has anyone role-payed getting a "Tormenting Master"

Just curious if anyone else has done something like this.

Since not everyone has played Ars Magica before, or at least not 5th Ed, the SG took us through an introductory sea voyage adventure.

The setup was that all the PC Magi met up at a faire being held at a French covenant, shortly after gauntlet intending to go off to the wild west of Stonehenge Tribunal and setup a Covenant. Apparently we had corresponded by Redcap a couple of times before-hand as apprentices expecting to be gauntletted before attending the faire.
While we managed to get to the faire for free by Mercere Portal, we had to take a ship to England. Each of us was pulled aside by the SG to get some personal advice/information/gift from some NPC mage that we weren't to share with the others.

In the tight confines of the ship, we experienced how our Gift ticked off the crew. And the ship's cat. Fortunately we had a Companion character with us - a wandering Priest who smoothed things over (he had good Visions about us, and his Compassionate nature led him to be our Companion). Most of the rest of the Companions and Grogs we expected to meet in England.

The day crossing of the English Channel was extended thanks to a sudden storm, bad tides, and encounter with a monstrous eel. The sailor whose hand was bit off by the eel, wept and wailed that he would not be able to earn a living and marry his bride to be. We all got to cast a few spells, to not always useful effect. Except the poor Tytalus - he suffered Motion Sickness and failed all his attempts to Concentrate long enough to cast a spontaneous spell. He even used Confidence points, to little effect.
Later the Priest wept and wailed when he got an unexpected Vision of his knightly father dying while crying out his name, and the Priest failed his Personality roll to remain composed.

The third day, during a thick fog and flat sea, the tide pushed us to shore. Moments before the ship beached, the Tytalus mage grabbed a handy onion and rubbed it into his eyes and started wailing, to the amazement of everybody but the SG. After the party landed, the ship's cat dropped its disguise and revealed it was the Familiar of the Quaesitor who witnessed our plans in France, and it spoke to the Tytalus mage to say that technically he had succeeded, then the cat said "Leap of Homecoming" and disappeared.

At the inn in town, the Tyalus mage admitted that the crossing of the English Channel was his Apprentice Gauntlet that a Tremere mage had forced upon the Tytalus parens from a Cetamen contest (something about the original Gauntlet was going to be terribly dangerous and destructive, which is why the Tytalus apprentice was taught Parma Magica early, that the Tremere said would interfere with his Magical studies- Tytalus character was never told the details) - he had to convince the party Magi that he was a mage, and that 3 people on board the ship had to weep and wail before landing, without him being the obvious cause. The sailor who lost a hand, and the priest companion's grief were SG coincidence, and the Tytalus mage/apprentice used an onion on himself.

Several days later a redcap (another Companion character) met our party in the inn, and gave the Tytalus a package containing an official certification of successful gauntlet signed by the Tytalus parens, the Quaesitor, the Tremere and a couple of other witnesses, a copy of the Oath of Hermes, and the voting sigil for the Tytalus character. And when the Tytalus character touched it, it triggered a spell where the Tytalus parens yelled that the apprentice was a craven, useless sorcerer who cheated and used happenstance and a total lack of shame to falsely claim above his station, and that the Tytalus parens would make certain that a sufficient challenge to be properly overcome would eventually be provided. All in a volume that could be heard several houses away.
And thus we now know our Tytalus Mage has the Tormenting Parens flaw.

And it occurs to me that next session we should witness the Tytalus character swear the Oath of Hermes. After we get out of town.

Had a talk with the SG to understand some of the things that happened, and it turns out the session was staged between the Tytalus player and the SG, rather than naturally role-played. The SG had two other sailors prepped to weep and wail if the Companion Priest had made his Personality Trait roll, and if the Tytalus character had been too exhausted to grab the onion and wail. Apparently the two of them had severely underestimated how bad the Motion Sickness flaw would be.

I feel strangely disappointed. Perhaps my inner munchkin really wanted the situation to have evolved organically.
Mind you, the eel incident still freaks me out. I keep thinking that eels are freshwater, and in the middle of the ocean you should expect sharks, whales, sea serpents and kraken, not wriggly eels.

