Question about Calabeis

I'm going to use Calabeis with the current group, starting next session. I really like that adventure, but there's a small detail I don't understand. The description of the Stairway and the Bridge (page 43) really doesn't make sense when comparing it to the maps and the art on page 41. This bridge starts in the bottom of the stairs, that much is clear. But where does it lead? Over the "well" (as in the picture on page 41)? But to where?
And is the stairs enclosed in walls? It looks like that on the map? In that case, the arrow slits on the opposite side of the well wouldn't be much good.

I recently got a hold of a previous edition of the adventure, and the map there seems more detailed. There, the bridge is small, going from the bottom of the stairs to the entrance door.

What is correct. It's a small, but important detail, I think. :slight_smile:



Here you have the maps of the covenant.

To picture the covenant picture a normal well. The central round bit is the well. The levels are carved into the rock around the well. Clear so far as you said :slight_smile:

The first flight of steps is inside the well, but there is no walls around it. If you go downstairs, there is nothing to your left so you can be shot from the other side of the well (the archer chamber).

The bridge leads INTO the wall: there is a stone roof over the rooms in that level. This is maintained over the whole covenant.
If you use the corrected map found in the atlas website the briddge is hung over the well. The stairs can easily be said to not be inside the wall, but the image is doubtful for sure.

Hope that helps.



The illustration looking down the well (Calebais p.41) is accurate per the level-maps -- it was laid out using a CAD program to stack the maps of each level in 3D, and printing a 3D Perspective view looking down the well, and then the artist drew the picture using that as her guide...

Hermes Portal 14 has a more complete, and larger sized, reproduction of the images used to illustrate Calebais.

Thanks, guys, this is very helpful :slight_smile:

So in the corrected map, where the bridge spans the well, is the staircase covered by walls? Looks like that on the map.



the first quarter-circle stair from ground level down to the ledge where the precariously narrow plan-bridge crosses, is open to the elements ... lean to your left as you descend, and you'll fall all the way to the bottom of the shaft!

There are 2 other ledges which protrude out into the shaft, from lower levels...

(Frankly the easiest way to the entrance across the bridge is from the ground on top, down a rope! Crossing the Hrools' bridge is v. dangerous for anything larger and less agile than a Hrool...)

The stairs really should be open to the center, because they are intended to give the archers and guards in the rooms opposite a good view of who is coming down (though presumably they already know). Perhaps there was at one time the intention of a stone bridge from the base of the stairs to the entrance hall, but either it was destroyed or it was never started.

The well is such an incredible feature of the "dungeon done right" that I decided to move the bridge out over the center area so that players might be tempted to cross over it. As Neil points out, the rope is easier-- though that also may lead to the idea of characters repelling down even further, which is also an interesting way to explore the covenant.

Nice, I've ran Calabeis in previous campaigns, but after reading it over again, and the stuff in Hermes Portal 14, I don't think I've done it justice before. But it's a really good adventure, and I'm looking forward to starting it up again, and not rushing through it like I did before.

Another question, this time about the Hrools. I just love those creatures :slight_smile: Where did the inspiration for the Hrools come from? Why ferrets? The funny thing is that the players in my group have a hard time believing that I didn't put them into the adventure, since I'm such a fan of ferrets. :slight_smile:



I'm guessing Mark Rein*Hagen was a fan of ferrets too, because I'm certain they were there in the second edition, and almost positive they were there in the first (I'll have to check when I get home). I also suspect the Bjornaer maga had a Minor Magical Focus with ferrets. :stuck_out_tongue:

It would be interesting to approach magical ferrets from a different perspective, as Beasts of Virtue rather than Transformed Animals. For instance, I imagine the Ferrets of Virtue have Second Sight and really hate spirits. And perhaps faeries too, come to think of it...

That, and they're much more lovable than rats, the all-too-predictable and well-used alternative, and so have less of a "wipe us out now" sign around their necks.

An intelligent rat is not warm and cuddly to the average person - a ferret is, (or at least has a much higher potential to be.)

Well, they're not described as much as ferrets in the second edition version of the adventure, although it's mentioned in the description of the final guide in the veil.

Oh, and by the way, if anyone wonder what a happy or curious ferret sounds like, for instance, if you're a Storyguide, and would really like to go into character with the Hrools, check this out: ... re=related

and for an angry, hissing ferret: ... re=related

I couldn't find any information or legends about ferrets. It seems that in medieval times, ferrets and weasels were seen as the same thing. Well, I admit I'm not too good at searching for stuff on the net. In RoP: Magic, ferrets are listed as Terram when it comes to binding one as a familiar. That's not so strange, as they make their dens in holes under ground, or under rocks.



Ermines or ferrets were kept as pets - there are period depictions of fine ladies with same, but it's unclear exactly which is being represented.

Here's a write-up of a weasel from research I did - note that a ferret is NOT a weasel, any more than a cat is a lynx - but they are closely related.

Weasels (aka Stoat, Ermine)

With long, slinky bodies, short legs and pointy heads, Stoats, or Ermines in their winter coat, can look like furred snakes, but are about the size and shape of a very thin, short-legged cat. In Mythic Europe, many urban scholars debate whether there is a difference between the stoat, which is brown in summer, and the ermine, which is white in winter, but many trappers and farmfolk know they are the same creature whose fur changes with the coming of snow. Pliny the Elder mentions it in passing, noting it for its fur, a symbol of nobility, though he also refers to the animal itself as a large sort of wild rat, most likely because of their flattened ears, rat-like tails and beady, red-reflecting eyes. In fact, the weasel is more like a large ferret or small otter, and they occasionally are kept as pets by the nobility, who view their white winter fur as a symbol of purity. They are inquisitive, and playful among themselves, but have a reputation as ruthless killers.

In combat, they are ferocious for their relatively small size, and are famous for being able to "freeze" a rabbit with a stare, in the way a snake can with a bird. Stoats are carnivorous, preying mainly on rodents, and prefer the twilight hours of dusk and dawn for hunting. They occasionally will refuse to back down when challenged by much larger creatures, even bears. It is common knowledge in Mythic Europe that they sometimes attack sleeping humans, prefer to hunt in large packs, and can even take down a man if he's careless. The sight of a score of writhing, voracious stoats carpeting the forest floor has sent more than one woodsman running for his life, and to tell the tale at the local tavern.

Hehe, I know a ferret is not a weasel. I have white ferret myself, actually. The perfect player "hand out" when running Calabeis. :slight_smile:

What I'm curious about is if there are any myths concerning ferrets in particular, or were they believed by medieval scholars to be the same as weasels.

Anyway, the text from the research posted here seems strange: "In fact, the weasel is more like a large ferret or small otter". A ferret is much larger than a weasel or ermine/stoat. My own ferret is 45 cm long, not including tail, and weighs around 1500 grams. The weasel, ermine and stoat all weign less than 300 grams at an average. Quite the difference.

So what would a Ferret of Virtue be like in Ars Magica?



I just reread the HP article.... and it occurred to me that Calebais might be one of the best kept Tremere secrets out there: a tremere Boot Camp.

Everybody thinks that Tremere gauntlets are Certamens. But what if that is just a cover?

Calebais sounds like the perfect adventure to determine if an apprentice is a suitable Tremere Magus. I can easily imagine the apprentice being smiten in certamen and told to be unworthy to become a magus yet. Then after a week or so the redcap shows up at the covenant and sets the adventure in motion

And there we go. The Tremere will be evaluated after the adventure by a revision pannel and if he did well he will be deemed a worthy magus. Then a Mentem(Animal) specialist goes to the covenant and whipes any traces of the event. Some of the characters might even be illusory, like the knight. And Uderzo might actually be a living magus posing as a ghost, and this is why he offers some advice.

The whole adventure being about leadership and how to deal with a multiplicity of situations test the gauntleting magus (that thinks of himself as an apprentice, so might need to lie to the ghosts to get their attention).

It has potential IMO :slight_smile:

It might even be a whole incredibly cool illusory covenant: a dream in the head of the tremere magus: Who knows? :slight_smile:



From a classical fortification perspective the small open staircase facing the precarious drop down the well and a firing position for archers is a rather good setup for defense.

Personally I wouldn't expect there to ever be a stone bridge there as that would reduce the defensibility of the structure. I'd think that there was probably a much better wooden structure there when the covenant was still active, something easily and safely usable by humans rather than hrools, but still easily either retractable or destructible in the case of assault.

I would also note that the curvature and slimness of the stairwell I would think to severely limit the application of a ram or like means of forcing entry into the main guard house there without magic, especially if the bridge has been removed/destroyed.

Mundanely assaulting this structure while it is being defended I would say would be rather difficult. If there are archers in the firing position rappeling down to a lower access point would be rather silly for example. All in all, without magical assistance, I'd say 'starve them out' would be the better part of valor as it were.

Related question. The 2nd edition description of Val-Negra says that the current condition of that covenant is designed very similar to Calebais. What is this set up? I see the maps Xavi provided. It Calebais one giant pit I take it then?

Basically it is a well. You carve the different floors coming out of the central well.



Given the existence of Hermetic magic, stone may be just as easily retractable or destructible as wood.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHH!!! I like the idea of a retractable stone bridge!!! :smiley: