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ArM5: Ruins of Andresina
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virgil
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2015 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

1236: Silver Years

Alfonso remembers hearing about the research goals of a Jerbiton from the last party they attended, Aurulentus and his progress toward a longevity ritual that overcomes the limitations of fertility. She heads over to his covenant, and after a couple days and a couple layers of deal-brokering...she provides half a dozen pawns of vis to Gotvinus to teach Aurulentus a huge pile of spells he knows for a season, who then writes a Magic Theory tractatus (under Cow & Calf) that details his breakthrough, which she gives to the Redcap's longevity specialist to read and perform upon her (thus replacing the turbulence-caused one). The Gifted Redcap's services, aside from cost of materials, is also promised of first pick of her current batch of Gifted children as their apprentice.

By this point, Alfonso gains her first minor flaw from the Warp, Secretive. All of her children pick up their first flaw, Monstrous (bird feet). All of the Black Cloaks pick up Afflicted Tongue. The villagers and covenfolk gain either Warped Senses (Sensitivity to Extreme Cold) or Essential Flaw (Avariciousness), in roughly even mixes.

Nearly halfway through the year 1237, Gotvinus is out on business for general Guernicus work, Alfonso is out on Redcap work, and two grogs (Dobbins & Eustace) are out of town for salt deliveries. Urban isn't really an option any more due to the salt volume being drastically reduced after the Rhine's Silver Consensus, and the covenant wanted to not have quite so large a cut taken from their sales. Alfonso stops in Verdun to check on the grogs' in Verdun, who are on their way back to Andresina with the silver from the salt sales. As Eustace is about to pay his tab before heading out, he realizes he has no money, and the silver from the back is completely missing.

The three do their best to retrace their steps, look around for clues, etc. Not a hint of where the silver disappeared is in sight. They head out and start searching the city proper for leads, to which Dobbins notices a child handing a large sum of money to three of the bishop's soldiers. Following the two, Dobbins sees that they go to a crappy building in the tanning district. There is some smashing sounds, followed by a soldier chasing out a couple from an adjacent room/building (wall broken down for expansion). Locating Alfonso and Eustace to catch them up on the potential issues happening, Alfonso flies in to spy on the goings-on.

The child is cleaning up some of the rubble, one of the guards is evidently also learned and is taking notes at the command of a tanner with a plump white woman hanging on his arm. The tanner details a rather nice house and hands the guard three pounds of silver to give to the carpenter he's tasked to find. As the guard heads out, Alfonso follows and gathers Dobbins & Eustace to join in stopping the man in an alley before reaching the carpenter. Distracting him long enough, Alfonso transforms from a moorish-man into an asp while Dobbins and Eustace jump out of hiding for the ambush. They take the money (confirmed to be from Eustace's bag) from the guard's corpse, then Alfonso flies as swiftly as possible to Andresina to tell the magi of the predicament.

Sanagos and Prokui don't think it's worth their time. Scolarus and Joseph take some flying carpets and reach Verdun by morning. Alfonso spies on the tanner that morning, at which point the Bishop of Verdun walks in and begins negotiations. The tanner offers a regular and sizeable rent for the guards and enough land for him to live in private and with enough protection to maintain this privacy for him, his child, and his woman. The bishop accepts ten pounds as an upfront initial pay after being assured that the money is from entirely legit means that will cause no consequence, then leaves.

Alfonso flags down the bishop in human form, and subsequently throws down some damn impressive Presence+Intrigue numbers to both convince the bishop that the money is indeed stolen and for them to reacquire the stolen goods under certain restrictions: no more than one of the bishop's men can die, no public display of force such as an invading army or similar maneuver, and no casualties beyond the tanner and his two dependents. Thanking the bishop, and leaving him the ten pounds of silver as a gesture of good will, Alfonso leaves to discuss with the other magi their plan.

The following night, while the tanner sleeps with a dozen guards keeping watch, the three magi plan on a nearby roof. Joseph sends a nearby bolt of wood to go through some stuff, distracting the guards that have a view of the street, permitting Scolarus to float silently downward to get a view of the window where the tanner is sleeping. Then, he teleports the man out of bed and onto the top of a building in front of Alfonso and the grogs. The interrogation yields results, but Alfonso doesn't believe his story of "hot new girlfriend gave it" and eventually gets a panicked admission of "nobody was watching, so I just ran in and grapped the silver I could."

Scolarus attempts to teleport the woman, but gets a -5 on his penetration and fails to actually affect her. Concerned, he flies in to tell Alfonso and Joseph. They keep the tanner under wraps and Alfonso spies upon the house itself to check on the house guards, finding the woman having woken up to eat some food and yell at one of the guards to find her man. Joseph attempts to invisibly slap her with Demons' Eternal Oblivion, but nothing happens. Out of concern for their safety, the magi head back home, the tanner and his son (the latter picked up later) forcibly 'enlisted' to join their covenant.

Thinking the troubles to be handled, the magi go about their business for the rest of the season. Iovhar notes some irregularities in the records, specifically that £90 are missing from their coffers. This galvanizes the magi into investigation; Gotvinus spontaneously casts a counting spell on the current coffers and Owlowiscious uses its scrying power on the room. Five weeks go by, and it's revealed one Saturday evening each month, £30 disappear from the coffers completely inexplicably. Gotvinus uses another spell of sensing silver by smell, and gets a huge whiff from Karl's old lab, which is where he'd been storing his extra salt sales before leaving to be the Queen Beneath the Dandelions (all one tonne of it).
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Last edited by virgil on Fri Nov 27, 2015 11:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2016 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

1237-1239: Finger-Licking Walking

As the loss of silver had not been abating, and once accounting for the presence of Karl's stash, they realize they've been losing £30 every Saturday rather than just the first of each month. They send Alfonso to start investigating, and after about a month and £120, they find out the Bishop of Verdun has picked up a 'girlfriend' about a week after they dealt with the tanner; an attractive foreign woman that doesn't match the tanner's girlfriend (who has since gone missing). They also hear talk about food storage centers periodically getting ravaged by some beast roughly once a month since the covenant's money started disappearing.

