Companion discussion thread

Companions are an important part of the game, and as I indicated I wanted players to creat a companion for another player's magus. Once magi/maga have been posted, this can be a discussion amongst the troupe about companions and their magi. Throw out ideas of what you want for your magus, or what you'd like to do with a companion and see what may come.
Keep in mind your companion may end up seeing much more action than your magus, if you're up to playing him in multiple threads more or less simultaneously.

Now that some of the magi are starting to take shape, I thought I'd start up some discussion on this thread.

Here are a few ideas for anyone who wants to make a companion to hang out with Iosephus. They're just suggestions meant to spark creativity - not demands! :smiley:

  • For my 4 grogs, I was thinking of making a poor Welsh family who've been thrown out of their village for some (probably supernatural) reason. Iosephus (personality flaw: "compassionate') has taken pity on them, and decided to bring them to the covenant as his retinue of grogs, so they can start a new life. A fifth member of the family - maybe the head of the family? the black sheep of the family? - could make a good companion, if someone wanted to do that.

  • Maybe a better idea: I was also thinking it would really suit my idea of the character if Iosephus had a best friend (or someone even closer) who he's known for a very long time. In past decades, they haven't seen each other much - Iosephus has mostly lived alone in a remote cave, after all - but they're still very close. Now Iosephus' decision to leave his cave in Wales and move to Bibracte has given them the opportunity to live closer together, in the same covenant. The best friend would make a great companion; and could be pretty much anything.

So - anyone else have thoughts on the companion issue?

Just to goose the issue...

We have a turb general (Alexei, qcipher), an elementalist on a spiritual journey (Iosephus, Jonah), an artificer of fine woodworking (Onesiphorus, Mad Max), a Transfigurationist expert in potions (Fiona, Peregrine_Bjorner) and an as yet unnamed and unknown nature magus (zlorfik).

Think about companions that might go well with them, and proceed accordingly. It's a decision between players as to what happens here.

Silviatos, which will be the name of my magus, will definitely have a familiar for quite some time when he comes to the covenant and that familiar will accompany him on most any journey he will undertake. If someone would like to fully flesh this out and play it, that could work. I had that idea amongst others because a) i know Realms of Power has extensive rules on how to create magical animals, b) i read those once but i dont own the book or have access to it now, so c) someone who has the book might be able to create a much more detailed character than i could. That would of course only work if our GM has that book too.
I was thinking about either a squirrel or a stag, but it could be just about any forest animal. I think i would veto a bear though as too big and not suited.

Also i am toying with the idea of Silviatos having an apprentice when the game starts. As Jonathan wrote, he would only have started his apprenticeship maybe 2 or 3 years ago, so he would be quite inexpirienced. But that can be a nice change too. So if anyone wants to play him, we can talk about what you would like and what kind of apprentice Silviatos would have taken.

I can get books. I had been holding off on purchases mainly because I was finding little interest in my RL attempts at a saga, so I stopped buying sourcebooks.

The idea behind a companion is that it's the face you present to the mundane world. He's your agent, if you will. Obviously, companions can be different, but The Gift does have a price, and if you have an animal companion it'll push you further away from the mundane world. I can see this as not being a bad thing for a nature based magus. It might make it tougher for another player to make a companion for you, though.

One of the interesting things about Alexei's needs for a Companion is that as a magus he is in the strange position of being socially acceptable. He has the Gentle Gift and when he casts spells he doesn't need words or gestures. In fact usually the only indication that he's cast a spell is the effects of the spell itself (which is not immediately apparent in many cases as most of his spells are buffs of a non-obvious nature), and a genuinely pleasant feeling after the spell is cast. This might lead to a situation where people that know of him actually ask to have spells cast on them.

Plus he's more than capable of fighting in melee combat, both in skill, gear and spells. Not sure what means for a Companion for him though.

So, are you bowing out of being playing a companion and/or wanting one? The companion may be involved in multiple stories within a year (I'm not sure how we'll work out the details of advancement, but I have some ideas on that). While it is true you are gently gifted, having a companion affords a magus to be in multiple places at once, after a fashion. My idea is that they represent your Magus' interests. Having another player brings that element of unpredictibility, and creates opportunities for misunderstanding that wouldn't easily occur if the player is running his own companion.

Purely speculating, but based on what I see so far:
I can see Mad Max perhaps wanting a member of minor nobility, acting as a factor trying to sell his wares.
Your character might want a knight or some other martial companion of chivalrous nature.
Jonah's character might not need a companion except to give orders, I can see his character creeping out the covenfolk, because when he's corporeal he's got tatoos everywhere and if he isn't, he'll scare the bejeezus out of them. He might need an autocrat as his companion, just to effectively deal with people. And that companion character will likely have something to do in ever season, with every magus.
i'm having more trouble with Silviatos and Fiona.
Silviatos mentioned a familiar companion, and while I'm not against it, it's a decision he needs to make as to how far from the mundane world his character is cut off from. And then is there a player who's interested in doing something like that? I'm all for writing involving that character. an apprentice is interesting, too, but I think I was clear (and if I wasn't, I'll try to be now) that this is in addition to the companion character. By and large the apprentice won't do much except what his master tells him to do.

No, not bowing out at all, it's just that his needs for a companion might be different than other magi. One thing i was thinking of would be something like an Agent or something, someone who manages his affairs a bit. Even though he's subtle and gently gifted, the order decrees separation.

It could be a long standing campaigner friend of his or something too maybe. It's hard to say really. I'm open to suggestions if anyone has a strong concept in mind for a magus like Alexei.

In my experience, advancement for a companion is mostly a non-factor. Most if not all companions i created so far where "complete" at start of game when you only look at their scores. Sure, you can increase his main ability from 6 to 7 over time, but that hardly matters. So at least for me, advancement of my companion is probably something that can be handwaived on a low level.
Unless it is an apprentice of course.

That's kind of what I was planning on. It might be that a companion secures some funds for some training for a season, once in a while, but by and large, any active advancement of abilities will likely come from practice, which is meh.

Fwiw, here's a little more info on Fiona's recent history, in case it inspires anyone for companion-creation: She's spent her entire life since her gauntlet in a deep winter covenant (Insula Canaria) on Loch Ness. Insula Canaria has been conservative, to the point of stagnation. They now exist merely for the sake of their own existence, maintaining the status quo within itself. Nothing fact, Fiona was the last magus admitted to the council, and they have yet to recognize her status as a Master as opposed to a Journeyman, they have refused to allow her to bond with a familiar, nor to take an apprentice (this last being a catch-22...they refuse to allow her to take an apprentice until she is recognized as a Master, but they refuse to recognize her status as a Master). She finally had enough, got the invitation to form the new covenant at Autun, and has decided the time has come to move on. (This is also why she has a new shield grog, as opposed to another one...the Council has prohibited her from taking anything from Insula Canaria that she did not create or purchase, or otherwise acquire, herself)

It's possible that a Companion-level character has also had enough of the stodginess and has decided to come with her.

In an unrelated vein...for some reason it didn't occur to me to make character-specific companions, even though my first Companion was my magus's brother (in the first Ars game I played). After that, it had always been companions were either stand-alone or associated with the Covenant somehow.

As I type this, it occurs to me that I can make a hunter/woodsman type to go along with Silviatos, maybe?

Both of these companion characters sound like great fun - I'd be really happy to do either (or both, if it comes to that! But that's not going to be necessary...)

I was thinking that, since my magus is a total pacifist, it might be fun to play a companion character who is a bit more combat-focussed.

Peregrine, any chance Fiona wants a shield-companion instead of, or in addition to, her shield-grog? That sounds like a lot of fun - I like your character concept a lot.

(I like Alexei a lot too - particularly his personality, which I think I can imagine my way into already. But he's a pretty deadly fighter, so playing a really combat-focussed character around him seems like a recipe for being upstaged at every turn! Though I guess it also gives the fighting companion the opportunity to get into more fighting-focussed stories, which would obviously be good)

Companions often get upstaged in certain ways I suppose. There also has to be certain commonalities and differences to make their relationship work. An interesting idea just occured to me. What if Alexei's companion is technically his prisoner? Someone he beat or captured, someone with a great sense of honor and actually follows or accompanies Alexei because those are the terms of his capture? Someone that might not like Alexei overly much (but may come around in time)? Tha could be interesting maybe.

If he was a great fighter that would make for a cool relationship I think.

I'll pm you and Jonathan.Link with what I had in mind for her shield grog...I think it might actually work better as a shield-companion, but it would probably have to be approved by the SG.

I don't have any compaints about any of the ideas I've heard.

I have a hunch that companions may get played more often than magi in many instances. Running concurrent stories for magi will create opportunities for companions in lots of different places where they can represent their magus' interests. Even if your magus isn't involved in a particular thread your companion could be. And it could be that a player running a companion and magus has those two characters at odds with each other, based on orders from their magus. Great opportunities for roleplaying abound. Companions bring their own story flaws, which bring opportunties to request help from a magus, bringing magi out of the covenant more often, should the/a magus decide to assist them. And companions will have their own desires and goals. If they conflict with their magus, at times, all the better.

In that case, I'll go ahead and lay formal claim to the woodsman/hunter companion to go with Silviatos.

Zlorfik, if there's anything that you think needs to be included or accounted for in the character, let me know. I'm assuming that he's probably German, since you mentioned Guardians of the Forest earlier. Hmmmmm...strokes his chin thoughtfully

Just an FYI, zlorfik, you're not required to take a companion like that. If it works for you, it's cool. If not, that's fine, too.

Sure its cool. Mundane interaction will not be Silivatos' forte so a companion cant be bad.

Silviatos will be of german origin, but there is no need for the companion to be an old friend of him, he could just as well be from the area. Silviatos will learn or have learned some french anyway (assuming that simply "french" is the local language).
Silviatos is a pagan, so your companion should not be a devout christ. Crossing himself in face of unseen wonders is ok, but lectures on the wickedness of Silviatos' ways will not be acceptable :wink:
Also keep in mind that his approach to the forest is an approach of fostering and protecting, not of exploiting.
Anything else i think can be worked out.

It is helpful if their is history between the magus and companion, the main reason is the Gift's effect on interactions. If you're new to each other, even if the companion character is experienced with Magi, he's still going to mistrust or misunderstand your statements in the least favorable way. This kind of relationship can be a great experience, but I wasn't sure you was getting that signal from you. Also, the companion is there to carry your water amongst mundane society, which becomes more difficult if he doesn't know you very well.

The pagan thing is not a big deal, unless you're trying to conduct some pagan ritual in Autun. It is presumed that pagan Magi are discreet, those in France even moreso. As to the language, yes, we'll call it French, Peregrine and I are already playing a game where language is a significant barrier to communication, and having characters know three or four languages isn't all that unusual. Some characters might know just one or two, and getting through to them can be challenging. Fun though, but I'm not playing up the language aspect. If you go someplace else, say Iberia, you'll have some communication issues without a translator.

So a preservationist with an artificier of wooden devices. Can't wait for the first council meeting!

Let the woodchips fly!