Guillame Des Jardins, Mercere Magus (Development)

Character Name: Guillaume Des Jardins
House: Mercere
Parens: Xavier

Date of Birth: September 17, 1208
Current Age: 22
Apparent Age: 22
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 160 lbs.
Hair: Brown
Eyes: Brown

Personality Traits

  • Humble: +3
  • Honest: +2
  • Helpful: +1


  • Intelligence: +2
  • Perception: +2
  • Strength: -1
  • Stamina: +2
  • Presence: +1
  • Communication: +1
  • Dexterity: 0
  • Quickness: 0


  • Decrepitude: 0
  • Warping: 0
  • Confidence: 1 (3 points)
  • Size: 0
  • Soak: +2
  • Encumbrance: 0
  • LT Fatigue: 0


  • Dutybound (Minor; bound by the Hippocratic Oath to treat the sick)
  • Humble (Minor)
  • Mentor (Minor; Needs to be an NPC, so I have to work with Marko on whom)
  • Necessary Condition (Major; Has to be humming while casting spells)
  • Short-Ranged Magic (Major; Casting totals halved when not touching the target)
  • Slow Caster (Minor)


  • Arcane Lore (Minor)
  • Educated (Minor)
  • The Gift (Free)
  • Greater Purifying Touch (Major; Febris Semitertiana)
  • Hermetic Magus (Free)
  • Improved Characteristics (Minor)
  • Method Caster (Minor)
  • Minor Magical Focus (Minor; Healing)
  • Puissant Creo (Free)
  • Skilled Parens (Minor)
  • Special Circumstances (Minor; Touching the target)


  • Norman 5 (Expansive Vocabulary) (0; Native Language)
  • Bruges Lore 2 (History) (0)
  • Area Lore, Normandy 2 (Geography) (15)
  • Artes Liberales 3 (Logic) (30)
  • Awareness 1 (Determining Effect) (5)
  • Bargain 2 (Specific Product: Medical Supplies) (15)
  • Brawling (Knife) 1 (5)
  • Charm 2 (First Impressions) (15)
  • Chirurgy 2 (Binding Wounds) (15)
  • Code of Hermes 2 (Mundane Relations) (15)
  • English 3 (Expansive Vocabulary) (30)
  • Finesse 2 (Precision) (15)
  • Folk Ken 2 (Magi) (15)
  • Guile 2 (Fast-Talking) (15)
  • Latin 4 (Academic Usage) (50)
  • Magic Lore 2 (Magical Traditions) (15)
  • Magic Theory 3 (Corpus) (30)
  • Medicine 3 (Physician) (30)
  • Order of Hermes Lore 3 (Politics) (30)
  • Parma Magica 1 (Corpus) (5)
  • Philosophiae 2 (Metaphysics) (15)
  • Ride 1 (Speed) (5)
  • Survival 2 (Specific Locales: Wilderness) (15)
  • Swim 1 (Long Distances) (5)


  • Creo 10 (55; +3 to casting totals)
  • Intellego 2 (3)
  • Muto 6 (21)
  • Perdo 4 (10)
  • Rego 4 (10)


  • Corpus 10 (55)
  • Herbam 1 (1)

Spells Known

  • Bind Wound (CrCo 10; +28)
  • Charm Against Putrefaction (CrCo 10; +28)
  • Curse of the Unruly Tongue (ReCo 5; +10)
  • Dust to Dust (PeCo 15; +10)
  • Eyes of the Cat (MuCo 5; +11)
  • Gift of the Frog's Legs (ReCo 15; +19)
  • Preternatural Growth and Shrinking (MuCo 15; +21)
  • Purification of the Festering Wounds (CrCo 20; +28)
  • Restoration of the Defiled Body (CrCo 25; +34)
  • Revealed Flaws of Mortal Flesh (InCo 10; +17)
  • Rise of the Feathery Body (ReCo 10; +19)
  • The Severed Limb Made Whole (CrCo 25; +34)
  • The Wound That Weeps (PeCo 15; +10)

Children, it is said, are a blessing to behold. And so it was when Guillaume was born into a modest merchant-class house in Bruges in the fall of 1908, the 3rd child of a cloth merchant and a seamstress. The family was blessed twice before - Guillaume's older twin siblings having been born only a year or so prior to him - and now with Guillaume it seemed the family was complete. But with the new baby - and the toddlers - Guillaume's father had to work harder to provide while his mother worked less and less to care for the children. This was good, and the family was happy.

