Pale Ones, a faerie host and the Lady of the Moon, Mistress of the Winter Wind

Writing a few faerie npcs for an Ars Magica game and thought I’d share the bits and pieces…as a story seedling. I’ve been wanting to share this post for a long while, but the story is almost done so no harm now.

The premise for the story is the friction between two separate groups of faeries who have been isolated within a regio for decades without human interaction. Recently the magi and covenfolk rediscovered the regio which revives both groups of fading faeries. Their skin becomes more colorful, their moods lighten, they rise from dormant states refreshed. Both groups are also overly keen to interact.

Fae of the Marketplace – the first group are playing out a marketplace setting, where the human interactors are given opportunities to trade, learn, and interact with fae as a common village market. Significant effects in the marketplace include:

  • Vendors and participants in the market will fade and then reappear every hour or so, sometimes changing appearance. This means that very few of the vendors will be present day after day, however once the vendors learn the types of objects the characters are seeking to buy they will be more present.
  • Three vendors will remain constant – a Toymaker, a Clothier, and a Trader. These three fae compete the most for human contact.
  • If groomed properly “the Marketplace” will make a good source of covenant stories, perhaps covenant income.

Fae of the Host – “the host” are a group of vicious hunters who prey on children to gain vitality, known as the Pales Ones. Each member reflects an aspect of being wintery, cold, lost, or hungry in their powers and movements, and also be either partial animals or full animals in appearance. Their role is to play out animalistic hunting behaviour; members of the host sniff out prey, and then the host hunts together to feed and kill.

These two groups have become entwined in the regio because a toymaker from the marketplace periodically sends his animated wooden children into the forest to seek out customers and interested humans, and they are destroyed by the Host. The toy maker also wishes to return to a deeper regio layer where his old home and workshop is, but is blocked by the Host.

The Host are frustrated with the true lack of prey.

The characters entered the scenario as visitors to the marketplace, potentially buying and trading for trinkets and gear.

Ghori, Lady of the Moon, Mistress of the winter wind. A Pale One.

Lady Ghori is an ultra thin grey skinned woman with mostly human features, notable is an overall feline taint to her eyes, ears, and teeth, and very long white hair, often braided in three thick strands. She dresses in long robes and coats of grey, white, and charcoal, decorated with teeth, bone and trimmed with animal hides.

Lady Ghori will often ride an unnaturally large wolf when she has to travel long distances or quickly, her mount of choice for the fear and distrust it incites in mortals. The wolf is not combative though, more smoke and glamour than a beast.

She is called “mistress” or “Lady Ghori” by her host of lesser faeries, as she hunts and feeds with them on children and lost travellers at nighttime. Lady Ghori has grown more powerful than the other members of the host, unknowingly changing her story to be the leader of the Host. She now thinks that she a distant cousin to a noble cast of fae known as the Pale Ones, and the Host are her followers.

Story Guides should tweak Lady Ghori’s Might score to use her as a combative challenge. She is intended to be very difficult for grogs alone to defeat, and with a handful of her host she might make a reasonable challenge to a Magus.

Goals: To risk her life hunting humans with her host (see below), provoking violent responses. To invoke fear.

Method: Lady Ghori stays in hiding, using the host to scavenge for lost travellers. When a potential target is she joins the host in playing cat and mouse games with the prey, eventually leading to a physical confrontation. As she drawn her energy from the reactions of fear she prefers to draw out fights and induce anger. Best played as a bully, with her weaknesses being greed for energy and her own fear of being ridiculed.

Faerie Might: 15

Characteristics:  Int 0, Per +2, Pre 0, Com 0, Str +0,  Stm +1,  Dex +1,  Qik +2, Size: -1

Virtues: Faerie Speech, Humanoid Faerie, Cognizant within Role,  Flaws: Cyclic Potency (weaker in daytime) -1, (balance to buy powers)

Personality Traits: Careful+1, Cruel +3, cat +1

Combat: Longspear  Init +5,  Atk +8,  Dfn +9,  Dmg +6

Soak: +3 (layered leather armor) , Fatigue: OK, 0, -1, -3, -5, Unconscious; Wounds: -1 (1-4)

Pretenses:  Good Combative skills, a few negotiation skills, and hunting skills.

Powers:

  • Sidestep 0 points, Init -5, Can teleport 5 or so paces at will.
  • Confusion: 2 points, Init +2, Mentem: as the level 15 ReMe Confusion of the Numbed Will. When used a cold wind will be felt in the area.
  • Chilling Wind: 1 point, (CrAu/IgPe) creates a wind that chills all within for a fatigue level.
  • Winter Snow 0 points (CrAq) makes snow fall over a wide area.

Equipment: Full leather armour, longspear, shortsword, trinkets and jewelry,

Vis:  3x pawns of Corpus vis in hands.

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Bloodline faerie spells for Ars Magica, 30 Days of Magic

A few Bloodline spells to grow the catalogue of options available to characters with the Faerie Magic virtue.

Call to my Children

Creo Mentem 10, R: Personal, D: Momentary, T: Bloodline

The caster may speak a few words directly to their bloodline.

(Base 3, +3 Bloodline)

Call to the Inherited

Creo Mentem 20, R: Touch, D: Concentration, T: Bloodline

The caster may speak words directly into the mind of the target and all their bloodline.

(Base 3, +1 Touch, +1 Concentration, +3 Bloodline)

Predilection for Broken Loyalties

Rego Mentem 40, R: Touch, D: Moon, T: Bloodline

The target and their Bloodline is far less likely to behave in a loyal and supportive manner toward others in their own family; altering or adding a personality trait for family loyalty by -3.

(Base 5, +1 Touch, +3 Moon, +3 Bloodline)

Find over 700 new spells for Ars Magica on my New Spells page.

Faerie Greater Power – Animate Toy

A story in an Ars Magica game I’m playing in has a toy maker who crafts animated dolls inspired from Geppetto and Pinocchio. I couldn’t find a nice matching Faerie power in the books so decided to borrow from the Animae Magic rules (from HoH:MC p.92-95) which are very close to what I had in mind. Writing this up means it might break all sorts of rules but it will do it consistently which I think is important, especially if the characters need to interact with the toys themselves.

Animae Magic creates a faerie from normal materials, and that faerie is then unleashed upon the world. The toy maker NPC is not meant to be able to create complex intelligence and life with his creations (which is something that Animae magic can actually do!) so this power is designed to be a less powerful version of that major virtue.

Greater Power: Animate Toy (+3 Supernatural Fae)

Geppetto sculpting a giant head

Geppetto, by Bill Willingham (Vertigo Comics)

The targeted toy is granted simplistic animation and behaviour which must reflect its form and purpose. Toys are often playful, and can never be imbued with complex intelligence. Animals are playful, humanoids mimic a narrow set of acts, such as a fighting knight, a travelling messenger, a hunting dog, a singing bird. The toys may defend themselves, or even attack others if they are crafted with that intent.

This power must be used upon a physical toy which has been primarily crafted by the caster, must be of high quality, and must be made up of materials primarily suited to the Form of the base guideline used. When the animation ends the toys are still high quality and fully functional as toys, and are suitable for re-enchantment.

The enchantment duration of the animation is non-standard, designed so that the duration starts from the toy being triggered by unwrapping or being unboxed, and ends according to the effect design. This supports the toys being used as gifts.

Animated toys have a Might score equal to the extra power used in the enchantment, as noted in each effect design. Base cost to use this power is equal to one fifth the final enchantment level calculated as (MuHe Base 4, +n for Might Power, +1 Touch, with Duration variable to the toy maker’s desires) rounded down.

(Animae Guideline: Muto Herbam base 4 to alter a wooden item into a Faerie).

Example uses:

Playful Pup (MuHe21) (base 4, +1 Touch, +3 Moon, +1 level for Might: 1) This effect animates a small toy puppy to behave as a playful, happy, and highly obedient young dog. Cost: 2 might to cast.

Carnival of Delights (MuHe25) (base 4, +1 Touch, +2 Ring, +0 Circle, +1 complexity, +5 levels for Might: 5 each) This effect animates all the toys within an arena to dance, skip, and play like their shapes. Cost: 5 might to cast.

Child of the Carnival (MuHe31) (base 4, +1 Touch, +5 Until, +1 levels for Might: 1) This effect animates a child sized doll to flutter about playing and dancing. The D: Until is used here to dictate “until the toy leaves the marketplace”, so that the toy will provide entertainment to the caster. Cost: 6 might to cast.

Wooden Shield Grog (MuHe40) (base 4, +1 Touch, +5 Until, +1 levels for Might: 1, +9 for +18 Pen) This effect animates a 5 feet tall wooden soldier to guard the owner and defend them from harm. The D: Until is used here to dictate “the owner arrives back home safely”, so that the toy will protect somebody on a long journey. however different soldiers could have different Until conditions. Cost: 8 might to cast.

These example powers roughly present descriptions which could be from the Faerie Supernatural Virtue: Animae Magic.

The Animate Toy power is more limited in scope than the Animae supernatural virtue as the item must be first crafted, and the animation must match the purpose. However the ability to hold the duration from starting is very non-hermetic and quite powerful, and would typically need to be designed as an additional power involving Rego Vim magic. The intent is to create a power which thematically reflects the gifts which would be created by a faerie toy maker – therefore this is a very deliberate break from Ars Magica guidelines for the sake of a faerie story.

Spells to Observe Through Fire

A few spells akin to Eyes of the Flame (InIg35, ArM p.141) which enhance the range of observation a Magus can perform, and also demonstrate a fair use for the Faerie Duration: Fire. When writing these spells I found the Fire duration limiting and overtly expensive in terms of how many levels it adds to spells. It really should not be a +3 Magnitude adjustment given how limited the mechanics of its use are, and how rarely it is used in-play.

Ears of the Flame

Intellego Ignem 35, R: Arcane, D: Concentration, T: Individual

Lets you hear a fire and anything within its radius of heat and light up to the size of a large campfire which you have an Arcane Connection to.

(Base 10, +4 Arc, +1 Conc)

And then,

Ears of the Faerie Flame

Intellego Ignem 45, R: Arcane, D: Fire, T: Individual, Faerie

Lets you hear a fire up to the size of a large campfire within its radius of heat and light which you have an Arcane Connection to, while it still burns.

(Base 10, +4 Arc, +3 Fire)

Then two variants designed for use with an Intangible Tunnel which makes the spell far lower level.

Eavesdrop by the Fire

Intellego Ignem 25, R: Touch, D: Concentration, T: Individual

Lets you see and hear a fire up to the size of a large campfire within its radius of heat and light which you can touch. The intention is to combine this spell with an Intangible Tunnel to a particular fire.

(Base 10, +1 Touch, +1 Conc, +1 additional sense)

Eavesdrop by the Faerie Fire

Intellego Ignem 35, R: Touch, D: Fire, T: Individual, Faerie

Lets you see and hear a fire up to the size of a large campfire within its radius of heat and light which you can touch. The intention is to combine this spell with an Intangible Tunnel to a particular fire.

(Base 10, +1 Touch, +3 Fire, +1 additional sense)

Over 650+ new spells for Ars Magica can be found here.

Spell for an improved signal fire, with Fae duration

I was excited with the idea of creating an animated sentient fire until I discovered a similar spell already existed in the Magi of Hermes Ars Magica book – can’t be helped.

Instead here is a fire utility spell – perhaps useful to cast upon a signal fire, to create a diversion, or to fill a chamber with mundane smoke. The Faerie Fire Duration is handy here as the signal fires can remain effective for as long as needed, controlled by fuel rather than magic.

Smoking Fire

Muto Ignem 10, R: Voice, D: Fire, T: Individual, Faerie

Smoke from the targeted fire is always rich and potent, producing strikingly obvious smoke.

(Base 1, +2 Voice, +3 Fire)


A Thin Curse, a Fat spell

It’s one of those posts where I’ve been pondering stories again and thinking about Ars Magica spells for the effects; this started from Thinner by Stephen King.

The Curse of Limos

Muto Corpus 15, R: Touch, D: Moon, T: Individual

The target is unable to gain more than a trivial amount of sustenance from food and drink, and as days pass will find themselves lethargic and their hunger never satiated.

When applied to a target over many months they will become unnaturally gaunt and thin, so much so their visage is disturbing to others. Repeated application will also eventually cause a wasting death.

(Base 3, +1 Touch, +3 Moon)

Being a range Touch means either knowing the target directly, or cursing them from afar using a magical tunnel. This is an effect that can be worked into a very thematic Faerie spell using the Faerie Until range too, but above I’ve kept it to a standard hermetic non-ritual spell. Below is the fae ritual. 

The Pact of Limos

Muto Corpus 20, R: Touch, D: Until, T: Individual, Ritual, Faerie

The target is unable to gain more than a trivial amount of sustenance from food and drink, and will find themselves lethargic and their hunger never satiated.

When applied to a target over many months they will become unnaturally gaunt and thin, so much so their visage is disturbing to others. The spell will also eventually cause a wasting death.
The effect continues until the caster speaks a specific word aloud, typically performed when the target has performed their side of a pact.

(Base 3, +1 Touch, +4 Until, ritual, faerie)

I also wanted an opposite effect but also wanted some utility from the spell. This effect is immediate rather than long term on the target.

Paralysis of Gluttony

Muto Corpus 15, R: Voice, D: Diameter, T: Individual

The target of this spell is made unnaturally heavy and obese, so much so they are no longer able to move; with a final size two levels larger than their original size, or a maximum size of +4. Clothes will become painful and may burst their seams as the target grows in size.

(Base 3, +2 Voice, +1 Diam, +1 for three extra size categories)

Others effects I’ve pondered over the past few years are part of the free new spells compendium for Ars Magica.

Spell to trace the lineage of men and beasts

Here is a few spells of Ars Magica using the Faerie Target: Bloodline. These allow the caster to trace blood relatives for themselves, other humans, and animals. I thought this might be handy for a wizard interested in fertility and the gift, but also to find those members of their extended family they might be unaware of (and of course for dealing with horse traders).

Each effect could probably be made slightly lower level by designing a more specialized spell, but given how niche the effects are that would be wasteful of seasons. A base guideline level 10 is heavy-handed, but allows a lot of breadth and forgiveness.

Blood of My Blood

Intellego Corpus / Imagonem 30, R: Personal, D: Concentration, T: Bloodline. Faerie.

The caster gains an awareness of every blood relative, and by concentrating can focus on specific members to determine their physical health, state in terms of awake or asleep, age, visual appearance, and location. When learned the spell is tailored for the caster’s bloodline to avoid warping.

(Base 10 to know all information about a body, +1 Conc, +3 Bloodline)

a blood arcane connection

And as a variation, here is the same effect raised to R: Touch, to allow a caster to trace the lineage of a touched person.

The Seed is Strong

Intellego Corpus / Imagonem 35, R: Touch, D: Concentration, T: Bloodline. Faerie.

The caster gains an awareness of every blood relative of the target touched, and by concentrating can focus on specific members to determine their physical health, state in terms of awake or asleep, age, visual appearance, and location. When learned the spell is tailored for the caster’s bloodline to avoid warping.

(Base 10 to know all information about a body, +1 Touch, +1 Conc, +3 Bloodline)

And lastly a variation to trace the lineage of animals, for the purposes of discerning pure breeding.

The Line Breeds True

Intellego Animal / Imagonem 35, R: Touch, D: Concentration, T: Bloodline. Faerie.

The caster gains an awareness of every blood relative of the target animal touched, and by concentrating can focus on specific members to determine their physical health, state in terms of awake or asleep, age, visual appearance, and location.

(Base 10 to know all information about a body, +1 Touch, +1 Conc, +3 Bloodline)

I suppose there could also be versions for Herbam too, although I don’t think that would get used often; and probably couldn’t make use of the Bloodline Target either.

For these and other new Ars Magics spells see the list of spells.