So, I'm trying to write a new Template - the Civilized Bjornaer. A magus that is more Hermetic, more scholarly, than the stereotypical Bjornaer wild-man. So, I've come up with the following, but I'm not really pleased with it - it is too restrictive, too off-the-scale. So, I'm looking for ideas on how to make this template more generic, or present a more generally appealing Civilized Bjornaer.
I didn't do it all - just the virtues and characteristics.So here goes:
This template represents a modern Bjornaer magus, fully engaged in the Order's scholarly culture while still connected to his House's ancient mysteries.
Characteristics: Int +1, Per 0, Com +3, Str 0, Sta +1, Dex -1, Qik 0
Free Virtues: The Gift, Hermetic Magus, Heartbeast (dog)
Major Virtues: Major Magical Focus (domesticated animals)
Minor Virtues: Affinity with Animal, Book Learner, Inoffensive to Animals, Quiet Magic (x2), Puissant Animal, Subtle Magic
Major Flaws: Difficult Longevity Ritual
Minor Flaws: Afflicted Tongue, Animal Companion, Covenant Upbringing, Deficient Form (Ignem), Hedge Wizard, Missing Ear, Oversensitive (maltreatment of animals)
Personality Traits: Ancestor worshiper +3, Oversensitive to maltreatment of animals +3, Protective +1
Customization Notes: This Civilized Bjornaer has channeled his Heartbeast mystery into an extreme affinity with Animal and animals. Virtues and flaws related to Hermetic magic and animals are the core of this build, but others may be changed without unduly affecting the character.
We have chosen the unorthodox Characteristics allocation of +3 to Communication and +1 to Intelligence. Intelligence is not as important in ArM5 as it was in previous editions, so +1 Intelligence would serve the character fine. We preferred to invest in Communication to allow the character to produce works of fine Quality, to emphasize his scholarly nature.
We have chosen the dog heartbeast and a magical focus in domesticated animals to emphasize the character's cultured nature, but this can be easily changed to a wild animal, which is more usual for (and, in canon, respected in) the House. A good heartbeast may be a guardian or leader, like a stag or mountain lion, and a corresponding magical focus (like mountain animals, or grazing animals).
The Major Flaw (Difficult Longevity Ritual) represents the fact that the character's dominant animal nature interferes with this Corpus magic. It can be replaced with any other Major Flaw.
The character's two Personality Flaws can likewise be easily replaced. As written, the character's deep bond with animals also causes him to be oversensitive to their maltreatment. His deep indoctrination into the Bjornaer cult is represented as "Covenant Upbringing", as it provides him with unusual religious beliefs in ancestor worship and isolated him from mundane society.
The flaw Missing Ear was chosen to provide a characterizing feature for his heartbeast shape. The missing ear is part of his Essential Nature, and should thus transfer through to whatever shape he takes. It can be easily replaced with another Flaw, however.
Likewise, Afflicted Tongue represents a trace of his animal features in human shape - perhaps large canines, or a slobbering tongue. Again, it can be easily replaced with some other Flaw.
The Animal Companion virtue seems suitable, but can be easily replaced with a Magical Animal Companion if desired. Either way, the animal companion may become the character's familiar in-play.
An affinity and puissance with Animal marks him as an expert in Animal-magic, and Inoffensive to Animals allows him to interact with them well. Quiet and subtle magic allow him to cast his spells in heartbeast shape, which is vital. Book Learner emphasizes his Hermetic, scholarly nature.