Makarion's Magus / Maga discussion thread

Just noticed there's a problem with my Craft Magus: he'd never sign the Pact of Crun Clach, since his Clan is opposed to the current King of Scotland (Alexander II, who has his eyes on Argyle, as of yet independant of the Crown and the homeland of the Mhic Gillivray). I'll go forward and explore other ideas that don't have such obvious issues! Expect a new character idea in the next few days.

The Pact of Crun Clach is actually part of the Peripheral Code in Loch Leglean tribunal. Not everybody in LL supports it. just depends how how creatively you can define "aid or hinder" and whether you can convince other people that you're not aiding/hindering if you get caught.

Clarification: most of the magi who have problems with the Pact actually object to the part about "invaders into lands held by the King of Scotland," since those tend to the the Norman English, and some (especially border) covenants hate them with a burning passion.

I see options :slight_smile:. I foresee plans for a "forward defense" aka invasion, if that's what it takes. After all, the King's still galloping around in England right now.

Of course, this is going to mean that my "leave me alone to my craft" mage is going to get trust into give-and-takes with the border covenants, some of whom likely only have an enemy in common. Plenty of roleplaying material there. Consider me interested in developing the idea!

Donal Dubh mac Gillie Brath ("Black" Donald of clan MacGillivray), aka
Carduelis filius Ex Miscellenea
Age: 30

Here's a bit more body to the background of Carduelis. As you'll see, ideas are evolving - and some aspects are hard to get translated correctly into the system. As always, feel free to make suggestions. For one thing, I'm actually wondering whether my choice of House is correct.

Donal mac Gillie Brath was born in 1191 in a small town on the Scottish island of Lismore by the name of Achnacruish. His family, mostly craftsmen with a few fishermen, were related to Dubgall mac Somairle, the elderly ruling Lord over most of the Inner Hebrides. As most people on the islands, they were partially of Gael (Irish-Scottish) and partially of Manx (Norse) blood. Everything seemed to flow as normal - the young Donal, nicknamed "Dubh" ("Black") for his dark hair, picked up on the craft of his family, roamed the wild hills and the sea-shore with his fellow clan-mates, and otherwise mostly impressed people by being sensible.

Things changed slightly at the Christmas of his 8th birthday. Ragnall, the Lord's eldest brother, had been granted permission to erect a new church on the island that would serve as the cathedral-church of a new Bishopric for all of Argyle; until that time, they had belonged to the bishopric of Dunkeld, many leagues away on the mainland, on the other side of the Grampian mountains. Obviously, the new church would require all the skilled craftsmen of the area, and many from further afield, to work for seasons to come. In the meantime, the second son of Ragnall (by the name of Harald), was appointed Bishop of the diocese.

During the winter-months, with building materials being prepared and dwellings built for all the new craftsmen, the new Bishop started to teach some of the local youth. Several (especially those in the Norse families) knew how to write the Futhark, and others knew some of the Latin letters, but it was a rare find for anyone in the village to be able to write their whole name, and the Bishop took his eclesiastical tasks seriously. Besides, he would need some of those youths to serve the church in a year or two, and those Norsemen were all pagans - better to get that out of their system as soon as possible.

The next several seasons for Donal were filled with chisels and pens, books and wood. He'd be making pews and learning his letters, sculpting the steps to the altar and caressing his feather over the parchment. Soon enough, the Bishop took extra notice of him, as Donal was a quiet but insightful boy, full of the sort of questions that tax the mind of a third-generation Christianized Viking. And then there were the.. accidents. Or were they? Donal was a gifted young craftsman, as good as anyone in his family, but even so, it seemed at times as if the visages of the Apostles he had carved in the headboards of the front row of benches had changed over the months, fitting better with the stories of the Evangels the more he told them. Unnerving.