Thinking the two events are related, they first investigate the case of the missing food, as a lucky investigation reveals that the damage to the doors was done from the inside. William and Joseph (with nightvision magic) patrol the streets of Verdun at night near likely locations for a gluttonous beast to attack, and on the third night they hit paydirt. Chewing coming from inside one of the warehouses, William kicks open the door, and sees a great blob of fat that walks like a man; a snake as a 'belt', great claws, and an incredibly long tongue. The creature is wounded by Joseph's DEO, but responds to William's warhammer with a grunt. It follows up with a geyser of vomit that throws William out the door and across the street, dealing a Light wound. Using this opportunity of nobody being in melee with it, the demon discorporates away. William takes another Light wound from the burning vomit before managing to find a horse trough or something to wash it off.

They recover for a week, then decide to check on Verdun's woman. The rumours were that she meets with the bishop for 'confession' on Friday night near the Cathedral, so they stake themselves out with Gotvinus in tow for his magical veil. Night falls, an invisible bear roars in the distance, a beautiful foreign woman clutches herself in pain as claws and teeth manifest briefly, and a large burly man charges forth with a warhammer to cave her head in.
Quote:
Demon's Eternal Oblivion House Rule
As this hadn't come up before, I felt it necessary. Might stripping spells do not lower a creature's magic resistance, nor their penetration. Their personal Might pool is lowered by the spell, and they are killed when the total Might-stripping equals or exceeds their base Might.
As the demon was killed with some infernal vis still intact, the body remains. The black cloaks carry the corpse out of sight, where Joseph rips out the beast's tongue and uses DEO to remove trace of its body. Everybody goes home, and it's later revealed that the money ceased disappearing.

Joseph spends a day attempting to cleanse the infernal vis using some theoretical magic techniques mentioned by his Venatore mentor, who was personally of the opinion that such research was too dangerous to be worthwhile. He ultimately ends up botching both attempts, despite clearly successful dice rolls, and gains a total of 1 Warp. On an unrelated note - later that year, he rolls a triple crit on his aging roll and suffers a crisis, leaving him bedridden for a month. This forces him to spend a bit more vis than he was planning to renew the longevity ritual that just got broken.

Alfonso spends an entire season doing investigative work with Intrigue and picking up a contact (7 exposure XP to Area Lore: Verdun) to learn what may be the cause of this. The first lead is the fact the tanner, after being brought to Andresina, mentions having heard rumours of the covenant as a place where a bunch of scribes hide away with a giant pile of money. This largely factual rumour in fact began circulating in Verdun about a month or two before the money began disappearing, started by this one man whom is later identified as Ephram. They don't suspect anything malicious on this, and simply keep a note for later.

Later that year, Scolarus makes a discovery and stabilizes it, now that much closer to his Minor Breakthrough. Gotvinus has finally developed a spell capable of eliminating shadows, making invisibility spells that much more thorough.

In the spring of 1238, Alfonso speaks to various magi on her rounds, and convinces three to sponsor her for Master status. The fact she publicly admitted her bearing seven Gifted children, and has provided impressively prompt delivery throughout her career (having never shifting in sight of a magus and never arriving faster than humanly possible).

In the summer of 1239, several people check themselves into the temple to be treated by the doctors, complaining of severe pain and general distress. Gotvinus checks them with InCo magic, discovering that they've eaten decent-sized quantities of local berries known to be poisonous. A couple days later, one of the teamsters returns with rather severe blockage, eventually revealed to be a mass of metal shards he ate. With the healing circle and doctors' work, he manages to survive, but can't remember ever eating such. While recovering, several of the other poisoned people leave their beds in the middle of the night to eat huge quantities of night soil, which Owlowicious notices and reports to Scolarus the next morning. They report not having remembered eating any of that, but having a constant craving to eat and smelled mashed turnips outside that night to eat to their fill. Suspecting infernal influence, Gotvinus uses CrMe magic to purge their minds of any demonic Obsession traits given them, which immediately removes their gluttony. The concern remains, as all of this happened within the covenant's Aegis.

The next day, Ehren suddenly has an urge to eat his ink vial and then walk to the library to eat Scolarus's recently illuminated tractatus Creating Spells (Magic Theory Q11). Before getting to more, Gotvinus finds out and puts him to sleep and has him brought to the infirmary under black cloak guard to be tended to his wounds from the event. Calling for an immediate Council meeting, along with William, their collective lore figures out the demon at play is likely a Mahonin that snuck past the Aegis through possession and is now wreaking havoc on the muggles within. Plans are made involving the use of fennel seeds, only to be interrupted by Ehren breaking in to say that the black cloaks assaulted one of the doctors and began eating him. Joseph runs to the temple and purges them of the possessing spirit with DEO, and they begin rounding up the muggles to start throwing fennel seeds.

Meanwhile, William sneaks into his home, which has a fair bit of infernal aura about it now. He performs his magic to summon the nearest demon, which happens to be the Mahonin, and proceeds to ablate its brains out.
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Last edited by virgil on Fri Jan 01, 2016 10:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2016 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

1240: All the Pride's a Stage

A busy year for everyone. Preparations have begun for the upcoming elegiac comedy festival. They gather more money to decorate the coliseum Scolarus made earlier. An entire council meeting is formed to decide what the prize should be, cognizant of the fact there's at least a 50/50 chance a mundane will get it and therefore they can't make anything too crazy without violating the Code. Ultimately, they decide on a magic amulet that improves ones' musical talent (variation on the Aura of Ennobled Presence), but will expire in 7 years. Gotvinus & Joseph pool their resources to craft this. Everyone is woken near the summer solstice on the night of a full moon to a loud crack of thunder, Prokui performing further rituals for a few hours. After all that, he lifts up to carry a comically large backpack, and burns yet more vis in a final pillar of light.


The day has come Alice!

A bit before the festival begins, Sanagos informs Iovhar that he'll be leaving for a time with a sponsor. Nobody seems to mind, but are surprised that the Hanseatic merchant who arrives seems completely nonplussed by Sanagos's Gift, and in fact comes off as quite happy to meet him in person. They discuss a few things, and the merchant leaves £65 to Iovhar to create a perfect writing environment for such a fantastic scholar; aka, £25 for a huge, excellent house to be built. Another £40 is given for a hyper-specialized, text-only lab. Sanagos tells everyone he will be gone long enough for the lecture circuit of his theories and consultations that the new lab should be complete; everyone else agrees that Ehren and the scribes, who have enough Magic Theory, will be tasked to construct the lab itself.

For a full week before the festival, the villagers of Andresina and several 'entrepreneurs' set up shop around the coliseum in preparation. Faeries of all sorts begin to gather, enough to nearly match the number of mundane attendees; centaurs, one giant, several treants, a full dozen satyrs & fauns, and innumerable fae that could pass off for human if they wore a large hat or cloak. The contestants & their entries number four:
  • Mecklen the Red - Lay brother and merchant's son, his entry a bit out of genre and concerning farmers' love of their blessings by the saints
  • Brogo the Dwarf - As per the entry in A&A (p122), his tale is a rather dirty tale of bedroom antics between Lancelot and Geuinevere
  • Gertrude the Holzfrau - A bawdy elegiac that included revealing several audience members' cursed with donkey ears.
  • Tom the Donestre - Lion-headed fae, his elegiac is a morose piece on the frailty of life, punctuating his piece with a severed head produced from his bag

I did the gravedigger scene before it was cool

Gotvinus is concerned by the bloody rendition of Yorick, and covertly convinces the King to delay his judgement toward this evening. Using the opportunity, he obtains the severed head left behind by Tom and performs Whispers Through the Black Gate in another room. The ghost describes himself as a very important master of the finances in Neufchâteau, coming to attend the festival when he thought he saw movement in the trees near the road. Alfonso flies over to the castle and asks her contact for information on the head financer, only to eventually find out that he was actually a poop-shoveler in the stables. She finally finds the wife & kids to tell them that he was killed by bandits and gives them a pound of silver out of goodwill to help them survive their loss.

Flying back, they give the news of one of their intended guests being assaulted by a contestant in the festival. After some deliberation, the King agrees to disqualify Tom for his behavior, then announcing the winner to be Brogo. After the festival is over, Tom heads out and the King confirms with Gotvinus that he's not under any lord's protection. Gotvinus follows Tom that night, under the cover of invisibility and the Black Cloaks staying farther back. Tom starts whistling, which pings against Gotvinus's parma and the Black Cloaks have a sudden need to move away (movement elsewhere, a 'shortcut', etc). Quickly, Gotvinus smacks Tom with a sleep spell and eventually gets the Black Cloaks back to kill him. A tear-soaked hankerchief holds his vis.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 5:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

1240: Trees & Strays

Halfway through the year, Scolarus finalized his Minor Breakthrough in Hermetic Theory. Thanks to his research, no longer must magi be constrained to the tyranny of circles, and now whole realm of geometry is their playground!

New vistas have been opened!

What this means in practice is that circles/rings can be drawn with any bounded shape rather than circles. He experiments to produce two plant growth spells, one being a level 4 'circle' spell that will teach the Breakthrough to anyone. His intention is to have copies made and distributed throughout the Order for free. About half a fortnight before the solstice, Scolarus's experimentation gives him terrific insight to the nature of Creo magic, but one of his experiments on the growth of an acorn results in it exploding in growth. It takes about a diameter for Joseph Miller to come over and spontaneous an Unraveling the Form of Herbam spell upon the tree, by which point it is now the size of a full 500 year old oak; replacing the entire East wall of Scolarus's home.

Unsure of what to do, they arrange for some of the servants to fill in the gaps between the wall and tree and chop off the limbs, only for them to tell Iohvar that branches seemed to have moved out of the building and grown over the gaps on their own by the following morning. Curious about this behavior, Gotvinus applies some magic analysis, only to discover that the tree used to hold an entire rook of vis that was consumed when it was targeted by Scolarus's magic. Attracted to the gleam of more vis, they check with teamster Eustace to find out where he got the acorn.

Following the trail to a no-name hamlet between Neufchâteau and Verdun, they speak with a woman that collected acorns to make snacks for sale by passing pilgrims and merchants (reinforced by the salt line the magi created for a decade). She remembered the teamster sifting through her acorns for a selection of very specific ones (magus experiments can be pretty picky), thanks to Gotvinus's CrMe magic upon her memory. She remembered that bag chosen by Eustace was from a trade with a traveler who gave acorns in exchange for a portion to be turned into food; a beardless young man with a red cap and light brown hair. She remembered him spitting out the food, calling it no better than the nightsoil found in the chamberpot of her husband's mistress; he walked out of the place with a rude gesture, and last the woman had heard, he was headed to Verdun.



Heading back to Andresina to plot a course for their carpets, they get to Verdun within the day. They ask around, and Scolarus manages to get an 18 on his Communication+Folk Ken to find a person, overcoming the Gift and finding the location of the red capped traveler; staying in the hovel of a pair of deaf people. They head over and finally meet the traveler, which Gotvinus is perceptive enough to recognize as a small-framed woman dressed as a man. Their voice drops an octave upon realizing there are guests around. After a short introduction, the traveler reveals their name to be Tunne. After a bit of discussion, Tunne is willing to tell them where the acorn came from for only £2 (failed Bargain roll); during said debate, Gotvinus attempted a subtle Posing the Silent Question (with penetration 17). This fails to get any information, which has the group of magi concerned about the apparent presence of magic resistance. Forking over the money, they're told the acorn was obtained from a Jofridus of Regensburg, who lived a hermit out near Fulda. Tunne includes a good description of the man, and offers to send a message to him in exchange for a pfennig (£.01). Opting not to bother, the magi pack their bags and head out to Fulda, which adds another day to their travel.

