Saga idea

A recent saga I was playing in "rebooted" during the second play session because a Volkov PC, upset about the uppity Hermetic magi violating his shrine, called upon his community to cast a massive curse on the Order of Hermes. With a penetration of over 150, it turned every single magus of the Order (well, save those in Twilight, who get affected as soon as they get out of Twilight) into vermin. That's the power of Grant, Ceremony and Symbol Range/Target/Duration for you. As I said, our saga was simply rebooted. But I think this can be a cool premise for a different type of saga.

The player characters are elder apprentices. They have just passed their Gauntlets, and are attending Tribunal with the parentes, so that they may be proclaimed full magi after swearing the Oath. The night before the ceremony, all the older magi simply vanish. While no one knows it, it's the result of a powerful Volkov curse -- which fails to affect the apprentices who are not members yet.

Eventually, the apprentices will discover that the Order has vanished throughout Mythic Europe. The only tattered remnants are a hundred or so apprentices scattered throughout the Tribunals; in fact, the PCs have suddenly become the most powerful wielders of Hermetic magic, since they are the closest to full magushood. Well, maybe with the exception of a handful of renegades, who have been cast out of the Order and have managed to escape a March so far (probably by hiding very well, so they may not become aware of the curse for a long time).

Will the apprentices manage to rebuild the Order, or will they fall into squabbling wizard wars for the right to scavenge the vast treasures of lore and power held covenants now deserted by true magi? Note that the Parma magica is effectively lost to them -- since apprentices are not taught it until they swear the Oath -- until they pry it from some precious tome or from the mind of a renegade. Will the Hedge Magic traditions raise and squash the suddenly diminished Order? Will the PCs discover the source of the curse -- and if so, will they manage to lift it, or even try? After all, they are at the top of the Hermetic food chain now...

How... awkward...

And the race to Durenmar is on! :laughing:

I'll bet... no. After that V spell, I'm sure there are one or two enemies of the Order with an axe to grind, and Player Characters never seem to stay as low-profile as a spectator might expect them to (try to) be.

Parma might also be found in some locked-away books, if you believe in such. Or, possibly, from the ghosts of magi past (again, if...)

(Otoh, I always thought it was taught just before becoming magi, not just after - meh.)
(EDIT - And I was remembering wrong. Page 66 - it's taught just after the neo-magel swears the Oath, which occurs just after they pass gauntlet!)

Radical premise - have fun with it!

Great idea. :mrgreen: I may just steal it.

It makes me wonder just how many Magi actually have apprentices at any one time. If say 25% of all magi have an apprentice then there would be about 300 magelings kicking around. Assuming a mild attrition about rate 75 of them would be apprentices for less then a year and about 50 would be in their 5th year.

Also how many renegade Magi are kicking around at anyone time and how many magi might be immersed in a temporary twilight episode. Of course all these things are pretty saga specific but it would really change the nature of a saga like this.

Also I surmise from your OP you think Parma books are pretty rare to non-existant.

It's obviously saga specific, but there's some evidence in the books (which runs contrary to what I originally thought). Somewhere in the Guernicus chapter of HoH:TL it says there's about 1 apprentice every 8 magi. This matches a model of an Order with a relatively static population, with an average lifespan after gauntlet of 120 years (so every member will live as a magus on average, 120/15 = 8 times as many years as a magus as he lived as an apprentice). Thus, 1200 magi leads to 150 apprentices.

I tend to think they are not too common but, most of all, that they are jealously guarded. It's a military secret after all!

Of course no one is guarding them now. :slight_smile:

Why not? Only magi got "verminated" :slight_smile: Familiars, bound spirits, Watching Wards, mundane servants were not directly affected. And if a book is hidden, it's effectively "guarded" even without anyone or anything guarding it.

HoH:S expressly states that these books exist.

I agree that magi would try to gain control over the largest libraries in Europe and read, read read.

They might emerge more powerful than they were before. There would be resources aplenty.

On the other hand side, the code of hermes would have vanished with the verminated magi, so srying and killing would be possible.

Oh, and one more thought: can magi become de-verminated?

Where can I sign to join?

Maybe... or maybe not, depending on how the survivors interpreted and enforced things.

New game idea: Twilight: 1220.

Come, not one magus who has mastered a 'turn into vermin' spell for Magic Resistance and can manage a MR of 75 ?

Or a Holy Magus pious enough to get saved by divine intervention ?

And the Bjornaer, they get to make Heartbeast roll to reassume their normal shape if they get forcibly shapeshifted.

There's got to be some survivors !

Makes an interesting idea though.

Admittedly, it would not strike me as unrealistic if none did...

The ways of the Lord are mysterious... Maybe it's a Test of Faith?

The magnitude of the spell (which was pretty high in this case!) gets added to the ease factor ... alas, I do not have my books with me right now to check if it's a house rule, but that's how we play it. Anyway, if it is a houserule, the Volkov could have done many other nasty things to effectively remove the members of the Order from Mythic Europe, so it's still a sound premise.

The magnitude of the spell (which was pretty high in this case!) gets added to the ease factor ... alas, I do not have my books with me right now to check if it's a house rule, but that's how we play it. Anyway, if it is a houserule, the Volkov could have done many other nasty things to effectively remove the members of the Order from Mythic Europe, so it's still a sound premise.

There are probably also other magi who are sufficiently good at shape-shifting magic to just cast a spell to turn back into a person (at least temporarily), or can maybe dispel the magic on themselves.

Also, if it only affects Magi of the Order (so, it doesn't affect apprentices), it presumably also won't affect any magi who have been Marched but not yet killed.

But, it would by no means be the majority of the Order that are capable of easily coping with this problem. It does sound like an interesting premise for a saga.

You are correct, it means a Stamina + Heartbeast roll versus an Ease Factor of 3 + the magnitude of the spell or effect. Presumably an almost impossible roll, but the Bjornaer can just keep trying until he finally gets lucky.

And I don't think the Volkov should have the power to just wipe out the Order, or for that matter should try it even if they had. Because by doing so they just made sure that all the other groups in Europe, starting with the Church, will make their extermination the highest priority. Still, it made for a good, if very short, story.

I just had the amazing image of a thousand powerful Magi all permanently transformed into vermin, yet retaining their intelligence and magical abilities.

[size=150]Mrs Brisby and the Rats of Hermes. [/size]

Okay mice are actually the biggest vermin and I'm guessing the cursing baddie didn't even shoot that high, but

[size=150]Mrs. Brisby and the Mealworms of Hermes[/size]

just doesn't have the same ring.

Sounds like "Find the book" will be one of the first important quests to me.

I have started to see Parma as a virtue. You get it in an Initiation ceremony, where the big part on your side is to swear the Code. That makes the swearing something significant tyo you, and getting Parma something that really forces you to join the OoH. Parma-less hermetics sound inte5resting to me :slight_smile:


Can he? I thought a Bjornaer had one and only one chance at it.

Mechanically, the power's there.

Should they try? Well, in general no, it's risky stuff. But in this particular case, the Volkov in question had suffered an humiliation at the hands of the Order that to him was almost worst than death -- so I think the reaction was pretty justified.

Finally, I'm not sure why all the other groups in Europe, starting with the Church, would act that way. First and foremost, the disappearance of the Order will not cause such large ripples, because the non-interference clauses in the Oath always kept the Order "away" in any case. Second, even if the Order's disappearance were noticed, it's not immediately obvious how many would investigate the causes: the Church would probably think "Ah, the Lord finally punished them!". Third, even if the Volkov were found to be responsible -- well, would you mess with a group that just wiped out, in the course of a single night, the most powerful magical group in Mythic Europe? Particularly if they projected a strong "Leave us alone and we'll leave you alone" attitude?

IMO, this makes House Criamon, which has the ghosts to teach Parma and whose Domus Magnus is a regio, the main surviving House, if you assume the Bjornaer don't just shake it off.

It also leave House Mercere with the fun toys and the organisation to use them.

It also allow those Bjornaer with "secret name" inner mystery to stay intact;
it also doesn't work on those who are not considering themselves member of the Order, including: those renounced and Marched, since it's about symbolic.

However, casting such a spell for a Volkhv require 9 symbolic points related to the Order.
I can see: "magic", "Hermes", "wizards" at 3 each, but that means a lot of experience points. And since you need at least 3 different type of symbol IIRC for each "symbol" use, it means 3x3 (since you use it range, duration and target).