New Guy

Hey all, another new guy here. Here's my first draft of my Bjornaer named Astor. He's definitely not optimized/min-maxed; more character concept driven. This takes him to just post-gauntlet in 1213. Assuming it looks good so far, I'll proceed with the next ten years.

The short background concept I have so far is that he was born a peasant in a village somewhere near the covenant. Shortly after he turned 10, Eilid found/noticed him and took him in. For 5 years she began his Sleeping Years training, but due to his flighty nature and disinterest in book learning, Eilid determined he was not suited for her sept or Clan Ilfetu. So in 1203 she took him to the Gathering of Twelve Years in Crintera where he was initiated and joined Clan Maruhs and finished his apprenticeship under his Parens Adelle Passer (female with a sparrow heartbeast).

Covenant: Insala Canaria
Characteristics: Int +2, Per +1, Pre +2, Com +1, Str 0, Sta +2, Dex +1, Qui +1
Size: 0
Age: 25, Height: 5’11”, Weight: 170#, Gender: Male
Decrepitude: 0
Warping Score: 0
Confidence: 1(3)

The Gift (free)
Hermetic Magus (free)
Heartbeast (Bjornaer)
Gentle Gift (Major)
Deft Form [An] (Minor)
Improved Characteristics x2 (Minor)
Independent Study (Minor) - HoH:MC pg 86
Second Sight (Minor)
Venus’ Blessing (Minor)
Well-Traveled (Minor)

Optimistic (Major)
Plagued by Supernatural Entity [Great Beast ancestor] (Major)
Carefree (Minor)
Deficient Form [Aq] (Minor)
Poor Student (Minor)
Weak Scholar (Minor)

Personality Traits:
Optimistic +3, Carefree +2, Antsy +1

Scots Gaelic 5 (slang)
German 3 (slang)
Latin 4 (Hermetic usage)
Loch Leglean Tribunal Area Lore 2 (geography)
Rhine Tribunal Area Lore 2 (geography)
Athletics 2 (grace)
Awareness 2 (searching)
Brawl 1 (dodging)
Charm 2 (being witty)
Folk Ken 2 (townsfolk)
Guile 1 (fast talk)
Stealth 1 (sneak)
Survival 1 (forest)
Hunt 1 (tracking)
Second Sight 2 (regiones)
Etiquette 1 (peasants)
Heartbeast 2 (resisting shapechange)
Artes Liberales 1 (logic)
Magic Theory 2 (Animal)
Parma Magica 1 (Muto)
House Bjornaer Lore 2 (ancestors)
Penetration 1 (Muto)
Finesse 1 (grace)
Code of Hermes 1 (mundane relations)
Magic Lore 1 (creatures)

Cr 7 In 0 Mu 8 Pe 0 Re 0
An 7 Aq 0 Au 7 Co 0 Ig 0
Im 0 Me 0 Te 0 Vi 0

True Rest of the Injured Brute (CrAn 20)
Shiver of the Lycanthrope (InAn 10)
Beast of Outlandish Size (MuAn 15)
Doublet of Impenetrable Silk (MuAn15)
Form of the Sanguine Heartbeast (MuAn 20)
Chamber of Spring Breezes (CrAu 5)
Charge of the Angry Winds (CrAu 15)
Circling Winds of Protection (CrAu 20)

Heartbeast - Gyrfalcon
Characteristics: Int +2, Per +3, Pre +1, Com +1, Str -6, Sta +2, Dex +1, Qik +6
Size: -3
Confidence Score: 1 (3)
Virtues and Flaws: Ferocity (swooping attack), Keen Vision, Fragile Constitution
Qualities: Accomplished Flier, Fast Flier, Keen Eyesight, Pursuit Predator, Extra Natural
Personality Traits: Fierce +3
Reputations: None
Talons: Init +5, Attack +6, Defense +12, Damage -4
Beak: Init +6, Atk +6, Defense +9, Damage -5
Soak: -2
Fatigue Levels: OK, 0/0, -1, -3, -5, Unconscious
Wound Penalties: -1 (1-2), -3 (3-4), -5 (5-6),
Incapacitated (7-8), Dead (9+)
Abilities: Athletics 5 (swift flight)
Awareness 4 (spotting prey)
Brawl 2 (talons)
Hunt 4 (game birds)
Survival 3 (cold climates)
Prince of Boredom

Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2012 12:12 pm

Looks good to me, though I haven't crunched the numbers (save that for metacreator-owners).

