Character Development: Magus Domnall of the Younger House (Player: Nithyn)

You presume correctly.

So I've been giving some thought to two virtues, and I wanted folks' take on things. Again, I tend to take a more liberal approach to RAW in most things, so it's always worth discussion to make sure we're on the same page.

One, technically spirit familiar is a mystery virtue. However it very much feels like something that would be part and parcel of his tradition. Like, I imagine you'd get a very strange look if you didn't have one. So much like I'd never make a Merinita take Cabal Legacy in order to take their house mysteries, I wouldn't do the same here. To me, it would be something so normalized, that it would be part of their apprenticeship.

Second, is Leadworker. I know there had been some discussion about that before, but it feels fitting here. I can't imagine that the Aita cult were the only ones that had this style of magic, and so again, it felt fitting.

Any particular questions, comments, concerns about either?

I'm fine. Be flexible if it makes for something interesting.

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My thoughts precisely, but I always like to ask as some folks can have rather strong opinions. Not that I was particularly worried with this bunch, but better safe than sorry.

So after playing with things a little bit, here's where I'm at now:

Voice of the Dead*
Major Magical Focus (Necromancy)
Magic Spirit Blood (Orphan Born) - Second Sight
Cautious with Leadership
Inoffensive to Undead
Alluring to Undead
Social Contacts (Ghosts)
Spirit Familiar

Necessary Condition (Draw Runes)*
Blatant Gift
Supernatural Nuisance (Ghosts)
Hatred (Mundane Society) (Major)
Infamous (Necromancer) (Mundane)

The only thing I'm still toying with right now is the focus. Given the clarification as to how they apply, it's In this weird spot where it's too big for a minor, but significantly smaller than what a major should cover. It's actually times like this that I wish virtues could be worth two points.

Speaking of, I would argue that a focus in say ghosts or necromancy would apply to creating the familiar bond, but not any effects, unless they were inside the scope of the focus. That said I would carve out an exception for the latter for someone who took a focus in familiars, but I digress.

Given @Vortigern 's approach to foci (see below), I had a question. Could you design Corpus or Animal effects only to work with the dead, thereby getting the bonus from the foci? It feels thematic, and would greatly restrict the spell, so it potentially seems doable? Just curious as to what folks think is all.

My basic intuition is that it is reasonable but it begs examples and application.

Say MuCo(An) to grant abilities/modifications as a general class of effect. Does this require a different effect design to (beneficially) modify a living vs a dead target that either way still falls under the Form of Corpus?

I can see an argument that a dead example of Corpus still falls under Corpus, and this is true. However is that still sufficient to establish that spells for living things vs dead things don't need a different design?

My intuition is that these effects would need a certain degree of adjustment in order to beneficially affect dead targets, but I am not sure if there are any counter examples we should consider?

PeCo or PeAn for say inflicting wounds seem like things that would not need adjustment however. Inflicting raw damage/necrosis isn't a "fine tuned" effect that would need tailored I would think.

Additional desired points.

  • Name translation, rough origin and meaning. (Why do they call themselves that?)
  • What is their philosophy/school of thought and culture?
    -- What are they trying to teach their apprentices to believe? To be? To do?

Draugrsjálfr comes from combining draugr with sjálfr, which roughly translated meaning self, or one's own.

The Draugrsjálfr's philosophy and school of thought are steeped in the shadows of ancient Norse mysticism and necromantic arts, forged in the crucible of warfare and survival amidst the rugged landscapes of Hibernia and Loch Leglean. Their culture is one of grim determination, embracing the harsh realities of life and death with a stoic acceptance of the darkness that lies within and beyond.

At the heart of their teachings lies a stark acknowledgment of the inevitability of death and the relentless passage of time. Draugrsjálfr instill in their apprentices a ruthless pragmatism, teaching them to wield their necromantic powers with brutal efficiency and unyielding resolve. They are trained to raise the dead without hesitation, to bend ghosts to their will, and to unleash the wrath of their undead servants upon their enemies without mercy or remorse.

More than mere practitioners of the necromantic arts, Draugrsjálfr's apprentices are groomed to be warriors, honing their martial prowess alongside their mastery of the occult. They are taught to embrace conflict as a crucible of power, to revel in the chaos of battle and the ecstasy of victory, and to fearlessly confront any who would dare to challenge their dominion over the realm of death.

Canon, as I understand, they need (as per The Inexorable Search).

I think inflicting PeCo or PeAn wounds can go either way. Canon sure considers the dead and the living somewhat different for the purposes of Perdo. After all, you can destroy a corpse, but not a person, with baseline 5. And what a "wound" to an undead even means? A pierced lung will severely hamper a person. But would it affect a zombie at all?

But I think this can also (and maybe should) hinge on the kind of undead (eg. hurting a vampire could be as easy as hurting a person, but hurting a skeleton be fundamentally different).

