Makarion's Redcap Discussion Thread

Hello everyone,

I'm a prospective new member of the Troupe and the saga. hopefully, things click and we can get some interesting roleplay going :slight_smile: .

A few notes about the player:

  • Most of my AM experience is with 3rd edition, around 20 years ago. I've played some 4th edition as well, but even that was 15 years ago or so.
  • I've never stopped roleplaying though, nor had my interest in the setting dwindled - I just didn't have the chance, and only recently discovered this medium.
  • Since I am likely to be rusty with mechanics, I welcome suggestions on how to adjust things to make them work better. Generally speaking, I'm more interested in capturing the flavour than in brute force, to the extend that I tend to build underpowered characters - I love broad characters and plentiful skills, and tend to end up not specializing enough. Hints towards possible improvements that do not endanger the "soul" of the character(s) are encouraged.
  • I'm a librarian by trade and a historian/anthropologist by interest, so whistle me back if I'm being too nerdy about details. It's a habit that tends to irk most gamers, although I suspect most AM players have a fairly rugged tolerance :slight_smile: .

So far, I have a fairly complete character sheet for a Companion, and a sketch for a Magus. I'll present the character ideas here, and if they sound good to the Troupe, I will post their character sheets in seperate threads.


Donella filia Mercere

sigil: a stylized pinetree over a sealed scroll

Un-Gifted Redcap with strong fairy blood. Born in the Rhine-Meusel area (Holy Roman Empire) to a couple that knew they had some peculiar forebears. [The bloodline, in fact, was being watched by both Houses Mercere and Merinita for potential mages.] Even so, the parents were rather scandalized when their baby girl had hooves. She was raised on their manor house in the forests a few days outside Trier, where she became friends with the groundskeeper and huntmaster. Her parents' attempts to at least educate her properly was a bit of a lost effort from the start, but at least she learned how to disguise herself and how to talk herself out of problems (she didn't need to be taught how to talk herself into them; that came naturally). Donella is an attractive tomboy, very curious, but a bit shy since there's a lot of world out there and she's had a fairly insular upbringing.

Her apprenticeship was in the Rhine Tribunal, where she traveled extensively in preparation of her Redcap future. Although she has little to no interest in academia at large, she developed a keep interest in the the history of the original bloodlines that make up the Order. As is traditional in the Rhine tribunal, she was invited for the final seasons of her apprenticeship to study with one of the Gilds at a major covenant. Although Durenmar was an option, and expected of her, she chose Crintera, domus magna of House Bjornaer. Her listed reason was that the libraries of Durenmar nor Irencillia had preserved the true teachings of Merinita the Founder, whereas the Hawthorn Gild (strongest amongst the Bjornaer but weakest politically in the tribunal) might. This mostly bemused the Mercere, irked the Bonisagi (who consider her fairly uppity for someone un-Gifted), and rather ticked off the Merinita (who were smarting, anyway, at the perceived loss of an apprentice when the Mercere traced Donella down first).

The political ramifications of the final two seasons of Donella's apprenticeship, combined with a barely hushed-up affair with a senior Bjornaer mage (she should have known better...), means that House Mercere decided she'd make a great addition to the Redcaps serving a tribunal - somewhere else. Someplace where she could settle and grow out of some youthful exuberance perhaps. Hence, her arrival in Scotland on the doorstep of the covenant.

Note: she is, in fact, an excellent messenger, with a great dedication to the Order. It's just that she has trouble containing her opinions when confronted with institutionalised ignorance (as she sees it). One on one she's charming and quite attractive, but she's terrible in committee, and she's lacking more than a little wisdom.

Note two: she would take very great risks indeed to learn of Merinita's Forest mysteries. Due to the particulars of the regio around Crintera, she knows she has a Pine heartshape, although this cannot be awakened, as far as she knows.


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

sigil: a stag's head with a finch between the antlers

Scion of a Highland clan that recently has come under pressure from King Alexander II's allies in their native Argyle. They are still holding onto their domain, but the future is uncertain. With the King off adventuring in England, they are likely safe - for now. His family ties are very important to him, and this will manifest somehow - I'm still trying to make up my mind between Feud, Close Family Ties, Enemies, etc.

Several members of the clan have hedge-magical abilities (all tied to the Magic domain), which they treat fairly matter-of-factly (although they are just as skittish around flamboyant displays of magical power as any mundane). In Donal's case this was a bit more obvious than usual, and he was noticed by a disciple of Pralix, and introduced to the Order. [His magic follows the rules for the Rusticani].

Carduelis is an expert woodworker and carpenter. He's trying to get to grips with this new approach to magic that people are trying to teach him - in his family, it always kind of developed naturally as one got better at their craft. It doesn't help that his Latin is yet of dubious quality, although he's trying to get better at it. Thank goodness he knew how to read and write already.

In time, he will likely develop an interest in magical languages, and some of the things he's heard of the abilities of Welsh magi means he'd like to visit there someday.