After a few hours, they meet an elderly professor from the Abbey who knew Jofridus; an exceedingly creepy man who's equally exceedingly intelligence overcame his low social status to get a position as a student in the Abbey. But last he heard, Jofridus left over a decade ago. Not sure what to do next, they see Tunne on the other side of the tavern trying to wave for their attention. Tunne heads over, telling them they have a message from Jofridus; giving a surprisingly good mimic of a deep, manly voice in an East German accent to the effect of "unless you want to talk about a tree, you can go screw one." Gotvinus points out that a tree is the exact subject they're wanting to discuss and convinces Tunne to tell them where he is; which they are informed to be in Geismar, about 100km northeast of where they are now. This isn't far enough to escape the scent of their scab-pickings, according to Tunne, who leaves the tavern backward with another rude gesture.

Setting themselves up, they fly for Geismar. Gotvinus asks around, and they're told where to find Jofridus the hermit. Walking into the woods from the town for a few minutes, they come upon a cottage with smoke coming out and in the middle of a rank 3 Magic aura. Knocking on the door, they meet a very cautious man in his mid-30s. After some debate, they are let in under the laws of hospitality, agreeing to not be hostile and for him to be a good host. After a moment of him preparing the place, having observed that they're capable of withstanding the cold just fine (their CrIg magic is still running, so they've been loose with their clothing's tightness), they are let in. There is a full feast set up on the table, including steaming mugs of mead. Various things have been moved and/or covered up, and Jofridus does his best to keep his knife in hand while they talk.

Jofridus got the thoroughly unique acorn at great expense with the intent to grow it near his home, but Tunne sneaked out with it after he offered her to eat the food on his table when visiting. He assures the magi, though more to Gotvinus since the other two magi creep him out greatly, that he's much more inconvenienced than they. Gotvinus explains that they're a member of the Order of Hermes and suspect that he's someone with the Gift as well, which Jofridus reacts to by gripping his knife harder in preparation to defend himself quickly. After a bit more discussion, Jofridus cautiously confirms his nature as a practitioner, and is formally invited to swear the Oath (with all of the benefits, including being taught Parma) on the condition that Gotvinus agrees to be his ally in the event another magus chooses to wage war with him. Gotvinus agrees, and arranges for him to be under 'apprenticeship' under Alfonso's wing (pun intended) until he can formally swear the Oath at the next Tribunal; after triple-checking that he doesn't need to show his magic and that it's a crime for magi to spy on his affairs.

They agree to bring him to Andresina, to which Jofridus settles his affairs and brings only a lynx skull, knife, and tablecloth scarf (the carpet's weight limit is strict). Numerous items are bundled up and thrown into the fireplace as he leaves, and everyone rides to home, where Jofridus is ecstatic to finally see the tree.

While Jofridus is shown around the place, Prokui appears in a burst of light and gravity, demanding to know what's happened since he left and who on God's Earth this new guy is. Jofridus himself is holding is knife and climbing the tree like a cornered animal upon seeing Prokui's entrance. Gotvinus explains him as new recruit to the Order, to which Prokui confirms that he's yet to formally swear the Oath and thus not under true legal protection. Prokui attempts to levitate him over, finding his magic having failed to his surprise. He attempts to just make him sneeze, which fails again.

Prokui teleports next to him to attempt to physically take a piece of Jofridus's hair, and is given a very mild cut by his knife in self defense. Prokui swears, mumbling that at least his Terram resistance still works, and tells Gotvinus that he better keep on eye on him before teleporting back to his lab. Otherwise, the arrival of the new person to the covenant is taken in stride and he is given one of the unoccupied wings to the complex. Gotvinus has Miruna secretly take a bit of hair from his room, attempting to scry on him, managing a Penetration of 42; only to be denied again.


Gotvinus doesn't know this, but his face matched Prokui's to this result
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virgil
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

1240: Baby, It's Cold Outside


At the beginning of the year, all seven of the Gifted children, now age 8, begin being handed out to the various Gifted Redcaps to begin their apprenticeships. One of them is commissioned a pack of fertility potions guarantee conception. Afterward, Alfonso heavily chats up Joseph Miller about any recently joined Bjornaer during the last couple Gatherings, and eventually decides on targeting Pica of Bjornaer of the Mac Gruagach Covenant in the Loch Legean Tribunal (2 years past Gauntlet). She travels there in her true female form, getting friendly with the locals, especially with Pica. A nice, solid, Pre+Intrigue roll of 17 convinces the gregarious magus to bed her one night in October. While he sleeps off the activity, Alfonso dons her clothing, turns into a swallow, and flies swiftly to the nearest Mercere Portal to get to Andresina post-haste.


Alfonso may or may not have been dressed like this.

She lays eleven eggs that winter as a grey partridge. One is a natural bird, another is a Gifted shapeshifter, and the rest are 'mundane' skinchangers. Alfonso dedicates her next three months to being in partridge form to help raise the chick, sending a letter to each of her seven Gifted children to ask if any of them would like to bond to their (currently) youngest sibling so that it might live beyond 3 years.

1241: A Pen Invites the Sword


Jofridus swears the Oath, and stays in Andresina. They're confused by his lack of need for a dedicated lab, seemingly only needing some high quality tools (carving for leather, stone, metal, wood, etc). His first season is that of instruction by Gotvinus in the art of Parma Magica, doing his darndest to keep mum on how his magic might work despite Gotvinus's attempts at inquiry. The next season is that of Magic Theory from Elisabeth, after which he asks if he could have about 3 pawns of vis from the covenant (type doesn't matter, so they give him Herbam). He then confers with the covenant's physician to keep an eye on his person for the next week or so, granting permission to enter his sanctum; who finds him in his bed in a coma, an empty mug by his side. Sometime after this, Owlowiscious notices him sneak out of his place in the middle of the night with a stone. Following secretly, he spies upon Jofridus digging into the barley field for a bit and then sneaking back into the covenant after putting something into the hole and covering it up. Scolarus, upon hearing this from his familiar the following morning, takes a Black Cloak with him out to the field to dig up whatever was placed.