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This would appear to substantiate the distinction. Then arguably then any effect designed so as to be effective on dead targets using Corpus or Animal would seem apt for Necromancy as a focus. (or Mentem for that matter.)

Perfect. Good catch mate!

Agreed. And this makes the focus sufficiently broad that I'm more than happy with that take on it. So problem solved!

Guess that means I need to finish up tinkering with my build and get it posted for review. That and get a quick writeup done for his various time periods. I'll make that a goal for tomorrow as tonight is a very rare date night with my significantly better half.

Alrighty, after much playing around with things, here's we finally go. All the pre-apprenticeship fun!

Early Childhood:

Athletics to 1 (5xp)
Awareness to 1 (5xp)
Brawl to 1 (5xp)
Charm to 1 (5xp)
Folk Ken to 1 (5xp)
Guile to 1 (5xp)
Stealth to 1 (5xp)
Survival to 1 (5xp)
Swim to 1 (5xp)


Domnall's early life was shrouded in mystery and misfortune, beginning with his birth as an Orphan Born—a phenomenon considered impossible by many in Mythic Europe. He entered the world beyond the veil that separates the living from the dead, effectively left parentless from the moment of conception. Raised in the bustling Viking port of Dublin, amidst the remnants of Norse slave markets and the shifting tides of English rule, Domnall found himself an outcast from society due in large part thanks to effect of the Blatant Gift he bore.

His parents (if you could really call them that), Bjorn and Eira, were once Norse warriors who met their demise in a fierce battle off the windswept shores of Ireland. Bound by ties of love and duty even in death, they returned as restless spirits, their spectral forms lingering on well after their demise. Like many ghosts, their memories were fragmented and their desires unclear. At times, they hovered silently on the periphery of Domnall's existence, their presence little more than a whisper in the corners of his mind. Other times, they manifested more forcefully, their ethereal forms reaching out to him in moments of desperation or despair.

Driven by an insatiable hunger for closure and a longing to protect their son from the dangers that lurked in the shadows of the port city, Bjorn and Eira sought to guide Domnall. They shared half-remembered tales of ancient magics and forbidden rites, urging him to embrace the power that was his birthright and wield it as a weapon against those who would seek to harm him. Yet, their guidance was erratic, their intentions shrouded in the mists of the afterlife, leaving Domnall to navigate the treacherous waters of his early childhood with little more than the echo of their ghostly voices to guide him.

Later Life, 12 Years:

Concentration to 1 (5xp)
Intrigue to 1 (5xp)
Leadership to 4 (50xp)
Magic Lore to 3 (30xp)
Second Sight to 4 (45xp)
Valgaldrar to 4 (45xp)


Despite the hostility of mundane society and the relentless persecution brought about by his Blatant Gift, Domnall thrived amidst the spectral echoes of Dublin, drawing strength from the whispers of the dead and the echoes of their forgotten dreams. Yet, with each passing year, his disdain for the living grew ever deeper, fueled by the indifference of those who had cast him aside and the bitter realization that he could never truly belong among them.

And so it was amidst the spectral throngs of Dublin's restless dead that Domnall found a sense of belonging he had never known among the living. The wraiths of the city, drawn to him like moths to a flame, embraced him as one of their own, offering him solace and companionship in a world that had long since seemingly turned its back on him.

By the time Domnall reached the age of seventeen, he had become a solitary figure, his heart filled with bitterness and resentment towards the mundane world that had rejected him. It was then that fate intervened, as he caught the attention of a Hermetic magus named Tadhg. Drawn to Domnall's latent potential, Tadhg saw in him a kindred spirit, a pupil worthy of his teachings. And so, with a solemn vow and a whispered oath, Domnall departed Dublin and embarked on a new journey.

Alrighty, here we go! Tweaked virtues ever so slightly as I was missing Skilled Parens too much. Nothing particularly groundbreaking with his spells and the like, but please give everything a once-over.


Voice of the Dead*
Major Magical Focus (Necromancy)
Magic Spirit Blood (Orphan Born) - Second Sight
Cautious with Leadership
Inoffensive to Undead
Alluring to Undead
Spirit Familiar
Skilled Parens

Necessary Condition (Draw Runes)*
Blatant Gift
Supernatural Nuisance (Ghosts)
Hatred (Mundane Society) (Major)
Infamous (Necromancer) (Mundane)


Artes Liberales to 1 (5xp)
Dead Language: Latin to 4 (50xp)
Draugrsjalfr Lore to 1 (5xp)
Finesse to 1 (5xp)
Magic Theory to 3 (30xp)
Parma Magica to 1 (5xp)
Penetration to 1 (5xp)

Muto to 4 (10xp)
Rego to 10 (55xp)

Corpus to 10 (55xp)
Herbam to 4 (10xp)
Mentem to 10 (55xp)
Terram to 4 (10xp)



CrCo 10 Charm Against Putrefaction
As per the spell on ArM5 pg 129
(Base 2, +1 Touch, +3 Moon)

InCo 15 The Graverobber's Aid
Per, Con, Smell
Allows the caster to smell the presence of corpses. The closer the caster gets, the stronger the smell.
(Base 4, +1 Con, +2 Smell)

ReCo 15 Ward Against the Walking Dead
Per, Sun, Ind
Protects the caster against any undead aligned with Corpus with a Might of 20 or lower.
(Base 5, +2 Sun)

MuIm 5 Conceal the Necromancer's Handiwork
Touch, Moon, Ind
Makes the target appear to be at least nominally alive. Closer inspection will likely reveal that there is something unnatural in nature, but it's enough to make inspection at a distance unlikely to reveal the undead nature of his draugr.
(Base 1, +1 Touch, +3 Moon)

ReIm 15 The Wizard Displaced
Per, Sun, Ind
As per the Wizard's Sidestep (ArM5 pg 147) except five paces, not one.
(Base 3, +2 Sun, +1 Move, +1 Change)

ReMe 15 Ward Against the Ghostly Apparition
Per, Sun, Ind
Protects the caster against any ghost with a Might of 20 or lower.
(Base 5, +2 Sun)

ReMe 30 Coerce the Fallen Dead
Voice, Moon, Ind
As per Coerce the Spirit of the Night (ArM5 pg 152), but Moon duration.
(Base 5, +2 Voice, +3 Moon)

ReMe 35 Summon the Fallen Dead
Arc, Mom, Ind
As per Incantation of Summoning the Dead (ArM5 pg 152), but non-ritual, making it only capable of summoning ghosts 'present' on Earth. Additionally, it's momentary, meaning that the ghost could leave if not otherwise restrained/compelled.
(Base 15, +4 Arcane Connection)

ReTe 10 The Ethereal Grave Digger
Touch, Con, Part
Allows the caster to move an amount of dirt as he sees fit. Domnall uses this spell primarily to exhume corpses that have been previously buried.
(Base 3, +1 Touch, +1 Concentration, +1 Part)
(Touch, Con, Part)

150/150 levels

Tadhg was a man of steel, unyielding in his demands and perfectly willing to test Domnall's mettle time and again, constantly pushing him to the brink of his abilities and beyond. With little patience for weakness or sentimentality, he slowly forged Domnall into someone worthy to stand amongst the Draugrsjalfr.

Domnall's training was notably different than that of a traditional Hermetic apprenticeship that would see an apprentice spend almost the entirety of their time at a single covenant and rarely if ever leave. Instead, the pair traversed the mist-shrouded isles of Hibernia and beyond, seeking out the restless dead that haunted the forgotten corners of the land. From the windswept cliffs of the Scottish Highlands to the ancient burial mounds of Ireland, they wandered, their footsteps guided by the whispers of ghostly ancestors and the echoes of long-forgotten battles.

As they traveled, they encountered the scattered remnants of their tradition, a handful of kindred spirits bound by blood and shared ancestry. Together, they exchanged knowledge and shared secrets. It was here, in the company of the Draugrsjalfr (and shielded by the Parma Magica), that Domnall found a sense of belonging that had long eluded him in the mundane world, allowing the young magus to form the sort of meaningful bond that had eluded him his entire life.

Domnall’s Macgnímartha emulated his apprenticeship as he continued to travel at length, raising draugr and binding the spirits of the dead, showcasing his growing mastery of the necromancy the Draugrsjalfr were known for.

So these seem to be variants of the usual Rego X Ward vs Realm guidelines, intending to be more focused (category: undead, instead of all things aligned with the Form) but not Realm specific?

Typo: Mom -> Ind.

Totally spaced there for a second and forgot to put in realms (would be magic as the vast majority of ghosts/undead tend to be magic). Probably because I think that the form wards shouldn't need realms unlike the realm specific Vim wards. But I digress.

That said, what the heck, what do folks think about condensed wards? That is to say, greatly lowering the scope of what's affected in order to ignore the need for specific realm versions? Clearly I'd be biased towards it ifor a number of reasons, but my opinion obviously doesn't matter much here.

Ack, good catch!

People have had time to comment here and it hasn't drawn attention. I do think that Undead is a narrower subset of "all things of the Form/Realm" enough to warrant it being a them across Realms, so the spells don't bother me.

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Thinking about pulling a few points in arts to give him the true names for a handful of ghosts. Nothing particularly crazy, think three or four. Nothing above might five, as that puts them in grog/extension of a player 'tier' as it were, given what @Vortigern stated about power levels and creatures of might earlier.

More or less trying to adapt something like the legionnaire template presented in HoH:TL to the actual RoP:M rules.

Wouldn't it be better then for him to have a handful of AC's? Between his ghostly mentor, Leadworker and perhaps a handful of teeth bones inherited from his master, he should have no trouble to create permanent connections to a few viking ghosts?

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I didn't want to make that assumption, even if I completely agree with you? That said, since you mentioned it... :wink: