Going South (or: This'll suck big time)

I may have forgotten something, but for the time being, here's how I see it.


  1. Goals[/b]
    I'm aiming for a more low-power feel than Andorra, but also the average Ars campain.

There's this idea that Andorra is great. It's one of the order's better covenants, with a long and rich history, a wonderful place, a magnificent library, and it attracts only the best of magi, covenfolks and grogs. So, by giving the outside world a lower power level, I can showcase Andorra's power and wealth.

It's also a question of verisimilitude: For this kind of secret, "no come back" mission, it's way easier for The Spider to find, suborn and/or fund soldiers and hedge magi than even a band of young hermetics.

The characters are hired with the following goals in mind:

  • Go south, until no one has heard of the order of hermes. Find a safe place, build a backup covenant here
  • Go slowly; Spend time, at least 1 season but probably more, in the countries you cross, investigate the region, local magics, anything of interest... One or more books should be written describing the foundings. 2 copies are to be kept. The spider will retrieve one when she can visit.
  • Recruit along the way if you can. Strange wizards are welcome, unless you can't control them. You must instill a tight group spirit: Everyone must the loyal to the turb. Train together, things like that.
  • Do not reveal yourselves to any order of wizards, do not make your mission known. At worst, you're explorers and adventurers.
  1. Character creation[/b]
    Only grogs and companion-level characters, built as per the core rules, not Andorra's HR. No Rival traditions. This may include hedge magi, although you're encouraged to think creatively instead of brute-forcing for high totals and uber-combos: Super-optimized characters can probably find better life prospects than marching into the unknown. Likewise, hedge magi must be taken in the broadest sense, like "has a supernatural virtue".
    No social flaws linking the character to Mythic Europe, for obvious reasons. However, you should write a reason for your character to go along with this. How was he hired/suborned? He may be a wanted criminal, an adventurous spirit, or just a soldier doing his job. As a compensation, companions may get 2 points of virtue "free". I'll probably raise these 2 limitations at a later point, for "local" characters.

EDIT: Not unlike in Andorra, each character has, for free, 15 free xp of Aera Lore, 05 of which must be put into a hometown. XP elsewhere must be explained in background (For exemple, a merchant working between 2 towns may know them, and a little of the country between)

She's searching for:

  • A scholar or two: Someone who knows supernatural lores, has an inkling of Magic Theory (to know what's useful) and can write books. Ideally, have some minor supernatural ability, like being able to enrigh items or create reagents.
  • Soldiers, soldiers, soldiers
  • Hedge magi with spying abilities. This may mean having a spirit companion or guardian angel, being able to change into a bird, to leave one's body, to control animals...
  • Someone with healing abilities, whether mundane or supernatural (lots of choices here)
  • Soldiers
  • Someone with abilities that stock over time, like a trainer of supernatural creatures or a potions-maker
  • Any suggestion from Eva about something she might have missed. She's smart enough to know she has blind spots, and need help to think outside her box.

It may be better to just begin with mostly grogs. That way, you may "recruit" exotic hedge wizards as companions as you cross their countries (for exemple, a sahir fleeing retribution by a more powerful peer). But whatever, this is not important.

