Guiverna ex Miscellanea - Development

(Moving this line to its own thread, because reasons.)

Guiverna was initially intended to be a one-off character to have fun with in the Covenant of Dopplegangers thread. Unfortunately, my genius had other ideas, and now I want to continue playing her (most probably in Sa Dragonera, but it all depends on how that thread plays out). I've got a character sheet mostly done (still need to work on her spell list and advance her four or five years), but there is one original Virtue I want her to have, but I want to have y'all vet and approve it first.

Basically, Guiverna should be a Parseltongue. But Animal Ken (which has the same basic effect, but for all animals) is only a Minor Supernatural Virtue.

Since "only snakes" would be a very limited restriction, what about the following:

Parseltongue (Minor, Supernatural)
[tab][/tab]You can communicate with serpents as if they were human beings, and make them do your will. This Virtue confers the Ability Parseltongue 1.

[tab][/tab]You can communicate with serpents as if they were human beings. Treat your score in Parseltongue as your score in a language that the serpent speaks fluently in order to determine how well you can communicate, and you can use Animal Handling as a substitute for any social abilities affecting humans. Other people cannot understand your communication with the serpents.
[tab][/tab]This ability also allows you to control a serpent's actions. Make a Com + Parseltongue Stress Roll, with an Ease Factor equal to the Rego Animal base guideline (p. 120); if the target has Magic Resistance, the Ability's effective Penetration is equal to the amount the character makes the Parseltongue Roll by to control the serpent. (Note that communication does not affect the serpent, and thus no Penetration is needed.)

Hmm...reading both the Bee King and the Blood of the Bee King descriptions, neither one seem to be what I'm looking for, and not really tweakable to make it fit my idea.

I kind of like the second option you listed. It keeps it Minor, and it keeps it snakes-only (which is really the only mandatory thing I want).

Next question: Guiverna has a Minor Magical Focus that I want to be "Poison" (in keeping with her serpent motif). I'm thinking that it would be both creating poison (or poisoning the target) and curing poison.


  • a Perdo Corpus spell that inflicts a Major or Incapacitating Wound that has all the symptoms of a viper bite or Hemlock poisoning, etc.
  • a Creo Aquam, Herbam, or Terram effect that creates a poison to be given the victim.
  • a Creo Corpus effect that heals a Heavy Wound, but only if that Wound is from poison (e.g. nightshade poisoning).


Thinking on the snake tongue thing, I like the original idea. I am looking at it from the PoV as a Ex-Misceanea Suernatural Ability. I had thought that was the intent anyway. So rather than Serpent Ken I was thinking Serpent Sahir :laughing:
Advocating that idea and looking at the rules for creating new Supernatural Abilities in the Ex-Miscellanea section of Societas, I propose taking it as a Major Virtue. It is like Entrancement, but with serpents. Which is more limited being Animal and only one type. So throw in Serpent Ken and maybe even Inoffensive to Serpents.

So, basically, Parseltongue would be an Intellego Animal base 10 ("Speak with an animal"), R: Voice, D: Sun(?), T: Individual. The Target size would increase based on the Parseltongue score (score of 2 would increase it to Group, and each additional score increasing the Group size by one magnitude).

So, let's try this:

[tab][/tab]Major, Supernatural
You have the power to speak with serpents (including magical serpents such as basilisks and wyrms). Parseltongues with The Gift or Magical Air do not suffer the normal social penalties when dealing with serpents (similar to Inoffensive to Animals, but only with regards to serpents).

You may also influence the actions of serpents, with a successful Com + Parseltongue roll vs. the serpent's Sta check. Modifiers to the serpent's roll may be applied based on how willing it would normally be to perform the action or how dangerous the action is.

Choosing this Virtue confers the ability Parseltongue 1 (see below), which determines how many serpents you may speak with at one time.

You can communicate with serpents as though you shared a common tongue with Fluent fluency. Other people cannot understand your communication with serpents. The number of serpents you may communicate with at one time depends on your Parseltongue score. A score of 1 allows you to speak with only one serpent at a time. Each increase in score allows a ten-fold increase in the number of serpents who understand you (and vice versa): 10 serpents at a score of 2, 100 at a score of 3, 1,000 at a score of 4, and so on.

(I'm not totally attached to the name, but it seems kinda neat.)