Thankfully for the Bishop, a year and a half after ground had been broken for the new church, a scholar in Benedictine robes from Whitby, near York in the north of England, arrived with the spring tides. He bore letters of greetings from his master, a teacher at the palace school in York, and requested permission to teach the boy Donal. Permission was promptly granted, and it wasn't long before the young artisan entered the covenant of Voluntas, to be taught under the tutelage of Aristippa, originally a clothier from Piedmond, now a gifted maga. [She's likely the only one with Craft Magic in the British Isles other than Donal, hence the displacement outside of his home Tribunal. Even so, I made her up out of thin air, so if there's a defined list of covenant members already available, I can change the details.]

Life at Voluntas was both enervating and unnerving. On the one hand, it was a hotbed of news from all over the world (for a boy from the skirts of Europe), with philosophy and strange lore discussed at any given hour, but on the other hand it was home to some people with decidedly un-Christian ideas on propriety. Not that Donal was one to speak up too loudly, but he liked to visit the nearby Abbey when he had the chance to talk to the brothers there when he could - to balance his mind, as he thought of it. Eventually, he learned enough to start to consider the greater weave of all he learned (his mater would be proud of the phrase), and his philosophy found a home in the thoughts of Ioannes Scotus Eriugena, a fellow Irish-Scot of some three centuries ago. He had been a clergyman, but a philosopher with a background in the Greek thinkers, and he was not afraid to point out the fallacies in the practices of Rome - subtly. Again, striking the balance - teaching people to think, and showing respect to tradition. Maintaining one's craft and developing the new arts. It very much appealed. Donal decided to request permission to travel and visit some other thinkers, starting with his mater's home in the Piedmond valleys. He promised he'd write about his experiences.

The more Donal travelled, the more he encountered the Church involved in power struggles for it's own sake and not for the enlightenment of the people. He came to think of the Church as a house, build by the hands of the body of Christ (the Christians), but overseen in it's construction and maintenance by appointed managers with ulterior motives. There's good overseers, of course, but they seemed so lamentably rare. In the meantime, the body of the Christ needed to find it's own guiding spirit - it's own way to rejoin the holiness from whence it came. He firmly planned to set his feet on that path - to rediscover the Mystery of Creation, the Wholeness of Man. And since he had been blessed with just a smidgen of the power of Creation, and the ability to read the wisdom of the Fathers, he hoped, in time, to help others on the same path to find their bearing. For the time being, though, he would be searching for the road himself. People say it is narrow and easily overlooked.

After many moons and many letters, he has returned to Voluntas and the cloistered life, only to encounter a letter from Bishop Harald. His family on Lismore and their relatives ask him to come home and to help in their struggle to remain free from the Norman King, Alexander II. It seems to far away, after all these years - but he remembers the smell of sawdust, the brine of the ocean, the cries of gulls and of family. His armament may be more words than swords, but he cannot refuse the call. Charity, after all, starts at home. He finishes his last letter to Anthony of Padua, packed his tools and his books, and sets off for a covenant closer to home.


Intelligence +4, Perception +2
Strength -2, Stamina +1
Presence 0, Communication +2
Dexterity +2, Quickness -3

[Donal is an insightful thinker who can express himself with clarity and simplicity. His slender hands are agile and precise, but a nasty fall from a horse on his travels several years ago broke his right leg and it never healed properly - he walks with a limp and at times bumps into objects accidentally. He has since learned enough to know that he could have that leg repaired with his Gift or someone else's, but he thinks of it as a constant reminder to be humble and a remember of the limitations of the flesh.]

Spell Sigil: (still working on this)
Voting Seal: Robed winged man


Faithful +3
Kind +2
Liberal +2 [Donal has, for instance, time for both the Muslim tradition of Mu'tazili and for Christian Waldensians]


The Gift (special)
Hermetic Magus (free, social)
Craft Magus (free, supernatural - from House)
Spell Foci (free, supernatural - from House)
Great Intelligence (*1; minor, general)
Good Teacher (minor, general)
Affinity with Craft (woodworking; minor, general)
Educated (by Bishop Harald and the friars of Whitby Abbey; minor, general)
Skilled Parens (includes contacts of his parens in Piedmond; minor, hermetic)
Puissant Enigmatic Wisdom (minor, general)
Social Contacts (people familiar with his letters - mainly philosophers; minor, general) [Donal refers to them as the "Community of Friends", which is a Sufi phrase]
Major Magical Focus (restoration; major, hermetic)

