The Covenant of Caepernum: Gaudius of Verditius

Character Concept:
An illusionist and enchanter of gems, skilled in replicating things which he can perceive (or otherwise has an accurate model for). He carries the burden of his master’s reputation for unoriginality. He will meddle dangerously with faeries as he researches their Glamour in his struggle to create original hermetic work. In the meantime, he will apply his talents in illusion to combating the Order of Suleiman. All war is based on deception.

Why has he come to Caepernum?
Gaudius left Italy wanting to prove himself. Caepernum provides the perfect opportunity. Its rich vis sources will fuel his creations, the impotent local Quaesitors will leave him alone to his research, and fighting the greatest threat to the Order of Hermes will make his name. As a Christian, of course, he is well-disposed towards the Templars… but frankly, religion has never been his highest priority.

Gaudius is tall, with curly black hair and a well-groomed beard. His manner is authoritative and decisive, although his speech is not especially eloquent, and he relies as much on gestures as on words to communicate. It is apparent that he is more accustomed to demonstration than explanation. Gaudius typically dresses in a colourful knee-length tunic with flared sleeves - very much the fashion when he was last in Venice. He wears many rings and expensive-looking bejwelled pendants, which advertise his trade. When travelling Gaudius often chooses a completely different appearance to suit his environment. For example, he has found that openly wearing a king's ransom in jewelry can attract inconvenient attention.

On minute inspection, his spells tend to create fractal images; details and elements will resemble the whole.

Three new spells (the Jeweler's Skeptical Examination is one his master taught him; the others he invented):

His Gauntlet masterpiece:

Extended background:
Gaudius was taken from his family in Venice at a young age, and has not seen them since. After two years of testing his aptitudes, Vorpentius formally made him his apprentice. His parens was a masterful jeweler but a mediocre magus. Although his magic was not flawed in any dramatic fashion, Vorpentius simply lacked the creativity to devise new inventions. This was especially painfully apparent at the Verditius Contests every 18 years. Time after time, as his peers became respected elder magi, Vorpentius’ own creations were small-minded in concept, often simply implementing formulaic spells which were well-known across the Order.

At a fairly young age, when he was still a playful child, Gaudius created his first new spell, Show the Telling of the Tale. For several months, he used it at every opportunity to repeat his favourite faerie tale: Maestro Lattantio and His Apprentice Dionigi ( This eventually attracted the attention of a highly cognizant fairy, which pretended to be Gaudius’ father, and briefly stole Gaudius away by implementing the tale in Gaudius’ life. Of course, Gaudius’ master was quick to recover his lost pupil. When Vorpentius discovered that this frivolity was what had been occupying his apprentice’s time, he admonished him very severely, and Gaudius did not attempt to invent another spell of his own until his apprenticeship had almost ended.

Nevertheless, Gaudius subsequently proved himself a capable apprentice, and was gradually given increasing responsibilities in the management of his master’s business. While Vorpentius’ magical reputation suffered, his mundane workshop prospered, forming contacts with merchants across the Mediterranean.

At the Verditius Contest of 1144, shortly before the completion of Gaudius’ apprenticeship, Vorpentius entered with a surprisingly impressive crown, capable of powerful and sophisticated Rego Vim effects, including extremely potent wards and metamagic. It did not win the Contest, but it attracted many votes. Only afterwards was it discovered that the crown’s design closely resembled a previous entry to the Contest, submitted some 36 years previously. Although Vorpentius claimed to have no memory of having seen the entry, and no proof was found that he had broken the rules, Vorpentius became extremely unpopular amongst his fellow Verditius magi.

For his gauntlet, Gaudius created a memory gem to store images of objects - something his master might have found a helpful aide memoire. His master thanked him for it, cordially, but the two parted on rather cool terms.

Feedback very welcome, especially on the new spells.

Replicating the Distant Image is level 30,. Gaudius' Arts + MT + Int + focus is only, it looks like, 32. Even with a strong aura and a good lab, inventing that spell would take more seasons of lab time than an apprentice has in my vision of the setting. I'd like to see an explanatory story for this or say he learned it from lab notes.

