Character Development: Magus Dubhthach an t-Éigse Measceal (Player: Emelric)

And off ya go mate! Let us know if you have any questions or need any help!

How are things going @Emelric ?

If you are thinking about something in particular, just post it here and we'll be glad to discuss and attempt to help you refine your ideas and/or build.

Thanks for setting up the thread!

First, in case anyone else needs help with the name, like I did, you can hear it pronounced here.

Thinking more about the magical focus in obfuscation (destroying and concealing information), here is a more detailed proposal for the scope that I would like to make sure everyone agrees with. It covers many Arts, so I'm worried it's too broad.

  1. Destroy information
  • PeIm efffects to destroy species
  • PeAn/He/Te to destroy books, written information (not planning to do much/any of this)
  • PeMe to destroy memories, thoughts, and diminish mental capacity
  • PeVi to destroy magical information (sigils, traces)
  1. Conceal information
  • Mu/ReMe to change memories, distract, direct away
  • MuVi to shroud magic
  • CrAu to obscure vision
  • CrIm to obscure senses
  • ReIm to shift images
  • PeIg to hide in darkness

Does not cover disguising - making a thing look/sound/smell/taste/feel like something else.

Moving on to the next area, here are some ideas for virtues and flaws of the Tradition of which he is a member:

  • Major supernatural virtue (in place of ability): perhaps Giant Blooded, or Ways of the (Land). I'm also considering 3X Voice of the (Land) [RoP:M 47], for three different lands like Mountain + Forest + Lakes, if that would be allowed, as it fits with the druid archetype.
  • Minor Hermetic Virtue: depends somewhat on the scope of the Major Magical Focus. Maybe Affinity with Pe, if the scope is limited to just Destroy Information. I also think Watching Spells [Rival Magic 74] could be an interesting ability, if it's an option at all?
  • For the Major Hermetic Flaw of the tradition, I'm considering Chaotic Magic, a Deficient Technique (perhaps Intellego, since it's the antithesis of destroying information), or Waster of Vis.

Here is a "short" list of other potential virtues and flaws
(1) Warrior
(1) Puissant (Weapon)
[These two virtues came through his Macgnimartha, which he spent in a Faerie regio in search of a weapons mentor. He found one (Lugh? Manannan mac Lir? Faerie Scathach?) who taught him combat over the course of some time that passed slowly in the mundane world (e.g., 3 years in the regio lasting only 3 months in the mundane world), in exchange for something tbd - see potential flaws below] What are everyone's thoughts on mixing martial with magic? Has anyone tried it before?
(1) Improved Characteristics
(1) Side effect: creates the image of impenetrable mist surrounding the target that dissipates after a diameter; the image is not disturbed by wind or movement
(1) Familiarity with the Fae

(-3) Driven - expel continental/English magi from Ireland
(-3) Hatred - besiegers of Praesis = slayers of master & sibling
(-3) Plagued by supernatural entity - Faerie weapons mentor, who continues to challenge him, or maybe Dubhthach didn't live up to the terms of their deal
(-1) Exciting experimentation [MoH 26]
(-1) Incompatible Arts
(-1) Unpredictable magic
(-1) Prohibition that came from deal with Faerie mentor
(-1) Compulsion - hide things (though that may get annoying quickly)

Lastly, here are some ideas on the origins and history of the Tradition

  • Were originally a group of druids in southwestern Ireland. Haven't thought too much beyond that, until the scope of the focus is defined. For example, if it's just Conceal Information, then they, as legend has it, may have learned magic from Manannan mac Lir, the master concealer himself.
  • Using their exceptional ability to conceal, members of the Tradition hid from Diedne during her druid-killing pogrom, though not all escaped.
  • Eventually tired of hiding, and upon formation of House ex Misc., they reached out to Pralix to seek protection and so joined the Order
  • After an initial period of significant involvement in Hermetic society, including fighting against House Diedne during the Schism, magi of the tradition have pulled back and become reclusive, retreating into the wilderness and only emerging, begrudgingly, when absolutely necessary to maintain their standing in the Order.
  • In the recent past, Dubhthach and his pater have become abnormally integrated into Hermetic society compared to other members of the tradition, for reasons tbd

I feel like your MMF description would include anamorphs and diminished mental capacity as described in HoH:S p.65-66, but I don't see those in your lists. Do you want to add them to your lists?

