Magus: Zharkune, Follower of Bonisagus

Table of Contents

Current Stats

Zharkune, aka Necromancer Zhar, Follower of Bonisagus

Characteristics: Int +3, Per +2, Pre -1, Com 0, Str -3, Sta +1, Dex 0, Qik -1
Size: -2, Age: 23

Virtues and Flaws
Puissant Rego (no calc), Affinity Magic Theory (no calc), Affinity Rego (no calc), Book Learner (Book Quality: +3), Deft Form (Corpus) [Form: Corpus], The Gift, Hermetic Magus, Inventive Genius (Invent Lab Totals: +3), Major Magical Focus (necromancy), Personal Vis Source (Corpus), Puissant Magic Theory*, Dark Secret: Lost memories and hidden deeds, Driven (Necromancy to be accepted by the Order), Dwarf, Hermetic Infamy (Necromancer), Susceptibility to Infernal Power

  • Free from House
    (no calc) means its a selected Virtue but I have excluded it from the XP calculations so that Metacreator correctly spends XP. MT is 50 xp * 1.5 = 75, which is score 5. Rego is 70 xp * 1.5 = 105, which is score 14.

Artes Liberales 1 (cermonial magic), Awareness 2, Concentration 2 (spell casting), Embalming 1 (Humans), Finesse 2 (Targeting), Folk Ken 2 (peasants), Guile 1 (fast talk), Italian 5 (specific dialect), Latin 4 (hermetic usage), Magic Theory 4+2 (Rego) (4), Order of Hermes Lore 1, Parma Magica 1 (Mentem), Scribe 1, Stealth 1, Survival 1

Arts Cr 2, In 3, Mu 1, Pe 0, Re 11+3, An 0, Aq 0, Au 0, Co 8, He 0, Ig 0, Im 1, Me 7, Te 0, Vi 0


  • Charm Against Putrefaction (CrCo 10)
  • Conjure the Remains of Man (CrCo 25) Creates a human corpse for a month
  • Whispers Through the Black Gate (InCo(Me) 15)
  • The Walking Servant (ReCo(Me) 35) Animates a corpse for a month
  • Disguise of the Leprous Vagrant (MuIm 15) Change three sensations of a person
  • Sleep of the Unwilling, Upon a Distant Foe (ReMe20) based on Call to Slumber which is reworked to Sight/Diameter.

Zhar knows he has a questionable past, although much of the specifics has been expunged from his memory by the Order, and what remains he hopes is correct.

From what he can recall his diminutive stature would have set him apart from his parents and siblings even if he had not been Gifted, he was clearly born a runt, and the combination of both this and his gift meant his family was quick to find any excuse to billet him away from them. When his town's grave digger and embalmer both expressed a keen interest in the young boy his parents watched him depart with great enthusiasm. The two morbid practitioners took the boy in and began training him in many and varied arts. Beginning with ceremonies and embalming, Zharkune had been found by a cult who worshiped the dead.

A few years passed and of the details he remembers little. Zhar knows that he was an adept servant to his surrogate family, and knows that he once was far more skilled in the rites of embalming and preservation, and that much of that skill was destroyed when his memories were removed. He does not recall the details at all of when his Hermetic master destroyed the cult. His master - Seeker Cercin, Master of Bonisagus told Zharkune that he found the tiny child serving the intertwined families of the embalmer and grave digger, and that their cult activities were so profoundly evil that they were cleansed from Christendom.

Seeker Cercin tried to raise Zharkune as a proper Bonisagus, allowing his natural talents in magical investigation and experimentation to flourish. Zhar knows his master was a kind woman and was proud of the growth in his hermetic skills. She was however profoundly displeased when Zhar found his interests turning to the dead and the spirit world. Cercin initially forbade the interest, but Zhar would not be persuaded.

Later in his apprenticeship Zhar was kidnapped by a member of the original cult who strangely survived the earlier cleansing, and his master was required once again to destroy the cult and erase sections of Zhar's memories. After that hateful event Zhar made an effort to understand and empower himself in the areas of the dead, to better find his way and potentially prepare himself for the secrets that fate seems determined to thrust upon him. Cercin relented her objections, and guided Zharkune toward the creative aspect of his interest - all the while asking he remember what risks come from his interest.