The Black Cloak completes his task just as Jofridus arrives to ask if everything was alright. Scolarus, having gotten a good glimpse of the futhark carved upon the stone for his Art of Memory to hold onto it, lets Jofridus take a look at the stone when he asks. Jofridus takes out his dagger, peeling off the top layer of the stone like a flaky potato, eliminating any remnant of the runes. He hands it back and goes inside. Scolarus makes out enough that they're indicative of aboriginal writing style found in the Nordic territories, but can't recall much else. So, he confers with Gotvinus for information, who recalls something about the Order of Odin being based in that region. Dictating a letter, with a copy of the futhark they found, he attempts to initiate correspondance with Archmagus Phillipus Niger for further illumination on the matter. A couple days later, shortly after Alfonso delivers the message, the covenant hear the scribe who took the dictation screams and run out of his room as a black robed figure steps out afterward.

Archmagus Niger introduces himself to Gotvinus, informing him of the great concern that evidence of activity for the Order of Odin being found so far south into Hermetic territory, and wishes to know if any other information concerning the enemy to the Order was found. Gotvinus flatly tells him that was all they could find, and the only non-mundane presence he was aware of were magi of the Order of Hermes. Archmagus Niger tells him of his intention to conduct his own investigation, and asks if there would be any trouble if he accidentally pulls up information concerning the covenant's affairs, and is told that it would be fully treated as the scrying that it would be. Nodding sagely, he heads out to the building with Prokui. Knocking, he has an observed discourse at the front door. Prokui promises that all of his affairs are confined to his sanctum, and doesn't care what he finds out beyond its walls. Prokui acts familiar with him, if unfriendly, and says that his Thorshot Stratagem won't get a reprisal from him so long as he's not on the crosshairs. Afterward, Niger borrows the use of the covenant's scribe for the day to make copies of several letters to give to Gotvinus for distribution on the next new moon. Other than Prokui, every magus in the covenant (including Jofridus), has had Wizard War declared upon them. The Archmagus teleports back home to Durenmar.

I declare Wizard War on your whole family! I declare Wizard War on you! I declare Wizard War on your cow!
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

1241: Wizard War

Just a little concerned about the declaration of Wizard War, especially with an Archmagus of Niger's reputation. The non-elder members of the covenant gather to figure out an action plan over the next month to hopefully survive. It is at this time that Jofridus admits that he is a Vitkir, his parens was killed by one of Niger's fili as an accused member of the Order of Odin, and the tree is an arcane connection to original forest spirit at Donar's Oak that he was wanting to gain access to to help restore. He was wanting to rely on the protection and privacy of the Order of Hermes to evade persecution, the "Order of Odin" term not having any significance to him other than acknowledging the fact he is a pagan and that Odin holds a position of great respect for his own discovery of runic magic. He and what few other Gifted individuals he knows of have no general ill-will toward the powerful Hermetic Order, and generally just try to avoid their ire. He also gives a basic run-down of what he can cast, and the general limits of his magic, reasoning that laying everything down on the table will help engender trust, especially since he knows he'll be doomed otherwise against the likes of Archmagus Niger.

Jofridus gathers some money, and heads out under disguise for the next two months.


He hopes his training from Waldo pays off.

Gotvinus & Joseph head out to Fengheld in search of potential aid in dealing with the upcoming War. While they are there, they are initially greeted by friendly Balastor & hostile Günther Lupus (who is a Wilderist to Joseph's Harmonist views) and eventually given an audience with Stentorius. Unfortunately, Stentorius feels that helping Andresina fight back against Niger to be too risky for what he feels is a noble cause that is unlikely to result in negative consequences to the magi of Andresina unless they happen to be guilty of harboring an enemy to the Order. The fact that Stentorius is pro-Silver Consensus, which Gotvinus campaigned against as well as he could, didn't help matters.

On their way out, they are accosted by a pack of wolves that swiftly incapacitate Gotvinus and heavily wound (five Heavy, specifically) Joseph. They are saved by being engulfed in green flame forcelessly cast by Balastor, who was near the border to the covenant when he realized what was happening. He magically binds their wounds and brings them back into the covenant, and offers to help heal them with some of his personal vis stores out of a sense of responsibility for them being hurt so close to the covenant. He does answer Gotvinus's questions, mentioning that while Master Lupus is a wolf, he is not liked by any animal of the forest and is not that good at ReAn magic, which would hinder any attempt to ensorcell them w/sufficient penetration to harm Joseph Miller. After resting up, they attempt to track the wolves, finding no traces of magic. Eventually, they find the wolves' den and abscond with the alpha (total sensory invisibility and sleep magic) to interrogate it. There's no magic on the wolf, but it says it was told by a female wolf that smelled like a human that a human and a bear would come out of the covenant soon, and their flesh would give the pack great strength. Due to the lack of magic traces, they find the trail cold by this point and return to Andresina.

Alfonso heads out to a covenant of Ex Miscelleanea in the Loch Legean Tribunal known for having trouble with the Archmagus. She has much better luck than the two magi, and convinces them to aid in vexing Niger's investigations. One of them is a skilled practitioner of Imaginem, and has recently made a single-use item that makes a semi-autonomous illusion of a person with completely sensory output that can be given a set behavior when initially conjured. Due to a quirk in the experimentation, it even fools low-grade Intellego magic into thinking it's just a normal person. She thanks them, provides a generous amount of vis in exchange for a single copy of the item, and returns to Andresina.

The time has passed, and on the appointed time of the approved Wizard War, Archmagus Niger appears before the hapless scribe again, then walks about looking for the magi. He intimidates a few of the grogs, then busts into their labs to physically search for evidence of the Order of Odin. After a time, not finding any such evidence or even the magi, he gets one of the black cloaks to tell him where they went; they supposedly found a trail of clues that the Order of Odin had infiltrated Neufchâteau, and were seeking them out right now in the castle. He commandeers a carriage and makes his way to the castle, bludgeoning his way through the place with PeMe magic. He encounters Gotvinus, who lies flawlessly thanks to the Infernal Aura, that they found the runic magus in one of the rooms and were contemplating a method of taking them out. Taking the direct approach, Niger walks in on the autonomous illusion of a hostile runic magus, and then fast casts several Rune Dispels and then uses a PeCo death effect. The illusion is believable enough, and Niger doesn't try to dispel/check for illusions, and so he says his work is done and teleports back home.
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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2016 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

1241: Wizard War

The same year, late October, Alfonso's eldest child and apprentice is late by several weeks. She had traveled with a couple grogs on her own for an errand a couple days out. They dig around her place and find several hairs that should still be an arcane connection, using it to pinpoint her location to somewhere in northeast France. After a short hop via flying carpet, they find corpses of the grogs and no sign of Alfonso's apprentice. Gotvinus's array of Intellego spells do detect the presence of a faerie regio, and so they cross over to investigate. After a short walk, they find the wall of a great wooden castle at the edge of a clearing, with a patrolling guardsman among the ramparts.