3) House rules
3.1) Aera Lore and Languages

  • Each season spend in a place where you don't do laboratory activities, train with a teacher or study a book, you gain 05 xp in the lowest of (local language) or (local area lore), to a maximum score of 02, unless, for some reason, you don't go out and interact with the place. This has 2 goals: verysimilitude in skills seldom increased, upgrading the slower study modes
    3.2) Improving Default Languages
  • If learning a language you already have a default with, spend xp normaly, as if starting from scratch. Add this to the default to determine your score in the new language, with a maximum being equal to the original language's score. E.g, I have High German 05, giving me Low German 03. If I put 05 xp into Low german, for a score of 1, I can speak it at 3+1 = 4.
    3.3) Profession Skills
  • Profession skills can roughly replace any skill used in the profession, although at a lower score: (skill/2 -1), rounded down, and only when exercising that profession. For exemple, someone with Prof: Merchant 5 can bargain his goods with a skill of 2
  • Profession: Soldier needed a definition. Adapted from Blade of the Iron Throne: The professional skill of all soldiers, including low-level organisational decisions such as where and how to best strike up camp, how and where to set up guards, estimating the size of an enemy body by the size of its camp, judging the quality of a troop by seeing it perform, performing drills, drawing up in formations, etc. More importantly, this skill entirely replaces weapon skills in any battlefield setting where fighting is in a cramped closed formation, such as in a shield wall. In any such situation, a weapon skill functions only at (skill/2 -1), but Prof: Soldier can be used in its stead, no matter what the weapon, and the group counts as having trained together for battle purposes. If a character breaks rank to fight alone – endangering both himself and his comrades to boot – his skills are penalized no longer, but he also cannot use Prof: Soldier in their stead, nor does he counts as part of the group.
    3.4) Mooks and Unnamed Grogs
    In order to make bookkeeping easier, and inspired by Covenants, mooks and other unnamed characters are put into 3 categories: Crappy, Standard, and Elite.
    Crappy Mooks either have a bad stat, a flaw, or no inclination to learn (like, they skip training). They usually inexpensive equipment (A long spear or hatchet, quilted armor or heavy leather).
    Standard Mooks have one of these, and a Brave score of 1.
    Elite mooks have 2 of there, and a Brave score of 3.
    These exist at 4 stages, I to IV, roughly corresponding to their age (20, 30, 40 and 50). Each 10 years, mooks advance one stage. Characters over stage IV are considered to be either dead, or unable to keep going due to wounds/old age. So, you'd have a bunch of 20 Standard I soldiers, or 5 Elite III.
    Mooks are described by a score in their main skill, which subsumes skill, attribute and virtue. They may have a second skill at -1, and a third at -2. The scores for Standard I, II, III and IV are respectively 4, 6, 7 and 8
    Crappy mooks have -2 to their scores, Elite one have +2.
    In short:
    [th]I (age 20)[/th]
    [th]II (Age 30)[/th]
    [th]III (age 40)[/th]
    [th]IV (age 50)[/th][/tr]
    [tr][td]Crappy Mook[/td]
    [td]Main Skill 2[/td]
    [td]Main Skill 4[/td]
    [td]Main Skill 5[/td]
    [td]Main Skill 6[/td][/tr]
    [tr][td]Standard Mook[/td]
    [td]Main Skill 4[/td]
    [td]Main Skill 6[/td]
    [td]Main Skill 7[/td]
    [td]Main Skill 8[/td][/tr]
    [tr][td]Elite Mook[/td]
    [td]Main Skill 6[/td]
    [td]Main Skill 8[/td]
    [td]Main Skill 9[/td]
    [td]Main Skill 10[/td][/tr][/tableborder]
    Only PCs will be detailed. If you recruit 5 ruffians, they'll be written as, say, 5 Standard I mooks (Single Weapon, Stealth), meaning they're aged around 20 and have final scores of 4 in single weapons, and 3 in Stealth.

Any question, suggestion or remark?

Sounds interesting. Let me try and work something up. I'm preparing for a big vacation next week (out til August 7th), so it may be a bit before I can devote the time necessary.

Don't get too optimistic, I haven't even had the time to re-read the relevant books.

The idea is a slow descent. Spend some time in each place, learn about the place, establish local contacts, send a report, recruit, gain enough resources to get going.

This'll be slow, too, although now that I'm back, I'll try to check at least 1/week, hopefully more.
If he's still reading us, darkwing was interested, and is welcome to join.

darkwing just dropped my game primarily from lack of time.

Happy to run a grog or two.

OK, I should have enough to time to start writing a character next week when work calms down. What sort of characters are we looking for initially?

So here's my idea for a character. You'd said you were looking (among other things) for a hedge mage who was good at spying. My concept is an Egyptian version of a Gruagach. (Lands of the Nile says in the box on page 47 that Egypt has roughly parallel versions of virtually every other magical tradition.) The concept is someone who was a member of a tradition that has preserved the knowledge of the old lector-priests of ancient Egypt. The character would have only a single TeFo combo (Give and Shape), mostly allowing him to turn himself and others into animals. So he'd be able to turn into a bird or a cat (I'd probably keep to Egyptian animals) or the like to scout.

I even have a reason for him wanting to join such an escapade. His lineage passes the Unaging virtue. So everyone in the family leaves their home at a certain age to avoid being discovered. He's reached that age and is looking to leave Cairo and start the next portion of his life.

In any case, that's the general concept. What are your thoughts?

Fine by me :smiley:

He's the type of recruits she's seeking (In that she expects to be able to send mostly normal humans. Anyone with supernatural powers is a plus, which is why they are companions. They're "important". And his power set is very useful, as she sees it), so that's a big plus. He may be a little high-powered for what I'm aiming for (For "shapeshifting hedge mage", I'd have aimed more for a character with shapeshifting. That's hedge! :smiley:), but he's still within limits.

And if he's from Egypt, he at least knows part of the place, which is also a bonus, since he may be able to act as a guide for at least part of the countries the party may visit.

He looks interesting.

So, the only questions remaining are:

  • How and why did he finds himself near Andorra first, at least near enough that he was able to be contacted, even through a few proxies.
    Going by your writing, it would be a coming home for him, so he could have spent some time in Europe, enough to be forgotten in cairo, and now be coming home.
  • Why would he join the expedition? How was the Spider able to convince or suborn him? At the lowest end, he may have joined coincidentally until he comes back to cairo (which means we'll have to find a reason for him to keep going), as in "safety in numbers". But why would he come back to cairo? Does he have some info he wants to convey to those of his line here? Or is he coming back to learn some arcane secret, undertake further initiation? But there could be other reasons for him to join, and want to go south. In a way, this would have been easier as a character recruited along the way (he's in cairo, needs to leave or wants to go south, and join), but this would put us too far in time. We need a reason now.

You may want to consider adding the Speak to Animals virtue. IMO, it fits well, and makes him more useful as a spy, maybe combined with Animal Handling.

Oh, and thanks for joining and pushing this idea forward.

EDIT: Edited my first post to add the following rule to chargen:
Not unlike in Andorra, each character has, for free, 15 free xp of Aera Lore, 05 of which must be put into a hometown. XP elsewhere must be explained in background (For example, a merchant working between 2 towns may know them, and a little of the country between)

Well, his goal was to get far away from Cairo to let them forget him. He could easily have travelled to the Muslim parts of Spain figuring that was far enough away. From there it's not too far to assume that he might have explored some of the rest of Spain and perhaps even made it close enough to Andorra (or even just Barcelona), where the Spider's spies identified him as something special. I know he'll speak Arabic. I could possibly slip in some Occitan if that's appropriate. Or maybe he somehow got connected with the magical community in Spain and the Spider got word from them about his existence.

Coming home in the sense that he's coming back to the place of his birth. I'm not sure that with Unaging you can ever really "go home," since everyone you knew would have aged while you haven't.

It could be as simple as that he wants to go back to check up on those he left behind to see that they're still doing well. (He could arrive as a distant "cousin" visiting for the first time.) Enough time has passed that he can safely return and he's understandably curious about his old friends and family. Why would he stay with the group? It may be that returning to Cairo is too bittersweet. He can't reclaim the life he had, since he can't step back into his old shoes. It might be too much for him to see everyone and not be the part of their lives he once was. At least with the group he has purpose and something interesting to do. He might see the mission as giving him purpose and putting his talents to good use.

Since you'd said you wanted to start lower powered in the magic arena, I was planning on being totally inefficient and giving him only Give and Shape. If he can initiate to something else later, that's great. If not, he'll just go along with GiSh enchantments. That certainly gives him stuff to do.

Ok, all great! :smiley:

A definite plus, for the expedition's purpose.

Since he starts in ME, having some Occitan at start is a good idea and makes definite sense, but is not a requisite if you want to avoid it and can scribe a reason how he'd have managed with only arabic.

FWIW, having later, local characters recruited that have no common language will be perfectly fine, and part of the show. A lesser purpose of the house rules is there for this, with the idea that the "common tongue" could evolve over time and recruitment (say, everyone starts speaking Occitan, which is the common tongue. They go to the levant, learn basic Arabic, recruit arabs who don't know Occitan. Arabic is now the common tongue).

So, if you prefer, you could begin the game with a grog, with your Arabic wizard being recruited once they join the levant.

Good ideas, this got me thinking, only problem is, I will forget everything :laughing:

I'm sure we can milk this for ideas.

I suggest, if you want and can, that you send me (NO HURRY!) your ideas from the cult. If this gives me ideas, I'll forward them to you, and so on.

Yes, thank you. I'll try to think about it.

Whenever you want and can, you may begin a write up.

Glad to know you may still be able to play :smiley:

Since I'm lazy and can't think of a better reply, I'll just copy-paste my intro post.
If you have more questions, please ask them

Note that this is what she's searching for, and thus what she's more likely to find and recruit. For example, a character with Enchanting Music will probably be overlooked.
But, to stay with that example, this doesn't mean you can't have an hedge mage with Enchanting Music.
She won't search for them, and thus won't find them, but she may finds a soldier... who happens to know Enchanting Music, which she'll see as a cool bonus.

Likewise with more mundane type of characters. She isn't dumb, relies on a more down-to-earth Eva, and can listen to what already recruited, more practical characters say. So if you want a cook, or a social character, it'll be fine (but even better if he doubles down as some of the types she seeks). I mean, she may not care about having a good cook, but the people she'll send sure do! In all cases, we just need to explain why/how the character was recruited.

EDIT 1: One type of character she'll be searching for is a captain. Someone with some experience as a soldier, able to lead the other soldiers, who'll be able to judge newcomers, decide to recruit them or not and maintain the troupe's cohesion. This is a fine role for a grog, unless you want him to be exceptional. In term of skills, think: Leadership, Folk Ken, Profession: Soldier

EDIT 2: Added lazy house rules about mooks (Namely, any character you'll recruit that won't be a PC, and most human ennemies)

Grog suggestion:

Characteristics: Int 0, Per +2, Pre 0, Com 0, Str +1, Sta +1, Dex +1, Qik +1

Size: 0
Age: 22 (22)
Height: 5'6''
Weight: 125 lbs
Gender: Male
Decrepitude: 0
Warping Score: 0 (0)
Personality traits: Dutiful +3, Brave +2, temperate +1

Virtues and Flaws: wilderness sense, warrior, hermetic experience; covenfolk (free); dutybound, craving for travel, raised in the gutter

Abilities: Catalan 5 (rude words), Latin 3 (scouting terms), Area Lore 2 (Barcelona) Athletics 2 (climbing), Awareness 2 (hearing), Brawl 2 (dodging), Bows 5 (shortbow),Code of Hermes 1 (interfering with mundanes), Hunting 4 (tracking), Organisation Lore: Order of Hermes 2 (covenants), Single weapon 3 (shortsword), Stealth 2 (moving quietly), Survival 5 (hot climate), Swimming 2 (rough water), Wilderness sense 4 (shelter)

Pablo is from the hinterlands of Barcelona, but his supernatural sense with the wilderness made him useful to the covenant so he has been taught some Latin and a little about Hermetic life so he can aid magi better. His skills in hunting and survival have helped on missions up into the Pyrenees and down into the heat of Almeria. He has volunteered for this mission to test his survival skills in new lands. He is a skilled archer, and has a little training in close combat.

Ooooh! Nice, I love him. Lots of useful, complementary skills, and 2 different explanations for his presence on the expedition. I feel spoiled.