Character Development

All three of you have given me ideas for characters. Let's hear some more details!


I'll be playing a hot damn mess of a Verditius-- excessive experimentation, has blown up her lab at least twice and, most recently, destroyed her entire covenant with an experimentation gone wrong. A little bit crazy; she experimented on binding her familiar.

Not sure what type of craftsman I'll be just yet, I'm thinking perhaps a jeweler or a glassworker.

Have you seen the Exciting Experimentation Flaw on pg. 26 of Magi of Hermes? It might be appropriate. Maybe you should take the lab in the deep cave, with 1,000 feet of solid rock between you and the rest of the covenant. :slight_smile:

Would anyone object to my bringing in Viola as one of the permanent staff? I hesitate to bring in someone from another saga (especially since doing so would help set the starting date), but I'm very attached to her, and I think she'd be good as a background character (I'd love to play her in an occasional story, but after all I'm the Alpha SG--and she was designed as an Alpha SG character).


I know her!

Aetos ex Bjornaer, first draft, at gauntlet

Concept: an Eagle magus who lives for and with birds
(ideas: Tolkien’s Radagast, Hitchcock, St. Francis)

Int +2 Per 0 Sta +2 Str +0 Com -1 Pre +2 Dex +0 Quk -1

Free: Eagle Heartbeast
3 Major focus birds (an expensive focus, but key to the character concept)
1 affinity animal (worth less xp than skilled teacher, but the right virtue for this guy)
2 unbound tongue (from HoH:MC, Bjornaerfrom HoH:MC, Bjornaer) + subtle magic (for my convenience)
1 pack leader (the eagle is the king of all animals)
1 inoffensive + alluring to animals (from HoH:MC, Merinita; a bird king should be loved by his people)
1 Animal Ken (a bird king should be able to talk to his subjects and other animals)
1 sensory magic (from HoH: MC, Bjornaer; something I’ve always wanted to experiment with; I’m planning to use it on large numbers of birds at the same time – commanding flocks)

3 Restriction (No bird present; assuming Heartbeast form counts as a bird present; that means in human form, magic doesn’t work unless the caster assumes bird form or can see/hear/smell another living bird with his normal human senses; magical items still work in human form).
3 Waster of Vis (a king is not stingy)
1 proud (royal)
1 dutybound: Help birds in need, eat no fowl, mediate conflicts between birds when asked
2 Limited Magic Resistance: Corpus and Mentem (focused more on his animal side; this is a cheap flaw – but Corpus and mentem are important ways of attacking sb)

Early Childhood:
German (Bavarian) 5
Athletics (Climbing) 2
Survival (Forest) 2
Brawl (dodge) 1
Awareness (movement) 1
Swim (river) 1

Childhood (Years 6+7):
Animal Handling (birds) 2
Animal Ken (Birds) 2
Folk Ken (Hunters) 1

Apprenticeship (100 xp skills and 140 xp arts):
Latin (hermetic) 4
Magic Theory (Animal) 3
Parma Magica (Ignem) 1
House Bjornaer Lore (rituals) 1
Artes Liberales (music) 1
Magic Lore (magic animals) 1

Cr 6 Re 7 An 14 Au 6

Spells (at or shortly after gauntlet)
Dealing with Animals/birds mostly (creating, healing, controlling)
One spell creating clothes (useful for Bjornaer Magi)
Do I need bird-specific spells or can they be applied to all kinds of animals (e.g. Heal bird vs Heal animal)?
Temperament spell(s) from HoH:MC
Auram spells: Jupiter’s Blow and Charge of the Angry winds (diameter duration), spells for offense and defense
Whispering winds
MuCo disguise spell
Wizard’s sidestep
Aura of Ennobled Presence