Looking at Replicating the Distant Image the room target makes it workable but also limited, just like Summoning the Distant Image. It might run into difficulties scrying on people who are outside. AS I understand the spell, he'll wish to (but not have to) cast the spell in a room larger than the one on which he scrys. Otherwise; the images will leak out into adjacent areas.

That's a good point, and also applies for his creating his Gauntlet masterpiece, which I think HOH:MC implies should be created in a single season. Updating to change the relevant spells.

Noble's Parma, but isn't the Gauntlet Masterpiece supposed to be a Lesser Device, meaning it has to be done in a single season?

Yes, updated the sheet with a new spell.

A few thoughts:

  • Ideally Gaudius would have something more specialised than affinity (or puissant) finesse, to allow him to create accurate copies (p143 Am5). I think if I was running this, I would allow for a new virtue along the lines of: +6 to finesse create precisely accurate copies. I'm considering focusing on the intellego requisite approach instead, which is probably more effective in magic items (where others' finesse won't be as high as his).
  • I considered taking creative block, to double down on the tension between his desire for originality and his aptitude for replication. But am I right in thinking that the virtue as written improves your ability to experiment, as you roll twice on the experiments chart?
  • Would the following alternative design for the Memory Gem work? The problem I see is it would have 2 triggers: one to capture the image, and then an environmental trigger to keep it each sunrise/sunset. Is that possible?
    The Memory Gem:
    A multifaceted cut opal, installed in a pendant. It is enchanted with An Aid to Memory; each of its faces can hold an impression indefinitely.
    Base spell Cr(In)Im15, +3 environmental effect, +6 for 50 uses per day = 24

I thought that we settled with ignoring specific dates, but for my story, I have assumed the idea of starting at 1160, which was the last proposal regarding picking a date. It seems you assume 1145.

1145 is 75 years before 1220, so I figured that this would be the date. It doesn't change anything for me if we're starting later really. As you say, we're not being too specific with dates.

Could you put specializations on your abilities?

For the memory gem I don't see someone being able to concentrate on several images at once come sunrise/sunset, at least not without a concentration role, which is exceedingly difficult for even two "spells". (I'd use moon for the same level)

I thought faceting of gems didn't happen until the 14th century, but I googled and found enough to show me that a faceted opal would be fine (also, wizards).

As for creative block, I consider getting to roll extra dice on the experimentation table is, to my mind, like getting bonus spins in a game of Russian roulette (not good). You want a final creation that does as you wish, so you need to avoid a result that will mess you up (about half of the table) twice. Even if you get a good result on one roll a bad result on the next can still make your creation unusable or flawed.

Specialisations added. Switched from affinity for Finesse to Deft Imaginem.

I wondered about this. From Core:

"Start to wear off" implies this isn't instant. It makes sense to me that you'd have a diameter of leeway (the time from when the sun first hits the horizon, to when it sinks behind it). And with it taking "a few moments" to renew each spell, I think there's time to maintain quite a few images (although the "unlimited" seems like overkill; 50 is probably already over the maximum). This doesn't change the fact that the item is pretty inefficient, since you have to take the time to pay attention to it! But this is likely to make you remember the items yourself, anyway, so I quite like the thematic implications.

Grateful if anyone could let me know if the above is at odds with some well-established principle of concentration duration spells in items.

Sorry, I miswrote: does creative block help original research?

It's normal for Verditius magi to have assistance from forge-companions and venditores, and I plan for Gaudius to have quite a few lackeys and agents. With a few more points in leadership, he shouldn't have too much trouble with recruiting these, given his decent Presence and his spell Aura of Ennobling Presence.