The lost fragments of his mind frustrate him, and eventually he wishes to find a way to fill out some of the gaps - be that with restorative magic, or interrogating he living and dead host involved in the events long ago. He is determined to prove that Necromancy does not need to be reviled by the Order, and find his past along the way.


Year 1 / 1220 A.D.:

  • Spring: (activities to be added)
  • Summer: (activities to be added)
  • Fall: (activities to be added)
  • Winter: (activities to be added)






  • Learn local language
  • Parma Magica, Penetration, Concentration and Magic Theory

Find a familiar

Craft a Talisman (soon)

Lab activities

  • Inventing a huge set of new necromancy themed spells

Habits and Gear

He's been collecting remains and parts for a long while during his apprenticeship which is one of the reasons his master and covenfolk particularly started to feel the focus was distasteful.
With prudent reuse of the preservation spell these are well maintained. Amongst the well labeled collection is a preserved hand from a thief, a skull from a failed apprentice in his old covenant, many parts from fallen grogs, and where he could get them as many corpses as possible from fallen opponents or enemies. The purpose is respectful study not as macabre trophies.
That (with troupe approval) might include parts from dead supernatural creatures.

In the Ars paradigm, shouldn't the added damage be caused because you are affecting a larger stone, rather than propelling the same stone faster?

IMHO, the speed at which a sling propels a stone is already quite fast, so adding to its speed won't add to damage much. Propelling a fist-sized stone at the same speed as a sling stone (which is about the size of a large walnut) will certainly cause a lot more damage. :slight_smile:

EDIT: Isn't that a lot of custom-designed spells for a magus just out of Gauntlet?

The Vilano change is based on the guidelines, HoH:S p38. So it's strict to RAW. The basic Vilano spell is actually pretty useless when it comes to hurting anything. If a master is teaching the basic version they're wasting their time and poorly equipping the apprentice.

Yes it's a lot of custom spells. We're allowed custom spells. I can't make a useful necromancer without tailoring spells, and most of the effects are tailoring of spells that are in the books rather than totally new effects.

I'm not saying that your spell isn't valid, just expressing that I think it should say "which casts a larger (fist-sized) stone" instead of "casting the stone faster".

I am basing myself on the fact that HoH:S p.35 mentions (near the end of the box insert) "the projectile can go no farther than it could be thrown by a very powerful mundane bow (or sling, catapult, or other device)." To me, this entails that the speed of the projectile cannot be increased (as this would increase its range). So to increase damage, one needs to use a larger projectile, or make the projectile itself more damaging (such as by changing its shape or its weight).

I also understand that the concept of a necromancer requires quite a few custom-designed spells, since there are so few fully detailed in the sourcebooks. However, you also include two modified Imaginem spells when the canonical Disguise of the Transformed Image could have done the job. And I'm not saying it's a bad thing, just asking why. 8)

I disagree with your interpretation, and I think the books spell out a case far stronger for my view.

The text you are quoting is for range calculation not damage calcs. It goes on to say in the next sentence the typical range is 20 paces. That has nothing to do with damage.

Further it's pretty odd to say a spell cannot make something go faster; or you might say it's not fast enough to increase damage. Then why are the guidelines written as such? If you interpret that it needs greater mags of increase to increase damage, but the ReTe guidelines are stated.

Obviously the speed of something can be increased, as we have spell guidelines that talk about gentle and forceful movement (Aquam, Auram, etc). If all movement was the same then why do we have different Hermetic spell guidelines? While I understand protecting the setting (?) the +1 mag equates to +5 damage is used elsewhere in RAW and is also how the Rego Terram guidelines in that book are structured.

To ask another question - is this an issue for the game/you?

