Faerie Companion

Impatient as we are (not wanting to wait a whole year for Faeries), a troupe member wants to introduce a Faerie companion after his old'n died, and we gots a few questions.

Should we base Advancement off of Becoming (without the arts)? That is, they can't learn new Abilities but can increase their old ones?
How should the person gain Might? If that even happens in a human life's timeframe.

Well, you could check out my Jinn Companion article in issue #2 of Sub Rosa - it's basically an ArM5 revision of the Faerie Companions from Faeries: Revised but with a Levantine theme.

See the Sub Rosa website (if it's up again)...

I'd suggest Mystery initiations to gain Might by Virtues, either 2 Might per Minor Virtue or 5 Might per Major Virtue.


Lachie / Jarkman

I think that would be a good starting point; Faeries are notoriously attached to old ways. I would, however, also consider capping advancement somehow, to deal with 1000 years old faerie NPCs.

One possibility off the top of my head would be the following. You start with a goodly number of experience points (say, 1000, with no ability above 10). You may NOT gain experience the normal way; however, you may initiate minor virtues such as Warrior, each giving you access to 50 experience points in a given area, with the usual rules in the Mysteries.

The same mechanism as above: initiate a +2 to might and up to 15 points of powers as a minor virtue, and a +5 to might and up to 40 points of powers as a major one - or something like that.

Note that I've given very little thought to possible ramifications, and this might well hide horrible loopholes.

'Points' of powers? That's a bit peculiar, since powers can easily be 0 points.

'Initiating'... Initiating is a Mystery affair, requiring a cult and a script. Who would or could provide such a thing? Not to mention, jumping 2-5 Might and lots of powers a season..

I think it should be as all Faeries gain it. Through their story being spread.

OK, I may not have explained myself regarding the Mystery aspect (it's only hinted at in the Jinni article as well - there's a follow up planned on Jinni Mysteries and how Jinn gain powers via performing services for their elders who in return reward them with Mystery style initiations/new Virtues...)

So, a sample "Quest" for a Mystery could be spreading the story of the Faerie kingdom or character sponsoring the quest/acting as the mystagogue...

A "Sacrifice" could be the faerie character giving up something of themselves to the mundane world etc etc.

Lesser faeries gain power from greater faeries - one method of emulating this is to treat the greater faeries as being able to "initiate" the lesser faeries into "mysteries" such as deeper powers or increased Might.

It's also interesting that both Divine (Nephelim) and Infernal (Devil Children) Mythic Companion characters can continue to gain XP and improve Abilities even though they have a Might score.

Why shouldn't Faerie (or Magic) Mythic Companions also be able to do this?

I accept that magi who tarnsform themselves into a Faerie being (via Becoming) or a theurgical spirit (Ascendancy to the Hall of Heroes) or nature spirit (Guardian of Nature) may not be able to gain XP, but these are quite different.

Nephilim/Devil Children are "minor entities" compared to transformed magus, even if Mythic Companions, partly human and at a closer magnitude of power to humans with much lower Might totals.

Interestingly, you may not have to wait till RoP: Faerie for advancement ideas though - in Art & Academe the Maestro Mythic Companion can transform into a creature of a Supernatural Realm and gain a Might score at the cost of losing the capacity to earn XP. This can be offset by 1) creating artwork to remind the character of their achievement or 2) having a "familiar" which acts as the anchor for those memories.

I could see the latter concept working for Faeries - a mundane companion that provides the link to learning etc.

The paragraph notes that further methods of improving Abilities for characters with Might scores will be presented in RoP: Magic or RoP: Faerie - I suspect the methods will be pretty similar, so you may only ahve to wait till RoP: Magic later this year...



PS it does seem odd that in some cases having a Might score prevents the gaining of XP (transformed magi or Maestros) but not in others (Mythic Companion characters or magical creatures). Perhaps it's in the way a Might score is gained / Essential Nature?

