As you do... a friend says "Hey you want to play Ars?" and you say "Yeah." He says "What do you think you want to play this time?" And you say... "Okay, not sure how this happened, but I seem to have written about 8 pages of background for a fallen group of hedge wizards, and am playing one of the last of them in House Ex Misc. Also they might be totally broken, or completely helpless. I don't know!"
For community consideration and feed back, I give you the Carnutes of House Ex Miscellanea. Named after a 100BC tribe of Gauls, the magic tradition was just on the cusp of becoming a power in the world of magic (just ask them about it); when they were battered by the Romans, the Mercurians, the Diedne, the Order, Pralix's War (which they joined on the winning side), and now are nothing but a footnote in the greater Order of Hermes.
The Carnutes - House Ex Miscellanea
Design Goal - A pagan tradition, with some mysteries, that specializes in Ceremonial Spontaneous Casting, with options for interesting play for this underutilized aspect of magic (without just becoming Diedne). These magi have links to stories involving Diedne, infernal and demoic agents, and faery.
Carnutes Tradition - The Ex Miscellanea magi calling themselves the Carnutes were the former priests and healers of a Gallic tribe of the same name, once living in what is Mythic France during the late Iron Age. they once practiced the nearly lost skill of Gallic Magic, which was related in some ways to the more successful Diedne Magic tradition that was more integrated into Hermetic theory. They are a mystery tradition, with only a few mysteries focused around their practice.
The main skill of Gallic Magic is its facility with Ceremonial Spontaneous Magic and use of ocher clay and woad to the marking of their targets. Their focus on Ceremonial Magic made them less warlike than the Diedne, and less of a threat to the Order.
The Carnutes in particular once lead rites and observances for a number of chthonic gods such as Cernunnos, Sucellus, and Moritasgus; who were known for healing, earth, springs, and sometimes the underworld. These gods were quickly absorbed into the Roman Pantheon as facets of Dis Pater and Apollo and their priests disenfranchised in the late Roman Era. Those that survived to pass on their knowledge were either absorbed into the Cult of Mercury or the Diedne. They were swept into the Order during Pralix's war against the Damhan-Allaidh. Since then, they have been part of House Ex Miscellanea. Their magic remains focused on the earth, the body and normally healing. Some few however continue to protect their few holy sites in northern Gaul and southern Britain as part of the Order or as small groups of hedge wizards practicing Gallic Sorcery.
The Hermetic Carnutes are a small faction within the sprawling House Ex Miscellanea, with numbers varying between seven and fifteen. Their connection to the chthonic gods has lead a number of them into the practice of Chthonic Magic, and then into infernalism. Others have continued to practice their traditional mysteries while trying to avoid attention of the Church or other more pious Hermetic Magi.
Tribunals - Carnutes are present, in small numbers, in the Normandy, Loch Legan, and Stonehenge Tribunals, Some few were in Provence, but have vanished in the Crusade. They have been historically been present in Hibernia Tribunal, but there are none known there today.
Major Non-Hermetic Virtue - Gallic Ceremonial Magic
The outer mystery of their small cult, and a powerful tool for ceremonial magic.
Minor Hermetic Virtue - Ochre and Woad Magic
A throwback to their most ancient magic, and the roots of their Gallic Magic. It
Major Hermetic Flaw - Necessary Condition
The Carnutes have never quite released their hold on their priestly roots, and must involve the powers of the pagan gods that taught them their magic. Each of them may do it slightly differently, but typically either requires either the verbal calling to the gods to support them, or invoking them by talisman, be that by twisting torcs or rings, or with a sign of their favorite god. All their ceremonial magic includes these actions by default, and certainly is the root of the major flaw.
New Virtue and Flaw Rules:
Major Non-Hermetic Virtue - Gallic Ceremonial Magic
The Gallic magic tradition once included a small number of supernatural difficult arts focused traditional Gallic forms and traditions, which crossed over a number of Hermetic Arts. A given priesthood had a limited number of favored arts, depending on their worship and most esteemed gods, and sometimes initiated into limited additional abilities and virtues. A a pious and non-scholastic arts, a majority of their magic was spontaneous, and focused on ceremonial. Their abilities were limited in scope, and were deeply incorporated into the growing order via the Diedne, Ex Miscellanea, and Flambeau (during the early formation and acceptance of pagan wizards). The expansion of the Church also created a perception that Pagan beliefs and Infernalism were linked, and the earth cults were already associated with the dead and the underworld. In addition, like many pagan magic practices the Gallic Priests may have been knowingly or unknowingly aligned with the Faery or Infernal realms. The various virtues associated with the old Gallic paganism may be False Powers by the 1200s. The Gallic priests themselves almost exclusively belong to other traditions now, having been absorbed by the Diedne, the Mercurians, the Order, or fallen into infernalism.
Gallic Ceremonial Magic is the primary virtue and outer Mystery representing the last remaining cult practices of the Gallic Priests. It can be aligned with Magic, Infernal, or Faery Realms, though most of the Hermetic Gallic Magians are aligned with the Magic Realm. In addition, some groups and specialities are more likely to be aligned with one realm or another due to history, tendency, or nature of their most esteemed gods. This Virtue opens the Magician to the Gallic Magic Ability (starting at 0/1?). The Gallic Magic Abilities main use is that the Magician may divide the Ceremonial Casting Time (in minutes) by the Ability Score; however casting Ceremonial Magic this way adds one Botch Die to botched spellcasting rolls.
A Gallic magician may double their lower art when using Ceremonial Spontaneous Magic. This applies to the Hermetic Arts, Infernal Invocations, and Faery Magic (though it is unlikely for the magician to have access more than one of these). This does not include the casting of Mercurian or Ceremony magic used by many group-focused traditions, and of course is not compatible with Holy Magic or similar Divine sources of magical skill. This stacks with other sources of lower art doubling such as Chthonic Magic and Magical Focuses if they apply. It does not stack with Diedne magic, as the two traditions share similar roots, though Gallic Magic is more limited. To gain the bonus, the magician must complete obviously pagan practices to fulfill requirements for Ceremonial Casting, including calling upon the appropriate Gallic pagan gods and goddesses.
Lastly, the performing Ceremonial magic is very easy for Gallic Magi. As such, when using Ceremonial Spontaneous Magic, the Gallic Magus may elect to use their magic safely and divide by 5 and add a simple die (which is added to the spell casting roll prior to division), or use more risky and demanding ceremony push themselves and divide by 2 and roll a stress die (with the risk of botching), but not spend Fatigue. When using non-ceremonial magic they cast spontaneous magic normally.
A quick comparison to other similar virtues that are supposedly not really hermetic (and faery magic too):
Compare: Chthuonic Magic (Major)
Doubles Low Art (with sin)
Use Infernal and Magic vis without problem.
Use Infernal and Magic auras (and no warping)
Adds Chthonic Magic Ability Score to Lab and Spell totals
New Range, Target, and Duration (One of each)
Bonus to Invocation/Infernal Magic
Appears to be Infernal to some divination
Compare: Holy Magic (Major)
No words or voice (-15 casting)
No Ability to pump
Use Long Term Fatigue as Vis
Use Divine and Magic auras (and no warping)
New techniques and methods (used with Hermetic Arts)
Multiple new ranges, targets, and durations (more than 10?)
No use for Sinning.
Relearn magic spells.
Compare: Faery Magic (Minor)
New Ranges and Duration (6 of them).
Use Faery and Magic auras (and no warping)
Opens the way for a number of aligned specific mystery virtues
HoH:MC: May substitute for MT when using faery vis and faery magic
HoH:MC: Total seasonal Vis = (MT + FM)x2 if all Faery vis
HoH:MC: Botch dice Increased, but minor effect
Minor Hermetic Virtue - Ochre and Woad Magic
(Designed with Atlantean Magic in mind - 1 new Duration, Range, and Target, all to be used together).
The last fraction of the old Gallic and Celtic rites and traditions, some of which may have developed into the tattoo magic of the Gauranchen as well. This magic revolves around the application of pictographic mineral (ocher) or vegetable paints (woad) to the skin or surface of their target, including sometimes on structures, grottoes, or caves. This virtue adds the Duration: Marked, the Target: Ocher, and Range: Pictogram for the Ochre magus. For Ceremonial Spontaneous Casting using Ochre Magic, including Marked Duration or the Ocher Target the Magician may replace either but not both Philosophiae or Arts Liberales with Craft (Pictograms) ability.
