Cornelius of Guernicus

Age: 28
Size: 0
Gender: Male
Confidence: 1 (3)
Characteristics: Int +4, Per +2, Str +1, Sta +2, Pre 0, Com +1, Dex -1, Qik -3
Personality Traits: Brave 0, Generous +3, Honest +2, Private +1, Temperate +3

Virtues: The Gift, Hermetic Magus, Gentle Gift, Greater Immunity (fire), Great Characteristic (Intelligence), Hermetic Prestige, Inventive Genius, Minor Magical Focus (aging), Skilled Parens
Flaws: Enemies (surprise flaw), Weak Magic Resistance (when wet), Deleterious Circumstances (when wet), Generous, Temperate, Visions

Description: Cornelius exudes an impression of solidity. Sharp brown eyes look out from a rather square face, with light brown hair that is usually kept short. He moves slowly, with a bit of stiffness to his stride. His occasional smile is expressive and friendly, while his voice is pleasant enough, though he retains a noticeable slavic accent. He often wears sturdy travel clothes made for durability more than comfort, only switching to more ostentatious robes for formal occasions (and looking unseasy when he does so).

Artes Liberales (logic) 1
Awareness (searching) 3
Bargain (barter) 1
Brawl (fist) 2
Civil & Canon Law (Provence) 1
Code of Hermes (mundane relations) 3
Concentration (spells) 1
Folk Ken (peasants) 3
Language (native): West Slavonic (Polish) 5
Language: Latin (Hermetic usage) 4
Language: Low German (Saxon) 3
Language: Occitan (expansive vocabulary) 2
Magic Theory (inventing spells) 3
Parma Magica (Aquam) 1
Philosophiae (moral philosophy) 2
Profession: Farmer (grain crops) 1
Profession: Miner (salt) 2
Swim (river) 1
Magical Arts: Cr 0, In 10, Mu 0, Pe 0, Re 0, An 0, Aq 0, Au 0, Co 4, He 0, Ig 0, Im 0, Me 4, Te 0, Vi 10
Wizard's Sigil: A brief flash of cleansing warmth or flames.
Comfort of the Drenched Traveler (PeAq 5) +2
Cloak of the Duck's Feathers (ReAq 5) +2
The Inexorable Search (InCo 20) +16
Whispers Through the Black Gate (InCo 15, Me) +16
Spasms of the Uncontrolled Hand (ReCo 5) +6
Discern the Images of Truth and Falsehood (InIm 20) +13 -- Mastery 1 (Acute Sense)
Frosty Breath of the Spoken Lie (InMe 20) +16
Palm of Flame (CrIg 5) +2
Winter's Icy Touch (PeIg 10) +2
Bitter Taste of Betrayal (InVi 15) +22 -- HoH:TL p.75
Sense of the Lingering Magic (InVi 30) +23 -- Mastery 1 (Acute Sense)

Ulan woke up with a gasp of panic as he finally broke free from the nightmare. He sat on his pallet, drenched with sweat, waiting for his heart to calm down as the last remnants of the images faded from his mind. They were old companions, those images, unfaded by the passage time. Some of the details had blurred with the years, but unfortunately those were the ones he would have liked to keep, such the face of his parents.

What remained was the fear and despair of seing them cut down in the fields; being chained by the raiders; working as a slave in the salt mines. He'd been told by his master, much later, that slavery of Christians was technically illegal in the Holy Roman Empire. It hadn't helped, when the slavers claimed that their preys had been captured in the far lands of Lithuania. Ulan didn't know much about Lithuania, aside from the fact that it had lied much farther east than the small Polish village he'd grown in.

Rising from his bed, he spoke a few words of power, causing a flame spring from his open hand. With its light, it was easy to locate the candle on the small table by the bed and light it. It was still a wonder, being able to summon fire like this. It was a moment before he let go of the spell, reminded again of the tale his mother had told him all those years ago. The tale of the fiery bird, whose blood had fallen upon their ancestor, imbuing them with its magical nature.

Shaking his head in wonder, he could not help but be grateful for that long-lost ancestor, for whatever the true reason for his abilities, they were the reason he was no longer laboring as a mine slave. Turbulence from his awakening Gift had caused the other slaves to believe that faeries were at work in the mines; but the rumours had also brought a magus to investigate. Ulan had left Saxony behind without regrets, even though the journey had taken him even farther away from his homeland.

Still, being an apprentice had its downsides, particularly when one was being called to testify against an older magus. But a crime was a crime, and reporting it was any apprentice's duty, particularly when one's master was from House Guernicus.

