This Thread follows up on the "Solo Saga" thread I started a month ago:
I"m starting a new solo saga for a player playing an Herbam Magus. He's a "failed" Pharmacopaen Ex. Misc, with Mythic Herbalism and Root Cutter virtues; however, he's much more interested in the mystical nature of plants than he is in actually helping people. He's also got Strong Faerie Blood, and a Faerie Friend (awakened tree.)
In the first thread I mentioned the rough story arc, namely:
"The Forest Spirit was once mighty, but at some point in the past a chtonic cult of witches (or perhaps Diedne?) built an altar, and were performing blood sacrifices there. Eventually this ancient magic warped into something darker, and an infernal aura grew. A religious order came and did battle with the infernal forces, trapping them deep in a new Divine regio, sealed beneath the burial place of a martyred saint. A monestary was built on the site to guard the regio.
The Infernal and then Divine auras diminished the power of the Forest Spirit, but it has maintained it's magic nature. Perhaps there are a few ancient trees scattered around the periphery of the forest, around each is a grove with a slight magic aura? If this spirit can get someone -- the mage -- to remove the Divine saint's remains, the divine aura / regio will fade away, and the Forest Spirit will regain it's former Might.
Of course, once the mage removes the remains... the infernal spirit will be released also....
I'm thinking that the Monestary itself is empty. Perhaps the monks were all wiped out (viking raid? plague?) So the monestary is in ruins, but the regio is still in place. There can be a nice battle with Divine guardians, and/or spirits of the monks.
We start out slow, with the mage knowing of one magic grove because of the vis source. During one of the harvests, he has a vision, and starts to puzzle together what the Forest Spirit is trying to tell him. The mage will grow in power slowly, figure out a way to connect some of the groves maybe (one of the Forest Paths?), and then get powerful enough to do battle with the Divine forces."
Now, I want to start nailing down the first chapters. I need to figure out the obstacles to A) finding the different magical groves, and B) joining them.
I think 5 groves sounds like a good number, roughly at the 5 points of a star. A 6th grove will be the Altar / burial site at the "heart" of the star. After removing the Divine remains, a new tree will need to be planted as the final piece of the puzzle.
The player is starting with a Faerie Friend, and Secret Vis Source.
I figure that the Vis source will be the First Grove (magical aura.) His Second Sight will allow him to realize that the magical tree at the center of the grove could be awakened, and from there he can learn that the Genius Locus of the Forest was long ago splintered, and the tree is longing to be joined to his brothers. Mechanically, the idea is that as each grove joins with it's brother, the magical aura of each will increase by +1 (thus, if there are 3 groves joined, each will have a an aura boost of +3. I haven't decided yet if each grove will initially have an aura of 1 or 2.
I was thinking that the Faerie Friend can be the 5th Grove (Faerie aura). Thus, he'll have known about that grove from the beginning, but not realize that it's part of the Genius Locus. That story will involve the faerie gaining cognizance, and sacrificing itself in order that the aura can revert to magical. I figure it could be a nice emotional climax to the 5 groves story arc.
That leaves 3 groves.
I"m looking for ideas as to the nature of these groves. What has happened over hundreds of years to the magical tree at each core? What is the obstacle to finding it? I think there should be at least one mundane obstacle -- perhaps a stream was diverted by villagers or something. Perhaps another one has vanished into a regio? Perhaps its on a high craggy peak, guarded by magical birds of prey? Another has devolved into swampland? (this could be an infernal obstacle, with a nasty "bad air" spirit?) I welcome any other ideas!!
Once I've established what each grove is, I need to figure out how to "join" the groves. Some sort of magical lay line? Simply a means of communication? Or planting Seedlings to form a road? I want something cool, that the magus would need to do original research to discover. Any thoughts are most welcome.