New Storyguide Advice

Another piece of advice: don't let anyone take the Diedne Magic virtue.

There's two reasons for this:

  1. it involves heavy use of spontaneous magic, which seems fun but will slow the game down.

It is better for the new player to actually appreciate formulaic magic, and to get involved in the balance between the two systems. Diedne magic skews them very heavily towards spontaneous magic, and a new player likely doesn't have the wisdom / understanding to realise they should be curbing spontaneous magic in the presence of others. It leads to what looks like faster power early on; though like all fast routes to power it comes with a cost:

  1. it leads to situations where the other PCs probably have to either turn on the Diedne PC in a very final/fatal way or become accessory to a heinous crime

In short, while it can lead to stories it can also very easily end to a short, bloody and brutal end to either that PC or the entire saga. And asking the other players to be forced into a choice of turning on and killing your own beloved character is a bit of a selfish move. Many groups won't cope well with this (despite thinking they will); in my opinion it is far safer to just avoid the entire thing.

Elementalist and Secondary Insight are also two suboptimal major Hermetic Virtues. They seem good at first blush, but there's a lot of debate here about how they aren't all that good. I know I've seen several HR fixes to Elementalist here, but very few for Secondary Insight. Secondary Insight is OK for a player who's wanting to micromanage their advancement, I suppose.

Just with Faeries you already have plenty of story potential since they "live" on stories :smiley: .
Between rivalry between Courts, their need to create story, facilitating relationship between mundanes and faeries... You don't need to introduce any other elements to have endless supply of story material.

A piece of advice, don't rush to introduce all the elements of RoP:Faerie. Learning Faerie magic and sympathy traits is a whole set of additional rule to get acquainted with.
As you get more comfortable with the core rule and the player discovers more about Faeries, introduce bit by bits new elements. It will be quite nice as it contributes to keep the discovery aspect of the game for the players and the PCs at the same time. It avoids also from you to dump a lot of information regarding the Fae world.

Regarding PCs creation, I am sure some PCs will have (strong) faerie blood. But advise them against taking a high score in Faerie Lore. Possibly limit it to 2. It will prevent the need for "info dump" as I mentionned earlier and it will give them a goal to become more knowledgeable as they will be more and more frequently in contact with Faes.
To explain a relatively low Faerie Lore despite their blood or back history, it is easy to explain:

  • it is due to an ancestor but themselves where never really exposed to Fae
  • they were kidnapped when their were baby, but retrieved/returned/escaped when they were still young so they did not have time to really learn much
  • a curse stole some of their memory (and it can go nicely with Latent Magical Ability, especially if the player is willing to set aside some XP at the creation, for example)
  • they were initially trained by a Merinita but a Bonisagus snatched a few years into his/her apprenticeship, hence the magus was never properly initiated into Merinita mysteries, faerie magic and lore.

I just make Secondary Insight a minor virtue. It sits well at the minor level.

While we're talking virtues and flaws, I get good mileage out of getting every new magus to pick a focus of some kind, either major or minor. I think most old-hand players do this without really thinking.

Focus is a great virtue, not only because of the mechanical benefit but also because it gives you something to hang your hat on re: spell development. It gives the character (surprisingly) focus; which helps overcome the whole paralysis of choice issue.

Just remember that a magus can only have one focus. :slight_smile:

Really? Hm... Mechanically, a Magical Focus is great, but I tend not to encourage specialization too strongly for new players. For one thing, if their magic is weaker due to being less centralized, it lets me throw weaker, lower-Might creatures at their character, which I consider a plus due to the unchanging humanity of magi. Even as their magic becomes more and more powerful to amazing heights, their Form bonuses don't do a terrible lot, and unless they specialize in defense-improving spells they remain just as vulnerable to many human-killing things. With stronger new players, I have to throw stronger creatures at them to avoid easy instant breakage, but stronger creatures also provide much more dangerous retaliation in response to surviving because of newbie mistakes. Weaker magi lets me throw weaker creatures into the fray, who aren't instantly decimated even by good choices (thus keeping the fight/scrying/competition/whatever) interesting, without penalizing the magus nearly as hard for making a bad decision.

Plus, and equally helpfully, they get to experiment with multiple types of magic, which is a bad thing for those with aforementioned option paralysis, but lets them find what they actually like to do and would want to specialize in more easily.

Just my nickel of input, because pennies are useless and should be abolished.

Interesting, have you playtested this?
We talked about this, and the same solution popped up. I did some math on this, and it's a tad powerful (but not horribly so) for a minor virtue.

I rather dislike the Magical Focus virtues myself, and may well have infected my group with this opinion.
It feels like a clutch for the lazy, IMAO.
We also tend to prefer to deal with choice paralysis, rather than hide it away.
Obviously, YSMV.

For the Giant's Castle, You are near two Covenants and one is quite powerful(Irencillia). Upside is that neither is Durenmar or Dankmar :slight_smile:. I like the area. I would not worry too much about the history at the moment unless you really really want to fold it into a first game. Hermetic politics should be enough for new players.

I like to be cautious and at least mildly mindful, especially since one of my players actually has a degree in medieval history & literature.

Well, his first task is to identify events in the area that were caused by Hermetic Magi as part of the campaign setup!

Not super extensively, but in a saga long enough to verify that it works for me. I'd say its actually less powerful than book learner and comparable to adept student, due largely to how covenant libraries tend to be structured, the various limitations on insight-effective learning they can impose and the overall benefits of focusing on a few arts early over trying to be a generalist from the get-go.

It is a tad powerful for a minor virtue, but so is book learner IMO. And being within the upper range of power levels for a minor virtue sure makes it a bad contender at the major level.

Anyway, this is probably another thread if the conversation goes any further; the only thing I'd say on the original topic is that Secondary Insight (as RAW) is probably not a good pick for a starting character, mainly because in a saga of any length the player will probably feel a bit cheated.

Our 'ill-advised' list for major virtues so far is cutting out about half of them. :laughing:

Very true!

And if you'd like to tell us a bit more about your experiences with Secondary Insight as a Minor Virtue, please do start another thread :slight_smile:
...or just PM me :slight_smile:

Marko's house rules for Elementalist (which look rather familiar) make Elementalist a worthy major virtue, and his rules for Secondary Insight make it ok (because in his game, it has a good effect for years after Gauntlet but before start of play.)

I'd agree with previous posters that SI as written isn't necessary better than Book Learner. BL applies to any (reading) course of study and not just Arts, but SI applies to any study but only for Arts, which is almost always reading. SI can provide more experience (when studyingTechniques), but BL puts the experience where you already know you want it.

Location: Ruins of Adresina

Elder Magi: Introverts, journeymen due to lack of political ambition. They will let the PCs joins as full members right off the bat, but will require the charter to declare them as Master magi within the covenant (two votes, auto-seniority within the covenant, etc). They will usually abstain their votes, not being interested in most matters. Their UnGifted autocrat will also have a voting sigil for council meetings. The autocrat is an overworked elder who deals with the covenfolk, manages the financial records and covenant library, and was likely the main impetus in convincing the two magi to bring in new blood so the covenant gets out of Winter (long-term thinker). In play, will be expies of Statler and Waldorf.* [u]Sanagos of Jerbiton[/u] - Wishes to study math, loves his tractatus from Fibonnacci. Not interested in arithmetic magic, but raw math itself, but will occasionally do some magic research.

  • [u]Prokui of Orbus Tremere[/u] - Fell in love with a noble who claimed to be from the Moon, is now driven to research the Breakthrough(s) necessary to go there, and has only recently felt confident enough to begin proper Original Research.
    Player Magi: An updating progress as I get their characters* Gotvinus of Guernicus
  • Joseph Miller of Bjornaer[list][]Count Adalbrecht Werahamun Sylvester von Tutankhamun - Noble cat of the Black Lineage
    :m][]Tim of Bonisagus Owlowiscious - Exceptionally morbid owl
    [/:m][]Zita of Merinita[/:m][/list:u]Vis Sources: Only three will be remembered, and that's after checking the covenant rolls; the elder magi having gone at least 7 years not bothering to harvest the vis, and sold the last of their vis stock . Their combined output is about 20 pawns per year (5 player magi, the 2 elder aren't going to try to claim any for now) The Cave of Magic
  • Apples of Hesperidae
  • Mallorn Dandelions.
    Income: Typical (stagnant), the elder have been giving the covenfolk lavish wages, maintaining labs with +5 Upkeep each, and shoving the rest into coffers to gather dust. Once the PCs join, the necessary expenses will rise to 6 pounds over budget (assuming unchanged wages and minimum new hires for servants and laborers) and 122 pounds in the bank (after new labs are set up, at Upkeep +0). They will be at 12 pounds yearly surplus if they convince the elder magi to cut their lab budget to +4 Upkeep quality (doable).

Library: Many have been sold, destroyed from improper maintenance, or pulled and kept in their sancta.* All of the lab texts in Roamer's Book in separate books, representing the sum of the troupe's graduation presents and such. Valued at 23BP in cost, valuating such spells at 1BP per 15 levels for lab texts

  • Roots - L7/Q21 for Rego, Corpus, & Terram
  • Imaginem Summae L20/Q10
  • Vim Summae L9/Q19
  • Ability Summae - Magic Theory L4/Q15, Dominion Lore L6/Q15, Faerie Lore L4/Q11, Finesse L5/Q10
    Enchanted Items: A scrying mirror (InIm 25) similar to the one from Beauty and the Beast.

Hooks* Superiors (Major) - The two anti-social elder magi who have the autocrat at least partially in their pocket and having set themselves up for disproportionate power within the covenant.

  • Weak Aura (Minor) - As per the Rhine Tribunal's information, the starting Aura is rated at 2.
    Boons* Edifice (Minor) - Taken twice, representing the Temple & Basilica
  • Unknown Resources (Minor) - Taken twice. Thinking of part of the BP for it to be a forgotten vault with a very Warped book with both Lab Text and advanced Mastery summae for said spell within it.

I'll come up with a list for the covenfolk later and add them to this post; but this is the current rough draft for the covenant that the party will be walking into (roughly 517BP). Any thoughts as to whether this is poorly done, overly weak, or some other flaw that I need to consider for this setup?

Is there a way to get ahold of the large library rules from Transforming Mythic Europe? I don't need the entire tome, just its rules on books/libraries, as I've heard it's a nice optional rule for mundane libraries; as there stands a good chance the Jerbiton magus's Artes Liberales devotion will be of interest to at least one member of the party.

Just to clarify, I'm not wanting to even imply anything illegal; but if it's been reprinted in a Sub Rosa article or in some other format that's cheaper, I'm interested in knowing.

Should be going digital pretty soon...

I've updated the OP to include everything set up so far for the soon-to-begin saga. All that's left at this point is for the stats for the Verditius player. Any advice on what the players have made for their characters, or the NPC elders I have set up for them to interact with? Other advice for the campaign as a whole is welcome.

It may be at least some time before the players manage to scrounge up enough pawns of vis to get themselves fresh Black Cloaks. Obvious inspiration for them comes from here, but I'm wanting to put in my own twist. For one, I want them trained from early childhood by a handful of professional trainers; making them child soldiers recruited from demographic that wouldn't miss 50 to 100 of them. For another, I want the method of recruitment (either means or primary demographic) to make them Susceptible to Warping AND for warping to manifest in similar themes. Essentially, their flaws from warping make them more and more like vampires or golems. My wife thinks the golem theme would work best, especially for the concept of an organized training program to mold children into fighting soldiers, and the associated flaws I'd give them (simple-minded, uncanny valley social penalty, etc) are more acceptable for fighting soldiers.

Black Cloak Graduate
Age 14 (essentially 8-9 years of quality 20 training three seasons per year)
Personality Traits Proud +3, Loyal +3, Fearless +3
Characteristics Str +1, Sta +3, Dex +2, Qui +2, Per +0, Pre +0, Int -2, Com -2
Virtue/Flaw Puissant w/Single Weapon, Large, Tough; Proud, Restricted Abilities (Single Weapon, Leadership, Bows, Awareness, Athletics), Susceptible to Warping
Abilities Athletics (running) 3, Awareness (keeping watch) 4, Bows (short) 5, Brawl (dodging) 5, Concentration (sentry) 2, Latin (Hermetic) 4, Leadership (group tactics) 5, Order of Hermes Lore (Grogs) 2, Ride (distance) 3, Single Weapon (longsword) 5, Stealth (shadowing) 1, Survival (food) 2
Equipment Hungarian Shield, Falchion

The party obtained lab texts from Prokui for sale to help the covenant, him simply translating his recent research notes. For the location, who would be most interested in purchasing copies of these texts, and what would they reasonably offer?
Test the Boundary
InIm (CrCo) 25
R: Arcane Connection; D: Ring; T: Ind
Create the image of an idealized human within a circle, unresponsive to stimuli. Their status and condition will react to stimuli of the location with an arcane connection, telling the caster whether the subject would be wet, illuminated, able to breathe, harmed by attacks, etc.

Bolt to the Moon
ReTe 45
Single use metal ballista bolt, when fired from a ballista, will be given enough momentum to reach the Moon. This is an 'indirect' application of magic, the bolt doesn't worry about magic resistance or other situations where magic wouldn't work. As the setting will follow physics except where magic is concerned, this means the bolt will travel at Mach 36, and will penetrate essentially anything for +40 damage in a direct line of sight where fire. Sufficiently massive objects, such as castle walls or landmasses, will see a minor explosion for +10 damage in a 3 pace radius.
(Base 5 + 1 Touch + 7 Distance)

Summon Scorpio
CrHe(Te) 25
R: Touch; D: Diam; T: Ind
Will summon a Scorpio cocked and ready to launch any bolt placed within, which must be released in the mundane fashion. Its orientation can be set to whatever angle desired when cast.
(Base 2 + 1 Touch + 1 Diam + 4 Complexity + 1 Terram)

View the Invisible Ballet
InIm 30
R: Per, D: Conc, T: Sight
Essentially a visual version of Hear the Silent Chorus. Roll Int+Artes Liberales+stress die vs EF 12 to see the planets. Gain a +6 to your next astrology roll, gain 1 Warp per zero on a botch. When cast, gain a Personality Trait aligned with the First Deacon of the current Zodiac Sign for Sun duration.

You may have put it in a prior draft and I missed this, but what's the level of the Aegis, and who casts it?

Since you're next to a faerie wood and considering a relatively high-level of fantasy for your saga, it would be good to know what can't follow magi or grogs into the covenant.

I would say than Summon Scorpio needs Animal requisite, and probably would need Rego too, to be shot.