How NOT to investigate a strange stone coffin (story notes)

Hiya all,
My last session was a little "hectic", so I have decided to chronicle it here for the amusement of everyone else.

Background :
We, a group of new magi have recently moved into an almost uninhabited covenant. The old inhabitants have decided to form a new covenant here with us, and we hashed out a new Oath of Covenant etc.
All throughout the covenant are rat-holes, created by the rat Skerrit. He was a familiar to a bonisagus magus, but his master is "missing". We accepted him as a senior member of the covenant because he can do hermetic magic, made some of the rats smart, and he has a little rat apprentice.

We then set off exploring the old labs and the library. My character has claimed a large lab in the central library tower. Apparently the former owner went a little strange after his apprentice died in an explosion. She is one of the ghosts inside it. It is kinda cool with internal regios, ghosts and an extremely powerful fey bound in a circle. The fey aura and magical auras overlap and weird things happen at night (unseelie fey). My character doesn't mind because the aura is over 8. In the lower part of the lab there is a stone sarcophagus, with magical symbols on it.

Now that he is finally alone, Brutus ex Verditius wishes to explore the sarcophagus because it looks like an ideal place for the former owner to store his vis collection. Ancient magic, to preserve the contents, solidly built - the perfect thing to store things in so they don't go off in a lab explosion. Why else would a magus have such a thing in his lab?

So, Brutus goes up to the thing, and does a spont InTe to look for any mundane traps. He then does a spont InVi to look for magical traps. However, he is stood in what used to be a fairy mound, with multiple regios, and what could be a god in the room just above him. When he wakes up, he is lying on the ground beside it, with a massive headache. He is a slow learner, he's been knocked out by Intellego spells a few times since he arrived.

Anyway, no magical traps, no mundane traps. Excellent!

He goes and stands on the bottom step, ready to run to safety, then he rego's the sarcophagus lid aside. He stands ready to invoke his "Crystal Dart" armlet, poised to fill the chamber with death. Then remembers that the effect doesn't work inside, because it's a muto-terram spell, and the floor resists the spell. Ooops.

Nothing jumps out at him, well, nothing that he can see, anyway. He takes one of the magical lights off the walls, and throws it across the room into the open sarcophagus. It bounces off the top, rolls across the floor, and disappears down a rat-hole. He calls out for the rats to kindly return it once they catch it.

He sponts a piece of reflective stone hanging at an angle above the sarcophagus, but the inside is pitch black. He takes another light off the wall, and approaches to within 15 feet, before throwing it again. It flies perfectly, and bounces off the air above the sarcophagus, then it rolls towards the rat-hole. He manages to fast-cast a spell to catch it and float it into position (good roll for concentration), so that he can see inside the coffin. It is still pitch black. The magical light cannot penetrate inside it.

There is a slight rumble from below, and sounds of some gentle explosions from the rat-hole. But this doesn't discourage him. He walks up the steps to the foot of the sarcophagus, and peers in. Nothing. He creates a small stone and drops it in, it rolls off to the side.
What would any sane magus do right now?

He hears the ghost of the former apprentice bouncing her ball as she enters the lab, in a plaintive voice she asks if he will play with her. Brutus ignores her, there is vis to be found.

Brutus tries to push his hand into the black emptiness. His hand goes in, and out safely. But his magical lights won't go inside it, or show what is there. There is another dull explosion from somewhere below
Brutus decides that magic won't get him anywhere, so he pushes his head through the magic resistance. But it is too dark to really see anything. So while leaning precariously into this sarcophagus, he sponts a CrIg to make some light. (Really good athletics roll)

He can see a body, wrapped in cloth and covered in hermetic symbols. Wards, to keep things in, and some to keep things out. He has a flash of inspiration and does an InCo, he discovers it is the body of a young girl - probably the apprentice. He steps back and puts the lid back on.

There is a massive explosion somewhere below, and an odd whistling sound coming from the rat-hole. Something flies out and bounces off the ceiling, before landing on the ground, smoke pouring off it. Brutus goes over and looks at it, it is the light-stone which vanished. It is covered in substances, which look to be magical, so he casts an InVi to check......

He wakes up next to the stone. Realising that perhaps something might be wrong, he shouts down the rat-hole for the rats to inform Skerrit that he will be in the great-hall. Pretty soon all of the other magi are there, wanting to know about the explosions. They have a pretty good idea who would have caused it. The other magi have seen parties of rat water bearers, streaming through the courtyards. As well as the giant plumes of dust from all of the rat-holes. Brutus can't seem to understand why everyone is making a fuss, after all, it wasn't his fault. So he explains what happened, and why it was an accident.

As he describes his adventure, the senior Bonisagus goes into shock, unable to move. The Tremere's grave reserve is broken, and both Flambeau feint. Though the more experienced one hangs on longer than the other one.
The general consensus is that aside from endangering the covenant by allowing a possible undead creature to attack them all. Aside from throwing a magic item into a possible vis store and causing an explosion. Brutus has managed to make Skerrits Vim extraction lab explode. They are surprised that Brutus is still in the covenant, and that he told Skerrit where to find him. Brutus asks for a quiet word with Valeria, the senior maga present, and arranges to visit her the next day.

Pretty soon, Skerrit arrives, hopping mad, and in a mood to kill. The other magi sort of drifted away, leaving Brutus on his own. However, Brutus once again tells how it wasn't his fault. No-one could have guessed that a rat's face could show absolute shock, before it regained it's anger. The quesitore suggested that they all meet in the morning, when a greater account of the damages had been taken, and that formal charges would be better, before a wizards war. After all, he should get everything he could before finishing him.

So, the magi all quickly drifted away, leaving only Brutus and Valeria. He went over to her and asked if he could see her now, instead of tomorrow, as they would all be busy. When she consented, he asked her what she would charge to make him a longevity potion. She vanished laughing.
Brutus' feelings were a little hurt by that, so he went to bed.

Hmm, as you can guess from my sig, the SG could really have done with some san rolls in there. But the Tremere's incredulous, "You tried to use a mirror to look into a Sarcophagus?",
The Flambeau's "I know some Arch-magi who would love to be able to cause as much devastation as you"
Valeria's laughter at Brutus expecting to live a long life....

The session was just priceless, though I'm not sure what's going to happen to my character now. And all the bad stuff happened from an accident - the SG did his rolls to see what happened with the stone. I love this game, though maybe I'll need a new chara - don't think I can survive a Wizards war with a 100 year old Bonisagus Rat.

That was a great story! Please keep us posted!

Gives tyyou a new mental image for the "lab rat" expression :laughing: I hope you do not have a War Lock as well. :stuck_out_tongue:


Whats "war lock"? :blush:

OH, man! The idea of someone laughing at you when you ask for a longevity ritual, right after pulling a oner like that is hilarious.

And "Warlock" is another name for a Witch.

I certainly don't think I've ever heard THAT particular phrase before!

Sounds fun. I second the motion to keep us posted.


Were I the residing quaesitor, I might lean towards punishiment, vs. death. Perhaps turn your character into a rat for 7 years, and assign you to rebuild Skerrit's lab, then serve him for ther remaining time. All wizard's privileges would be revoked until you had "learned your lesson...."


7 years! Firth 5, I am so afraid of you now.

:slight_smile: Nice. :slight_smile:

I would not sleep in that lab. :smiley:

I'm curious what house would accept a RAT into their ranks even if you let it join your covanent is it part of the order?

I'd say you have a very good case of geting any charges they try to press thrown out by most any quesitor and then you easily stir up a few "exterminators" to take care of your rodent problem and gain some vis.

Heh, I can see that discussion now...

PC: "And rats can't be a part of the Order?"
QUESITOR: "Of course not!"
PC: "Where in the Code does it state "No Rats"?"
QUESITOR: "Well..... Its not explicitly mentioned..."
PC: "Fine, you want him out so badly, YOU get him to leave!"

Probably he has no legal status in the OoH. However, it is not a danger to the order either, so it is an internal covenant issue.... until it kills the PC and then something must be done with it.

A familiar does not swear the code, so he is no part of the OoH. Only his master maga is. A familiar is treated like a possession or tool from a legal standpoint. A prized one, but a tool/posession none the less.

It certainly cannot declare a WW, since only menmbers of the OoH can declare a WW. But it can kill you without problems anyway. it is not protected nor hindered by the code of hermes. It is basically a Companion in terms of the code, with the exception that it can wield a freak ammount of magic, for what you are saying. I would recommend inventing a version of the PeCo spell that makes you lose fatigue, since a rat will have low fatigue levels.... and it does not have parma (even if it can have MR).

If it has parma, it would have been hunted down a few decades ago. Only members of the OoH can learn parma, remember that. Othwrwise you hunt and kill them or make them join. For a rat, I would go for the former.



or I like this argument better...since rats weilding magic are simply not something thats done, it's obvious that it's really a demon in disquise that stole the powers from the "missing" bonisagus and has either killed or imprisioned him. Since we all know that this cant be uncovered with intelligo spells it should be a simple matter to get your resident flambeau to shoot a few pillums of fire down the rat hole to solve your demon problem. That argument holds up even if the owner comes back from where ever he is and demands restitution, since no matter the investigation determins, it could be doubted based on the nature of demons.

and I'm curious did both you and the rat participate in the aegis or was it invited? If so have you revoked that privilage yet?

They probably don't want to get rid of the rat. He didn't blow up his own lab. If the rat is now accepted as a senior member of the covenant, wouldn't he have taken the oath? He would have legal status, I would think.

He probably haa signed the covenants charter, which might have rules against members killing each other, but he might not have joined the Order of Hermes

I'm unsure though.. -are- inhuman creatures allowed to be members of the order? I know it no longer applies if you're a living ghost.. but whether that's due to death rather than becoming inhuman.. unsure

I never remember reading anything saying they aren't. If mundane humans can join, why not intelligent magic rats?

Mundane humans -can't- as far as I'm aware.. .. House Mercere alone was given a specific clause for special reasons

But again, not 100% sure.. which is why I'm asking ^^

House Mercere is what I was thinking, but this rat is from Bonisagus. So it's unusual but still acceptable, I would think. Otherwise, Bjornaer wouldn't be respected in their heartbeast form.

The rat has been living in the covenant for over 50 years whilst it was abandoned. Well, the other magus is a ghost, and valeria has her own cottage out near the forest (ex-misc). No-one really set foot in the covenant, and the whole area was in a regio so they had no outside contact for years until we turned up.

We have not had time to conduct the Aegis, but Skerrit has one around his own labs.

Skerrit swore the Bonsiagus version of the oath, and signed our Oath of Covenant. We debated the issue and decided that all the house Bjoerner and Merinita magi would vote in favour of him being a magus.

As for our flambeau sending a few Pilum of Fire down the rat holes... They are not that dumb. Skerrit has been experimenting with the rat population over the last 50 years. They are bigger, smarter and some of them can speak Latin. They are also loyal to him, and he has several hundred of them. He has also been milking the covenants vis supplies for 50 years, as well as having his own talisman (Staff with a ruby).

It was decided early on that even if he didn't join, none of us were going to try and evict him.

We don't want to announce anything to the outside world for a while because the pater of one of our maga is a diabolist. He would be really interested to discover that she was still alive and where she is. We have sent a lot of evidence and reports of to the Quesitore domus magnus, and we are going to wait a year or so before we announce ourselves to the tribunal. We're hoping he will get marched while we're hiding.

Our session this week was called off, so I have to wait until next week to find out Brutus' fate.

Iirc there are the Larta(?) magi of House Jerbiton - no Gift, but rare individuals may be allowed in as peers if they display truly exceptional artistic abilities. The bard-type with Enchanting Music is a classic, but there are others.