Pre-Game-Goals (worth about 350-400xp, plus about10-15 years to get the spells):
Increase Animal Ken/Handling to 5 each
Create Talisman that takes care of clothing questions (and changes with maga)
PM like the others, maybe 3 or 4?
Basic Order of Hermes, Codex of Hermes, Finesse, Penetration and Scribe skills, basic bargain and people skills (basic = 1 or 2)
Increase In Mu Pe He Vi to 5
Creo Ignem spell Brilliance of the Eagle’s Plumage, from HoH:Mc, Bjornaer
Incantation of Lightning (Creo + Auram = 25)
A spell that creates a flock of birds (Can magically created, non-permanent birds attack mundanely or are they blocked by Parma/Resistance?)
A spell that commands a flock of birds (using sensory magic)
A spell that heals humans (+x to recovery, unless possessed by s.o. else)
Ritual spells that increase an animal’s intelligence. (including mastery)
Get a Lvl 50 longevity ritual
Optional: Increase Vim

In game goals:
Creating a race of intelligent birds
Creating a nature preserve (Sign a treaty with other animal kings, fairies etc, discourage human settlement)
Acquiring books that allow raising the other arts to 5
Acquiring the Inner Mystery (to do that: Learn some Gothic and House Lore)

That would create a magus roughly about 25 years post gauntlet. Age gives a magus power – but the character is deliberately poorly balanced so he doesn’t become too powerful.

If you were thinking of a lower power level – please say so. I’d then give up the king of birds aspect and create a different magus.

I'm planning to play a Tremere scout immediately post-gauntlet. Will have a go at statting him up, and will try to post more details later today.

Is that good or bad? :slight_smile: I don't think she ever ticked off Marie, though.


He looks fine. I personally really don't mind any character who's high-level, as long as it's the result of having been around a long time.


As a magical focus, would glass be major or minor? What about gems or jewelry?

A first draft (comments welcome, especially as I've never played an Ars Magics character before, so am only guessing as to what works)

Gregorius filius Slyvanus doctrinae Tremendi

Age 27 (0 years post-gauntlet)


Int: +1 Per: +3 Pre: 0 Comm: 0 Str: -1 Sta: +1 Dex: 0 Qik: 0

Personality Traits: Idealistic: +2, Curious +3, Dutiful +1


The Gift (F)
Social Status: Magus (F)
Minor Magical Focus: Certamen (F)
The Gentle Gift (MH 3)
Puissant Finesse (mH 1)
Affinity with Finesse (mH 1)
Second Sight (mS 1)
Premonitions (mS 1)
Enduring Constitution (mG 1)
Skilled Parens (mH 1)
Nyktophylax (mH 1, from HoH: TL. Magic of sun duration fails at noon and midnight)


Driven: Serve the Order (MP 3)
Waster of Vis (MH 3)
Weak Enchanter (mH 1)
Creative Block (mH 1)
Unimaginative Learner (mH)
Magical Animal Companion (mS 1)


Native Language (of Translyvania) (Banter): 5 75
Guile (Not getting caught) 1 5
Folk Ken (Magi) 2 15
Awareness (searching) 3 30
Survival (Transylvania) 2 15
Stealth (Natural areas) 2 15
Athletics (running) 2 15
Swim (Rivers) 1 5
Hunt (tracking) 1 5
Second Sight (Regiones) 3 30
Premonitions (Allies) 3 30
Magic Lore (Creatures) 2 15
Order of Hermes Lore (Tremere) 1 5
Code of Hermes (Mundane relations) 1 5
Finesse (Aiming) 5+2 50->75 due to Affinity
Artes Liberales (Ceremonial Magic) 1 5
Latin (Hermetic Usage) 4 50
Magic Theory (Inventing Spells) 3 30
Parma Magic 1 (Corpus)

Cr: 0 In: 6 Mu: 0 Pe: 0 Re: 8
An: 0 Aq: 0 Au: 0 Co: 1 He: 0 Ig: 0 Im: 0 Me: 6 Te: 8 Vi: 5

