagrin of his flamboyant master. He hopes to become a hoplite someday, but given the diversity of the covenfolk in which he is apprenticed, he worries about whether or not he is doing the right thing by following the orders and customs of his superiors and the Order.

Okay so right now I have a solid grasp of an ExMisc magical tradition, and a fully worked up mage character sheet, but I like her so much I am wondering if I should instead build her Master and play her as my apprentice character.

Lydia - Paranoid british mage obsessed with hunting the Enemies of the Order and killing them.
Circe (orig. Juliet) - Seidhe blooded native of Locri who acquired the gift at 30, focused on using Imaginem in battle while turned into a lion, resents Lydia because Lydia was not above throwing her into the deep end so to speak, and because her blood family was killed while she was being dragged around the Norman and German forests by Lydia. Quite a bit of a skirt chaser. I have her all stated up as my senior character.
Abra - grand daughter of Cerces, tainted by darkness, dark and brooding. Massive survivors guilt, quite young. Blames Cerces from not saving her family. I have her stated up as a 6 year old.

Their magical tradition is based around Formulaic Spells and Lycanthropy, dragging up an animal spirit, not as a kin to be cherished but as a sort of Gnostic Demon to be mastered. Their conflict with their beast nature separates their will from their bodies giving them control over their favored magic without the gestures and words required by 'normal' magic, but also rendered them unable to draw upon their bodies to cast improvised spells. (I.e. I took Weak Spontaneous Magic, Deft Form (Imaginem), and Shape Shifting as their Ex Misc. virtues and flaws. She also has Lycantropy and Flexible Formulaic Magic.)

I've grown attached enough to Cerces that I wonder if I shouldn't stat up Lydia as my Parens character and stat Juliet at when her gift manifested.


The original members of the chapterhouse hailed from Normandy 50 years ago. There could be newer members, or an apprentice who replaced the master and will be ready to take an apprentice at some point themselves, but if they were a founding member of the chapterhouse they should be at least 50 years post gauntlet, but it is not a requirement that they be a founding magus. In terms of max age, they should be young enough that they are not likely to die or go into final twilight while teaching the apprentice. Those starting at 1100 will have 2 points of warping for every year past their gauntlet, and anyone on a longevity potion will gain at least one warping point a year, A warping score above 7 is ill advised, which means no more than 165 points into warping, (reaching an 8 warping in 15 years if all goes well) or 82 years past gauntlet.

As to Lydia, Circe and Abra, I don't think you have a clear understanding of the setting- this takes place in Normandy, not Stonehenge or the Rhine... plus I am completely uncertain of your timeline with these characters... I would also want to know why the gift manifested so late, as it is extremely unusual...

So my character ideas:
Parens - Author: A guy who wants to leave a legacy of knowledge. I want to make it fairly open-ended. New lab texts, books, a well trained apprentice, hunting down bits of lore, or work towards a breakthrough would all make perfect sense.
Apprentice - Anna: A talented, clever young girl. Percocious. Curious. Likes magic.
Companion Idea One - Lucio - In 1100 he's a young man ready to start an apothecary business. It will be built up to something nice by the time 1220 rolls around. The original guy will be dead, probably his kid will be dead, and it will be down to a grand kid. Grand kid will be in a position to make a difference or something. All for the good of the covenant of course.
Companion Idea Two - Drake - He's a drake! He gets food from the magi, lives in the aura, and flies magi around when needed. Like a magic school bus! Except more fire and less learning.

I like Archimedes ideas. I have no constructive ideas. I'm having a bit more trouble with Nolria2... honestly, 30 seems really old to be a starting age for an apprentice. Shit, they'll be 45 before they gauntlet.

I had presented a Holy Magic idea. I'm a little worried, though. I'm starting to think the Hermetic-Divine mix is grossly overpowered. With little effort I believe I would end up at campaign start with Divine MR around 75 and an un-boosted Soak around 20, along with near immunity to everything and being able to raise the dead. That would be avoiding being cheesy. Without much more effort and without stretching the rules, Divine MR and standard Soak around double those would be easy. And at the same time, I'm not sure a Divine-oriented character would necessarily mesh the best with everyone. I suspect orienting toward the Order instead of an outside influence (the Church and the Divine) would be a good idea. I'm not saying being involved with outside influences seems bad, just maybe not best as a primary focus.

I'm tempted to make a Tremere because that might be really interesting while dealing with all the old relations in the Tribunal.


The Tremere are establishing a covenant of their own in the north of Italy in 1220, plus there is the annoying factor that those who train outside of the Transylvanian tribunal are required to move to the tribunal after their gauntlet, which breaks one of the premises of the game. Also Tremere magi who join new covenants are generally from Transyvania, not Normandy...

I'm uncertain where the concern is from regarding a holy magus- given that you cannot have a holy magus on character creation, the road to strong holy magic is long and arduous, including the standard -15 penalty for not using words or gestures to cast. I'm not certain where you are getting the effective level 75 MR from either, since that is not part of the descriptions of holy magic that I am reading...

Ah, yes, that is a problem. I haven't spent enough time examining Against the Dark.

True, but by canon you could pick up Holy Magic during apprenticeship as there is at least one ex Miscellanea group that grants it.

It's not just Holy Magic, it's the combining of Hermetic magic and the Divine that gets really scary. For example, Holy Magic doesn't immediately allow for raising the dead, but being able to raise the dead via the Divine and having Holy Magic then allows you to do it via Hermetic Magic nearly without vis.

Now, if you think having a mage with Holy Magic would fit into the covenant very nicely and would fit into the story arcs you have in mind, I did spend some time writing up the character/parens and I have some interesting thoughts to go with them.

I think holy magic has some pretty serious restrictions, and on top of that to combine it with the divine methods and powers you need those virtues too. I'd have to check the book, but I don't think it's as grossly overpowered as all that.

Only sort-of. Technically (and stated explicitly in a few spots) you need the Ability, not the Virtue. As with any Supernatural Ability, there are multiple ways to get the Ability. The Virtue is one way, teaching is another. Still, the Divine allows for picking up those Virtues.

Overall, though, I'm more worried about the restrictions with the Divine as it comes to dealing with other characters. If one character is vehemently hunting enemies of the order and decides something allied with the Divine is such an enemy, these two characters would likely end up in a pretty serious conflict. That doesn't mean it has to be a violent conflict, but I could see it being a conflict that could be destructive to the covenant vis-a-vis the design of the campaign.

Here is what I had in mind, writing up the tradition as is done in the books, meaning this would be the starting point for building the character's parens. Contemplative Mystics are in The Church. I felt like it really meshes well with House Criamon. I see the character as believing the Enigma is essentially God speaking to humanity and humanity just hasn't figured it out yet. So trying to understand the Enigma is trying to understand what God is telling us.

Hermetic Contemplative Mystic (Ex Miscellanea tradition within House Criamon)
Holy Magic [3], Enigmatic Wisdom [1], Monastic Vows (Hermetic) [-3]
Requires: Guest of the House, True Faith

I feel like tricks to get multiple supernatural powers virtue free is a bit of a problem on its own. That said, the bigger problem is probably potential for intra-covenant conflict. The order isn't actually good all the time. Iirc, true lineages had a case where someone got dinged for excessive demon hunting.

Oh, it's not free. It's the same issue as Mystery Cults and the like.

Exactly. This is what has me worried. I want to avoid such intra-covenant conflict. I'm fine with smaller disagreements because we have different ideas where to take things and different outside allegiances. But the covenant should be the primary allegiance, and that isn't the case with a Holy Magus.

I'm currently noodling around a couple of Tytalus concepts. But if people aren't too keen on conflict, I think I've got a Bonisagus concept that'd work as well.

I don't think that's what we're saying. Conflict is all well and good. It's the severely divided loyalties that could be a problem. Look at both Archimedes' and Quite Possibly a Cat's parens ideas. There is a strong possibility a concept like that for a player's main character would end up in that character and a holy character ending up in a wizard's war or trying to get one marched. The issue could be reduced this way: True Faith --> fanatically loyal to God, trumping any loyalty to covenant or Order.

A Tytalus would not be a problem at all, as there is no reason the Tytalus needs to be fanatically devoted to an outside agency. Also, a Tytalus need not be in conflict with his/her covenfolk. Relishing competition and seeing the advantage in the challenges that arise doesn't need to be a problem at all. Just don't go for a Tytalus concept that is something like "He wants to challenge the Code to see how far he can get before his covenfolk get him marched."

I would be curious how a divine criamon would fit with the current description of Criamon belief from HOHMC.

Remember, a holy magus does not necessarily have to be part of a religious order, and I don't think the covenant has to be your absolute top priority.

Secondary point- ideas like the apothecary can also be handled as grogs without talking up the companion slot, and still wind up building benefits over generations.

HoH:MC does also mention religious Criamon magi. I figure it also doesn't really matter in that context. If they had truly figured out the Enigma already, that would be one thing. But they haven't, so there are things they don't understand. This could well be one of the missing pieces. Thinking so wouldn't put you in line with the majority opinion, but certainly can fit.

Oh, I know. Note that I'd specifically selected Contemplative Mystic. That would keep the character out of any particular religious order with ease. However, the kind of devotion I was considering with True Faith (and a driving goal that makes it all make sense) is likely to be at odds with anyone playing a Quaesitor or a Hoplite or similar. When I really think of what the character would do if intelligent (which would be the case), the character would make plans to destroy the OoH in case the OoH went against the Divine. That's the problematic bit I see. Well, that and that some other characters may well do things that this character would have to fight against, depending on what those others do (for example, anything even Tainted, not just 100% Infernal).

Here is what I'm working on, noting that the prior concept seemed problematic but still wanting a good healer and some focus on Creo:

Parens: He's a Bonisagus and a longevity ritual expert and masterful healer, better at Creo than at Corpus. He's fairly old but extremely determined to live a lot longer and be remembered for his contributions, while will eventually get him holed up in his lab writing books and stuff instead of being involved in anything that might cause Final Twilight. Being a Neo-Mercurian, he doesn't have a Mystery to make him something other than human, just magic that makes his healing better. But he wants to maintain his human life for record lengths. He is worried about Vis limits when making new longevity rituals, knowing no matter how much he improves at Creo and Corpus, he's not going to be able to brew newer and better Longevity Rituals past a certain point. So he has an idea that he should grab a talented young Merinita apprentice just after the apprentice has been initiated into Faerie Magic to take advantage of Faeris Vis. Training the apprentice with serve to cement his legacy while also providing someone who can eventually make an even better longevity ritual for him now that he can no longer benefit from his own improving Arts.

Character: Taken from a Merinita right after learning Faerie Magic, not too long after having his Arts opened. He is happy to be trained to be longevity expert, knowing that he can earn Vis this way and that it will help him live a long life. He feels similarly about the healing training. But he is more personally interested in applying Creo in other ways. He thinks highly of the Tremere approach, though he doesn't think it has been applied properly all the time. One of his hopes is to create a magical army (maybe horde would be a better term) completely loyal to him and thus in turn being loyal to the Order. Creo also provides him personally with good attacks and good healing. If he does it right, he could be the greatest general the world has ever seen, leading the Order to greatness it is only currently hinting at.

That would get into the question of when an apprentice gets initiated into the house mystery, as well as when it is revealed that they have been initiated, and is likely to wind up giving you an apprentice who has already been trained for some time, and would thereby be a weaker magus since the first years would be generate differently. It might be easier for the parens to seek initiation into the mystery himself, although the benefits of faerie magic for vis use only apply to faerie vis, which might be tricky to get ahold of regularly as well.

Of course you could make the parens a Merinita longevity specialist, there is nothing that restricts research to bonisagus magi...

As for holy magi being in conflict with the order- the order is too diffuse and undirected for me to see that as an issue. I would see the primary potential adversaries of holy magi to be diabolists or holy magi of different orders...
and the second is a hint at the deep game setting regarding the nature of the divine in game.

Callen, I think if you're worried about a Holy Magus causing conflict, its a reflection of how you envision playing said magus. And your vision of the magus is what's most important to your character. And if you think it will be problematic its probably going to be problematic.

On that note: I have a proposed Ex Misc Tradition, the "Praxologists". An off-shoot of the Legacy of Pralix, or the true followers of Pralix teachings depending on who you believe. They wish to advance hermetic magic by both original research and consuming and integrating other traditions. Very few magi outside of Ex Misc bother to tell the difference between "official" members of the Legacy and the Praxologists. Thus, the Praxologists confirm all the worst suspicions of the Legacy of Pralix. They wish to introduce barbarian magic to Hermetic Magic and eliminate all other traditions.

Minor, Hermetic Virtue: Inventive Genius
Major Virtue: Comprehend Magic
Major Hermetic Flaw: Chaotic Magic

I also have a proposed virtue. This is essentially a combination of Creative Block and Inventive Genius. It would replace Inventive Genius as the Minor, Hermetic Virtue for Praxologists.
Creative Genius - You get +6 on lab totals when you experiment and roll twice on the experimentation table. Both results affect the end result. You may NOT take this virtue with the flaw Creative Block or the Virtue Inventive Genius.