Makes sense to me, so seconded. It's a major after all.

I would also include the destruction of thoughts, as a parallel to the destruction of memories.

I believe we should focus on nailing down an idea of your hedge tradition first. Defining it story-wise and mechanically before proceeding.

We need a name, a sense of their teachings/culture and origins, and what kind of magic they study/produce.

It seems like you would like to make the Obfuscation Magic a significant element of the whole tradition rather than something that your character in particular is good at? Or a bit of both?

Since this came up recently for someone else making a tradition I'll copy directly what I asked them.

Re: Tradition Major Virtue

I will give this some thought. However I strongly prefer that such a selection be reflective of the culture and magic of the tradition, so it will help direct this choice to fill in the story material regarding the tradition first.

Re: Tradition Minor Virtue

I tentatively suggest Sensory Magic (HoH: MC, pg 27), as it could be rather useful in engaging in deception/obfuscation I think. It would also lend itself to a more Druidic/Bardic type of magical culture in various ways.

Re: Watching Spells

Very briefly ... the 5e guidelines don't explicitly require a ritual for such effects in the guideline. But the only example spell we have of such effects is a ritual. And people argue about what this means. I lean more towards the side that if the guideline doesn't explicitly say Ritual (as many do) then a Ritual isn't required. And the subsequent material such as that referenced with Virgilians then is in error based on assumptions carried over from past editions.

I added destruction of thoughts and diminishing mental capacity to the lists above (thank you for the suggestions). Are Anamorphs more of a disguise though, and would therefore not be in scope? The example suggests it.

I've come up with a description of the Tradition origins. Please let me know if I should flesh anything out further. I'm not, however, much closer in finding a way to describe it mechanically, as none of the Major Supernatural Abilities/Virtues I've found seem like a good fit. Happy to take suggestions if the below text inspires any.

The Muintir Folaithe
Long before the Romans came to Britain, a tribe of giants built a castle of massive stones for Arawn ap Nudd, the master of Annwn and the Wild Hunt. In return, Arawn granted them the magic of concealment, the same that he applied to his new castle, to hide themeselves from mankind who were becoming more numerous. Feeling well-rewarded, the tribe of giants (who now called themselves the Muintir Folaithe) wandered until they found a secluded valley at the foot of Yr Wyddfa in Wales. Here they lived comfortably, filling the valley with impenetrable magical mist to remain undisturbed. Until the Romans came. Priests among the invaders dispelled the mist and the giants were forced to flee their idyllic home. They travelled west, across the sea and to the deeply cleft coast of southwestern Ireland. There, among the cliffs of the Dingle Peninsula, they found a new haven to veil with concealing mists.

Generations passed and the giant blood of the Muintir Folaithe became diluted, though the concealing magic persisted. The tribe mingled more with mundane folk, and discovered new means of concealment, including affecting the mind directly. The ability to destroy memories gave rise to an ill-fated but well-meaning movement to ease the anguish of those who had experienced traumatic events. But after word of the "memory takers" spread too widely, paranoia set in - if these wizards and witches could destroy bad memories, what prevents them from erasing more, or controlling people entirely? A mob formed and not wanting to resort to mass amnesia, the Muintir Folaithe allowed themselves to be driven away to avoid further fear and hate from growing. They hid again, on the remote western peninsulas and islands of Ireland.

Until another invader came - the Diedne. Just as with the Roman priests, it wasn't possible to hide completely from this foe either. The Muintir Folaithe scattered, trying to confound the hunt. But most of them were found anyway and either killed or absorbed into House Diedne. A small group managed to reach Inish Mhic Aoibhleain, with a pursuing boat of Diedne having been wrecked by a sudden storm. A decade later, tired of their huddled existence on the weather-beaten island, the remainder of the Muintir Folaithe returned to the main island to find a new group of magi recruiting the Gifted of Ireland, and they promptly joined what would become House ex Miscellanea, for safety. As part of the Order and no longer a tribe, the Muintir Folaithe fragmented completely, spreading through out the British Isles. Individual magi still skilled in the magic of concealment passed on their focus to apprentices and also taught them the lessons of a folk almost wiped out because of running away on their own instead of standing fast together with like-minded others. These lessons are still appreciated by the descendants of the Muintir Folaithe who are alive in the year 1220 AD.

