Merovingian magic?

I don't have access to the Normandy Tribunal (I think that is the one) book at this time.

Could someone remind me what sort of magic the Merovingian Sorcerer Kings practiced? Was it a variant of Runic Magic?

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From the book: "The early Merovingian kings were sorcerers whose magical powers were said to be vested in their long hair, which they never cut. As a consequence of their ancestry, most of the descendants of Merovech have a Supernatural Virtue. This is most commonly the Major Supernatural
Virtue Greater Immunity: Drowning, and quite often goes undetected. All of the Merovingians bear a curious birthmark in the form of a red cross. Philip II, like many of the former kings of the Franks, has the Royal Touch, which cures the King’s Evil (scrofula, see text). Many believe this is a Purifying Touch Virtue inherited from Merovech despite the fact that Philip’s blood links to Merovech are apparently
very tenuous. Another popular theory is that the Royal Touch was a gift from Saint Rémi to Clovis and his descendents. It is a gift from God bestowed on all Frankish kings by the anointing with the holy oil.

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Immunity to Drowning makes them considered to be sorcerers ?

Surely there must be more.

PS when did floating make you considered to be a witch?

The day king Arthur and his entourage realised that wood was both flammable and floated.

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I believe the immunity to drowning thing is based on Fredegar's (or pseudo-Fredegar's?) account of the birth of Merovech, the dynastic founder, who may or may not have been fathered by a "Quinotaur" that rose from the ocean and molested his mother.

As far as I know this incident only appears in that one account and it's also the only appearance of a "Quinotaur" whatever that might be. Something aquatic and bull-like, evidently. In reality this was probably a pun on Merovech's name, a reverse etymology of the dynastic name, or maybe just a joke. It might also have been a veiled political statement, as the Merovingian dynasty had at least one crisis relating to legitimacy of descent.

I don't think there's any specific magic powers that were attributed to the Merovingians in period sources, excepting healing touch - but that's more an aspect of kingship than a specifically Merovingian trait. I've seen modern sources claim "clairvoyance, telepathy, speaking to animals" but I've never seen that claim backed up by any historical sources.

The closest I'm aware of is a bit in History of the Franks where Gregory of Tours attributes a vision to king Guntram which corroborated a vision Gregory himself received (both were about the king's brother, who had been murdered). So I guess you could interpret that loosely as some form of clairvoyance. It seems more like Gregory is implying that the king is so virtuous as to receive visions as if he was a holy man (like Gregory himself), but with a bit of artistic license you could make it a magical trait instead.

The "sorceror-king" thing is based on modern(ish) theories as to the Merovingian hair. The long hair as a dynastic trait and it's symbolic importance are well attested, but there's much debate and speculation surrounding why that was the case. It embodying some kind of sacral or supernatural kingship is one theory.

There's also the crackpot theory (popularized by Dan Brown, although, IIRC, I much, much prefer the version in Stormwatch: Team Achilles) that merovingian were blood descendants of jesus christ \o/

If you want a useful king, look into Gambrinus. The king of Flanders who invented beer.


Make him a recurring villain. If you annoy the players enough, you can get them to say "Stupid Flanders". Obviously he needs to be left handed.


The same vulgar late post-Vulgate grail tale that I derived a Mythic Bloodline from, that of Tim the Enchanter


What mMF and magical power did it grant? Was the personality flaw a fear of rabbits?

I don't have my notes with me, but IIRC it was either:

  1. a mMF in self-teleportation, and a power to make a burst of flame, or
  2. a mMF in creating flame (in burst?), and the power of short range teleportation (~15/50 paces from memory)

Since Tim dropped everything to follow King Arthur, I think his Personality Flaw was either Generous or Higher Purpose

Though offered to the troupe when asked about Mythic Blood, that one wasn't selected.


This won't stop bugging me.
Perhaps I should explore the possibilities of the Major Virtue - Immunity to Drowning.
How does this affect Deprivation due to lack of air while immersed under water?

If the Merovingians could conduct prolonged underwater activities during battles, I might consider this a basis for a sorcerous reputation.

Back in the day on in the late 90s, I believe someone had done a Merovingian write up. Though it could be somewhere else, maybe still findable via project redcap. I was 12-14 when I read it and thought it was kind of weird and didn't understand why the author had such a fascination with them. It was some kind of weird mer-man water magic write up if I'm not mistaken.

It occurs to me that if you're willing to be a little flexible with Merovech's supernatural ancestry you could model the Quinotaur as an exiled Atlantean. It makes a certain amount of sense, I think.

So then the less common powers of the bloodline could include:

  • Command of aquatic creatures
  • Clairvoyance by means of water
  • Water based divination
  • Weather magic (Atlantean powers can make use of Duration: Storm)
  • Ability to speak with aquatic creatures, plants, and/or spirits
  • Other assorted watery powers

I imagine the write up @Heaven_s_Thunder_Ham mentioned might have been vaguely in this direction, possibly.

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Seriously: While trial by water for witches is, strictly-speaking, more of an early modern practice, trial by water in a more general sense goes back to early medieval times. They tie a rope around you and drop you in a big barrel of water or river. If you're innocent, you sink, and hope they pull you out before you drown. If you're guilty, you float. See, for example, the 12th-century account here (middle of the page):

Needless to say, when witch-hunting started to become popular starting in the 14th century, this usage was easily extended to accused witches too. :frowning:

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What really kick started witch hunts wss first the black plague but even more so the reformation and the transformations of thr feudal order that resulted from the social upheaval rhat followed. Iirc the german peak witch huntingnperiod was the immediate aftermath of the 30 yrs war.