Typhon of Tytalus -- Character creation

Greetings all!

I asked Peregrine_Bjornaer if there might join the saga, and he said to go ahead and start a character discussion thread, so here I am! :smiley:

This is a magus concept that's been bouncing around my head for quite some time now (months), and I thought I'd give it a try to see how it would work in play. The character is already statted out at Gauntlet, but there might be some points that require troupe discussion.

So here it is...

The base concept is that of an innate shapeshifter that became an Hermetic apprentice. His shapeshifting ability so conditioned his Gift before it was opened that Hermetic magic is difficult to use. As in the Painful Magic major flaw. But pain, as they say, is simply proof that one is still alive. Particularly if you are a magus of House Tytalus.

Summary Background
The child who would become a magus grew up in Palermo as an orphan, under the care of Benedictine monks. Very little is known about the dead woman who may have been his mother, except that she was of Moorish blood. The child himself was obviously of mixed ancestry -- swarty skin and brown hair but his eyes a startling green. Growing up at an orphanage, the boy learned to speak the language of the Norman staff there. But he often roamed the streets of Palermo, exploring it and picking up a smattering of Italian and Arabic words. The monks frowned upon such forays and discipline was strict under then, so the boy learned to endure the pain as a price for his decisions.

Despite the first signs of his Gift, he was adopted by a fisherman and his wife, who had been unable to have children of their own. While learning the life of his adopted father, a storm blew them to an island used as a base by Barbary pirates and they were captured. The fisherman was killed and the boy became their slave. During one of their visit to the island, he used his burgeoning Gift to escape by shapechanging. Stranded on the island for months, he survived as an animal. He would occasionally feel the touch of something alien on his mind.

Then one day another boat came to the island, bearing a strange man whom he had seen visiting the orphanage a few times in the past, observing the children yet never adopting one. The man offered food and a chance to escape the island. He also offered to take the boy as his apprentice, to learn the ways of magic and walk the path of greatness, like the heroes of legend. The boy resisted, until he saw from his own eyes the power that the man possessed.

His new master's name was Chiron, a magus of House Tytalus. He gave the boy the new name Smaragdus (green gem), for the color of his eyes, and began educating him in the ways of Tytalus magi -- through challenges, strife and contest. Much pain also, but that was already something he was used to, even at his young age. As his power in magic grew, so did the presence touching his mind every so often. A huge, powerful presence, literally a force of nature. The force that had given life to a force of Greek mythology. This spirit was not benevolent, nor really malevolent; it simply was an uncontrollable force, which sometimes brought visions to the young apprentice and guided his life. Sometimes he fought them; sometimes he embraced them. As he did when, upon completing his Gauntlet, the new magus announced its name as his own. Only Chiron (maybe) knew that this was not simply a boast, but rather recognition of an inescapable fact.

He was Typhon.

Stats Out of Gauntlet
Gender: Male
Age: 27
Confidence: 2 (5)

Characteristics: Int +1, Per +1, Str +1, Sta +2, Pre 0, Com 0, Dex +1, Qik 0

The Gift
Hermetic Magus
Apt Student
Clear Thinker
Enduring Constitution
Inoffensive to Animals
Linguist (25% bonus to language experience)
Personal Vis Source
Puissant Intellego
Self-Confident (House virtue)
Cyclic Magic (Fall and Winter)
Obsessed (Justice)
Painful Magic
Plagued by Supernatural Entity
Weak Scholar
Personality Traits: Brave +2, Cynical +2, Idealist +2, Obsessed by justice +3

