Mundane Vengeance on a Magus

I’ve seen threads on large scale mundane threats to a covenant or mundane monster hunters, but not much in the way of how an individual mundane can defeat an individual magus.

Let’s say I’m a mundane coming from a family of craftsmen, and that when I was a boy said family was killed by Darius of Flambeau while he was hunting a hedge wizard. I’ve since sworn vengeance.

How can a mundane with limited skills and resources, but with a lifetime of planning, possibly kill a hermetic magus in their prime? Bonus points if the mundane can somehow escape with their life afterwards, or if it can be done with limited supernatural assistance.

If that isn’t possible, how can a more skilled or powerful mundane defeat a magus?

Thus far, I think it’s rather difficult without serious supernatural help. However, I have made an effort at a flawed yet entirely mundane plan to infiltrate the covenant from within. Any ideas at plugging the gaps or new plans are welcome.


  1. A covenant could always use a decent craftsman. I join and provide my services, bidding my time until I can poison Darius or stab him in his sleep.

Problem 1: How do we get in as covenfolk? I assume any covenant worth its salt will use some basic intelligo mentam magics to vet any new covenfolk. Any maga posing the silent question “do you have any ill intent against anyone in the covenant?” will immediately see though us.

Problem 2: Even as a covenfolk, how the heck can we kill Darius?

A. If I slip the strongest poison in the core book, Monkshood, at best Darius gets a heavy wound if he fails a stamina roll vs 9 (which Darius gets a +2 form bonus against), merely an inconvenience for a magus.

B. If we stab Darius in his sleep with a dagger, then Darius is helpless per Lords of Men, giving him a -10 defense total. I’m a craftsman rather than a soldier, but can probably swing a brawl 4 (dagger) with +1 str and +1 dex, resulting in +8 atk, +4 dam combat totals with a dagger vs -10 def, +2 soak of a sleeping Darius. So assuming he doesn’t sleep under the gift of the bears fortitude or other nonsense, if I don’t botch I’m guaranteed at least a +20 wound, enough to kill or at least incapacitate for a second stab. So I actually solved problem 2 here. However, this now leads to problem 3.

Problem 3: How the heck can we reach Darius in his sleep? Maga likely all sleep in their sanctums, which are hidden or guarded from covenfolk. Darius’s sanctum is protected by a heavy locked door and a guarding grog, and probably a variety of circle wards like the other wizards of the covenant.

A few possibilities come to mind:

Find a few friends with crossbows, and shoot the magus full with bolts from ambush.

Infiltrate his covenant as cook or servant and poison the magus's food or drink

A whispering campaign turning the local nobles and church against the magus


My group once played "Love's labours lost (or kicking archmage Darius up the arse)" from Sub Rosa. We played grogs having a merry contest, and the loser had a forfeit of kicking a notoriously touchy archmage. One of our grogs borrowed the high-rate-of-fire Verditius crossbow from the covenant stores, proceeded to kill an archmage who turned out not to have a ward against crossbow bolts, and then loot the covenant treasury and try and run for it. Happy fun.


Three elements are key to any such plan- 1) intelligence. what can you find out about the archmagus in question. 2) surprise- do not give them any chance to prepare, or even get a spell off. 3) location- preferably they will be lured into a divine aura (but not too divine, you don't want to murder someone in a church!) or you will attack them where their defenses are down such as inside their home covenant, preferably inside their own sanctum.


Hmmm, these are good ideas. Using silveroak’s pointers, our mundane might scout out Darius’s habits to find out when he’ll next be heading to town, or forge a letter from the local noble to meet at their castle. Then per ErikT’s suggestion and darkwing’s experience, pincushion the heck out of Darius with crossbows (perhaps with bolts made from a variety of materials?) while Darius is en route in a divine aura. I’m quite happy with that plan for vengeance — thanks folks!

A magi not expecting a mundane threat can be in a world of trouble.

Magi are unloved. The gift penalty is rough.

It says limited, not zero resources. In the closest town start a rumour about the magi doing horrible things. Might need to kidnap and disappear a child, but how committed is he to the revenge? Inn keeper's daughter is the go to. I did an edit here. Time to remember the setting. Firstborn son.

Talk to the innkeeper about a plan of vengeance. Have the innkeeper get the relevant protective grogs and companions sick or drugged via their food. An asleep mage, unless he is willing to accidentally kill an innocent serving girl, doesn't usually have deadly wards up while travelling. A sleeping mage is no more powerful than a sleeping mundane.


Heck if the person planning the vengeance is literate they can always go Compte de Monte Cristo and use letters and rumors to arrange multiple wizard wars against them until they are dead. Admittedly that is way outside the lines of not getting supernatural help, but trying to get mages to fight each other is always tactically sound.