After a bit of back-and-forth, they obtain entry, where they meet a faerie prince celebrating his recent marriage to Alfonso's apprentice and the subsequent permission to begin moving into the covenant of Andresina until she turns 16, per whatever rules faeries go by that are founded upon their wedding bands remaining whole. Unsure of their capability, the players return home and prepare to sneak back in to rescue the (now) princess. Not sure of where she is, they use the same arcane connection to teleport to her, expecting to arrive in a room in a castle, only to end up in a copse of trees filled to bursting with webbing. Even the sun above is caught by the webbing, halting the natural progression of time, and the nanny (also a Size 4 spider) attempts to deal with the intruders. Scolarus protects themselves by instantly conjuring a stone house, and they consider what to do.

They teleport back home when smaller spiders start creeping into the home. Prokui poofs next to them, demanding why there's a faerie aura growing in the covenant. The players tell them of their trouble, to which Prokui takes the arcane connection, summons the apprentice/princess, destroys the ring, and goes back to his lab in a huff.


If Sanagos was home, he'd yell that the SFX budget was crap

Meanwhile, Ehren is travelling the academic circles in search of talent and interest for tutoring to begin turning Andresina into a school. Two of the grogs joined him partway, the dead ones found from earlier in the session, but Ehren wasn't around for that nonsense. He is quite upset when he returns and the black cloaks stab them on sight, especially since the black cloaks are now sufficiently Warped to not be able to speak above a whisper and their features are blockier.
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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

1242: Roll Call

Summer rolls around and the magi head for Durenmar for the Rhine Tribunal, except for Prokui, Sanagos, and Scolarus. The first two because they don't care, and Scolarus because he's already there. Several points of order are made concerning legal matters of conflict, namely between Bjornaer. Another one is discussing what should be done concerning the encroaching Mongol horde, who have recently begun invading Poland, forcing several covenants to flee. Out of these, they ask for covenants in the Order to accept inclusion of any of the refugee magi, to which Andresina accepts the inclusion of Eratosthenes of Ex Miscellanea. The most notable point of order is brought up by Archmagus Niger, whose discovery of a member of the Order of Odin deep in the Rhine is of grave concern, voting that the Rhine should be at the forefront in dealing with this enemy Order. This plays to ego of the upper-most leadership, and they begin to deliberate on the need for sending a member of the Rhine to the North for reconnaissance and assessment of the proper response. One of the Bjornaer (the one that gave Scolarus his next mission for the mystery cult) speaks of a good candidate: loyal Bonisagus who is under Oath to disclose all information, a known teleporter, proven intelligence with recent achievement to Master status, and a recent victim of the Order of Odin's incursion and therefore aware of the threat they pose...Scolarus.

Scolarus, who's been planning and putting off on his trip to Norway for his mystery cult for seven years, accepts the responsibility. A journeyman by the name of Disrun seeks a new covenant to live in for a time, along with their personal assistant, an imposing foreign woman named Lynn (which Eratosthenes recognizes as Mongolian). They accept, and the group makes their way back to Andresina. There, the two new magi are given the task of cleaning out the two old and unused labs as their season of service for staying as guests, which they can then use freely while staying. Erathosthenes asks for assistance in setting up a food source for his familiar, as there are enough sentient animals that he'd rather not risk someone important being hunted by accident due to ignorance, to which Joseph agrees to use one of the spare rooms in the central hall's basement to spontaneously conjure two thousand rats through ReAn & spare wheat taken from the silo, with all of them walled within by a ward to prevent escape. Several covenfolk are tasked to periodically refill barrels with water and wheelbarrows with grain so the rats don't starve, and the familiar is free to come down to snack upon the rats.

Later that season, rumour start moving about that one of the villagers is pregnant, and that they're trying to keep the covenfolk (and magi) unaware of this fact. This is of particular note to Gotvinus, as he's been keeping an eye on their reaction when they realize on their own that they are collectively barren due to the longevity ritual; several divorces over the last couple years due to marital strife at the lack of producing a child being the first indications they're noticing. Enchanting one of the grogs into invisibility, they send him on a mission to infiltrate and check in on this pregnant woman who shouldn't be pregnant. That night, he finds her being attended to by several women and a stranger in a peasant's approximation to wandering priest's garb, applying soot to the woman and encouraging everyone in the hall to start dancing in celebration because the woman seems in perfect health while also reminding them that the wizards in their towers don't care and aren't worth the bother. This stranger, red of hair and strange of accent, chooses a happy couple and anoints them, bidding them good favour at conception this evening. Everyone is encouraged to sleep for the night and let the happy couple consumate their love with God's gift in private, leaving him alone in the building but for the invisible grog. He looks at the grog, asks what the high-and-mighty wizards want, disparages their willingness to actually help, and calls for a 450lbs boar to burst through the door as evidence that they won't lift a finger to save him. Acting magnanimous, he permits the grog to leave, as he is more forgiving than his masters in their ivory towers.

The grog returns with the findings, to which the party prepares themselves with invisible black cloaks to make a personal group visit to the stranger the next day. Finding him alone, they have a short conversation; to which Disrun noticed he is incredibly stricken with Warp, and Gotvinus smells an overwhelming number of active spells on his person. Disrun surprise uses her magic to make him more loyal to her than to anyone else. He apologizes for his deception, reveals himself as the younger brother to Boris, who was slain by wizards after Gotvinus reported his findings. He and his family, originally from the Loch Legean Tribunal, at the direction of someone he only knows as The Eldest, have been infiltrating various covenants and instigating strife between members. Third party individuals had been used for information gathering, and his mission was to foster distrust among the villagers to then recruit them to be enchanted to take down the covenant of Andresina. The Eldest was capable of giving anyone numerous supernatural abilities and skill enhancements, with restrictions of various types; his ability to summon animals would be lost if he ever touched meat, his Second Sight would disappear if he ever witnessed God's might (anything magical aligned with Dominion, aura or creature), etc. He agrees, thanks to Disrun's magic, to work with the party, but is suddenly struck dead. Gotvinus examines the body, takes note of the non-hermetic sigil in the enchantments, and they dispose of it with a Christian burial.


And the beginning of the next season, pigs are found dead one at a time over successive nights, exsanguinated and chewed upon by local fauna. The pigs are disposed of for fear of the meat being bad. This is of concern because most of them are barren, making their size smaller with each successive year and the process of trading grown ones with fertile piglets has been slow. They try to trace the wounds magically, but the arcane connection is too old to track. Directing the village to gather all of the pigs into a pen, they set up half a dozen black cloaks with night vision on guard duty that night, with the fertile pigs kept in the covenant proper. That night, one of the pigs lay down, and nobody noticed that it bled out and died at some point. They try again, and this time one of the pigs actually makes a noise; one of the guards notices several rats crawling upon it and going for the eyes as it falls. One of the black cloaks heads for the covenant to tell them of their discovery, while the rest set themselves upon the rats. One rat is killed and one of the Black Cloaks narrowly avoid grievous injury (without the high-end armor, he'd have five Heavy Wounds), the rats take their chances and successfully escape due to their uncanny teamwork. They examine the dead rat, noting it subtly different from a typical black rat; an almost lionlike puft of fur at the tip of its tail and longer, lupine-like legs. As near as they can tell, their normally timid nature had been replaced with an aggressive, pack-hunting (leadership gives huge bonuses, letting half a dozen able to kill a horse in two rounds) instinct. It also showed Joseph Miller's casting sigil, indicating its magical origin. Checking with some of the covenfolk, a number of rats had been taken from the warded room over the season for use in their pits where the kennel master's hounds would kill for sport.

Concerned with highly dangerous potential, they fill the room with fire to kill any remaining rats they know of. Gotvinus then performs some InAn spontaneous magic (using the corpse as a template for knowing what to look for), slathers himself and several black cloaks with his full suite of invisibility magic, and then spends the next several days hunting down every rat in Andresina.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2016 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

1243: Fall

Time passes, Disrun makes an hermetic discovery, then decides to take a break to read the Ars Fulgrous. Lynn sees a large, pale man with black hair and a spear playing with one of Alfonso's kids. She speaks with him to get an idea of his identity/purpose, as none else is acknowledging his presence and Ehren is nearby going into spasms (Sense Holiness & Unholiness is overwhelming). After some cajoling, the stranger tells Lynn his name is 'Izra'il, boops the child on the nose with a quiet "see you soon", gets up, and says he hopes the little one is still around next time he comes by.

Lynn, unaware of the cultural significance of the stranger's name, calmly asks others about him. Once the name is spoken of, there's an impromptu meeting of what to do. They are concerned about the child, and so Gotvinus bestows advanced InCo on the covenant's physician to examine the child. At this point, they discover there is an incurable ailment within the child that will be visibly symptomatic soon and is going to kill the child in less than a season. Some further investigation reveals that the condition is, in game mechanic terms, an extremely bad aging crisis that will result in death within the month.

It's concluded that detaining Azrael is not a good idea

As they begin passing research over the concern of the Angel of Death making a visit and the realization of the child's oncoming mortality, one of the Alfonso's agents speaks of an Andalusian Muslim recently arriving in Neufchâteau and looking for a woman from his region. Gotvinus, Disrun, Lynn, Joseph Miller, & Miruna head out. Lynn keeps seeing new gargoyles installed on various eves, and four large and imposing (and non-material) demons huddled behind the stranger. Lynn, without explaining, grabs Disrun and leaves the tavern. With Miruna translating, they have a conversation with the stranger (by the name of Hisham), who is looking for Amat al-Mujeeb bint Abt al-Malik, as their family owes him and his a debt. After a bit of conversation, he reveals himself to be a teacher, is a piss-poor Islam (forgot how many times he needed to pray to Mecca, caught himself talking about the flavour of pork, etc). After the conversation, they say they'll keep an eye out for the woman, then go tell Alfonso what they can.

On the way back, aside from more immaterial gargoyles/grotesques along the road, they see a black carriage driven by a black driver, at the edge of Andresina. They send an invisible grog to investigate, who notices that the driver is able to rotate his head 360 degrees. By the time the grog returns to report his findings, the carriage drives off into the woods, and attempts to track lead to the trail literally disappearing partway into the woods (light traces of fae magic). There's some research later that session to reveal it to be one of the dullahan, gathering to collect a passing soul.

When Lynn tells the group about the small grotesques, their infernal lore proves to be good enough to tell them to be minor demons that are typically used as scouts and laborers by real demons. This sets the group on edge, as now they're fairly certain that Hisham is no longer a good candidate for being a teacher in the covenant. But, as he's shown to be casually friendly, they send Alfonso to speak with him for more information.
It's at this point that Hisham reveals himself to be the son of a distrusted family from Almahad, saved by Alfonso's parents when their forces pushed back some hostile Europeans. He had learned some magic from a traveler and his sources told him that one of Alfonso's children is destined to die. Out of obligation and respect for her family, he wanted to avail himself of his services to save the child, and offer himself as a mentor to the child; as the act of saving the child would make it capable of learning his magics. Alfonso politely says she'll consider it and returns to the covenant.

