Petronius scholae Bonisagi

Petronius has one virtue (Social Contacts) and one flaw (Mentor) that will have much impact into the amount of resources he can possibly have access to. So I figure I should talk briefly about how I envision them having an effect both on stories and what he'll have access to outside of stories.

The Mentor flaw (Minor, Story) represents his pater's (Octavius) continued manipulation of Petronius as a tool for his political purposes. Since a tool is only as useful as what it can do, Octavius will help Petronius obtain some resources to improve his filius' capabilities. Although Octavius was disappointed that he could not shape his apprentice into the same specialty, he now sees how having a Terram specialist can be useful by providing services to his allies. So he will provide Petronius with easier access to lab texts for Terram spells that are useful to covenants or individuals interested in building things, and then direct Petronius to assist his allies, or deny such services to his enemies.

Let's take an example. At some point, Octavius will provide a lab text for Conjuring the Mystic Tower to be learned quickly, so that Petronius can then cast the spell for an ally. That saves the ally some vis, makes it easier for Petronius to learn the spell, and gives Octavius more political goodwill. Once Petronius knows such a spell, Octavius may call him to use it again for another ally in exchange for a small payment in vis (1 pawn).

The result is that Petronius will occasionally be disturbed from his research to assis Octavius, called to travel away from Laurus Argenti and lose lab time. In exchange, he gets access to lab texts (which he won't be allowed to share with the covenant unless he scribes them from memory) and some raw vis.

Social Contacts
The Social Contacts (House Mercere) virtue (Minor, General) represents numerous and ongoing relations with members of House Mercere, both Gifted ones and non-Gifted redcaps.

For the Gifted Mercere (particularly the members of the Mercurian lineage), this is usually through correspondence with the occasional visit. They will be quite interested in his research on portals, although not enough to share the secrets of Mercere Portals. Nevertheless, this may provide Petronius with access to various discoveries related to his research, giving him hints and tips as to where something relevant to his research might be found (regiones, items, lab texts). Some of these will be wild goose chases, while others will actually result in something beneficial to his research.

For non-Gifted redcaps, this means that Petronius will know of many places throughout the Rhine (and even outside, given some advance notice). This means easier access to the redcap network for messages, knowledge of inns where a magus can safely rest and obtain resources, access to travel notes from redcaps, etc. Basically, make it easier for him to travel to other places for his research.

Do these seem reasonable?

In the Covenant Discussion topic, Jonathan asked about major arcs for our characters.

So I've taken some time to organiza my thoughts and wrote something out regarding Petronius, based on where I'd like the character to go. Here's the result, submitted to the troupe for comments and constructive criticism:

Basically, Petronius will be involved in 3 seperate story arcs. These arcs will be, for the most, idependant from each other. Although many stories that are told will relate to one of those arcs, there will be occasional stories that will have nothing to do with any of them, and some stories where the arcs will interact.

Political Machinations
The first arc is about the political situation of the Rhine tribunal, and of the Order of Hermes, and how the machinations of Octavius influences then. Petronius is simply a tool in those machinations.

Octavius' motivations are wrapped around many layers of personal misdirection, but at their core they are relatively simple. Octavious wants power. He wants to be seen as a great magus, despite the fact that he is unimaginative and not a great researcher. This means that he doesn't like imaginative people, and as a result he defends the status quo. Deep inside, he knows this -- he simply won't admit it to himself.

While he was training Petronius, he realized that this apprentice had the potential to become a great researcher. He tried to force his own way of doing things unto Petronius, wrapping it into the pretense of the great magical traditions of our House. He mostly failed, because Petronius' raw talent was too powerful. Now that Petronius is a full magus, Octavius tries to control and direct Petronius' energies and talent towards things that further Octavius' power. If this eventually means breaking the tool that is Petronius, once as much usefulness has been squeezed out of it, so much the better. Ultimately Octavius will fail, but these machinations will have a cost on Petronius.

