On Virgilian Brotherhood


On my group's search for good traditions to play in our incoming hedgie campaign, I have been toying with an augustan brother. I am likely to be the alpha SG, so a guy that likes to 1) stay at home, 2) go to court 3) read and stay quiet minding his own business and playing in the background fits my bill quite correctly. It also fits the bill of Anaxagoras since we will be playing at Triamore (and BTW, the vamp there is very easy to convert into a draugr if you do not fancy the tremere from the 90's)

I have been looking at his 3 abilities and 2 of them (sortes virgilianae AKA Augury and Animo AKA Verditius' Little Brother) are really cool to me. I started drooling at the idea of creating wood warriors for the covenant (like the tremere manikins, but much cheaper to create) :slight_smile: even if I am much more likely to spend most of the time creating Animo to improve the performace of the fields of the manor and the like. I have more problems finding uses for the spell effects of Vigilo, though.

Anyway, I have a few questions:

  1. Could I learn a multiplicity of Vigilo rites at level 1, so I can HOPE to cast them (under optimal conditions)? Quite a few useful rites are low level, so investing a single XP in them seems enough to cast them.

  2. Can I enchant a CUDGEL to be an Animo and enchant it to bat a POF or BOAF at the caster? (School of Prometheus, control fire, unnatural version). Could a sword be used to CUT the BOAF so that it flies around the wielder of the sword? Same for other effects, but these are the first ones that occurred to me.

  3. Can I enchant a mobile Animo (a wood statue) and later put armor on it and give him a sword? Or does it need to be kept as pure wood if I want to keep its might low?

  4. Do I need to know the effect I want to put into an Animo or can I just put any effect I fancy like hermetics? I think it is the later, but I am unsure about it.

  5. What soak would you give to a size 0 stone statue? And a size +1 wood statue?

  6. What uses have you found for less-grand Virgilo magic (the spells, not the general magic system) but that can still be useful for your magus on a daily/travel basis?

Thx :slight_smile:


  1. IIRC, a Virgilian Wizard is able to cast any virgilian rite so long as he has a score of 1 or better in the relevant school whether he has any XP in it or not so I imagine so. Whether it's a good idea, however... shrugs

  2. I think an ordinary ward would work for the second iteration and a fire control rite might work for the former. Unfortunately, I must plead Noble's Parma on the targets required... (I know inscriptions are treated differently than spells, but forget in what capacity)...

  3. I'd probably allow it under the proviso that the sword and armour are both non-magical and do not benefit from MR.

  4. I think so, but given that the main contributor to virgilian casting totals is the "(Spell) Art", it's probably not the easiest way to do.

  5. A size O earth elemental has a Soak of +9 (ROP: M) which seems reasonable for a metal statue. That same book describes a +5 Tree having a Soak of +15 so maybe +7 or so for a +2 wooden statue would make sense.

  6. Not much. Unfortunately, Virgilan Magic's quirk of targeting locations rather than people or objects (and the lengthy casting times), tend to limit the versatility of their magic system somewhat...

  1. I'm not sure if you can study more than one rite in a given season and subdivide your time down that way. This (along with carefully outlining how Virgillian magi improve their powers, because I remember being confused by the RAW and asking the author and not being much clearer) needs houseruling.

2)I would rule no. Mobile animations may only use Vigilo effects to ward themselves and the rite only affects the animation itself. A cudgel or sword being used in combat would have to be designed as a mobile animation, as it's being moved around a lot. Trying to block a BOAF with a sword warded versus fire means the sword is unharmed but any part of you that comes into contact flames normally. (NB this does not stop you warding a statue and then you getting inside a chamber inside it - mecha-virgillian!)

3)Yes, but the sword and armour get no magic resistance. Also, Armour gives a big shape/material bonus (+7 to protect wearer!) so when I design a fighting animation I include armour for the bonus.

4)Any effect you like, so Animo is tremendously versatile IF you have the vis.

5)Umm....I'd look at examples from Ars and copy from the published authors like a good little rules lawyer.

6)I don't, because at 15 minutes casting time per 6 levels (or 2 magnitudes) it takes too long. 15-30 minutes while declaiming Latin loudly (because you're at a penalty if you don't, -6 for normal voice and -12 for a quiet voice!) is hard to pull off subtly. A simple ward vs rain in a pentagram would take 30 minutes, which isn't great if a storm whips up.
Off the top of my head, a level 6 "preserve a dead plant from decay in the warded area" and draw a pentagram around your grain store is useful for a keeping your food safe.

