Maximilian of Verditius

A couple of question for the design of my magus. I've spent some time reflecting his concept and how to implement this, but there are a few topics where the vision of the storyguide (and the rest of the troupe as well) is important.

First, is a Minor Magical Focus (Wood) considered too broad? It is given as an example in the core book, but I know many people consider it borderline. If it is considered to broad, I would be fine with “treated wood” (such as cut timber) instead.

Second, how valuable would a Personal Vis Source be in this saga? The text of the virtue suggests that the yield should be one-tenth as much as the covenant will expect to gather per year at the beginning of the saga. But considering that vis is considered plentiful in Thebes, along with the fact that our covenant may have limited sources at the beginning, I am questioning whether that would be enough to spend a point of virtue on this.

Third, would the ability Craft: Woodcarving also cover the carving of bone and ivory? Would a specialty of “Wands” also cover a staff or a scepter?

Fourth, how would you approach Mythic Blood that provided a Minor Magical Focus with Wood (as mentioned above)? I’ve tried finding a magical figure in Greek mythology that might give a focus with wood or treated wood (as opposed to trees), but came up blank. Hephaistos is pretty much described as working metals. And I couldn’t find any mythic craftsman (or wizard) that worked with wood as a primary medium. I’m not set on taking this virtue, however, so if nothing comes up that makes sense I’ll simply go with something else.

My initial opinions, subject to modification based on troop opinion:

  1. If it is on the example list it is acceptable, so wood counts for a minor. However I feel it is fair to only count what medieval people saw as wood (from trees) and not woody plants of other varieties or the non wood portions of trees (leaves, fruit, etc)
  2. As far as I am concerned personal vis source should be 2 pawns a season. I would be very surprised if the covenant doesn't find supplies at or in excess of 80 pawns a year total combined with what you start with.
  3. City and Guild has a guideline for related materials on p. 65 that would apply, which treats your craft skill as one less if using unrelated or exotic materials for an item which would normally fall within your range of skills, and specialization cannot be added to your total.
  4. Minerva was a Goddess of crafts, Pan of the woodlands, or in Egyptian mythology, Ash. Athena was a protector of Cerpenters and a Goddess of architecture, Daedalus was not a deity but was certainly mythic,

Absolutely. That is my understanding as well.

A yield of 8 pawns per year certainly sounds reasonable. Although if we end up with 80 pawns per year for the covenant, my magus might not need it. :smiley:

Good catch!

Hmmm... Daedalus might work quite well... Thanks!

Mythic Blood of Daedalus might look something like this:

  • Minor Magical Focus: Wood
  • Minor Personality Flaw: Proud
  • Magic Feat: A version of Carved Assassin (ToME p.55) that animates a wooden object so that it follows simple commands and solves simple problems without the direct oversights of the magus (ReHe Base 10, +1 Touch, +2 Sun), slightly beefed up for either size or range.

Just curious, how far would animating an object made of wood go? Let's say I craft an apparatus that looks like a bird, with attached feathers and all. Would it be able to fly? Carry my magus around with it?

Would a similar Base work for stone objects? There's no corresponding guideline in ReTe, but starting from the ReTe Base 3+1 (Control or move dirt in a very unnatural fashion, +1 for stone), which is very similar to the ReHe 5 (Control an entire plant, moving it around as you direct, and it need not remain rooted), yields quite similar results. Of course, stone would never fly using this.

This is based on the legend that statues Daedalus made were so realistic that they had to be chained to keep them from running away.


Tales of Mythic Europe. But the base guidelinenis from the core book. One the magi described there uses the spell to animate woden statues as servants and to fight (their stats are relatively poor, I think).

Tricky question. To what extend can you "program" them? I would assume that at the very least the magus casting the spell would need to know all appropriate skills to instill into the wooden object, and that those would count as a "best case" operating standard. Then there's the issue that the object has no real means of perception, so it would not be able to react very well to events unless you organise that through another spell. It almost starts to sound more like an enchantment, or group of them, truth be told.

My take on it is that thw onjects has no Abilities, so only the simplest things can be done. Something related to their form is fine. So an animated broom can sweep the floor, while an animated statue can walk about, fetch, carry and (clumsily) attack. Open doors. But not write. A command to attack anything but the caster tjat tries to open a door would be the maximum complexity it can manage.

In the same way, a contraption with wings might be able to fly and land, but not much else.

If you don't mind my saying so, would the guidelines given for Figurine Magic from HoHTL be applicable or a starting point for your animated carvings?

Not really, I think. The way I see it, Figurine Magic is more akin to voodoo, in that it serves as a way to grant the target the figurine represents Virtues, Flaws or other effects. It has nothing to do with animating the figurine itself and granting it any kind of independence.

Aside from Carved Assassin, the only other spell (that I can find) using the ReHe Base 10 guideline is The Treacherous Spear (ArM5 p.139). But there are many spells that use the Base 4 (Control an entire plant, moving it around as you direct, although it remains rooted if it is a rooted plant) and Base 5 (Control an entire plant, moving it around as you direct, and it need not remain rooted) guidelines to similar effect. The only benefit of the Base 10 guideline is that it doesn't need constant control.