This story arc will manifests itself in the following ways:

  • At first, Petronius will simply be used without his knowing about it, and will be subtly deflected from his goals of doing original research on portals. One of the reasons why Octavius pushed Petronius into forming a new covenant was that it would waste some of his filius' time and deflect him from his project. It also forces him to develop spells that will be useful to Octavius in his machinations. He also convinced Petronius that basing his research on existing material was to way to go.
  • As Petronius becomes more experienced and wiser, Octavius will convince him of the value of traditionalism and the importance of preserving the ways and traditions of the Order and of House Bonisagus. As a restul, Petronius will participate in the goals and politics of the Oak Gild.
  • Eventually, Petronius will realize that these goals are, at their heart, selfish. And that they prevent the Order from being the great organization that it pretends to be. This will be a period of disillusion for him. It will also coincide with a look at his roots (mundane family), which will cause him a shock.
  • Finally, this arc will complete itself with a deep rift forming between Petronius and Octavius. Octavius will attempt to destroy Petronius politically. This may end up with Petronius leaving House Bonisagus and the Rhine Tribunal. Or in Wizard's War. Only time will tell.

Portal Research
The second arc is about Petronius' research into portal magic. This will drive many of his actions throughout the saga, as he investigate magic relevant to portals and develop new understandings.

This story arc will impact the saga in the following ways:

  • At first, Petronius will be focused on improving his capabilities to investigate existing magic. This is a less-than-optimal way of working towards a breakthrough, but he has been convinced by his pater that this was the better way to proceed. So he will waste much time perusing old lab notes and travelling to various locations to investigate portal-like effects. Many of these will be false leads, but with just enough positive results to provide tangible progress.
  • As his abilities and knowledge progresses, Petronius will spend more time in the lab developping original effects related to portals. He will use them in field testing and analyse the results for further experimentation.
  • When his progress becomes more obvious, he will notice that other parties are becoming interested in his research. This will interact with the Political Machinations arc above, in that Petronius will start to realize how his research could be used as a political tool. Instead of allowing his research to be used for such purposes, he will clamp down on his results and stop sharing them.
  • Ultimately, he will complete his breakthrough, but this will probably happen outside of the scope of this saga.

Oracular Predictions
The third arc is about the oracular vision of a maga from Novgorod, in which Petronius features prominently. That maga of House Criamon is the one who trained Caprasia of Ciramon, a member of the covenant of Irminsul where Petronius was apprenticed under Octavius.

This arc is very murky and will provide some strange episodes, where secrets and hints of the future will be released to Petronius. It will be the least prominent arc at first, but might ultimately tie together the other two arcs at the end of the saga.

This story arc will impact the saga in the following ways:

  • Caprasia's initial and continued interest in Petronius are because she was instructed to do so by her mater. She is to provide a counterpoint to the harsh politics of Octavius, and keep Oetronius in touch with the positive energies of life and hope. A kind of spiritual guide.
  • At some point, the maga from Novgorod will visit Laurus Argenti to establish contact with Petronius. She will provide strange words about the future, but nothing clear. Most of her predictions will come true, so that her credibility will be established.
  • That maga will also send others to Laurus Argenti in order to meet Petronius, although they won't always come seeking contact with him.
  • Eventually, this will provide a way out for Petronius when Octavius' anger come to fruition.

Wow - I'm impressed.

Much more structured and planned out that Titus' future.

I'll hve to sit down and try to write somethng about that then.

Thanks for the compliment. :slight_smile:

I had a fairly clear idea of what the character might end up when I was building him, as this was to be a senior NPC magus in another saga. I had been working on the end concept for about a year, so it was rather a matter of fleshing out how he might end up that way. So I had previous knowledge of the character and it was a question of putting the pieces together.

He may not actually end up where I envisioned him. But Jonathan's comment about story arcs sparked something. Initially I had written something based on seven-year cycles, but the result was a bit too mechanistic(sp?). Then I looked to the driving forces of the character, and boom, there is was. His pater, his research, and his future.

And having three arcs fits just so well, considering that name of that other saga is "The Three Crowns" and that the oracular Criamon is based on numerology.

(Yes, I have too many ideas bouncing inside my head... They keep shifting and mutating, links get made between totally unrelated things... :blush: )

Following the overall story arcs previously presented, I also wrote down some information on how things will evolve through time. Note that all this information is also on the wiki under Petronius' page. There is also more, regarding things he'll want to learn/study/make, his lab, etc. Feel free to take a look at it. :smiley:

Of course, this is all hypothetical at this point. Things are bound to evolve as stories get told and interactions with the other characters happen.