For travelling, I don't use less grand spells - I use "I travelled the deep, an exile": Sylvan Dryads 30 (base 15 "make a thing of plant products move with purpose and intelligence, without requiring your constant control, +9 moon duration, +6 structure) to make a ship navigate itself for a month. Who needs pesky sailors? (The title is from the start of the Aeneid book 3, when Aeneas sets sail). Actually, thinking about this spell if you change T:structure for T:group you get a level 27 rite which animates up to 10 wooden targets for a month. Mobile mops to clean your house? 10 wooden warriors?

OK, having browsed the Augustan Brotherhood chapter of "Rival Magic" last night, I feel the need to change some of the answers I gave above:

  1. Yes.

  2. Possibly, but the animation would either have to be non-motile or confined to an area it can easily affect with its inscriptions (fire control or Ward stone).

  3. I'd still probably allow it, but as Darkwing noted it's probably not optimal.

  4. Yes.

  5. In retrospect, the Bronze statue's Soak of +12 is both better and probably more reasonable (IIRC bronze is about as hard as iron). For the wooden statue, I still stand by +5 or +6, however.

  6. I haven't used virgilian magic a lot recently, but I'd think some of the ideas we came up with during our discussion of Heron's Mekanika might be appropriate.

Spoilers. Will look at your other answers when I am not drunk as a skunk. Blame my best man

Your memory fails you (the text box on p52 states this). you need at least a score of 1 in a right (but that's only 1 xp. if you allow for multiple lab activities in a season for Virgillian wizards as if they were magi they could get a score in a number of rites equal to their lab total.)

Following Darkwing’s advise, here comes a potential spell. Let’s see if I did it right…

And now her shafts in blinding shower she threw, Now plied her dreaded axe with tireless hand (Sylvan Dryads 27)
This spell animates up to 10 wood statues (they must be already hinged at the joints for the spell to work well) so that they become tireless warrior statues. I would use the same base as for Animo statues (7 base characteristics points, a martial skill at level 3)

B15: make a thing made of plant products move with purpose and intelligence, without requiring your constant control, +9 Moon, +3 group.

Sounds right?

It is what I was thinking of creating through Animo, but maybe it is better to do it as a spell (1 hour and 15 minutes to cast, no need for such super pieces of art to make the spell work). The con is that it needs to be renewed once per month, but sounds like a fair alternative for wooden servants and warriors. Sylvan Dryads sounds like quite a powerful school to invest heavily if you are an Augustan brother.


Yes, doing it with a spell rather than Animo to save on Vis is the way I would work it. In a vis-rich saga, it is possible for a Virgillian to specialise in Animo and have awesomely powerful animations do all the hard work.

Although the School of the Sylvan Dryads is very useful simply because objects made of plant products are everywhere in mythic Europe, there are other good uses from different schools.

She flung Jove's instant fire from the clouds School of Boreas level 15: base effect 15 (bring forth a very severe weather phenomenon eg lightning strike) range touch duration momentary target pentagram (ie base level): inscribed in a hexagram outside the entrance to the Virgillian's lab or other significant area, this alludes to Juno scattering Aeneas's ships in a storm. When someone not wearing the mage's usual clothing breaks the pentagram, it triggers a lightning bolt for +30 damage. As a pentagram spell, it gets the +5 penetration multiplier for this particular sort of magic (rival magic p.56). For example with a penetration skill of 4, specialised in school of Boreas, you can get +30 levels of penetration to this effect which should challenge junior Hermetic magi nicely.

It's also great for killing your familiar! :wink:

No familiars for virgilians, so no biggie here. :wink: Your lab will be dirty as hell, though, since servants cannot come to clean it. :mrgreen: I prefer passwords that are a funky dance or something like that. I got an apprentice killed with a waiting spell of my own devising once, and decided to make the passwords less stringent since then. PCs will still trigger them, don't worry about that :stuck_out_tongue:

Nice killer spell there. How many times does it activate? Once? Once per turn? Diameter rain of thunderbolts? Does it work on a clear sky ? (I never quite figured out the later since I imagine Virgilian magic as being slightly less preposterous than Hermetic magic, but looking at the examples I might be totally wrong here)