Eratasthones goes to Neufchâteau to learn more about where Hisham is staying, and any other tactically helpful information, only to be approached by a town guard that shifts into Hisham's form when nobody is looking. Eratasthones attempts to fast-cast a spell to escape, but gets slapped by Hisham (failed his Concentration check), who then tells him that he means no harm and is willing to speak peacefully with Alfonso at sunrise at the nearby hill just out of town. In a hurry of fear, Eratasthones skips the pleasantries and successfully teleports away, then runs the rest of the way back to Andresina.

Circling the long way around, avoiding anything resembling a road, they send a team of black cloaks to the opposite end of Neufchâteau in a covered wagon to look as merchants. Just after sunrise, Alfonso flies to the point designated by Hisham earlier, only to see a tower had been built overnight. Cautiously, she approaches in human form, and Hisham answers the door. Keeping the conversation at the door, where Hisham beseeches her to let him save the child, as he feels a great debt to Alfonso's family and couldn't bear to know he could've helped and failed. He admitted to dealing with demons, but quibbled on the definition of "deal", as his faith and magic gives them the negotiation edge of a lashed slave. It's at this point that the black cloaks pop out of the wagon and let loose a hail of arrows (the sound of arrow head on stone heard) while Joseph Miller blasts with magic...only for all of it to bounce off. Alfonso flies away, Hisham closes the door, and the magi/black cloak team beat a hasty retreat at this display of durability.


Later, just as the sun sets, a great storm bursts at the edge of the town of Andresina. Thick fog rolls in, and walking down the road is Hisham along with all four demons seen earlier in their fully materialized form. He approaches the gate and demands for the party to hand over the child so that it may live. Gotvinus declares that nothing is worth the loss of the child's immortal soul, burns a double fistful of vis, and then extremely critically botches his attempt at Peer Into the Mortal Mind; we're talking Final Twilight level botch. Meanwhile, as Hisham looks surprised at the sight, Alfonso tells Lynn she's going to fly off and hide the child away from Andresina. Hisham makes one final ultimatum, to hand over the child when he returns in one weeks' time, or he will be forced to break down the walls himself to stop this murder by inaction. Walking away, Alfonso secretly meets up with him, providing him the child to save it and raise it, on the condition that he never return to Andresina so that none of them risk being discovered and punished by the Order. She then seeks a wild grey partridge over the next day and kills it bloodlessly, bringing it back to the covenant to claim the stress of the travel accidentally killed it (Guile works flawlessly here). A period of burial and mourning is performed, and things begin to return to normal, the rest of the covenant not feeling it a good idea to search for Hisham after losing their best Intellego caster.

SESSION EPILOGUE: After the appointed time of the child's death, Lynn sees Azrael (in the form she last saw him) standing at the edge of the town, looking toward them, shedding a single tear before walking away.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

1245: Class Dismissed

Shortly after the events of the last session, a new magus had joined the covenant in preparation for the upcoming Dandelion Festival, as well as wanting a new place to stay after his last covenant shut down due to attrition (there were two Bjornaer, but they left due to the fact they're opposing factions). He comes off as friendly and right away attempts to make friends with the Black Cloaks by training with them for two seasons while his lab is set up in one of the towers.

Sparring matches come off like this half the time

Fast forward to late April of '45. Ehren has successfully convinced a number of patrons to send their children to Andresina for an education in Artes Liberales, Latin, & Philsosophae; utilizing the resources of himself, Lynn, Elisabeth, and Milo the Scribe. All four of which have teaching qualities of 14+, and therefore offer an opportunity for the students to receive five years of education in only two. It has been a year, and there are now nearly a hundred students receiving lectures and providing Andresina with a large influx of rental income amongst the villagers. Things are looking up until one of the students, Dimarus, began acting up. Dimarus was a mediocre student, relatively calm, 13 years old, and from a money changer family in Neufchâteau. Outside of class, he had hung out with several other Andresina youths, and was encouraged to mess with one of the cats - and ended up with a large scratch on his leg (Light Wound). After a week of bad luck from random things being knocked over, the scratch had gotten infected into a Medium wound, and his language took a turn toward the foul. Out of character, he gave a rather impressive insult to Ehren, which prompted them to suspend him for a few days. Ehren conferred with Joseph, suspecting that the student had become possessed by a demon, but couldn't necessarily tell without getting closer to use his Sense Holiness & Unholiness power.

The two (Joseph & Ehren) took Dimarus to the parish chapel, where Ehren used his Dominion Lore to get a bonus on his Sense Unholiness, and discovers that the student is indeed possessed. A voice emanated from the child not of his own, supposing that they're going to kill him now, at which point the student went into a rage like a cornered rat. With a triple crit, the student killed Ehren, and then got up close and personal to Joseph. Joseph Miller, unfortunately, was not sufficiently good enough at Concentration (EF 9) to shift into a bear and didn't think retreat was likely to succeed; and therefore attempted to defend himself with regular fisticuffs against this young man. By the time a Black Cloak arrived to handle the situation, several rounds later, Joseph Miller had been dealt an Incapacitating wound.

Suffice it to say, Dimarus is handled the same way Brock Samson would handle a minion of the Monarch

The school is essentially cancelled with the founder having been killed by one of the students (who was subsequently killed back), and Joseph Miller was sent to the covenant's infirmary to recover for the season. Over the next week or so, they began to hear of the responding Black Cloak suffering from harassment, bad luck, & occasionally speaking back at people in a normal volume level. Joseph Miller told the other magi that he may be possessed by the same demon from earlier, and gathered the other magi to do something about it. Prokui, not happy to hear of a demon, bound the Black Cloak to a single spot and attempted to spontaneous an exorcise spell which got a demonic laugh out of the black cloak. He then put the host to sleep and tag teamed Sanagos to add a demon warding circle around the black cloak so that it won't attempt to escape elsewhere. Unsure of what to do next, Scholarus brings up the fact that one could go into the Black Cloak's dreams and enter his imagination to directly fight the demon, and if he brought Joseph Miller, his expertise with DEO would be usable. They agreed to this plan, carted Joseph Miller's cot over along with sleeping mats for the others, allowing an adventure into a grog's mind to save him from demonic possession.
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