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I like what you've got so far!

Obviously Giant Blood is apt. Heck, I'd even be amenable to a magic realm version of Strong Faerie Blood, albeit with Magic Human if you didn't love Giant Blood mechanically speaking for the tradition.

Beyond that... maybe some version of Whistle up the Winds but with clouds (namely after the fog/mist, but still)?

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?

My general take on the tradition as presented is that you see them as a group specializing in similar obfuscation magic as to what you see your character performing. Just heavily influenced/aspected by the theme of magical mist and fog. Is that accurate?

I think I'm leaning towards writing something up regarding the mist/fog as a known magical happening of Hibernia. Do you have any sources/citations you'd care to share (since you've already been reading up on such) to influence that writeup and make it appropriate thematic?

The writeup for the tradition however needs to focus on both what kind of magic do they do and then who are they from a social and cultural perspective. What makes them distinct as a magical lineage / magical tradition, from anyone else who could practice magic that may or may not be aimed at doing similar things?

Ok, here are some answers and additional ideas for those specific points.
The name, Muintir Folaithe = Irish for "Hidden Folk"; Muintir = folk/people, Folaithe = concealed/hidden

What magic do they do?
Throughout the history of the Tradition, while the focus in obfuscation has remained the same, the means by which things are obfuscated has evolved:

  1. Initially, only used magical mists = CrAu effects to conceal
  2. Then developed Mentem magic to destroy and control thoughts and memories for concealment
  3. After joining the Order, incorporated Imaginem effects to use species to conceal and Vim effects to hide information about magic

What do they believe and teach?

  1. Magic should be hidden from mundanes
  2. It is better to fight than to run - become strong enough to stand on your own, but also look for and cultivate allies
  3. That which has been taken from the dispossessed should be returned (anti-English, pro-Hibernia)
  4. Information/knowledge is valuable and should be denied to one's enemies, but only destroyed completely as a last resort

Regarding what further sets the Muintir Folaithe apart from others, I'm thinking of going with a warrior/military aspect. During the Schism War, when belief 2 was put to the test in particular, magi of this tradition were effective in combat - concealing troop movement, ambushes, assassinations, infiltration, and reconnaissance. Given their long history of being displaced by stronger foes, I'm imagining that the tendency to prepare for conflict has not diminished in the ~200 years since the Schism. Plus they live in Ireland.

As for sources that mention magical mist, here is one describing a fog that causes Finn and Dara to become lost (warning, it's an rtf file). Also some versions of the Children of Lir describe a mist appearing when the children are changed into swans and back to humans again, which combines the mist with a transforming effect. In stories about Tir na nOg, mist is often what divides or hides the Otherworld from the mundane world. I'll look for some more references tomorrow.

The examples of different Flambeau concepts in the Character Creation thread have helped me see how what I've provided so far for the Muintir Folaithe isn't up-leveled enough. When I started thinking bigger picture, with the currently stated emphasis on concealment and value placed on information plus espionage/military, it wasn't compelling to me anymore - I realized that I can't entirely get behind playing an Irish ninja.

So I've come up with a pivot that gives what I think is a more compelling Tradition, and that draws on more of their origins: the fundamental goal of the Muintir Folaithe is to serve as protectors. They strive to protect people, their environment, and their knowledge. They value history and culture, their own and of those around them, and take action to prevent its loss at the hands of destructive invaders. To achieve these goals, they leverage their mastery of concealment and Terram magic, along with stone-related crafting skills (like building fortifications). And the reason that they strive to protect is because they believe firmly in the right of self-determination, and that it should not be denied to others, provided that they in turn do not deny it to others.

Does this fill in what's been missing?


I'm kind of leaning here for a Major Virtue for the tradition unless there is a solid proposal for doing something else. A Magic Human lineage is kind of what I think seems to fit this the most, as a magical tradition originally composed of a magic human tribe.

The minor, if they are a tradition focused on being defenders and/or cultural types could be a variety of things including something emphasizing their chosen magical combat school in the way of the Flambeau. That could be something like Warrior, or Puissant Terram for example. Puissant Terram as a tradition virtue might also emphasize that aspect of their magical lineage.

Did you settle on a Major Flaw that you feel goes well thematically with all of this?

I'm very much hoping we've got ourselves a little Hermetic architect on our hands! Not only is it handy on a variety of levels, but could certainly explain how things were constructed/excavated so quickly. Even if your magus doesn't do it all, having a pater with that potential skill set opens a lot of doors.

Yeah, as I said, I'm all for reskinning Strong Faerie Blood. Pick a minor supernatural virtue that you feel is fitting (though I like Second Sight given their focus in obscuring magic and the like), and it's a pretty easy port. Unless you've found something you like better? Way of the Land is certainly an option, especially with the Terran focus.

Yes I think it's heading that way, and I like everyone's suggestions so far. thank you.

Here is a list of Virtues and Flaws I'm considering:

Tradition Virtues and Flaw
(0) Strong Magic Blood: descendent of the Muintir Folaithe giants

  • -3 to aging rolls, which start at age 50
  • Second Sight
  • Strength +1 from the giant aspect

(0) Affinity with Terram
(0) Necessary condition: touching stone

(0) The Gift
(0) Hermetic Magus
(1) Minor magical focus: concealment of information only, not destruction
(1) Improved Characteristics
(1) Warrior
(1) Puissant [Weapon, tbd]
(1) Familiarity with the Fae
(These three are from his Macgnimartha, during which he struck a bargain with a Faerie weapons master)
(1) Puissant Finesse - from practice with architectural details
(1) Subtle magic - From trying to make it less apparent to others, especially mundanes, that he is casting a spell, in accordance with the tenets of his Tradition. Also, using his hands to shape stone, and therefore not make the canonical gestures, is a major part of how he learned Terram magic
(3) Gentle Gift - seems appropriate that his Gift is concealed from others

(-3) Driven: protect Hibernian Tribunal from invading forces (more Hermetic/supernatural than mundane, but still does what he can to help the Irish over the English, Code-permitting)
(-3) Plagued by supernatural entity: Faerie weapons master still tests him regularly
(-1) Temperate - avoids doing things that will make it harder to guard his thoughts
(-1) Disjointed magic - still working on the explanation for this one
(-1) Stockade Parma Magica - once raised, protections should not be lowered
(-1) Warped magic: I'm thinking of taking the mist side effect proposed by callen and making it have negative consequences instead. Spell targets are obscured / blinded by mist (which is also his sigil) that persists and is sized proportional to spell magnitude, so they can't be targeted for subsequent spells, or interacted with except by feel. Second Sight can see through it, but the ease factor would also scale with magnitude. Is that a significant-enough consequence?

Awesome, happy to be of service, and glad you're liking where things are headed!

If I'm being honest, I've never particularly loved this for a mage character. Always a ton of other things I'd rather take. That said, I'd consider maybe something like Unaging, Alluring to Faeries, Cautious with Finesse and or Single Weapon (I'm rather partial to both actually)... I could go on. But hey, as I said, that's just my two cents. To each their own!

Beyond that, I think I see where you're headed, and I'm quite curious to see how the rest of the build comes together!

I would concur with the recommendations made (particularly Alluring to Faeries & Cautious: Finesse to synergize with your current choices). Overall I think you have something rather flavorful going here.

A couple of points.

I won't say Improved Characteristics is worthless for getting a build started how you want... but it can be eclipsed as play continues due to stat increase magic being something that exists. And something that lends itself directly into your magic is harder to get later.

Plagued By Supernatural Entity is flavorful if you want this kind of Faerie Mentor showing up and making life "interesting" which ... is interesting. It gives me the impression of a very intense and demanding immortal faerie master warrior who expects perfection before he is going to hand down his kung fu from atop the mountain. :ninja:


Thanks for the recommendations - I'll swap out Improved Characteristics with Cautious Sorcerer (which seems more impactful than Cautious Finesse, and also fits with the type of personality that is forming in my mind for him).

