Magus Concept - The Courier

Hi everyone,

Some packages can be sent via the normal redcap network
Some packages can be teleported
For everything else, there is The Courier!

I am thinking of a Mercere who somehow invisibly flies at high speeds. He can teleport to a location, collect a very important package, then deliver it by air within 24 hours.

I think that Mythic Europe is only two or three thousand miles across, so flying at 200 or 300mph he should be able to get anywhere within that time.

This is different to Teleport magics because there is no warping involved.

I am not sure if it will be some type of wagon that flies, a magical creature that carries him, or just some type of flying belt.
If he can just fly there without using the Mercere Portals, it will cost 1 pawn of vis. If he has to use the portals, you have to pay those charges as well.

I am undecided about making him a magus so that he has Parma, or just an ungifted Mercere.

Part of me is considering a wagon, because then he can carry passengers too...... :wink:

What do you think? Is it suitably mythic? Do you think he will have many customers?

Regarding means for fast transport, I would point you to my own post aboutthe Sylph (shameless self-promotion).

You will find various enchantments that with minimum tweaking can give you a faster transport or made of another material.
Those enchantments are based on the Hermetic Shipyard (in Hermetic Projects), and the Flying Castle (Legend of Hermes).

Now, to answer other questions, it will depends on your settings:

  • what is the average delivery time for Redcap ? If it is within a week or even within a month, unless very urgent request, the 24 hours delivery is only a "nice to have". People are used to wait, and the unit of time for mage is the season. Mechanically speaking, there is not benefit to have another time scale and the whole Order is used to count in season. So it is only within the frame of specific adventure than speedy delivery will matter (need to a tablet with a specific spells, shortage of virtus...);
  • how often are Redcaps mugged ? As per core rule: rarely, "everybody" knows that's bad luck to mug a fellow wearing a Redcap. Death usually follows such rare event. If your setting is in the earlier stage of the Order, where this reputation does not exist yet, then yes, having safe delivery of precious books is at a premium. Not so much speed, but safety of precious cargo matters.

Decide how is your setting and how these two points would benefit from "The Courier".

A point to keep in mind regarding speedy delivery:

Speedy delivery works only if "The Courier" knows quickly where and when he is needed. So he needs to have some form of instant communication. And if a mage needs to find a Redcap to pass an order for speedy delivery, said Redcap needs to contact whoever has the magical item/spell to contact "The Courier", then it is not really instant delivery anymore. Keep in mind that affecting a target without seeing it requires an Arcane Connection (typically to send the mental message "I need you tomorrow at Durenmar"). I don't think that the Courier wants to leave Arcane Connection everywhere...

I could see some organisations having dedicated express delivery system: Quaesitores, Tremere, but it is not part of the core background. This is the part left to each Saga to define how much is "optimised" the Order: is it well organised and leveraging 100% of its potential to be efficient, or is it only a group of secretive scholars who meet every seven years to try to outdo each other with more brillant discovery than the neighbour, but reluctant to collaborate for the greater good ?

I personally tend to always start with a relatively stagnant Order, living on the great work of the founders and some of their descendant. It leaves more opportunity to the players to leave their mark and stir the Order in the direction they want.

Finally, I would suggest to have a peek at "Transforming Mythic Europe", specifically the part about Printing Industry, contributing to spreading faster and further away knowledge and discovery. Because basically, that's what fast transportation will do: it will shrink virtually the world, allowing exchange between people that would never have met otherwise. House Bonisagus publishes every 7 years (serf's parma) a compendium on one topics: that's not a fast-paced rythm of production, and there is also some censorship of some topics I am sure. If mage can freely, quickly travel without having to learn specific spells or design tailor-made spell to prevent warping, they will directly meet the two other specialists in their field to share idea and make progress faster (think about Breakthrough if spread between three or six mages, sharing their discovery to quickly build up breakthrough point).
House Bonisagus might feel its authority challenged if significant advance are made without their involvment, because an ExMiscellanea from a forgotten tradition teamed up with a Criamon (meddling in the same area of magic theory) and a Tremere (to structure this collaboration) to integrate some useful techniques breaking one of the Minor (Major ?) Limit.

Having very fast travel would work well in Wizard's War, since the declaration must be delivered on the night of the full moon. I could see our fast guy having the problem of delivering 5 missives that all must arrive on the same day. Maybe this Redcap somehow has the Mystery of Arcadian Travel?

The other section to read in TME is the section on "magic as technology" (which I think may also have the printing section in it) - but they also talk about using rego magic to (basically) create teleporters (which cause warp) and flying devices (which don't), and the likely societal consequences thereof.

The basic concept there is that the chapter takes the official stance that when you Rego something, you can carry up to 1/2 the weight of that thing without having to have an additional requisite. So you end up with a lot of Rego Terram and flying stone platforms, as a base 25 enchantment can get you the equivalent of a flying slab with at least a ton of lift capacity each. (1 cubic pace of stone/2 is at least one ton, I believe). Flight speed is based on that CrAu spell, so I think it can go at least 45 mph, and maybe(?) up to 80 mph.

EDIT - ah, here we go. Granite is 171.7 lbs/ cubic foot; 27 cubic feet in a cubic pace = 4635.9 lbs per slab. 1/2 of that is essentially 1 ton.

I've not seen that ruling, can you point me at a reference? That explains a number of things I've seen in different sourcebooks.

So, can I use the same technology to deliver a hypervelocity projectile? Or even just a single use warhead?

I believe Vilano's sling is the answer to your question. It is a magically propelled missile. Increase speed by increasing magnitude should increase damage and/or weight propelled by the spell. I do remember a previous discussion with somebody designing spells with catapult-like performance: launching blocks of stone against city wall and such.

Now, if you manage to tighly bound to your stone slab a cauldron of Greek Fire, with a tight lid so it won't spill during the flight, then congratulations, you are entering the realm of chemical weaponry and ballistic spells combined with Hermetic geometry will lead to a new style of war, where you don't need to see the enemy anymore. :smiling_imp:

You can always wonder if in this case designing a Rego spell with the appropriate form to handle Greek Fire would not be more efficient, but on the other hand, with one Rego Terram spell, you can propel anything you can bind to hit (bodies rotten by pestilence, beehive, bags of flours, pulverised arsenic, and so on and so forth). If you also have a Rego Terram spell to shape/craft the projectile (to make a hollow body, to design hooks), you can have a multi-purpose, customisable projectile with only two or three spells. All that, bypassing MR.

Add in Ptolemaic coordinates and you have long-range weaponry. Covenants will become fortified, underground bunkers, shielded by heavy Aegis, as they wage war on any non-hermetic, static target from the safety of their sanctum. Talk about Transforming Mythic Europe !
Okay, I might have been slightly carried away... but it can be an alternative setting, with a kind of medieval, cold war background. One faction of the Order deciding to side with the Western Church, pledging their magic to the service of the Reconquista and Crusade in exchange of "protection against Divine Wrath" and spoil of wars. Since the Church is divided, Teutonic Order in Rhine and Novgorod Tribunal allies with another faction of mages, against Rome. Theban tribunal sides with the Eastern Church: the Schism between Eastern and Western started during the 11th century, but it is in 1204 and the Fourth Crusade with the plundering of Constantinople which aggravated and sealed the split of the two Churchs.
You can find Church factions in almost each Tribunal with a desire to split from Rome, for what ever reason (theological, philosophical, political and personal power). And this is without even counting Muslim area (Levant) and what not.

Once a form of alliance is made between some mages and the Church, the Sword of Damocles that is Divine intervention is put on hold and can potentially lead to "all Hell breaks loose".

TME, pg. 107, "New Guidelines for Instant Transportation"->"Instant Transportation and Requisites". It starts out with the standard "Ars Magica Fifth Edition does not specify whether casting requisites are needed for instant transportation, and this may be left to the interpretation of the troupe." It then goes on to discuss what that particular chapter assumes, which is the "up to 1/2 weight without requiring requisites" rule.

So it looks like either an enchanted wagon, or some type of stone slab is my best option.

I will probably go for a wagon, because if it has an effect to create real/illusory horses it can then roll into town as normal.

As for him finding out that he is needed, House Mercere would use an enchanted item to talk directly with him. Distant mercere houses will have something that lets them talk to their own people in a hurry. They pass the message back to the Domus Magnus, who pass it on to him. Within an hour of the request he can be on his way.
He will have many Arcane Connections to near Covenants, towns and cities. He doesn't need to fix them, he can collect new ones every time he is in the area. When they are due to expire, he can do a "grand tour" and collect new AC's for several different places in a single day.

As for why he needs to move items/people fast?

Need to get an an important document/witness to tribunal to answer some surprise accusations.
Need a specialist person moved to somewhere in a hurry (Chirurgeon, tracker, knowledge specialist)
Quick getaway from somewhere
Rapid resupply/reinforce for an adventure
Quickly get spoils of an adventure / contested vis source out of the area
Transport equipment somewhere for a magus involved in a Wizard's War
A Verditius is running late on an enchanted device delivery.
Move an extremely rare resource from covenant to covenant to reduce "down time" e.g. extremely rare book
Move most of your valuable equipment from one place to another to reduce "down time". e.g. moving to a new covenant
Move something extremely dangerous, such as a captured beast/spirit

A covenant may only need to call on the courier once a year, but since he can act all over Mythic Europe, he will find enough work to keep going.

2-months threadomancy

The solution I like to the "teleporting requisites" problem is this:

  • If your spell only moves you very quickly by flying, meaning you can't get out of shackles or enter a closed spaces, it takes what you're carrying with up, up to ill-defined limits.
  • If your spell truly teleports you, it's either going naked or using requisites.

That way, the players get more choice, while the question of requisites is also (mostly) solved.

This has the added advantage of letting the 2 points of view about how ReCo "instant transport" spells work coexist, each with its advantages and drawbacks