The investigation begins in earnest.
Well, first of all, how is Desiderius’ sanctum sealed? Are there standard spells for protection against necromantic magic, and if so can I use one? (Is inflicting a plague generally considered necromantic?)
What about detection of magic? Is that a thing we can just do, or does it need its own spells? How about analysing it?
The sanctum is below ground, so I shan’t be able to look in; I’ll have to go inside. Given the possibly fatal effects of that on me, I’ll do other things first; did anyone else here work with Desiderius? Interact with him at all, beyond the basic business of the covenant? I’ll have to interview them individually, paying particular attention to anyone with relevant magical knowledge; if someone laid a trap for Desiderius with his own ingredients, which seems an obvious possibility, they’d have had to know something about how to use them.
It is sealed by a locked door barred across by wooden slats being nailed in place. It is also sealed by the sanctum sign above the door that denies entry and forbids scrying under pain of Hermetic law.
The first can be dealt with by the carpenter. The second you would be confident you can excuse because the mage who put it there is dead and even if he turned out not to be you are a Quaesitor with a report of a possible crime against a magus to investigate.
The older magi say that the layout of the room within is a long corridor with a door into the rest of the sanctum on the left side and a door to a privy on the right.
Your Parma Magica gives you a base level of magical protection against any incoming effect. Assuming the effect guarding the corridor into the sanctum is Corupus based (and as a necromancer the late Desiderius would have specialised in that to some extent) you would get your Corpus score plus five times your Parma Magica. Physically destroying the object carrying the enchantment will work but it is likely to be some distance down the corridor. A spell to negate its effect (Perdo Vim) is also possible but the one in the Core Book is ritual and will require vis.
You don’t have an innate magical sense. You would need to cast (either as a learned spell or a spontaneous one) something like the Intellego Vis ‘Sight of the Active Magic’ on p159 which at level 40 is a bit high to cast spontaneously. Perhaps you could find some method that is less exalted.
“No, nobody worked with him except his apprentice. He was always more of a loner than even the most solitary of our other magi: I think,” says Julia, “he had seen too many people flinch from his air of corruption and the grave. But he would come out of his shell every so often. I liked him and he was a real authority on the lore of spirits.”
“It was a surprise to me,” says Corvus, “that he took an apprentice at all. And Florian wasn’t the obvious choice for assisting a necromancer. A lively lad, full of himself. Tended to go after every pretty lass who came up from the village. But he seemed to accept it as the price of becoming a Veriditius mage and he had a great skill in his crafting. He’d been apprenticed to a potter before his Gift manifested and also did some great fine metal work.”
They both agreed that Desiderius had seemed more cheerful in the last week’s of his life. He had been locked in his laboratory for most of the autumn and early winter but when he was asked if he would remember to attend the casting of the Aegis he assented cheerfully and said he’d have news for them.
I assume I have no Arcane Connection to the inside of the chambers. If I had something which had been there for a long time, would that work to allow Summoning the Distant Image? If so, is there such a thing which was taken out before the unfortunate events? (I’m assuming the answer is “no”.)
If I were to study carefully a marble, then open the door, roll it inside, and close the door again, would that count for this purpose? Or does it need to be something that has come out of the room?
Assuming I can’t do those things, I think I will have to set up a barrier further back along the corridor (to keep people out administratively rather than by force), then unseal the door (I want to do this myself rather than expose any of the covenfolk to needless risk) and look in, using Eyes of the Eagle to scan closely what can immediately be seen. If someone among the armsmen has a crossbow or similar weapon usable by the untrained, I’ll borrow that, with the aim of destroying an enchanted thing at a distance. In case I have to do it up close, I’ll have a rock to hand. Everything understands being hit by a rock.
If there’s nothing to be seen in the corridor, I’ll have to explore further…
When you ask the other Magi about the possibility of Arcane Connections, the two of them frown and look at each other.
“He was always very careful,” says Julia.
“He cut his own hair,” says Corvus. “And burned it afterwards. He never let any of the staff ino his sanctum…”
“Come now, you’re the same,” she says.
“Only because they disturb my collections! He used to tut at me for combing my hair in front of others.”
“Wait! He made that replacement light for the library. Only last year! It would count!”
“No,” says Corvus. “Only as a link to the complete person. If you tried it now it might connect to his spirit… But you’d best hope he isn’t in Heaven because you can’t reach there and if he’s in Hell… You probably don’t want to connect to his consciousness if he’s in hell.”
“Hmm. There were those bowls that Florian made for the refectory but that was last summer…”
The marble would not work unless you used it regularly but if you were to throw something you wore on daily basis down the corridor you might be able to link your senses to it. A belt buckle? A shoe?
The carpenter comes and pulls the nails out of the battens covering the door and then skeddales away.
You carefully put the crossbow down to one side of the door uncocked.
The circle within a square sign above the door looks down at you reprovingly as you push the door open. Looking down the corridor you make a Perception plus Magic Theory roll to guess where the guardian trap might be.
(By the way Roger if you’d take a look at the Uilliord thread you’ll see a couple of stress rolls one of which looks a little hinky to me. It’s probably me getting something wrong though.)
Since you don’t mention a botch level I’m assuming this is not a stress roll.
There’s a patch of ceiling where the plaster isn’t original. Perhaps there is something buried there?
It would be a stress roll to use the crossbow to damage whatever lies within. You’d need a good hit to bury the bolt deep into the plaster.
OK. How do I know how many botch dice to roll? (Potentially.)
If I don’t specify then one. It’s a judgement call on all but magical rolls where the rules are lot more specific.
I can only see one way that this could go badly wrong and that’s not very likely at all. But you need to do well enough to get through the plaster and wood surrounding the magical device and do it enough damage to break it: that’s not at all certain so it has to be stress.
I’m guessing that’s my non-existent Bows skill, plus perhaps dexterity. That seems like a not terribly great idea. Destroying (more specifically, crumbling) a piece of plaster sounds like Perdo Terram to me. Does that seem like legitimate spontaneous magic?
Let’s have a look at the guidelines.
Base 3 (It won’t be that much stronger than compacted dirt)
So overall 13.
Your PeTe is 2 so casting total (p 81) is 5 including your Stamina of 0 and the covenant’s aura of 3.
You have to halve the score you get on the Casting Total plus Stress Roll. So you’re going to need a 1 and then some luck to get to the Ease Factor.
And then roll a Precision plus Perception to control the crumbling.
@RogerBW asked for a die roll:
Eh, what could go wrong?
You’re still not telling me how many botch dice are involved.
stress 0+5: 1 × 2 = 2, +5 = total 7 to be halved.
stress 0+4: 1 × 6 = 6, +4 = total 10 Perception 4
And again I reply…
Hang on a second while I check… Yes, I was right about the rules.
If I don’t say it’s one botch die on stress rolls except damn! You’re right and I’m wrong and there can be zero botch stress dice. But in this case you’re rested, in a Magic Aura and not any other kind and not trying anything particularly complex so 1.
The spell fails… But wait!
It occurs to me that you could try again by modifying the spell by reaching up and touching the ceiling, treating the plaster lining it as one target. including the bit over the implanted artifact. That brings the Ease Factor down to 8 which is a lot more likely.
Try taking a moment to rest and recover from the fatique (2 mins) and then stand and try again.
Roll for the spell is +5 botch one and then halve it.
Roll for the Finesse is plus 4 botch one.
@RogerBW asked for a die roll:
stress 1+5: 1 × 2 = 2, +5 = total 7 halved
stress 1+4: 1 × 2 = 2, +4 = total 6
Sigh, that’s about as low as it could be without actually being a botch. Ho hum.
I will just have to trust my innate protection, plus perhaps the spell having worn down a bit over time. I’ll call for a halberd, or a broom, or some kind of long stick with a heavy end, and bash at the plaster from as far away as I can stand.
A halberd you say…
The guard who you ask gives you a ‘what the f…’ look and says he’ll go and see what he can find. He comes back with
A maul. (Long two handed weapon with a lump of heavy metal on the end.)
A lance. (Long two handed horse back weapon with a pointy bit on the end: best used from horseback.)
A broom. (Traditional witches type and not really long enough.)
Either way you have at best a plus 2 chance with two botch dice because this isn’t easy. (Str plus Brawl since you ask.)
@RogerBW asked for a die roll:
Granted, I have no particular skill in either strength or brawling, but bashing a ceiling doesn’t feel as though it should be especially challenging. I have no objection to making superfluous holes before I get the right spot! (Whoever has to repair it may.)
stress 2+2: 1 × 7 = 7, +2 = total 9
Bash, bash, bash along the ceiling with (I assume) the maul. Cracks appear, and plaster flies everywhere.
And then you see, protruding from the remains of the last blow a stick… no a wand. Made of bone.
A form and shape Magic Theory tells you is good at harming the human body.
You haven’t triggered it so far but you are at the end of the reach of your implement and will have to step into the room to break or dislodge the wand.
Yes, but how about trying Eyes of the Eagle first to take a close-up look at any markings that might be on it? And then maybe some improvised Intellego Vim?
Roll Eyes of the Eagle (one botch as standard) and also a no stress Int + Magic Theory +5 (for your knowledge of Corpus Magic which this is).
Improvised Intellego Vim… Hmmm let me see…
Well, basically the higher the strength of the enchantment the easier it is to detect it: you would have to give a base level for the effect and then add extra levels of magnitude to gain more details. I don’t see a spell equal to ‘Analyze Spell’ in the corebook. You might well learn more or at least enough from the Magic Theory roll