Here is a quick play summary of the first five sessions of the Ars Magica game called Ascendency of the Warp. Content is collated by me, and contains contains in-character descriptions from many of the players.
Session One – Establishment
Before the main cast arrived a Mercere magus (Red Cap) named Frederic de Guille arrived on the site with a contingent of guardsmen and workmen, and began the establishment steps. The contingent included the gigantic warrior named Carrick, and his band of mercenaries, and an odd selection of artisans who keen to start anew in the edge of Scotland.
The main activity for the session was a shared experience where each player’s Magus arrived at the covenant grounds and the first steps of improvement were begun. The Magus characters arrived at the covenant by various means (boats, birds and feet), and found the dilapidated grounds and tower in need of repair and work. Many of the new mundane arrivals were put straight to work in clearing the grounds and making the buildings inhabitable.
During the initial greetings a high degree of banter was shared amongst the magi and companions, with jibes including references to the habits of the Greeks, some incredulous comments on Italian horticulture, and ribald remarks on the customs of the Storm Wardens. All passed without continued threat of incident, although some long stares and apologies were seen in the first three weeks.
By the end of the session the covenant was given the tentative name of Storm Watch, and the Qaesitory representative was sent for, so that the members could be sworn in properly. It is not known how long the Quaesitory will take to arrive.
As the session ended the Magi were alerted about a once hidden stairwell, which was obscured by rubble and a secret floor panel. After clearing the debris and investigating the team found a warded antechamber, where powerful runes cycled and glowed as the magi contemplated them. More than one character was flung out of the room, although Maximilian was able to resist the ward and enter the room successfully.
The session ended with the Magi and some companions within the room, trying to open two doors on the far wall of the antechamber. The runes pulsed quickly, seemingly on a timer which is soon to expire.
Session 1 Notes
- Current prospective members of Storm Watch are:
- Accalon (Gav), a Verditius magus, small of stature, but seeming quick of wit.
- Callan Blackspire (npc), an infamous ex-Miscellanea, who talked around his paren’s shaded history in the Hibernian tribunal (Ireland).
- Demetrius (Greg), a Criamon magus with translucent skin, glowing blood and runes covering his hairless body. He has already demonstrated his aptitude with Intellego.
- Tregus (Ben), a Tremere magus, with a powerful aptitude for Terram.
- Luciano (Ant), an Italian Flambeau,
- Maximilian (Josh), a Flambeau magus, a gifted Elementalist, who is stickly thin.
- Sym (npc), a Bjornaer with a wild and gruff presence, grizzly voice, and a Black Bear heart-shape, who until recently lived at the Scottish covenant of Loch Lomond.
- the next tribunal meeting is scheduled within 2 years, and is likely to be held at the covenant of Horsingas, a mighty power in the tribunual located in the Scottish lowlands, very near to Hadran’s Wall.
- when the Quaesitory arrives and witnesses the swearing in of the Magi the covenant will be formed and control passed from the Red Cap to the covenant charter.
Session Two – Caution and Division
The session began with the Magi continuing to delve deeper into the chambers hidden beneath the covenant grounds. After a few quick considerations the gathered themselves and continued into the chambers. The right most door was bypassed due to a successful use of spontaneous Rego Terram by Maxilian of Flmbaeau, who promptly summoned his light and followed the hallway beyond.
The Magi discovered that both the doors led into a very large circular chamber. The obvious and dominant feature of the chamber is a 2.5 meter tall stone archway, placed in the center of the chamber on a slightly raised circular dais which was scribed with runes.The archway is build of a black and grey hued stone, and appears well constructed and very sturdy.
Within the archway is a heavy wooden door or inset, held in place with solid steel bars which span the archway. The door and bars were obviously added afterward, although their purpose is as unknown as the archway itself.
Investigation of the archway confirmed that a faint power was present, but not a power that Demetrius was familiar with.
Around the top of the chamber approx 3 meters above the lower floor is an observation balcony and three alcoves, which is accessible via the left doorway. The right doorway leads to the chamber floor.
