Draganna Tesla (development)

Just trying to read the room. I made my case with Marius and there didn't seem to be any group sentiment to tone him down. Draganna is just Marius Lite, so I assumed everyone was ok with her too. There's no sense in trying to nerf something if I'm the only guy who thinks it's necessary.

Besides, the only thing about Draganna that set off my nerf alert was her Essential Virtue. It just seemed to be thrown in to boost her source quality into Marius's range. All of her Abilities are within the power level I was preaching about and she's the age I would expect for those Abilities (especially after you revised her). I also expect a character designed for teaching to have Good Teacher, so that was never a problem for me.

I'm on board with all of this. As I mentioned when I triggered this argument, I just wanted some Order-specific knowledge added, which you've done.

At least 27 years. :wink:

I really don't think this is necessary, especially when you consider that Scholomance graduates are expected to write multiple books before graduating. That's actually another reason to justify having Good Teacher - the masters of Scholomance are very selective and they would look for someone who could both teach and write.

Good point, thank you very much. God bless the Tremere, it actually makes sense for them and Transylvania

I was just tired of seeing just about every character in every saga who's remotely supposed to be a teacher/writer have Positive Com and Good Teacher. In a way, it was not unlike (although not to the point of) seeing every craftsman be a Jesus the Baker.

Okay, so I think I can better articulate my thoughts/issues/concerns today versus a pointless rant that my last post came across as. Sorry… :blush:

First, as an old-school D&D player (which I know Marko was too based on lots of names he uses) the campaign setting I despised the most was Forgotten Realms. Why? Because all of the NPCs were so ridiculously powerful (and broke many of the game rules to get there) that your PCs never had a chance to rival them. While I know this is a different situation, my concern has always been that I don’t like to see NPCs outshine the PCs. By PCs, in Ars Magica I really mean magi and companions. They should be the stars of our movie.

Beyond that, as someone else pointed out, if every specialist we have is a complete badass, then being a badass really doesn’t mean anything. In my opinion, being a badass should remain the purview of companions. So Donna being a badass weaponsmith, hell yeah…but a grog who is a savant at baking bread…um no.

So my concern is not with Draganna in particular, but what I see as a bit of power creep amongst the supporting cast. I know this is meant to be a high-powered game, I’d just like to keep that high power with the PCs.

As far as the issue with multiple characters, that probably has a lot to do with me being extremely left-brained. I like rules and order, hence why I made a Guernicus. So if there was a rule that said “each player can play two magi and two companions”, or whatever, it would make more sense to me. But again, that’s just because I like rules :stuck_out_tongue:

The other point is who wants to play a poor teacher? Sure we know they exist, but are they player characters?

Right, but they would work great as a grog.

Well, Fixer and other are right about Essential Virtue. It does work the way I think as a bonus to rolls. So If I had "Essential Virtue-Good Fighter (+3 Dexterity)", I would get a +3 to Attack rolls even if my Dexterity as +5.
But Teaching is not a roll.
To affect a Score, it must be an Essential Trait that changes or modifies an existing Characteristic. So "Good Instructor (+3 Communication)" would replace a lower Positive Com score or add to a Negative one, and only apples to oral instruction.
So using that instead, dropping Com from +2 to 0 (and shifting points over to Presence), Keep Good Teacher. then raise Teaching to 6 (a professional level). That puts her at the mark to rapidly teach languages (I could even title the essential virtue as "Good Language Instructor" instead). That makes her excellent for the thing she was groomed for, decent in other areas but not "super", and with that out of the way I can strive towards developing her other potential roles as a spy and investigator (interrogator).

Exceptional characters have exceptional backgrounds, and I do think Draganna qualifies.
I must say, though, I disagree with Fixer's presumption. In my opinion, Teachers and Authors should indeed all have Positive Com scores, or they wouldn't get jobs or have books worth recopying. All knights have positive strength scores, all archers have positive Dexterity, all wizards have positive intelligence. Otherwise they wouldt get the job or they would suck at their craft and everyone would know it. I suppose there are some stupid wizards out there, but they are insignificant and are virtually hedge wizards. There might be a weak knight, who gets killed in his first battle. A poor blacksmith is not going to get much work.
As for Good Teacher, though I would not expect it of every village schoolmarm or craft master, I would think that it would be a preferable trait to recruit for high end university teachers and instructors that work for a covenant and scholars/magi that write the sort of books that get copied for wide publication and handed down through the generations.

Looking at scores with the changes proposed in this post: Com 0 (+3 when instructing in Languages), Good Teacher, Teaching 6 (languages). Totals equal as follow...

  • Writing a Book: Quality 9
  • Teaching a Class in most abilities (such as Magic Theory): Quality 14 (Q20 to a single student)
  • Teaching a class in Languages: Quality 18 (Q24 to a single student)

Still a point short. But a stripped down lab...

The budget on this is a fifth of a pound of silver per year. Using rules for Purchased Lab, the result is: -10 for Size -1, +10 for two Minor Virtues, = No Personal Cost. I propose that this lab be owned and operated by the covenant and can e used by any magus or teacher. The final totals are +1 to Teaching; and -1 for Spells, Familiars, & Experimentation (unless using a Lab Text, then it is +0), and no other lab activities are
Or if you want her to pay for it, then she should have exclusive use of it and the way I would configure it is as so...

Cost is 10q.p for a Major Virtue, and Upkeep costs less than a third of a pound of silver per year. Teaching is the only activity possible with this lab.


This is what I thought before, but you told me it was additive. So in the case of Acutus, he has a Presence of +2, Essential Virtue: Intimidating and Leadership (Intimidation) 3.

So, would his Intimidation roll be +9 or +7?

This works for me, though I prefer the Good Language Instructor option.

My only objection to the lab/classroom idea is it means Marius's totals will get even crazier. :stuck_out_tongue:

It is additive to rolls, if taken that way. Remember the "either/or" part of the equation. So for Intimidation rolls, your total wold be 9 plus a Stress Die. It would provide no bonus to an Intimidation score, if there would ever be a call for one. That total would be just 6. If to took Essential Virtue as an Essential Trait, which would replace Presence, then total score total would be 7 and the roll would be a stress die + 7.

Good Language Instructor it so shall be then :smiley:
The Lab is only a tiny +1 bonus. But I can purchase it as her personal own and Marius cannot benefit from it. :mrgreen:

An option would be for her to grant 46XP in 2 seasons (23 per season). 2 seasons of exposure (or 1) raises the total to 4. Makes good the total of the student easily by him practicving once the magus reaches destination and she is still a top resource for the tremeres, but it might get a slightly lower teaching total than the "true geniouses out there". If that was something you wanted, that is :slight_smile:


Here is hoping that the third time's the charm :wink:
Draganna Tesla:
Characteristics: Int +3, Per -1, Com +0, Pre +3, Str -2, Sta -1, Dex 0, Quik 0
Size: -1
Age: 44 (30)
Season: Summer 1235
Decrepitude: 0
Warping: 0 (0)
Confidence: 1 (3)
Virtues: +3 Entrancement, +1 Minor Essential Virtue-Good Language Instructor, +1 Good Teacher, +1 Book Learner, +1 Linguist, +1 Piercing Gaze, +1 Privileged Upbringing, +1 Second Sight; Scholomance Training (+1 Arcane Lore, +1 Educated, +1 Hermetic Experience)
Flaws: -3 Driven (excellence), -3 Lycanthrope, -1 Close Family Ties, -1 Continence, -1 Temperate, -1 Small Frame
Personality Traits: Driven +5, Temperate +3, Loyal +1, *Good Instructor +3 (bonus when teaching by instruction)
Reputations: Talented Instructor 2 (Hermetic), Werewolf 1 (Hermetic)
Dodge: Init 0, Def +2
Catfight: Init 0, Atk +2, Def +2, Dmg -2
Dagger: Init 0, Atk +4, Def +2, Dmg +1
Soak: +0
Fatigue: OK, 0, -1, -3, -5, ko
Wounds: -1 Lt (1-4), -3 Med (5-8), -5 Hvy (9-12), Incap (13-16), Dead (17+)
Abilities: South Slavonic 5 (Serbian, sharp words), Transylvanian Tribunal Area Lore 2; Artes Liberales[sup]1[/sup] 4 (literacy), Awareness 2 (details), Brawl 2 (dagger), Concentration 2 (Study), Dominion Lore 1 (auras), Entrancement 4 (questioning), Faerie Lore 2 (vampires), Folk Ken 3 (women), Guile 2 (straight face), Infernal Lore 1 (dragons), Intrigue 3 (gossip), Leadership 3 (intimidation), Legerdemain 2 (sleight of hand), Magic Lore 3 (regios), Magic Theory 3 (teaching), Mythic Europe Lore 3 (sequence of history), Order of Hermes Lore 4 (Tremere dogma), Penetration 3 (entrancement), Philosophiae 3 (metaphysics), Profession-Scribe 4 (composition), Second Sight 4 (spirits), Stealth 2 (hide), Teaching 6 (languages), Arabic 4 (classical), Aramaic 4 (Assyrian), French 5 (Norman), Greek 6 (Romaic, Classical), Hebrew 3 (written), Latin 6 (classical, Hermetic)
[sub]1 alphabets include Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, Hebrew, and Arabic[/sub]
Equipment: ivory crucifix on a silver chain, silver dagger, knife, bloodstone ring, moonstone ring, gold apothecary ring, hair pin, writing materials, journal, intimidating good looks and a chaste temperment
[tab][/tab]Dragana Tesla is the daughter of Rajko Tesla and Illiyanna Ivororvich. Her uncle is Dragor Ivorovich and the Ivorovich family has a long history of service with House Tremere. They also have a family history of lycanthropy and vampirism. She is a werewolf, but not a vampire (uncle Dragor is a damphir though). She started being taught the family trade by uncle Dragor when she was seven, developing her abilities in Entrancement and Second Sight. When she was 23, her uncle got her into the Scholomance. She learned much in her time at the school, demonstrating a proficiency for languages and aptitude for teaching others. After graduation, her uncle migrated to serve as a Tremere agent in Normandy. Dragana was given a position as a language teacher for the next fourteen years, valued for being able to teach Tremere magi and agents to speak new languages fluently in a mere two seasons (base 3, Com +2, Teaching 5 (languages), +6 single student, +5 Good Teacher, +3 Good Instructor; equals 25xp per season to a single student, 22xp to a pair of students, or 19xp to a class of up to 30 students). In 1234, she as recruited by Vocis along with her colleague Maris to serve teaching positions at the prestigious and ancient Covenant of Andorra.

Specialized Classroom (Teaching Lab)
Characteristics: Size 0, Refinement 3, General Quality -1, Upkeep -3, Safety 0, Warping 0, Health 0, Aesthetics +1
Virtues & Flaws: +0 Magical Heating & Lighting, +1 Gallery, +1 Living Quarters, +1 Opulent, -3 Elementary (only Teaching),
Specializations: Teaching +2
Notes: Upkeep cost is less than a third-pound-silver per year. Teaching bonus equals +1. Cost as a Purchased Lab equals 15q.p. for three Minor Virtues).

Chronology & Development: Born 1190, taught family ways starting at age 7 in 1197, began Scholamance training at age 22 in 1213, gained three minor virtues over the course of that time (costing 60xp, as per Advancment for Companions), finished training in 1220 at age 30 and started on Longevity level 40 costing 50xp, taught for ten years at the school before transferring to Andorra under the authority of Vocis in 1234 at age 37; the seven years of training and fourteen years of teaching each count as three "cycles" in which Book Learner is applied three times for a total of +105xp.

Why not?
Especially as teaching is not fun per-se IMO: you just help others progress faster. Having a learned character is, to me, much more fun.

It also goes well into the "misunderstood genius" trope. Hell, there's even an Incomprehensible flaw for these guys that are good at what they do, but fail at teaching it. In fact, it would have been an awesome flaw for vulcanus "You don't understand me, not because I'm unclear, but because you are so dumb while I am so brilliant!"


Maybe, but not always. Clearly, you didn't notice me [strike]trying[/strike] failing to explain things :unamused:
And didn't you get teachers that knew a lot, but were just bad at conveying it?

Also, there's a difference between poor teacher, average teacher, and crazy teacher :wink:

As I understand it: He rolls 2 + 3 + 4 = +9

I noticed. I'm just not buying it. There will be examples of people bad at their jobs, and they will likely have dismal careers. And that's not fun to play. Not for me anyway. Somone who is a bad teacher would only get teaching gigs if the client was deperate and had no other choice. Like, for example, "I want to hire a professor in Tuscany. This guy is good, but he charges ten times more than I can afford. So I hire this guy with a lidp and a drinking problem, he works for bread. Nah, fire that drunk. My buddy charlie can do better and he's a sailor."
Back in the day playing D&D, sometimes I'd roll up a fighter character with Strength 8 and Constitution 7. He would "fall on his sword", and I would start over. We all did it, it was traditional. We declared a minimal bar and for those under it, there was no shame in throwing them in a put of spikes.

Because we have plenty of opportunity to suck at what we do in real life :laughing:

To me, it is fun having an asset I can use as a bargaining chip, something that makes me valuable to those in power.

Vulcanus is not a teacher. Thank God.
Dragana has her own quirks that make her interesting. She's a frikin' werewolf! She has piercing gaze and is and Entrancing & beautiful woman yet totally chaste and serious minded. And dedicated to House Tremere. Her ungle Dragor is a Tremre Consor, other family is in the business too.

There may be a confusion: I wasn't talking about draganna per se, but more on the general topic of "every character that's related to book and/or teaching has very positive com AND good teacher". You might add "instead of just investing massively in teaching" :wink:

Likewise, not being the best with insane totals doesn't mean that you're dismal. What 's the problem with a teacher that has, say, Com 1, teaching 5? That's a professional teacher, with a source quality of 1+5+3 = 9, +6 if teaching one-on-one, for a +15, a little more than an excellent tractatus.
Talking about mundane books, we have only one that exceed that (with a SQ of 23 :open_mouth: ), 4 that equal it, and a lot more that are clearly inferior.

To take back your example, you rolled back your warrior because you wanted him to be a great warrior and he was dismal. And that's fine, he's a hero and supposed to be an exceptional character. But what if just every NPC city guard of whatever had Str and Con of 16+?

Yeah, like your knowledge of Lores :wink: Or the fact that, in teaching them in AL or philosophiae, you're still better than reading a book, despite you not being, at least potentially, one of the best teachers in the whole world.

For exemple, look at this guy:
Com +2, teaching 2, SQ one-on-one of 4+3+6 = 13. Still quite good compared to most books (and I'm refering to the Andorra Library here). Despite not being a professional teacher, he's still useful as one, because he can train magi a little better than most books, to a better level, especially in Artes Liberales, where he'll push you farther than just about every book. Hell, even in Philosophiae, he might be worthwhile! :wink:

I have definitely had professors with negative Com scores. Usually I could chalk it up to one of two things. First, was age. Some professors I had were past their prime and didn't seem to be trying anymore. Mechanically I'd say that was them taking aging penalties to Com. Second was professors who were more into research than teaching, but were clearly forced to teach a few classes.

There's an example closer to home. Vocis has +1 Com, Teaching 3 (almost 4), and no Good Teacher. He spent qp on a +3 Teaching lab feature to boost his source quality. Mica also has Apt Student, but that wasn't my doing. :wink:

THIS!!!! Thank you Fixer, that is exactly what I was saying! Again, not about Draganna in particular, but about our grogs and specialists in general.

I go back to a question that was asked about another character made previously. Is Draganna going to be used for anything other than being a Teaching source quality for the covenant? If she is, then awesome, because her being a werewolf will be interesting, especially since we have a Bjornaer in the covenant (or hopefully will shortly) and they do not always get along. But if not, then she’s just an NPC…and if that’s the case, do we want out NPCs to be that good?

It would be pointless to make her a werewolf if I didn't get to play a werewolf :unamused:
And being an excellent language teacher is her special asset that she intends to use to her advantage. She has an agenda.
And Draganna does not have a positive Communication score! Not anymore. I dropped it to 0. Her Good Language Instructor Essential Virtue replaces that 0 with a +3, but only when personally instruction, and only for the subject of Languages.
She has good language scores. She is not well versed in Arcane Lore. Magic & Farie Lore 3, Infernal & Divine 1. Meh.
A Professional score is 6, not 5. Six is the mark of pro.
And not every one of our grogs and specialists are super. Only the ones that get names and fleshed out. I have been tossing around a lot of comical names for goons that are not suer or exceptional in any way (Lawrence the Lackey, Percy the Porter, Sally the Scribe, Tony the Teamster, Cecil the Chef; guys that are good enough to do their job and live a hand waved existence.
Arnau and the Flame Brothers are the new hit Rock Stars 8). The Andorran Guard are classic but their heyday is long past. The Gold Griffons are solid but not superstars.
If our teaching staff is crowded by great teachers, then I say it is because our teaching staff is too small. We should have three more great teachers and twelve good teachers if we want to compete with Durenmar.
Someone gave the example of old professors. A hit to Com scores sounds quite plausible. As for the disinterested, they are lab rats at heart and teaching is a side duty. The Professional Teachers, those who are dedicated to the task, have the good scores.
As for This Guy...
:unamused: :unamused: :unamused: :laughing:
You present him to me as an example of a mediocre teacher, better than books and still fun to play. I looked at him and he is a Grog with a score of 9 in Artes Liberal and Medicine, 6 in Chirurgy, and a bunch of Formulae. If I tried to pass along a grog like that, you guys would crucify me :exclamation:
That guy obviously specializes. Dammit Jim! He's a Doctor, not a Teacher!
Draganna is a Teacher, not a Doctor. More accurately, she is a Language Instructor. And a werewolf. And an agent in service to House Tremere. For a season every two years, a Tremere magus might lodge with us for instruction or she might be sent on a mission. Marius has the same deal.

Wow, my doctor companion doesn't have a 9 Medicine (and has fewer formulae).