Frosty Breath of the Spoken Lie (InMe 20) +13
Posing the Silent Question (InMe 20) +13
Call to Slumber (ReMe 10) +15
Aura of Rightful Authority (ReMe 20) +15
Ring of Warding Against Spirits (ReMe 20) +15
Ominous Levitation of the Weighty Stone (ReTe 15) +17 (From pg 38 of HoH: Societates. Lifts a stone at voice range for concentration duration, then drops it with an aiming roll)
Sling of Vilano (modified to do +15 damage) (ReTe 20: Base 15, +1 Touch) +17 (From pg 38 of HoH: Societates. Throw a stone so that it bypasses Parma but requires an aiming roll. Requires stone to be at touch range.)
Bitter Taste of Betrayal (InVi 15) +11 (from HoH: True Lineages pg 75. Creates a bitter taste in your mouth if you come under any magical effect, but provides no further information. Sun duration.)
Comfort of the Weary Travellor (ReIg 10) +8 (Custom. Keeps the magus' body at a comfortable temperature unless exposed to souces of heat/cold doing more than +5 damage. Base 5 (extrapolated control heat in a slightly unnatural fashion from control fire in a slightly unnatural fashion) +2 sun).

Gregorius was raised in a Tremere House Covenant in the Translyvanian tribunal, and has fond memories of the comeradie of other Tremere apprentices. He took to heart his House training - he sincerely believes that the Order is a force for order and good, and should be protected and improved, and that the way to improve it is to bring it more in line with Tremere doctrine.

His magical animal companion is the leader of the local pack of white wolves from his home covenant. Gregorius hopes to make him his familiar one day, but knows that his arts and magic theory will need considerable improvement first.

He looks good, but a few notes:

Keep in mind that a Major Personality Flaw is going to come into play a lot. If you're prepared for that, that's fine--just know what you're getting yourself into.

Overspecialized Arts are very common among new magi, though something you want to remedy in time. It's worth considering spreading them out a bit more, though. For example, the XP's it takes to go from 7 to 8 could give you 1's in eight different Arts, or 2's in two of them and 1's in two more. Mind you, that's less of concern if you're going to rely mainly on formulaics rather than sponts.

Especially since he's a Tremere, you need some background on his parens. What are the parens' motivations? Does he have his own sigil?

Ditto for the wolf: if he's the leader of the pack, why would he leave the pack to come here? What's his story? You also need to stat him out.

Finally, as a Tremere, you should pick a school of Certamen.

And by the way, what's "doctrinae Tremendi"? I haven't read the Tremere chapter in detail.


Those are both pretty narrow (all metal or all stone is Major, for example), so I'd say minor.


How does Exciting Experimentation work? I don't have that book.

It's a Minor Hermetic Flaw. When you experiment, you roll two dice on the Extraordinary Results Chart rather than one, and the SG picks "the more amusing". That's not, it's important to point out, the same as "the worst one", and personally I wouldn't want the Flaw to greatly lower the frequency of the "Discovery" result, or it would be worse than Minor for someone who does a lot of experiments.

I'm biased, though, because I gave it to Viola last month as part of a Major Virtue/Minor Flaw package after a visit to the Realm of Magic.


...Can I have a Forge Companion and a Venditor? How about a Failed Apprentice lab slave? :slight_smile:

And what should we assume is the average source quality for post-gauntlet advancement, if we're going season by season?

If I'm going to bring Viola into this saga, I need to go back and change a few things. One of them is anything involving her familiar, which affected one critical Lab Total (I need to know whether and how much the familiar can learn Magic Theory), but as I recall, after Experimentation, the total was considerably more than she needed anyway.

The original, ArM4 version of VIola included the Faerie-raised Merinita Virtue, which, as I recall, allowed her to divide by two when sponting without using Fatigue.

The saga in question was then converted to ArM5. With sponting as her schtick, I was disturbed to learn that ArM5 had no cool sponting Virtues (except Life-linked Spontaneous Magic, which I curiously overlooked until recently). The troupe ended up to agreeing to a Major Focus in sponting. This is half of what Diedne Magic does, but without the Dark Secret.

