Musing about Coeris

I did do a few back of the envelope style calculations about the quantity and nature of how much stuff the Tremere have collected in Coeris (>1200 magi seasons worth of goodies by my estimation) and how they would likely go about defending it.

I'll warn you now that much of this didn't make it in not just because there wasn't room or it didn't directly relate to the story that my chapter was trying to tell (although this was true in most every instance), but because it is arguably exceptionally silly as well.

This is actually in chapter but it didn’t come out as clearly in the text as I would have liked. The Tremere were not particularly well served by choosing Hermanus to lead their construction of defenses. Judging from his service in the war, Hermanus apparently had a knack for guessing what his opponents were up to and for leading groups. It was hoped that this meant he’d correctly anticipate the defenses that were needed and be able to direct the lab work necessary to create them. What wasn’t anticipated was that these characteristics would allow Hermanus to detect potential challenges to his funding and politically maneuver to protect continuation of the project long after it ceased to be reasonable. Hermanus’ great achievement was political not magical.

Here’s a back of the envelope calculation of how much stuff the vexilation made over their history and how much Hermanus made afterwards

I see the vexilation as having had an average of 5 members over its 60 year run. During this time I think that the members spent about 1/3 of their time working to create or acquire stuff to defend Coeris. That comes out to 400 magi seasons. I see their general procedure as being spent first working in a group to create an item then pushing off the lab text to the most appropriate members to create a few copies. In the case of charged devices made from lab text I envisioned a season being used to create several devices each with 5 or so charges.

After the vexilation disbanded Hermanus spent another 28 years (105 years past gauntlet to 133 years past gauntlet) with about ½ of his time devoted to constructing defenses that's another 56 seasons of a very senior magus toiling away.

As far as the maximum lab totals I wanted to stay constrained to I imagined generally the following
Hermanus' magic theory 12 or more (I thought that Hermanus spent ten seasons or so reading magic theory in the first few years after formation of the vexilation so as to be better able to crate the items that he needed.)
Intelligence 3 or more
Aura 4 at least
Lab +9 for item creation
Hermanus’ familiar int + magic theory 12 (his familiar studied magic theory like crazy, because I see the familiar as having definitely been a touch crazy. and the idea of a turtle reading a big book is cute, yes this would take vis by the rules as they stand now, so would raising the familiar's intelligence. I'm OK with that.)
Intelligence + magic theory for two other adamant rook members 10 and 8
Plus an apprentice for another 6
For a total of 64 ish before you add in technique and form. I had envisioned Hermanus to eventually end up with an intellego score in the low 30’s and have scores in the mid teens through 20 in many other things

These totals make the creation of the items in the chapter feasible even if you house rule the penetration on charged devices (as I suspect most people do).

[size=150]Defenses against outside attack

The defense of Coeris from exterior threats was not the concern of the vexilation of the adamant rook. I figured that it was the job of other folks and probably was a pre-schism war concern more than a post war concern. (Even the concern for it post schism war was likely answered by items created by other magi- not the people who were trying to make the storage of supplies secure.). None the less, I had a few ideas about how it was likely defended. This comes from thinking about two scenarios: keeping out a magus intent on getting in secretly or fending off some big creature or spirit that was attacking after the aegis was brought down.

I don’t think it makes a lot of sense to think that there is a lot of offensive power in enchantments protecting the exterior of the covenant. I saw offensive power coming from the magi and the stores of materials that the vaults hold. but here is an idea I had early:

I had drawn up some effects to enchant for a very large crossbow contraption with several strings.
Two muto terram effects: one to make the steel bows (I had envisioned two or three of them) stiffer, and one to make them (the bows) and the metal bow strings stronger.
A rego terram effect to continually cock the crossbows after they fire
A rego herbam effect to continually load the crossbow after every time that it fired
A rego herbam effect to keep the bow steady while it was fireing and to allow it to be aimed easily by the weilder.
Accompanying this would be a second device with a rego imagoinem effect to displace all of the species of the weapon and wielder and creo imaginem effect to mostly obscure the moved image so that it was more difficult to tell that the gun and its crew were not where they appeared to be.

The idea behind this was that it would provide a serious high accuracy, high damage long range weapon that didn’t require penetration. A Gatling balista capable of threatening “moderately” sized giants.

On the other hand it would be easier to create wands of “Invisible sling of vilano but much much bigger” along with an enchanted box that shrunk large boulders to the size of paperweights for storage. Perhaps there might be an additional item to cast “rock of viscid clay” in order to provide a supply of boulders of the proper size and shape.

I never seriously considered writing up these ideas as they were always outside of the scope of the chapter (at least after my initial thoughts on the subject).

Rather than creating weapons to defend the covenant, I saw the primary issue with defending against enemies on the outside of the covenant to be perceiving them clearly. I had imagined the area surrounding the covenant for 150-200 meters or so to be devoid of large trees and to be broken up into fairly well tended garden spaces with archways and window filled walls high enough between the spaces to qualify as rooms by the, experimentally determined, barest of margins (The definition of room target includes courtyards) albeit huge rooms with a +1 size modifier.

The covenant protectors (which I had imagined to have elevated positions from which to observe its surroundings) would have enchanted devices specifically
unraveling the fabric of imaginem at target room +1,
discern the images of truth and falsehood,
wind of mundane silence at target room +1,
a device to make the exiting walls transparent and insubstantial in order to prevent things from hiding behind them,
wands that cast unraveling the fabric of terram and unraveling the fabric of herbam to take down wards that keep attackers safe from the mundane attacks of the grogs,
and a device that makes wooden enclosures duration diameter to allow for targeting of target room effects within the open spaces around the covenant if something happened to break up the existing walls

[size=150]Defenses within the covenant [/size]

This is mostly what was described in the chapter of legends. lots of enchanted devices specifically designed to stop folks from prowling around the covenant finding ways to steal house Tremere's treasure. I fully expect that they also catch a lot of folks who aren’t really up to anything. For this reason, the enchanted devices are specifically not lethal. What they're designed to do is detain anyone who does something suspicious until the magi and grogs can deal with them.

I left the question of whether or not Coeris is one structure or several open but I did imagine some target structure effects covering the entire covenant (using multiple devices if necessary).

I noted in the text that there are intellego vim devices that detect where and when any of the sentinel devices is triggered and the coeris defenders are alerted and can go to the location.

The vexilation would have also wanted there to be a target structure muto terram (herbam auram) effect that alters walls floors and closed doors to prevent any vapors from passing through them in order to prevent thieves using cloak of mists to stroll through the . This needs to target the structure itself in order to not require penetration. Yet then it would, in time, cause warping. They could hook it up to the alarms that go off whenever a sentinel triggers but that would turn it off until something else detects the intruder which seem like a big gap in the security. There could be intellego auram devices to detect vaporous creatures walking about but then they’d need to penetrate. I never designed anything here that I liked.

There is definitely a target structure intellego terram /herbam device to detect if any new holes appear in any wall or floor

I considered target structure unlimited uses per day version of low level high penetration versions demon’s eternal oblivion and its faerie counterpart that went off at regular intervals and could be triggered dozens of times in a row if folks were suspicious. (this might have been too cheesy,).

As far as equipment for the grogs went there are certainly the two items I described in the chapter. The helms of unraveling that let the grogs counter-spell and the staves of wooden soldiers which let them engage their opponents with disposable wooden bodies rather than their own. In reference to the wooden soldiers, I imagine that the covenant has an unnecessarily large supply of cheap wooden grog statues mass produced by rego craft magic. In this matter quality is not important.

I debated whether or not the grogs had a few wands that cast a powerful perdo vim parma destroying spell with a special target that includes both an individual at voice range and the person holding the wand. (This arrangement would lessen the danger of having the wand fall into the hands of an enemy magus but not an enemy creature of might).

Also I imagined that the devices I described above to detect attacks outside of the covenant could be used to detect ememies inside as well (those devices being an enchanted items that cast unraveling the fabric of imaginem at target room +1, ones that cast discern the images of truth and falsehood, and items that cast wind of mundane silence at target room +1).

Because the Tremere have an interest with spirits and wolves I imagine that there are a few of each at varying levels of might available to round up thieves but I never even considered writing stats for them.

[size=150]Guarding the accumulated treasures of the house[/size]

I imagine that seasons of work that went into the enchanted devices in the stores of Coeris are greater in number than the ones that went into making the defenses by a factor of 3 or more. I imagine that charged devices make up a great proportion of them (they would have been easy for the survivors of the schism war to create in the immediate aftermath). I also imagine that there is a great deal of vis in there.

The vis leads to a problem. Large amounts of vis can not be left in one place too long or it starts to do things. Therefore the vis needs to be moved regularly. Therefore I see the rooms where the treasures of coeris are stored to be a third full at maximum. The other two thirds of the rooms are empty, or perhaps it would be clearer to say that the rooms are all empty of vis at least two thirds of the time. (you could also argue that moving it around won't help and there will be problems anyway. I'm not saying this was worth publishing it's just what I thought about

By and large I imagined the treasure to be protected by wards and enchanted items (sentinels and justiciars) just like the rooms in the sunken laboratory with the exceptions that

1 rather than having one or two each of sentilels and justiciars the store rooms have 5 or 6 sentinels and 3 or 4 justiciars.

2 rather than justiciars that do things to delay an intruder, like wrap a room in shrubbery or levitate the targets off of the floor, the justiciars in the store rooms have effects that kill things or render them harmless (perdo corpus spells that kill, perdo mentem spells that destroy minds, creo spells that do absurd amounts of damage and so on Also target room Demon’s eternal oblivion type spells against all four realms as charged devices scattered by the handful so several go off at once would be a common choice).

Now that I’ve seen the Richard's invisible assassin chapter in projects I’d imagine that there are devices that detect intangible tunnel style spells and dispel them. I was looking for a good way to do this when I was speculating on defenses but I wasn’t sure that I could.

Also the store rooms are filled with wood using charm of the herbam padlock enchanted devices as described in the chapter (they fill every available space within the room with solid wood). There are then intellego herbam devices that detect if there are any holes that develop in the wood and set off countermeasures (I never defined what).

The store rooms are kept in darkness to make scrying more difficult, I’d imagine at least one device that sets off the defenses if any light appears in a room with it.

Among the circular wards around the rooms is one that prevents to flow of any gasses.

One of the issues I had when doing my preposterously geeky calculations of what could happen if the treasure was disturbed without first removing the magical defenses was that a great deal of the defenses I wanted to institute would have destroyed certain types of vis or enchanted devices. But, if we keep the enchanted devices with the vis then only a third of the rooms have anything valuable in them.

Finally there is the issue of subterranean approach to the treasure vaults. I had imagined a whole bunch of buried enchanted devices forming a net beneath the ground that would set off an alarm if they heard anything at all.

A story hook is that the Tremere need to keep excellent records of the defenses so folks don't kill themselves when it is time to move the vis. What happens when these records get scryed upon. Are they in a cypher? is there an enchanted device necessary to view them - can it be duplicated?

All done. Once again, I'm only sharing my thoughts not advocating their quality.

Thank you.

Thanks for sharing!

This is something that has always bugged me. It just does not "feel" right, quite the opposite: I "feel" that vis should be left as alone as possible (based on the notion that magic leans towards attributes like "remote", "mysterious", "arcane" etc.).

Has it always bugged you only since RoP Magic or was there an earlier reference to the phenomena that I'm not recalling?

Personally I like that it does something but I see where you're coming from in that messing with your physical manifestation of magic so you can be more safe is counter intuitive.

There is a lot of material here to mine for inspiration.

I should have said "this rule from RoP:M has always bugged me since I read it" :slight_smile:

It's not just that messing with something dangerous should increase the danger (although that's certainly part of it).

It's also that, in some way, magic comes out as something like a cask of cognac -- the more you leave it alone to age, the better it gets. I would probably combine these two concepts together: leave vis alone in a place (particularly a magical place), and it "strengthens", but this strengthening also causes unpredictable (although thematically appropriate) side effects.

I'm reminded of modern security systems for extremely sensitive things, such as reserve bank servers and the like.

One thing that stands out is guard patrols. No security system is going to work without human input, but by the same token humans are corruptable or can be messed with. A system whereby guards are expected to patrol a series of checkpoints, and where each checkpoint involves some kind of activation via a keyed object the guard carries. If a guard arrives at the next checkpoint too early, too late or out of sequence or the guard fails to use the keyed object in the correct way then arm all the security gizmos and sound an alarm. Each checkpoint could also include an InVi effect on the guard just to be extra safe.

Another idea I had was a door to stop unwanted magi. It's a door with a simple door-handle that won't open unless it verifies the target is human with a pen-0 InCo spell. Should it verify the target as human (remember, pen-0), it casts a Parma-dispelling spell on the target and allows the door to open. If an attempt to open the door is made but the pen-0 InCo spell reports nothing, sound the alarm and activate all the other security bits.

Just seeing this, thanks a lot! :smiley:

Thanks Erik, extremely interesting. :slight_smile:

cj x