Defense Classes and Productive Paranoïa (Somewhen in 1242)

Summer is closing to an end, its warmth abating.

For once, Arachné is taking a break from her feverish production, allowing her some time outside the lab, savouring the last visions of the covenant before her Windows of Singular Direction change it forever.

It is a sunday, and she's relaxing quietly on a bench, knitting something distractly while enjoying the sight of her new home's life.

But all good things must come to an end... (cue to antoine to interrupt her reverie)

Antoine is walking from his own forge, where he has been working for Solomon's expedition, towards the buttery, in search of some food - once again, he worked straight through the midday meal. Spotting Arachne, he changes course, and approaches her bench.

"Ah, maga. Still a fine day, is it not? And yet the weather is turning. I wanted a word with you, if I may...?" When Arachne (presumably) assents, he sits.

"If I am to make my home here - as I certainly intend to do - then it is self-evidently in my interests to help ensure the safety of the covenant. Obviously, all matters relating to defence answer ultimately to you, so I was wondering if you had any thoughts where I could direct my talents.

As you know, I am skilled in the arts of Intellego and Mentem, which are not always the most martial of effects; but Master Vocis and I were talking about some ideas - maybe disorienting an enemy, or causing them to forget their training. Between us, we had ideas which could function to make us appear more imposing, or which could be used by our grog defenders, or even - heaven forbid - help repulse any attack which makes it past the walls. With the aid of Vulcanus' excellent forge, I believe I could manage to reach ninth-magnitude items, given the right effect.

So, I have come to you to ask - where do you feel I could best start using my talents?"

Arachné initially frowns at the interruption, but, when she understands what this is about, she quickly relaxes

You are welcome. It is a pleasure to see some young magi consider their duties, and our covenant's well-being, to heart. Too often, divided magi fall together.

Now, it is difficult for me to ascertain all the good you might do for Andorra, but I've thought a little about it, so here are some ideas.

As it is, one of our most obvious needs is counter-intrusion. We have experimented soldiers, some magical defenses, as well as a few experimented combat magi. Yet, we can be spied upon by invisible intruders, or ones clothed in illusions. More mundanely, some of our covenfolks may be suborned, or plants for an ennemy.
Thus, I've thought of the following items as possible solutions to these problems:

  • Something that detects those cloaked in illusions
  • Something that detects invisible intruders. There's an effect I use to spont for this, called the Discerning Eye. It is very efficient at spotting invisible things, especially as it requires no penetration for this.
  • Something to detect hostile thoughts. Say, an Intellego Mentem effect which targets hearing might allow its wearer to detect those around him that are spying on us.

Now, there's the issue of Penetration and Scrying. You might want to check with Solomon, but I believe anyone who uses magic to spy on us has forfeited his or her immunity, thus in turn allowing us to use magic to detects the scrying. But we may want to be cautious, and use forceless effects. This is not as great a problem as we might think, though: This won't impede the Discerning Eye, and we're targeting mundane spies and assassins here, anyway, assisted by magic as they may be.

She sighs

Of course, that is only one of the many ways your talents may prove useful to Andorra. The fabled ability of verditius to open much more powerful items may be useful to any of your sodales, even if, for these purposes, it'd probably be a waste of your abilities, in my opinion.

Hum... Thinking along your lines...
Yes. Should we be attacked by armed men, I agree that a Mentem effect like Dissolving the Wall of Shields should be both within your abilities and tremendously useful.
And I'm thinking that a horn that inspire your grogs to be both brave and loyal could come in handy. Conversely, you might seek to inspire fear with the heart of our ennemies.

Now... When Insidiae was attacked, some of our enemies were magically resistant. And when Andorra fell, in 1230, it was, as far as we know, to a team of magi. Intellego Mentem is seldom suited to this, but, depending on your Rego Mentem, you might be able to craft an item with a single casting per day of a Diameter Duration Call to Slumber with sufficient penetration to disable all but the most resistant magi, should it really come to that.

She pauses, thinking

Now, I'm wondering, how is your Imaginem?

Imaginem is my best art; I would say it is moderately strong for a magus of my standing. My Mentem is not far behind. You have some specific effect in mind? ((OOC: Im 9, Me 8 ))

Dissolving the Wall of Shields is an effect Vocis specifically mentioned as well, so that certainly seems like a good choice. I believe he knows the spell - I will consult with him to see if I can instill it yet. ((Actually, I won't. But I will run the numbers)) Inspiring emotions I imagine is of similar difficulty.

As for counter-intrusion, I think you are probably right that it our most pressing concern, and I will happily do what I can. Those effects have the benefit that they share arts, meaning I may be able to manage more than one in a season - depending on magnitude, of course. I wonder, though, whether we should also be thinking more mundanely. Young Bernat has experience with espionage. Maybe he has some ideas.

I'm getting better at the whole enchanting malarkey, but I'd still like to double check my numbers.