Abilities:Animal Handling (Donkeys) 0[sup]1 xp[/sup]
Artes Liberales (Rhetoric) 1
Athletics (Climbing) 2
Awareness (Searching) 2
Bargain (Vis) 0[sup]1 xp[/sup]
Brawl (Knife) 0[sup]1 xp[/sup]
Carouse (Staying sober) 0[sup]1 xp[/sup]
Charm (First impressions) 0[sup]1 xp[/sup]
Code of Hermes (Scrying) 1
Concentration (Spell concentration) 2
Finesse (Herbam) 1
Folk Ken (Clergy) 2
Guile (Disguises) 2
Intrigue (Debate) 2
Language: Arabic (Sicily) 2
Language: French (Norman) 5
Language: Italian (Sicily) 3
Language: Latin (Hermetic usage) 4
Leadership (Debate) 1
Legerdemain (Filching) 3
Magic Theory (Inventing spells) 3
Organization Lore: Church (Benedictine Rule) 1
Organization Lore: Order of Hermes (History) 1
Parma Magica (Corpus) 1
Penetration 1
Philosophiae (Moral philosophy) 1
Shapeshifter (Lizard) 2
Stealth (Sneak) 2
Arts: Cr 2, In 8+3, Re 5, An 5, Co 5, He 5

Discourse of the Animal's Tongue (InAn 20) +18
Whispering Winds (InAu 15) +13
The Inexorable Search (InCo 20) +18
Lifting the Dangling Puppet (ReCo 15) +12
Clothe the Naked Form (CrHe 10) +9
Transformation of the Thorny Staff (MuHe 10) +7
Tangle of Wood and Thorns (ReHe 15) +12
Palm of Flame (CrIg 5) +4
The Call to Slumber (ReMe 10) +7
Appearance: For those familiar with the recent Battlestar Galactica TV series, his demeanor and voice are quite similar to that of Romo Lambkin (played by Mark Sheppard), the lawyer who defends Gaius Baltar at his trial. His looks, however, are those of F. Murray Abraham when he was younger, like in the film Serpico (I found a picture here). Except that he has vibrant green eyes.

Design Notes:

  • Not sure about the Clear Thinker and Personal Vis Source virtues. I may swap one or both of them to increase Characteristics (such as a higher Pre or Com).
  • In the same way, I could swap out the Cyclic Magic and Weak Scholar flaws, if I were to find something more appropriate.
  • I know that the Shapeshifter virtue is considered suboptimal for a magus. On top of that, I've decided that he would only be able to develop reptilian shapes. His initial shape was a green lizard (which fits for his apprentice name), and his second shape would be either an adder or a crocodile (if the troupe allows it). I don't know whether shapeshifters are treated as abominations by Bjornaer magi in this saga.
  • And I know that the Painful Magic flaw can be quite severe. But the character will rely heavily on Abilities and knowledge rather than brute-force magic.
  • He's not very strong, Hermetically speaking. Probably never will. But he's more of an investigator and manipulator than a destructive magus. I will probably advance him a few years before introducing him to the saga.
  • From what I can tell, he's not crowding any of the active concepts. He's a Tytalus like Talia, but oriented in a completely different direction. He's somewhat of an Intellego specialist, but from what I can tell Halie has left the covenant.

If I had to describe him in two words, they would be: a cynical idealist.

I've got more stuff about his background written up, as well as many ideas, but I'll wait unles I've had some feedback regarding the concept.

Comments and questions are welcome.

Why is a "monster" obsessed with Justice?
I've had a concept for a Painful Magic magus kicking around in the back of my mind (this is for a potential face to face game that seems to be getting closer to kicking off!), giving him Life Boost. The idea being that he's not going to use magic much, and whenever he does, he's going to make it count, and he was going to be a Tytalus, so that he could push it even further with Confidence. I think I see something of that here.

Note that he doesn't see himself as a monster and is not one in fact either. Tytalus tradition usually encourages new magi to select a name based on those of the Titans on Greek mythology. But at the point of the ceremony, the spirit whispered in his mind and revealed (part of) its nature through the name.

It is totally unrelated with the Obsessed personality flaw. This is more a result of his detailed background (which I'll post shortly). He was an orphan, who suffered pain at an early age because of the selfish actions of others. He saw the underbelly of society, where the poor are exploited. He suffered at the hands of criminals (pirates). He became the apprentice of a magus who uses the name of the Greek figure (Chiron) that trained heroes. He was shown the abuses that the powerful get away with, be they magi, nobles or high clergy. That shaped his obsession.