It's interesting different assumptions are about security and mundane understanding of covenants. This is a strictly local issue.

Boy, do I not know enough about the vengeance seeker to address this question. He's patient and focused, if he's willing to put years into this, and crafty in the workman sense. As a craftsman, he's not literate.

I personally would start by trying to find out as much as possible about magi and Darius specifically, but it could be dangerous asking around. My craft may or may not be useful to the covenant, since I don't know what it is or what they need, but I can probably establish or already have relationships with the society around the covenant. Over time, I'll hear things and see things. Eventually I might find out that magi can detect spies and infiltrators, hopefully not first hand.

The most efficient path is probably the dagger in the night, preferably away from the covenant. As I am a craftsman, not a stealthy assassin, this may require a substantial distraction and arrangement.


I'm going to ignore the extreme difficulty of finding the right Magi and Covenant. Things like a questing Flambeau hunting hedge wizards might have traveled from several countries away, most Magi are basically unknown outside of the Order because they avoid interacting with mundanes (Gift), and it might not be any living people outside the Order (including Covenfolk) who even know the Magi exist. Magi do live long enough that several generations of mundanes will pass during their lifetime.

Covenants generally do not advertise what they are and many are difficult to reach. That difficulty might be out of the way location (mountain top, underground cavern), any of a large range of magical effects to conceal them, or even an almost impossible to enter location (Regio, on a cloud, under the ocean).

Generally against mundanes this is the first and most effective defense. It might take a lifetime of work to find out which individual Magi it was, what Covenant they are a member of, where that Covenant is at, and how to enter it.

While a nice initial thought, trying to infiltrate a Covenant is not normally an effective strategy. Outside of hiring specialist or when conducting some large scale construction project, most other than Spring have a fairly stable population of covenfolk that might have been serving them for several generations at the least. Even if you do manage to join you will be an outsider and thus stand out if you do anything or go anywhere.

Just managing to become a covenfolk also does not mean access to or interaction with the Magi. Because of the Gift most of the Magi will act through the varies leadership positions which means that while most of the covenfolk might know them by sight few will actually interact with them.

Magi will also often have a personal servant who handles things like cleaning and their food. Attempting to poison them will often require poisoning a large gathering. This does vary by Covenant but is generally not an effective strategy.

Attempting to attack them in their sanctum is also not an effective idea. Without some supernatural aid all it takes to stop is a single Ward verse Mundanes.

That leaves us with attacking them outside the Covenant somehow as the most effective strategy.

If they are a Magi who travels fairly frequently or does something like go to a church outside the Covenant then you could setup an ambush. However they might not travel for a few decades or they might travel through magical means. So the chances for this are highly dependent on the individual Magi and a chance might not come up during your (effective) lifetime if they go into a heavy period of study or enchanting.

Which leaves us with inciting against them. Depending on the target and what they are doing for the next few decades this might actually be the only method that has a chance of being effective. A multi pronged approach that gets the locals, the church, the fay, and any nobles in the area unhappy with them is the best bet. It might take years and it will harm all the other members of the Covenant.

Magi by their very nature are a "Hard" target. Individually very powerful, strong security that is often layered, restricted personal access, and generally very obscure to those outside the Order.

Actually having a chance at succeeding is highly dependent on the target doing something that makes them exposed or going with some scorched earth method that hits the whole Covenant.


Darius has a lot of enemies. Maybe they could use a crafter's help? Just a bit of intelligence on him, if you have one, may go a long way. Make sure your help can't be traced back to you.

Do you supply something that the covenant needs (parchment, glass, gems...)? This might help you get in touch with, if not the magi, at least the right covenfolk to obtain more information.

I agree with all above who told you to be sneaky and leave Darius no way to prepare himself. If he sees you coming, you already lost. If you make him paranoid about mundane safety he will invent a device to keep himself safe all the time and will stop sleeping outside. But you can (and should) make he think there is something else vying for his life. If he spends all of his time inventing a PeVi spell against an inexistent magical foe (or maybe an existent one, that hedge mage probably had friends) he won't invent anything against your knife.


My first thought was prostitute assassin.

I totally agree that against a paranoid magus, the mundane enemy does not stand a snowball's chance in hell, but even if most or all magi are perfectly capable of warding off their sanctum and use intellego spells on all their food or drink to detect poison, I don't think that many do.

Also, I don't think the question is if the disgruntled and mundane John Average can expect to get their revenge. A 5% chance, or maybe even less, suffices to make a plausible story, and plenty of approaches suggested are plausible enough.

Somebody pointed out the fact that this mundane is not going to be Darius' only enemy. Thus the best strategy is likely to find the others and unite. I suppose allying with a demon would be cheating, but even lesser allies could make a difference.