So, Dissolving the Wall of Shields is level 20 (Voice, Mom, Group). That seems fine - a loud enough drill sergeant should be able to be heard a fair distance from the walls - so we'll leave it at 20. I'd like to make a ring, since it lets me use my Craft score. I'll make it from polished Walnut wood (assuming I can get it) for a bonus of 4 to mind, +2 from Verditius Philosophiae. Capacity of a Gold ring is 10 pawns, which is easily enough.

My lab total then is: Pe 3 + Me 8 + Int 4 + Aura 5 + MT 6 + InvGenius 3 + Craft 6 + Material 6 + Forge 6 (4 general & 2 items) = 47.

So I can invest level 23 in one season, so we'll add +3 for 6 uses per day, resulting in:

Walnut ring of the Soldier's Bane
Range: Voice. Duration: Momentary. Target: Group
Upon shouting the trigger word, "Tremble!", the ring's wearer can cause a trained group of up to 10 soldiers within his hearing to forget their training and fight as individuals.
6 uses per day.

(I assume the effect is indefinite, like most Perdo? The training won't return at sundown?)

That is pretty clever :slight_smile:

Perdo Mentem, I take it?

Looking at Perdo Mentem, the memory is forver erased, but the person can be told what they forgot or reconstruct the memory from what they do know.
I think the spell is base 4? Remove an Important detail from a person's memory. This could be the fact that they are trained in whatever group, but they can be reminded in the midst of battle. However, this may be to late, as a few rounds of disorganized conduct is suicide in the face of a trained Group.
Base 15, Remove a major or long memory, is needed to erase a whole season of training. And they can still be reminded of it, though this could take a week or more.

Or at least I had... It just has deserted my mind :frowning: Says the crone.

That would be a good thing. Insidiae would have clearly benefited from such a weapon.

Of course, this'll be useless against anything with Magical Resistance, but... One problem at a time, they say :wink:
Truth be told, I tend to favor permanent enchantments, that will persist once we're all gone, but, in the face of supernatural opposition, this requires way too much Penetration. So we may need to stockpile some Charged Items, not unlike Carmen's Lightning Rod, although this'll have to wait until you're a more senior magus. In the meantime, anything you can do for our grogs is a boon.

The witch smiles
Well said. You are right, of course, we shouldn't neglect mundane expertise, although that is not my province. The goal in all our preparations is to achieve sinergy, for all our strengths to complement each others. Now, if that young Bernat has some ideas on how magic could help him, I'm all for hearing him. Otherwise, he'd be better served by going at... Arf... Vibria has left, and we are devoid of a Marshal. That ain't good*.

  • Which serves as a nice introduction for the "upgrading" of the younger members, and gives Arachné a reason to support it. Well done, Asilano! :smiley:


Arachné will be very pleased by your proposal, and, should you propose to create it, will heartily support it before the council.

And yes, IIRC, the training is permanently destroyed, but may be regained with some time and practice. This is not really doable in combat IMO (You can't really have someone show you how you gotta protect your pal's side while being confident that you other pal has you back and move only in relationship to them), but otherwise is no great hindrace.

In which case, consider it proposed. I've checked the Magi Planner, and (assuming the Levant is taking more than 10 days), Antoine can fit it in in Summer 1236. He probably ought to do some reading after that, so he can attain levels where he can penetrate magic resistance.

And yes. Improve your arts. So long as you're willing to work for the covenant, your strength is our strength, could have said Arachné.

At any point up to 1240, to whoever is interested, possibly with different people at different times.

So, I've been thinking.
My next plan for strenghtening our covenant's defenses involves giving it Elemental Guardians. To that end, I've learned to summon and control Earth Elementals.
But I can't control them, for the control would go with me. I figure we need something that the filia of our filia will be able to use.
Thus, I came to think I should create a Bronze Rod of Elemental Control, able to control up to 50 such creatures. The handle would be hollow, allowing easy storage of suitable Arcane Connections. Given its power, this would need to be a Greater Item, but I'm willing to sacrifice my time for this.

Sadly, this task exceeds my abilities, being a 12th magnitude enchantment* (She pulls up charts, diagrams and parchments covered in calculations and arcane symbols). Once the device opened, we could conceivably do this in about 2 seasons if we could muster 6 magnitudes of Magic Theory, but this would require a massive effort by several covenant magi. Possible, but doubtful.

The other solution is to work through an Intangible Tunnel, but this would take even more time.

So what do you think? Must I drop this idea for now, and create more Rods of Ballista Control?

  • Base 5, +4 AC, +3 Moon = lvl 40, +6 for 50 uses per day, +3 sunrise/sunset trigger, +3 restricted to magi attuned to the Aegis, +8 for Penetration 16 = 60

((Let me see how Marko works Thomas in, but he was saying 1238 or so. Depending on how that plays out, I can see the two talking.))