When I reconverted her (from the ground up, because the time she'd played under ArM4 had given her far too many XP's), for the Andorra saga, the SG wasn't keen on the Major Focus. I offered just to take Diedne Magic, but instead he had me take this Virtue:


Major Hermetic Virtue
To qualify for this Virtue you must have an extremely strong faerie nature. Examples include Faerie Blood, substantial Warping from a Faerie source, being bound by a Faerie Familiar, or the Inner Mystery of Becoming. All script variations for this mystery have one or more of these as a prerequisite. This and other new Arcadian Mysteries are available to Faerie magi outside of this group as well.
This Mystery taps into the power inherit in your Faerie nature, allowing you to handle magic with greater fluidity. When you cast a spontaneous spell without expending fatigue, you may choose to divide by five or by two. If you choose to divide by five, you need not roll a stress die, and cannot botch, just as normal. If you choose to divide by two, you must roll a stress die, and can botch.

This is obviously the same as the first half of Diedne Magic. He then had me initiate this as a Mystery:

Major Hermetic Virtue
This Inner Mystery is an extension of Innate Spontaneous Magic, and uses your Faerie nature to bring your Magical essence closer to the surface. The rationale is that you are mostly a faerie being that, because of your human blood, has the Gift of Magic. Other magi are humans who would otherwise be mundane if not for their magical Gift, just as you would be a full faerie if not for the dollop of human blood that allows you to have the Gift for Magic. It is the Mysteries of Faerie Magic allow you to harmonize the two forces, and for this reason this Mystery is incompatible with Becoming. You cannot be initiated into one if you already have been initiated into the other.
Because your magic is brought even closer to the surface, you can get greater potency out of your Spontaneous Magic. This doesn’t work with Formulaic spells because the magic has to be quick and impulsive, and for the same reason it won’t work with Ceremonial Casting. Whenever you expend fatigue on casting a spontaneous spell, the lowest applicable Art is doubled before the whole total is divided by two. You still roll a stress die, and may botch.

And that gives the second half of the Diedne Magic Virtue--so it's two Major Virtues instead of one, but without the included Major Flaw of Dark Secret, so I think it balances, and it is based on the pre-existing rules. Therefore, I don't feel bad about those two, but one of her Mysteries included an "Ordeal" that resulted in the Story Flaw Faerie Friend, whichi to me is a bit cheesy, and I think I'll replace that one with a real Flaw, or something. Another Ordeal produced this house-ruled Flaw:

Minor Hermetic Flaw
Whenever you roll a stress die for a magic roll, roll an extra die. If you roll a 0, you “botch” the spell as you would if you rolled a Weird Magic botch, but you get no Warping points for this botch, and it cannot trigger Twilight.

Harmless, but amusing, and I'd like to keep it. The "improvement" over Weird Magic is that the chance of having Weird Magic occur is 1/100, which is pretty pointless even for a minor Flaw--my original suggestion to the SG was to make the above rules the ones for Weird Magic, and maybe we could just do that.

Bleh...looking at her character sheet, I see that for some reason I ended up keeping, in essence, the ArM4 version of Faerie-raised Merinita, and which in effect (through a package of including Virtues and Flaws) gave her 13 points of V's and F's. I should probably fix that.

Any thoughts on all of this? OK, I'm babbling, but I need suggestions here. :slight_smile:

I might as well show the V's and F's she started with:

Major Hermetic Virtue
Faerie-raised Merinita
Strong Faerie Blood
Sidhe Beauty (+1 Presence, Eerie Beauty)
Natural Longevity (aging rolls start at 50 at -3)
Faerie Eyes (see in dark, Second Sight, strange eye color)
Faerie Lore
Innate Spontaneous Magic (divide spont rolls by 2 without fatigue)
Loose Magic
Weak Parens

Minor Virtues
Book Learner (+2 to book Study Totals)
Free Expression (+3 to rolls for new works of art)
Great Intelligence (+1 to Intelligence)
Inventive Genius (+3/+6 to Lab Totals for new creations)
Puissant Muto (+3 to Muto)
Student of Faerie (+2 to Faerie Lore)
Study Bonus (+2 to Art book and vis Study Totals)
True Friend (Constantine)

Major Flaws
Favors (to faeries in father's family)
Study Requirement

Minor Flaws
Driven (saving nature from the advance of man)
Small Frame (-1 to Size, 4-point wound increments)
Strange Magic (special “botch” die)

I suppose she could live without Free Expression, and perhaps Puissant Muto, but that wouldn't only bring the V's/F's down to 11. If I can get her down to 10, though, I can use one of the deleted Flaws--probably Loose Magic--to replace the Faerie Friend as the result of an Ordeal. Hm....