This sounds to me a lot like the Verditius mystery initiation of automata.

Automata can be much more powerful, because you can add a variety of powers to them. Similar powers may well have been one of the precursors of the Automata mystery, but what I propose is significantly weaker.

In this case, any capability would be limited to the shape of the animated object. A chair would be able to walk about. A humanoid statue would be able to walk, carry stuff and clumsily attack as directed. A contraption shaped like a bird (with feathers attached to its wings) would be able to fly and, if large enough, carry my magus around. It would also take quite some time to craft and would be quite fragile. Any attack upon it would probably bring it down.

Again, I am basing this power on an existing guideline from the core book: Make a plant or thing made of plant products move with purpose and intelligence, without requiring your constant control. But it is a Mythic Blood power, not strictly a Hermetic spell. So it might diverge sligthly from how Hermetic magic works. Also, as a Mythic Blood power, it is less than optinal because it doesn't really matter that it can be fast-cast without fatigue. So I am making a case that a little flexibility would not be over-powered. And it is certainly colorful. It would mean having a magus who will craft various wooden waldos for him to use, and which are of little use to others. :smiley:

But if you feel that it is too powerful or inappropriate to the saga, I'll try to find something else. Or I will drop Mythic Blood and use a different mix of virtues. Not a problem. 8)

It also sounds a lot like Animo from Virgilian Magic, in Rival Magic (Augustan Brotherhood I believe). I think that was one of their gimmicks at least.

There's also the golems from RoP: Divine (the Jewish chapter, if I recall correctly).

A complete draft of Maximilian...

Maximilian of Verditius
Pater:Tyrrania of Verditius

Age: 27
Size: 0
Gender: Male

Characteristics: Int +4, Per +1, Str -2, Sta -2, Pre +2, Com 0, Dex +2, Qik 0

Virtues: The Gift, Hermetic Magus, Verditius Magic (House), Mythic Blood (Daedalus), Free Study, Great Characteristic (Intelligence), Inventive Genius, Minor Magical Focus (Wood), Personal Vis Source, Puissant Craft: Woodcarving, Puissant Magic Theory, Venus’ Blessing
Flaws: Ambitious (minor), Deficient Form (Aquam), Favors, Limited Magic Resistance (Ignem), Proud (minor)
, Twilight Prone, Visions
*Derived from Mythic Blood

Personality Traits: Ambitious +3, Charming +2, Proud +3


Area Lore: Greece (legends) 2
Area Lore: Polyaigos covenant (personalities) 1
Artes Liberales (arithmetics) 2
Athletics (climbing) 2
Awareness (listening) 2
Bargain (favors) 1
Brawl (dodge) 1
Charm (servants) 2
Concentration (lab work) 1
Craft: Woodcarving (wands) 5+2
Etiquette (nobility) 1
Folk Ken (women) 2
Language: Romaic Greek (storytelling) 5
Language: Classical Greek (hermetic usage) 3
Language: Latin (Hermetic usage) 1
Magic Lore (creatures) 1
Magic Theory (enchanting items) 3+2
Order of Hermes Lore (personalities) 1
Parma Magica (Ignem) 1
Philosophiae (enchanting items) 2
Stealth (hide) 1
Verditius Cult Lore (history) 0[sup]1[/sup]
Magical Arts: Cr 8, In 3, Pe 3, Re 3, Ig 9

Wizard's Sigil: Complexity and swirling, in the appearance of many moving parts assembling to form the effect.

Warping and Twilight Effects
Warping Score: 1 (7 points total)
Twilight Scars: Scratches and wear on wooden objects in his vicinity slowly heal (over the course of weeks or months, depending on how often he handles them).


Bind Wound (CrCo 10)
Rise of the Feathery Body (ReCo 10)
Intuition of the Forest (InHe 10)
Heat of the Searing Forge (CrIg 10)
Flash of the Scarlet Flames (CrIg 15)
Pilum of Fire (CrIg 20)
Extinguish the Raging Bonfire (PeIg 10) -- Puts out a fire as large as a bonfire. [Base 3, +2 Voice, +1 size]
Prying Eyes (InIm 5)
Taste of Spices and Herbs (MuIm 5)
Wizard’s Sidestep (ReIm 10)
Scales of the Magical Weight (InVi 5)
Sense the Nature of Vis (InVi 5)
Unravelling the Fabric of Imaginem (PeVi 5)

Appearance: Maximilian is fairly plain, with a delicate stature, curly brown hair and hazel eyes. His smile is dazzling and his teeth perfect, something that he uses to great effect when trying to charm a comely maid.

Maximilian’s youth was marked deeply by his mother. Lady Anna’s beauty was so great that some compared her to the famed Helen of Troy. She was married young, to a powerful and rich noble in Corinth. It is said, however, that she had a lover who fathered her son. So Maximilian found little favor in his father’s eyes. Certainly, the fragile boy looked nothing like his burly father. Still, he was cared for and loved by his mother, and at least tolerated by his father.