[Edit note: replaced Secondary Insight with Puissant Ability (Enigmatic Wisdom). Ditched Tethered Magic due to unclear rules regarding it's use. Added Major Magical Focus: Restoration. It only applies when returning things to their natural form. One cannot benefit from it to cure the blindness of someone born blind, nor restore crops growing on cursed fields. But one could cleanse the fields, or restore a tree struck by lightning, or cure the smallpox, with sufficient Arts. If this is too broad, I could limit it to living things only (e.g., no restoring broken crafted items, no restoring mined-out gold veins).]

[Note, that I deliberately did not take Pious - he questions his Faith too much. Of course, many Christians and Muslims would consider him heretical, but that's irrelevant.]


Weak Spontaneous Magic (free, hermetic - from House)
Close Family Ties (minor, story)
Hedge Wizard (minor, hermetic)
Temperate (minor, personality)
Generous (minor, personality)
Deficient Technique (Perdo; major, hermetic)
Necessary Condition (woodworking tools; major, hermetic)
[There's a lot of other, minor, character aspects that would well translate to flaws, such as Higher Purpose and Noncombatant, but I'm already at my limit!]


General: Area Lore (Scottish Highlands, 2), Awareness (1), Brawl (1), Concentration (2), Craft (woodworking: sculpting, 6), Etiquette (2), Folk Ken (2), Guile (1), Living Language (Scots Gaelic, 5), Living Language (Western Norse, 2), Living Language (Arabic: Qu'ran, 3), Living Language (French, 3), Organisation Lore (Catholic Church, 2), Organisation Lore (Order of Hermes, 1), Profession (Scribe, 1), Swim (1), Teaching (1).

Academic: Artes Liberales (Rhetoric; 3), Civil & Canon Law (1), Dead Language (Latin, 5), Philosophiae (Metaphysics; 3), Theology (Christian, 2), Theology (Islam, 2).

Arcane: Code of Hermes (1), Dominion Lore (1), Finesse (1), Magic Lore (1), Magic Theory (4), Parma Magica (1), Penetration (1).

Martial: (none).

Supernatural: Enigmatic Wisdom 0+2


Creo: 5
Intellego: 8
Muto: 0
Perdo: 0
Rego: 6

Animal: 0
Aquam: 0
Auram: 2
Corpus: 5
Herbam: 0
Ignem: 0
Imagonem: 5
Mentem: 6
Terram: 0
Vim: 3

Spell Totals:

Formulaic: TeFo + 1 + aura + die roll
Ceremonial / Ritual: TeFo + 7 + aura + die roll
Spontaneous: 0.2 * (TeFo + 1 + aura + stress die) [Due to Weak Spontaneous Magic]

Penetration: TeFo + 2 + aura - spell level. [See Core book pg 84]
Concentration: 3 + aura + stress die. [See Core book page 82]
Aiming: 3 + die roll

Fast Cast Speed: -2 + stress die, -10 to casting score
Determining Form: 3 + die roll vs. 15 - Magnitude

Lab Total: TeFo + 8 + aura (TeFo + 10 + aura for Craft Magic using woodworking)

Spells are forthcoming - I am checking the new spell creation guidelines. Are self-created spells (or minor variations of existing ones) ok for your starting allowance?

Secondary Insight is a very weak Major Hermetic Virtue. IMS I'd be inclined to call it a minor virtue.
Your 20th level ward against demons isn't going to be effective, since he lacks penetration. Why Tethered magic?

Well, I tend to pick background options for my characters for flavour and story potential, trusting the storyteller to make things interesting and balanced between the characters and the challenges. I'm not interested in powergaming - not only is it essentially pointless (the storyteller always wins if s/he wants to), it's also inelegant. Some of the sagas on the forums here have characters with multiple magical puissances / affinities stacked with Int 5. Bleh.

Secondary Insight was chosen to represent the idea that he's intelligent, a good student - but not focused. He's essentially seeing magic as a fairly uniform thing instead of a collection of seperate schools; spells are the re-weaving (re-sculpting) of Creation, which is also why he has the glaring weakness at Perdo - he can't bring himself to directly unravel Creation. I admit that it looked weak - I'll have to think on what to replace it with. I don't want to be the Tribunal's smartest man, so Int 5 isn't really an option. A Puissance for Magic Theory seems powerful but boring (and it doesn't fit all that well with his paradigm, which is slightly off for an Hermetic mage). Maybe some kind of Relic (likely a book or collection of scrolls)? Not sure yet.

The idea behind Tethered Magic is that he makes items that are essentially vessels for spells, prepared in advance in his workshop (lab) but applied in situ. With Tethered Magic he can create a variety of protection- and boost-items, hand them to others, and have them maintain the spells - saves a lot on Concentration, I figured. Imagine half a dozen grogs with Wizard's Sidestep available without a need for a Mage to babysit them. Of course, it would only work with people he could train in the use of them. Still, it seems suitable and useful.
Note, that really nasty things could be done with a strong Guile / Charm score and Tethered Magic. Just got to be real careful about that arcane connection that could be traced back, should people investigate. This isn't my plan for Carduelis, but I noticed the potential for more than a little mischief or mayhem.

As far as the Ward goes - I assume his ReVi total will go up soon enough, so that shouldn't be all that much of a problem Then again, there's a lot of interesting spells that could protect a campsite - I'll pick another. Maybe I should device an alarm spell. InVi would detect demons and mages, I assume, but what would detect a fairie or divine creature?

InVi might detect demons - if they want to be detected. Intellego is really wonky (intentionally so) when it comes to Demons. There may be InVi spells that allow you to detect magi, but they're pretty much illegal, as they are practically by definition "scrying" upon members of the order, and the Q may or may not by an explanation that it only detects non-hermetic magi.

InVi to detect faeries and divine (if it's God's will) would simply be the same spell attuned to the appropriate Realm.

I didn't think I was indicating that you were powergaming. I was just suggesting that Secondary Insight is a pretty weak virtue, and a lot of disussion has been had of it and the similar Elementalist.

Your alarm spell will fail to work on a demon. Demons lie, and Intellego magics fail to work on them, the only way to know if it is a demon is with DEO, or possibly a Ward. And with any creature of might you still have the problem of penetration, in that your spell must exceed their might to have an effect on them: a 20th level spell needs a casting total of 41. And detecting a Hermetic magus will get you in trouble with scrying...potentially. Instead of trying to protect your magus, or design spells that do so, it could be that your magus is joining Insula Canaria precisely because he can't protect himself. The demons in the area, while they had taken an interest in Insula Canaria directly have lately taken an interest in you, simply because your magus is unprotected. He's forced to join a covenant or flee his home...?

I seem to remember having a big discussion about this spell over in Bibracte with The Fixer's character, but I think he wanted to do something funky like treat objects he tethered spells to as having a watching ward-type effect, where he could prep the spell, tether it to an object, and then it would go off when whoever had the object wanted to (basically, a de facto one-use magic item), which doesn't look like the way the spell works, to me.

Basically, as I understand it (never having seen it in play) the way it works is, you cast the spell (which, for hopefully obvious reasons, can't have a Momentary duration). Then, you have several options (and let's use Endurance of the Berserkers for the example, and just pretend that the magus will make all his concentration rolls):

  • He keeps control of the spell himself, and as long as he maintains concentration, he's unaffected by any lost fatigue levels.
  • He casts the spell and gives control to a grog. For as long as the grog maintains concentration, the magus is unaffected, as above.
  • He tethers the spell to, say, a sharp pointy stick, with the condition that the spell transfers to the first unGifted individual to pick it up. I'm not sure if, in this case, the spell works while it's in the stick, but once it's picked up, then the magus doesn't feel the effects of lost Fatigue for as long as the mortal maintains concentration.

My main concern with this Virtue is that I'm a little fuzzy on the mechanics, especially when items are involved. Does the spell not go off until the item is transferred to someone else? Does it work, and continue working until the duration expires or whoever picks it up ends it? I'm not entirely sure that I can honestly give consistent rulings on that aspect, at least not until it's been used and we've tinkered with it enough to get a firmer grasp on it.

Re-reading what Makarion wanted to do with Tethered Magic, I honestly don't believe it works like that. You can't cast, say, BoAF, tether it to an item and hand it to a grog. Doing that would require Watching Ward, which is a Ritual spell. You can only hand off spells that you're already cast, and it would have no effect on the duration (a Momentary spell wouldn't work real well Tethered, a Diameter or Concentration or Sun or what have you duration would still last just as long). I'm really not liking the application of this as a short-cut vis-free alternative to enchanted items.

That being said, I don't have a problem with Tethered Magic per se, I just feel like there's a lot of potential for abuse, even unintentional.

The Fixer wanted to do something quite similar, yes. I was going to let you comment before jumping in.

The problem I have with the language on tethering:

So, to me, that sounds like it gives the object a free Intellego effect, too. I'm fine with tethering a spell to a person, the object stuff is a pandora's box of problems.

First of all, I wasn't complaining that you were accusing me of powergaming. My excuses if I gave that impression! I blame a minor language barrier. Even at rank 5, English is still a foreign tongue to me at times, and transmitting thoughts purely on paper or electronically does take away the emotional content and body language that can clarify so much.

As to the Tethered Magic, is it one of those options that should be avoided just because it's so unclear what the limits to it are? I don't mind experimenting with the rules in good faith, if everyone is inclined to, but I am not comfortable with starting a mess of rule conflicts and introducing potentially abusive virtues and flaws.

Now, in my mind the options that Tethered Magic gives (or rather, what I believed it allowed for) is an inherent part of how his Craft Magic works. Crafting is a service to the community (see also his Generous flaw), and the work of your hands should be shared in so far as it is practical. If we rule against Tethered Magic, I would be inclined to replace Craft Magic as well. Note, that I do not begrudge this outcome at all! The concept would not change, just the mechanics of it - I am sure I could find a way to make it work. Maybe he's just a capable enchanter (he'd never be a Verditius though), or maybe he'll take pains to accompany grogs and other mundanes into the field - there's options. He could make a fine Jerbiton, in fact. Won't stop the people in Rome from sniffing disdainfully when someone brings up his name, mind :slight_smile: .

One point I have been mulling over, and I cannot seem to come to a solid conclusion on my own. His paradigm clearly involves re-scultping the Mystery of Creation, as I have mentioned in his biographical background. This seems fairly similar to some of the tenets of the Criamon. Would it be far-fetched to envisage him trying to learn Enigmatic Wisdom in the future? The Path of Walking Backwards seems eminently suitable. Note, that I don't feel he would make a good Criamon right now, but the house does invite magi and magae into their fold if they are genuinely interested in learning the mysteries - there's examples in the books. Likewise, would it be absurd to be Puissant (or similar) in an ability that you cannot have yet?

As always thank you for your patience with my rambling and verbosity.

Definitely agree with that. And if you want to take Secondary Insight, that's certainly not a problem, I'm just throwing it out there it is a pretty poor Major Hermetic Virtue, and there has been a lot of discussion on the forum that it shouldn't be major as it is written or needs something else to make it better.

I think you're confusing Craft Magic with Tethering. I'm pretty sure that Craft Magic allows you to do what you want, without Tethering.

I think this is more Peregrine's call. I think they can initiate magi into the House, though. And if you want to fill a virtue slot up maybe Latent Magical ability would be a good thing to call it for now?

I don't have a problem with Tethered Magic with regards to handing off a spell to another person. My only concern is that of tethering a spell to an item. I think that the important part, for me, is that you can hand control of a spell to another person, or give control to an item to give to a person under whatever conditions. To me, that indicates that the spell must be already cast before you hand it off. Which nullifies the concept of enchanting a spell into an item in one round and with no vis. To me, that would be like going up to your shield grog and saying "Okay, you now have the ability to cast BoAF whenever you want. Once."