Discussion of what to do with, or perhaps not do with the archway was concluded when consensus dictated that nothing should be altered or even acknowledged to anyone else until the magi were sword in as members and rightful owners of the covenant and grounds.
Thankfully a Quaesitory named Alamarchi arrived a week or so later, and briskly observed the ceremony of signature. Following this Frederic bestowed the initial contributions from the Order to the covenant Magi, and a healthy discussion ensured to divide the resources amongst the magi, with strong and wise consideration to the needs of the future. Immediately following the Magi conducted their first Aegis of the Hearth ritual, to protect the grounds.
Alamarchi and Frederic have made plans to depart the covenant within a day or so, preferring to travel together.
Excerpt from the personal diary of Max Rudakov – I realise now that I am woefully ill prepared for dealing matters that fall outside of my Rego Aurum expertise. I hope to find some time to study soon…. I miss home.. perhaps a snow storm to blanket the area in a few feet of snow and some bitingly cold temperatures will raise my spirits.. Where has Michael gone?.. Vodka levels are low…… ah… perhaps just a small spont spell to create some frigid air in my sancta will suffice for now….,
Ah yes thats better.. the mind crystallises with the lower temperatures..
The mouse worries me.. little men often make big bangs .. we shall have to keep an eye on him. His motives are unclear…I think he may be useful for the covenant.. he just needs pointing in the right direction.
Otherwise all seems well.. I like the Bear… he has a good heart I think. He keeps to himself, but would quickly serve the covenent if in need I think.
The sooner the Quasator and the servant depart the better.. there is work to do here and we dont need prying eyes from the order. We must bid them a polite and fond farewell.. and hope we do not see them again too soon…
I really must get my lab in order.. this current shambles just will not do….
These magi are unbound Morrigan, they – which is to say we – are still individuals seeking balance, seeking the stability which only comes from introspection after knowledge of one another.
Don’t look at me like that, you’ve seen them when you arrived: not so direct or insidious as our beloved Blackspire, but certainly talented. What? Yes, you’re right this could be a home; with toil. No, it is not time to introduce you yet, wait till we have more trust. When it is safe.
The quiet ones will need to be watched though. Not like we watched Palequin and her brothers, to ensure these are worthy, or even to protect them. The needs that drove that bitch Palequin are far from these magi, and I don’t wish to do that again. Never. I hope these men will prove the exceptions to the Magi of our past. Truthful, or at the very least not corrupted.
Come here…Yes Morrigan, if we find the taint again we will strike quickly and without hesitation; regardless of the others. Corruption will not stand amongst us unchallenged ever again.
They looked at me funny, like had two heads and no teeth. Cold is nice though.
Pale odd man and the burnt man are stranger than me. Look to ‘em, not me.
All strangers to me.
Hungry. Hunting here is terrible. Rabbits. I need a feast, not this stipend.
I miss home hunting.
Extract from the Books of Accalon, 28 of January of the year 1220
Well, today proved to be extremely interesting. It appears that at some time in the past the previous occupants were very industrious and have left behind some extremely fascinating wards and what appears to be a portal of some kind.
Some of the small minded Magi who have joined me at Storm’s Watch feel that the portal may be in some way related to the diabolic. Really! You’d think we were still in the Dark Ages! So little imagination!
Anyway… The wards we’ve encountered are extremely interesting for many reasons, not limited to the fact they are still functioning after centuries and that they seem to be chained together in some way. The initial effect encountered was some sort of repulsion, most likely some sort of Rego Corpus effect, which if I could duplicate would make a most effective Sancta Ward and I wonder if I was to change the Corpus component to some other element what the effect might be.
<scribbled notes and diagrams in the borders of the page to this effect>
I have made some preliminary drawings of the entry chamber wards, the various notations represent the observed order and approximate durations of the observable
effects – refer diagram 1.1.
I shall continue to spend some time at the entrance until I feel that I have captured, as well as possible the complex interaction of the wards before preparing a suitable approach to opening and investigating the enchantments that make up those wards.
Perhaps in this way I can determine the appropriate steps by which to bypass the wards safely.