Two questions/thoughts.

  1. Totally something you can ignore, but this campaign is set in Loch Ness. Wouldn't it be cool if your Great Beast Ancestor was Nessie herself? Not sure what all that would entail in terms of changing your character concept....

  2. Why "Chamber of Spring Breezes?" Okay, so maybe you only had 5 levels of spells left, but why spend that on a form you can spont? How about learning a CrIg spell or something that you've got barely the casting roll to make, rather than in the Tech/Form combo you plan to focus on?

Hmm, that would require a complete alteration of character concept and probably isn't even possible. Your Great Beast ancestor (at least the one you use to initiate you to the inner mysteries) has to have a "appropriate heartbeast", which from what I understand means basically the same, or at least a very similar heartbeast as my own.

So, at a minimum, that would mean I would have to change my concept to an underwater creature of some sort and assume the Nessie would be a chimeric version of that heartbeast. I did think about making a water based heartbeast since Talia is a pirate, but the problem is the Loch is freshwater, which means most options I choose wouldn't be able to go out to sea, and thus really limit when I could use the heartbeast.

Outside all of that, there's the size restrictions for heartbeasts to be Size +3 or less. But really it boils down to me wanting to play a Bjornaer that turns into bird.

Good point, I'll relook that. It did basically boil down to having 5 levels left and just picking something.

I wouldn't get too excited about switching it out for something else, unless you really want to. Amul forgot something rather important, something he just experienced, although the effects weren't as bad as they could have been: a foreign aura. Chamber of Spring Breezes may have been one of the very first spells that Astor learned.

Also, your scores aren't high enough to take Circling Winds of Protection at gauntlet. You need Cr/Re + Au + Int + MT + 3 ≥ 20. Your totals are 0 + 7 + 2 + 2 + 3 = 15. (Because it's a Creo Auram with a Rego Requisite, you take the lower of Creo or Rego when figuring anything. In this case, since you have Creo 7 and Rego 0, you have to go with 0 instead of 7.)

Which, when added to the Chamber of Spring Breezes (if you wanted to get rid of that), gives you 25 points worth of spells to play with.

Oops, I completely missed the Rego requisite. I'll relook that after work.

They are, hands down, the house that I know the least about. I can understand the value of a flying heartbeast, and guessed that there would need to be some major overhaul in order to have it work with Nessie.

This does lead me to ask why a sparrow? Have you looked into birds that live in/around Scotland? I found this website when looking for potential familiars.

It is most certainly a stylistic choice. TrueThomas and Viscaria are both stay-at-home types, though Thomas is less so than his future-variant, Pythos (in Andorra). If you're going to play a more exploratory sort, which I suppose makes sense for Bjornaer, you probably want to worry about negative auras more.

Although, fair is fair, you've got an equal chance to botch any formulaic spell in a foreign aura as any spont.

A quick Google search seems to indicate that gyrfalcons are rather uncommon in Scotland - a "scarce winter visitor, especially in the north". Far be it from me to dissuade someone from playing a bird-of-prey Bjornaer, might want to find one more native to Scotland, unless you have your heart set on gyrfalcon and want to play someone from Iceland, Siberia, northern Scandinavia, or some such.

Gyrfalcon? Why was I thinking sparrow?

Local birds of prey include the golden eagle, red kite, and a bunch of other birds that I've never heard of.

I would also like to take this moment to thank Ars Magica for finally showing me where "Orkney" is. I've always wondered.

Not really.
It becomes an SG call about whether the spell being cast is stressful in a foreign aura. It isn't automatic that casting in a foreign aura is stressful. If it's not stressful, then a simple die is used for formulaic spells, and so there isn't always a chance of a botch. If it's a spontaneous spell, with fatigue it is always a stress die with a chance of botch. If it's a spontaneous without fatigue, there isn't a die roll, but then the aura will add less to the overall casting score (faerie aura, or subtract a a bit in an infernal aura, or subtract a bunch in a divine aura) which might be enough to make the spell unable to be cast without stress, going back to needing a formulaic or a spontaneous spell. Going a step further, formulaic spells may be mastered, which will reduce botch dice to 0. Praxitelese, in Via Experimenta is very cognizant of casting magic in the city, with a dominion aura of 3/4. He's likely going to be mastering his go to spells, at least for quiet magic. He's going to avoid spontaneous magic, if he can, except in his home where there is a lacuna with an aura of 0.