Cleopatra's Bane is a group of Exotic hedge magicians (most, if not all, of whom are now members of the Order of Hermes) whose Tradition is centered around serpents. The group takes its name from an apocryphal tale that the tradition is descended from a wizard who shapeshifted into an asp and murdered Cleopatra (and her two maidservants).

The sole requirement for prospective apprentices is that they possess Parseltongue, a Major Supernatural Virtue that allows the witch to speak fluently with all serpents and to influence them to some degree, and to have serpents not be bothered by the effects of the witch's Gift. The words used by Cleopatra's Bane to cast their spells are, in fact, Parseltongue and not Latin or Greek.

In addition, Cleopatra's Bane almost always suffer from being seen as hedge wizards (at best) and have a bad reputation as being individuals whose moral compasses deviate from true north; this is due to the fact that the training that brings out their serpentine nature and affinity also tends to bring out their baser nature.

Favored Tribunals: Cleopatra's Bane are historically found in the southern Mediterranean areas of Europe: primarily Provençal, Roman, Transylvanian, and Thebes, with one or two in Iberia and Normandy.

Major Non-Hermetic Virtue: Shapeshifter. All members of Cleopatra's Bane take Asp as their first shape. Any subsequent shapes they learn are almost exclusively serpents of some kind (in fact, any Cleopatra's Bane who takes any other shape is almost persona non grata among his sodales.).

Minor Hermetic Virtue: Minor Magical Focus (Poisons), covering the creation of poisons, mimicking the effects of poison, and the treatment/curing of poisons.

Major Hermetic Flaw: Chaotic Magic.

Miscellaneous: All Cleopatra's Bane have Exotic Casting and should take Hedge Wizard and a Personality Flaw that shows some degree of moral turpitude (Avaricious, Compulsive Lying, Greed, Lecherous, Slothful, etc.)

(Edited to change the Minor Hermetic Virtue from Withstand Casting to a more appropriate Minor Magical Focus, because I forgot that the mMF Guiverna had came from the Mythic Blood virtue that she no longer has).

First draft of Guiverna, at Gauntlet (more or less cut & pasted from my MetaCreator RTF format).

Covenant: Bellaquin
[tab][/tab]Int +1
[tab][/tab]Per +1
[tab][/tab]Pre +2
[tab][/tab]Com 0
[tab][/tab]Str 0
[tab][/tab]Sta +2
[tab][/tab]Dex +1
[tab][/tab]Qik +1
Size: 0
Age: 24 (24)
Height: 5'7'' (170 cm)
Weight: 157 lbs( 71 kg)
Gender: Female
Decrepitude: 0
Warping Score: 0 (0)
Confidence: 1 (3)

The Gift
Hermetic Magus
Shapeshifter (Asp)*
Exotic Casting
Improved Characteristics
Keen Sense of Smell
Lesser Immunity (Poison)
Minor Magical Focus (Poisons)*
Sharp Ears
Venus' Blessing
Withstand Casting

Blatant Gift
Chaotic Magic*
Hedge Wizard
Magic Animal Companion [Snake (Nagini‑esque), a male named Macah.]
Twilight Prone

Reputations: Hedge Wizard 3
[tab][/tab]Dodge: Init: +1, Attack ‑‑, Defense +1, Damage ‑‑
[tab][/tab]Fist: Init: +1, Attack +1, Defense +1, Damage +0
[tab][/tab]Kick: Init: +0, Attack +1, Defense +0, Damage +3
[tab][/tab]Soak: +2
Fatigue levels: OK, 0, ‑1, ‑3, ‑5, Unconscious
Wound Penalties: ‑1 (1‑5), ‑3 (6‑10), ‑5 (11‑15), Incapacitated (16‑20), Dead (21+)

Area Lore: Carcassonne 2
Apothecary 2
Artes Liberales 1
Awareness 2
Bargain 1
Brawl 1
Charm 4
Folk Ken 2
French 5
Guile 2
Intrigue 2
Latin 4 (serpents)
Magic Theory 3
Medicine 3
Order of Hermes Lore 1
Organization Lore: Cleopatra's Bane 1
Parma Magica 1
Parseltongue 3
Philosophiae 1
Scribe 1
Shapeshifter 1

Arts: Cr 7, In 4, Mu 5, Pe 5, Re 5, An 5, Aq 3, Au 0, Co 5, He 5, Ig 0, Im 0, Me 0, Te 4, Vi 3
Encumbrance: 0 (0)

Spells Known:
Eyes of the Cat (MuCo(An) 5) +12
The Final Cup (CrHe 10) +19
Gentle Touch of the Purified Body (CrCo 20) +21
Gift of the Frog's Legs (ReCo 15) +12
Herb of Virtue (MuHe 15) +12
Repel the Wooden Shafts (ReHe 10) +12
Revealed Flaws of Mortal Flesh (InCo 10) +11
Soothe the Ferocious Bear (ReAn 10) +12
Spittle of the Poisoned Blade (MuAq 15) +13
Trackless Step (ReTe 10) +11
Viper's Gaze (ReAn 15) +12
Wizard's Leap (ReCo 15) +12

This seems too broad for a minor focus: you've got subsets of multiple techniques + forms. Compare it with the Flambeau focus in Creating Fire.

I'd say either take it as a major focus, or take a minor one in:

  • Weakening humans (Perdo Corpus minor focus)
  • Creating Poisons (say, Creo Aquam)
  • Healing Poisons seems too small to me on its own.

It seems to me that Parseltongue should be her ex misc virtue instead of shapeshifter.

And instead of taking Shapeshifter, why not take Mythic Blood (Seth), with her power being to turn into an Asp, with a mMF to create poisons? This'd make her even more similar to Vibria.

Let's go with Creating Poisons as her Minor Magical Focus. She has a couple of CrAq spells that fit into this mMF already (The Final Cup and Spittle of the Poisoned Blade)

...that actually works. So...Cleopatra's Bane would have Parseltongue as the Major Supernatural Virtue, Minor Magical Focus as the Minor Hermetic Virtue, and Chaotic Magic as the Major Hermetic Flaw. And the Mythic Blood (Set) gives her the "Hiss! I'm a [strike]skank[/strike] snake! Fear meh!" thing.

Arf, sorry, I didn't see the mMF of Cleopatra's bane.

You've got a mMF as part of Mythic Blood, so either this doesn't work, or you need another minor hermetic virtue for the tradition. I'd suggest Potent Magic in Snakes, which will be great if you bind a Snake Familiar. Or else, Affinity with Creo or Aquam

That'd give:
Major Non-Hermetic Virtue: Parseltongue
Minor Hermetic Virtue: Potent Magic in Snakes
Major Hermetic Flaw: Chaotic Magic

Guiverna (and possibly more of her line?) would also have Mythic Blood (Seth), with the power to transform into an snake and a minor Magical Focus to Create Poison.

What do you think of it?

I see poison as a Minor Focus. It does cover various combinations, but only in a limited specific way. And if Snakes can be minor, what of snake venom?

This is all a work in progress (both Guiverna's CV and Cleopatra's Bane).

I had totally missed Potent Magic, which is something I've never played with but it does look interesting. And Egyptian magic always struck me as being very doohickey-oriented (maybe from stuff like The Scorpion King and The Ten Commandments). I like it.

Snake venom would be a Micro Magical Focus?

I like Fixer's ideas for the V&F for Cleopatra's Bane (although, if anyone's surprised by that you don't know us very well :slight_smile: ). I don't know if Mythic Blood would be a "Required Virtue", but it would definitely put the apprentice at the head of the applications line.

So, Cleopatra's Bane would have Major Non-Hermetic Virtue: Parseltongue, Minor Hermetic Virtue: Potent Magic in Snakes, and Major Hermetic Flaw: Chaotic Magic, with a Recommended Virtue of Mythic Blood (Set), granting a Magic Feat of "Turn yourself into an asp" (MuCo(An), base 10, R: Personal, D: Sun (that you can end at will), T: Individual). And since Personal-range spells don't need to penetrate to take effect, that would make the Level + Penetration 20.

Does Parseltongue look good to everyone?

Oooh! Oooh! Mister Kott-ah!

