Portrait generator by Losing Games

This Portrait generator by Isaac Williams will create a simple portrait. Could also be useful as an avatar creator. Nice work sir.

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.

a page for Sample Ars Magica Characters

Quick note – all the sample Ars Magica characters I’ve written up are gathered in a page now, some with full backgrounds and others with mechanical stats. Like the new spells, and enchanted items, this is a one stop place where I gather them; likely more for my own purpose than anyone else.

Grogs, servants, commoners, and guards

A collation of the grogs and commoners I’ve drafted recently for a few play by post Ars Magica games.

Below we have a Shield Grog, a Servant, a Lab Assistant, and a Point Guard. Building up the mechanics of grogs isn’t complex compared to creating a magus however its still a chore so here are a few samples – it might fast track a few NPCs. Continue reading

A sample NPC, Phocas the Mason

An NPC character in an Ars magica play-by-post game. Phocas is the covenant’s mason and also acting autocrat. As a grog the stats are not critical, but certainly handy.

Phocas, Mason and Autocrat
Phocas is tall and thin with thick dark wavy hair, a trimmed beard and mustache, and a wry smile which implies deep knowledge. He walks and speaks with an “aristocratic” air, having been well educated formally at great expense to his family. He is always in the midst of at least three different tasks, and it is only his passion for his work and an organised mind which allow him to run so many concurrent tasks.

Phocas was the first son of a growing family of builders. His wit and ambition was identified early in his childhood and he was given the best education his family could afford. After many years of church schooling and private study, combined with his families growing dependency for him to run aspects of the masonry business, he became a central figure in his families growing wealth and prosperity.

Unfortunately as his influence grew Phocas also grew to dislike his families ceaseless lust for excess and influence, their bickering and infighting, and so he resented the conflicts in his duties more and more with each passing year. Too many years of running his father and uncles businesses for little more than lip service to his own achievements made him unsatisfied. With time his temper also grew, and Phocas began to be frustrated by the incompetence within the family business which he could not change. Phocas loved the challenges running major mason operations, focused on elegance and perfection in his work, and desired to run his own operation his way without the influences and limitations which come from family businesses.

Eventually it became too much and Phocas left his family, as he sought to find another path for himself. His business acumen and practical skills in masonry, combined with a high quality education made him an incredibly valuable employee. After several small projects were completed successfully, Phocas took an unusual but lucrative contract to build far from his typical town and parish work. The employer’s “covenant” was a series of perfect opportunities to demonstrate his skills.

Phocas was then approached by a representative of The Order with a a more permanent offer; a different style challenge which appealed to him greatly – “why not work amongst those who value knowledge over wealth, for whom worldly power holds little sway. Build your own legacy Phocas”.

With his new role acting as the covenant Autocrat as well as running the affairs of the masonry business Phocas is adamantly determined to prove himself. Phocas recognises he lacks the background to perform all functions of the autocrat smoothly, but considers himself worthy of the challenge and intends to run both aspects of the covenant professionally and with vigor. The irony of being intolerant of incompetence and his new role is not lost upon him, but he does not find this point humorous. He is also aware that his temper could potentially be his undoing with the Magi, who are superior to him in the covenant, so he is attempting to withhold his anger or divert it to other people and places.

Phocas is a hard task master for his teams and workers, but understands the value of praise and also appreciates that not all workers are as driven as he is. In direction and attitude he is forthright, clear, and prides himself on accuracy. He prefers leading his staff, but is not above performing the work himself and assisting his workers directly; especially if any show interest or talent. He is known to “not suffer fools”.

“A good job, on budget, on time, and a match to the desired function” Continue reading

Vanilla Covenants Project – Fidelus of Bonisagus

I’ve taken on a bit of ad-hoc Ars Magica character creation for the NPC named Fidelus of Bonisagus, as part of the Vanilla Covenants Project. The project is a community sourced set of examples of beginning covenants for the Ars Magica RPG setting.

Hopefully this material will get used in the project, but if not it does demonstrate a little of the Ars Magica character generation process (continuing theme from another Bonisagus Magus example).DUNNOTTAR_CASTLE_Large

This NPC is the leader of the Covenant of Sabrina’s Rest (as written by Timothy Ferguson), a typical covenant of moderate power and influence.

Fidelus of Bonisagus


Fidelus is the nominal head of the Council, although this is essentially an honorary position which he holds because of his House membership. He specializes in Corpus magic, and is effectively a healer. His sigil is an intricate pattern of white, that looks like seafoam.

He’s also mentioned fearfully in some other covenants, and by some of the most senior grogs, because during a Wizard’s War a couple of decades ago he raised an army of corpses from the grogs of the other covenant. He doesn’t like to talk about this, he considers it an immoral thing she did out of desperation, but his sodales have embroidered the story and made very sure that every other magus in the Tribunal knows it. It’s perhaps the thing he’s most famous for, and so his distracted but nurturing nature is a surprise to young magi, when they first meet him.


Fidelus is an unassuming man who knows the value of patience and listening to others. Seldom is he the first to speak, but often his words will be remembered as insightful and well thought through. By habit he will watch the covenfolk go about their lives, seeking to always understand their motivations and experiences at a fundamental level.

If upset or angered his countenance changes, and the deep resonance of his voice changes from soothing to a naturally commanding baritone.

Within the covenant his temperate manner has assisted with difficult negotiations time and time again. Seldom does Fidelus not achieve an outcome which he is satisfied by.


Fidelus has aged very well and despite his advancing years has lost none of his handsome looks or rich strong tone in his voice. His thick brown hair has wisps of white through it, and a neatly trimmed mustache and beard. Fidelus stands tall with a straight back and seldom rushes or hurries.

When amongst coven folk Fidelus wears cloaks and robes layered in blue and green hues, but whilst traveling he will wear clothing of subdued colors similar to that of priests and monks. Often Fidelus will alter his appearance magically to better blend in, preferring to remain unnoticed. He is never armed as he prefers to use his magical skills for defense, and will evade and neutralize an opponent rather than cause harm.


Characteristics: Int +2, Per +1, Pre +1, Com +2, Str -1, Sta +2, Dex 0, Qik -2 (1)
Size: 0
Age: 74 (47), Height: 162 cm, Weight: 60 kg, Gender: Male
Decrepitude: 0, Warping Score: 0 (0), Confidence: 1 (3)

Personality Traits: Careful +2, Kind +1, Well Spoken +3
Virtues and Flaws: The Gift, Flexible Formulaic Magic, Clear Thinker (Bonus: +3 to resist lies, confusion, subterfuge), Minor Magical Focus
(healing), Affinity with Corpus, Affinity with Creo, Life Boost, Hermetic Magus, Puissant Intrigue*, Visions, Incompatible Arts (Intellego Ignem,
Creo Ignem), Incompatible Arts (Muto Ignem, Perdo Ignem), Difficult Longevity Ritual, Loose Magic, Ambitious

Abilities: Area Lore: Area 1 (Brittan) (9), Artes Liberales 1, Athletics 1, Awareness 3 (1), Brawl 1, Breton 5 (Commoners), Chirurgy 2, Code of
Hermes 3, Faerie Lore 1 (5), Finesse 1, Folk Ken 2 (5), Guile 1, Hunt 2 (1), Intrigue 3+2, Latin 4 (Hermetic usage), Leadership 1 (9), Magic Lore 1
(5), Magic Theory 6 (25), Medicine 1 (2), Order of Hermes Lore 3 (5), Parma Magica 5, Penetration 2 (6), Swim 1, Teaching 3 (7), Welsh 1

Arts: Cr 20, In 10, Mu 10, Pe 7, Re 14, An 5, Aq 5, Au 5, Co 26, He 5, Ig 5, Im 8, Me 9, Te 5, Vi 13

Spells Known:
Awaken the Slumbering Corpse (ReCo 25) +42
Bind Wound (CrCo 10) +68
The Call to Slumber (ReMe 10) +25
Charm Against Putrefaction (CrCo 10) +48
Cheating the Reaper (CrCo 30) +69
The Chirurgeon’s Healing Circle (CrCo 20) +69
The Chirurgeon’s Healing Touch (CrCo 20) +69
Circular Ward Against Demons (ReVi 20) +29
Curse of the Bloated Tongues (ReCo 10) +42
Curse of the Unruly Tongue (ReCo 5) +43, Mastery 1 (fast casting)
Dust to Dust (PeCo 25) +35
Endurance of the Berserkers (ReCo 15) +42
Gather the Essence of the Beast (ReVi 15) +29
Gentle Touch of the Purified Body (CrCo 20) +69
The Gift of Vigor (ReCo 20) +42
The Inexorable Search (InCo 20) +38
The Invisible Eye Revealed (InVi 15) +25
Lifting the Dangling Puppet (ReCo 15) +43, Mastery 1 (multiple casting)
Opening the Intangible Tunnel (ReVi 30) +30, Mastery 1 (magic resistance)
The Phantom Gift (CrVi 15) +35
Physician’s Eye (InCo 5) +48
Purification of the Festering Wounds (CrCo 20) +68
Restoration of the Defiled Body (CrCo 25) +69
Revealed Flaws of Mortal Flesh (InCo 10) +48
Rise of the Feathery Body (ReCo 10) +42
Selfish Rest of the Injured Magus (CrCo 15) +68
Serious Rest for the Injured Custos (CrCo 30) +68
The Severed Limb Made Whole (CrCo 25) +69
Sight of the Transparent Motive (InMe 10) +21
Sight of the True Form (InCo 20) +38
Slip From the Reaper’s Grasp (CrCo 40) +68
Spasms of the Uncontrolled Hand (ReCo 5) +42
Speak Through the Intangible Tunnel (CrIm 4) +30.
Spy Through the Intangible Tunnel (InIm 10) +20.
Trust of Childlike Faith (PeMe 10) +19, Mastery 1 (still casting)
Ward Against the Common Man (ReCo 20) +42
Whispers Through the Black Gate (InCo(Me) 15) +21
Words of the Unbroken Silence (CrMe 10) +31
The Wound that Weeps (PeCo 15) +36, Mastery 1 (magic resistance)

Continue reading

Magus Sym, the Bear

Sym is an NPC created for an Ars Magica game which stopped a little while ago. The output is from Meta-Creator so is a little idiosyncratic at times, but far better than writing the entire stat blocks by hand.

Sym’s stats could be used for any Bjornaer recently out of apprenticeship, with a focus on dangerously good mundane melee combat. Continue reading

Quick names for Characters

I had a quick thought about character names for rpg games – typically a name should reflect something about the character, and also serve as a reminder for the gm or player about a deeper character. On the surface that is somewhat hard. So here are two suggestions:

Pick them from MMO directories.

The Wow Armory is good and searching by a guild or server will give you a toon list to start from. That said though warcrat players are also a bloody stupid bunch at times as proved by a GuildOx article which shows the popular names by class – no surprise the most popular are god damned horrid.

There is a pool of millions of players out there that create characters in mmos every week. Amongst them are truly great,and totally awful names; don’t be shy.

Grab a baby naming book.

Baby name books are great when your setting is quasi-earth, as they often have lists for “powerful, “fun”, “biblical”, etc. Most used book stores will have one or two, and you’ll not pay much for them.

A good book Pdf is also good, and recently I grabbed a 25001 baby name book on Pdf, and its made is so much easier.