All that being said, a bird heartbeast could be indicative of someone who is flighty and hasn't thought of all these things...and the first time this happens causes the character to reassess their approach to magic...

While I definitely associate "bird" with "flighty," I can't think of a specific bird that I think of as flighty. Definitely not an eagle or gyrfalcon. Buzzard, definitely not. Various sea and shore birds? Not flighty....Robins? Woodpeckers? Don't think of either of them that way, either...

Amul, you're not got sparrow from the fact that that is what his Parens' heartbeast is.

As to gyrfalcon versus other raptors; I'm not entirely sold on gryfalcon if you think a golden eagle might fit better. My thought was that while gyrfalcons aren't native to Scotland, they would definitely be known at least to the nobility. From what I've found the gyrfalcon was highly sought after by the nobility and was known to have been purchased by an Egyptian Sultan and were used in 12th century China. My original concept for the character had me taking Mythic Blood with Falcon of Legend as the 'ancestor' and taking Nobility as the minor magical focus. But, obviously my concept changed a bit, so being a gyrfalcon is not as critical.

How would you feel about being a descendant of Vikings who had traveled south near Loch Ness over a couple of generations? The gyrfalcon was "highly valued among the VIkings," according to wikipedia.

That works.

You know, now that I've had some time to think about it, I think I'd rather go with the golden eagle. What stats should I use for it?

If you have The Medieval Bestiary, Revised Edition (4e), its stats are on p. 54. If not, I can cobble together your Heartbeast form tomorrow afternoon/evening.

Oh, and if you do, don't forget to use the heartbeast stat rules in HoH: MC.

I've got it, but after looking over the stat blocks, it looks like how they derive some of the stats is rather different between the two editions, so I think I'd rather let you do it so you can get it how you want it.

Here's what I came up with, as far as characteristics for his Heartbeast form go:

  • Intelligence: +2
  • Perception: +3
  • Presence: +2
  • Communication: +1
  • Strength: +1
  • Stamina: +3
  • Dexterity: +2
  • Quickness: +3
  • Size: -2

Everything else should be easily figurable and/or portable.

Okay, sounds good. I think I'm going to just rebuild the eagle using the HoH:MC rules and the 4E Bestiary as a reference. The attack stat blocks an things in the 4E Bestiary don't quite seem to match up with how they derive the 5E stuff (4E seems a bit more powerful), so I think building it from scratch will be easier. I'll work on it when I get home from dinner.

That's what I'd do. Stats translate straight across from 4e to 5e (per the conversion notes at the end of the main rulebook). It's figuring out the qualities and what not that gives me fits sometimes.

Okay, how does this look? Instead of transferring the attack stats straight over, I built them using the claws and teeth stats in H0H:MC combined with the attributes and brawl skill.

Heartbeast – Golden Eagle
Characteristics: Int +2, Per +3, Pre +2, Com +1, Str +1, Sta +3, Dex +2, Qik +3
Size: -2
Confidence Score: 1 (3)
Virtues and Flaws: Keen Vision
Qualities: Fast Flier, Keen Eyesight, Pursuit Predator, Extra Natural Weapons (claws)
Personality Traits: Royal +3
Reputations: None
Talons: Init +2, Attack +7, Defense +9, Damage +4
Beak: Init +3, Atk +7, Defense +6, Damage +2
Soak: +3
Fatigue Levels: OK, 0/0, -1, -3, -5, Unconscious
Wound Penalties: -1 (1-3), -3 (4-6), -5 (7-9), Incapacitated (10-12), Dead (13+)
Athletics 3 (flying)
Awareness 4 (spotting prey)
Brawl 2 (talons)
Hunt 4 (game birds)
Survival 3 (mountainous terrain)