Karhu, Agnarr’s polar bear familiar, a sample magical creature

Karhu is a stoic creature. As one of the few magical beasts who inhabit the polar region he has grown used to quiet nights and peaceful landscapes. He was content with simple pleasures of plentiful food and being one of the more powerful beasts in the region. He and Agnarr crossed paths unexpectedly while both were hunting, and neither thought the other appetising. Initially they hunted apart, but the rare occasion when brother bear wasn’t able to quickly fill his belly, Agnarr shared a fresh seal kill. They then watched each other for many days, hunting and continuing to share food. After the initial meeting Agnar returned a few years later and befriended Karhu. Now years later the two are both magically and mentally joined.

Personality – Speaks very little, even to Agnarr. His Ars Magica stats can be found at the foot of this longer post on Agnarr, also repeated below.

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Seven Lesser Enchanted Devices for Guards and Watchmen

These are a few enchanted items for Ars Magica grogs, intended to increase their effectiveness. The goal of these items is to make the grogs more efficient without compromising their capacity to respond, which means a range of situational powers is better than one large dramatic one. The powers have many uses per day as they can be used by every member of the guard, if these were designed for a single user they would be slightly lower level.

For example a power which affects the weapons of the grog would be avoided. Powers which affect the grog’s equipment are better as they also avoid warping.

The Seven Charms of the Earnest Guardsmen – this set of steel charms is set upon a life sized oak bust of a grizzled guardsman who is helmed and armored in scratched and worn gear. Each charm is held in place and enchanted separately as a lesser enchanted device. The bust is anchored in place in the watch-house or garrison of the covenant. The charms place enchantments upon the user, allowing a each charm to be used by many members of the covenant.

The items were designed as lesser devices and set together, this way further enhancements could be added over time and items could be replaced if another power was preferred. Each item could also be taken and worn, and each is a two way arcane connection to the wooden bust.

Each power is activated by touching the selected charm with one hand and the target’s chest with the other.

Charm of the Bear’s Hide – a steel chain around the neck of the statue, with a small bear shaped token attached. As per Gift of the Bears Fortitude (Ars p.131) (MuAn 35), (Base 15, +1 Touch, +2 Sun), with +5 for 24 uses per day.

Twin Charms of the Perceptive Hound – two steel cloak pins, shaped for a leaping dog and a sniffing dog, when worn together one jumps the other.

First pin’s effect is Nose of the Bloodhound (MuCo/An 10), (Base 2, +1 Touch, +2 Sun), with +5 for 24 uses per day. This effect changes the target’s nose to be that of a hound, greatly increasing their ability to track by scent and notice unusual odours.

Second pin’s effect is Ears of the Bloodhound (MuCo/An 10), (Base 2, +1 Touch, +2 Sun), with +5 for 24 uses per day. This effect changes the target’s ears to be that of a hound, greatly increasing their hearing abilities.

Charm of the Perceptive Watchman – a full steel helm. As per Eyes of the Cat (Ars p.131) (MuCo/An 10), (Base 2, +1 Touch, +2 Sun), with +5 for 24 uses per day.

Charm of the Resilient Gambeson – a steel brooch set upon the bust’s chest, shaped as a round-shield and decorated with a gauntlet symbol. As per Doublet of Impenetrable Silk (Ars p.118) (MuAn 20), (Base 4, +1 Touch, +2 Sun), with +5 for 24 uses per day.

Charm of Preternatural Growth – a steel pauldron strapped to the shoulder of the bust. As per Preternatural Growth and Shrinking (Ars p.131) (MuCo/AnTeHe 15), (Base 3, +1 Touch, +2 Sun), with +5 for 24 uses per day. The target and their equipment increases in size by one category to a maximum of size +1.

Charm of the Allied Turb – a diamond shaped steel badge worn over the bust’s heart which signifies the covenant symbol. (MuIm 10) (Base 1, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 detailed), with +5 for 24 uses per day. The target’s appearance is altered to match their untransformed form (for those with some of the effects above), and also to be wearing a tunic of covenant colors and symbol. This effect is used in combination with the others to indicate those on duty and also the expiry of the other effects.

Final note: beware the warping some of these items will cause if used regularly. Initially I had a goal to create all the items with no warping, however it proved too difficult.

Fantasy Runeblade built for Ars Magica

“The runeblade is an extension of your being. A death knight cannot battle without a runeblade.”

– Instructor Razuvious

Q. What would a runeblade be like if made using Ars Magica mechanics?

A. Incredibly nasty, especially if used against mundanes. As an-ex Wow’er this post has been a long time coming and I’ve enjoyed throwing all sorts of power descriptions below, and seeing which ones suit it best. For the purposes of this post the powers have been created using the Hermetic magic rules, while in-game an infernal equivalent is very reasonable. WoW and Ars Magica deal with

Runeblades are usually swords inscribed with magical or demonic runes that grant certain powers to the wielder. All high-ranking death knights wield their own personal, named runeblade, called vampiric runeblades. However, runeblades are not unique to the Scourge. Although Frostmourne was undoubtedly the most prominent runeblade in existence, there are quite a few additional ones.

– Wowikia

In game mechanically there is a magic resistance (MR) consideration for the invested powers which alter the runeblades but to not affect anyone hit with it; normally these would also be resisted by MR which in turn mean the weapon would be useless against any creature or person with MR. In my opinion and frequent house-rule is the non-material powers do not get stopped by MR. Likewise a power can be resisted and the physical sword blade can still hurt the opponent. The supernatural effect is resisted, but the steel is not. This is so that magical weapons do not need to be over engineered for the game and interactions with MR are simpler. YSMV.

Some sample powers might be:

Arcane Link – 1x pawn vis, as the runeblade is a fixed arcane connection to the owner.

Cause Fatigue – PeIg 38, (Base 4, +1 Touch, +1 Animal targets, +5 for 24 uses per day, +20 for Penetration +40, +3 specific owner only), if being held by the owner the next creature struck suffers a Fatigue level of exhaustion.

Dance and Float – ReTe28, (Base 4, +1 Concentration, +2 extra strength to stay in place, +5 device maintains concentration, +5 for 24 uses per day, +3 specific owner only), the sword may be commanded to float and dance in place, and cannot be moved by anyone else.

Dark Whispers – CrMe 43, (Base 3, +4 Arcane, +3 Moon, +5 for 24 uses per day, +5 for +10 penetration, +3 cannot affect owner), after touching blood the sword will whisper to the target who hears an eerie and disturbing voice in their mind speaking of their downfall or death.

Destruction of Men and Beasts – PeCo45, (Base 15, +1 Touch, +1 Animal targets, +10 unlimited uses, +10 for Penetration +20, +3 cannot affect the owner), inflicts a heavy wound on any human touched by the blade. This power may be resisted by powerful opponents, however it is designed to be devistating to lesser creatures.

Encase in Ice – CrAq30, (Base 3, +1 Touch, +1 Diameter, +5 for 24 uses per day, +17 for Penetration +34, +3 specific owner only), the next target touched with the blade is encased in ice, likely stopping all movement and soon to suffocate. Creature up to size +1 can be encased.

Eerie Light – CrIg17, (Base 3, +14 Constant effect), the blade always glows with an eerie blue and white light akin to torchlight.

Indestructible – MuTe24, (Base 4, +2 metal, +14 Constant effect), the blade is all but indestructible.

Wracking Pain – PeCo40, (Base 4, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +3 specific user not affected, +10 unlimited uses, +17 for +34 Penetration), if touched by anyone except the owner the power inflicts pain upon them until the next sunrise or sunset.

An update to Agnarr,

I missed posting final stats for Agnarr, so updating the character sample provided earlier to his “advanced” stats. In hindsight I altered a starting spell to allow Agnarr to conjure ice using formulaic magic, as an ice Magus I think he needed that. Also added his familiar – a large polar bear. Characters are sometimes never finished.

Magus Agnarr Kallhjartad, Ex Miscellanea – a sample Ars Magica wizard. 

Backstory

Two men draped in furs walk side by side through a hilly grassland covered in silvery frost. Both are indistinguishable due to the dim moonlight, although one is clearly armed with shield and long spear. Following behind them aways walks a large white bear.

“I’ll tell you a little, but lets keep walking till the sun’s up.” The other nods. “Was born a Sami, who live far in the north. Not the pleasant north here, far beyond that; right to edge of the ice where man cannot survive and the cold will break your teeth. My family were herders and trappers in their village, and with their short lives and dark nights they are an untrusting and spiritual people.”

“Untrusting like you.”

“Yes, and worse Jaern. I’m told that when I was born my family knew I was different. They call it touched, and in those lands it meant a child is cursed in a way that splits them from life. I was kept fed but not expected to live through the harsh winters. The family broke with tradition and refused to name me as all children are named in spring, enough of an admission to the rest of the village. ”

“After a year or so the shaman who lived many days downriver came and performed some sort of rites, and finally gave me my tribe name – Kallhjartad, the Cold Heart. It was fitting and allowed my family to see an end. And any end was preferable for them as the shame and guilt of bearing a touched child was a burden.”

“Wait, your sorcery isn’t a boon?”

“The curse makes people nervous and hostile. My family were openly troubled by my curse and this naming confirmed that if I survived another handful of years I’d have a place apart from the family, and still technically part of the community. You don’t feel it at present as I often shield you from its worse effects, that illease and creepiness is the touch of magic.”

“The shaman said when the time came I would be taken and trained in their ways. However only a few years after, and well before the shaman returned to claim me another man, a soothsayer well feared, came through the village and claimed me instead. My old pa knew of him but da had never seen him. He took me before my third name day, and from what I gather now he took me by force and cared little for what the village thought. That other man was Master Ailo. After that I stayed at the covenant for all my days. Trying to not get a whipping and learn something useful. ”

“That’s Ailo for certain, never around and as snappish as his old wolf. ”

“That wolf is twice as mean as any other natural animal I’ve met, but he’s also loyal. Means a lot to us. That’s why they mended your arm when it was half torn off too,” nodding upward at Jaern’s spear arm.

“Still hurts in winter. Not that you’d notice..”

Interrupting with a laugh, “..sook more Jaern. You’re twice as rich and twice as old as every other grog we have. A linnorm takes a snap on your elbow, and you live in hospice for a month and find yourself with a nice wife. ‘Tis a good outcome.”

“Hrrhmm. Be better when kids are grown. That’ll settle Ella’s moods,” looking sideways at Agnarr.

Smiling, “Oh yes? Horse dung it will!”

“Then give me a rote to help, you know her!”

“Ha, no. Her hospice was one of the few places outside Ailo’s lab that I saw for my apprenticeship. She’s as much a kind mother to me as Ailo might be a misguided father. No kid knows any different from their growing ways, but I knew the other apprentices were treated differently. They certainly got out more and the hospice has a quiet private place where everyone didn’t mind bending the rules. I’ll not be hexing Ella.”

“Wasn’t just you they watched Agnarr. That girl lost to the wildfires and another normal child stolen from our village a score of years before meant everyone got watchful.”

Appearance

Agnarr changes clothes to suit the temperature preferring to avoid being overly warm. His combinations of robe, tunic, or leggings are of wool and coloured blue hues, and wears a hooded cloak made from white owl feathers. His black hair has started to silver prematurely through his head and beard, and both are kept long but trimmed neatly. Agnarr has grey eyes, a lean face, long looking limbs, and a tendency to stand tall with feet apart at attention while thinking; a habit of apprenticeship.

His clothing and gear often looks clean but well worn and sturdy, as he prefers function over aesthetics, and as a Magus he has indulged in better quality raw materials and some trims and folds for decoration. Agnarr travels with a thin staff, hunting knife, a pack, and sled when pulling larger burdens. He may pack a suit of heavy leather hauberk but wears it very infrequently.

History

Life as an apprentice to Ailo often kept Agnarr secluded away from the covenant and certainly away from the outside world. The small information he knew about the wider world was diluted and reduced by the internal concerns. Ailo is a reserved and reclusive man who insisted his apprentice work to his patterns. Agnarr’s childhood years were quiet and frequently uneventful; the small drama and twists he saw seemed large, and while he was always busy he was also always safe.

Initially his knowledge of his early childhood is based upon the small amounts of reading he was able to do at his home covenant and the stories of his Master Ailo. He trusts enough of his Master’s word to take most as truth, but shortly after his apprenticeship he travelled back into the Sami regions to see his people first hand. Agnarr knows the Covenfolk were truthfully more likely his people than the Sami, however seeing his childhood lands have him a small peace.

The later years of his training expanded his non-magical skills and instilled in Agnarr a desire to train others. He knows there are very few practitioners of his magical tradition, and he is determined to find and train others. As he grew older he also became aware of the stigmatism of belonging to his tradition. Many other Magi view the tradition as little more than limited specialists, and certainly of limited worth to the wider community of the Order. Agnarr is considering his options to overturn this impression.

Training in an insular covenant of mixed Houses developed a tight bond between the Masters of the covenant and their apprentices. Over the apprenticeship Agnarr formed a bond with his Master and also two of the other senior Magi outside his Ex Miscellanea tradition, so much so he feels a sense of obligation to them. Should they ask he will assist, and he knows should he need it their help will likewise come to his aid.

Agnarr first heard of the malady very late and immediately thought to travel north. Like his covenmates he was shocked by the stories brought by the redcap. When news arrived of an incident with a Magus in his tribunal he quickly and efficiently packed his possessions, said his goodbyes through the covenant, and left for his birth land.

Agnarr replaced his birth name of Kallhjartad largely due to the stories of many Scandinavian heroes who bear a variation on the name.

Statistics, at Gauntlet

Agnarr Kallhjartad (cold hearted),
Concept: Magus of Ice and Cold

Characteristics: Int +3, Per -1 (preoccupied), Pre 0, Com +3, Str -1 (thin build), Sta +2 (tenacious), Dex 0, Qik -3
Size: 0, Age: 25 (25), Height: 170 cm, Weight: 70 kg, Gender: Male, Decrepitude: 0
Warping Score: 0 (0), Confidence: 1 (3)

Virtues and Flaws: Affinity with Aquam, Affinity with Ignem, Deft Form (Aquam) [Form: Aquam], Flawless Magic (Spell Mastery Experience: Doubled), The Gift, Greater Immunity (Cold)*, Hermetic Magus, Inventive Genius (Invent Lab Totals: +3), Minor Magical Focus (Ice)*, Puissant Magic Theory, Puissant Aquam, Withstand Casting, Covenant Upbringing, Driven (Grow magical line), Environmental Magic Condition (Temp above 15c)*, Favors (Previous Coven magi), Hedge Wizard, Warped Magic (Nearby items become cold) [Side Effect: Nearby items become cold], Weird Magic (Botches on Stressed Casting: Extra botch die)

Reputations: Hedge Wizard 3

Abilities: Area Lore: Finland 1, Artes Liberales 1 (ritual magic), Awareness 2 (alertness), Brawl 1 (Dodge), Concentration 1 (spell concentration), Finesse 2 (targeting), Finnish 5, Folk Ken 2, Hunt 1 (tracking), Latin 4 (hermetic usage), Leadership 1 (laboratory work), Magic Lore 1, Magic Theory 3+2 (Aquam), Order of Hermes Lore 1 (House Ex Misc), Parma Magica 1 (Aquam), Penetration 1 (Aquam), Scribe 1 (copying), Survival 2 (very cold climates), Teaching 2, 

Arts: Cr 6, In 0, Mu 6, Pe 5, Re 6, An 1, Aq 9+3, Au 0, Co 0, He 0, Ig 6, Im 0, Me 0, Te 0, Vi 5

  • Spells Known:
    Javelin of Sharpened Ice (Cr(Re)Aq 15) +28, Mastery 2 (multiple casting). (Multiple Casting 2x) As per “Dagger of Ice” altered to be sharper and stronger, inflicting +10 damage. 
  • Encase in Ice (CrAq 20) +27, Mastery 1 (penetration). The target is surrounded in ice, potentially encasing the target. Enveloped targets may attempt to break free, see Shackles of Frozen Ice (ReAq20, HoH:S p.35). If the target is too large the ice will cover an area up to 560 cubic feet. 
  • Lungs of the Fish (Personal) (MuAq(Au) 15) +9, Mastery 1 (fast casting)
  • Winter’s Icy Touch (PeIg 10) +14, Mastery 1 (multiple casting) 
  • Ward Against Winter’s Cold (ReIg 15) +15, Mastery 1 (still casting). Base 4 to ward against code in the same manner as heat. This spell protects again all normal cold, as cold spells inflicting up to +5 damage.
  • Wizard’s Reach (Aquam) (MuVi 20) +14, Mastery 1 (imperturbable casting)
  • Unravelling the Fabric of Aquam (PeVi 5) +13, Mastery 1 (unraveling)
  • Maintaining the Demanding Spell (ReVi 20) +14, Mastery 1 (still casting)

ice-wizard

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Tyne, a sample Ars Magica Shield Grog

portrait-tyneTyne proved her worth as a brawler in prison surviving through harsh conditions and torturous captors. She was sent away for “correction of her manner, being too impolite and unruly for decent living” but has never spoken of the activities which brought her to that position. Tyne was certainly changed, and when she exited she had learned to hold her fists and tongue far better, and had also gained invaluable martial skills. When she was finally released as a clemency on a holy day, she traveled briefly to her home village and then left to wander. She fell in with a band of brigands and was later again captured by the authorities, this time branded as a criminal. Tyne met Magus Corbin close to the end of his apprenticeship after her second release from incarceration. He needed a guard who wouldn’t ask questions and she needed protection and money to survive. Continue reading

Guarin, a Redcap philanderer

A sample Redcap character, Companion, for Ars Magica.

Introduction

Two senior Redcaps lookout from a balcony in Harco to the covenant below. They have been reviewing the recent unassigned messengers and are down to the last of them; the troublesome ones.

“Tell you about Guarin?” shaking head and exhaling slowly.

“He should be so much more. Noble family, educated, experienced. He came very highly recommended. Charming as all get out too. One of those fellows who made good in their early career and then started to stray. With the freedoms granted to redcaps his proclivities grew unnoticed for many years, and now his habits are probably difficult for him to control. ”

“His last brief assignment was a negative promotion, intended to set him straight. We placed him in his homeland, had him working under another recently gauntleted redcap, and also closely monitored. The message was made clear – fly straight. I believe too he tried to do the right thing, at least initially. In the end he seduced the junior redcap, caused a paternity stir in the nobility, and had a second lover defend him in some affair which ended in certamen. We’re now finished cleaning up the mess, but I’m running out of patience with him. ”

Watching her face, “So he’s useless?”

Sounding a little despondent, “No, far from it. He needs a focus. A challenge. Guarin speaks of wanting more and doesn’t always intend for the indiscretions to happen; if that’s believable. ”

“If you’ll take a recommendation? Place him elsewhere. Set him apart from our core, throw the worst of it at him and see if he rises to the challenge. You sent that drunkard Jernot to the steps of Novgorod to be rid of him, and we were done with him. So give Guarin an assignment distasteful, but close enough that he can be monitored. If he rises, then we have recovered him. If he fails then he does so without affecting the wider House and Order. ”

“I don’t like using that approach often.”

“We have a need in (to be determined) where that rabble of odd-bod magi are. And I think Guarin knows one of them. ”

Laughing slightly, “why is that not surprising! Done. Send him. ”

…”now onto Franc of The Ice Steps?”

“No. Dinner. I can’t face a discussion of Franc on an empty stomach.” Continue reading