At an early age, it was discovered that Guillaume had a caring heart, with nary a violent bone in his small body. He would continuously find and harbor injured animals, attempting to help them get better. This started at the age of 2 when he discovered a mouse hiding in an old sack, both its back legs broken beyond repair. A normal two-year-old child would have paid no attention to the lame rodent, and most adults would have fed it to a cat. But Guillaume bundled the poor animal up in some old rags and made a home for it out of a mostly-rotten box. He tried to feed it and care for it, but the animal died in short order. And while Guillaume was saddened, his mother knew that great things were in store for him. His compassion was shining, and even with the death of the mouse it wasn't dulled.

Shortly before he turned four, a pair of unrelated yet remarkable events occurred that would put him on the path to becoming a magus. The first involved his older sister, who had contracted gangrene in not one but both of her arms. The disease ate away at her flesh until next to nothing remained, leaving her arms black and useless. It was only a matter of time before several different infections set in, bringing with them high fever, severe vomiting, and eventually death. She was barely 4 years old herself.

The second event would have gone unnoticed had it not been for whom it involved. On a trip with his father to the outskirts of Bruges to deliver some cloth bolts to a local farmer, they came into contact with a Redcap named Boris of Novgorod, from the Covenant at Durenmar who, by mere chance, was in the area gathering information about a plague of sorts that was making the men and animals sick, killing most of them. Boris was trying to interview everyone who passed through, trying to gather as much detail as possible, when Guillaume and his father were passing through. Boris stopped the wagon they drove and began asking questions, pointing all around when Guillaume's father asked what was going on. He pointed to several sick animals lying in the fields, and this caught Guillaume's eye. Seeing the sick animals, he jumped down from the wagon and ran through the tall grass, wanting to help them. And just by laying his hands on them, he did help them.

Whether by divine miracle or pure force of will, Guillaume's touch healed the sick animal, the horse regaining its strength and standing up, wobbly at first like a new calf, but eventually strong enough to walk off under its own power. This caught the eye of Boris, who in wonder and awe ran to the boy and began to size him up. Wanting to make sure it wasn't a fluke, he took the boy by the hand and had him care to another sick animal just a few paces away. The result was the same - the boy's touch had cured the dying cow almost instantly, the disease being lifted off it with but the merest of touches.

Background is still not finished. Working on it.

Short version is that he's the 3rd child of a cloth merchant in Bruges. Family would be considered middle-class - not wealthy, but not poor either. Frugal would describe both his parents pretty well.

Childhood was unremarkable, save for his early love of medicine and caring for the sick. Loss of older sister probably pushed him towards this.

Discovered at the age of 4 to have some magical talent. Was taken to the Florum covenant at Ghent, after his parents were asked to "donate" some funds to help pay for Guillaume's education and training. It wasn't much, but it did put a slight strain on their funds for a couple of seasons. Thankfully the cloth business was good, and the family was able to recover with some work.

Apprenticeship was rather unremarkable, save for his penchant for healing. His intellect, combined with his quick mastery over Creo and Corpus, gave him purpose and focus. It also stunted his ability to cast spells where he wasn't touching his targets, but he is comfortable with his abilities (even if he does think everyone else is better at things than he is).

He's come to the Chapterhouse at Mallorca at the request of his parens. It's a new Chapterhouse, with (as he's heard - it may not be true) many potential members arriving there to perchance form a new covenant. With his Hermetic background and knowledge of the Order and Code of Hermes, he should have no problem with helping make sure the rules aren't broken.


  • Xavier of House Mercere - the only Gifted Mercere in the entire Rhine Tribunal. His home Covenant is located at Durenmar, and he is the primary archivist for the Rhine Tribunal. Rhine Tribunal, Page 61
  • Boris of Novgorod - unGifted Redcap from Lubeck. Rhine Tribunal, pages 74-75

I'm taking the recent advice about my character and putting it here so I can respond to it all in the character's thread. I've removed some of the stuff in Marko's original post that I don't believe applies, but if I'm wrong then let me know.

Responses to some of Marko's advice:

  • The plague is attributable to the bacterium Yersinia pestis, which was responsible for more than one pandemic in history. The two biggest ones, obviously, are the Plague of Justinian in the 6th century, and the Black Death in the 14th century. So I guess my question is: should I change the disease associated with the Virtue? The bacterium is still present in the 13th century, and is actually responsible for several different forms of disease: pneumonic, systemic, and bubonic. Advice?
  • I had to actually fudge Metacreator to allow for the free Native Area Lore by giving myself an extra 15 XP for childhood abilities. Not a big deal – I can change that to be 0 in the character sheet here as I don’t see me actually gaining or spending any XP on native area lore during the campaign.
  • I’ve moved native language and Bruges Area Lore to be the first 2 Abilities.
  • I read up on the history of the French language…interesting stuff. I’m changing French to Norman, which is rooted in Scandinavian. When Normandy was incorporated as part of the Kingdom of France in 1204, about 150 words of Scandinavian origin from the Norman language were taken and made part of “mainstream” French. So I’m going to stick with the characters’ roots and, seeing as he’s from an area in Normandy, have his native language be Norman.
  • Wow. Specializations for each ability? Ok, I’ve gone through and done that.
  • I prefer to put the starting amounts in. If I don’t, I’m liable to forget how much I need to get to the next level. Just easier bookkeeping on my part.

The background I’ve posted is merely a short-short version, and needs to be fully fleshed out. It is subject to change, but I’ll take any criticism on it you’ve got.

Any other advice or criticism is welcome. Just let me know if/when he’s approved!

I did not know that about the plague. Nevermind :slight_smile:

I knew when it generally happened (14th century), but I didn't know much of the other stuff. It showed up as one of the options in Metacreator, so I had to look up the history of it. And I was quite ready to change it out for something else (like Influenza) until I read up about the bacterium.

Now, will it ever come into play that someone has a pneumonic version of the plague that I am able to cure? Maybe. Unlikely, but maybe. It would be more common to run into someone who is suffering from leprosy or influenza, but neither of those struck a chord in me. But The Black Plague...

There is a potential storyline that could come out of this Virtue, although it's pretty far-fetched. In real history, the Black Plague of the 14th century was attributed to the bacterium multiplying rather extensively and rapidly in rodents in China, who then infected humans who traveled to Europe, infecting those they came into contact with. From a game perspective, it's entirely possible that the death of one or more persons who have the innate ability to cure this disease is the cause of it going unchecked and spreading wildly.

Think about it: We're talking about a disease that happens more than a hundred years into the future from the current point in the game. Say some random Magus (like myself, for example), has this Virtue to cure it by touch, but he ends up dying or falling into Final Twilight or his longevity ritual fails right around the point when the historical outbreak occurred?

But as you describe it is a virtue or a flaw?

I'd say make the purifying touch for "plague." We differentiate between variations of it now but back then, any plague was THE plague.

Greater Purifying Touch is a Virtue. And a Major one at that.

I'd ask for Marko's input on that. If we need to specify the disease, how specific do we need to get? Influenza has several strains, but we only ever say "the flu". Can I just run with Plague, or do I need to specify because of the breadth of pandemic plagues that can occur?

Oh, I know that. But as you are describing it being used, it doesn't seem like a Virtue, and certainly not a major one, either. It's like you're not going to be able to use it...

It's not that I won't be able to use it. It's all up to the GM to determine if I come across anyone who would benefit from my using it on them.

It's akin to insurance: You pay for it in the event you need it, but how often do you get into a car wreck or break your leg?

I'm away from my copy of Art & Academe this weekend, but I know it lists several diseases of varying severity. It might be worth a look to see how (or if) plague is defined.

One of the many benefits of having a family member that owns a hobby shop is that I end up with access to books that I do not actually own. Which is an undeniable boon, and one I am most thankful for.

Anyhow, I looked in Art & Academe regarding diseases, and there's this little note on page 51 regarding the Black Death:

This is rather interesting, at least from the perspective of using Metacreator for character generation. Metacreator lists Black Plague as an acceptable disease for Greater Purifying Touch, but Art & Academe has the canon reference of it not only being an infernal entity and not a disease, but also that it does not yet (at least in the timeframe the book initially covers) exist in Mythic Europe.

Which means I have to change the disease I have listed for Greater Purifying Touch. Not a big deal, really - while the story is the most important thing, I'm heavily focused on getting things right for my first 5E character. So I've edited my character to be able to cure Febris Semitertiana (page 48). Extremely useful to be able to cure this disease, especially in the summer.

Oula... I think you're bothering too much, and being too modern about this. Just write Creater Purifiyng Touch: Plague, of something like this.

An alternative is to look at A&A for common diseases of the time period.

Damn right! :smiley:

I tend to see this not unlike story flaws: I want stories where I get to heal people for the plague and shine about it.

Ok, I may be talking bollocks, but I don't see these as incompatible. IMO, the fact that it is caused by an infernal entity rather than by... whatever else doesn't mean you can't cure it in someone with your GPT, just that standard medecine and precautions are useless against it.
In fact, it makes you all the more important and dangerous.

The biggest issue that needed correction with GPT was that the Black Plague/Black Death, per canon, does not yet exist in Mythic Europe. So it's kind of hard to be able to cure a disease that isn't even around.

And on the topic of just saying "plague"...that's a bit vague for me. Plague can encompass any type of disease that's gone pandemic, and although the Virtue is Supernatural in origin, it just seems rather cheap to just say "Yeah, I can cure plagues". It kind of loses its meaning, at least to me, by doing this.

And it's all a moot point anyhow. I've changed it out for a different disease that is actually a real problem in Mythic Europe. With poor conditions to begin with, water sources are havens for disease-carrying pathogens. Febris Semitertiana is a real threat, killing thousands of people every year. You need a decent water source to irrigate crops; if the water is contaminated, the food is contaminated. People and animals eat the food and drink the water, getting sick. I think it makes a whole lot of sense for someone to be able to cure this, especially if a covenant is dependent on at least one water source AND at least some agriculture.

  1. Plagues are not that common. They are common enough that by travelling you can get to work every year, but not so common that they will seep you regularly if you stay in the same area.
  2. Most people would consider all plagues to be very similar. High fever, you look real bad and then a lot of people die. General woe et al.
  3. If you want to auto-restrict yourself, no problem at all, but keep in mind that ArM5 plays loose in this kind of stuff. :slight_smile:


It just seems a bit of a cop-out to me to be so vague on this one point when the rest of the character is so well-defined. That's just me, though.

Although, if Ryu isn't going to run the Chapterhouse (from what I read under Thallassa), then this might all be moot.

I will run it and someone else will run it and you might have a crack at running a story. Do not worry about Ryu, Ryu will be fine after Ryu calms down.
What is Febris Semitertiana anyway? I think it is Typhoid Fever? I like that one much better, and it is common enough that there will be an outbreak on average of once a year within a 100 mile radius. I would think. This generic "plague" everyone keeps suggesting sounds like "cure flu & cold". Colds are trivial, but the flu is a killer. In the modern world, more people die from the flu (in the US!) than any other communicable disease.
So go with your instincts. Being specific always gets rewarded in the long run.

Another concept in Ars Magica, one that I use anyway, is that you "Get what you Pay For". If you purchase a Virtue, sooner or later there should come a time where it is both useful and relevant to your character. The same goes for Flaws (and all Flaws are really Virtues with a drawback, if you think about it).

Not sure what the modern day name is for the disease. From Art & Academe, Page 48:

A google search of Febris Semitertiana makes some references to Typhoid, but nothing concrete to say that this is what it is. And I'm no doctor in real life, so you're guess is as good as mine.

Again, I didn't want to take the easy/cop-out road of just saying "plague". I think that the detail gives more life to the character, so I'm rolling with this. I can see this disease, based on the description, being really nasty in rural areas, and it having a major impact on any covenant that is dependent in any way upon farming/agriculture/livestock.

So, something I had mentioned back when I thought Fixer was going to make a Mercere was:

I was thinking that it might be cool if one of the stipulations that comes up from the Redcap negotiations is that to allow Andorra to keep the Mercer House we have to allow in a Gifted Mercere to nominally “run” the house. This would be an interesting way to explain his appearance, and possibly create some interesting tension and roleplay between him as a journeyman running the house while there are two Redcap masters already in the covenant.

Interestingly enough, that has actually come up in the Redcap thread! What if Guillame was the Gifted magus chosen for this?

It is fairly important to the background of this character to determine who his parens is, and his relations to the greater Redcap family. There are only a dozen or so Merceris Magi.
An observation about this character is that he took 3 virtues that granted experience points (effectively 190). Thats quit a bit, and in this saga might be better represented of trying to work through a cycle. Nothing wrong with the choice, but it's worth considering what alternative virtues you might like instead.