House suggestion for an NPC

I was hoping I could pick the collective brains.

I have an NPC mage called Hereward the Hound Master, that I was hoping could be something other than House ex Miscellanea, due to the large numbers of Ex Misc in the game (players and NPCs).

He lives in a marshy bend of the Thames near Stepney Green, a little way down river from London, in an Aura around a patch of black poplar trees. Supposedly descended from a line of apprentices by one of the original London Covenant members, after they dispersed according to the 4th Ed book.
He has a large number of canines, who think of him as their pack leader. The locals have taken to referring to his patch of the woods/marsh as the "Isle of Dogs". He is involved in flood control and improving the marsh (to help feed his pack), except around his Aura.

So what House is he likely to be, and why?

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Having dogs around does not really narrow it down much. A magus that can get Virtues that can emulate being a master of a pack (Inoffensive+Alluring to Animals, Animal Ken, Pack/Natural Leader, Master of (Form) Animals, etc) can come from any House. Probably not Bjornaer though since you're dealing with domesticated animals.

If he is into taming the river as he tames dogs, Tytalus can work. Flambeau or Tremere as well if he trains his dogs as a military unit. Even Criamon can work if he tinks he can find illumination for his Enigma in the behaviour and barking patterns of dogs. Guernicus, using the dogs as inconspicuous agents to look after magi (even if that might be a breach of the code unless he uses purely mundane dogs and Animal Ken only), Mercere, with dog messengers, ....

Everyone has a use for dogs if you push it a little :slight_smile:


Merinita if he's hoping for a Faerie Master of the Hunt vibe and rep.

Flambeau could also work. Perhaps he is/sees himself as a noble, imposing his will on others, and trained hounds reinforce his notions?

A Bonisagus researching Familiar bonds and new breeds is another possibility.

The Mercere also breed animals, do they not? A Mercere Magus specializing in high Cunning and highly trained hounds, perhaps with Arcane Connections to each to keep tabs on the Redcaps who are accompanied by these.

Hope one of these is useful!

Make him a Tremere trained as a Master of Auxiliaries! These are magi who specialize in commanding lots of minions, be they ghosts, soldiers, or in your case animals. Animal is one of the Forms popular in this House and sure, they usually prefer wolves, but the Isle of Dogs bit is too good to pass up. The Founder Tytalus famously had a dog as a familiar, which he named Tremere. Maybe your guy is indulging in some poetic justice.

There’s a Tremere with similar powers to your guy in HBO Ars Magica, my version of an NPC mentioned in The Contested Isle.

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I would say make him a dog-aspected Bjornaer.
He is the master of the pack because he turns into a huge molossus which the other dogs natural bow to, he might even have been breeding with them in dog form for some years, ruling the pack of his descendants as a patriarch.
He might be seen as weird by the other Bjornaer for his attachment to a not-so-wild species. He'd probably be heavily invested in Re, An and Aq magic from what you describe.

There have been a good number of suggestions, and it really comes down to flavor, goals, and whims. Almost any House could work. I think the easiest options are Merinita and Ex Misc, and the least likley are Bjornaer(domesticated) and Guermicus(not directly tied into hermetic work). I think a Jerbiton of noble background whose goal is to perfect the art of hunting with hounds would be fun as an additional option, since nobody said Jerbiton yet.

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That is a most excellent choice. Remember to get a grog with Master of Kennels to handle the maintenance of the pack

A Guernicus investigator who focuses on mundane investigation would have great use for bloodhounds and various sniffing dogs.

I am remarkably invested in finding out what House this caninomancer is eventually sorted into.


I already like this guy!

My first thought was Jerbiton, along Raccoonmask's lines, but pretty much any House can work. (Heck, he could even be an old-school Criamon with the Delusion that he is a dog. :)/2 )

So I suppose it's back to my usual suggestion, to find out who he is and what he wants. That will tell us why he does what he does, and how he and his dogs will interact with the PCs.



(Or maybe a new-school Criamon on the rarely traveled Path of the Good Boy)


I am a first time SG, so I was adapting the Semita Errabunda setting and putting the entrance at the middle of London Bridge. Some of the abbreviated salient background story is as follows:

To explain my mage character, I am saying that he is from a long line of magi that have always been initiated inside the London walls, from the time they were wizard-priests of the temple of Mithra (so his Ex Misc free major Virtue is Ways of the Land - Towns). They have an un-official but traditional claim to all of London.

Prior to the Saga I have started, a secret Mercere covenant trying to pull itself out of Winter negotiated for the right to settle on the new stone bridge being built - one where they arranged to shift the starlings a few mystically significant paces so that the Sacred Geometry lined up with the elemental force of the Thames river, and boom, created access to a Magic Regio. They had just managed to move most of their stuff in when the 1212 fire broke out, and the paniced crowd did most of them in. The Covenant didn't bounce back.

Enter our troupe of newly minted Magi about to settle what is left behind.

Hereward the Hound Master (name simply popped into my head when I saw the map of the Isle of Dogs) is a descendent of one of the magi who tried to make the London Covenant (after being invited by my character's antecedent) a couple of centuries ago. Between Alfred the Great repopulating Londonburgh, and personality conflicts, the original London Covenant fell apart and Hereward's antecedent ended up in the Stepney Marshes (aka Isle of Dogs back when there were a lot of black poplars growing there) and they and their apprentice lineage have made their home there ever since, with a mixed relationship with my character's antecedents in London over the generations. Hereward is currently a bit miffed that he didn't get first right of settlement/looting of the "secret" Mercere Covenant.

The Mercere Covenant was a secret from just before the Schism War. Basically the leadership of House Mercere saw the negative publicity of people using Mercere Portals to raid Covenants, and fearing that a Grand Tribunal might outlaw Mercere Portals (the greatest secret of the House), they decided to pre-empt the enforcement of that possible ruling and hide their best Portal makers in a secret Covenant. Over the decades, the Covenant has been forgotten, forced to move, and lost its focus somewhat, though it made a secret Mercere Portal network and other stuff related to keeping the roads open for Magi (or at least Redcaps).

Thinking about what I have read of the history of the Isle of Dogs, and the various Magi my troupe have rolled up, and people's suggestions above, I now think Hereward could either be a Jerbiton playing a rustic lord, or perhaps a Mercere Mage, either of which who doesn't like to socialise. At any rate he started life with an odd set of supernatural leanings that his parens didn't erase, so now he is the "Hound Master".

Odd question - how likely is it for a Mercere magus to quit House Mercere and join House Jerbiton?

Mercere magi are precious to house mercere, so I guess that leaving the house is heavily discouraged. They might offer him better working conditions before he moves to a new house, or some stuff like that. Now, if the Merceres do not know that you are alive and you take on another persona (maybe helped by a Tytalus that wants to cheat "the House of Information") you can move to any other house. Maybe making a detour through exMiscellanea first so as to be introduced as a "new" magus previously unrecorded, and then from there to any house you fancy.

Just make sure not to use Mercere superpowers in front of redcap witnesses.

House Mercere would fight tooth and nail to keep the line of Mercere from moving out of the House, that's how valuable they are.

You don't want to socialize? That's fine with them! You want to hang out with House Jerbiton instead of other Mercere? Not a problem so long as you don't spill House secrets. You want to play at rustic lord? So long as you don't bring ruin to your sodales they'll turn a blind eye. Just don't let the Guernicus know.

Since you are a Gifted Mercere you do not hold Redcap duties so your time is your own. They do ask that you seriously consider siring children before you get a Longevity Ritual. Note that I did not say marry and have children, but sire children.

I think a better question is «what would make a Mercere magus quite his house to join Jerbiton?»
It is almost unheard of, but it is still very plausible given the right reasons.

Maybe it is important for him to train an apprentice, and either he cannot find a bloodline candidate, or it is important to train one particular child with a certain canine leaning. Either way, it may be better to join Jerbiton than to accept being ostracised for training a wrong-blooded apprentice.

Maybe he is not pure-blooded himself, and is sick of the disdain of his house mates.

Maybe he does not like the expectations of serving the order in House Mercere, and want to develop his arts in a way of no interest to his house mates.

Almost. Even Gifted Mercere are expected to do mail duty (or similar) once every seven years.

But I agree, a pure-blooded Mercere is not very likely to find cause good enough to leave the house. It might happen after somebody pissing somebody else off completely.

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Oh right, Tribunal notifications and all that rot.