[OOC] Designing the Characters

This thread is for discussing the characters you plan to put together for the game.

Remember you not only have to create a Magus/Maga but also a Companion. Don’t write the Companion to complement the Magus/Maga: they will be what you are playing when your Magus is busy in the lab or the library.

Writing the Grogs is the Storyguide’s problem.

Tell people what you’re working on! Contribute ideas!

I like the idea of an adopted-into-Guernicus Quaesitor, but that’s explicitly banned at character generation time. How does magical training work? E.g. at what age do you start doing it, as a child or as an adult? Is it a matter of another magus coming along and saying “this lad has The Gift, send him off with me”, or is there more integration with society?

Magical training is detailed in the APPRENTICES supplement.

The Gift can manifest itself at any time from Birth but the average is from about eight to about fourteen. Detecting if a child has the Gift is left a bit handwavy in the system (a spell that reliably worked would be a boon) but Ex Misc magi of the line of Pralix have a Supernatural Virtue (usually used to detect Hedge Magicians) that helps them in searching for apprentices too.

A Magus finds an apprentice (or if he’s a Bonisagus he can steal it from another magus!) and takes him in. This can sometimes be done with the approval of their families but sometimes it amounts to kidnapping. It can be terrifying to the child: remember they have no protection against the baleful effects of the Gift unless a Mage temporarily extends their Parma Magica over them. They have been condemned to spend years with a person their subconscious is telling them is an utter villlain and about to do terrible things to them. It’s a wonder magi turn out as well as they do. (This goes double and triple for Tytalus apprentices.)

The apprentice must acquire enough Latin to read the books he will be reading and will also be trained in the Artes Liberales and Philosophy. But the magical part of their training begins with Opening The Arts, which focuses their Gift on the path of the Hermetic Mage and gives them a rating in the Forms and Techniques. (The Gift can be opened to other disciplines but you can’t learn two different paths. Each path of magic has it’s own form of Warping BTW. Hermetics suffer from Twilight as the Magic Realm overwhelms them. The Pictish Gruagachan, for example, turn into trolls.)

The apprentice continues training for at least seven years. He has one season a year at least of formal instruction and also learns as he assists his parens in the laboratory. He learns Magic Theory and starts to pick up actual spells. He learns any extra skills that his House requires.

When his Master thinks he’s ready he is given one last test, the Gauntlet, which is of a form the master chooses. If he passes he swears the Oath is instructted in Parma Magica and becomes a mage. If he fails he gets to try again in a year. After three failures he has a right to ask for a different examiner.

Now, as for becoming a Quaesitor when you’re not a Guernicus this is possible but it would require you to make your character several years older than a just Gauntleted novice magus. They would have to impress the Quaesitores with their suitability to be an investigator and then undergo training, possibly as long as another apprenticeship to gain the needed skills. Starting as an older mage is possible… But what do you see the advantage of not being a bog-standard Quaesitor of Guernicus to be?

Well, I’m still learning about the world. But I feel as though the game wants me to say “I’m this sort of mage, which means I’m this sort of person”, where I want to say “I was this sort of person before I started learning about magic, and now that blends/clashes with the sort of magic I do”. I’m trying to work up a personality and prior life experience first, and the game’s telling me “you don’t really have those separate from your maginess”.

True that. Some of the hedge magicians that Ex Miscellania recruits have a life outside their Hermetic career but mostly you get recruited as a child and aren’t given the choice.

The Jerbitons are the ones who maintain the most contact with their mundane families.

We are starting as freshly gauntleted, right?

As per my email earlier as House Jerbiton my thinking was to be the minor son of a minor noble who turned to magic instead of the church but hankers for what could have been - either inheriting a title or gaining power in the church. So he is interested in mundane ways, but mostly as other realms where power can be exerted. I am interested in learning where magic can, surreptitiously, be used to influence the mundane.

For the companion I was thinking of something less civilised. Some kind of moorsman/gamekeeper (so the positioning of the covenant is quite apposite). Very happy to be talked round to other points of view.

On a ‘how are we doing this?’ note are you going to be leading us through the character creation process and rolls, or are we to do it ourselves?

Freshly gauntleted: yes, that’s the plan.

Roger is thinking about a non-Guernicus Quaesitor which would make him older in order to qualify in law. We’ll see how things work out.

One thing that you should all consider is whether your character is from Stonehenge (which would mean your parens was probably around and a named NPC) or abroad. You should ensure your charcter speaks English and perhapps also Norman French.

I think that you should put your characters together yourself if you are confident you can. I’ll be here (as will other players who know the system) to offer advice. I can take that consultation to private mail if you like but I’d suggest sharing with the rest of us.

I don’t recall any rolls being needed in character creation: if I’m wrong remind me.

the only rolls would be in post gauntlet advancement if you experimented. So no rolls, pretty much.

I assumed, since they are explicitly banned in the rules, that this would not be an option. Still trying to get a handle on personality and background.

Tell me where they’re explicityly banned. Please.

(And people: don’t assume I always know what you’re talking about with regard to rules or anything else. I’m not omniscient though I am of course right.)

pp. 11-12:

Although House Guernicus trains and inducts their own apprentices, other magi can also join the ranks of the quaesitores, and one of the highest honors in the Order is to be invited by the elders of House Guernicus to become a quaesitor. Such magi invariably retain membership in their original House. A starting maga can only be a quaesitor if she was trained in House Guernicus.

To clarify, I’m not asking for an exception to this; I’m just trying to find something to get hold of in this setting so that I can play a character rather than a set of numbers and it keeps slipping away from me.

Thanks Michael. I am unsure how much has changed. Will my 4th edition rule book suffice or do I need to invest in 5th ed? No problem if so!

Quite a bit has changed. (One quote in the core book is: As is customary, combat has been changed entirely.)

Yes, you do need a copy of at least the core book. Make sure you have the errata too. I’ll share the copies of the House splat books I have.

Roger, I would say that reading the House outline in HOUSES OF HERMES and finding first what the characters get to do and then what faction or function of the House sparks something in you is the way to go.

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Has anyone expressed any preference for house or magical speciality?

Roger is thinking about a Quaesitor.

Mike R is thinking about an Ex Misc of the line of Pralix one of the specialists who go out and find new Hedge Magic traditions (or more formal and academic practices if they are lucky) and tries to bring them into the Hermetic fold or at least understand them.

I believe we had one person expressing an interest in running a Merinita and with that in mind I’m now thinking about removing the Merinita from Voluntas. (Maybe the necromancer too…)

Graham I know has yet to make up his mind.

And I’ll be Jerbiton; rulebook ordered and a few days away, I know I could have a digital copy for 20 dollars immediately but well, books …

Book has arrived - should I commence character creation?

Yes, indeed! Share any problems or thoughts you might have here.