I am entering the Andorra saga of Mark Faulkner. I will do an experiment and post my character development design here. This will hopefully show how I developed the whole character from evolving concept to choosing V&F
Not that it has any relevance, but I find it interesting to read such things sometimes and maybe some of you will like it as well.
I started with this image of the magus mounted on a large wolf. The magus would be wounded and about to collapse. In a sense, I was thinking about a wounded image of the Ars magica 3 cover art.
I intend the magus NOT to be an ignem specialist, but he would be a hunter and adventurer. No idea on arts yet
I decided that he would be a BEAST hunter, preferring challenges that do not imperil his soul (thou shall not kill) on those grounds. He might suffer from an other sin (pride) but that is something you can repent from, not something you cannot undo. Life of a human being is sacred to him. FLAW: dutybound
Regulus is a large and intelligent wolf (as per the Tremere chapter wolves). Flaw: magical animal companion. I intend to ride it, so there comes an other flaw: small frame
Now, I started to think about a FAST magus with a philosophy of being small, but lithe and dangerous. A snake immediately sprang to mind. That left me with a series of potential virtues: skinchanger, shapeshifter or mythic blood (shapeshift into venom snake).
I want him to be a native of Andorra, so sheltered upbringing might be appropriate. Being 10-20 years out of apprenticeship and an adventurer, it might be that well travelled would be appropriate as well, though. In the end I decided that those 2 would cancel each other (even if they would be built into his backstory, as his first contact with the exterior world would have astounded him), so none will be used.
More to come later.
I have still to decide on a minor magical focus. Not having one is anathema to me.
After thinking a little bit about this character and having received substantial criticisms about rhe concept, I will try to streamline what I have so far.
- Flambeau magical beast hunter
Those present a good challenge (I hear you yell â€œtytalus!â€ to me. Wait a little bit )
The maga is practical, and hunting magical beasts makes for a good way to get magical resources. They sport a good prize in the magical stuff market as well, so the maga can make quite a hermetic living out of it.
Quite a few times the creatures are dangerous to the human population (typical evil dragon or troll). Then the maga comes down and slays it for the betterment of the human village that was living in terror. Classy and knightly legendary stuff.
The maga can brag no end about having beating the Dangerous Beast of the Mountain with some ale in his tankard and the cheers of fellow flambeau around during a house meeting.
The maga is a beast hunter, but also a warrior: when it comes to challenges and enemies to keep you on edge for when your abilities are needed in a crisis, few things are as good as powerful beasts. Beating humans is easy. Beating non hermetic humans is fairly easy as well (powerful infernalists are not that common, generally,â€¦ or not that the maga knows about) and even non supernaturally-aided armies are not a match for a trained magus. If the army is supernaturally aided it tends to be divine help. Better not to mkess with the Big Guy. He holds your soul in jail, you know
Killing humans is sinful. Pride is sinful as well, but not like doing something as heinous as killing human beings. The maga is averse to that course of action, at least done by herself.
Here is where I have the most problems.
The hunting goes along the way of both a pure brute force challenge and a wits challenge. If the foe is noble, the maga might even tell the minions of the target that she intends to slay or beat him and strike a deal along the lines of â€œif I beat the crap out of you, you will not molest the village anymore and will give me one of your teethâ€. No need to kill everything if the beast is noble enough to strike a deal and keeps his word.
The actual hunting would be a series of magical and mundane skills to track the beast down along with diverse animal shapes to track down the enemy and sneak into his resting place and short range teleport (along wizardâ€™s leap), transformations into animal and MR-avoiding spells to beat her.
The maga prefers crushing damage, since blood is prized as an ingredient. A mace would be the weapon of choice over the archetypical sword or lance.
I have not really decided on a particular focus for her magic. It might end up being a generalist. With Rego, Muto and Perdo as the main techniques and Terram, Herbam, Corporem and Animal as the main forms. Sounds like a follower of Vilano to me.
So far we have in V&F the following list:
Shapeshifter: Probably at level 4 or 5 with the forms of adder, hawk, cat. Maybe a wolf. What do all those animals have in common you say?