But other than that I'm good to go with the stated list of virtues and flaws, pending any other feedback.

I'll start writing out his background next, reformatting it later once it's all done and approved. Here's the first installment for his:

Early Childhood
Fáelán MacKenna grew up among the woods, hills, and lakes of what is now Glanteenassig Forest, on the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry. His family were shepherds for as long as anyone could remember, and along with the other folk in the area were largely left to themselves, which they appreciated. Less appreciated, since they were unaware of it, was that their freedom was thanks to the protection provided by the Muintir Folaithe - elusive giants who live on the mist-shrouded mountain ridges to the east, the tallest of which was named after St. Brandon. These giants are skilled shapers of stone and it's said that if you can find it within the thickest mists, their ring fort, filled with intricately carved houses and Ogham stones, is a marvel to behold. A few other stories about the giants had also trickled down to reach Fáelán's folk, such as how they would come to the lower lands in search of certain children and carry them off. Not to be eaten, fortunately, but to be instructed; in what, though, nobody can quite remember. It has been ages since the giants had last come to the area where Fáelán lives. The most recent visit was actually to the west of the mountains, about a three-day's hike away and over 40 years ago, and nobody from Fáelán's area knew who it was that was taken anyway. So it was all simply relegated to fable status in everyone's mind. Thus, Fáelán spent the first five years of his life in relatively idyllic conditions, filling his imagination with the tales told by his elders, getting to hold baby lambs, and dealing with the occasional hard winter and consistently troublesome siblings.

Gaelic (Munster): 5
Athletics (climbing): 2
Awareness (searching): 2
County Kerry Lore (Giants): 1
Survival (forest): 1
Swim (lakes): 1

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Later Years (ages 6-12, 105 xp)
Fáelán's childhood progressed unremarkably for the son of a shepherd, until his Gift began to awaken. The Muintir Folaithe blood he had inherited began granting him abilities as he aged - he became stronger than most boys his age, he began to see things that others couldn't, and he was uncannily adept at avoiding detection during games of hide and seek. Inspired by the ancient Ogham stones found throughout the Dingle Peninsula, he somehow was able to inscribe designs into stone using just his fingers. As he developed these abilities, it dawned on him that he was unique among those he knew, and he strove to keep the abilities hidden so that he seemed normal. For example, when his brother found the perfectly spherical, pea-sized stones he had shaped, and asked what they were and how they had become so round, Fáelán claimed that they were like that when he unearthed them, and that they must be the hardened dingleberries from some ancient animal. Given where they lived, this explanation was exceedingly acceptable and prompted much laughter.
It was harder to explain away the giant who came to his home. Standing a respectful distance from the doorway, the giant greeted Fáelán when he emerged from the house one morning, after seeming to materialize directly from the particularly heavy mist that was present. In a rumbling voice that could be felt as well as heard, the giant introduced himself as Mull of Mount Brandon, and asked Fáelán to summon his father and mother. The family now assembled, Mull delivered his proposal: to teach Fáelán the ways of the tribe of giants known as the Muintir Folaithe, to which Fáelán was tied by blood (and here he provided longwinded genealogical traceability through Fáelán's mother's side). The instruction would require Fáelán to be absent from the sheep farm for several seasons, and perhaps years depending on how far he progressed. As recompense, the family would be provided unobtrusive support in their labors by at least one member of the tribe. Fáelán's parents were reluctant to accept, for they loved their son and did not wish him gone. The giant spoke to the rarity of the opportunity he offered, and the potential of their son to elevate his fate and to achieve great things, should he prove capable. This swayed Fáelán's parents to accept. After several days of farewells, Fáelán accompanied Mull to the ring fort of the Muintir Folaithe, where he spent several years learning the lore and philosophy of the giants, and strengthening his ties to his magical abilities.

New Abilities
Animal handling (sheep): 1
Second Sight (faeries): 3
Stealth (natural areas): 2
Brawl (wrestling): 1
Magic Lore (creatures): 2
Bargain (food): 1
Ride (speed): 1
Survival (forest): 1 --> 2
Folk Ken (peasants): 1
Faerie Lore (faerie forests): 1 (5)

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