The Covenant of Caepernum: Corvus Trianomae

Corvus was born and raised in the south of France and apprenticed by a maga Trianomae with an interest in foreign magic and the Order’s frontiers.
As Corvus detested the atmosphere of conflict in Normandy Tribunal he was fostered to a “friend of the family” an older Magus in Thebes with a lineage connected to his mater’s. His support of the Frankish crusaders and the new dynasty in Constantinople was unpopular with many Theban magi. After his Gauntlet he moved to the Levant to support a group of magi working with a chapter of Templars. With several of his new sodales working with investigating the Order of Suleiman, as well as battling them in correspondence with the Crusading effort, Corvus lends a hand with his bird-based espionage. This also allows him to keep an eye on the workings of his sodales. He works as a junior assistant to the Winter Tenens Occultorum- his former foster pater.

Corvus is a pious Christian and conforms to the demands made by the Templars on their Supernatual allies. His Gentle Gift as well as skills of diplomacy and scheming allows him to both help his less pious sodales stay on the Templars’ good side, and travel to the surrounding area to set up the mundane agents of his espionage network.
He is deadly curious, and this is his driving trait. He has no lofty goals of greatness for the Order, or dreams of personal fame. He just can’t help himself snooping around. In his rational mind he knows all out warfare with the Order of Suleiman is dangerous, but he is sufficiently arrogant to believe his work can turn the table. But someone else needs to do the fighting.

[Edit: His minor Focus and minor Potency will be names "ravens" but includes all birds of the corvid family. This covers several species of ravens, crows, and rooks.]

Ok, already in the design for Corvus at Gauntlet I run into wanting custom spells, so first design question:

I want a spell to grant a raven the temporary mental faculties to carry a message reliably to a designated target (which it must be acquainted with beforehand), or who speaks a designated code word. If fed, it will take a message back toe original sender. If done within the duration that doesn't sound too excessive to me. The bird does not understand the message, it merely carries it. If the bird is given the message via Animal Ken it might understand it though. And for the bird to actually be able to deliver the message to a mundane it needs a different effect to be able to speak human words.

But what is this? This is Animal, but the mental side of the form, so I'm looking at Mentem for guidelines.
Initially I thought Creo, to grant it a mental ability. But then again, Muto is used to do unnatural things. Looking at Muto Mentem guidelines it's about changing memories, changing emotions or transforming the mind.
Muto Animal base 5 says "Change an animal in a minor way so that it is no longer natural " - that sounds fair.

Would it be cleaner to do it as two spells? One to grant the mental capacity and one to give specific complex instructions?

I think that "make an animal carry a message to a target" is a single thing and could be done as one spell (one with requisites). The additional stuff -take a message back to the caster if one of a number of criteria are met - strikes me as getting into more than I like to see a single spell do.

It looks like two spells to me too.

Suggest the spell to change the Animal’s mind really has to be Muto - MuAn/Me, Base 15 which is 1 mag higher than changing an animal into a humanoid.

Mind of the Beast (MuMe, Base 15) changes a human mind to a beast so that is a very close spell just going the opposite way.

That said - It’s an odd baseline to guess as Herbam is awakened at Base 4, but the Muto Mentem “utterly change a mind” is Base 15. So maybe it should be Base 15?

Then there is maybe a question of how “awakened” the animal needs to be.

Sure it needs to be smarter than a typical animal, but does it need full sentience like a -3 Int score?. An overly complex approach might make it harder to create a smarter mind, but again I think that’s a bit much.

Then once you have the animal’s mind transformed to be human-like it can be affected by a Mentem - which means the normal Mentem guidelines can apply for controlling it.

Rego Mentem Base 20 gives complex commands, which should cover going to a place, doing something specific, and returning. One ReMe spell at Base 20 fits that. I’d expect to be able to control a grog like that so it’s the same for the booster-raven.

You might also need to steal the Voice of the Bjornaer spell to grant the Raven a speaking voice too.

Oh, but I don't mind it at all if the bird does not also get the desire to seek out the receiver. I intend for a trained raven to do this with very little nudging. But for a completely random bird to do it, I could do a Rego spell to give the bird the inclination to deliver.

The spell I'm trying to design now is the one giving the bird the mental capacity to "record" a message which it then repeats once it reaches the reciever. With another spell allowing it to actually form human words.
Imagine how a parrot or a starling can be trained to mimic specific sounds, like specific words in human speech. I want the raven to be able to learn like that, to mimic a sentence. It's unnatural for a raven to do this, and unnatural to learn it in an instant. So a mental Muto Animal spell, to givge the raven this ability. This effect is similar to Voice of Bjornaer, only R:Touch

But I also want some sort of safeguard so it doesn't blabber to just anyone, but only the designated receiver or someone with the code word. Maybe this is best made as a separate mental Rego Animal effect?
And then a third mental Rego Animal effect to send the raven to the designated place.
And a fourth physical Muto Animal effect to allow the bird to speak human words, which a raven can't do naturally. I think. If nothing else, I want it to be able to speak clearly, not chirp noises which sound more or less like human speech.

Giving the animal full human intellect is a bit beyond what I had intended. Less should be able to do it. However this sounds interesting, and perhaps something for an older Corvus. A murder of intelligent crows as spies and messengers is a lot better than training a handful one at time magically to parrot a message back and forth.

So I now have some sketches for spell designs, all of which are within Corvus' capabilities to have as starting spells. Although he'd have a time issue inventing them all from scratch, I think it's more fun to do this rather than limit him to standard spells, which in essence are uninteresting in the design project.

Once I poste Corvus' actual stats at Gauntlet the write-up will be more complete, including the Potency which he uses.
[Edit: Corvus has seen some redesign, and the following spells (in altered forms) will instead be invented in year 1-15]

While I didn't double check the levels these spells all look good to me. I like that they make a toolbox for Corvus to use, and with everything close to fourth magnitude they're solid choices for a younger magus. There's nothing here that wouldn't be believable as a pre-existing spell that he learned from his parens or from notes.

Sure, breaking the endeavor up into tiny bits makes it easier to design spells for each segment. More can be added in time, to give more possibilities and more flexibility, or more powerful versions. Note that many of the names use the phrase "Day of..." or "...daily.." to easily invent a D:Moon version with a slightly different name. I have having to re-invent interesting yet telling names for longer lasting versions.
They are highly specialized, but that hardly matters - he is a specialist. He'll he a lab total in the early 30s so inventing the 4th magnitude spells would just be a 2 season project.

And I just realized that the posted spells actually add up to the 120 levels a gauntleted magus should start with. Corvus' stats should come up soon.

Or learn Wizard's Endurance and only research a single spell.

Sure that's one way of doing it. It's only one magnitude boost. But still, it requires study of Vim, and Corbus needs a level 30 if he wants it to be able to affect any of his current spells. And this is a lab project where his focus and potency won't help. However longer lasting versions hos his current 6 spells would take 2-3 seasons each to invent.
I both like and dislike this approach. It's nice and flexible but undermines the specialist role if he has to be as good, or even better, at Vim in order to pull it off.

And besides D:Moon versions he'd also like T:Group versions of some or all. So, how many ravens are created in a T:Group version of Conjuration of the Black-plumed Messenger? Base Ind for animal is a size +1 creature, like a pony. And Group gets as much mass as 10 of these. A quick search says a pony can weigh 200-300 kg and a raven rarely more than 1,5 kg. So that's 1300-2000 ravens...

Ok, I think Corvus is ready:
[edit: changes made using Day of the Demanding Spell ReVi to hold D:Conc spells for D:Sun]
[Edit again: Corvus has been changed a bit again, mainly in spells known at gauntlet. Please see the v3 posted around page 3 of this thread]

Spell writeup follows in the next post

Corvus custom made spells v2:
[Edit: Spells lowered to D:Conc to take advantage of using a D:Sun version of Maintaining the Demeaning Spell to prolong the spells]

Another alternative is to reinvent them or Muto Vim them to a lower level duration concentration, then pick up a duration moon version of maintain the demanding spell.

I see he has a minor magical focus and minor magical potency for exactly the same thing, that's going to be a very focused magus.

Other magus "...and you can pull this off with a third magnitude..."

Corvus (interrupting) "perhaps, but I can also do that with a sixth magnitude raven spell, which is much easier"

Yes, Janus did that back then. And my current Trianomae in a Rhine saga also does this, actually starting back before Anulens Connectens. It also has the advantage of easy dispelling, by just removing the Vim spell.

It's almost too good a trick to not do. After all, it's a general application spell,. not one specific for each Form,

All Corvus' spells will drop a magnitude. Maintaining the Demanding spell as written gives D: Diam for spells up to own level, so that requires mag+1 for D:Sun or +2 for Moon. Highest level of Corvus' spells in D:Conc version will be 20, so a level 25 ReVi spell does what he can do as written now, and a lvl 30 ensures the D:Moon. However, it may be hard for Corvus to pull off, since he needs significant VIm totals without Focus or Potency. I'll need to toss some numbers around in order to see if this will fly.


Actually, my only concern is

...which is so specific that I found myself looking for tht extra magnitude for 'complex/very specific effect'

Agreed. Specific actions (and there are a bunch of them there on that spell) aren't what I would understand as "inclination to a particular response".

Also I find the starting spell list just to focused to be realistic. Spells gained through apprenticeship probably depends more on the interest of the parens than on the apprentice's, and probably the parens was also inclined to teach him other kind of stuff because he thought he could be useful, or interesting to understand something, or by whatever other reason. So I'd take at least half of that list and leave them to be invented later, and replace it with general use spells; an attacking one, a defensive one, something to manipulate vis, that kind of stuff.

Maybe I'll just add a mental CrAn spell giving the raven the necessary knowledge of the place, while the former spel gives it an inclination to seek out this specific place.

I would think that giving a very specific sort instructions to an animal target would be easier than a more general spell that could be used for multiple purposes. I don't see why it would demand an additional magnitude.