General Table Talk

Yeeeah...that would be me. Far as I know, they're still working for Fleur. And Mayhew should be just about the right age to start pulling his weight around the covenant, too.

Looks like they were as of 1238, I can't recollect for certain past that, Mayhew would be 7 now... not sure what Fleur's staff budget would look like... or if we are in fact keeping track of that...

Feed me all the budget concerns you can. I am looking for ways to increase expenses and reduce loyalty. Not to a bad score. We will still have a surplus in cash and I want to bring Loyalty to about a 3 or 4.

Loyalty should drop once new magi with standard or Blatant Gift arrives.

I know, I calculated that in. I can drop Familiarity to zero and it is still off the chart. Twenty percent of the magi have the Gentle Gift. I have two Blatant Gifts, diluted in a sea of fifteen magi. I gave an NPC (who isn't even a member) the Blatant Gift to hike it to three BGs, and it is still too high. If I cut salaries and lower equipment quality, I come up with 3 or 4. And I woud rather not do that. I even yanked the bonuses for the Captain and Autocrat. I am thinking of inventing detriments, like "-x High Stress Environment", "-y Arcane Echoes", "-z High Magi Traffic".

I just revised it again, and this is what I come up with.
Governance & Loyalty

I dropped the officers bonus, no Familliarity bonus, invented a detriment, and faked a Blatant Gift. Loyalty +4 still. I want to bring it down to a reasonable 3 and include the Captain & Autocrat.

Seems like a good moment to make old characters (NPC) start to suffer twilight or move to other areas of interest (and covenants). You can use the 3 year hiatus for that easily. Or you can cause a magical or mundane mishap that took a few of them out of the equation.

Other ideas

Type of Governance: Democracy layered over an old Hierarchy
Loyalty: +4 (53)
Base Loyalty: -35 (-305 Blatant Gift x three, -300 Gift x nine, -0 Gentle or No Gift x 3, = -605, divided by fifteen magi (round up) equals -41
Prevailing Loyalty: +4 (Base -41; +30 Loyal Covenfolk, +20 Living Conditions, +20 Equipment, +20 Salary, +10 Pension, -3 Carmen's Reputation as Pushy, -3 High Stress Occupation; = 53)

Drop loyal covenfolk. maybe there was a break of a plague in the convenant or something (make a small adventure out of it if it is caused by someone/something?) that removed a lot of the old covenfolk. There is an influx of new recruits with no familiarity or loyalty to older stuff.

Maybe the salary is good, but the death possibility is so high that it effectively it is considered a high risk high reward job, so no salary bonus: what the covenant pays is ewhat makes people take the job, but tha tis all.

You can always find excuses to bitch about your current job. I have seen people that have double my wage and not much more responsibility complain about their working conditions. A few bad apples like that given free reign for a while and you get a grumpy workforce.

If you make one of the administrators bad, you can also cause that. Not all personel selections will be top notch in any organization. The characters in the saga dcannot see the CV&F and personality traits of the people they are hiring.

So, if you want to make loyalty an issue it is easyu to make up reasons why it happened. A few blows in deaths (like a pair of forays that caused 4-6 grogs to die in each case, or an attack on the covenant with the same result) drops morale by a lot, for example, and people start wondering if the salary is that good given the dangers of the job.

Was there an in-game hiatus? My understanding was that we were at 1243/1244 when the game paused and we are still at 1243/1244 now.

Ah, my bad. I misunderstood. I thought the game went from 1242 (some recap and adventures finishing there) and then the story would be jumped to 1245.

Okay, I manipulated the numbers and made up some arbitrary bs. This is what I came up with

I am only counting ten member magi, not pledges or guests yet. I also invented some Covenant Situation modifiers that both brings the numbers down to reasonable, they paint a picture of what I envision the covenant is like.

I don’t mean to interfere in the current combat going on, but as Lucas doesn’t really fight a whole lot and is like as not to try and turn invisible during combat to avoid getting hit, how invisibility is handled in this saga is very relevant to Lucas’s long-term health. I base most of my understanding on how invisibility in combat should be run on the rules in HoH:S (pp. 32 and 33).

I see that in this fight the archers attacking The Woad were able to attack him albeit with a -3 to hit him based on his invisibility. That tracks the Defense Bonus given in the table on p. 33 of HoH:S entitled EFFECTS OF INVISIBILITY (assuming the fight is taking place in direct sunlight – which seems a reasonable bet). However, the rules also require that before someone can target an invisible character with missile weapons, they must first locate the invisible target to within a half a pace or so. This requires that the opponent spend a round searching and make an opposed Perception + Awareness roll against the invisible character’s Dexterity + Stealth – Encumbrance + Stealth bonus.

Now, the rules also say that once an observer has located the character, she can automatically keep track of his location until his signs become less visible (at which point she must re-roll using the new Stealth bonus) or he moves away for two or three rounds (depending on his speed and visibility conditions).

As best I can guess, you must have been assuming that the archers had located The Woad as soon as he became invisible. I assume your argument is that they could see him before he turned invisible and knew where he was then, so when he turned invisible, they could continue to track his location.

Of course, that gives these archers a great deal of perspicacity and awareness to immediately apprehend that the man they are looking at turned invisible when he disappeared and was still a valid target. Most people seeing a target disappear would assume that the target was gone. Some might notice the remaining shadow and be curious about that, though you’d think that some sort of Per + Awareness check would be involved to notice the shadow, especially given the distance involved, the moving sea, etc. But I tend to think that an attacker assuming that a disappeared target had turned invisible would not be most people’s go-to answer.

Again, I’m not trying to second guess what’s happened in this fight. I just want to make certain that I understand what’s likely to happen in a future fight in which Lucas turns invisible. Is it proper to assume that when you turn invisible in a fight your opponent will automatically know you are still there, and you will only receive a bonus to Defense based on the table on p. 33 of HoH:S?

In a totally unrelated side note (:wink:) what would be an appropriate spell to remove a person’s shadow?

Remove Shadow
CrIg 25
R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Ind
This spell creates just enough light to erase a person’s shadow.
(Base 5, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 changing image)

This assumes that a shadow is the absence of light and that a magus can create light to blank out the shadow. I used base 5 since the spell would have to be effective in direct sunlight on a clear day, so at least that much light must be generated.

Remove Shadow
CrIm 5
R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Ind
This spell creates an image below the magus that looks just as the area is but without the magus’s shadow.
(Base 1, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 changing image)

This assumes that the magus can simply create a visual illusion under him of an area without a shadow.

Remove Shadow
PeIm 20
R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Ind
This spell eliminates a person’s shadow for the duration of the enchantment.
(Base 4, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 changing image)

This assumes that a shadow is an image of its own and that it can be eliminated much as the image of the magus himself can be removed.

Remove Shadow
MuIm 5
R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Ind
This spell modifies the target's shadow to instead look like the ground underneath it.
(Base 1, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 changing image)

This assumes that the shadow is an image that can be changed to look like the ground underneath it instead of looking like a shadow.

I could see any of these interpretations being sound, though there could be arguments against any of them. I know the instinct is to say that level 5 is far too low to get that result and immediately dismiss the CrIm or MuIm options, though that’s very much a meta argument. Really, I’m not invested in any particular solution. I just want to know how you interpret shadows and which of these options might be correct. And if none of them are correct, how would you go about removing a shadow?

I count eleven magi as follows:

Blatant Gift (2): Carmen, Guiverna
Standard Gift (6): Arachne, Solomon, Vibria, Vocis, Acutus, Edith
Gentle Gift (3): Lucas, Roberto, Fleur

I counted Edith here since she's permanently at the covenant, though she's not officially a member.

There are then three magi who are looking to join:

Blatant Gift (0): None
Standard Gift (3): Ikelos, Marcellus, The Woad
Gentle Gift (0): None

We also have the following five apprentices:

Blatant Gift (2): Clotide, Lucien
Standard Gift (3): Elena, Gabriel, Vera
Gentle Gift (0): None

I’m not sure if apprentices count for purposes of Loyalty. On the one hand, they’re not officially magi. On the other hand, they’re people with the Gift who the covenfolk must deal with. Could go either way.

So, by my count there are at a minimum 11 magi (with a loyalty of [2*(-105) + 6*(-30) + 3*(0)]/11 = -390/11 = -35.5), and as many as 19 “magi” (with a loyalty of [4*(-105) + 12*(-30) + 3*(0)]/11 = -780/19 = -41), with other permutations in between. It really depends how you want to do the count. But the end difference is only about -5 Loyalty so it’s not a huge difference.

There's also the question of the magi in Majorca. Do they count fully since they're not always in Arans? Again, I could see it going either way.

IMO Mallorcan magi should be visitors, since most covenfolk will not interact enough with them to count them as members of the covenant.

Good poibnt about the apprentices. There are A LOT of magi in this saga!!! I have never participated in a saga with so many magic users. Doissetep starts looking like a run of the mill covenant. xD

I think the situation described by Marko, and the reason why the attack malus was limited, was that one of the archers had already spotted The Woad and was aiming at him when he disappeared. He shot his arrow at the last location, probably more surprised than anything else by the sudden disappearance of his target.

That's pretty much what I figured. These ships are small and there's not a lot of room to maneuver. So an invisible person only has so many places to go. But I do still think it's a bit odd for an attacker to see his opponent disappear and then fire an arrow where his opponent last was. Without a round to look for the magus's shadow as the rules describe, it seems like most people would assume that when a person disappears they're no longer there and the arrow would be wasted. While invisibility and teleportation are equally alien to an average 13th century person, I suspect that the go-to explanation would be that the target mysteriously disappeared rather than that the target probably turned invisible.

Of course, as you note, a surprised archer might release the arrow anyway and then might get lucky.

That or they see someone disappear, figure they either turned invisible or relocated and fire arrows to determine which it is... it's not like arrows are bullets- you can pick them up and reuse them if they don't hit anything.

I think that's absolutely true for someone who has experience with magic (and to be fair, we don't yet know who these attackers are; they might well be familiar with magic). But it would seem odd for me if a generic 13th century sailor upon seeing a person disappear from view considered that the person might have either instantly relocated or turned invisible and took measures to test whether the person was merely invisible and still where they stood.

Far, far more likely in my opinion is that the sailor in question would be astounded by what happened and assume that some divine or demonic forces were in play that got rid of the target. Invisibility just seems so wild a theory to a common sailor that it seems odd to me that he would seriously consider it and take action to test that theory.

Granted, teleportation is an equally wild theory. But it seems to me that, given stories of angels and demons, it would be easier for the sailor to believe that the target had just plain gone away somehow.

Of course, Mythic Europe is not real medieval Europe. It may be that there's enough weird stuff going on in Mythic Europe that the average man-on-the-street has more experience with the bizarre and is more willing to believe in a supernatural explanation for things.

In the end I'm just looking for a better understanding of what the baseline expectations are in a situation like this. Is it common for a sailor in 13th century Mythic Europe to assume invisibility is a possibility? If so, I'll plan accordingly.

If we simply use fairy tales as a basis, and assume most people have a passing familiarity with them, there are far more tales of people turning invisible than being instantly transported or removed by supernatural forces. Indeed people were described as being taken to heaven by flying into the sky.

My real point though is that "people should react thus and so when I do x" is a bad assumption on the part of the player, not a fault of the GM, because people can react in all kinds of ways, and assuming they should make a mistake is really just poor tactics.

It's not a case of wanting to know with certainty that "people should react thus and so when I do x." I fully understand that different people will react differently based on their background and upbringing. But I think it is relevant to ask what the common experience is in an imagined world that we the players do not have the ingrained understanding of that our characters do. I can tell you with some certainty what is generally considered "common knowledge" for an East Coast American in the 21st century. I can even make what I hope are pretty good guesses as to what is considered "common knowledge" for other 21st century people. I grew up here. I know the general culture. Yes, YMMV, everyone is unique and has a unique interpretation of the world, and its impossible to predict what any one person would do. But we can make general predictions about people in this era and part of the world will react in different situations.

This is not the case for me and the 13th century, and is particularly not the case for me and an imaginary 13th century that has been created by one group of people and is being interpreted by another group. I have no idea what is common knowledge. Worse, what I might think is a commonly accepted belief, another player (or storyteller) might believe is not commonly accepted at all. There is no truth, just what we commonly accept it to be. (I believe that this is one of the problems leading to rules arguments as people debate how a particular magical effect works, for example. We can't just go to the lab and test a theory. We can only decide what truth is and act accordingly. But that's a discussion for another time.)

Yes, people can react in all sorts of ways. And yes, it's wrong to assume that all people should react in the same way when confronted with the same situation. It is indeed a poor play style to assume that people should react in a certain way. But it's not wrong to try and base your actions on an understanding of how the world (or your part of the world) works. You might be wrong some of the time. But in theory, your life experience (made up though it is) should help guide you to avoid making errors that someone in your position would long since have learned not to make.

I consider something that just happened to a friend of mine in the UK. He and his family got home from an event to find the lights in the house on when they definitely should not have been. My friend left his family in the car and went to investigate. Upon entering the house he came face-to-face with a man dressed in black with a covering over his face, clearly in the process of robbing the house. The man fled and my friend made the split-second decision to chase after him, hoping to restrain him until the police could arrive. The man got away, but my friend actively pursued for a while. After I heard this I considered that he had made his decision based on an understanding of how things work in the UK In the 21st century grounded in a lifetime of experience. He assumed that the man would not be carrying a firearm. Therefore he thought it would be safe to pursue, knowing that the worst that would likely happen to him was that he might get roughed up a bit. Yes, the robber might have had a gun, even in the UK. But the odds were that he would not and my friend played the odds.

Things might have been entirely different in the US. I considered that were I confronted with the same situation, I might well not choose to pursue the robber based on my life experience that criminals in the US are far more likely to be carrying a firearm. A robber who might run away without causing harm could well choose to shoot a pursuer rather than risk being caught. In such a hypothetical situation I might well have weighed my options and come up with a very different conclusion as to how to react based on growing up in the US. Yes, the hypothetical American robber might well not have been armed. But I'd have to choose my actions based on the odds. (FWIW, a friend in law enforcement confirmed my belief, saying that her research showed that criminals in such situations had a decent chance of carrying a handgun.)

Two different people in a similar situation might react very differently based on their life experience and their expectations of what would likely happen. And while any given robber might be armed or unarmed in the UK or US, on the whole more robbers in the US will be armed than will robbers in the UK.

And I think that as much as it's poor playing to assume an NPC will react in a certain way based on experience or common knowledge, it's likewise poor storytelling to repeatedly have characters act in ways contrary to the genre. Yes, an individual might do something unexpected or unorthodox this time. But over time people should behave in a generally consistent manner. Too many departures from a commonly accepted norm of behavior robs the setting of its verisimilitude. If our 13th century peasants continually act like 21st century hipsters, then the story loses some of its charm.

In the end our setting has many, many details that are unspoken and unwritten. And we all can't help but have a hundred different assumptions about the setting in our minds. Sometimes they'll agree; sometimes they won't. Unfortunately, we generally won't find that out until were confronted with a situation in which our assumptions clash. And by then it's possible we've both taken actions based on a belief that our factual assumptions about the world are correct. It can be a shock to find out that we were incorrect. (Not that our characters were incorrect about things they believed, but that we as a player were incorrect about facts and occurrences that we understood our characters would have physically seen or experienced.)

My hope in asking these questions about how people would typically react in this situation (with the understanding that some people will certainly react differently) was meant to allow me to get a better feel for the setting so that my character could act in a way that would be appropriate for someone living there. And if my assumptions about the way of the world are wrong, I'd rather know that ahead of time than find out once I've taken actions in reliance on my incorrect assumptions.

Whereas I live in the US, and was confronted with someone breaking into my car in the middle of the night in my driveway, and went out to confront them armed with a sword, and did not give chase when they ran, based on the fact that if I chased them and they came to harm after having abandoned their effort to burgle my property then I could be held criminally liable, but had little concern about whether or not they had a gun.

But this does also raise another point, which is that it isn't just a fictional version of 13th century Europe, but different regions of Europe. A peasant in the Transylvanian tribunal is much more likely to have some awareness of the order and how magic works than a peasant in the Normandy tribunal, for example.