It turns out that the SG sent us a copy of the Oath of Hermes because our table talk implied we were about to do a few things that would break the Oath. He had forgotten that the Tytalus mage still had to swear the Oath.

It turns out that out Gifted characters weren't freaking out the ship's cat. Every time it spotted us, it would make a loud yowl and head as far away on the boat as possible. This was so that the Quaesitor could say he wasn't scrying on Magi.
And the crew of the ship had been hit with a Moon duration version of "Recollection of Memories Never Quite Lived", to make them not realise that the ship's cat had been replaced with the Quaesitor's yowling familiar.
While I have always considered the virtue Flexible Formulaic Magic to be powerful, there didn't seem to be many circumstances where it would be useful. I stand corrected.

Being one of the Tytalus fans in there I had some issues about that story... and about how I feel it would follow it if that were our Saga, as there are some strange things that actually could have a hidden sense.

There are three main issues I see: the Tremere, the Onion and the Gauntlet.

First of all, consider that Tytalus Gauntlets aren't very conventional: Tytalus gauntlets are about apprentices finally beating their masters. Some of them have their House considering them gauntlet if they succed killing their parens (which is perfectly fine by Tytalus standard and enlights the Tytalan point of view about things: first of all it's the greater confrontation the apprentice can have with his master, and as the apprentice is basically just his Master's property until Gauntled, an apprentice killing his master is not an hermetic crime, as is pretty much like a Magus accidentally killing himself by hitting his own head with a hammer he possesses), and some just abandon their parens and consider themselves gauntled (though in these cases I just don't know how they manage to learn Parma; I can only guess that probably other Tytalus, rival of his parens, hands him a book about Parma...). These last group usually get the Tormenting Master for free, as the parens usually disagrees with them being gauntled. Hell, Tytalus sometimes even claim other house's magi having passed Tytalus gauntlet after mocking them for years, even if they don't want to!

But besides that, Tytalus usually make rethoric masters, as their Founder was. I can see trouble to your young Tytalus because the terms of the agreed gauntlet said...

But the third weeper was himself, and he actually was the very obvious cause, as everyone saw him (or did he do that hidden and went out in time to be seen weeking, and just the players were shocked, but not the characters?) rubbing that onion to his eyes. I can see the master winning any argument about that magus having fail the agreed gauntlet and still belonging to him in the next Tribunal.

It would be better if he did hide to play with the onion: ships are small and narrow and probably there were an unexpected witness, probably the cat, which could be required to testify by the Tytalus.

So, our saga would probably continue with the brand new Tytalus happily doing his stuff for a seven years, earning vis, hopefully getting some valious possessions... only to be summoned to the next Tribunal because his Master is suing him for having failed his Gauntlet, and claiming not only the apprentice but everything he currently owns: vis, items and everything, and put the player under the rethoric skills of his master...

And probably that will be his real Gauntlet.

So the only real issue I see is the apprentIce having learn Parma before swearing the Code, as that is actually illegal. I would have forced him to join the other magi without Parma, which could have made his effort to pass as a gauntlet magus harder, but what's done is done (and anyway it's more ammuntion for his Parens' case at the next tribunal).

Finally, Tytalus magi don't like Tremere magi very much (they are pretty much their opposites since the founding days), and it's odd that the master got involved and beated by one. Unless he also have some fun case ready for that proud Tremere in the next Tribunal as well.

You have to remember that most of our group are either new players, or last played back in 3rd/4th Ed. In many ways we are all still learning 5th Ed. And learning our playing and SG styles. Our starting characters were supposed to have all been recent gauntletted, this was a surprise move on the part of the SG, and the Tytalus player.

I don't have all the details, but I will see if I can answer some of it:

  1. The Tytalus player said that in his original backstory the Tytalus parens was trying to arrange something technically illegal, and was trying to setup the apprentice gauntlet at a particular time and place so that fallout from it would accidentally cause the illegal action, and appear to be an unintended co-incidence. He said he was thinking along the lines that an "accidental" avalanche would crush certain nobles meeting with an enemy covenant, who had "secretly" camped there overnight. That is probably good enough for our group, though more experienced Tytalus players could probably think of a better plot. The details didn't really matter, as the Tremere had come across the scheme early and had managed to derail it, got the Quaesitor onside by pointing out the teaching of the Parma Magica a couple of seasons early, and thus managed to arrange a gauntlet that involved guile and subtlety, not force, and get the apprentice to infiltrate a group of Magi by showing he was fit company for Magi.
    The Tytalus parens probably wasn't happy about the gauntlet, but he had been bested in scheming.
    I suspect that the Tremere was happy to get the apprentice to join the Order in a civilised way rather than as a violent hooligan. At least if I was the Tremere.
  1. That could be a good point. It was the players who were surprised, I don't think anything was said in-character. It could be argued that all character eyes were on the approaching shoreline, so nobody was necessarily watching the Tytalus.
    The Code of Hermes pretty much means that the mundanes should not realise he is a mage, but I think it was implied that nobody who was not aware this was his apprentice gauntlet should realise anything obvious.
    Hmm,.. had a thought. Does the 'obvious cause' to any of the weeping, or to all 3 as a group?
    Also, rereading that I think I see a subtle suggestion that it is 3 of the Magi he needs to make weep and wail. A test to think outside the box?
    Note the Tytalus parens and character are now in different Tribunals. I think I read somewhere that a ruling in one Tribunal can't affect another Tribunal.

  2. We aren't that historically accurate. Onions wouldn't be that uncommon, would they?

Oh man, the Two Universal Laws are: 1. Dragons aren't never sleeping when you think they are and 2. Tytalus are never bested in scheeming :smiley:. In our Saga that would just mean the real Tyatlus play is at least one layer deeper, and the plan was to lose this battle. But we do love Tytalus so much I guess. I mean, don't read me like if I were disagreeing or something, I'm just sharing thoughts here. Actually the whole ship story is a pretty good one, but I just think it would be even more awesome if years later that Parens come to put into the table the Tormenting Master flaw with all legal guns blazing and pretty high Code of Hermes, Intrigue and Guile scores.

I guess that means the parens is already planning a trip!

I'm neither an expert on european medieval diet (besides knowing that there weren't any potatos or chocolat, and if you ask me that alone was a good reason to call these years the Dark Ages) but I guess so, people had to eat something and not all was going to be grain...

I hadn't considered that possibility. I wonder if the SG and/or Tytalus player had?
I don't think I will tell them.


I think tomatoes come from South America along with potatoes and chocolate, and Marco Polo hasn't brought pasta back from China yet, so there shouldn't be any spaghetti bolognaise either.

In a Game I SG:ed, a merenita had a Tormenting master.
We started by discussing the way this would be and I warned him that it would be hard to play and he would have less freedom than the other players.

She had two apprentices: Damien and Sifridius (the PC). Damien was a few years older and was allowed more freedom, but in the eye of the Master Sifridius/PC was more of the precious darling that had to be protected and while Damien was allowed to study magic and leave the covenant the PC was not. A standard comment was "damien is allowed, but you may not" and she acted out of love (in her eyes).

So while the other apprentices were allowed to study magic theory arts, martial skills, The young Merenita was always tpold "Maybe next year" or "It is more important that you study latin/faerie lore" instead, because you have to understand the language/world before you learn magic, otherwise you might harm yourself and your friends".

He had to sneak away to join in adventures and were always cuddled by his overprotecting master, to the level where he tried to write to the local Guernicus that his master would not teach him the way of magics. The master was reprimanded for failure to teach her apprentice and was very annoyed, and thought that the other apprentices were to blame for the letter (as her apprentices were perfect and would never complain as she loved them and they her). So they became the black sheeps and she tried to protect her favoured apprentice from these bad influences.

He got to learn magic after that, and he snuck into library at night to study etc to get the techs and forms he wanted. And rather took a yelling and punishment instead of asking to join adventures.

Sorry, I just have memories of Harry Potter sneaking into the library under his Invisibility Cloak.... :laughing: