[Mystery Initiation] Things to do on Samos...

So, Helios Excelcis, Quaesitor and member of the Mystical Fraternity of Samos, is on this great trip to Jerusalem with most of the covenant's magi.

His reason: he's on a pilgrimage of his own, to the island of Samos, where he will show his prowess at rotes, present his numerologist's book, and as the final stage of his quest... do... something.

I must admit: I'm blanking out a bit. Perhaps too focused on other aspects of this road trip story arc, I'm neglected the relatively minor part of it that is Helios journeying to Samos to become initiated into the second level of his Mystery Cult.

So, Greek isles, Pythagoras... I'd like to do something that has a nice Theban Tribunal feel to it. It does not necessarily have to take up an entire evening, but something flavorful and neat would be great.

My brain, however, is blank.

Does anyone have any thoughts, suggestions, or other bits of wisdom? Perhaps a snippet will kick my brain into high gear. Next game we deal with the island of Santorini/Strongyle, and then off to Samos for Helios' scene... and from there we are off to Jerusalem.

Helios is big on classical knowledge, Platonism, learning, and "right action". The player is likewise a math doctoral candidate and fan of classical stuff.

Thoughts? Old adventures you've done? Mystery Cult experience?



Numbers and classical inspire me the following words:

  • Labyrinth
  • Riddles (sphinx)
  • Daedalus

A labyrinth that needs a riddle to allow you to find the exit (after a suitable time searching for it) and having "daedalus" as the answer, might work. Make them crawl through the labryinth without magic, not even Parma, and have stuff jumping around in the corner of their eyes and being clearly magical to put them on edge. If he iuses magic, he fails the test. Put the playe runder stresss, not only the character. Some tests that would be trivial using minor magics but that are a challenge to perform mundanely (climb a 30 foot wall, for example)

"Would you dare defy apolo?" or "Who does not dare defy Apolo?" or "how many people do not dare defy apolo?" or "DO you think you are Hyperion?" might be a suitable question. Icarus did, but Daedalus knew better than that. The last question is specially suitable since the dude is called Helios :slight_smile:

Or you can go the Zeus way and have a really big rampage of libertine sex. Or have the quaesitor take to the labyrinth while the rst have the orgy :stuck_out_tongue: LOL :laughing: Have them tell him how GREAT it all was when he emerges with his cloak shred, tired, hungry and fearing his own death after falling down a well, where he was asked the question (while falling to his impending doom) :stuck_out_tongue:

Hope that is dramatic enough for you


One thing you might certainly do on Samos is visit the (remains of) the temple to Hera. This was one of the two major temples to this divinity in the Greek world, and probably the most ancient, with the goddess venerated as a fertility divinity as early as the 2nd millennium BC. Various sources say either that Hera was born in Samos, or that Samos was the place where she and Zeus first consummated their marriage (two hundred years of lovemaking, well before the invention of Viagra :slight_smile: ).

Samos was also the homeland of Aristarchus, a mathematician and astrologer who lived in the 3rd century BC and knew many secrets of Babylonian astrology. Aristarchus was the first proposer of the heliocentric theory: Aristarchus placed the sun at the center of the universe, with planets orbiting around it (he also correctly placed them in order of increasing distance from the sun), and the stars "infinitely" far away (which is basically correct according to modern science). In the Ars Magica cosmology, he is wrong and Aristotle is right ... or perhaps that's not the case, and your magus (aptly named Helios = Sun) is the first to realize it, and to understand that, although one cannot reach the stars or beyond, the Sun and the Planets are actually within the grasp of an Hermetic breakthrough!

For more mundane aspects of travelling to Samos, keep in mind that in 1220 it is under Venetian rule.

Hm, ok... Greek Temple seems a good start. I'm wondering about the Eastern Church... and perhaps some mythic creatures. Hm, given that Helios is an academic, pulp adventure is likely not the way to proceed (though that will come later with the sorcerer kings of Garamantia and the rest of the group)... perhaps some riddles? Tests of mental prowess?


Via Umbrae players... stay out... and that means you, queeriously.

So, this Sunday... the player of Helios, who so GETS Ars Magica, has mentioned he'd like some means to have the "lost works" of Plato show up: the finished Critias and the subsequent Hermocrates. Thus this story...

Helios goes to his pilgrimage's end on Samos, only to find that the Mystical Fraternity of Samos HQ has recently been robbed of various important books. Some sort of clue/eyewitness (porphyry ring?) connects the robbery with the Circle of the Cabeiri (Sub Rosa 3) and their massive temple complex on the island of Samothrace. Helios' mystagogue instructs him that his arrival is timely, and must be no coincidence. He must thus go forth and reclaim the books and scrolls stolen as part of his initiation.

The group, consisting of a Persian Fire Magus/Rego Wunderkind, an elementalist Bonisagus genius who wants to hunt down the phoenix for his longevity breakthrough, and Helios the Quaesitor and Mystery Cultist - and companions Marie Blanche the Clarisse who can talk to animals and Khalida the mysterious saracen thief - will then need to decide what agenda to follow. Head to the initial goal of Jerusalem and the rumors of a phoenix? Take time to seek the stolen books and scrolls? This may be an interesting moment.

Assuming they do chase down the stolen items - either as a whole group or some splinter (likely involving the thief, Khalida and the magus Helios) - the meeting with the Circle of the Cabeiri and their massive temple complex will eventually lead to the discovery that THEY too are missing precious tomes.

The culprit is the dracones Polymathes - significantly changed from his version in RoP:M. To fit the Greek locale, I'm imagining him as a hydra, each head being an expert on some subject. The visual of a great, golden-scaled hydra with each head reading a different book amuses me, and Timothy Ferguson's humorous account of using a Hydra in his game inclines me to believe that roleplaying such a creature will be great fun.

At this point the group will need to figure out how to reclaim the books they came for and perhaps also gain books that look amazing (Plato's works). Trade? Trickery? Combat? The cave full of mounds of books could indeed use a shelving system and some library principles applied to it. The beast also has trouble turning pages for all of its many heads. An enchanted item to assist it? Give it their one-of-a-kind Intellego masterwork?

Note: floor of snakes for Marie Blanche to deal with, and animals who may note the drake's appearance. also: how does the creature transport the books. also - did it benefit from the fall of Constantinople? does it know of paris and the trouble there in our saga? does it have a map of the world? did it destroy a nearby covenant in years past, and make off with hermetic books?

In any case, that's Sunday's game, if I can fit it all in...

The question of how does a book loving, scholar dracones carry off books? Perhaps give it some type of MuAn magical power that when it touches a book it can convert it into a scale for a short time that sticks to its claws. Have a book scale dropped by accident near the scene of the crime that can be dispelled and the book recovered.

Heh, I too was wondering that. I had considered the creature swallowing them and regurgitating them later, or having some sort of throat pouch, but that didn't seem right. Book scales seems like an intriguing clue...