His life changed during the winter of his eight birthday, when his father died of a fever. Anna had not been his first wife, so there were several older sons to inherit the family lands and wealth. They quickly arranged a new marriage for Anna, sending her off to the distant lands of her new husband. She was unhappy about this and still grieving over the loss of her husband, but she had little choice in the matter. It was remarry or be sent to a nunnery, so Anna accepted her fate so that should could remain with her son.

Her new husband was far too busy managing his lands and making war with his neighbors to actively dislike the boy, but saw him has useless. The boy was frail and not at all inclined towards the arts of war. He was also much too smart for comfort, full of questions and spouting nonsense from the stories being read to him by his mother tutors. There was also something about him that was starting to make people uncomfortable. He had no friends his own age and avoided other boys, who tended to beat him whenever they could. Only his mother and her few long-standing servants were really fond of him.

When Anna died a few years later while giving birth to another child, his stepfather decided to get rid of the boy away. So when a passing stranger offered to apprentice him, a deal was quickly struck.

So it was that the boy found himself apprenticed to Tyrrania, a maga of House Verditius and member of the confraternity of Balento. Tyrrania was generally considered a harsh and arrogant woman, who delighted in creating wands and staves enchanted with fire magic. Her reason for choosing the boy was simple -- he already had some skill in woodcarving, a hobby he had picked up as a youth when illness prevented him from going out. To the surprise of all who knew her, she soon began doting on the boy.

As is typical in House Verditius, she gave more importance to crafting skills and the ability to enchant items than to the magical arts themselves. She taught her apprentice to master the theories behind enchantments, something he had a natural aptitude for, but spent even more time teaching him advanced techniques of carving wood, bone and ivory. And although she did not yet induct her apprentice into the deeper mysteries of her confraternity, she imposed her interest in fire magic. She felt that his inborn abilities with wood might serve him well in the future, but that he could develop them on his own time once Gauntleted.

During his apprenticeship, he also suffered a serious mishap in the laboratory, which drove him into Twilight. Although he was able to extricate himself from the magical maze he found himself immersed in, controlling the experience and learning from it, it made him more susceptible to future episodes.

For his Gauntlet, he crafted a wand of hickory that could blind opponent with blinding flashes of flames, with enough power to affect weaker supernatural creatures as well as mundanes, multiple times a day. This pushed his capabilities to the maximum, but proved satisfactory. Although Tyrrania kept the wand and display it proudly in her studio, Maximilian has retained his lab notes should he wish to replicate the enchantment.

Upon accepting her apprentice’s masterpiece, Tyrannia gave him the name Maximilian. Soon after, however, she departed the tribunal to settle down at Verdi, in the Tribunal of Rome.

If the Mythic Blood power ends up being considered too powerful, I will simply change the mix of virtues and flaws to the following:

Virtues: The Gift, Hermetic Magus, Verditius Magic (House), Affinity with Herbam, Deft Herbam, Free Study, Great Characteristic (Intelligence), Inventive Genius, Minor Magical Focus (Wood), Personal Vis Source, Puissant Craft: Woodcarving, Puissant Magic Theory, Venus’ Blessing
Flaws: Ambitious (minor), Deficient Form (Aquam), Favors, Limited Magic Resistance (Ignem), Proud (minor), Twilight Prone, [strike]Visions[/strike]

Following my comment regarding languages in JoelHalpern's magus topic, I will change Maximilian's starting languages scores from:
Language: Romaic Greek (storytelling) 6
Language: Latin (Hermetic usage) 1

Language: Romaic Greek (storytelling) 5
Language: Classical Greek (hermetic usage) 3
Language: Latin (Hermetic usage) 1

I feel this makes more sense for him, as I'll want him to be able to write hermetic texts eventually, and this will be the less costly alternative for that. Raising Classical Greek from 3 to 4 will be much easier to do (still possible to have a teacher) that raising Romaic Greek from 6 to 7 (which would probably rely on exposure and practice for the most part).

Making the changes on the previously posted stats.

I haven't received any further comment regarding his potential Mythic Blood power, but at this moment I am leaning towards dropping the Mythic Blood. He may still be inspired on Daedalus' stories, and might want to investigate and emulate those, but without the "mythic" relationship.

Nobody commented on this, so I will explicitly bring it forward to the troupe and storyguide. Is it acceptable to give this small positive Twilight Scar to the character in exchange for the fact that he starts out with 7 Warping points?

Considering his Twilight Prone flaw, I felt that it made sense that he would have experienced a Twilight episode during apprenticeship, and rolling for it provided me with a positive experience. Considering his inborn aptitude for wood, this seemed appropriate and not overly powerful.

It seems appropriate, but the scratches and so forth will return within a year of being away from Maximillian. One thing I am wondering about is why there is no score in Herbem given his affinities.

I'm fine with that.

Background. His mater imposed her own interests of Ignem magic. He will develop his own speciality as an Herbam magus during game time.

I still think he would have had enough self determination to put at least 1 point into He during his apprenticeship.