Duration: Marked (equivalent to Diameter). A spell with Duration Woad must be made by a magus with the Craft (Pictogram) Ability of two or more (a Pictogram or Earth Painting Specialty counts as one point), and lasts until the Woad marking is significantly disturbed. Woad range spells must be cast at the Range: Touch, and a mixture of clayey earth must be used to draw a pictogram representing the effect of the spell. Woad may be disturbed by a moderate rain shower, a wounds, intense sweat (such as might be two or three stamina levels of exertion). If protected, such as in a cave or grotto, the woad will lose its potency and the magic will fade upon the next sunset unless the sun has shone upon it.
Target: Ochre (equivalent to Group/Room). A spell with Target Ocher may target legal targets that are connected via a continuous ocher or woad application (or other traditional earth or vegetable paint used in Gallic Ceremonial Magic). The connection can be relatively sparse, a single line drawn on a rock wall for example, and the level of the effect must be adjusted to account for the targets size. This target is best used indoors or within a grotto, but has the advantage to link a number of structures that might not be considered one target by hermetic magic. It could also target people all painted and touching each other or the same design or object, an ocher stained rope for example; however, the rope itself (or the structure) would not be included in the spell’s effects unless they were viable targets in and of themselves based on the Form).
Range: Pictogram (equivalent of arcane connection). The Magician makes a pictogram out of traditional materials representing a target, and may cast magic as if the pictogram was an arcane connection (+4). The Magician first creates using Craft (Pictogram) Ability, a ochre pictogram of the target. The pictogram is traditionally drawn on walls of natural stone, but that is not required. The Pictogram must be completed in one sitting, and typically takes five minutes times the magnitude of the spell, if it is disturbed, the connection fades instantly. Pictograms must be made to high symbolic quality, though they may look simple they are made with great ceremonial care and consideration. A Dexterity and Craft (Pictogram) roll of 6+ is required to make a connection with a multiplier of x0 (no penetration possible at all), a total of 9+ for a x2 Penetration bonus, and a 12+ for a permanent connection with x4 multiplier. No other Symbolic connection or arcane connections may be used for this Range. The Pictogram is an arcane connection to both the Target and the Magician for as long as it is undisturbed.
The Gallic Magic Mystery Cult
Once perhaps, the Gallic Magic tradition was blossoming. Along the coast of modern France and Holland. In the Loire Valley. Priests practiced their ceremonial magic, called upon the gods to help them, and ministered to their people. Like many old traditions only a fraction of them were Gifted, and they were the targets of jealousy and fear by the others. Within this community, there were secrets, Mysteries, revealed by the gods, designed by brilliant priests and wizards. With the coming of the Diedne, then the Order, then Ex Misc, and the growing Dominion the Gallic Magicians were no more. Their Mysteries mostly lost, only those still practicing as Hedge Wizards or part of House Ex Misc still hold on to part of their legacy and knowledge.
Worse, what remains is riddled with Infernal Taint as the pagan priests, maybe even only one recently past, were tricked by False Gods, and taught the magic that will be their downfall. So far, the Gallic Magicians of the Order have policed their own, or their infernal members have avoided attention. Certainly if their traditional magic was more warlike, rather than being ceremonial, they would have been considered more dangerous and worthy of attention.
The remaining Mysteries of the Gallic Magicians as known by the Carnutes are not set in any order, though a given mystagogue may know what they consider the best path. However, the False God Dis Pater, named after the Roman God that modern Gauls believe they once worshiped, has set his own task to corrupt the last remaining Gallic Magicians. Dis Pater knows versions of all or most of these Mystery Virtues, but always teaches Chthonic Magic first. There are also Faery equivalents of the Gallic gods (perhaps many!), they are more than happy to offer initiation and guidance to a Gallic Magician for their participation and worship in their Story. Though they likely have no particular knowledge about the cult or its mysteries, though they may have other things to teach a wayward Magus. The majority of the Carnutes in 1220 do not believe that the old Gallic gods were only powerful faeries, but there is nothing yet to prove it one way or another to the Magi.
Minor Hermetic Mystery Virtue - Cernunnos's Legacy
(Designed using the Gigori Magic from Ancient Magic).
The tradition currently known as the Carnutes claim that this art was taught to them by the Old Gods of the Underworld, these were pagan gods of animals and earth. They inhabited springs and caves, and they made people strong, fecund, when they chose and took those gifts when they chose as well. Cernonnos's legacy is one of the last gifts of the tradition. It allows the Carnute to use Muto, Corpus, and Terrem Vis interchangeably. In addition, it has allowed the Hermetic Carnutes to ignore one Requisite when at least two of the arts are part of a spell.
