What do we want from this saga?

Here we shall discuss what we want from our shared saga experience in general, and specifically how we are going to build and run the thing.
I will be posting new HR's. Disregard the old ones (though some may still stand). We will discus HR's here. I prefer to keep it simple, minor tweeks to customize to our tastes.
We will also discuss the covenant, what Boons and Hooks we want, how many rp's, how to allot them, etc. There is a covenant stats thread. I wanna keep some of it but not all. I wanna do some serious library damage, sweep away old junk, and maybe reconcieve some things.
Also, we will discuss what happened to the covenant. Was it a fire? Lab accident? An attack? How much damage was done? Maybe it wasn't detroyed. Carmen exaggerates because her father is missing. But something severe happened. The only remaining magi are Carmen, and hopefully as it seems Octavian and Marie Norris.
Flambeau, Tremere, and Tytalus walk into bar. Tytalus says...

As a player, I'd like a stable, long-term saga that allows my character to grow, develop, and prosper, in more ways than one.

Vibria would love to, someday, have a lair sufficiently hot that you can see the waves in the air, and to be able to go swimming, Scrooge McDuck-style, in a pool of silver and gold coins.

I am planning on a long ride :wink:
Restoration will only be the initial story arc. We will grow hale and strong and reap the rewards of our efforts!

What should our start point be? Andora was deep into the Legendary range. I could limit myself to 3000bp and still have to chuck half the libary (half of it is repetative anyway).

Here is another way to look at it.
Considering the original Boons & Hooks, knowing that I want to take a hacksaw to some and bondo in some others, but also knowing I haven't put thought to which or whatj how would you guide me?

Had an inspiration last night, and adjusted Pythos Flaws to include Blatant Gift and Obese. So, now Pythos would like to be able to know what's going on all around him, without having to get up from the dinner table.

As a player, I'd like a campaign that encourages us to flex our creative writing skills.

As a tangent, I think that you should only use the Unknown Hook if someone knows what the hooks are, and just isn't sharing yet.

It might be interesting if The Great Disaster caused us to lose one of these somehow, but otherwise we should keep them.

Again, a sort of horrifying situation to walk into unawares, but not sure how we would change it.

Why was the first thing I thought of when I saw this "Nero Wolfe"? Followed a moment later by "Mycroft Holmes."

Now I need a grog named Archie.

~checks~ Dammit, Netflix doesn't have Nero Wolfe on streaming.

Addendum: Pythos would also like to discover strange, exotic creatures beyond the ken of mundane man, and eat them.

i think there was a joke that sailed right over my head. not sure.
I like the boons and hooks conversation. Keep it coming :slight_smile:
Don't worry about monsters. We killed Alberto the Giant, trapped Khyron the Efreet in a brass bottle, and formed an alliance with the dragon. Only the dragon will be relevant, as a few players mentioned interest in draconic ties.
The regio thing I can punt further west. Not our problem, just one of many mythic places we know of. Or maybe just chuck it.
I want to keep a handful of elite grogs. Just a few, the survivors. Maybe they could be used as inspiration for companions?
For unknown Hooks, perhaps these could be assigned to those players wanting to take up the challenge, and they can determine what the hook is in secret conversation with myself or another player. No killer DM plots.
And a truly unknown hook, one spontaneously generated by inspiration while we are in the midst of the saga, could be accompanied by hidden resources so well hidden that even the sg didn't know they were there.
What I mean to say is that the covenant stats will be organic, and we can tweek things as we go along to fit us as needed.
What else?
I don't want to struggle for resources either. I just want to knock us down from megawealthy to affluent. We have more that we need, but not enough to sponsor or subsidize another covenant.
What of Tribunal Border? Do we keep it? I like it, since it is symbolic of the political status of real world Andorra.

Important Note: Andorra is a small independant nation, and though tiny, our covenant is just a speck. We occupy a small keep overlooking the viliage of Arans in the Parish of Ordino. There are 5 parishes that govern the land by council. Tradition holds that Andorrans were granted dominion over their own land by Charlemagn. There are no lords ruling (though nobles from other lands own resort estates just as any other free man of wealth may be able to). There is a servant folk lower class, but they are still free and earn wages and travel as they wish.
So any boons & hooks that tie in with that gotta stay.
What else?...
Put chargen on hold for a few hours :slight_smile:
I am headed up to the library so I can use my laptop online (I am on my phone, which makes it hard to make my posts all nicey-nice). I will post the revised HR's I am proposing, including chargen. I realized I was being stingy on vis, considering how I limit what you get to keep. Other stuff too. Lotsa fun work.
Ars Magica is a game for those who feel like they didn't get enough homework in school :slight_smile:

Definitely need a Redcap companion named Archimedes and three grogs named Saul, Frederick, and Orestes. :slight_smile:

Flambeau, Tremere, and Tytalus walk into a bar. Tytalus says: "Confidence Point for my Soak," and doesn't take any damage. Tremere gets a light wound and says: "Rego!" Flambeau says nothing, just glares at it and rolls initiative. The bar, presumably, absorbs the fire damage but heats up enough to brand the next silly sod who walks into it (Criamon, perhaps?).

What I would like from our shared experience... Hmm. I guess I would like some surprises, some interesting challenges, and some fun collaborative storytelling. I would be willing to take one of the Unknown Hooks if you want someone to flesh it out. I am also willing to play a companion. A Redcap agent in cahoots with Pythos might be cool (who presumably doesn't like or is intimidated by Mercuria).

Here's what I have for Mercuria so far.

Mercuria of Mercere
Age: 30 (30)
Warping: 0 (4)
Characteristics: Int +2, Per +1, Pre +2, Com -1, Str -2, Sta +3, Dex -1, Qik -1
Virtues and Flaws: The Gift; Hermetic Maga; Gentle Gift***, Major Magical Focus (growth, improvement, and restoration), Mercurian Magic**; Book Learner, Educated, Hermetic Sacrifice*, Hermetic Theurgy*, Puissant Creo (free), Skilled Parens, Well-Traveled; Compassionate (major), Deficient Technique (Perdo), Low Self-Esteem, Pagan; Cabal Legacy*, Covenant Upbringing, Deleterious Circumstances (being stared at), Dutybound (House Mercere), Infamous Master, Magical Spirit Companion

  • First pass initiation; ** Second pass; *** Third pass
    Abilities: Artes Liberales 4 (ceremony), Awareness 2 (paranoia), Concentration 3 (casting), Cult of Mercury Lore 2 (people), Folk Ken 2 (young women), French 5 (Provençal), Greater Alps Tribunal Lore 1 (people), Latin 5 (Hermetic), Magic Lore 2 (gods and spirits), Magic Theory 3 (spells), Order of Hermes Lore 2 (magi), Parma Magica 5 (Mentem), Philosophiae 4 (ceremony), Provençal Tribunal Lore 2 (people), Roman Tribunal Lore 1 (people)
    Arts: Cr 12+3, In 5, Mu 5, Re 10, An 5, Co 11, He 5, Me 5, Vi 11
    Soothe the Savage Bear (ReAn10)
    Bind Wound (CrCo10)
    Chirurgeon's Healing Touch (CrCo20R)
    Incantation of the Body Made Whole (CrCo40R)
    Call to Slumber (ReMe10)
    Wizard's Curse (CrVi20)
    Invoke the Spirit of Creo Herbam (CrVi40)
    Wizard's Communion (MuVi40)
    Invoke the Spirit of Rego Corpus (ReVi30)

The first major event in her life happened before her Gauntlet, when there was a terrible disaster during a dedication ceremony at the Hermetic university she was attending. Her parens, Adustus of Bonisagus, was a good friend of her father's, and they founded the school together specifically for him to educate his daughter. During the course of the event, both her father and her parens, and the rest of her classmates, were killed. It is said that Adustus was responsible for the horrible event -- he was headmaster after all -- but she doesn't like to talk about it. She was taken to Doissetep to finish her apprenticeship. There, she was initiated into the Cult of Mercury and treated reverently, though she has never felt she deserves this. She was the result of a special ritual in 1200 and so to many she is seen as a scion of the House.

The second cycle began after her Gauntlet. She became an acolyte in the Temple to Mercury, and during the ceremonies associated with the cult she discovered she had a spirit bound to her somehow, as a result of the events at Lyon. She and others in the cult believe it is the daimon of Mercury reborn. Using the proper casting tablet she summoned him to allow him to manifest completely, though he is only rarely corporeal. No one is sure exactly what this powerful spirit wants from her. However, she was immediately initiated into the inner circle of Doissetep's cult members, taking a seat on the council and named a full priest of Mercury.

Her third cycle involved the death of her mother. She contracted a wasting sickness that magic seemed to have no effect against, and withered to almost nothing very quickly. Her last desire was to return to the place where she was born and raised, Andorra. A new covenant had been founded there in the meantime, but failed and there had been word about great danger. However, she is out of time. Her mother will be dead before the new year, so she must go now. She hopes to bury her mother there, and then see about starting a new life herself. This happens to work so well with her cult's plans that it is almost as if the gods were behind it...

[Edited to add another Minor Virtue and Flaw.]

Have you read marko's rules about post-gauntlet gaining of virtues (I am discussing the weight of flaws, but otherwise find them quite good)? i am under the impression that you're saying he was intiated before gauntlet or else.

Yes, I calculated these out using those rules, though I only used two cycles for the nine years after apprenticeship, since the first major event was still technically before her Gauntlet. So I took Cabal Legacy to justify the early Mystery Virtues. She ends up with quite a few Story Flaws, which worries me a little as a storyguide, but I figure in a collaborative story we all want lots of ways to get other players involved in what we're doing, right? Which reminds me, I think we should consider her Magical Spirit Companion an Unknown Hook rather than another character.

I agree that the loss of experience as well as the loss of seasons is kind of a double ouch when gaining new Virtues after apprenticeship. The way I did it in a previous saga was I let magi initiate Virtues by spending seasons, as long as they had a strong enough relationship with their cult (a score of Cult Lore of 3 was required to get Major Virtues). I might suggest we do the same thing-- maybe just require that the spent experience goes to Cult Lore instead of disappearing-- though perhaps Mark doesn't want to encourage mysteries as much? Maybe the cost is to try to discourage lots of Mysteries?

Two jokes that fly over my head, then Erik takes my tongue-in-cheek coment and delivers an Ars Magica Joke with one of his classic puns...
You can take mysteries as part of your initial V&F balance if you have Cabal Legacy. I think. You just call it Initiation, but really it is just part of your initial package.
I am not trying to discourage new virtues. I am just trying to regulate them. Maybe I should ease up on the inhibitors? I like the cult lore idea. Forgot about that. Perhaps your score lowers the xp cost by two or three times its value? I still want it to be possibe to gain a virtue without a cult. Such as putting in your history a back story that resolves a story flaw, or gaining a minor general virtue & flaw from a major life event.
Also, I was reminded that there are certain cannon initiations that grant a small package of multiple V&F's. That's fine, just one initiation per cycle.
As for Story Flaws, my guideline has been no more than 2, and only one Major. But this is just a guideline and doeas't account for initiations.

That's what I did with Mercuria, took Cabal Legacy as her only Story Flaw and put the initiated ones in her starting Virtues. She takes Pagan and Magical Companion Spirit as ordeals in later initiations.

That works for me :slight_smile:
I need more input about incorporating Cult Lore into the V&F mechanic. Should the Lore score reduce time or xp cost?
Your Focus seems broad. It appears to include Healing, Repair, Growth, Fertility, etcetras.
Ah, I see. Any one of these could be a Minor Focus. I was reading the wrong page. As a Major Focus bound by a theme, it works.
As for your backstory. The covenant is actually very old, but it has gone through phases of waxing & waning. The covenant is not to be confused with the tiny nation. We call ourselves the covenant of Andorra because we are the only one here. Is your mother of the Mercere family? Maybe she is from the covenant dating back to an even earlier era. Or maybe the covenant was in a dormant/dead phase (this has happened several times before). Or maybe she is from a neighborring town or Parish. Amdorra la Vella is the capitol. Or maybe as you said, she is from the little town of Arans and there was simply no active covenant when she was a child. None she was aware of.
Are you or anyone else interested in a Mercere house or a hook based upon somethin to do with one? This might include reestablishing one or figuring out what happened to the last one. For backstory, maybe they were hit as well or maybe they pulled out a few years befor and had nothing to do with any disaster (or so we think). Or we never had one. Retcon. We just once had a famous Mercere magus who is now gone.
Kudos to Erik for taking up the Unknown Storyhook challenge!
Thanx :slight_smile:
How Unknown should it be? I mean, should we confer privately when you are ready to impliment it? Or surprise me? Cohorts with another player?
This is cool :smiley:

I advocate not reducing the time, and allowing a score in Cult Lore to substitute for spending the required experience points. Maybe Cult Lore x 5?

I imagine Mercuria's mother was a descendent of Redcaps that once lived here, but that was many many years ago. She grew up in Arans, but I doubt anyone there will remember her now.

I like the idea that there used to be one but it was destroyed (easy to do, just that the Redcap running it was killed). Setting up another Redcap outpost is only natural when you have a Redcap living there, but the real question is what does it do? Why are they there? Is it a vis bank? A lending library? Do they need to guard something important like a Mercere Portal (or a Mercere maga)? Is it an extension of the main Mercer House, serving everything in the Pyrenees or ensuring that Redcaps in the mountains can get through? Lots of options.

Up to you. If you want I can figure out what it is, and if something comes up that might have a bearing on it, I could say what's going on and work out what happens with the current storyguide. When I run a game I like there being a couple of things that I don't know about so that my characters can be surprised more easily.

Was it the Nero Wolfe and Mycroft Holmes references?

Yes :slight_smile:

Flameau, Tremere, and Tytalus walk into a tavern...

Anyway, I have been considering people's ideas (and I'd like to hear more). Basically we seem to all want a stable saga where we can grow and have lots of material for stories for a long term. People have been bringing up some old hooks and suggesting new ones, as well as suggesting what to discard.
That brings me to the theme of my renovation. Cutting the fat. The covenant had become overbloated with just about everything. My doing mainly. I had ported over a lotta junk when I converted it to ArM5. Mainly a lot of redundancy in the library (do we really need five copies of PoF?).
So, with this disaster, I wanna knock us down to the 2k to 3k resource point range and cut down on boons & hooks.
The disaster will not be so bad. The covenant mainly needs to be repopulated.
It is starting to take shape in my head. We don't know what happened yet, but the results are plain to see. Returning player characters and any npc I salvage were not there when whatever went down. Two seasons ago, Carmen returned from wandering Spain to find the covenant had been attacked. But by what? There are signs of battle damage witin the walls, but no breech from without. The inhabitants are all dead or missing. Some fell in battle, others seem to have just dropped dead. No enemy dead. Combat wounds and fire.
No dead magi, just missing. Antonio was here, but he has vanished. Many others missing, unaccounted for and not among the dead.
The keep is damaged, but not destroyed. Still habbitable, still functional.
Half the library is lost to fire. Mostly the crappy stuff though.
Vis stocks gone. All of it. Maybe a bit stashed here or there, but the vault has been cleaned out. A whole chess set, gone.
Vis Supply is fine, as our sources are not at the covenant. Same for our Wealth and investments. Just property damage.
And death.
The raiders left our mundane treasures alone mostly. But all the enchanted devices stored in the vault are gone. Just a bag of magic dust and a lame ass pair of boots. Again, there are a few things left squirled away in other spots, but the fabled treasures kept in the vault are gone. And the magic vault door destroyed (again).
The Mercere House was run by a resident magus named Rodrigo of Mercere, assisted by various Redcaps that came & went. They did it all. The quasi-independant status of the covenant bade it ideal for the three-tribunal ValNegra district. Linked with the covenant's resources; they were a vis bank, book traders, moneylenders, and whatever else they could get their fingers in. We can rewrite that, but in any case they and their staff are also dead or missing. But their vault was untouched.
As for our elite Andorran Guard, save for a handful that were out with Carmen or other returning magi, they are all gone. Most of them fell in battle.
Boons & Hooks get shaken up a bit as well, either because of this or because of a magical wave of my hand...


Ah, so she's 9 years post-gauntlet!
It wasn't apparent to me, since she was so young.

Hum... I agree you were a bit heavy with the story flaws... If I may? I'd discard Pagan, and have it as a personality trait.
What people who take this flaw usually want is to play a Pagan character. What the flaw means is (in short) that trouble happens to you because you're pagan. I've yet to see it be a flaw instead of a free pass for a major virtue. In fact, this was enough of an issue for it to be brought again in grogs, an unprecedented fact as far as I'm aware.
At first sight, you've got too many flaws anyway, unless I'm wrong.
At gauntlet, she has:

  • The Gift; Hermetic Maga; Major Magical Focus, Book Learner, Educated, Hermetic Sacrifice*, Hermetic Theurgy*, Puissant Creo (free), Skilled Parens, Well-Traveled, for a total of 9 virtues
  • Compassionate (major), Low Self-Esteem, Cabal Legacy*, Covenant Upbringing, Deleterious Circumstances (being stared at), Infamous Master, for a total of 10 flaws. You should drop a minor flaw.
    Then, she gains Mercurian Magic (3) and... WTF??? Deficient Technique (Perdo) (3), Pagan (3), Dutybound (House Mercere) (1) AND Magical Spirit Companion (1). Pfew! You should really (I mean REALLY) drop Pagan, and push the 2 minor flaws to the next stage.
    Then, she gains The Gentle Gift (3) and nothing (???)

Also, Serf's parma on the flaw's description, but to me, your deleterious circumstances is quite harsh. IIRC, the flaw calls for an uncommon circumstance. But being stared at is, IMO, all too common, especially in battle. You should select a less common occurence, IMO. Maybe being in a dominion aura? This could fit well with your character, as I see it


So, let's say:

  • Gaining a virtue/losing a flaw requires a season for a minor virtue, 2 for a Major.
  • Mystery virtues can only be gained through a Mystery Cult, which requires a Cult lore of 1 for the outer mystery, 3 for the next virtue gained, 5 for the next virtue, +2 per virtue afterwards. For simplicity's sake, if you've got any mystery virtue, you're assumed to derive any other virtue from the Cult, and must follow this rule for them all. No "I first gained this from twilight, that from the magic realm, and then got into a cult".
  • Gaining a virtue/losing a flaw also costs XP equal to 10*(1+ Cost of the virtue gained - cost of any flaw gained) - 5* mystery cult lore.

[i]Exempli Gratia 1: Gaining a first, outer mystery virtue

  • Must have Cult Lore 01 (05XP)
  • Must spend 1 season
  • Must spend 20XP - (10cost of any flaw) - 05 = 15 - 10(cost of any flaw).

Exempli Gratia 2: Gaining a minor virtue without being in a cult:

  • Must spend 1 season
  • Must spend 20XP - (10*cost of any flaw).

Exempli Gratia 3: Gaining a second, minor mystery virtue

  • Must have Cult Lore 03 (30XP)
  • Must spend 1 season
  • Must spend 20XP - (10cost of any flaw) - 15 XP = 05 XP - (10Cost of any flaw). Yes, you can gain XP (but consider the cult lore!)

Exempli Gratia 4: Gaining a major virtue without being in a cult:

  • Must spend 2 seasons
  • Must spend 40XP - (10*cost of any flaw).

Exempli Gratia 5: Gaining a major, second virtue while being in a cult:

  • Must have Cult Lore 03 (30XP)
  • Must spend 2 seasons
  • Must spend 40XP - (10cost of any flaw) - 15 XP = 25XP - (10cost of any flaw)

Exempli Gratia 6: Gaining a major, third virtue while being in a cult:

  • Must have Cult Lore 05 (75XP)
  • Must spend 2 seasons
  • Must spend 40XP - (10cost of any flaw) - 25 XP = 15XP - (10cost of any flaw).[/i]

To compare:
Gaining 1 virtue costs the same inside or outside a cult
Gaining 2 virtues costs 10 more XP inside a cult, but most of these are in a (usually quite useful) lore or skill, and you've got access to special virtues. So this is probably advantageous. Which, in a way, is right IMO.
Gaining 3 virtues costs 20 more XP inside a Cult
Gaining 4 virtues costs 30 more XP inside a cult