His concept of justice is not necessarily based on law, but rather on fairness and the willingness to pay the price for what you desire. His own price for power is expressed as pain for every spell that he casts. He wants to make sure that others don't take their privileges for granted, and don't acquire those privileges from the unwilling pain of others. I would also note that Obsessed is a minor personality flaw, so it helps define the character but doesn't drive him constantly. That seemed fitting.

Actually, Life Boost might have been a nice addition, but I simply don't see how I can make it fit. Each of the virtues I selected has its role in the make-up of the character and I want him to be centered on his shapeshifter nature. I don't need him to be particularly powerful hermetically, as I see him more as an investigator and debater than a killer.

The only virtues I could see being changed to something else are Clear Thinker and Personal Vis Source. I took Clear Thinker to help in investigations and debating, while Personal Vis Source is to give him a bargaining chip and a source of learning when he travels around.

Of the other virtues, Apt Student, and Puissant Intellego come from his training under Chiron. Inoffensive to Animals is linked to Shapeshifter, allowing him to move in the animal world without disturbing it. Personal Vis Source, if I keep it, would probably also be linked to his shapeshifting nature. Enduring Constitution is simply because he's suffered so much pain, starting at such a young age, that he's gotten used to pain. And it help reduce the effects of Painful Magic, giving him two rounds of casting before he begins to be negatively impacted by the pain from casting spells.

Some more detailed background on his childhood.

"My first memories are of the orphanage in Palermo, close to the Benedictine church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti. The monks who took care of us were strict but good. One day, I asked brother Gervase about my parents, and why I did not live with them. He told me that I had been found near the body of my mother, on the shores near the city, and that no one knew who she was and what had happened to us."

The young boy was named Vincent by the monks of San Giovanni who ran the orphanage. He was raised with other orphans of Palermo, those unfortunate enough to have no family left to take them in when their parents died. Not knowing if the foundling was Christian, he was baptized again in order to save his soul.

Very little was found out about the woman who was assumed to be his mother. That she was of Moorish descent was clear, but the boy found with her showed mixed ancestry. His skin was swarty yet fairer than the woman's, his brown hair lightly and his eyes a startling green. He looked to be about one year of age when he was found.

Growing up, the boy learned to speak the language of the Norman staff at the orphanage, but also picked up a smattering of Italian and Arabic from the other children at the orphanage and in the city. Days at the orphanage were mostly spent on play, but also on chores and small tasks like carrying water, weeding the garden or gathering wood. They also regularly attended Church and learned their prayers.
"As I got a little older, I would sometimes sneak out of the orphanage to explore the city. The monks did not like it when I did this, nor what I did in the city. I accepted the punishment they gave me whenever I got caught."

Vincent was a very active lad, often chafing at the strict discipline of the monks. So he snuck out occasionally to explore Palermo, stealing bits of food when he got hungry. Sometimes he would come back before the monks realized he was gone. But at other times he would get caught, and became quite familiar with the switch. This sometimes rough treatment made him more deliberate in his trangressions, and how to avoid getting caught, but he also learned to endure the pain as a price for his decisions.

It is also at that time when the first signs of his Gift began to manifest themselves -- other kids stopped playing with him, and even those who had raised him began to feel ill at ease with the boy. Animals seemed unaffected by this, so he often ended up with the chores related to the chicken or at the stables.
"The orphanage would often be visited by those willing to apprentice the older children. An old man came to see us every year, but never left with any child. Then one year he started showing interest in me, asking me strange questions and observing me at play. He was strange and frightening. So when a fisherman and his wife came looking for a son and an apprentice, I decided to leave with them instead. Anything was better than leaving with this strange man."

The first signs of the boy's Gift attracted the attention of a magus who kept on eye on orphanages as a potential source for Gifted children. The magus was planning on coming back the next year and take Vincent if it looked like his Gift was indeed manifesting. Unfortunately, the effects of this magus' own Gift made Vincent distrust him. So when a fisherman and his wife came looking for a boy to adopt, Vincent did everything he could to be selected.

Despite some misgivings about the boy, they decided to give Vincent a place in their home. They had never been able to have children, so they took Vincent in as their son and apprentice.
"I tried to fit in and learn the fisherman's trade. It is a hard life, and I wasn't very good at it, but I might in time have become a passable fisherman. But Fate struck one day, under the guise of a sudden storm. My adopted father and I were forced north by the storm, we made for a small island for shelter. Instead of safety, we found pirates."

They were captured by Barbary pirates. The pirates were using the island (Ustica) as an occasional base between raids. They believed that eventually they could make Vincent one of them, so they made him their slave and bound him with an iron collar. The fisherman was of no use to them and they believed he might inform the authorities of their use of the island, so they killed him. They were cruel, often beating the boy, and locked him up at night. For months they came back to the island between raids. Vincent could not see a way to escape, so he bided his time and observed.
"They kept me captive for weeks, but eventually I escaped."

Success came from watching the lizards who lived on the island. They would come and go freely and Vincent observed them -- wishing he could become one of them and just slip away. He occasionally fed them small bits of his own food, studying their behaviour and movements -- for he felt a strange kinship to them. His Gift had begun to manifest at that time, so he could usually attract them towards him. Then one night something peculiar happened. It was on the summer solstice and the moon was full, so magic was stronger than it usually was. As Vincent was dreaming once again of slipping out like one of the green lizards, he felt a presence brush against his mind and the dream became reality. His Gift expressed itself through shapeshifting and he became a lizard.

That next morning, the pirates found Vincent's iron collar, scraps of clothing and some blood (that first transformation was messy) but no other sign of the boy. Spooked and believing he had been eaten by some sea monster, they left the island in great hurry.

But escape came with a price, over simple pain and a little blood. The primitive mind and instincts of the animal shape overcame his human mind, which became fragmented. It took a long time before his human memories and thoughts were organized enough to let him transform back to his human shape. The pirates were long gone and he was now stranded on the island, without clothing, food or tool. Unable to survive in human shape, he had no alternative but to rely on his lizard shape for food and shelter, conquering the fear that his mind would disappear again into that of the lizard. The first few times were painful, but as he got better at transforming himself the discomfort faded quickly. So he learned of his new shape's strength and weaknesses, eventually coming to enjoy it as he got used to it. Sometimes, however, when he would hunt as a lizard, his mind would again feel the touch of the same alien presence. Months passed while he planned and waited for an opportunity to escape the island.
"It took me almost a year before I was able to leave the island. That is when Chiron found me."

Eventually another boat came to the island, carrying a lone man who came to the beach and prepared a small encampment. With Vincent hiding behind some rocks, observing him, the man built a fire and started roasting some meat. The scent was so tempting after months living alone and fireless on the island, that when the man called out to him to come out, Vincent obeyed even though he did not trust him. They ate in silence. His stomach full for the first time since coming to the island, Vincent fell asleep. He slept past the next dawn and when he woke the man did not seem so strange.

"My name was Chiron", said the man, "and I have an offer for you."

The offer was simple but sounded like madness -- escape from the island and protection, in exchange for becoming the man's apprentice and serving him. The boy, Chiron said, was one of the few who had the potential for greatness, to become more than a simple man, possessing The Gift. Chiron would show him how to become a hero like those of legend, like his namesake had done in ancient times. The road would be filled with hardship and pain, the man said, but in exchange the boy would learn the ways of power beyond anything he could imagine and never again be simple prey to other men's cruelty. This sounded like madness to Vincent. He told the man no man had such power, unless he was King. Chiron answered by telling the boy even if he believed so, he should postpone his final answer until they reached Sicily's shore. That if he still believed that when got there, he could simply leave at that time after that. But if he stayed, he would be bound to Chiron for as long as his apprenticeship lasted.

Vincent, seeing this as his chance of leaving the island, got into the boat with the intention of leaving as soon as they reached land. But instead of pushing the boat off and raising sail, the man simply got in the boat as well. With a stomp from his foot, the boat scraped and shuddered off the sand and into the water. With a word from his mouth, the sail unfurled itself. With a gesture from his hand, a stiff wind filled it and pushed them south.

During the whole trip, the man stayed quiet. And when they came to shore, Vincent followed him without a word.

As a Tytalus debater I would lean towards winning through force of personality rather than anything else. Although I can see the contrarian approach of cogent arguments could be appealing.

Yes, it was a toss between Clear Thinker, Strong-Willed and Inspirational I think. (Does Inspirational help for debating Leadership? Or was that something else? I only have HoH:S in paper form, and I don't have it with me right now.)

I settled on Clear Thinker because it would also be good for him to take apart any opponent's arguments and avoid getting confused. (It gives a bonus for Tytalus debating.) It also helps to analyze large amounts of information (a bit like Sherlock Holmes).

Inspirational would be a nice alternate selection for that one, as it would help with mundanes as well ("He's scary and weird, but man! I'd follow him anytime!"), particularly once he gets to increase his Leadership score.

Talia is scary and weird, but she puts out, so... :laughing:

Typhon will be a different beast altogether. Literally. :laughing:

Mundanes probably won't like him (think stereotypical lawyer), but he should be able to gain their respect for sheer guts and panache. 8)

I've started thinking about advancing Typhon a few years past Gauntlet, and I have a few questions.

First question: How do we handle a virtue like Apt Student (which gives +5 xp when being taught directly)? I know it doesn't impact character creation up to the Gauntlet, for sure. But once the magus is free to decide how to spend his time, wouldn't it make sense for him to select the best course of learning whenever he can? I know that even after-apprenticeship years are still technically part of character creation, but it stretches credibility if xp-boosting virtues have no impact at all. On the other hand, I'm not suggesting that they would be used all the time either, as this would be no more realistic. I would suggest that a flat bonus be applied to the yearly points allowance for each such virtue the character possesses; I'd go so far as suggesting +3 xp per virtue. That represents once a year for Book Learner or Free Study, and a bit more than once every two years for Apt Student.

Second question: How do the previsouly-mentioned virtues interact with an Affinity or (in Typhon's case) Linguist? I've always considered that you added before multiplication, so that a source quality of 11, plus Apt Student and Linguist, would give you (11+5)1.25 = 21 xp, rather than (111.25)+5 = 18.75

Third question: How do you handle fractionnal xp? Personally, I prefer to keep track of them rather than rounding, but I can round if that's how things are handled in this saga.

Fourth question: How much vis would a Personal Vis Source yield during post-Gauntlet years? I'm not yet decided whether I'll keep that virtue or not, but it would certainly be nice to know beforehand. Looking at Talia, seems like it would be 8 pawns per year, but does that vary based on Art?

That's about it for now. I'll wait for some additional comments before finalizing the character and start advancing him -- so far only Jonathan has made comments, so I'd like to know what other members of the troupe (and the SG as well) think.

FWIW, PB and I both use MetaCreator which handles affinities differently, but it essentially tracks fractions and doesn't round.
I believe you are correct as far as Apt Student and how it interacts with the Linquist/Affinity virtues.
Talia's Personal vis source started at 8 pawns per year.

Looking over the initial version, the only problems (and not so much problems as questions) I see are two of the spells that I can't find:

  • Discourse of the Animal's Tongue – is that Comprehension of the Beast’s Speech from the Net Wizard's Grimoire?
  • Clothe the Naked Form, which might be a version of Naked Man Weaving

And, what brings him to Loch Leglean, the Tombstone City of the Order?

Sounds reasonable to me.

Yes, that makes more sense. I don't think there's anything RAW, but I would be inclined to go with the adding, then multiplying (even though it's algebraically wrong :smiley: ).

If you're not using MetaCreator, then you round to the nearest whole number; .5 rounds away from zero (up if it's a positive number, down if it's a negative). I think I have a house rule that covers that.

Sorry about that.

Discourse of the Animal's Tongue is a simply the name I came up with for a basic speak with animals spell, from the InAn guidelines (Base 10, +1 Touch, +1 Conc).