What if Guiverna were a Pagan, a member of an otherwise cult of worshipers of the ancient Egyptian gods? (Isis, Osiris, Anubis, Set, Nut, etc). And this is part of how people with Mythic Blood: Set (and possibly other ancient Egyptian Mythic Bloods) find each other?'s a Major Story Flaw, which would put her over the limit. Although, I could replace Twilight Prone with it, and make Magical Animal Companion a General Flaw instead of a Story flaw (since I was planning on making Macah (for lack of a better name, less Indian-sounding name than Nagini) a Familiar down the road.)

Whadaya think?[hr][/hr]
Caveat to this idea is that I don't really want her defining feature to be Egyptian-god-worshiping-Pagan. When I came up with this idea in the loo at work, I was thinking it was a Minor Flaw.

Although I guess I could take it as a "RP feature not actually worth any points". shrug

As I understand it, one of the key features about "Pagan" that makes it a major Flaw is that you are not only pagan, but are unwilling to do much to hide the fact. You can't keep your pagan beliefs private and pass for a Christian. When asked if you are a pagan, you won't deny it.

Now, from what I see, Guiverna doesn't seem the sort who would stand on principle when a mob of angry churchmen appeared at her door. "No, Father Inquisitus, I'm not a pagan. Where did you hear such a tale? Here, let me say a few Our Fathers and you'll see that I don't burst into flames."

So she could easily be a hidden pagan. One wonders whether that would be a minor Flaw.

Yeah, the more I thought about it, the more it felt more like "fluff text" as opposed to an actual Flaw. Or, at best, a minor Flaw, as it would...would....waitaminit!

Social Handicap!

Examples given in the characters and and description include "outspoken advocate of the abilities of women" and "outspoken atheism." So, while she isn't a "How dare you bring your new-fangled god into my house!" type of pagan, she's more of a "Yeah...I think I'll pass on the Easter service. I'll just stay at home and light candles to drive away Nut again." or whatever.

So, does that sound okay?

One example of Social Handicap is outspoken atheism. So outspoken paganism sounds like it would work nicely. From where I stand it sounds like a perfectly reasonable Flaw for what you've described.

Works for me :slight_smile:

Okay. Guiverna's character sheet, take [strike]2[/strike] [strike]3[/strike] x+1 (edited for multiple math fails and stuff)
Character: Guiverna ex Miscellanea
Current Year: 1230 (Winter)
Age: 24
Size: 0
Confidence: 1(3)
Decrepitude: 0
Warping: 0
Birth Name: Ève
Year Born: 1206
Gender: Female
Race/Nationality: French
Place of Origin: Carcassonne, County of Toulouse
Religion: Egyptian Pagan
Title/Profession: Maga
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
Weight: 157 lbs. (71 kg)
Hair: Brown
Eyes: Green
Handedness: Left
Wizard's Sigil: A sibilant hissing sound.
Parens: Luce Nibelung ex Miscellanea
[tab][/tab]Covenant of Apprenticeship:

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

The Gift
Hermetic Magus
Parseltongue (Major Non-Hermetic Tradition Virtue)
Minor Potent Magic: Snakes (Minor Hermetic Tradition Virtue)
Exotic Casting
Improved Characteristics
Keen Sense of Smell
Lesser Immunity (Poisons)
Minor Magical Focus: Poisons (free from Mythic Blood)
Mythic Blood (Set)
[tab][/tab]Magic Feat: Shapeshift into an Asp (Level + Penetration: 20)
Sharp Ears
Venus's Blessing
Withstand Casting

Avaricious (hereditary Minor Personality, from Mythic Blood)
Blatant Gift
Chaotic Magic (Major Non-Hermetic Tradition Flaw)
Hedge Wizard
Magical Animal Companion (snake, designed as Grog-level)
Social Handicap (Egyptian Pagan)
Twilight Prone

Apothecary (preparing poisons) 2
Area Lore: Carcassonne 2
Artes Liberales i[/i]1
Awareness 2
Bargain 1
Carouse 1
Charm i[/i] 4
Egyptian Theology i[/i] 1
Folk Ken i[/i] 2
French i[/i] 5
Guile 2
Latin i[/i] 4 (serpents)
Magic Theory (inventing spells) 3
Medicine i[/i] 3
Order of Hermes Lore 1
Parma Magica i[/i] 1
Parseltongue 3
Philosophiae (natural philosophy) 1
Scribe i[/i] 1

Personality Traits: Avaricious 2, Lecherous 2

Reputations: Hedge Wizard 3

Wound Levels: Light (1-5), Medium (6-10), Heavy (11-15), Incapacitated (16-20), Dead (21+)