Craft Magic, on the other hand, has its own problems: namely, that the ease factors to make anything with it are so obscenely high that it (to me) makes it not worth the effort. For example, when we were working on Talia, JL and I had several discussions about it (I think we were talking about her having CM to go with her ships focus), and we decided that to make a cog (with a generous Ease Factor of 9 for a skilled craftsman to make), would have Craft Magic Ease Factor of 21: base 9, +3 because Craft Magic always adds 3 to the ease factor, and +9 for how long it would take to make mundanely (it would take longer than a season). She actually has a Ritual CrHe spell that makes the [strike]boat[/strike] ship now.

Basically, the only reason to do Craft Magic is if you don't think you'll have any vis available to create an item, or you don't want to take time to invent spells to make what you want to make. Your decision, of course, just pointing that out.

That could be interesting. The covenant founder, who is missing and presumed killed by his diabolist apprentice, was a Criamon on the verge of Final Twilight.

Not at all. Good to have long-term goals.

PB, you need to look at the Houses of Hermes: Societas Ex Misc section on Rustic Magi/Craft Magic. Craft Magic is not the same as Rego magic to craft items. Craft magic is akin to Performance magic while making something. And you can imbed a spell into the process and it is cast at the end. An example used is a blacksmith putting a shoe on a horse and the spell is cast when the shoe is attached.

So, they have a Magical Ability that has practically the same name as another magical ability that does something completely different? What were they smoking?

Okay, looked through it, and it looks okay (except for me not having a copy of City & Guildso I may be needing cites on how long something takes). If I'm reading it right, on the part where you're crafting an item to cast the spell, you don't roll to cast it. So, if your Te + Fo + Sta + Aura is at least as high as the spell level, then you can craft the spell into the item? The other effects kinda make sense.

That's right. The power of Craft Magic (major virtue from Societates) is that if you have the formulaic spell, you can enchant it if your total is high enough, in the time it takes to craft the item with a lower limit of 15 minutes per magnitude. So, if you are a fletcher you can craft many arrows a day. If you have CrIg (with Sta+aura included) in your workshop of 20, you can make one arrow of pilum of fire per hour. It's a one-use charged magic item, so can be subject to the normal triggering effects of charged items. Given a modern style (leisurely to some medieval workers) week of 40 hours, that's 40/week or 420/season. Of course, the more formulaic spells you know, the more variety you can make. Potentially, you can swarm the covenant's grogs with a set of one-use items for every formulaic spell you have. This is where it can get silly.

Regarding Secondary Insight: I have a magus called Darkwing who has it, it's been good at giving me widespread generalisation. While studying Techniques, it gives you 4 bonus xp, with forms 2 bonus xp. With a good library of techniques to study, or plenty of vis, it's a nice boost but as it's spread to 1 xp per art it's only really useful over the long-term, over the course of a few years of saga it will be hard-pushed to make a serious difference. The problem is, having Book Learner and Free Study would give you +3xp a season to the main ways you learn, and directly boost what you're studying, so unless you're a devoted generalist you can get as good a boost for 2 minor virtues instead of 1 major. Elementalist is worse unless the bonus for not using requisites helps you (ie you want to drop boiling water, flaming pitch, molten metal on people).

Darkwing gets round this by having Secondary Insight and Free Study, and chances his luck in the covenant's aura constantly.

In case I forgot to mention it, you also get 75 personal build points (like covenant build points) to bring with you. It can be books, vis stocks, lab texts, etc.

I edited the character sheet I had posted earlier, for approval. Spells have been removed and will be added as soon as possible, but I wanted to get this wrapped up this weekend, if possible.

Please note the Major Magical Focus: it's both broad and quite restrictive. Currently Carduelis' Arts aren't a splendid match for it at all, but it suits him and it'll give him a direction for future growth.

Unlike 4th Edition, Enigmat Wisdom is only available to Criamon, or at least having been initiated into the Mystery...