The normal rules are that you can have a maximum of:
2x (Pre + (Intrigue or Leadership) - Gift penalty (3)) agents
Up to leadership forge-companions

I think I might take the following approach:
As a default, can recruit up to half his maximum number of agents. This includes venditores and forge-companions.
Every 15 year period that passes allows an additional agent above this ceiling to be recruited (as long as this doesn't raise his number of agents above its maximum).
Up to half of his agents can be forge companions (and no more than his Leadership)
Forge companions' craft skill abilities are between 5 and 9 (ie, they only add +1 to his craft each)

So for the first 15 years, he will have Pre 2 + Leadership 2 (from Leadership 1, specialisation agents) - Gift 3 = 1 agent.
If he increases his Leadership by 1, he can recruit another 1 agent.
At Gauntlet+15 years, he would be able to recruit a third agent, even if he doesn't increase his leadership further.

After an extensive hiatus...

Gaudius of Verditius at Gauntlet+15

Covenant: Caepernum

Characteristics: Int +3, Per +3, Pre +2, Com -1, Str -1, Sta -1, Dex -1, Qik -1

Size: 0

Age: 37 (30), Height: 162 cm, Weight: 60 kg, Gender: Male

Decrepitude: 0

Warping Score: 3 (30)

Confidence: 1 (3)

Virtues and Flaws: The Gift, Major Magical Focus (Replication), Affinity with Imaginem, Cautious Sorcerer (Bonus: Three fewer botch dice casting spells or in lab), Deft Form (Imaginem), Affinity with Creo, Affinity with Jewelworking, Improved Characteristics, Puissant Imaginem, Hermetic Magus, Verditius Magic*, Driven (Original Work), Oversensitive (Criticism), Plagued by Supernatural Entity (Fairie), Infamous Master, Difficult Spontaneous Magic, Spontaneous Casting Tools, Hubris

Personality Traits: Driven +3, Oversensitive +1, Enthusiastic +1, Hubris +1

Reputations: Derivative (Amongst Magi) 3


Dodge: Init: -1, Attack --, Defense -1, Damage --

Fist: Init: -1, Attack -1, Defense -1, Damage -1

Kick: Init: -2, Attack -1, Defense -2, Damage +2

Soak: -1

Fatigue levels: OK, 0, -1, -3, -5, Unconscious

Wound Penalties: -1 (1-5), -3 (6-10), -5 (11-15), Incapacitated (16-20), Dead (21+)

Abilities: Living Language (Venetian) 5 (Commercial), Living Language (Arabic) 2 (Commercial), (Latin 4 (hermetic usage), Artes Liberales 1 (geometry), Guile 1 (explaining inconsistencies), Finesse 3 (Imaginem), Magic Theory 6 (Imaginem), Parma Magica 1 (Imaginem), Philosophiae 1 (verditius runes), Bargain 2 (gems), Charm 2 (first impressions), Jewelworking 6 (enchanting items), Folk Ken 2 (magi), Organization Lore: House Verditius Cult Lore 3 (history), Leadership 3 (agents), Order of Hermes Lore 1 (history), Stealth 1 (urban areas), Area Lore: Venice 1 (geography), Area Lore: Galilee 1 (geography)

Arts: Cr 10, In 10, Mu 7, Pe 1, Re 4, An 0, Aq 1, Au 0, Co 5, He 0, Ig 1, Im 14+3, Me 1, Te 4, Vi 2


Encumbrance: 0 (0)

Spells Known:

Aura of Ennobled Presence (MuIm 10) +26

Image Phantom (MuIm 20) +26

The Miner's Keen Eye (InTe 20) +13

Unseen Arm (ReTe 5) +7

Circular Ward Against Faeries (ReVi 15) +5

The Jeweler's Skeptical Examination (InTe 15) +13

Show the Telling of the Tale (CrIm 5) +26

An Aid to Memory (Cr(In)Im 15) +26

Rusted Decay of Ten-Score Years (PeTe 10) +4

Subtle Taste of Poison and Purity (InAq 5) +10


2 years of work

  • 2 seasons of lab set-up
  • Longevity ritual
  • 1 season initiating Items of Quality
  • 1 season making Mystagogue an item of quality: crown (+5 gain respect)
  • 1 season making item of quality: scales (+3 to measure and weigh goods)

11 years of study and adventure: 330XP

2 years of work

  • 1 season making item of quality: gold jewellery (+4 induce greed)
  • 1 season making item of quality: hourglass (+7 timing and alarms)
  • 1 season making Jeweller’s Calipers
  • 1 season inventing A Turb of Wizards
  • 1 season inventing Phantasmal Animal
  • 1 season inventing See My Wonders (Discern Own Illusions, touch range)

Together, the scales, hourglass and Jeweller’s Calipers (plus Gaudius’s Venetian trading contacts) provide Superior Equipment.

Longevity Ritual:

Int 3 + MT 3 + Aura 3 + Creo 7 + Corpus 1 = 17 = -4 to aging rolls

Aging rolls: stress die + age/10 (round up) - longevity ritual 4 - living conditions 1

9x stress -2 (ignore aging crises). Result: apparently aged 5 years / 9

4x stress -1 (ignore aging crises). Result: apparently aged 2 years / 4

2x stress -1. Result: apparently aged 1 year / 2

Experience Spent

+15XP Arabic (to 2)

+5XP Area Lore: Galilee (to 1)

+15XP Finesse (to 3)

+25XP Leadership (to 3)

+50XP Jewelworking (to 6)

+75XP Magic Theory (to 6)

+25XP Verditius Cult Lore (to 3)

210 XP on abilities

+18XP Creo (to 10)

+27XP Intellego (to 10)

+40XP Imaginem (to 14+2)

+22XP Muto (to 7)

+14 XP Corpus (to 5)

+1 XP Ig (to 1)

120 XP on arts

The Moneylender’s Calipers [Item]

Contains 3 castings per day (+2) of the Jeweler's Skeptical Examination (InTe 15). A useful tool for a mundane expert encountering currency of uncertain provenance. Triggered by clamping the calipers in position with their in-built metal catch.

A Turb of Wizards, CrIm25, Touch, Dia, Group [Spell]

The target appears to move in a dozen directions at once, as copies peel away and spread out from them. These copies mimick the target’s general behaviour. For example, if the target takes cover, so will the copies; if the target sprints North, so will the copies; if the target moves to attack, so will the copies. The copies replicate the caster in sight, sound and touch. (Reminder: Caster’s Per+Finesse+3+stress die must beat 6 to fool acquaintances.) The caster receives a +9 bonus to Defence. Enemies take -3 to Defend against the caster’s attacks or targeted spells, as they are uncertain which copy is the true threat.
Base 3, +1 Touch, +1 Dia, +2 Group, +1 moving image, +1 intricacy.


Gaudius sets up shop as a moneychanger and jeweller in the new settlement of Caepernum. His ability to identify the purity of various currencies is of great assistance. Gaudius spends several years making trading contacts, establishing his business and exploring the local area.

Gaudius then returns to Venice to be initiated into Items of Quality by a notable Verditius sculptor who is deep in the grip of hubris, for whom Gaudius makes a crown.

On returning to Caepernum, Gaudius spends a decade further entrenching his business and putting the Covenant’s finances on a firm footing, while pursuing his hermetic interests in imaginem. He

Nice, I'll try and catch up with a completed +15 year character soon.

Hi Hroppa!

So glad you all are continuing this project, I enjoy reading the new spells and effects and the discussions that ensue.

Wanted to point out that Items of Quality is less useful than might appear for Gaudius, as his Philosophae score is too low to take full advantage of the S/M bonuses: “ However, this bonus is limited by the magus's Philosophiae score at the time of creation, as this score measures his understanding of Verditius runes. ”.
(only noticed because I had recently built myself a Verditius with this Mystery, and had been circling how best to reach very high Phi scores)

Anyway, back to lurking!

Ah, nice catch, thanks! I'll shuffle some XP to get his Philosophiae at least to level 3, so they're more reasonably helpful.