Armour Worn: None
[tab][/tab]Soak: +2 (Sta 2)


Elegant Gown
[tab][/tab]Total Load: 0

Magical Arts
Creo: 7
Intellego: 4
Muto: 5
Perdo: 5
Rego: 5
Animal: 5
Aquam: 3
Auram: 0
Corpus: 5
Herbam: 5
Ignem: 0
Imaginem: 0
Mentem: 0
Terram: 4
Vim: 3

[tr][td]Doublet of Impenetrable Silk[/td]
[td]MuAn 15[/td]
[tr][td]Eyes of the Cat[/td]
[td]MuCo(An) 5[/td]
[tr][td]The Final Cup*[/td]
[td]CrHe 10[/td]
[td]from the Net Wizard's Grimoire[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]Gather the Essence of the Beast[/td]
[td]ReVi 15[/td]
[tr][td]Gift of the Frog's Legs[/td]
[td]ReCo 10[/td]
[tr][td]Herb of Virtue[/td]
[td]MuHe 15[/td]
[td]from the Net Wizard's Grimoire[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]In Christ's Footsteps[/td]
[td]ReCo 5[/td]
[tr][td]Repel the Wooden Shafts[/td]
[td]ReHe 10[/td]
[tr][td]Revealed Flaws of Mortal Flesh[/td]
[td]InCo 10[/td]
[tr][td]Soothe the Ferocious Bear[/td]
[td]ReAn 10[/td]
[tr][td]Trackless Step[/td]
[td]ReTe 10[/td]
[tr][td]Viper's Gaze[/td]
[td]ReAn 15[/td]
[tr][td]Wizard's Leap[/td]
[td]ReCo 15[/td]

  • falls under her Minor Magical Focus

edit 3: replaced Aspis of Wood and Spittle of the Poison Blade with Doublet of Impenetrable Silk and Gather the Essence of the Beast

Sorry for the late replies. I’ll try to check the spell later, since NWG spells are often… Quircky

For "Poisons", compare to RAW minor foci

Flambeau get to Create Fire. No moving it, transform water to fire, heal burn wounds or else. Just a subset of Creo Ignem
Terram likewise has creating metals, destroying stone, both subsets of CrTe and PeTe.

There's exemples of minor foci crossing over several Techniques, but they are quite limited. Aquam has Stagnant water, and Small Streams. Not much you can do with these, whatever the technique :laughing:

Only when you get into Major Aquam Foci do you get something similar to this, with "Salt Water" and "Fresh Water".

Even just limiting it to Aquam, a "poisons" focus would cover every 5 techniques. And we're also talking of doing the same thing with Herbam and Terram, plus adding a bit of Creo Corpus. Sounds quite major to me.

Better IMO, yes, although still quite broad. And sounding cooler, which is always important^^

Hum... At its core, I'd put it like this: Works like "Animal Ken", "Inoffensive to Animals" and "Entrancement", but only with snakes.

This does not make it major, IMO, just a nice minor. So how to upgrade it?

First, drop the limitations from Entrancement: This works on any serpent that can hear you.
Then, add another tidbit: This works like Summon Animals (HoH: S p105), but only with serpents.

Is it enough? I don't think so.
Entrancement, aside from succeding the constested roll, must also penetrate. I'd give you a penetration of 5 times your skill. I'd also allow Summon Animals to work on magical Serpents and Worms, as defined in RoP: M in the dragons chapter.

Parseltongue works on any serpent, Magical Serpent and Worm, but nothing else.
Should it need to penetrate, it has a penetration of 5 times the skill.
Otherwise, it acts as a combination of:

  • Animal Ken
  • Inoffensive to Animals
  • Entrancement, at voice range
  • Summon Animals.

What do you think of it?

Yes, it does.

It is listed with Diameter duration and lvl 15, whereas the description reads base 2, +1 touch, +3 (???) sun = lvl 10
Since it's a magical plant, it is resisted. Given the slow action, you're probably better of using a mundane poison.

While I think about it, I'd advise you to look at Art and Academe, it has info on poisons IIRC, and how to manufacture them.

This is the same spell under a different name

The write up is correct, but omits that such a poison can be resisted with EF 3.