Clothe the Naked Form is from Magi of Hermes (p.58) which creates an individual piece of clothing, made of linen or cotton (Base 1, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +2 treated and processed). A Finesse roll is required for the quality, with Ease Factor of 6 for standard quality. With a roll of 9 or more, the caster gets to select the dye and style.

I don't use MetaCreator, but I use an Excel spreadsheet that keep track of fractions. And I don't mind indicating fractional xp on my character sheet.

Kept that one for last. :slight_smile:

Basically, a Vision sent him there.

Ever since his link to the Supernatural Entity was established, it has occasionally sent him visions. It is, for the most part, the way in which it plagues him (although it does sometimes put words in his mouth, or affect events around him in certain ways -- usually through reptiles). He has learned never to ignore these visions. He can fight them, or embrace them, but never ignore them.

So, ever since he has finished his apprenticeship, he's been driven by those visions. And the latest of those was of a narrow lake to the far north where a reptilian creature lives. He doesn't know why he got that vision, he only knows that he must go there. Note that the myth of Typhon makes him the father of most monsters of Greek mythology and an opponent of the Greek Gods. It is not such a stretch to say that the fundamental force behind the myth is the same no matter the mythology, so this could be the same force even that far north, under a different name. The Niseag might be one of its children. My magus may have been sent there to protect it from something, to help it accomplish some deed, or perhaps just to be its friend. Doesn't matter, really, as it makes for a convenient excuse to send him there. And if at some point his presence no longer works out at the covenant, another vision can just as easily send him away.

So, after his vision (or series of visions) regarding the Loch Ness, he inquired and researched the location of such a lake. He finally found the description of a place that fit his vision, and that sent him to Canaria Insula.

Doesn't mean he'll be happy to be there. And he certainly won't tell the other magi of his real reason. :laughing:

Been looking at tweaking the character and doing some post-Gauntlet advancement. Here's the changes from what I previously posted. (I'll update my initial post to reflect those changes.)

Characteristics: Per reduced from +1 to 0, Com increased from 0 to +1 (up from 0)

Virtues: replaced Clear Thinker by Inspirational

Abilities: Artes Liberales (Rhetoric) 1, Athletics (Climbing) 2, Awareness (Searching) 2, Brawl (Knife) 1, Carouse (Staying sober) 1, Charm (First impressions) 2, Code of Hermes (Scrying) 1, Concentration (Spell concentration) 2, Finesse (Herbam) 1, Folk Ken (Clergy) 2, Guile (Disguises) 2, Intrigue (Debate) 1, Language: Arabic (Sicily) 2, Language: French (Norman) 5, Language: Italian (Sicily) 3, Language: Latin (Hermetic usage) 4, Leadership (Debate) 1, Magic Theory (Inventing spells) 3, Organization Lore: Church (Benedictine Rule) 1, Organization Lore: Order of Hermes (History) 1, Parma Magica (Corpus) 1, Penetration (Intellego) 1, Philosophiae (Moral philosophy) 1, Ride (Long distances) 1, Shapeshifter (Spotted Lizard) 2, Stealth (Sneak) 2

Advancing him 6 years gives him 198 points (33 per year):
Abilities (111 points)
[list]10 xp in Artes Liberales, bringing score to 2 (and adding Greek alphabet)
15 xp in Charm, bringing score to 3
10 xp in Code of Hermes, bringing score to 2
5 xp in Guile, bringing score to 2[sup]+5 xp[/sup]
4 xp in Language: Ancient Greek, bringing score to 1 (Linguist virtue applies)
12 xp in Language: Arabic, bringing score to 3 (Linguist virtue applies)
4 xp in Language: Gaelic, bringing score to 1 (Linguist virtue applies)
4 xp in Language: Scottish, bringing score to 1 (Linguist virtue applies)
10 xp in Leadership, bringing score to 2
2 xp in Magic Theory, bringing score to 3[sup]+2 xp[/sup]
10 xp in Organization Lore: Order of Hermes, bringing score to 2
10 xp in Parma Magica, bringing score to 2
15 xp in Shapeshifter, bringin score to 3 (and adding a new shape)
Arts (37 points)
9 xp in Intellego, bringing score to 9+3
15 xp in Muto, bringing score to 5
10 xp in Auram, bringing score to 4
3 xp in Imaginem, bringing score to 2
Spells (50 points)
Aura of Beguiling Appearance (MuIm 10)
Aura of Childlike Innocence (MuIm 10)
Groomed to Taste (ReCo 5) -- see below
My Body at Any Age (MuCo 10) -- see below
A Day's Sight of the Hidden Vis (InVi 15) -- a Sun-duration variant of Sight of the Hidden Vis in the covenant's library[/list:u]
The new spells:

Groomed to Taste (ReCo 5)
R:Touch, D:Mom, T:Ind

Description: Adjusts the target's appearance to any that he could naturally have, shortening or lenghtening his hair and beard, as well as combing, braiding or otherwise arrange it. This does not change the target's age in any way, nor his build or coloration, but greatly enhance his ability to disguise himself (providing a +3 bonus to such rolls). After the spell has been cast, the appearance remains as set, and changes naturally from this point on. Casting requisites may be added to allow small props (such as ribbons) to be intertwined into the hair or used to hold braids.

(Base 2, +1 Touch, +2 precision and include props)

My Body at Any Age (MuCo 10)
R:Per, D:Moon, T:Ind

Description: Adjusts the caster's apparent age to anything from 15 to 80 years. Eye color, hair color (except for becoming grey with age), hairstyle, stature, build and similar characteristics are not changed by this spell, so anyone familiar with the caster's original appearance can recognize the ressemblance (although the enchanted magus is sometimes assumed to be an older or younger family member). The caster's physical fitness does not change, nor does his build or basic appearance -- only his apparent age. He may retun to his normal appearance at any time, but doing so ends the spell. Combined with a mundane disguise, though, this can make him look completely different.

(Base 3, +3 Moon)

About Typhon's Shapeshifter virtue, would the following shapes be objectionable to the troupe?

First shape was that of an Ocellated Lizard (Size -6), which has the ability to shed its tail as a decoy to flee its predators.

Second shape would be an asp (Size -4), which uses the same stats as the adder from the Book of Mundane Beasts (or in RoP:Magic), except that its poison is much more potent (causes Incapacitating wound instead of Light, see ArM5 p.180). He would have learned this shape while in apprenticeship -- there are asp vipers in Sicily. If the troupe strongly objects to him having such a potent poison, then I'll go with the more common adder.

Third shape would be a crocodile (Size +2), a smaller version of the stats given in Magi of Hermes (p.11). This shape would have been acquired soon after his Gauntlet, during a voyage to Egypt (the same voyage also include some xp gained in Arabic). If the troupe strongly objects to this shape, which may be considered too exotic for a saga based in Scotland, then I would probably go for a marine turtle of some kind, like the leatherback sea turtle, which can be quite aggressive. If the crocodile is fine with the troup, the turtle would be a potential future shape.

Regarding the Personal Vis Source virtue, one idea that I have is that this is not a fixed source, but rather something related to his Shapeshifter virtue and Visions flaw. It gives him an affinity with reptiles so that at irregular intervals he is able to locate and harvest vis from the activity of local reptiles.

That could in the the form of skin sheddings, eggs/eggshells, the bones of victims, etc. The exact type of vis would be random amongst a number of Arts. Because of the relative flexibility of the source, I'd be fine with a yield that is lower than the 8 pawns per year mentioned for Talia's source.

Every year I'd make two rolls, to determine the Art and the number of pawns. Arts could be from any Technique (roll of 1 to 5) or the Forms of Animal, Aquam, Auram, Terram or Vim (roll of 6 to 10). Number of pawns would be (simple die + 2) for one of the Forms, divided by 2 for one of the Techniques (always rounded up). That would be an average of 5.25 pawns per year.

Does that seem reasonable?

Regarding his pater Chiron.

Even within House Tytalus, Chiron is considered mysterious and odd. No one can say for certain when Chiron completed his Gauntlet. Some suspect that this is simply because he changed his name, but other (wilder) rumours still persist. What is known is that Chiron is very old, and that his schemes are deep and wide. He is not a member of any covenant, and has been known to disappear for decades at a time without being seen by anyone. He does not often compete in the games of House Tytalus, and never for the obvious reasons. He is known to be a master of Intellego magic, and to take his assumed name seriously -- training "heroes", both mundane and magical.

It is rumoured that he knows a spell that allows him to take the shape of a centaur. Typhon could confirm that he has seen Chiron once in this shape, although he did not see a spell being cast, but he has learned to be close-mouthed about his pater. Chiron is also well-schooled in Greek lores and knowledges. In short, he perpetuates the myth that he may not be human, but the actual centaur Chiron of greek mythology. Whether that is fact or simply a scheme to increase his stature is unknown.

After administering Typhon's Gauntlet in 1218, Chiron has disappeared again and no one has seen or heard from him since. That includes Typhon.

That all sounds good to me.

Typhon's Philosophy and Ethos

"Everything has a price. Are you ready to pay that price?"

The combination of Typhon's hard childhood and Chiron's teachings shaped the way he sees life, duty and justice. He learned the hard way that nothing in life is free, nor should it be. If you get something without effort, then either the thing is not worth it, or you don't deserve it. On the other hand, simply taking what belongs to others through overwhelming force is unfair, for no matter how much they struggle they are doomed to fail. Just being the strongest bully on the block does not justify taking it all. The strong should protect the weaker from the worst of life, but the weak must still strive to improve themselves and not simply rely on the strong.

As one of the Gifted, Typhon considers himself to be strong, although certainly not the strongest. He sees it as his duty to help infuse those preyed upon by bullies with enough strength to stand up for themselves. He will not defeat their bullies in their stead, though. There needs to be tension in society, or else people will not strive to improve themselves.

The strong also need to be tested, to make sure that they deserve what they have and stand ready to defend it, instead of simply relying on the threat of power without real willingness to use it.

Justice is not something that you can define and put in a box. It is something that is felt deep down. Law has often little to do with justice, so Typhon is not above breaking the law to obtain justice. But he recognizes that human laws help to structure society and prevents anarchy. And since anarchy is the rule of bullies, it is undesirable. On the other end, too stable a society prevents personal growth and concentrates power with individuals that may not deserve it. So breaking laws is justified if it helps promote justice and a stable (but not too stable) society.

All of this philosophy is wrapped in a shell of cynicism, but at his core Typhon is an idealist. Something he will deny, of course, should anyone make such a dire accusation.

Rolled for the six years today (first roll is for the Art, second roll is for the number of pawns):

  • Year 1 - rolls of 8 and 2 --> 4 pawns of Auram
  • Year 2 - rolls of 8 and 4 --> 6 pawns of Auram
  • Year 3 - rolls of 6 and 9 --> 11 pawns of Animal
  • Year 4 - rolls of 6 and 6 --> 8 pawns of Animal
  • Year 5 - rolls of 4 and 3 --> 3 pawns of Perdo
  • Year 6 - rolls of 4 and 3 (again!) --> 3 pawns of Perdo

For a total of 10 pawns of Auram, 19 pawns of Animal and 6 pawns of Perdo.

I'm going to say that he spent 6 pawns of Auram, 9 pawns of Animal and 2 pawns of Perdo over those year, for the payment for various services and hermetic goods (including his trip to Egypt).

Leaving him with 4 Auram, 10 Animal and 4 Perdo.

Oh, I was wondering if he had any build points to bring with him (books and such)? What of mundane helpers? I don't want a large permanent retinue, but I figured he would arrive with a small handful of grogs and/or servants, gathered through the years. As well as some mercenary guards for a safer trip to the covenant.

EDIT: Do you want me to transfer some of this thread to RPoL? Or should we just finish here, as I get the feeling that we're about done...

Yes, he does. "Magi can bring up to 75 Build Points' worth of their own personal equipment, texts, people, etc – either for their own use or as largess. There is no level limit on lab texts or effect level in enchanted devices purchased with a magus's Personal Build Points." (from the character creation page on the wiki)