I like Cornelius. I was considering Visions, so I'm glad I didn't take it. With his Focus on aging, do you see Cornelius eventually becoming the maker of Longevity Rituals for the covenant? (Not for free of course! Magi don't do anything for free...)

That is certainly possible, although this might take a while. At Gauntlet, his focus provides him no benefit at all, since his score in Creo is 0. However, with decent learning sources in Creo and Corpus, he can quickly become a decent creator of longevity rituals.

I essentially created Cornelius' innate magical talents around a non-Hermetic version of Mythic Blood (phoenix) from the Bjornaer section of HoH:MC (p.37). This is the source of his Gift, Major Immunity and Minor Magical Focus. When his pater opened his Gift, he had a choice between preserving the gentle nature of his Gift or manifesting the boy's innate magical blood as Mythic Blood. He deemed that a Gentle Gift would be much more useful to a Guernicus investigator, and had a high enough InVi total to preserve the Immunity.

Cornelius' training focused almost exclusively on the classical role as a Guernicus investigator, with a very strong focus on Intellego and Vim, as well as skills that are useful for this. His pater completely ignored his focus and only taught him a few low-level spells of utilitarian and minor combat usefulness. Anything outside of his role as an investigator, he will have to develop himself based on his actual needs and desires (as well as those of his covenant).

He doesn't have a strong relation with his pater, because of House Guernicus' habit of sending out apprentices on investigations with other Quaesitors instead of just their master. At the end of his apprenticeship, he participated in several investigations in the southern parts of the Normandy tribunal as well as Provence, which explains his exposure to the local language. When offered the chance, he selected a place in the Provence Tribunal because it is seemed a more peaceful place than Normandy or Iberia.

Useful, and plausible.

Forgot to mention explicitly that Cornelius would try to keep it a secret that he is immune to fire. It goes without saying that he would keep his vulnerability to being wet (Weak Magic Resistance and Deleterious Circumstances) a very close secret.

His vulnerability to wetness is also the reason why he learned both Cloak of the Duck Feathers and Comfort of the Drenched Traveler. The first would be cast proactively from the weather, while the second would be used in those circumstances where he gets wet without prior warning. Both are low enough level that he should be able to cast them under most circumstances (with Fatigue if in negative auras). But neither do they completely eliminate situations where he might end up wet. For example, being completely or even partially submerged (such as underwater activities or even wading through a stream) would still count as being wet. As would a Mighty Torrent of Water that punches through his magic resistance.

Ok, I have this bad habit, when I create a magus, to dissect the various aspects of what he might do with his virtues and flaws. I find that it saves in-game time by avoiding having to argue what is or isn't possible. If anyone has comments or opinions regarding what Cornelius will be able to do, I'll be interested in hearing about them.

I'll start with his Minor Magical Focus with Aging. What will be covered by it? Here's a few thoughts.

  1. The most obvious one is longevity rituals. I don't think anyway will dispute that.
  2. Dealing with aging crisis is also covered by guidelines.
  • Cheating the Reaper (CrCo 30) is an example of this, to deal with a severe aging crisis.
  • Variants are possible to deal with more or less severe crisis could be invented as well, with resulting levels ranging from 20 to 40.
  1. Causing aging is also a no-brainer.* Bane of the Decrepit Body (PeCo 25) is a standard spells to do this.
  • An PeAn guideline (Level 15) also exists to do something similar to animals.
  • A question is whether more potent versions can be created and, if so, how potent these should be.
  1. Restoration of the Defiled Body (CrCo 25) can remove the effects of premature aging, as well as any injury, poison or disease.
  • The means the focus cannot apply to it when inventing the standard version of the spell, because it also covers other things. The focus should still apply to a specific casting total if the goal is to remove premature aging.
  • A more specialized variant could be developped to deal only with premature aging. Would this be the same Base guideline (Level 20: Heal the debilitating after-effects of a disease, poison, or injury)? Probably, although a case could be made that causing aging uses a lower base than much of the other afflictions.
  1. A specialized InCo spell could easily determine the age of a person using Base 5.
  2. Perhaps MuCo (possibly with a Pe requisite) could be used to temporarily (for the duration of the effect) age someone. Might make for an interesting intimidation tactic.
  3. Can the concept of againg be applied to the rate of decay of an arcane connection? In which case, both the CrVi and PeVi guidelines dealing with arcane connections longevity could be used to good effect.
  4. Can the concept of aging be used to cover some Perdo effects that destroy non-living objects? Some examples (or variant with more suitable names) would be Curse of the Rotted Wood (PeHe 5) and Rusted Decay of Ten Score Years (PeTe10).
  5. There are guidelines in CrAn, CrCo and CrHe that bring an entity to maturity. Would those be covered by the focus?

Am I missing anything? Even if everything in that list is allowed, I don't think that this focus is overly wide, but I'm ready to be told "no" to several of the last few ones. :wink:

Hm. I'm not sure if MuCo would cover temporary aging. Rather, I'd say you could use a PeCo effect with a duration, rather than instant, to do the same thing. (I usually interpret Perdo to be "something gets worse", where as Muto is "something is different, which may be worse."

Rather, I would argue that a MuCo aging effect would make age do something DIFFERENT than it does naturally - such as having your hair turn purple instead of grey. Or to slowly turn the target into a fish. Note that may be beyond the scope of the MMF, (or not, if you define it so that a mu "turn into fish" aging effect takes 70 years to fully complete. Or else the effect is limited to how many aging checks they've made - cast it on a baby, and it does nothing. Cast it on a 36 year-old, and they get a bit of a scaly sheen to their skin. Cast it on a 70 year old, and they're a trout.)

I proposed MuCo(Pe) for temporary aging based the description of Perdo on page 78. Normal aging isn't temporary, and Perdo destroys a natural property.

My interpretation of a PeCo with a duration higher than Mom is that the destruction keeps destroying more and more of a natural property, unless it is destroying a property that cannot naturally be lost (such as weight).

But this is a minor quibble. :wink:

EDIT: Fixed a typo that changed my meaning.

Yeah, I personally prefer that version of Perdo (as it's more consistent with the other Techniques), but I thought it was canon (at one point) that non-momentary perdo effects were suppressions of the original target, rather than multiple castings of an instant effect.

1-6 looks good (MuCo aging will be cosmetical only, PeCo aging destroys your body and mind slowly)
7 (arc connection) depends. Blood yes, a book written by the author no; some cases ae in between and less clear
8+9 (aging things): yes to things that are organic and "feel" organic to me (cheese, wine, sapling into tree, bow; no to aging swords

The last thing that I need to detail before the character is ready for play is the Enemies flaw.

My basic idea behind it is that, in one of the investigations he participated in during his apprenticeship, Cornelius witnessed a infraction which he reported. And/or was the key witness that resulted in a magus being declared guilty. The crime was severe enough for the magus to suffer dire consequence, anything from losing his familiar to being Marched end executed.

Now, either the magus himself (if he is still alive), his surviving filius/filii, or members of a circle of close friends/associates, blame Cornelius for the conviction. Aside from personal loss, the conviction might have interfered with something important. Although it is not a life-defining goal for him/them, he/they will go out of their way to cause trouble for him.

Obviously, since this is a Story flaw, there needs to be some discussions and input from the storyguide and troupe. The Enemy or Enemies need to cause enough trouble for Cornelius to justify a major flaw. On the other hand, there needs to be some limits to how much this will spill over unto the other magi and the covenant as a whole.

The actions of the enemies will probably be more political than overt, although hiring mercenaries to mount an attack on Cornelius or to raid covenant resources are also possible. In fact, given the proximity to the Normandy Tribunal might mean that the enemies are located there, which complicates legal actions.

Thoughts? Comments? Contributions?

The enemy should be from Provence. I've taken a quick look through F&F. The Balthasar might be a candidate (p. 132). The same page has Xiphos who'd also fit, maybe even better. Both are from the Coenobium.

Alternatively, you (and only you) can take the major surprise flaw, because I have an idea of how to involve your character in ..., something. Inthat case you could still have an enemy, if you wanted to (in Nowgorod or so), if you wanted.

What I am understanding is that this Surprise major story flaw would essentially replace Enemies, correct? Note that Cornelius wasn't apprenticed in Novgorod, so him having made an enemy there doesn't make much sense. I left it vague, but I was thinking his master living in Iberia or Normandy during Cornelius' apprenticeship.

I'm not against the idea of a Surprise story flaw. 8)

EDIT: Usually, when we take a flaw we have a fairly good idea of the nature of the flaw. Am I assuming that the Surprise flaw will be along the lines of Enemies?

You'd just leave enemy on his sheet - and not know where the danger would come from. Like all stories, surprise enemies do NOT succeed in killing characters when they first take the stage. It wouldn't be fun to tell such a story, would it?

The Nowgorod enemy was in case you wanted to have a surprise enemy AND keep your background idea. In that case, the magus from his background would have been exiled and would have left for a land far far away. He could be reactivated once you resolved your surprise enemy (in 70-100 years)

If the saga lasts 70-100, I'm sure Cornelius will have had the opportunity to find a new enemy! :laughing:

So if it's ok with you, I'll simply list it as "Enemies (surprise)" on my character sheet.

The Journals of Cornelius
December 20th, A.D. 1220

[i]I have reached my new covenant at last.

The journey was long, first making my way by ship to the city of Arles in Arelat, where there is a Mercer House. From there, I travelled up the river Rhone to Vienne, along the Via Agrippa. The next leg of my travels took me through the mountain passes to the river Loire, at Le Puy. A shorter leg through more passes and I arrived on the banks of the river L'Allier, which flows south to the Normandy Tribunal. But I didn't have to follow that river for long, for the small village of Chilhac is still nestled in the mountains rather than on the plains to the north.

I was met there by a small group of young magi, one of whom grew up in the area before his apprenticeship. That is Bastion of House Bonisagus. The others are Clovis of House Tremere, and Elizabeth of Ex Miscellanea. Avery, also of House Bonisagus, plans on joining us in the spring.

Our new covenant is set inside of the hill north of Chilhac, around a magical well. It has a decent aura and provides us with some vis. Thankfully, we already have living quarters prepared, thanks to Bastion, for winter is almost upon us. It comes early here in the mountains.

We will have much work to do, the five of us, for at the moment we have no laboratories and no library. Our grogs and covenfolks are few. On the positive, the covenant has shepherds under its rule, who provide us with a source of income in exchange for our guidance and protection.[/i]

Plans for Cornelius were as follow, and I've seen nothing in the cooperation topic that would change them:

Roll for the first season: Seasonal roll for Cornelius (Winter 1220): 1D100 = [47] = 47. Exposure of 2 xp to Magic Theory.

Roll for the second season: Seasonal roll for Cornelius (Spring 1220): 1D100 = [99] = 99. Exposure of 2 xp to Magic Theory.

Roll for the third season: Seasonal roll for Cornelius (Summer 1220): 1D100 = [71] = 71. Exposure of 2 xp to Magic Theory. The spell he invents is View the Song of Magical Power: Base 2 (Determine the power of a mystical aura), a personal range aura-detection spell, +1 Conc, +4 Vision. Level 15 total, vs a lab total of 34.

Roll for the fourth season: Seasonal roll for Cornelius (Fall 1220): 1D100 = [97] = 97. As he travels the area extensively with a grog, looking for magical auras that could reveal a vis source and speaking to locals about legends, I think he would gain 5 xp in the local language (Occitan).

Roll for season five: Seasonal roll for Cornelius (Winter 1221): 1D100 = [77] = 77. Exposure of 2 xp to Creo and extracting 2 pawns of Vim vis. He proposes using this vis, as well as the harvested Animal vis from the source and any vis discovered around the covenant, to purchase books at the Tribunal meeting.

Roll for the sixth season: Seasonal roll for Cornelius (Spring 1221): 1D100 = [6] = 6. His plans for the season are derailed by something, probably related to his surprise Story flaw. Pralix, any advice for this? I could also make up something related to his Generous personality flaw instead.

Story season:
Magvillus writes a letter. You are asked to send them a fixed arcane connection to a box or a similar item that can serve as a letterbox.They want you to keep it outside your sanctum and outside the aegis and ask you to check its contents daily. You are also given a seashell that allows you to transmit a spoken message to Magvillus by speaking into it (one way communication). They send you the vis needed for it.
They do not explain their actions.

You have of course several options:
a) Refuse to fix arcane connection (do what you had planned)
b) Accept to do as you are told.
c) Your personal choice

Cornelius will, of course, do as he is instructed. Communication is very important to being effective as a Quaesitor, so this does not seem like an unusual request.

He will take the seashell outside of the Aegis and speak into it: "I have received the letter and will proceed to fix the arcane connection as requested. Should I deliver it in person at the Tribunal meeting next season or should I return it to Magvillus by way of the redcap network?"

Was the letter signed by a specific member of Magvillus? Does it bear the proper authentication protocols for official Quaesitor duties?

He will also send a letter to Prima Bilera at Magvillus informing her that he has received the letter (including a summary of the request) and confirming that he is complying, but that he will wait to send the arcane connection until such a time that he receives confirmation on how to deliver it. He sends this sealed letter by way of the redcap network to Magvillus. That should take care of any possibility of a fraudulent request. A season should be plenty of time for his letter to arrive and a reply to be sent back.

Cornelius debates with himself whether to tell his sodales about the arcane connection, but decides to wait until a reply to his letter gets back to him.

Result of the sixth season: Fixing an arcane connection. Exposure of 2 xp to Magic Theory. (Hopefully no one had need of Cornelius' lab during that season.)