(edit: I toned back the language, as I don't want to come across harsh)

It is certainly not an issue for me, neither for the game itself. I see it more as a friendly discussion about the guidelines and character creation before the game starts. I see how my comments could have come across as criticism, but that was not my intention and I apologize for that. :open_mouth:

I can stop discussing the issue if you prefer and simply let Koschei make a decision. But this is one of the things that usually come with custom-designed spells; they often need some discussions to make sure that everyone agree about (or at least accept) the guidelines interpretations and the exact parameters of each spell. When many custom-designed spells are included at character creation, it generates more discussions. That is one of the reasons I often encourage an approach where only a small number of custom-designed spells are allowed initially for a given magus. And I'm aware that Koschei did not set such a limit for this game.

I welcomed your comments about my understanding of how Flexible Formulaic Magic and masteries would apply to the spells my magus knows. I was ready to argue my case there, just as I see you want to argue yours. I just want to make sure that the discussion is welcomed on both sides!

Please keep raising questions, I need to learn to be less precious about different opinions.

Interesting that the Hector of Tremere character in the normal forum thread has invented a +15 variation on the sling in a manner identical to my +10. So the interpretation is not alone.

And I'll try to ask my questions carefullly, to avoid offending.

I didn't follow that topic closely, so I had to take a look at it before answering on that. I would note that the spell is relatively skimpy on how the added damage is attained. As I wrote before, I don't see a problem with a better version of the spell that does more damage. What I find questionable is whether this added damage should be obtained by stating that the stone travels faster. Note that I say should rather than can.

Perhaps it is a matter of my modern sensibilities getting in the way, but my knowledge of physics/balistics tell me that the range increments applying to a projectile mean that this is the maximum speed one can achieve with this kind of magic. Otherwise, the added speed would result in a flatter trajectory, hence longer ranger increment (because a flatter trajectory means more accuracy as well). So to me, since HoH:S p.35 says that "Most projectiles thrown by spells have a range increment of 20 paces", this means that a spell that throws a projectile this way (i.e. use a brief jolt of magical force to hurl a projectile so that it cannot be resisted) has a maximum speed.

Furthermore, you mentioned that other Forms have guidelines for increasingly violent movement. This is indeed true, as we can see with the following guidelines:

  • Rego Aquam can move liquids in extremely gentle (Level 1), forceful (Level 4), violent (Level 5) and extremely violent (Level 10) ways. Of the spells in the core book, only Ice of Drowning and Tower of Whirling Water cause direct damage to a target. The first by way of the chunks of jagged ice crushing swimmers in the water and the second by the smashing action of the watery tower. Both use the Base 10 guideline.
  • Rego Auram can control a minor weather phenomenon (Level 2), normal weather phenomenon (Level 3), severe weather phenomenon (Level 4) or very severe weather phenomenon (Level 5). None of the spells in the core book cause direct damage to a target.
  • Rego Corpus can move a target slowly along a surface (Level 3), slowly (Level 4) or quickly (Level 15). None of the spells in the core book cause direct damage to a target.
  • Rego Herbam only has a single guideline to control an amount of wood (Level 3). Of the spells in the core book, Dance of Staves causes +4 damage (or more if the staff has a metal head), Strike of the Angered Branch does +10 damage (using a large tree branch), Lord of Trees does +10 damage (the Size +2 tree swings its branches at the target) and The Treacherous Spear (which does the weapon's damage).
  • Rego Ignem can control fire in a natural (Level 3), slightly unnatural (Level 4) or very unnatural (Level 10) fashion. The spells in the core book, Tremulous Vault of the Torch's Flame (does +5 damage) and Leap of the Fire (does +10 damage) both use the Level 3 guideline, only changing the Size of the fire, while Burst of the Sweeping Fire (+5 to +15 damage based on the size/intensity of the fire targeted) uses the Level 4 guideline with an increase for the intensity of the fire.
  • Rego Terram can move an object in a natural (Level 1), unnatural (Level 2) or very unnatural (Level 3) fashion. The spells in the core book, Wielding the Invisible Sling (up to +5 damage for a fist-sized stone, as a magnitude added to affect stone), The Earth's Carbuncle (+10 damage with a Muto requisite for jagged pieces of stone), Crest of the Earth Wave (+10 damage when those caught in the wave are tossed aside, with a +2 Size modifier to the spell) and The Earth Split Asunder (+10 damage when falling, +25 when the earth closes, with a +2 Size modifier to the spell). All of these spells use the same Level 3 guideline, but those that do more damage either add a Muto requisite to make the projectiles more deadly, or use a Size modifier to affect a larger amount of Terram.