I think Devil children/Nephilim are party human and so can learn and change while a trasnformed magi or masestro has become a magical being/faerie and so has a more fixed nature

I've always felt it seemed a little odd. If they can't learn then either they've no long-term memory (And since the fae and dragons are known for holding grudges) or they lack the ability to reason (in which case they're mindless). A ghost eternally erodes back to the state they became a ghost, since the nature of a ghost is an unchanging echo. There's no reason a faerie lord should do the same. On the other hand, their eternal and unchanging nature would make the acquisition of XP slower as it takes more the change their ways of thinking since they're defined by form and function as well as XP. Why not just multiply the costs by 5? Thus for an ascended/changed magus, the Arts start advancing as skills and skills require new level times 25 XP? It's a fudge, but ...

Gaining skills, abilities and Might by initiation also sounds good as a way of short-cutting the slow learning by directly changing one's nature.

I meant: buy powers as if invested hermetic devices, perhaps with a few extra guidelines that reflect their faerie nature, with one point being one level of invested effect.

As for Nephilim and Devil children, you should keep in mind that both are doomed to die (barring exceptional circumstances) unlike faeries, who are by default ageless. It's agelessness - the ability to potentially stick around forever - that is balanced with an inability to learn, in order to avoid the otherwise almost inevitable equation very old = insanely powerful.

Magi who Become can gain experience. They can freely advance their existing Abilities and all their Arts. Or, at least, that's what Transformation of the Mind says, and nothing seems to contradict it. They can increase their Might with a special lab activity.

Magi who become creatures of Magic Might can gain experience by very slow means (every season must be worked in through a special lab total the next season.) I know the ones who use Great Elixer can make another Great Elixer to improve their Might. The reasoning in their case is that they are 'restored' to a previous state, but it seems a bit silly.

I shall read up on this article.

That's a good point.

The Jinni Companions I describe are also not ageless.

I just think using the Mystery mechanic to drive acquisition of Virtues / powers is useful in a meta-game sense as it drives stories with Quests etc, which given most Companions interact more with mundane society, has the potential to promote interesting Saga play.

Looks like RoP: Magic will be very interesting (there are lots of references through Lion & the Lily and Art & Academe which are enticing).



It's most that they become fixed, archetypals, unchanging.

A little like a god of war, who can remember things, but couldn't create peace even if he wanted to, as it is not part of its nature.

Who said dragons cannot learn? Stellatus (core rule book) has some points in Organization Lore: Order of Hermes, he got when competing with some foolish Tytalus whom he killed by a totally mundane rock slide.

But could he put XP into GreatWeapon:NewTypeOfThing? Not in the RAW.

The rules for most immortals make it extremely difficult for immortals to learn anything. They have to imbue their knowledge into items or perform rituals or the like, and if the external knowledge sink is destroyed, they lose the XP.

I'm very happy for archetypes to be slow to change, and to be unable to do things against their nature. But, as pointed out in the dragon's case, they have to be able to learn or they're no better than crude automata, capable of repeating the same actions over and over again.

To be honest, the whole infinite age=infinite power thing is a little flawed anyway since it assumes that you've spent all your time learning. So, whilst I can happily see that a very, very old faerie will have enormous Faerie Lore and Area Lore, reasonable Legend Lore and speak a hell of a lot of languages, unless he's a faerie smith I doubt he'll have put 2000XP into Craft:Blacksmith. I also would say that there need be no fixed correlation between a faerie's age and Might. A flowersprite will remain a flowersprite until such time as her flower gets cultivated and becomes the emblem of the Duchy when she should probably gain in power considerably.

I'm not really offering solutions here or even complaining too much (I hope), just stating that there does seem to be a flaw in the rules as currently written and trying to hammer that out so that it can be properly considered.

And IMO, not.

He is already "complete". He could have an insane score in Strategy, but the finite nature of this score would be part of his nature.
It's mortal heroes who may sometimes overcome the gods, because they can grow and learn, not the reverse.

Yes. Things like this, IMO, are what change faeries and allow them to grow. Not any amount of time, since they're already ageless.
Like in this hellboy comics were one minor demon grows in power, intelligence and wisdom by stealing him his crown, to lose it all thereafter.

And this is where my suspension of disbelief breaks. I can understand (and indeed appreciate) that said deity might disdain the nw ways, might believe his are best and might refuse to seek them out to study them. I cannot accept that any such creature, when shown a new battle tactic, will not learn from it. If you remember it, then it's part of the corpus of your knowledge of tactics and, in game terms, you've got some more XP.

Don't mortal heroes traditionally beat the gods by trickery and taking them by their weak points? I can't offhand (though I'm sure someone will remind me of one) remember a case where a mortal took down a god of war in combat.

Oh, yes. But that's power. Might. And, with greater might, there might be attendent skills and knowledge. Nevertheless, that's a seperate thing. An immortal raven, flying over an area for centuries and listening in to conversations from travellers, is going to acquire Area Lore and the relevent history skill. It may do so slowly, since it's passive and not actually trying to learn such, but it must. Either that, or it has no memory. And, frankly, I want dragons to hold grudges.

Having ghosts be fixed is good. Having other things be fixed is silly. Though there's a difference between a fixed nature and fixed knowledge.

Maybe comparing it to a video game can help you?

There are quite good IA programs, where the opponents can be very clever (and who wasn't defeated by Sagat in a simple Street Fighter II Game?)
But while these may adapt to anything you throw at them, react in conditions in their surroundings (in FPS, reacting to sounds you make, cowering before suppressive fire), they are still finite.

Do you remember everything you learn? I know I've read books about 3-persons shadowing tactics, but I can't recall it.
And then, they just can't learn something new. If you defeat them once through a method, they'll remember this, try another solution (get a different roll next time), but won't create, won't be inventive. Won't change :wink:
And if every solution they try doesn't work? They'll turn to mortals for inventivity, because they'll be unable to outgrow their own boundaries.

And shouldn't the gods be aware of these, and protect them a lot? How often can you trick one?
It's like these faerie events when the same thing occur year after year (like the slaying of the king of winter), unless mortals change it. They may be distressed by it, but still, they can't learn from past events, and do their part.

No. He won't, if it's not in its nature (he'll just wander, oblivious to everything) or if he forgets everything overtime, just like immortal magi do. He could wander centuries and still know little.
OTOH, a raven whose nature was to know everything about a land would be "born" with this knowledge.

And then, tomorrow, when I try to sneak in, have completely forgotten that I hate them and want them dead. Weak AI is exactly what I don't want to see. As I've said, I think it works well for ghosts but terribly for anything else.

Not in the specific, but in general, yes. I remember that I knew something about the topic, which books to start checking in and who to ask. Most undergrads "know" more chemistry than I do, because they've memorised swathes of facts and examples for their exams. Now, I know where to go for the details and stick to the broader understanding and frankly, have a higher score in Arcane Lore:Chemistry.

There's a huge difference in being unable to innovate and being unable to learn. By your own arguments, the actions of mortals won't help them because they'll be unable to learn from them and change.

So if I built a tower in a valley the Raven hasn't visited then it suddenly knows if it? I'm sorry, but that's represented by powers fueled by Might (even if the Might cost is 0), not abilities and skills. I quite agree that a care-free raven might not learn anything by simply drifting. This is not the same as being unable to learn, just being uninterested in doing so. I know far too many people exactly like that and whilst they're set in their ways and unchanging in nature, they're not unaging faeries.

By this logic, a Faerie who lives on one side of the mountain and pays tithes to a Lord on the other will continue to try to take the same path every season, even after two dragons eat the mountain. Every day, he'll walk outside and do a doubletake at the absent mountain, and then plot a different (but identical to the previous season's) route.

Unchanging nature (personality, Might, powers, area controlled) is not the same as unknowing or unable to learn. By the same token, since Hermetic magic is as much a matter of attunement as knowledge (eg. Form bonuses, virtues, the difficulty of learning other supernatural abilities being based on your arts and supernatuala abilities), it should be harder for an Immortal magus to increase them and should require sacrifice and work. Learning a new potion recipe, on the other hand, should be no different from usual.

You're confusing 2 things IMO.
Yes, they'll be unable to learn and change. There are quite a wealth of stories about fixed faeries courts, stuck in their ways...
But that can't mean a mortal can't change something.

It, say, the king of winter is supposed to be defeated each spring by the queen of summer and you stop this. You actions will have an effect, probably a profound one, and the queen will be hard pressed to take power.
But if you later help the queen take back her throne, you'll reinstitute the cycle again, and things'll go back the way they were.

They are some good stories in Marvel's Thor about this: Ragnarok has happened, again and again, and, despite the gods knowing it'll happen and how, things still begin anew. They could kill loki, do a preemptive strike against yormungandr, but they just imprisonate him and try the same old solutions to the same old problems.

If your character has HoH lore 4 and stays stuck for 50 years in a regio, will his knowledge goes up when he goes out and learns what happened?
Of course not.

He'll go out, register the absent mountain, and cut through the empty space :wink:
IIRC the immortal maguses thing, it also seems that you can remember without learning (although yes, it may seem strange to us)

Btw, a simple counter-exemple.
Deceptive demons have been actively deceiving humanity (and other demons, and faeries...) for millenias.
Warrior demons have been battling for the same amount of time.
Why don't they have near-infinite scores in their chosen skills?
After all, even a meek 2 practice XP per year for 2000 years (which is very young, for a demon or faerie) gives you a score of 28.

And I'd say that's a different thing. That's not turning to mortals for their ingenuity, that's having an outside influence affect the status quo.

If he reads the Tribunal records, yes. His knowldge of the history is then added to by his new knowledge. If he doesn't, then no. He just has his old knowledge. I don't see how that's relevent to the issue though.

Strange and stupid, I'm afraid. It brings to mind a child repeatly touching a hot iron because it remembers pain but can't associate it with anything. Or anyone stoned and thus lacking short term memory. It completely breaks suspension of disbelief.

I agree, there are problems. Firstly, there are no mechanics for forgetting. Secondly, there are no caps to abilities. Thirdly, there's a difference between being able to learn more and learning more. Once you reach Great Weapon(X):15(decapitation), can you be bothered to study it more? If you spend a season lazing by the sea, enjoying the sun, you might get Practice XP for swimming, but after a while, all you'll get is sunburned. The XP rules assume that people are either actively trying to improve specifically or as a result of their normal work. A swordsmaster who just does the minimum practice and spends his time with ale and whores won't improve.

I suppose, in effect, I'm arguing that the flaw lies in the XP rules (and assumptions about immortality). Limiting levels for things like Practise and Exposure, rather than just a flat quality, perhaps?

For my own counter example - A dragon spends a hundred years feuding good-naturedly with a local covenant. In that time he acquires Order of Hermes Lore and also Folk Ken(Magi). The covenant falls during the Schism War and he takes vengeance against the aggressors using his knowledge of the order against them. If the dragon cannot learn, this cannot happen.

Hum... Excuse me, but haven't you read stories of faeries capturing human for the spark of novelty and excitement they bring? For their creativity? I'm surprised, as I though the notion of the faeries able to create wonderful, inhuman items still surprised by the originality and novelty of a crude human creation was a staple of the thing. They don't create, they copy, thus the faerie courts and all.

And what's to say the outside influence doesn't change things through sheer ingenuity? You yourself talked about humans tricking gods, as there are a lot of tales of humans tricking the Devil (at least here).

Anyway, say it's an outside influence, with awesome magical power and all. Does this imply faeries can grow by themselves? Of course not.

So, even after 50 years, he'll still be able to use his full score of 4 about HoH personnalities or politics? Even about people born while he was out?

This is as relevant as your raven exemple, it's just a different take on the same thing :wink:

I'm sorry, I fail to understand you here.

That's why I took an exemple with:

  • Practice, and just an little of it (2XP, not even by season but per year!)
  • Demons obsessed by their thing, maybe to the point of embodying it (Deception and deceiver demons :wink:), and thus practicing it actively.

Yes, of course.
I have less problems with it that with the notion of allowing faeries to learn and grow from their experience.
To me, a dragon would of course already have Folk ken ^^

Note also that your dragon has maybe a way to "fix" his knowledge like hermetic maguses do. Maybe in his hoard? :wink: Of course, this theoretically poses the same problem of near-infinite knowledge