I've divided the saga into 7-year period, each with a slightly different tone.

Early years (1184 to 1190)
During that period, much of Petronius' efforts will be concentrated on juggling all the things he must learn: for his portal research, for the needs of the covenant, for binding Rufus to him as a familiar. As such he will make extensive use of the library to increase his Arts and learn as many spells as possible. Whenever he needs a lab, he will probably use the shared lab, delaying full setup of his own for a few years.

Here's the action that might be seen on each of the story arcs:

  • Political Machinations: Octavius will request little from him during this period (one or two small things), but may occasionally send him the lab text of a spell to make him a better tool for covenant-building (2 to 4 lab texts). There might be a few visits from other members of the Oak Gild, and perhaps a meeting he will be called to.
  • Portal Research: Establishing contacts with fellow researchers, investigating local rumours and phenomena, and investigating leads from redcaps.
  • Oracular Predictions: Caprasia checks up on Petronius through letters, generates a story to keep him in touch with the living/spiritual world.
  • Others: For the covenant, making sure promised books are delivered and exploring the region to learn more about it. At least one story should be triggered by Rufus during that period.

Note that, starting in late 1186, Petronius is disceptator for the covenant, so covenant-related stories are more likely during that time.

Settling Down (1191 to 1197)
By this time, Petronius will have established his lab in the basement and begun customizing it (these are good activities while he is disceptator as they can be interrupted with little effects). He will also begin delving deeper into his research, although studying will still be very much a priority. Rufus should now have been bound as a familiar. Hopefully travel will begin being easier for Petronius, although he may still have difficulties with some casting requisites.

Here's the action that might be seen on each of the story arcs:

  • Political Machinations: Octavius will start being a little more demanding in terms of assignments "for the Oak Gild". Raising buildings with magic and assisting in powerful Aegis should become more common, as would creating gold or other Terram rituals. Inventing new Terram rituals (such as variants to Conjuring the Mystic Tower) may also be part of those tasks.
  • Portal Research: Venturing farther in his search for research materials. He may invetigate the remains of the Treverorum covenant and other Roman ruins in Germania.
  • Oracular Predictions: More correspondence with Caprasia, possibly a visit from her mater (or other magi related to her).
  • Others: At least one political story is likely, with another one triggered by Rufus. There is also the possibility of a new vis source being discovered during a story, using build points set aside for this purpose.

Note that his term as disceptator for the covenant ends in late 1193, so covenant-related stories are more likely during that first years of this 7-year span.

Serious Research (1198 to 1204)
During this period, Petronius really gets down for more heavy research, spending a lot of time in his lab. He still travels abroad, much more easily than was possible before.

Here's the action that might be seen on each of the story arcs:

  • Political Machinations: Frequent interruptions as Octavius requires Petronius' services (for magic or politics). But since his travel abilities are much improved, each individual interruption has less impact on his time.
  • Portal Research: Going to down here. Creating a lot of new effects and field-testing them. There are now fewer good leads for effects to investigate. It is probably during this period that he will finally learn Hermes Portal.
  • Oracular Predictions: Possibly more visits with Caprasia, letters from her mater, etc. Predictions made previously are coming true with a astonishing frequency.
  • Others: To be determined, based on how the saga evolves.

Political Involvement (1205 to 1211)
By this time, Petronius will probably have achieves Master status and begun training an apprentice.

Here's the action that might be seen on each of the story arcs:

  • Political Machinations: Relations with Octavius start being strained, as more and more hints about his selfish goals come to light. Struggle for power begins.
  • Portal Research: Results begin to appear in his research.
  • Oracular Predictions: Some of the predictions hint at darker things in the future, but also of hope. An Arcane Connection is provided, as an exit strategy for the character.
  • Others: To be determined, based on how the saga evolves. A story about finding and training an apprentice would be appropriate.

Rift with Octavius (1212 to 1219)
Here's the action that might be seen on each of the story arcs:

  • Political Machinations: Petronius' apprentice, after he is Gauntleted, is subverted by Octovius to be his next tool. Break-down in relationship between Petronius and Octavius.
  • Portal Research: The breakthrough begins to emerge. Petronius becomes paranoid about the uses that could be made of his research.
  • Oracular Predictions: Discussions begin about the future of the Order and how Petronius could be part in preserving the future.
  • Others: To be determined, based on how the saga evolves.


Once correspondence is established with someone, does it make sense that the subject may evolve from year to year? After all, conversations between two Mercurian might range from useful abilities (Artes Liberales, Philosophiae, Magic Theory) to the mastery of some ritual spells or Wizard's Communion, then move on to specific subjects like healing (thus Creo, Corpus, Animal, or Medicine). I'd say this must be explicit, happen no more than once every few years, and make sense for this correspondent.

Petronius will certainly have a number of correspondents at saga start, and will be looking to establish more as time passes. They would be along those lines (with potential subjects listed for each):

  • Octavius: Will keep in touch with his filius through regular letters (once every few seasons), in order to know how his abilities progress so he can exploit Petronius and indirectly Laurus Argenti. Petronius will certainly continue corresponding with his pater. Active at saga start. (Subjects: Corpus, Creo, Organization Lore: Order of Hermes, Code of Hermes, Artes Liberales, Philosophiae)
  • Caprasia of Criamon: Petronius will get in touch with her once he begins making use of her Herbam summa. She may start sending him letters before that, asking about Rufus and the forest near his new covenant. (Subjects: Herbam, Intellego, Concentration)
  • Clemens: The now-mature redcap will exchange with Petronius on the subject of geography and legends. Not active at saga start, as Petronius was travelling a lot and could not keep in touch regularly, but easy to reactivate. (Subjects: Magic Lore, various Area Lore)
  • Other non-magical redcaps: With his Social Contacts virtue, Petronius is certainly in touch with a number of redcaps on various subjects. One could be Horst (from GotF p.84), others could be retired redcaps. May not be active at saga start, but will be easy to establish new correspondence with them. (Subjects: Organization Lore: Order of Hermes, various Area Lore, Code of Hermes, Faerie/Magic/Church Lore)
  • Unnamed Gifted Mercere(s): Discussions on ritual magic and specificities of portals. Not active at saga start, but relatively easy to establish. (Subjects: Artes Liberales, Philosophiae, Terram, Rego, spell mastery on rituals)
  • Unnamed Bonisagi or Oak Gild members: Discussions on magic theory, research and training apprentices, as well as various research. Not active at saga start. (Subjects: Magic Theory, Leadership, Teaching, various Arts)

Planning advancement for [strike]the first part of[/strike]1184. I will update this if there is conflict for resources. This will also be discussed in-character when the subject is brought up on the Council Meeting thread.

Spring 1184 will be spent in the shared lab learning spells from existing lab texts -- The Purloined Object (ReTe 20) and Ominous Levitation of the Weighty Stone (ReTe 15, see HoH:S p.38). Petronius' ReTe lab total is Rego 11 + Terram 9 + Int 3 + Magic Theory 5 + Specialty in spells 1 + Puissant MT 2 + Aura in the shared lab 4 = 35. Enough to learn both spells. Exposure for lab work is assigned to Rego, 2 xp (plus affinity), bringing Rego score to 11[sup]3[/sup]. He also gains 4 points towards his original research in portals for learning The Purloined Object.

Summer 1184 will be spent running the story The Lost Summa, which will take most of the season. Amount of xp gained will be decided by the troupe.

Fall 1184 will be spent in the shared lab inventing spells. Liftting the Dangling Puppet (ReCo 15) from a lab text, and a variant of Spasms of the Uncontrolled Hand at R:Sight (ReCo 10) invented from scratch. Petronius' ReCo lab total is Rego 11 + Corpus 9 + Int 3 + Magic Theory 5 + Specialty in spells 1 + Puissant MT 2 + Aura in the shared lab 4 = 35. Enough to learn both spells. Exposure for lab work is assigned to Rego, 2 xp (plus affinity), bringing Rego score to 11[sup]6[/sup].

Winter 1184 will be spent studying the Vim summa (L12Q10), bringing Vim score to 6[sup]4[/sup].

EDIT: Added Fall and Winter seasons.