As we can see from those examples, when higher damage is done using a Rego spell it isn't because one uses a higher level guideline, but rather because the Target of the spell is either larger (or more intense for fire), or has been modified to make it more dangerous (chunks of ice or a Muto requisite for Terram).

In short, I believe that Rego spells cause more damage because the thing they move is larger or more dangerous, not because they move it faster.

Now, based on that, I think a more damaging version of Invisible Sling of Vilano should be described as using a larger piece of stone. The basic spell hurls a stone "of a size that could be thrown with a mundane sling" (which Wielding the Invisible Sling implies is fist-sized). Since other Rego Terram spells specify that the larger the object, the slower it moves, I suggest that a head-sized stone would require an additional magnitude and thus cause +10 damage.

Hmm. A few areas strike me as odd though:

  • The 20 pace range increment is a lot less that a stone would travel if it was moving at its maximum velocity. In fact I can throw a rock far more than 20 meters, and it's not even close to the speed of a sling stone . It does not pass the ordinary man test.
    I think that's far more likely a range at which the targeting is reasonably accurate.

  • The damage from the basic sling spell is akin to an actual sling, which is certainly not as fast as a sling stone could be projected.

  • Applying modern physics works for and against both our views. :slight_smile:

  • It's not reasonable that the Base 5 is as fast as a stone can travel, so additional mags should be able to make it faster. And that's what the guideline represent.

  • Yes a larger stone moves more slowly, but that just means that it inflicts the same +10 damage as a smaller stone moving more quickly. What it looses in speed it gains due to its mass.

This means that the greater Base 10 allows for larger rocks more slowly or smaller ones more quickly; both resulting in +10 damage.

Check out ArM5 p.172 under "Missile Combat. A range increment is not the maximum range of the projectile. You simply have a -3 to aiming rolls for each range increment (after the first) between you and the target. Thus someone with a good Finesse could easily fling a projectile 5 times that far and still hit his target. This already means that Invisible Sling of Vilano has a built-in advantage in range versus most R:Voice attack spells (though that is besides the point we are discussing).

I would note that a faster projectile would need a greater range increment, where HoH:S p.35 states that most projectiles hurled this way do not have. An arrow or dart might achieve a range increment of 30 paces (similar to that of a long bow), but not a fist-sized stone.

The range increment of an actual sling is also 20 paces, so the rock flung by the spell travels at the same speed as that of a sling. Which is faster than an arrow shot from a short bow (15 paces range increment).

So I think that it can be reasonable to say that this is the top speed which can be attained by this kind of magic (i.e. "a brief jolt of force to hurl a projectile" as described by HoH:S p.35). Note that normally, a base Individual of stone is a single cubic pace of stone. Reducing the size of that stone to fist-sized allows the spell to move it as fast as it can.

To summarize my position, I believe "faster" should (if allowed) translate into "greater range increment", while increasing damage should be through a more damaging projectile -- either a larger one or one shaped more aggressively than a normal stone).

For whatever it's worth, I think Arthur is correct, and that's how we've played it. In the school of throwing things at people, there are spells that are explicitly for making ammunition. There's no point to that if you can just make a range of sling spells scaling up to +30 and carry a bag of stones.

Also, all of this discussion sidesteps that this is a base book game, and in the base book the Sling of Vilano doesn't work. You get the Crystal Dart instead. We need Koschei's signoff to bring it in in the first place.

I think I'll avoid the problem and drop the spell. It was altered to get a basic combative spell, which isn't thematic to the character - so easy to switch out for something else. I'll have a look at switching and might switch one of the MuIm spells too as its a fair amount of spell levels.

Further on switching spells - I'll drop the level 5 MuIm spell and the level 15 ReTe Vilano spell, and add a version of Call to Slumber (ReMe10) which is reworked to Sight/Diameter so it's now ReMe20.
Any issues with doing so?

No problem for me. If you want to make your spell thematic, you could call it "Little Death of the Mind", since for the duration of the spell it will be almost impossible to wake up the target. :wink: