Dav'nalleous recipe

Hi there.

Short version: what are the ingredients and how to mix them to make your own Dav'nalleous?

Long version: lately I'd been doing my players and allegedly (and finally not so) brief summary of the history of the Order (pretty much a narrative, short version of Eryk Tyrell's Hermetic Timeline), for our current saga, which we are trying to focus on Man, with some issues (like the Orden being banned from the island) making the players provisionally setting on Stonehenge. And both the Hermetic prohibition to inhabit Man and the figure of Dav'nalleous are making me wonder what kind of an enemy it takes to either keep the Order at bay, like whatever is in Man, or to be able to fight a war (or several) against the Order for decades, as Dav'nalleous did. After some tries, for our saga, I got what lies in Man (which happens to be the dragon Tharmaneagh, with a couple of unexpected tricky surprises for the beast-hunting magi), but what about Dav'nalleous? What kind of sorcerer it takes to be able to fight hundred of grogs and dozens of magi, slaying them all but Pralix (which by that time, and having been an apprentice of both Tytalus and Bonisagus, must had been one of the toughest, more resourcefull maga ever)?

My first thought was to search through this forum but only four topics seem to mention the guy, one mentioning giants and animating hills and mountains, and on the timeline it is suggested that he practiced blood rituals and human sacrifices, and that he could have been (also?) a necromancer. And I guess that the nickname of him meaning 'The Spider' must mean something too.

So, mostly as an exercice, how do you think the guy was? What could had been his magical tradition, his virtues and flaws, his powers and spells? My first thought was to make him a diabolist, which could open the gate to a potentially huge amount of power. But diabolist doesn't use to live long (and Dav'nalleous could still be alive and planning to come back), and I also think that there are already too many diabolists to mark Dav'nalleous as just the bigger of them, and that Ars Magica have too many options to solve this just waving a hand and saying that the Devil gave a bunch of power to some dude.

If only I could figure him out, I could achieve two goals: first, have a hidden high level menacing threat for my players, and second a soiled ground where to put a Faerie, knowing of the history of Dav'nalleous and figuring that impersonating him would be an amazing way to gain vitality from a lot of powerful magi (which would explain the recurrent rumors of his return).

So any opinions and ideas, anyone?

You may be already aware of it, but if not, one of the Thrice Told Tales ("The Traitor's Game") centers on Dav'nalleous and has many interesting historical tidbits and story hooks.

Have a look at T-TT p.134ff The Spider War, particularly the boxes on p.136 and p.137. No more here, as I don't wish to spoiler T-TT adventures.


I totally missed that, though I love that book. Thank you both.

We had Dav'nalleous as the big bad in our long running Brunnaburgh saga.

As the ASG, I realised that he needed something special to make him as terrifying a foe as he clearly was. Something different. So I gave him two unique advantages.
The first was a ritual that he knew that could extract a single pawn of vis from a human sacrifice. In game he would sack a village, sacrifice every single person there and get a queen of vis. He'd then use this vis to empower rituals, giving him crazy enough casting totals (and importantly penetration) that would allow him to slice straight through the parma of almost any magi he wanted.
The second advantage was his enchanted armour. Essentially a kind of talisman, while it existed, he could not truly die. If he was slain, his spirit would hang around until it could possess someone and he'd be essentially reborn in their body. He could only do it to someone with the gift, which stopped body hopping too much, and Parma blocked it entirely. He used it only once in my game, shortly before the game started, to possess the body of a hermetic apprentice. As a surprise for my players, the armour was indestructible with only a single way to destroy it. If the person wearing it killed themselves.

My heroic players finished the saga by killed Dav'nalleous, then one of the magi donned the armour and stabbed himself through the eyeslit, destroying both himself and the armour. Without the armour, Dav'nalleous couldn't remain as a spirit and was finally destroyed.

He was a great villain. My players spent years chasing him around as he reanimated all his old generals, collected his old allies (giants and other nasty fae) and started sacking Scottish covenants.