Inside the chamber the portal is surrounded by a circle of runes and the portal space is filled by a large wooden obstruction, held in place by a metal work frame.
Once I’ve finished documenting the exterior runes I shall document the interior runes in a similar fashion.
I will have to speak with the Mediterranean fellow who seems to have an interest in Intelligo to see whether he has any spells that may speed up my research or perhaps in
conjunction we could come up with something, I have a few ideas.
<more notes and diagrams in the borders – a lens suspended on a support that when looked through sees echos of what’s gone before>
Callum, the wizard who has some decent understandings of the workings of teleportation, has approached me to assist him with the investment of a device. I agreed of course, how could I not?
I’m sure that when he discusses it with me I can improve upon the design.
All this manual labour going on in the camp. I will have to do something about making some of that easier. It seems a most disproportionate amount of effort goes into clearing and moving of rubble, etc…
<continues on at length in regards to the automation of tasks and the inefficiency of people in general>
Extract from the Books of Accalon, 16 of February of the year 1220
The most fascinating man arrived at the covenant, the Quaesitor come to do the tedious official paperwork of deeming us the founders of the new covenant. The man
had a walking chest! AMAZING! I must mean to ask him before he leaves if he created it or if he didn’t who did. I am
most curious as to what was done in order to give it whatever limited intelligence it has. It could advance my research by years…
Session Three – Forays and Foundations
The characters wasted no time in debating their first leader, whom is empowered to run the covenant for the first year – lacking a Jerbiton who would relish the opportunity, Callan offered to take the first years duties as no other Magi stepped forward. Having decided their roles, each Magus retired to their labs.
Callan worked with the covenfolk to establish and confirm the roles of the grogs, and to see to the gradual improvement of the covenant. He also gradually made introductions and investigations to the surrounding inhabitants.
All covenfolk will eventually learn
- The strange fishermen at the southeastern (the Ogill family) beach have agreed to offer passage to the covenfolk for a nominal price (all but free), in exchange for a small dock/ramp on each bank and a much needed moderate sized fishing skiff to be provided within five years. The family was keen to sell their stocks to the covenant, although seemed slightly disappointed with the overall arrangement given the frequency of interruption to their lives.
- The Mercenary Captain Carrick has been retained as the Covenant Captain of the turb, with the daily needs of his men to be provided by the covenant. In exchange Carrick will train and supervise the covenant’s military force, in consultation with the Magi.
- Due to the recent rumours of disappearances and attacks on lowland travelers the covenfolk conducting travel on covenant errands will be protected by 1-3 mercenaries.
- The two closest clans to the covenant are the Bell (and Bellset) to the north, and the Maknab (and Maknakill, Macnaughtan) to the south and east. Both clans are moderate in size and occupy several villages, outposts, and hamlets.
- Sym is rarely seen by the covenfolk or Magi in the grounds, but is seen frequently in the forests as both bear and man, and sometimes on the other islands and mainland. His hunting frequently provides fresh game meat for the covenant meals.
- The covenfolk have been enjoying the regular snow and fresh water provided by Maximilian’s spells, and also the afternoons of clear skys.
Late in Summer invitations were received from Horsingas and Six Pillar Hill. Both invitations welcomed the new covenant to the tribunal, and both extended an offer of hospitality in a coming season. The magi agreed to visit each covenant in turn, and made plans for a contingent of magi and grogs to meet at each covenant in the coming seasons.
As Maximilian and Callan can travel quickly, a set of soldiers will leave the covenant early to meet with the Magi as they arrive at each covenant.
Session 3 Notes
- Each character who is in-play gains exposure for Spring (sessions one and two), which grants 2 XP to be spend in any skill or art used consistently throughout the season. The activity must have been one which was performed at least 40 days out of the season. Gaelic or Area Lore is appropriate for non-Scottish characters, or other skills as approved.
- Each Companion in-play gains exposure for Summer, which grants 2 XP to be spend as per above.
- Each Magus can elect a study activity for the Summer season of 1220. Many chose study and longevity potions.
- Personal Vis sources were granted, and will be granted annually at the start of Summer each year. Players still need to define what the sources are, and the manner in which they are collected/received.
- Many of the Magi constructed their Longevity potions. Please record on your sheets or in notes the Lab Total at the time (Int + MaTh + Creo + Corpus + Aura), as it determines the bonus to aging rolls (+1 bonus per 5 levels, round up), and also the cost in Vis (1x pawn per 10 years of age, round up).
- Next session we will want a few Companion class characters to participate in the story, and we’ll probably split the story in two parts for the next sessions between those who are traveling, and those who remain at the covenant.
How could I h ave been so blind?!?
The Italian is an elementalist! I must stop walking around with my eyes half shut and pay more attention!
This is not a good discovery. The last thing I need right now is to be sharing elemental resources with anyone – especially an elementalist who will no doubt have designs on much in the way of our Vis stocks and likely place higher demands on the libraries pitiful supply of books focused on the elements. I must move quickly to secure the Terram Tractus for this first season… I am not sure yet how to deal with this rather unfortunate discovery. I need some time to consider what the long term implications are of a 2nd elementalist at StormWatch.
The opportunity to leverage the ‘mouse’ was to good to miss – what a gem of a chance to get him on side! Two pawns of Creo for two pawns of Terram makes no difference to me at present; but now the little chap owes me a favour and when it comes time I intend to collect. I may have misjudged the little fellow in regards to his usefulness – perhaps his assistance with this rather unfortunate but necessary task of preparing my longevity potion will be a good use of that favour.. He seems quite skilled in the lab – I will have to ponder it some more. Good thing he doesnt realise he actually did me a favour with the Vis swap. The Terram Tractus was an excellent start and now with a couple of pawns of Teram Vis I can really punch into my studies of the earth and turn my current deficiency into a strength. I could hardly beleive my ears and good fortune when he put out his short feelers for some Creo Vis – luck was on my side this time.
I think Mouse will busy himself now with that portal in the basement – probably a good thing; it will keep him pre-occupied and busy for a while I suspect. I’ll let him deal with it; if he makes a mess of things I’d rather he do it than me.
Callum worries me – I think we did not make a wise choice in electing him leader in the first year of our founding. I get the impression he is making all kids of deals and arrangements in his own interests and behind closed doors…There is certainly no way I am letting him go off to 6 pillars and the other covenant on his own. His reputation proceeded him here already.. for all I know he may already have enemies or friends nearby – we need to make the right impression on our neighbours – and frankly keep them at arms distance. I strongly suspect these are calls to establish allies… a dangerous situation as aligning ourself too soon with another covenant will ostracise us from the other. Discretion will be required in this delicate political situation. I don’t yet know what Callum’s end goal is.. but I suspect it does not fall in line with the covenants best interests. Interesting how a few months and a season can open ones eyes to the nature of our peers. I wonder what the others think?
I will travel with Callum to visit the other covenants in this tribunal. I need to establish relations to expand our pitiful library and am keen to see what opportunities there are for political gain. Plus I just don’t trust anyone else enough yet to let them do it.
Thankfully the grogs seem quite happy to go on with covenant improvements – thank goodness – who has the time, when there is study to be done.
I doubt the bear will stick around long.. he seems homesick, or at the very least miserable here. Its a shame.. I still feel his heart is in the right place and he would be a strong addition. Perhaps he can be persuaded.. who knows..
I cant say I have much in the way of an opinion yet of some of the others – they have not as yet dropped their guard enough for me to get a reading on their motivations; outside of the greek of course who seems totally pre-occupied with erroneous devices and statues..ha! We don’t need to worry about him at all.
I must say its a good feeling to finally have this lab up to speed as it where – its still in dire need of improvement; but its nice to finally have a place to work. I must get about properly securing it..
I need to to return to my studies…
Continued extracts from the Books of Accalon, – 17 February of the year 1220.
Thank goodness Callum volunteered to ‘lead’ the covenant for the first year. It was interesting that I was not the only one who did not want to be in charged first up.
Callum certainly seems like an interesting individual. He seem like a Magi of action which I think is what we need initially.
Politics, it’s always politics with some Covenants. We’ve been active for little more than a month and already we’re being courted by two opposing forces.
How to keep them both at arms length without upsetting anyone?
Personally I think Six Pillars is the more dangerous to us in the short term – a dying covenant is a desperate covenant…
Thankfully, Callum and Max have decided to travel to these other covenants in order to open communication with our ‘neighbours’.
My studies of the wards continues apace.
I feel that my diagrams are just about as detailed as I can make them and I can begin to plan how best to unravel the mysteries of the wards.
I am concerned that some of the more powerful affects invested within the wards may be beyond my ability to initially understand. I may have to look at what books are in the covenant library that may assist me in unravelling these runes.
Now to see to the completion of the construction of my sanctum…
Continued extracts from the Books of Accalon, – 4 March of the year 1220.
Finally I’m in my environment. Now I need to get on with my first priority – my longevity potion.
< lengthy notes on the viability of various materials to the potions – several are followed only by several question marks or comments about rumoured medicinal benefits >
That was fortunate, Mad Max was willing to trade some Creo vis for my small supply of Terram vis. Thanks to his assistance my creation will be able to proceed. After some considerable trial and error I feel I have a workable solution.
Granted there are a few unknowns in there that were somewhat difficult to obtain, but I believe they will be beneficial to the final result.
It appears that my first formula was not quite stable enough. The rat I tested it on reacted quite poorly…
< rambles on at length about what happened to the rat, and the possible causes and possible variations to volumes, concentrations and other ingredient mixes >
I have it this time. The most recent solution appears to be stable. The latest rat hasn’t immediately died after ingesting a small amount…
Hmmm – not sure what to expect. I believe the brew was quite potent, perhaps too much so. I’ve noted some odd effects on some objects that have an extended exposure to me. My favourite woollen cloak appears…more woolly and my leather boots appear to have become more supple and they are taking on a more suede-like appearance than the buffed leather they were originally.
< scribbled notes proposing which ingredients and their volumes may have caused these unexpected effects >
I need to commence planning for my Great Work which will commence after a few other projects are completed.
I believe Callum would like my assistance with a project, which should be interesting and I have offered to assist Max with a project when he has one in thanks for the Creo vis.
To Do List:
- Longevity Potion
- Investigate and disarm or deactivate Wards.
- Investigate the purpose of the Portal
- Begin the Great Work.
Next on my agenda is to look at these wards.
I’ll speak to the seneschal to move some of my equipment downstairs so that I am not constantly running back and forth….
Session Four – Dark Tidings
After hearing of an odd traveling scholar in the lowlands, a group of soldiers led by Carrick left the covenant to discover who he was and perhaps invite the stranger to the covenant. His overheard destination was apparently in amongst the covenant’s area, and while the grogs had no idea who the stranger was or why they were inviting him; orders were orders.
The party left the covenant, crossed to the larger islands, and made their way south east toward the large town of Dumfries in the lowlands, some one hundred and eighty mile away. They had not traveled more than a day when they arrived at the small village of Oban. Typically the village is home to five to six families, with an open and friendly communal area which matches the manner of the folk, with locals and travelers from the surrounding area visiting or resting at with the village’s welcome.
The village was deserted. The houses appeared to have been quickly searched or ransacked, with baskets, cases, and unwanted clothes spread throughout most rooms. The characters split up and quickly began a door by door search for survivors.
They quickly found that the entire village was empty, but did find two disturbing items of note.
The first was that the common galley area located in the center of the village was broken down, and the floor was stained in blood in many places. One major sidewall was ridden with holes, and the two other side walls were almost completely smashed; with weapon scars from both the inside and out. Outside around the galley were foot marks where more combat had occurred, and more blood spatter was mixed with the mud.
Tracks led away from the galley out of the village in many directions, with the largest group appearing to head south-east which was the same direction that the party intended.
The second major finding was a body; tightly wrapped in multiple chains, fully submerged in bathwater. The poor man appeared drowned in water and blood within the desperate bathhouse. All the windows and doors to the room were closed up, and the body had been in the water for some time. The man’s death was clearly no accident, and infernal mutterings and the odd movements in the shadows of the night took the sleep from the grogs.
Many of the party were shaken by the discoveries, especially so close to the covenant. Carrick gave orders for the houses to be burnt, and the body burnt and buried afterward in a small stone cairn. The group stayed overnight in the remnants of the dire village, and walked on at first light.
Late in the next day on the road their grim discoveries continued. Three figures walked slowly ahead of them, dragging their feet, almost shambling rather than walking. The disheveled group was a women and two men, all of whom with dirt ridden clothing, and recent wounds. Upon hearing the calls from the party, one of the three turned slowly toward and listed toward the party. When the first man was approached he was dead on his feet, sweat ridden, and clearly ill. His eyes were dull and unable to focus, breathing was hard, and his skin was drained of all blood. He had multiple wounds on his hands and chest all covered by makeshift bandages made of old clothes.
When the stranger did not responding to conversation or calls, he was quickly killed, by a grog’s arrow. His misery ended. The next two strangers were the same, and were also dealt with quickly, with the three bodies burnt and buried.
Once again the group moved onward.
As dusk approached on the second day the party were close to the next village, but even as they decided to push on an armed rider approached. The man wore a steel half helm, hauberk hardened leather, and carried a long spear and hatchet. As a mounted and armoured threat, he was not to be trifled with. He warned the part to move around the village and not seek shelter. After a short summation he did gift a small amount of provisions. The party learned that the village had received some other gray refugees who were becoming sick, and was locking itself down until the trouble ended. This was not a time for them to befriend armed strangers.
The party continued into the early night, and eventually camped on the other side of the village. Even with a fire the evening was disturbing, and the thought of the drowned man’s chains stayed with many of the grogs.
The next day was as gloomy as the last, but discipline was not lacking and the party walked onward. As the middle of the day approached as did a set of travelers on the road. This time the strangers were heading away from Dumfries, and were in far better health and provision than the gray survivors of the first village.
The group consisted of a handsome middle aged man riding a small horse, and his two assistants, who walked with a pony each all laden with crates and books. The grogs quickly pointed out that the man was the stranger that they had seen earlier and were to invite, and during the conversation he introduced himself as Valentino, the brother of the Magus Luciano. The invitation was promptly offered and accepted, and the party escorted their new traveling partners toward the covenant, ensuring to take the by ways and paths rather than approach the villages. Thankfully there were no more grim discoveries during the return to the covenant, although one of the grogs did find the addition of another Mediterranean guest highly disappointing.
The party returned late in the evening, and Valentino was introduced to the autocrat and found suitable lodgings within one of the small wooden houses built around the inside of the broken courtyard’s wall. Carrick escorted the party to Callan so they could report their success, and also tell a Magus of the terrible discoveries they made in the village. Callan listened, then took great length to learn how the poor drowned man was wrapped within his chains. As the grogs remembered odd facts and further expanded the description Callan was visibly disturbed.
The party was dismissed and ushered out of Callan’s solar, but not before Carrick was ordered to replace any of those men’s duties that would take them beyond the covenant, and for the grogs to stay silent about what they saw.
Late meals and ale were brought for the party, as a thanks for good sense.
Session 4 Notes
- After a short discussion the Magi agreed that Callan will stay on at the covenant, and instead it will be Maximilian and Tregus who travel to Six Pillar Hill and Horsingas.
- Characters should plan for the next seasonal activities. Magi have four seasons every year, where Companions must spend at least two seasons of every year performing work or labour. The exceptions to this are those non-magi characters with either Wealthy or Poor attributes, who spend one season less working, or an extra season due to their lifestyle.
Covenfolk would also note
- Bran (the autocrat) has been assisting Maximilian’s follower Petrov, in setting up and “testing’ the still. Work is still needed to complete.
- Despite being quiet and withdrawn the mundane covenfolks find that Sym is actually approachable, and is easier to be around that the other Magi (this is the expression of the Gentle Gift). Sometimes he will eat with the servants, often asking many times to confirm that it is ok with them before disappearing quickly after the meals.
- Callan has a pet crow, which one of the covenfolks first thought to shoo out of the tower when it was discovered. The crow seems to now distrust anyone walking with brooms or long handled equipment; and thankfully neither the servant or the crow were harmed in the altercation.
- A few grogs have been traveling into Clan Bell and playing shinty, drinking, and generally socialising with them.
- The covenant has acquired some basic maps of Scotland, and the coastal areas of northern England and Ireland. Most show only the coastlines, major cities and trade roads, with mountains and lochs sketched roughly in between.
- Max is seen spending a lot of time in the covenant library area, usually muttering to himself about the state of the place.
- Petrov (Max’s follower) has a very pronounced stutter. He also rarely bathes even my medieval standards, but he never seems to smell of anything except potatoes.
- During his practice with the grogs its noted that Max is quite an adept marksman with a crossbow. And he seems to always have facts at his finger tips – perhaps far more educated than his appearance and position would believe.
Session Five – Many Unanswered Questions
The session began with the Magi discussing the potential issues from the village. The debate was short, with Demetrius, Tregus , and Callan going to investigate.
The three magi exhumed the body which was chain bound, and found and spoke to the ghost using a spontaneous casting of Whispers Through the Black Gate. The chained man spoke a western European language that none of the Magi present were familiar with.
Not disheartened Demetrius and Tregus traveled to the road where the there villagers were killed, burnt, and buried and cast again. The villagers appeared to blame the spell casters, their ghosts seemingly confused and angry. The Magi returned to the burnt out village, gathered the skull of the chained man, and then all returned to the covenant.
Upon return the three Magi went along to the bluff and re-cast the investigation spells. This time all the spells were successful, including a spontaneous version of Thoughts Within Babble. They found that the chained man was difficult to question, very intimidated by the questions, and asked questions of his own. The chained man did reveal that he was literate in the typical terminology of covenants and magic, which hints to a very strong magical background perhaps even a Magus himself.
Callan has the burnt decomposing head as he intends to continue to work on different ways to garner information from it.
Toward the middle of the season an unexpected visit from the Redcap Frederick, with the news that many covenants in the Order have been attacked. The exact number of strikes was unknown to Frederick. Though the conversations with Frederick you learned that:
- The attacks all occurred with a few hours of each other, and most had a high degree of sympathy with natural or elemental magic.
- The loss of life is expected to be extremely high, including many Magi.
- The Aegis of the Hearth for some covenants helped protect some, but not all of the attacks indicating that a range of magical effects was used.
- Durenmar (Domus Magna of House Bonisagus, in the Rhine Tribunal) was inflicted with an earthquake, which caused major damage to parts of the covenant, although the Great Library is intact.
- Coeris (DM of Tremere, in the Transylvania)
- Magvillus (DM of Guernicus, in Romany)
- Fudarus (DM of Tytalus, in Normandy) as
- Cad Gadu (DM of House Ex Miscellanea, in the Stonehenge) was struck by a cascading lightning storm for almost one hour.
- The most brutal and effective attack was on La Fière in Normandy, where a massive mountainside was dropped on the covenant. No survivors have been found as yet.
- Angulus in Hibernian tribunal was a coastal covenant, which was washed into the ocean. Some magi survived, but most grogs were killed.
- As yet no covenants in Scotland (Loch Leglean) and only one covenant in Ireland (Hibernia) are known to be attacked.
- The Tribunal of the Greater Alps, Rhine, and the Normandy tribunals had the greatest number of strikes, although these covenants also withstood the attacks far better than some in other tribunals.
Many of the covenant magi wrote to their associates to find news.
- Funds are starting to run low, with the repairs and improvements expected to use more than the remaining money the covenant has over the next year and a half.
- I’ve added these lab texts to the library.
- Lab text for invention of: Sense the Nature of Vis, InVi5.
- Lab text for invention of: Discern of Illusions, InIm15.
- Lab text for Mastery of: Pillum of Fire, CrIg20.
- Lab text for creation of: a lesser Device – a small marble tablet, which casts Bind Wound (final invested level 15) when touched to a wound, CrCo10, with 24 uses per day (+5).
- Lab text for Binding a Familiar: A damaged lab text which details how an unknown Magus bound a cat as his magical companion. Although the lab text is damaged due to a broken binding, it is incredibly detailed; perhaps more so than would normally be useful as a lab text. It also appears that the text has been magically marred so that the nane of the areas, magi, or any other ways participants could be identified. Suitable as a reference and lore, perhaps grants a small bonus.
Session 5 Notes
- Confidence Scores and Points– After chatting to Greg during the session he’s correctly sussed the confidence system in 5th. The Conf Score is the maximum you may use in a single roll. The Conf points is how many points you start with.
- A typical player starts with a Score of 1, with 3x points.
- points are not returned after use.
- points are gained for major achievements or for story rewards.
- i.e. Greg’s magus used 1x point on a casting roll, and now has a score 1, points 2x.
- Rolls and Mechanics– I hope to speed up the resolution of spell mechanics as we get better with the system.
- For this to happen you should take advantage of the calculations on your character sheets. The art totals are provided there so that you can resolve it quickly.
- If folks keep getting their rolls wrong it will slow us down; and sooner or later there might be penalties for folks who always seem to get them wrong to the character’s advantage.
Spells and Mechanics
During last session I mentioned how to suss out spell power levels, and that if you want to create items or spells you’ll need to get familiar with this. There is a bit of terminology in Ars that is useful to learn, as all the source books use it.
- Base effect: the fundamental power level of a spell, before the modifications for Range, Duration, Target, or additional factors are applied.
- Magnitude: a measure of power magi use when discussing spells and effects. 5 spell levels equal 1x magnitude. The exception to this is for spells below level 5, where you count each point as a degree of magnitude. i.e. Mags: 1,2,3,4,5,10,15,20,25, 30,… etc.
- Ritual: A spell which requires 1x pawn of Vis per 5 levels of the spell (1x pawn per Mag). A spell of level 50 or higher is automatically a ritual, and ritual magic can do some things that non-ritual spells cannot (year durations for example). While being bloody expensive in vis, they’re potentially awesome.
Here is a sample of how you’ll need to suss new spell effects or items; based upon the spell that Demetrius is considering.
Steps to Find Spell level:
- First decide the purpose, and describe the desired effect,
- then suss the Form and Technique based upon that,
- look at the Spell Guidelines for the Form/Tech for how powerful that will be,
- modify the level for the Range, Duration, and target of the spell,
- add any small tweaks such as extra minor effects, or extra Arts needed.
So a worked example:
- Effect as I understand it is to read the mind of a spirit, akin to the Peering into the Mortal Mind (InMe30). Now PitMM is Base 25, with +1 mag due to range touch. This effect allows the caster to understand the target’s answer, position, motivation, and memory on a particular very specific subject or premise. It is not an effect which allows reading the mind of the target like an open book. The mind is not that well organised.
- That makes it pretty clearly an Mentum spell as Mentum is used for the mind and spirits, and also an Intellego spell due to the perception desired. So an InMe effect.
- Base effect is likely to be: Base 25 “to learn all you wish about a person”. This Base Effect level could be lowered if the caster is happier with some of the other effects described in the Intellego Mentum guidelines. An alternative for this spell might be “Pick a single answer from the mind of the target” as Base Effect level 15, but this would require a separate casting for each question.
- Base for all spells is: Range: Personal, Duration: Momentary, Target: Individual. This needs to changed to R: Arcane Connection (+4 mags). That is an additional +20 spell levels.
- A total of 20 additional levels, which makes the final effect a level 45 spell. Probably too high to craft without too many seasons of work, and certainly not able to be spont cast.
- I’d suggest that instead of the InMe guideline using uses the detailed premise (base 25), that Greg’s Magus instead use the level 15 guideline which allows the caster to understand the target’s answer to a single specific question for each casting. This will make the final level 35.