Curse you for making me read books again.

My opinions (keeping in mind that I'm not going to overrule a contrary consensus): A Forge-companion sure--as long as you can explain how you managed not to blow him up in the most recent disaster. A Venditor--fine in principle, but I can't see where you would have met one yet in the new location, and it might take some effort to make one useful if he's back at your old location. Are you wanting these as beginning Virtues, or something added later?

A lot of things listed a Virtues and Flaws can reasonably be added through play--Viola, for example, has what amounts to a Personal Vis Source--and I'm not sure how we should deal with these. Any ideas, anyone? Maybe they should come with accompanying Flaws, or maybe they should just take up a season of story in your past (but such a story likely got you XP's as well--in Viola's case, it took a season to investigate the vis source, a season for which she got only Exposure XP's, but that's still pretty cheap for 2-6 pawns of vis a year). Maybe we could limit such acquired Virtues, to, say, 1 point a decade, unless they're balanced by new Flaws.

As for the lab-slave...well, maybe you could convince someone to make him/her as a companion :slight_smile:. Or maybe make him as a "B-team" character, who can adventure when a story for your Verditius is stalled. It is a perq for the maga, but if you're willing to do some Beta SG'ing, I'm fine with that.


Oh, Source Quality....

For books, I'd say Quality 10 for Summae, or Quality 12 for Level 5 or lower, with Level 9 for Arts and Level 4 for Abilities. For Tractatus, use Quality 10, but limit yourself to two Tractatus on a given Art or Ability in a five-year period.

Teachers would depend on the Ability. How about this? Say, Com +2 and Teaching 5 for a professional, Com +1 and Teaching 3 for someone who's not really a professional teacher but is teaching a rare Ability. If you want a Teacher for any score over 5, it's going to be more difficult to find out. Note that you'll also have had to compensate the teacher in some way, depending on what you're learning and who you're learning it from, unless it's someone who would reasonably have been employed by a covenant (and that would likely cover, at most, Academic Abilities).


Portia Ennia filia Tacitus scholae Verditii

Daughter of a Venetian glassblower, it was no surprise to Tacitus when his young apprentice showed a great flair for glasswork. Tacitus himself is a weaponsmith and armourer of great skill; he turned his young apprentice's gift to craft labware for him, which she was more than happy to do.

Unfortunately, once Gauntleted, her cheerful demeanour and careless disregard for safety led to accident after accident. Much of the vis she made on commissions was spent on rebuilding her laboratory after experimentation disasters... twice. Both times she escaped unscathed, until most recently, when Portia's experimental disaster resulted in an explosion that caused the destruction of the entire covenant of Ingasia; the shockwave killed her apprentice, permanently damaged her hearing, and left her covered with burn scars. She was immediately assigned by Primus Stouritus himself, to the covenant of [xxx], on the very fringes of civilisation, where she could do as little harm to the House as possible.

She is embroiled in a Vendetta with Hagan of Oculus Serpentrionalis, foremost among German glassworkers, who resents the reputation of Venetian glassworkers and believes his work to be superior. No actions particularly started the vendetta; the two oppose each other simply because they are the two undisputed best at their craft, and neither has been successful at proving their work superior to the other's.

Maga Ennia prefers to be called by her birth name, Portia. She is accompanied by her best friend Galenus, a Caladrius introduced to her by Magus Aetos. Galenus' natural curiosity and compassionate nature make him the perfect match for his maga in the lab.

Age 45, Apparent Age 35, no Decrepitude
Longevity Ritual: -13
Warping: 2 (20)
Hubris: (in progress)

Int +5 (brilliant) Per -3 (distracted)
Str -2 (slight build) Sta 0
Pre 0 Com +3 (amiable)
Dex +2 (craftsman's hands) Qik 0

Virtues and Flaws:
Free: The Gift, Hermetic Maga, Verditius Magic
Standard Virtues: Great Intelligence x2, Affinity & Puissant Magic Theory, Affinity & Puissant Creo, Minor Magical Focus: Glass, Inventive Genius, Good Teacher, Skilled Parens
Standard Flaws: Vendetta, Spontaneous Casting Tools, Bound Casting Tools, Proud (major), Reckless, Exciting Experimentation
Gained Virtues and Flaws: Hermetic Alchemy, Items of Quality, Philosophic Alchemy (minor), Lesser Elixir; Hubris, Poor Hearing, Disfigured

Speak Italian (Venezia) 5
Folk Ken (magi) 2 (15)
Charm (witticisms) 2 (15)
Guile (lying to authority) 2 (15)
Speak Latin 5 (75)
Artes Liberales (ritual magic) 3 (30)
Philosophiae (Verditius Runes) 5 (75)
Magic Theory (enchanting items) 8 (120) +2
Craft: Glassworking (lab equipment) 6 (105)
Craft: Blacksmithing (tools) 5 (75)
Teaching (apprentices) 4 (50)
Parma Magica (corpus) 4 (50)
Finesse (Terram) 3 (30)
Order of Hermes Lore (House Verditius) 2 (15)
House Verditius Lore 2 (15)

Cr 24 (200) +3, In 5 (15), Mu 5 (15), Pe 5 (15), Re 5 (15)
An 5 (15), Aq 5 (15), Au 5 (10), Co 10 (55), He 5 (15), Ig 10 (55), Im 5 (15), Me 5 (15), Te 10 (55), Vi 14 (105)

Heat of the Searing Forge, CrIg10 CT +32
Craftsman's Eye, InTe20 (senses all mundane properties of an object; used to detect craftsmanship flaws) CT +15
Laboratory of Bonisagus, CrTe35 (creates a complete laboratory with Superior Equipment, Superior Tools, and Spotless) CT +56
Laboratory of Verditius, CrTe45 (creates a complete laboratory with Flawless Equipment, Flawless Tools, and Spotless) CT +56
Glass That Breaks No More, ReTe35 (base 4, +2 Voice, +3 Moon, +2 Group/Room) Ceremonial CT +29
Ambulatory Laboratory, ReTe30 Ceremonial CT +29
Ward Against Heat and Flames, ReIg25 CT +15
Aegis of the Hearth, ReVi40 Ceremonial CT +28 (The Aegis has a Side Effect yet to be determined - either major side benefit or a minor side effect.)

Galenus, the Caladrius
Lab Total: Creo Vim 72
Gold: 4, Silver 1, Bronze 2
Int +3, Per +2, Pre +1, Com -2, Str -4, Sta +3, Dex +1, Qik +2
Athletics (flying) 3, Awareness (food) 4, Brawl (dodge) 2, Ignem Resistance (solar heat) 4, Magic Theory (enchanting items) 3 (32), Survival (wetlands) 3
Healing Gaze (CrCo40), Perceive the Afflictions of Mortal Flesh (InCo25)
During the season Portia spent improving his bond to make him impervious to fire, there was a disaster, resulting in the destruction of Ingasia, killing her apprentice and countless covenfolk. Galenus only survived due to Portia's Parma and his innate resistance to Ignem.

Talisman: Bronze Glassblower's Pipe (max capacity: 41, 5 used). Attunements: +3 Terram, +3 controlling glass
Venetian's Wrath, CrIgTe25 (creates a ball of molten glass that strikes a single target for +20 damage), 50/day, 38 Penetration. (Level 50; Lab Total 102)
(Experimentation-- No extraordinary effects or special/story event.)

In order to not hurt my brain too much, I just assumed vis made from making lab equipment for people, and vis she spent on enchanting her talisman and familiar, ended up as a wash.