Here because Earth Elementals intrigued her - and because the defence of the covenant was never something to take lightly! - Rika scanned through the notes. The complexity of the rego calculations were...impressive. She wasn't even sure she properly understood half of them. But the gist was clear.

"I think the wand you have planned here would be a beautiful device if constructed - elegant and effective. But," she tapped her lip. "Unwieldy to construct, as you point out. And, thankfully, perhaps more extravagant than we need." Pulling out her wax tablet, Frederika scrawled some calculations of her own on it:

"Instead of a wand that would allow us to command the elementals to wherever we principle, we could create a stationary feature in the centre of Andorra: taking advance of the circle and ring parts to command any elemental within the covenant's boundaries. That would dramatically simplify the necessary calculations*. More easy to circumvent, it's true, but we should be able to make the ring sufficiently durable - granite at least, and buried - to void most concerns."

She offered her tablet to Arachne: "Thoughts?"

[size=85] * Base 5, +1 Touch, +2 ring = 20 - and the rest of the item parameters could possibly be simplified along with this change as well.[/size]

I would suggest corresponding with Camillus Aurelius, even if he is wrong about being able to create pseudo golems from animal spirits he has obviously given this a lot of thought.

The Spider listens to Frederika's remarks calmly, without any of the arrogance one could expect from a senior maga being adressed by a younger one.

Thank you for taking the time to look at this. It is very much appreciated, for one can lose track of the obvious easily.
I've considered other options. Sadly, I've yet to find a better solution. But let me explain.

We couldn't get such a spell to work within the covenant's boundaries. Such a huge magical working in only the realm of rituals*, and even if it was possible to include such a working in an item, it would actually be more difficult than the current plan**

But of course, you know that, so I suppose you want us to craft a large circle, and use it's mystical properties to control each and every elemental within?
This would have been my favored solution, too.

Sadly, once again, I must admit that my abilities are not up to the task. While building and burying such a circle is certainly within the realm of possibilities, despite being, on its own, and impressive achievment, I would need to stay focused all the while, while weaving the first salve of the enchantment. I can't see myself managing to hold such energies for so long*** :frowning:

  • Boundary targets aren't available to items.
    ** Boundary target, magnitudes, ouch.
    *** Int + Conc check of 6+ per round. This was discussed at great length in the forums, there's no way she can do this.

How so? Is he binding spirits to his golems? For that's my problem: control.
Now... That could be a solution, but how? Gotta think about it... Thank you for the tip, Fleur.

Hm, I read the Ring rules as the Concentration checks being required if you were drawing the ring while casting the spell. But if the ring was already there, you wouldn't need to make them. I can see how this might not be the correct interpretation, however.

"Then can we split the effect? Create a 'stable' for housing the elementals until needed; keeping them docile with one effect. Then we could have a second item to command them as required. Perhaps..." Frederika hastily scrawled some more calculations, trying to see if her notion held any merit:

"Something like this?" Frederika was bent over her notes, pointing at her calculations. "Enchant a room to use as our 'stable'; any of the elementals inside will be put to sleep. Then a second item, a bronze wand probably, could then be used to command them 'in the field'. If the wand was slightly stronger than the stable, we could take control of the elements as necessary. My calculations are probably rough - there might be room for improvement."

Pausing slightly, she looked up at Arachne: "But unless I'm wrong, these two items are less complex than the original design. Perhaps simple enough that we could enchant them for only a limited time - seven or seventy years, say - and make them as lesser items. We could save time and vis (in the short-term) that way?

Room: Base 5, +1 touch, +2 sun, +2 Room = level 30, and then +2 for two uses, +3 for sun trigger, +8 for penetration 16 = 42.

Wand: Base 5, +2 voice, +1 concentration, +2 group = level 30, and then +2 two uses a day, +5 to maintain concentration, +3 for only allowing people attuned to the aegis to use it, +8 for 16 penetration = 48.

that is his plan. In fact he can bind the spirits but cannot animate the statues, though he doesn't realize that yet.

Actually, I might be able to help there. For one, my concentration is pretty good anyway*; but more than that, I know the spell "Singlemindedness of the Concentrating Wizard", which ought to be able to let one of us stay focussed long enough - although it does mean you can't think of anything else, which may be a problem**. It's a little tricky to cast, though.***

*: If it's an Int + Conc roll, Antoine has better Int than Arachné, and has 6 without rolling. If it's just Conc, or Sta + Conc, that doesn't work.
**: With the spell active, Antoine has Concentration 5, or 6 if this counts as Crafting, or 7 if Stamina is involved. Flexing it to Touch so he can affect Arachné, she would have Concentration 6, an automatic success. However, all other Int rolls fail for the Sun duration.
***: ReMe 25 in its personal form, 30 when Touching for Arachné; Antoine can manage Re 6 + Me 8 + Sta 2 + Aura 5 + Loud&Vigorous 2 = 23. It could take a few tries.