Verditius Story Idea -- needs fleshing out

I've started a solo saga for a friend set in Iberia. He's playing a Verditius seeker, with most of his skills and items aimed toward sneaking / invisibility, etc. We'll call the mage Christopher.

We've only had a few sessions so far, so Christopher hasn't done much, and he's fairly vulnerable at this point. I'm trying to style the adventures to have little in the way of combat, but could involve some character interaction, impersonation, sneaking around, thievery, and for vis to be involved as a reward where possible.

I was thinking that the next session would be some form of the following. I would love to hear ideas on how to develop this further, add sub-plots, etc. No idea is too small or weird. I just came up with the basic concept this morning, and want to gel on it this weekend. Also, it's been awhile since I've read the rules on Magic Item Creation for Mundanes and the Order's thoughts on subject, so please let me know if I'm missing something obvious.

Christopher's parens, a solo urban Magus based in the city of León, needs some help. A magic item he created for a mundane has fallen into the wrong hands, and before the Quaesitores find out, he needs to get it back. He turns to his former apprentice for help.

A couple of spinoff thoughts:

  • Perhaps the item was created for a noble, and the noble has recently died. Christopher needs to locate the item and get it back before the heirs get ahold of it and exploit it.
  • Perhaps the magic item in question is a duplicate, and the parens is being set up. Is there a way to fake a sigil?
  • Perhaps Christopher discovers that the item is to be buried with the deceased, and the conflict in this story arises around the funeral and perhaps grave robbing.

I'd love some thoughts on what the item in question IS and what it DOES.
I would like to stay away from a magical ring. The last adventure involved one.

I see the basic format of the adventure going as follows:
Christopher needs to infiltrate the noble household, locate the item, and steal it / convince the owner to give it to him. Conflict comes from trying to locate the item, and then the actual theft.

Thanks in advance.

One option might be a belt buckle that provides protection from weapons or ignore fatigue, permitting the heir to exploit tournaments and achieve fantastic results on the battlefield. By the same token, he might have been given a weapon that was intended to remove a particular threat. The old lord rarely and judiciously used this sword, the heir is crushing rivals and drawing attention.

Another option might be boots that permit 7-league stride. The old lord used these responsibly to better administer his domain-- the heir uses them strike at rivals or steal objects for the thrill.

The lord might have had a small spade that turned stones into dirt so that fields could be cleared easier. The heir is using this to breach walls.

The old lord might have had trouble sleeping, and received a goblet that put him into a deep, restful slumber after drinking from it. The heir uses it to take advantage of whomever strikes his fancy. The old lord may have liked being popular, and had a brooch that made his suggestions seem more reasonable but again, used it judiciously. The heir uses it to manipulate trade and diplomacy.

I'm not really bothering with numerical effects here, since you're having an NPC craft this offscene and in the past. Plus, I owe Alex material I really ought to be doing right now. :slight_smile:

-Ben.

Brilliant! Exactly what I was looking for. Thanks!
And no, numbers are definitely not necessary.

Can anyone direct me to where the canon discusses the Order's rulings on Magi making magic items for the Mundanes?

I think what you want is in ArM5, page 16--Magical Items. There is also a little in HoH:MC, page 114-- first column, dealing with Venditores. HoH:TL doesn't deal with items in its section on the Code, and there wasn't anything pertinent in my quick review of GotF or LatL-- though Lion and the Lily does have a substantial difference in the usual attitude of "interfering with the mundanes" with Masks.

(Side note: OMG, I don't think I remembered how many story seeds there are in LatL! Wow!)

-Ben.

So far, this is a pretty straightforward story, and I'd like to complicate it if I can. Christopher is sent to recover a magic item (say, the Spade, from above) from a noble household. There will be some good opportunity for roleplaying as the player infiltrates the household and locates the item. What I'm trying to figure out now is A) if I can insert some kind of twist and what that would be, or B) if there's no twist then what the final conflict will be during the theft.

A) would be something like the forgery mentioned above. Something that would lead to a bigger story next time.

B) would be something that gets in the way of a simple clean theft (which, with magic, is pretty easy for him.) Maybe a guard has true faith and faith points and can see through the invisibility cloak (which only has "...standing wizard" enchanted in it, so he can't move invisibly)? Maybe the item is kept in a small chapel? Is the noble out and about using the spade on some campaign? If so, what would make the theft interesting?.... Hmmmm sneaking through a sleeping manor house is one thing; Sneaking through an armed camp is another. That ain't bad.

Anyway, I welcome your thoughts.

Complications? Women!

He succeeds but is seen by a woman (second sight if there's no mundane mistake he made) who then falls in love (gentle gifted), or wants eternal youth or whatever...

Alternative: Mundanes with a thing that is magical? A secret templar society shows up hunting for "the grail"

Complications are my favorite!

Consider a crafty Quaesitor is lurking about, in disguise, waiting for a guilty conscience to show up and reclaim the item (he could, of course, take it whenever he wished, but he's crafty you see). Then when he "catches" Christopher he attempts a blackmail: do my bidding or I sell you down the river. C's dilemma is A) submit to the blackmail, or B) turn in the corrupt quaesitor. This may be best if the item was "legal" (i.e., not too powerful that it is outrightly banned from sale to mundanes) so Christopher need not face execution for simply turning the quaesitor (and himself) in, otherwise it's not really a "choice" at all.

Perhaps an unscrupulous maga has heard tales of the lord's magic shovel and is attempting her own thievery. Do they work together? Does Christopher try to jack her, with whatever results? Do they make a deal?

A good complication should hold something unpleasant over the mage's head but still give him some free will. You, the SG, should not railroad the PC into a "I have no real choice here" situation, but you are not obligated to provide a shining path that allows the magus to be Free And Clear either. A lesser of two evils choice.

At this point I'm leaning towards a siege on a Moorish castle by the Order of Calatrava. You'll have a few guys around with true faith, so there's that. The young noble has recently joined the order and is trying to improve his standing by leading a team that breaches the walls.

Unbeknownst to them is that there is a moorish spirit master inside who will bring some dust storm elementals to bear on the situation.

Depending on when Christopher makes his play, the spade could be lost in the chaos, or even captured by enemy forces. Then Christopher has to go find the damn thing....

I don't expect Christopher to get involved in combat at all, but I think it'll be a good idea for him to come to understand that the Moors have some badasses on their side... and maybe see the spirit master as a potential source of magical trade / vis / etc., for later on down the line.

hmmmmm.... taking off on the "unscrupulous maga" idea below, what if one of the truth faith Calatravans heard about the shovel, thinks it's a work of the devil, and tries to expose the whole thing? hmmmm.... Not sure how this would add any role playing opportunities, but instead just makes things harder for the player. Thoughts?

We play on Saturday, so I gotta nail this thing down.

Thanks for the suggestions!

I'd offer that this might be a good time to test Christopher's faith--

  • He didn't fashion the spade, and so how does he know it isn't tainted in some way?
  • Or will his use of blatant magics taint the knightly Order's reputation?
  • What about the knightly Order's Code of Conduct? Is the spade's use considered acceptable?
  • What if a demon lies in wait, hoping to use the opportunity to corrupt someone based on the pride, sloth, or doubt the spade's use engenders?

Any one of them might do well to work at testing his quality rather than his Arts.

-Ben.

Good call, ben. Let me think on it....