Other Pagan Gallic gods may have similar Legacies, Camulus (Rego/Aurum/Vim), Sucellos (Creo/Animal/Herbum), and other possibilities; of which only one or two should be known in 1220.
Minor Hermetic Mystery Virtue - Touch of Moritasgus
(Nothing similar that I have seen.)
The great flaw of Ceremonial Magic is the limit on ritual effects, and the spending of Vis to allow effects such as permanent healing. This Mystery Virtue is the remains of the tradition’s healing roots, and if fully integrated into Hermetic Theory would be a giant boon to the Order. This Virtue allows the Magus to use Ceremonial Magic and Vis to cast Momentary duration permanent rituals. This Virtue does not allow the casting of Ceremonial Magic to exceed the Level limits, Vis amount, durations, or targets associated with Ritual Casting. Nor does it affect non-ceremonial spontaneous casting.
Minor Hermetic Mystery Virtue - Toutatis’s Thoughts
This Minor Virtue opens the Esus Ability at 1. Toutatis was one of the ruling gods of the Gallic people, and the invading Romans equated him with Mercury. Indeed, it is claimed that those the Gallic Magicians did not have formulic magic that those blessed by Toutatis could perform some of their magic faster than others.
Toutatis Supernatural Ability, typically used with Intelligence and Specialities are Form, the Esus Supernatural Ability allows the Magician to roll Esus (Form) after casing a Ceremonial Spell, the target number is equal to the Magnitude of the spell just cast, not including penetration. The magus may now cast that spell almost like a Formulaic Spell, they no longer need to divide by 5 or 2, and select Simple Die or Stress Die based on the situation. However for all intents in purposes for other traits it is actually a non-Ceremonial Spontaneous Magic. Only one spell may be remembered with this effect, and the Magus is under the effects of a Rego Vim effect. The magus does not need to retest this Ability until they wish to remember a different spell, and may drop the effect with a Concentration roll, TN3. However, the Magus does not recover Fatigue until releasing this spell. Due to the staying of fatigue recovery, a Magus holding a spell will not recover even normal fatigue when sleeping, and will lose one long term fatigue each night. This also makes it impossible to use the memorized spell for learning similar spells or enchanting unless the magus has another method for addressing the exhaustion.
Major Hermetic Mystery Virtue - Life Linked Spontaneous Magic
A difficult virtue but one that is sought after by the Carnute Magi, it is normally linked to Unstructured Caster as a Major Ordeal if the Magus does not already have it.
Major Supernatural/Hermetic Mystery Virtue - Chthonic Magic
(as written, RoP:I)
Represents the corruption of the Pagan earth deities by the concept of hell and infernalism in the Christian Era. Taught by the False God Dis Pater, the Carnutes most dangerous enemy of the era, as follows:
Initiation Script: When Dis Pater discovers a new Gauntleted Gallic Magi, normally a Carnute, he begins to study them, looking for a moment to appear. His preferred approach is to arrive when they are casting ceremonial magic, under ground or working with Ochre; as he has found them to be very receptive to his appearance at these times. He always speaks to them as a wise pagan god would (or his imagination of one), normally with a bit too much anti-Church and Divine talk. He then begins to tell them of the additional power they can have, that the Gallic Sorcerers did have once! Most Carnutes and Gallic Magi were taught about their near rise to power and the perfidy of the Diedne, Druids, and Order to rob them of their rightful puissance, this is a major flaw in the Carnutes tradition, and why they are ripe for an infernal harvest.
When ready, Dis Pater requires the Initiate to pack their things, and find a specific cave or grotto he has chosen (Quest +2), almost always in an Infernal Aura. The Demon knows that he may not help them, and that the quest must be dangerous enough to ready their soul for cracking, he selects the underground grotto based on the Magus’s situation and availability. Dis Pater most likely tells that it is a forgotten holy site of the Gallic sorcerer or similar story. Though he will not help them, he may appear from time to time to offer advice and assure they do not turn back. Upon arriving, he leads them in an all night pagan/infernal ceremony based on a mix of Gallic traditions and mockery of the first Christian underground services (Appropriateness +2), where they renounce their Baptism (Sacrifice +3 if they were baptized), and then grants them Chthonic Magic while converting their Gallic Magic into a False Power (Major Ordeal +9). Dis Pater always promises more secrets “when they are ready,” and will now consider them powerful tools in his arsenal. He prefers to teach additional Mystery Virtues as major rewards for service.