Note: I am strongly considering Exotic Casting as a Virtue. He has a preference for writing in Goidelic (the rootlanguage of Scots, Irish and Manx Gaelic) as well.

Well, let me know what you all think of it. The Companion idea has quite a lot of detail already (I've got more written down on a character sheet), but the Magus is still pretty sketchy, and I could easily develop something else, if you feel that it wouldn't mesh well with the local Verditius magus (maga?).

A Redcap actually counts as a Magus character not a companion, but I think you have a great concept and did an excellent job on her history.

I'm the local Verditius, but (without sound like a jerk) wouldn't be the least bit concerned about an Ex Miscellenea wood-carver. First he just wouldn't consider it too much of a threat, but also he is a staunch capitalist, he has no problem with competition. He has a cool concept though, it's nice to see one with mortal ties.

Redcaps count as mages? I wouldn't mind playing two un-Gifted characters at all, but that surprises me a little. Either way, I'm not worried over it - whatever the rules dictate and the Troupe feels most comfortable with works for me.

As for the redcap's allowance of magical items - are those designed by the player or the Troupe? I could definitely use some help. I have ideas on what effects I would like to accomplish, but my rustiness with regard to the rules probably means that errors will slip in.

In other news, I have gotten ideas for another Gifted character as well - a wilderness-based Jerbiton, in fact. Very different from the ExM, and from most other Jerbiton for that matter. Might be a more diverse addition to the covenant than my craftsman idea. [I tend to develop characters from the mundane outwards, and in some cases they stay quite mundane. I do like the clan background, though, since it's very local and very historical.]

A gifted Redcap counts as a magus. "UnGifted Recaps are created as companions, and take the Redcap Major Status Virtue." (main rulebook, p. 30, in the "Hermetic Houses Summary" insert).

Fifth edition did away with the "heartshape." It's only Heartbeasts now. She may think she can turn into a pine cone, or a pine tree, which would be amusing in its own way. ("Not now...can't you see I'm a tree?!")

I can already see stuff for both characters, and they're looking good so far.

I think they're designed by the player, but if you want to post your ideas in your redcap's creation thread or the Magus Labs thread, we'll help you out.

Hi, I'm the player on vacation. The point of potential problem is that you control two Hermetic magi. Redcaps are magi with all the rights and privileges thereto. One of those magi shouldn't want to be a council member, the Redcap might be the logical choice for that. That's my only concern is how it affects the politics of the council. Arya was rightly concerned about my characters controlling a large share of the Vis supply.

Actually, Donella would insist on being considered a mage, although she will not vote at tribunal (as is traditional - but she's not adverse at all to influencing the voting if she feels like it!). She will also consider the vis she earns with her work her own, and she will use it for the good of the covenant to the same extend all magi do.
Note, that Donella is a traditional Roman-German name, and not Latin - she felt, at the time, that the latter would have been somewhat arrogant.

My Rusticani, on the other hand, isn't so interested in tribunal politics, or any politics other than those that impact his clan for that matter. He's a clansman, he's a crafter, and he's a pretty humble guy altogether - there's bound to be people who can make more considerate decisions in that regard. He might well assign his sigil to one of the senior magi, in fact, until some future date.

As a consequence, I wouldn't mind having only one character actively involved in covenant politics, but it'd be the Redcap and not the Gifted mage, oddly enough.

For magic item ideas, you might go to Aodhan's thread. I designed some ideal travelling items for his use. Right now they're off being pedalled, but certainly a copy could be in the Redcap's posession. It was a bedroll that made the ground soft, a hat that kept the rain off, and boots that could leave no trace (though she might need special variety of them).

Defer of course to the GM on what status the Redcap has, I always thought they were considered Magi even as unGifted, but I might be thinking of the Heroic Companion Redcap, who would occupy the Magus slot and get considerably more stuff at character creation.

Name : Donella filia Mercere
House : Mercere
Seal : Pine tree over sealed scroll
Sigil: n/a
Age: 28 years old (she has spent two extra years post-Gauntlet in Scotland).

Virtues :

Redcap (social, major), Hawthorn Gild Trained (hermetic, minor), Strong Faerie Blood (satyr; supernatural, major), Second Sight (supernatural, free from Strong Faerie Blood), Improved Characteristics (1*; general, minor), Privileged Upbringing (general, minor), Self-Confident (general, minor), Well-Travelled (general, free from Redcap).

Note, that companions cannot normally take hermetic Virtues as far as I know, but I believe Gild Trained is only hermetic instead of social because it allows the purchase of arts and spells, which Donella didn't do. I cannot see a reason otherwise why a Redcap would not be allowed to be Gild Trained.


Driven (to serve the bloodlines of the Founders; personality, major), Enemy (Merinita that want to keep the Praeco wars covered up; story, major), Greater Malediction (Curse of Venus; general, major), Nocturnal (personality, minor).


The Curse of Venus is actually a Greater Malediction. It frustrates Donella a lot, and she'd like to get to the bottom of it somehow. She suspects that faeries are the cause, since the Hawthorn Gild is neutral to faeries as opposed to their great rivals, the Elder Guild, who are practically faerie cheerleaders. She may well be wrong, of course!
Donella doesn't know she has one or more Enemies! She realizes there's resistance to her digging in those old tomes, but she's not aware about the extend of the ill-feeling. It doesn't help that she doesn't realize how dirty some of the early Merinita history was. Obviously, some people want to keep it that way.
Due to her Faerie blood's physical manifestations, and her mundane parents' fear that she would suffer terrible consequences, Donella hasn't been baptised. She's not particularly interested in religion to begin with, but it's probably worth noting.


General - Area Lore (Holstein - Saxony - Friesland, 2), Area Lore (Lorraine & Rhine, 2), Area Lore (Pomerania & Eastern Marches, 2), Area Lore (Black Forest & Schwabia, 1), Area Lore (Scottish Lowlands, 1), Area Lore (Scottish Highlands, 2), Animal Handling (1), Athletics (2: Endurance), Awareness (3: ambushes), Bargain (1), Carouse (2), Charm (2: tall, dark-haired and handsome), Etiquette (2), Folk Ken (2), Guile (2: disguises), Hunt (1), Intrigue (2), Living Language (High German, 5: Rhenish), Living Language (French, 3: Normand), Living language (Frisian, 2), Living Language (Wendish, 2), Living Language (Scots Gaelic, 3), Living Language (English, 1), Music (Singing, 2), Organisation Lore (Order of Hermes, 4: bloodlines), Organisation Lore (Crintera, 1: history), Ride (2: endurance), Stealth (2), Survival (4: forests), Swim (1).

Academic - Artes Liberales (2), Dead Language (Latin, 4: Order of Hermes historical documents).

Arcane - Code of Hermes (2), Faerie Lore (2), Magic Lore (3), Magic Theory (1).

Martial - Bows (3: shortbow), Single Weapon (2).

Supernatural - Second Sight (3: regio).


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

Confidence Score: 2 (5)

Personality Traits:

Careful -2
Curious +3
Friendly +2


Riding horse with tack and saddle bags
Writing gear, watertight scroll cases etc
Survival & travel gear
Partial leather scale armour
Shortsword, dagger, round shield

I'm inclined to say that Donella would be Makarion's Companion slot and Carduelis would be his Magus slot.

I remember we had a similar discussion come up in Phoenix, but a quick search through that forum looks like the saga died out before that was ever properly resolved, as near as I can tell. Although I could be wrong – JL was there, too, maybe he remembers better than me.

That being said, that doesn't mean that Donella will automatically be granted membership. I can just as easily see her being granted an indefinite Protected Guest status.

All this subject to troupe approval.

I can see Donella's Curse of Venus being a Greater Malediction – just need to come up with some background for it. And I would really like characters to have just the one Story Flaw – I'm not saying I'm forbidding it (regardless of what metacreator says), I just need to be sold on it.

And I'll do some thinking about the Hawthorn Guild stuff.

I'm getting 635 points (which would put her at age 27, and with 5 more xp to spend); looks like you missed the 25 xp you spent on Second Sight.

Also, and this is entirely up to you, you can be up to ten years post-gauntlet coming in if you want.

And I looked at the virtue description for the Gild Training, and I agree. I see no reason why they wouldn't allow a redcap to have gild training. It's probably all-but-unheard of, but not against the rules.

Also, you "should not" have more than two personality flaws...same deal as with the Story Flaws.

Also (there's that word again! :smiley: ) you might want to figure out her Characteristics. Those are kind of important :laughing:

You know, something I ran into with the character design is that there's actually not all that many general flaws to take for Companions. One Story, one Personality - and 4 or more General if you're inclined to take the full allowance. I'll think about it some more :slight_smile:.

By the way, Donella took the apprenticeship with the Hawthorns to learn more about the Order (note her relatively high ability rank in OoH Lore). I'm sure it's uncommon for a Redcap to be interested in the dusty recesses of history, but she's taking the long view - she knows she'll want to have a measure of influence, and as a non-Gifted member, that means she needs all the backing she can get. She's probably one of the few mages that would trade vis for mundane books.

Major story 3, major personality 3, minor personality 1. Thee points for supernatural or general. Do you have Houses of Hermes: True Lineages?

Yes, I do. Got any suggestions? Admittedly, I have only recently started reading through the massive amount of 5th Edition material outside of the core rulebook. I have a lot to catch up on :slight_smile:.

I have revised the character sheet a little, cleaning up the flaws and adding two years to her age. Abilities have been adjusted.

I was thinking that there were a fewmor flaws to choose from the Mercere section. Also there is a comprehensive virtue and flaw index available from the Atlas Games Ars Magica page.