Piercing Gaze. All the above have quite striking eyes (in legend, not necessarily in the real world) or disquiet the opposition by their eyes. I have always found this ability to be useless in a non political magus (probably not having thought much about it) but found the idea really appealing. This seems like the perfect character to put it up.
Magical Animal Companion: the first image I had of this maga was riding a large wolf (size +1 wolf). This wolf would be a companion. Not a pet but an ally, free to do whatever the wolf fancies 99% of the time; not a servant but a friend. Probably will be an ex-foe that did beat the maga or the other way around but that ended up in a relationship of respect and even friendship. The wolf would be along the lines of the wolves described in HoH: TL Tremere chapter. Those wolves must be relatively common in the Pyrenees as well as in Transylvania: legends of large wolves are quite common in any areas where wolves dwell in numbers.
Small frame: by the same concept, I need to be small to use the wolf as a mount, even if the wolf is large. The animals I am choosing tend to be small as well, so small frame seems appropriate.
Dutybound: as said, the maga dislikes killing people. I am sure that even if the maga has this attitude he has killed at least a few times, so I will integrate this into his backstory by forcing her to have done a pilgrimage already, but that is background. The general attitude is that Thou Shall Not Kill (humans) is a pillar of her understanding of proper behaviour in Earth.
Other potential virtues & flaws include
- Animal Ken: I would like to be able to TALK to the creatures the maga hunts. The fairly â€œstandardâ€ conversation between â€œheroâ€ and foe
- Good characteristics. I tend to take this one in most of my characters. No need for much justification in any case
I have to get hold of my ArM5 book to keep on developing V&F.
After some more thought I have narrowed the concept of beast hunter to be related to a winter theme. Winter is a time of harsh weather and it is the season of the wolf. Predators are something to be reckoned in this period of scarcity and a pair of yellow eyes in the middle of the forest can easily spell doom on the creature being observed.
I am not going to be a beast (wolf) magus. I have a wolf magus in another saga so that would be kind of repetitive. I still like wolves, though, so the character will be able to shapeshift into a wolf.
So I am set into a shapeshifting beast hunter centred on ice, snow and cold. A Winter Mage
Why cold? Apart from the supreme aesthetics of a winter predator, cold has the advantage of being able to affect both humans and beasts alike with a single spell. It is quite broad ranging as well, and it can include cold ice (I have always despised the nation of â€œwarm magical ice unless otherwise statedâ€ appearing in Ars Magica as pure bullsh*t), being able to fatigue people, give them a cold, slow down their reflexes, turns surfaces into slippery areas, trapping the enemy in ice casesâ€¦.
So here we go with the magical focus: ice. It is a neat little focus in my opinion. So I will rank it as a Minor Magical Focus: Ice
As things are, the character has the following assigned virtues and flaws:
[b]Virtues/b]: +8 pts
- Shapeshifter (MAJOR). Winter-associated disquieting predators with penetrating eyes (wolf, lynx, raven, owl)
- Animal Ken . Able to talk with animals, even if not gentle gifted.
- Piercing Gaze . Disquieting yellow eyes
- Puissant Perdo or Puissant Aquam (minor hermetic). Line of Apromor or Sebastian fits the concept better than line of Elaine.
- Minor Magical Focus: Ice
- Good characteristics general
Flaws: 8 pts
- Magical Animal Companion . A large winter wolf (size +1). A friend, not a pet.
- Deleterious circumstances: hot places and weather. Ice and heat do not mix well.
- Incompatible arts (creo herbam). Growth does not suit winter
- Nocturnal (wolves, lynxes and owls operate better at night)
- Weak Magic Resistance (Whyen near a large fire, including being hit by Creo Ignem spells doing +15 damage and above.
- Known weakness: weak magic resistance
- Dutybound: Do not kill humans. --> I am seriously considering droping this one given that it does not seem to fit the concept very well anymore.
- Small frame (general)
The new incorporations are related to the focus in ice and winter, the true strength of the character. It is also its weakness since fire is anathema to ice and winter (and to predators at large). The Nocturnal personality flaw was incorporated due to the selection of animals chosen: more nocturnal than diurnal ones.
With the changes, and being a shapeshifter, small frame does not seem to suit him as well as I first thought, and it can be dropped without affecting the concept badly. It could be kept, though.
The morale dilemma that first made the character into taking the dutybound â€œthou shall not kill humansâ€ to become a hunter of animals instead seems to be rather superfluous given the choice of a shapeshifting animals: they are winter predators so the impulse to hunt is already there.
So there we are. The character keeps evolving and it seems to be taking a definite shape around a certain winter theme.
Aquam, Rego and Perdo ignem are bound to be quite the areas of expettise of this character, I would say.
3 compiled small updates
VIRTUES AND FLAWS
My list of V&F is something like this right now. I think I am set on them
VIRTUES (+8 pts)
+3 Mythic Blood (effect to be fully defined, but including cold resistance)
+0 Puissant Aquam
+1 Minor Focus (ice)
+1 special circumstances (cold places and weather)
+1 skinchanger (lynx)
+1 piercing gaze
+1 Animal Ken
FLAWS (-8 pts)
-3 Weak Magic Resistance (near large sources of heat, including +15 damage or above ifire spells spells)
-1 Deleterious Circumstances (very hot places and weather)
-1 Known Weakness (of course, known by the most inappropriate persons at a given time according to our SG)
-1 Incompatible Creo Herbam
-1 Magical Animal Companion (Large Winter Wolf of size +1, as per the tremere book. A friend, not a pet)
-1 Nocturnal, Warped Magic or Reckless (minor) (still undecided)
I think this defines the character quite well, in the end. Time to move to other aspects of it.
You can see a discussion on the potential mythic blood here:
I think I will end up with the ability to withstand massively low temperatures with ease. Seems fitting, specially since I would like to walk around in short sleves in winter and say something like â€œNice cool weather we have today, sodales!â€ when entering the covenant
Yimir's Kin (ReIg30)
R: Personal, D: Sun, T: Ind
You are perfectly happy in the middle of a blizzard or wintry phenomena. Its temperature simply does not affect you. The cold there feels (at most) like a welcome chill . This spell provides a +20 soak bonus versus any kind of cold. Cold sources doing +20 damage or less simply do not affect you at all. This renders the maga effectively immune to cold damage unless hit by extremely powerful magic. By using this spell you do not even need to use hot clothes in winter.
Base4. +2 sun, +4 for 20 damage
As per Ward vs heat and flames (base 4), dropping the range to Personal and boosting the soak for cold based spells to +20 (no fancy +5 extra soak "just because" as with other fire effects as per the guidelines)
The spell does not allow me to walk in the middle of the blizzard (ReCo4), nor to see/hear through it (CrAu15). However, Molten iron does +12 damage according to the RAW, so I might be able to drop the damage magnitude somewhat if you think a secondary effect could be fit in and still make the spell worthwile. After all, my ignem score will help me withstand cold damage as well, so such ahigh resistance might not be needed. I have no idea what kind of effect would be fitting alongside this spell without raking as an unrelated secondary effect that should be an other spell.
FLAMBEAU PLEASE; NOT WANNABE WINTER FAERIE
I was having breakfast when it hit me in the forehead that the concept is looking more along the lines of the archtypical bright winter faerie than a proper flambeau. Cool, detached, aloof and crytalline. No mud & dirt, no bloood, no laughs, no suffering and self sacrifice, no thrill. No real guts, basically. To me a flambeau ends a combat soaked in dirt and blood (usually his and huis enemies), not looking like a perfume advertisement supermodel.
I think Mark Faulkner will enter a rampage if we all continue to follow this line for the Andorra saga
As a consequence, I am changing the PERSONALITY of the magus, even if not the ice focus. being an ice expert doesn't make you a frigid block of frozen stuff. You can also be a cool guy! (yeah, extremely lame joke, I know. You can stone me now ).
I will be boosting the hunter, thrilling and bombastic aspect of the magus and move away from the detached nature of it. After all, ice giants (magical) have quite a temper in a lot of stories.