Ars in the Dark

What is this?

Hello! This is a roleplaying game based on the oldschool RPG Ars Magica. It’s about playing wizards fresh from their apprenticeship that establishes a covenant (a sort of magical base) to research magic and to grow their powers. They have to deal with the magical Order with it’s complex rules and restrictions, all the people without magical abilities that fear the mages and the very real magical animals and creatures that inhabit Mythic Europe.

The rulesystem is inspired by FitD and PbtA systems and mixes heavily with Ars Magica.

If you’re interested in setting up a game, discussing rules or contribute, check out this Discord where I usually hang out:

https://discord.gg/p7PGc2rRZX

Ars Magica – Forged in the dark

What is this?1

The Setting – A quick Primer4

The gift4

The Order of Hermes5

Covenant5

The system in short5

Rolls5

Skills6

Basic Moves6

Overcome6

Aiding/Interfering7

Study a person7

Study a situation8

Spontaneous Casting8

Prepared Magic9

Using Vis10

Arcane Mishaps10

Exerting yourself10

Botching a roll

Peripheral Moves

Start of Session11

End of Session11

Doing a Timeskip12

Dealing with the Order13

Consequences of Being a Mage

Warping13

Harm13

Dealing harm14

Protection from Harm14

Healing15

Spending XP16

Lab Moves

Experimenting17

Inventing a spell17

Ritual18

Brewing a Potion19

Creating a magical item19

Enchanting a familiar21

Training your Apprentice22

Contribute to the Library22

Hermetic Magic

How to create a spell23

Limits of Hermetic Magic24

Parma Magica24

Warping and Twilight25

Game Master Rules

Gamemaster Goals25

Principles26

Moves27

The Order of Hermes28

Quick Glossary28

The Code of Hermes (The Hermetic Oath)28

The Hermetic Oath in full29

Interpretation of the Code29

Peripheral Code30

Houses of Hermes30

Playbooks

House Bjornaer35

House Bonisagus39

House Bonisagus (Trianomae)41

House Criamon (Path Of Strife)43

House Criamon (Path Of Body)46

House Criamon (Path Of Seeming)48

House Criamon (Path Of Walking Backwards)50

House Ex Miscellanea53

House Flambeau54

House Jerbiton56

Playing a Jerbiton56

House Mercere58

House Merinita60

House Guernicus62

House Tremere64

House Tytalus66

House Verditius68

Creating a Mage

Covenant Creation

Troupe Style play78

Companion Playbooks

Bard78

Dashing Hero79

Ranger79

Merchant79

Monster Hunter80

Thief80

Fighter81

Priest81

Bandit81

Knight82

Big Monster82

Grogs82

Creating a grog83

Playing a grog83

The Different Realms

Magic Realm83

Faerie realm83

Infernal Realm84

Divine Realm84

Mundane Realm85

Realm specific moves85

Creating Threats87

Small Threats87

Big threats87

Creating a big threat87

Example threats88

Example Spells

Credits91

The Setting – A quick Primer

It's Europe in the middle ages and everything people believed in back then are real. Faeries dance in the woods. Dragons hoard treasure in the mountains. Trolls hide under bridges. Angels and devils exist to protect and cheat, respectively. There is definitely a God that hears your prayers. Mages also exist of course. Other than that, medieval Europe looks as it did back then. Christianity is the big religion and feudalism is the system of governance. 

The gift

The Gift is what makes mages magical. One in ten thousand people are born with The Gift. In short, it's the ability to observe, harness and channel arcane energy. Anyone born with The Gift will also gain an aura of untrustworthiness. Everyone who interacts with them assumes the worst about them. People with the gift can rarely function in a normal society due to this. It takes time and prolonged exposure to the Gift, but people can get used to someone's Gift. Grogs (human servants, peasants and fighters) living with the Mages become used to them after a while. Apprentices will also stop feeling the effect of their Masters gift when they have been together for a season or two.

The Order of Hermes

The Order of Hermes is the largest organization of mages in Europe. Several other organizations have existed before but due to the untrustworthy nature of people having the gift, the mages have always ended up fighting. The founder of the Order of Hermes developed something against this, the Parma Magica. The Order has also developed an encompassing magical theory which new members are taught and thus they learn to use magic. 

Parma Magica – Is an invisible magical shield that stops arcane energies from affecting the person protected by the Parma Magica. It also stops the effect of the gift from affecting the user of the Parma magica, meaning two people with Parma Magica can interact without constantly thinking the other is malicious or devious. 

The Order occupies a delicate position in the Medieval power balance. While the Order holds awesome power, they are not untouchable. Magic can not overcome the divine powers. Priests are hard to affect with magic, and near a church magic is harder to perform. Devils and beings from Hell are likewise hard to affect with spells. Furthermore, Mages are extremely outnumbered in society and if mundanes were to meet a mage, they would instantly feel as if the Mage is untrustworthy, due to the gift. If the Pope 

were to declare magic to be something Satanic, the Order would be in great trouble. Thus, the Order has a strict Code of which it works. Some important tenets of the code is to never slay another Wizard, never interfere with the business of the mundanes (the ungifted humans) and to never do deals with devils.

Covenant

 A covenant is a small settlement where a few magi have gathered to study magic and develop their skills. The game takes place in a covenant that the players will manage.

The system in short

The game is played as a conversation. The players will describe what their characters do and say what their characters say. The GM will describe what the world looks like, what NPC:s say and what happens outside of the player characters control. When the players describe their characters taking certain actions, such as casting a spell, figuring out a complicated puzzle or punch someone in the face they will trigger certain “moves”. These moves can be found in the “Basic Moves” section. Each move defines a specific trigger that starts the move, for example “when a player casts a spontaneous spell.” Then it will describe what happens, which usually involves a roll of some kind. Once the roll is done (or if there was no roll) the move describes the results and play returns to the conversation again.

Rolls

Most moves require a roll. All rolls are done with six sided dice. When you perform a roll, you take as many six sided dice as you have dots in the respective skill. For example, if you roll Mind, you take as many dice as you have dots in your Mind stat and roll them. The die with the highest number is the result. There are four possible outcomes. 

  • Two (or more) sixes: Critical Success. You do everything you set out to do and more! 

  • One six: Success! You do what you set out to do.

  • Four or five: Success with a complication, trouble or stall. You did what you set out to do but there was a complication along the way. 

  • Three, two or one: Miss! Something bad happens!

If you have no dots in the relevant skill, you roll two dice and take the lowest result. Some moves let you increase the amount of dice you roll, like Exerting yourself.

Skills

Your mage has four normal skills and 15 Arts (Magical skills). The four normal skills are:

  • Body – Your strength, agility and physical fitness.

  • Mind – Your knowledge, the application of that knowledge and your research ability

  • Spirit – Your heart and convincing character and ability to study others. If you convince through lies or charm, it’s still your spirit that matters.

  • Order – Your understanding of the order of the medieval world and how it operates. Why nobles sit on top, priests below and peasants at the bottom. It’s politics, code and etiquette. It also covers the workings of the Hermetic Order and workings of the code.

The 15 Arts can be found below, under [Section Name], where the magic system is explained.

Basic Moves

All players can trigger these moves in the ongoing conversation as long as their description matches the trigger of the move and they are in a fictional position to trigger it.

Overcome

When you overcome an interesting or dangerous problem, roll + the dots in the relevant stat.

On a critical hit, You overcome and and more. The GM will offer you a better outcome, a moment of true beauty or incredible insight into a problem.

On a strong hit, you overcome

On a partial hit You overcome with a complication

Move in depth

Overcome is the catch all move for doing dangerous or hard things without involving magic. It could be jumping over a ravine(body), fighting someone (body), charming someone (spirit), making a deal with a noble(spirit or order), figuring out someones motives (spirit), recalling information(mind), applying knowledge to a situation(mind), understanding a complex political issue within the order (Order), knowing the Code and it’s intricacies (Order) or behaving “properly” among mages of different houses and types (Order).

As all moves, this requires following the fiction. There will be situations you can’t overcome with your skills alone. You won’t be strong enough to lift a house (without magic) or be able to talk someone into something they would never ever do. Consider changing your approach or setting a different goal for your overcome.

Examples

Following are three examples where one is a situation a character could overcome, a situation that is impossible to overcome, at least in the way the player wants it at first, and a situation where the player character is at such an advantage, due to prior actions, that there is nothing to overcome.

Sarah’s character, Elric, is fighting a human knight and they are evenly matched in skill. Sarah says “I change tactics suddenly and come at him with huge violent swings of my sword”. Petronalla the GM nods, “Sounds like you’re trying to overcome him in battle, go ahead and roll”. Sarah rolls her body, which is 2. Her highest result is a five. “Describe how you defeat him” says Petronella to Sarah. “After my first swing knocks his sword out of his hand, the second swing cuts him across his left leg, making him unable to move properly and he falls to the ground”. Since Sarah's roll was a 5, which is a partial hit, Petronella adds a small complication, “He falls to the ground but manages to cut you as he falls, take 2 harm”.

Pete’s character, Dara, is fighting a dragon. “I want to kill him with my sword”. Pete grabs the dice but before he starts rolling, Petronella, the GM, stops him. “Your character has just a simple sword against a mighty dragon, there is no way you could overcome him in a fight.”. Pete reluctantly agrees. “I’ll try even the odds first with some magic…”

Lisa's character, Elddottir has just casted an intellego mentem spell on a noblewoman to see her desires to get a better deal in a negotiation. The GM, Petronella, has stated that the most important thing for the noblewoman is for her castle to remain standing. “So now that I know exactly what the noblewoman wants, I can seal the deal right? I start talking about how much I could help her with making her castle remain where it is, how with the aid of some magic, it might even become larger and more famous than it is.” Lisa picks up some dice and is ready to roll but Petronella stops her. “Since you’re seeing straight into her mind this doesn’t require a roll. You’ve given her exactly what she wants and there is no resistance to overcome.” “Sweet!” says Lisa.

Aiding/Interfering

When you aid/interfere with another player character who is trying to overcome, give them +1d/-1d and mark 1 fatigue.  Any consequence suffered by the roll will also extend to you. Any number of player characters (mages, companions and player controlled grogs) can aid as long as it makes sense in the fiction.

Aiding when performing spells

Aiding another mage casting a spell is difficult due to the unpredictable nature of magic and each mage's slightly different way of casting. It is possible to aid only if the caster and the helper's mind are linked, by an intellego mentem spell or another magical effect such as intellego vim. However, most magi are weary of letting another magi read their thoughts, even when it’s just casting a spell.

Study a person

When you study an intelligent creature to figure them out, roll+ the appropriate stat. On a critical hit, ask 3 questions to their player, not limited to the list. On a full, ask 2. On a partial hit, ask one question from the list or ask 2, but the other persons player will ask one question from the list back.

Who’s backing your character?

What’s your character hoping to get from ____?

How could I get your character to _____ ?

What does your character worry might happen?

Notes on the Move

“Asking their player” means that you ask the person at your table currently in control of the character. It can be the GM or another player at your table.

When interacting with another person, your character isn’t actually asking them these questions openly. Your character is figuring this out through reading body language, asking related questions or drawing on their knowledge to understand. The character being figured out may or may not be aware of what's going on.

“The appropriate stat” varies from situation to situation. Trying to study a Mage by using your knowledge of the order and their position would be Order but charming them to open up would be Spirit.

Examples

Study a situation

When you study a charged or troublesome situation, roll+ the appropriate stat. On a critical hit, ask three questions, not limited to the list. On a full hit, ask two. On a partial hit, ask one.

What happened here recently?

What should I be watchful for?

What here is not what it appears to be?

Who’s really in control here?

What here is useful or valuable?

On a miss, ask one, but be prepared for the worst possible outcome.

Notes on the move

Examples

Spontaneous Casting 

When you cast a spontaneous spell roll+ the lowest art used.

On a critical hit, Increase a quality of the spell

On a strong hit, it goes off as you want it.

On a partial hit, there will be an arcane mishap.

The baseline is the topmost option in each quality. Spend points equal to your lowest art used in the spell to move sections further down. 1 point moves a section one step down

Overcharge: Draw on the natural magic to go above your capabilities. Take 1 Partial Warp (this warp can never cause a warp event) to gain points equal to your art again.

Qualities

Casting speed: 

  • 10 seconds of focus (the default)

  • 5 seconds of focus

  • 1 second of focus

Subtlety: 

  • Gestures and clearly enunciated words (the default)

  • Only words or Gestures

  • Very subtle gestures or words  

Intensity: 

  • 0 Intensity

  • 1 level of intensity

  • 2 Levels of intensity

Size: 

  • A person or smaller (the default)

  • 5 people or so/ size of a wagon

  • 10 people or so/size of small cottage

  • 25 people or so/ size of a barn

  • 50 people or so/ size of a church

Duration: 

  • Instant/Concentration (the default)

  • A quarter of an hour

  • One Hour

  • A day

Range:

  • Touch or Personal (the default)

  • In sight within fifteen paces

  • In sight within hundred paces

  • Sight

Further Description of Spontaneous Casting

Casting Speed

How fast you’re able to cast a spell. It’s important when in situations where going first would mean a lot. 

Subtlety

How discreet your spell is. The default means you speak in a strong voice with clear enunciation and make large gestures. Anyone who can see you would know something is going on. Only words or gestures still require either a strong voice with clear enunciation or large gestures. Very subtle gestures or words mean that you only do words or gestures in a subtle way. Someone would have to watch you carefully to know that you’re up to something.

Intensity 

It’s how much force and pure magic you put into your spell. It’s measured when your magic is being resisted or if your magic is used in a competition with someone else. If you’re trying to penetrate someone's Parma Magica or in a competition with a Fae prince to see who can make the strangest animal out of a household cat, the intensity of the magic will be the key factor. 

Intensity is also the measure of how much harm you inflict. The level of intensity is added onto your standard harm of 2 if a spell is damaging.

Size

How large your target is. You can still target something larger than what the options give you, but you will only affect a part of it corresponding to the size you’ve chosen. For instance, if you’re bold, you could try turning a Dragon the size of a palace into lead, but since the largest size you can target with a spontaneous spell is the size of a church, maybe you could only turn the Dragons leg into lead.

Duration

Instant means it lasts for a few seconds. Things like: summoning a fireball for a few seconds, stopping someone's heart, creating a small shield to parry a blow etc. When using the Concentration option means it will last until you lose focus. This can happen if you get hit in the head, go to sleep or are momentarily distracted. The GM can use your lack of concentration as a consequence on a 5-4 roll (if it’s a minor consequence) or on a 1-3 roll (if it’s really bad for you to lose concentration).

Range

Personal means yourself. To touch someone in a fight that is struggling might require you to overcome. If you’re using an intellego spell to see something that is outside of your eyesight, you can still cast spells using your “extra vision” but the range depends on where your person is in regards to the place you’re perceiving. For instance, if you’ve cast a spell on an animal that lets you see through it’s eyes and the animal, while far away from you, spots the goblin who stole your magical earring, you can cast a spell on the goblin, but the range would be where the goblin is in relation to where your mage is. 

Prepared Magic

When you use a prepared spell roll with the mind skill or the highest art or form used. 

On a critical hit, You can increase or decrease one of the qualities of the spell this time.

On a strong hit it goes off as detailed. 

On a partial hit, The GM will state the consequence of the spell if you choose to go through with it, then Choose: You either let it dissipate without an effect or you go forward with the set consequence.

Using Vis

When you cast a spell you can spend 1 rook of Vis to do one of the following:

Count a roll as a full success, after a roll

Take +1 Die on a roll when casting magic

Make an effect permanent

Arcane Mishaps

Arcane mishaps are effects that can come into play on partial hits when you cast spells.

Smaller effect of the spell, Complication occurs, Spell creates a problem for an ally, Unwanted attention, Harm, Partial Warp, Worse position, Lose concentration

Exerting yourself

On any die roll while triggering a basic move, you may exert yourself to gain +1d6 on the roll. You also mark the Lowest fatigue. If you can't mark a higher fatigue, you can't exert yourself.

Removing Fatigue

 All fatigue is removed if you have a hearty meal and a good night's sleep in a soft bed.

Move in depth

When you exert yourself you focus extra hard or push yourself harder. It increases the risk of you losing control in the long term but might give you the extra boost you need in the moment.

Botching a roll

When you mark Fatigue, you mark the leftmost spot on the fatigue track. When you're fatigued there's a chance of an extreme failure with dire consequences. If your highest die is the same or lower than the highest number marked on your fatigue track, you get an extreme failure. This rule does not apply on a roll where you exerted yourself.

Resource Moves

Chattels

For the purpose of trade, all resources, besides vis, is counted in chattels. How much one chattel is depends on the resource. Usually, one chattel is enough for:

One weeks stay in a simple inn, One night in extreme luxury, The services of a simple worker for a month or so, one small task for an expert craftsman.

If the market is saturated with a resource, one chattel of that resource might only be worth half or one third of it's worth.

If the market is in demand for a specific resource, one chattel of that resource could be worth twice or thrice its value.

One Chattel could therefore be: A big bag of gold coins, a few sacks of grain or common vegetables, a few well skinned hides, a well crafted sword, a barrel of raw resources.

Trade

When you trade one or more chattels for a resource or service roll+chattels traded. On a hit, it's a deal. On a partial hit, they want some more or they will demand something after the deal is done.

Trading Mission

When you send a trading mission to acquire something or someone roll+chattels sent. On a hit, pick 2. On a partial hit, pick 1.

  • They return fast

  • They return in good condition 

  • They aquire exactly what you wanted 

Twilight Moves

You are unable to exert yourself on these moves.

Resisting Twilight

When you try to resist entering Twilight, roll your Partial Warp divided by 2 rounded down. On a miss, you touch Twilight for a few moments and add 1  Partial Warp but no other effect. On a hit, you enter twilight.

Entering Twilight

When entering Twilight roll + Warp. 

Miss: you fall unconscious for a number of minutes equal to the sum of a roll of your Partial Warp. Your body is still physically present as normal. 

Partial Hit: Your body enters a comatose state for a number of days the sum of a roll of your Partial Warp. You cannot be harmed and you cannot interact with the physical world in any way. The appearance of your body changes drastically and for the duration of your coma to reflect the magical event that triggered the move. Take +1 Partial Warp then roll Comprehending The Twilight.

Full hit: your body disappears l for a number of weeks equal to the sum of a roll of your Partial Warp. It returns to the exact place it disappeared from. Take +1  Partial Warp then roll Comprehending The Twilight.

Critical hit: You enter Eternal Twilight. Your body and soul disappear from this world for a number of months equal to the sum of a roll of your Warp. Roll Comprehending The Twilight. If you roll a Miss on comprehending the Twilight, your body never returns.

Comprehending the Twilight

When you attempt to comprehend the Twilight, the GM will ask you some personal questions, answer them and then, roll+Mind. On a critical hit, Gain all three

On a strong hit, pick 2

On a partial hit, Pick 1

  • Spontaneous learning -Learn the Formula for a magical effect you have created at least once before as if you Invented the Spell. When you return from Twilight, inscribe it in your spellbook.

  • Insight – You will get deeper insight into a problem you’re facing. Ask the GM any two questions about it.

  • Magical cleansing – Reduce your Partial Warp by 1d6

  • Fast Comprehension – Halve the time you must spend in Twilight

On a miss instead, choose one:

  • Reduce your mastery of a technique or form by 1.

  • Increase the time spent in twilight by half of your total time.

Regardless of a hit or a miss, your body changes in some way to mark your twilight experience.

Notes on the move:

Twilight is a unique experience for everyone. Use the questions the GM asks to describe your experience. Maybe you’re reliving a certain moment over and over again or you’re thrown through dimensions, each stranger than the next but they all contain different versions of yourself. 

Example GM questions :

When was your weakest moment?

How did your gift first manifest?

Who do you miss the most?

What is your darkest secret?

When did you feel the most powerful?

Peripheral moves

Start of Session

Gm should:

  • Summarize last session

Each character may:

  • Change beliefs

  • Spend experience 

End of Session

Mark XP

At the end of session mark XP if you as a player:

  • Triggered your Playbook specific XP trigger

  • Contributed to the elimination of a major threat to the covenant through a mage, companion or grog

  • Contributed to a substantial improvement to the covenant (Lab moves, besides ritual, don’t count) through a mage or companion.

  • Expressed a lesson from your apprenticeship as your mage

  • Took a risky or dangerous action based on a personal belief of your mage. Get +1 extra XP if it put the safety ot the covenant at risk.

  • Rolled at least one miss this session.

You can only get one XP per trigger, even if you triggered it multiple times.

Timeskip moves

The following moves trigger when you want to make large jumps forward in time. Months, seasons, years even. Working on the covenant should always be triggered in these cases. Dealing with the order should vary, depending on how involved the Covenant already is in trouble with the Order. If they already have a lot of business from the Order already then it can be skipped until a suitable time comes along.

Doing a Timeskip

When the group decides to do a timeskip, decide how long it will last

  • A few weeks 

Everyone at the covenant gets to do the following:

Copy a Spell OR Brew Potions 

Remove 2 harm

One person has to:

Perform the “Working on the covenant” Move

  • A season or more 

Once per season, everyone gets to:

Gather Vis

Remove all harm (If they are resting in the covenant and only doing easy labwork)

Do one of the following:

Perform a Lab move

Copy two spells

Search for a magical Animal 

Search for a child with the Gift

One person has to:

Perform the “Working on the covenant” move.

Working on the Covenant

When the group performs a timeskip, choose the player who has rolled this move the least,they roll the relevant stat (body/mind/spirit), depending on how they worked with the covenant.

Critical hit: The results from strong hit and also: You've discovered a new valuable resource near the covenant, the GM will detail.

Strong hit:You have some extra resources for the covenant and pick one:

  • You’ve completed a half built building or are halfway completed with a building.

  • You have befriended a grog.

  • A grog has been inspired by you. They want to expand their life by studying, inventing, becoming a master of something or learning all they can about they are curious about.

Partial hit: Choose:

You have some extra resources but some grogs have to go without something they need or work extra to get it.

Or

You have what you need but nothing more.

On a miss, things bode ill for the covenant, there are bad news, clear signs of trouble brewing or a situation among the grogs that demands attention.

Gather Vis

For each season a timeskip lasts, each mage gains 1 vis, plus any from bonuses from the covenant.

Search for a Magical Animal

When you spend a season searching for a specific type of magical Animal, name the type of creature and mark 1 segment of a four segmented countdown clock. You can freely choose what animal you search after.

If you fill your clock, you’ve found out the location of one such creature. This does not mean it will be friendly as you make your approach.

Magical creatures can be enchanted and used as familiars.

Search for a child with the Gift

When you spend a season searching for a child who has the gift, mark 1 segment of a 4 segmented clock.

If you fill in your clock, you’ve found a child with the Gift. This does not mean that they willingly will follow you or that they haven’t been found by someone else though. 

Copy a spell

When you spend some time copying a prepared spell you have access to, add it to your spellbook.

Lab Moves

During a timeskips at least the length of a season, lab moves can be performed. See (XX)

Dealing with the Order

When you try to resist or barter a demand given by the order, or by powerful members within it, roll Order. 

Critical hit, You either manage to avoid it and look clever, skilled or wise while doing it or gain something very valuable in return for doing the demand

Full hit: Choose one:

    Avoid doing the task with a good reason why, keeping your relationship intact

    Do the task but gain something from it

Partial hit: Choose one:

    Avoid doing the task and offend the order.

    Do the task 

Miss:

You have to do it and it's a trap or way worse than it seemed.

Burdens and Risks of Magic

This section contains rules for the consequences of the Mage's and companions daily lives. Warping, a light magical residue that will stay with mages, Warping events, when enough warp has built up to cause a rift in reality to suck mages into the twilight, dealing and taking harm and healing it, the potential consequences of partial hits and misses and spending experience.

Warping

Being exposed to magic can give you warping. This could be a consequence of a partial hit, when you roll a miss or just being in the vicinity of powerful magic. The GM will tell you when you have to mark partial Warp. When all of the Partial Warp are marked ( there are 9 of them) mark a Warp and erase all Partial Warp Marks. Once a Warp is marked, you can never remove it.

Harm

Harm is a number indicating how much harm you take from something and how damaged you are. The Players Mages and Companions characters can take 4 harm before they are about to die. Grogs can take 2 harm.

When you take harm, write down the type of harm in the corresponding lines in the upper most available line. If no lines are available or your harm would exceed the number of lines available, write all the harm you can, then trigger the “About to die” move.

On the first line, there are no mechanical consequences of the harm.

On the second line and further down, you take -1d to any action related to the injury. If you get a broken shoulder as harm on your second line and try to climb for instance, you take -1d.

On the third line, Harm does not go better on its own. It will get worse. If you don’t get medical or magical attention, you will eventually die. You can be temporarily stabilized from magical or medical aid even if you don’t heal any harm. See the section on Healing(XX) for details.

When you’re about to die

When you’re about to die, pick one of the following options. Once an option has been picked, strike it out. It can’t be picked again. 

  • Crippled -Permanently remove one action dot from Body.

  • Magical mutation – Gain a magical ability from any playbook.

  • Die

After you’ve chosen the GM will determine how much harm, if any, remains.

Dealing harm

Mundane Harm

Any weapon, as long as a person is able to wield it with skill will cause 1 harm in a fight, but 2 harm against an unprepared or defenseless player character. 

Examples of harm:

A fall from two stories causes 2 harm. A mob of angry peasants harming a mage would be 2 or 3 harm depending on the mob and their equipment. A fall from a great height could be 3 or 4 harm. Being incinerated by a dragon would be 4 harm. 

Magical Harm

Not all spells are damaging, that's up to the caster. If it is damaging though, deal 2 harm + the level of intensity(or less at the mages option) by default.

Protection from Harm

Mundane Armor

If you have armor and you take Mundane harm, reduce the Harm by your Armor. The remainder is the harm. If an armor is a flat 1 or 2 armor, it can’t stack with another armor value. If a move specifically states +1 Armor, it’s added to your current armor.

Example: Cinderel of Flambeau gets stabbed by a skilled soldier wielding a spear. She takes 2 harm. Lucky for Cinderel, she is wearing her leather armor which gives her an Armor of 1 thus reducing her harm by 1. In the end, she takes 1 harm.

A solid piece of light medieval armor, such as boiled leather or gambeson would give 1 armor against mundane harm.

A full set of heavy medieval armor, such as platemail with helmet and visor gives 2 armor but is expensive, very cumbersome and is hard to see out of. 

Magic Resistance

When you take Magical harm, Add together the Magical Harm and Intensity and reduce that by your Magical resistance. The remainder is your harm.

Example:Remus of Guernicus gets hit by a magical bolt of Lighting from an angry storm wizard. The spell has a default damage of 2, but the wizard has put 2 levels of intensity into the spell thus dealing a total of 4 damage. However, Remus has his Parma Magica, which gives him a magical resistance of 3, thus reducing the damage of the Lightning Bolt to 1 harm.

Magic resistance has a scale of 1-5 with 1 being the lowest and 5 the highest.

All mages who are player characters have learnt the Parma Magica and have a Magical Resistance of 3 by default. Some NPC mages have a weaker Parma Magica and some have a stronger one. Mages outside of the Order most likely have no magical resistance since they haven’t been taught the Parma Magica.

Some beings have an innate magic resistance that shields them from all magic. People who truly and deeply believe in god (christians, muslims, jews, etc.), magical beings, faeries, demons and angels all have an innate magic resistance.

Examples of Magic Resistance.

0 Regular people who aren’t praying or extremely religious. Normal animals.

1 A faithful Mob, a weak faerie.

2 A religious knight, weaker magical beings. A weak parma magica.

3 The "standard" Parma Magica. A faithful priest. Most magical beings. People hiding in a church.

4 Faerie queens and powerful magical beings. The Pope. A strong Parma Magica.

5 Angels, Demons and extremely strong magical beings. 

Weaknesses of the Parma Magica

While the Parma Magica is one of the cornerstones of the Order, letting Mages interact without the burden of the Gift and without fear of getting killed, it has its weaknesses. 

The Parma Magica functions as a magical shield enveloping the mage. If a projectile propelled by magical force hits the shield, it will slow down and may pierce the shield, if it’s intensity is strong enough. 

For instance, with Rego Herbam, you could hurl an existing arrow from a quiver at a mage, but the Parma Magica would interfere.

The Parma Magica also protects against magically created objects. If you were to summon a stone above someone's head and let it go, the Parma Magica would sense the magic in the stone and slow it down before it reaches the mage.

However, the Parma Magica does not interfere with non magical objects propelled by gravity. If you fired a regular arrow at a mage with a bow, the Parma Magica would not stop it. If you lifted a stone with Rego Terram above a mages head, then ended the spell, Parma Magica would not stop the stone since neither the stone nor the force propelling it is magical. This way, you can circumvent the Parma Magica to kill mages. Rego spells are useful for this. Another common tactic is Perdo, to destroy the ground a mage is walking on, causing them to fall into a deep chasm to get crushed.

Healing

Removing Harm

When a move tells you to Remove Harm, Remove harm from the top and going down.

Healing with magic

The only way to permanently heal damage besides timeskips is by spending 2 vis and doing some sort of spell (Creo Corpus, usually). This will heal 2 harm instantly and stabilize someone who needs medical attention.

You can also heal harm temporarily by using magic. Nothing is stopping you for using Creo Corpus to rebind your broken body temporarily, using Muto Mentem to stop your thoughts thinking of the pain, Muto Imaginem to remove the sensation of pain or Muto corpus to grow a pair of wings so you don't have to walk in the first place. All of these temporary measures will reduce any mechanical penalties, as long as it works within the fiction.

Healing by mundane means

Rest and not exerting yourself will heal your harm over time. If you are adventuring, getting into trouble or performing dangerous experiments, you are not healing.

You will heal during downtime, as noted by the Downtime options. 

Spending XP

When you gain 4 XP, you can purchase an advancement:

+1 to an art (Maximum of 10 points bought in total from this option)

+1 to a skill for a mage or companion (max 5 points bought in total from this option)

A new move for your mage or companion

Ten Advancement later you can pick the following. Also you’re now able to use the Gain the Search for Apprentice and Search for Familiar move

+1 To an art (maximum 15 points)

+1 To a skill for mage or companion (max 5 points)

A move for your mage from another Playbook (No magical abilities) (Max 2 times)

Retire your character with them becoming:

  • A powerplayer within the order and an Ally to covenant, as long as your goals align.

  • Completely obsessed by their lab work, rarely leaving their lab in the covenant.

  • An enemy of the order, and possibly the covenant.

  • Focused on seeing the world and having adventures. You will probably hear of them from time to time.

  • Discouraged with magic and will live out the rest of their days focusing on mundane pursuit.

Lab moves

The lab moves are actions the mages take in their downtime, usually off screen to gain more knowledge and work on their academic pursuits. Most of them require certain features in your lab. To start others you need to perform certain actions in the fiction. Creating a magical item and Enchanting a familiar both require the mage to get out in the world to find certain materials and in the case of a familiar, a magical animal.

Experimenting

When you experiment with your chosen lab work, describe your experiment and perform the move as written, then roll Mind. On a strong hit, you learn something new, mark experience. On a partial hit, you learn something new, mark experience, but there are some light consequences to the covenant or to you caused by the experiment. Miss, your experiment goes horribly wrong, but you still accomplish the lab move.

Experimenting does not count as a lab move by itself, since it’s always done with another lab move. Thus, you can still perform two Lab moves and Experiment with both of them. The Experimenting move is for those bold enough to try new things with magic to learn new things but also cause some strange accidents. All lab work performed can be either performed safely, and Lab move will trigger as written OR you can try to push the boundaries of your knowledge and experiment with magic to learn something new but maybe you will turn someone into a toad by accident. This means you first describe the Experiment as it relates to your Lab move. If you’re inventing a spell turning water into poison you might let the grogs have a sip of some bottles you’ve used the spell on to see what effects it will have. The experiment might be harmless and informative or it might lead to Greta, the farmer's daughter turning blue due to the strange poison. Experiments are described in short vignettes if you choose to do them.

Inventing a spell

Requirements:

Access to a Library with at least basic coverage of the arts used.

1 vis

When you spend a season inventing a spell for your spellbook, define the concept, give it a name and spend 1 vis. Use the coverage in your library (or a library you have access to) to define the qualities of the spell. When you’re done, write it down in your spellbook. At your option, you can also add it to the covenant library for your colleagues to copy.

Spend points equal to technique+form library coverage or your own knowledge in the art(s). to move qualities further down. 1 point moves a quality one step down.

Qualities

Casting speed: 

  • 10 seconds of focus (the default)

  • 5 seconds of focus

  • 1 second of focus

Subtlety: 

  • Gestures and clearly enunciated words (the default)

  • Only words or Gestures

  • Very subtle gestures or words

  • One specific word, said or whispered

  • One specific gesture

  • No words or gestures 

Intensity: 

  • 0 Intensity

  • 1 Level of intensity

  • 2 Levels of intensity

  • 3 Levels of Intensity

  • 4 Levels of intensity

Size: 

  • A person or smaller (the default)

  • 5 people or so/ size of a wagon

  • 10 people or so/size of small cottage

  • 25 people or so/ size of a barn

  • 50 people or so/ size of a church

  • 100 people or so/size of a cathedral

Duration: 

  • Instant/Concentration (the default)

  • A quarter of an hour

  • One Hour

  • A day

  • A week

  • Two weeks

  • A Month

Range:

  • Touch or Personal (the default)

  • In sight within fifteen paces

  • In sight within hundred paces

  • Sight

  • Arcane Connection

The Qualities for Inventing a spell follow the same rules as the qualities for Spontaneous spellcasting. Inventing a spell gives you more options to create more powerful spells.

Range

Arcane Connection will make the actual distance irrelevant but instead it requires an item intimate to the target. This could be some bark from a tree (arcane connection to the tree), hair clippings from a person (arcane connection to that person), the cut off paw of a rabbit (arcane connection to the rabbit). It’s up to the GM to define if it’s intimate enough to count as an arcane connection.

Ritual

When you prepare a large magical effect, describe the effect and define the following. 

Target: A City, A Country, The World

Range: Sight (or closer) or Arcane connection (for something you can't see)

Duration: Month (or less), Year, Permanent (Requires Vis)

Arts Required, with the GMs approval.

The GM will list some of the following conditions for you to be able to do it. The only set requirement is 2 vis and a season of preparation, but the GM should make the requirements harder depending on the desired effect. The GM can connect them with "And," or might be merciful and throw in an "or". When you have all the requirements the ritual will take 1 hour to cast but will not require any roll to carry out successfully. All the things within parenthesis below are examples of requirements in rising order of difficulty.

  • Cost (At least 2 Vis, but the bigger the effect, the more expensive it will be)

  • Time to Prepare (At least a season, several seasons, a year, or possibly longer)

  • Mastery of the Arts (A certain amount of dots in certain Arts)

  • Materials (Magical moss, the still beating heart of a dragon, the last tear of a virgin before being sacrificed to a pagan god)

  • Expertise within certain area (An important book on the subject, Assistance from  master, Sacrifice the world's greatest expert)

  • Danger for everyone involved

  • Buildings (A small shrine to a fae, A complex clockwork machine, A home fit for a king)

  • Lab Equipment (A talking skull, A source of great magic, A captured angel or demon, A portal to hell)

A ritual is something much stronger than a spell and requires more time to prepare. It can let you go crazy and create basically any effect imaginable as long as it stays within the limits of Hermetic Magic. The stronger the effect, the more requirements it will require. Acquiring the requirements must happen in the fiction, unless it’s something easy to aquire.

Brewing a Potion

Requirements

1 Vis per 2 types of potion

When you spend a few weeks or a season brewing a few potions, define the concepts and give it a name. Each type of potion has one standard magical effect that can happen through the drinking of a potion. After they are done, roll the highest art of each type of potion. The highest die rolled +2 is how many doses of the potion you get.

Spend points equal to technique+form library coverage or your own knowledge in the art(s). to move qualities further down. 1 point moves a quality one step down.

Qualities

Intensity: 

  • 0 Intensity

  • 1 Level of intensity

  • 2 Levels of intensity

  • 3 Levels of Intensity

  • 4 Levels of intensity

Size: 

  • A being the size of a person or smaller 

  • A horse sized creature

  • An elephant sized creature

Duration: 

  • Instant

  • A quarter of an hour

  • One Hour

  • A day

  • A week

A potion is a one time use effect which works without a roll on the being that it’s applied to, as long as they are unable to resist the magic. The Parma Magica does not protect against potions once it’s applied or consumed since it’s an external shield and the potion works from the inside and out. Intensity would only be useful if trying to feed the option to a creature with natural magical resistance. 

Potions can never give someone the ability to cast a spell. Some effects possible with spells are  impossible as potions such as shooting a fireball or creating a bird since neither targets the person who consumed the potion. Setting the potion drinker on fire or turning them into a bird would work though.

Creating a magical item

Requirements

2 Vis

Access to a library with advanced coverage of the arts required for the item. Work out what sort of magical item you want and what you want it to do with the GM. 

Common materials or Rare magical materials that you acquired on an adventure gives you+1 point to spend on the item.

When you start working on your magical item, Spend points equal to technique+form library coverage or your own knowledge in the art(s). To move qualities further down. 1 point moves a quality one step down.

Qualities

How many effects does the item already have: 

  • None

  • 1

  • 2

  • 3

  • 4

Activation time (when the effect happens): 

  • 10 minutes after activation

  • 5 minutes after activation

  • 1 minute after activation

  • Instant, when item is activated

Frequency: 

  • Once per week

  • Once per day

  • 3 times per day

  • 5 times per day

  • Unlimited times per day

  • Constant use 

Intensity: 

  • 0 Intensity

  • 1 Level of intensity

  • 2 Levels of intensity

  • 3 Levels of Intensity

  • 4 Levels of intensity

Size: 

  • A person or smaller (the default)

  • 5 people or so/ size of a wagon

  • 10 people or so/size of small cottage

  • 25 people or so/ size of a barn

  • 50 people or so/ size of a church

  • 100 people or so/size of a cathedral

Duration: 

  • Instant (the default)

  • A quarter of an hour

  • One Hour

  • A day

  • A week

  • Two weeks

Range:

  • Touch or Personal (the default)

  • In sight within fifteen paces

  • In sight within hundred paces

  • Sight

  • Arcane Connection

Activation time

Activating the magical effect in a magical item requires no roll, but using it might require you to overcome. For instance, starting the flames in your magical burning sword requires no roll, but trying to stab the ice dragon charging you would most likely require you to Overcome with body.

How many effects does the item have:

The more magical effects an item has, the harder it will be to add a new one to the item. This Quality is always required to do first, to determine how many points are left for the other qualities.

Frequency

The frequency you are able to use the item. The Once per week, Once per day etc. means that after it’s been activated a that number of times it needs to rest before it can be activated again. Constant use only applies to those effects that can be constantly, such as a flying carpet or an eternally burning fireplace. 

Finishing the Item

The GM will list some of the following conditions for you to be able to complete the item. The GM can, but is not required to, make the requirements harder or more time consuming depending on the desired effect. The GM can connect the requirements with "And," or might be merciful and throw in an "or". When you have all the requirements you need, you will have completed the item at the start of the next season. All the things within parenthesis below are examples of requirements in rising order of difficulty. The GM is encouraged to come up with their own requirements based on your current covenant and situation.

Requirements

  • Cost (1 vis or more but the larger the magical effect, the more vis is required)

  • Time to Prepare( a season,several seasons, a year, Longer)

  • Mastery of the arts ( X amount of dots in certain Arts)

  • Materials ( Non magically created silver, branch of a willow tree that’s been next to faerie castle, mithril forged in the darkest dwarven halls and stolen with guile)

  • Expertise within certain area ( listen to a wise woman's story, take notes on a complicated lecture from a famous scholar, steal all the thoughts of an expert straight from their mind)

  • It will be dangerous for everyone involved

  • Lab needs (smithing tools, a famous piece of art for inspiration, the flame of a dragon to heat the forge)

When you use a magical item, there is no roll required to activate it.

Enchanting a familiar

Requirements

An inherent magical animal that you have tamed or domesticated.care about deeply and who in turns trusts you and agrees to becoming your familiar without any form of trickery or coercion. 

When you enchant your familiar, mark 1 segment of a 4 section clock. This can be done once per season. The process is slow and it’s about how you slowly make the animal more magical. When the clock is complete, you have to decide how the three cords connect you and what features you've acquired and given.

After the enchantments you have a connection that works within 100 paces. If you are further away, you don't get any benefits from your familiar. Your Familiar is still an animal, albeit an intelligent one which you can speak with in your own strange language that no one else understands.

These bonuses only apply as long as you're within the connection range.

Start with 3 points, spend them 1 for 1 on the following advantages. You can also pick detriments to gain more points.

  • Gold Cord: The connection of your magic. Add this bonus on any spontaneous or spellbook cast magic. Either +1 or 0.

  • Silver Cord: The connection of your minds. Add this bonus to understand situations and resist fear, intimidation and mind control. Either +1 or 0.

  • Bronze Cord: The connection of your bodies. Add this bonus to any healing rolls or actions that require physical speed or strength. Either +1 or 0.

  • Extended connection: The connection works within 1000 paces instead of 100 paces.

  • Shared senses: Pick one of the familiars senses. You can use it as if you were at your familiars location. It can do the same with you.

  • Mental communication: You can converse mentally with your familiar.

  • Language: Your familiar can speak one language you can speak. You can speak with animals of their type.

  • Shapechange: Take 2 harm to change into an animal of your familiar’s type. Your familiar can change into a human.

  • Shared Magic: Your familiar can use two of your arts (you decide) to create spontaneous spells. You gain one of the animals natural abilities (increased sense like hearing or smelling, cold resistance, holding breath for longer, sharp claws or teeth.)

DisadvantagesDetriments: 

  • Independant (1 extra point): The familiar will have their own agenda to pursue and won't always be around to assist you when you need it. Can’t be taken with At odds.

  • At odds: (2 extra points): You and the familiar constantly argue and work against each other. No matter how angry it gets, it will never attack you. If it helps you, it will be after a lot of convincing and maybe then it will still do it begrudgingly. In matters of life and death though, your familiar will still come to your aid. Can’t be picked with Independant.

  • Tight Bond (2 extra points): The benefits of your bond only apply if you are touching. (Can't be picked with extended connection)

  • Sympathetic wounds (1 extra point): Any damage inflicted on you or the familiar is also inflicted on the other. You also become afraid of something the animal fears and the animal gains one of your fears.

When your Familiar is fully enchanted, it will take on one aspect of you (a personal trait, a way of speaking, a peculiar gesture) and you will take on one aspect of the familiar (cleaning your face on your shoulder like a bird, snarling like a wolf, singing like a bird etc.). The GM and the rest of the players will decide what trait each of you inherit.

Notes on the move:

A familiar is most likely the closest relationship a mage will ever have. It’s important to give it the gravity it deserves. Finding the right animal in itself is a tough process. The type of animal has to speak to an aspect of the character. A tough and violent Flambeau might consider a bear or a wolf. A kindhearted Jerbiton might have a bluejay or a raven. It can’t just be any animal of that type either, it has to be magical. Some animals are imbued with magic due to living within an aura or through strange life events. Once a mage finds such an animal, the animal in turn must like the mage and fully accept it’s proposal to become the mages familiar.

Training your Apprentice

Requirements: An apprentice

When you train your apprentice for the first time, mark 1 segment of a 12 segmented countdown clock. When you focus on training your apprentice a season, mark 1 segment. The clock represents when the Apprentice will be fully taught.  At the end of each year, if the apprentice was with you outside of the covenant or if you taught them valuable lessons, mark 1 segment of the clock. If you neglect them, or they have been resentful of your lessons, remove 1 segment.  After 15 years their apprenticeship is done, even if the clock is completed faster and you can assign them their gauntlet. If their clock isn’t completed by then, it will reflect poorly on their Parens.

Apprentice in daily play

Apprentices are NPC:s that are handled by the GM. They have their own goals and motivations. Since Apprentices are usually recruited when they are young, usually between 5-12 years of age, which means their Parens often have to teach them how the world works, how to behave and to make sure they become a responsible adult, in addition to learning how to use magic.

Contribute to the Library

Requirements

Adequate mastery of the art ( Your characters dots must be the same, or higher as the dots in the library.)

When you spend a season writing about a form or technique, mark a dot on that art on the covenant playbook.

Hermetic Magic

How to create a spell

A spell always combines one Technique with one Form. If you wanted to Create a strawberry plant, you would use Creo (Create) and Herbam(plants). If you wanted to shoot a fireball you would use Creo Ignem. If you wanted to stop someone’s heart from working you would use Perdo (Destroy) Corpus (The human body). There are several types of spellcasting. In the Basic Moves you can find Spontaneous Casting and Prepared Magic. Spontaneous means you imagine a spell and cast it following the restrictions set by the moves and your skill. It’s risky but very versatile. Prepared Magic is casting a spell you have created during your downtime. It’s safer, more likely to succeed but will not be as versatile.

Techniques

Creo: Create. Create something or restore something to its “full” form. This includes healing by restoring a physical body to their full strength. What you create must always be a normal specimen of a certain type. Adding things to a normal specimen is Muto. Creo also includes the creation of thoughts, which is one way to control someone's mind. You cannot create things inside of people to harm or kill them, nor can you perform other tricky maneuvers unless a spell specifies you can. Nothing created by magic is ever permanent unless vis is used to extend the duration of the spell.

Intellego: Perceive. When you combine it with different forms, you can see through earth, peer into the mind of someone or listen in on conversation only the wind was privy to. An intellego spell can never be permanent.

Muto: Change. You can change the properties of something. Shape, substance or both. You can turn someone into a frog, grow giant wings or become mist. Although Muto spells are normally of limited duration when vis is not used, the shape of an object may be permanently changed if the substance is altered, because although the original substance eventually returns, the shape may not. For example, a Muto Terram spell can be cast to change a stone wall into dirt, which falls to the ground. The dirt eventually becomes stone again, but is now a pile of stone, instead of the wall it once was.

Perdo: Destroy. Also the process of destruction such as aging and natural wear and tear. You can destroy thoughts, objects and if you’re skilled you can even destroy spells of other mages. Perdo spells with the duration momentary destroy

something in a moment. The duration does not describe how long the object is destroyed, as the effects of the destruction last until the target regenerates itself (which could very well be never). How much something is destroyed is determined by the intensity of the spell.

Rego: Manipulate things in physical space. Make something go flying, freeze something in place, move faster than the eye can see. This techinque can produce permanent results even though the duration is shorter. For instance, you can move a boulder from one place to another, and when the magic stops, the boulder would remain in place.

Forms

Animal: natural animals

Aquam: water and liquids

Auram: air and winds

Corpus: human bodies. The medieval paradigm makes a clear distinction between the human body and the animal body.

Herbam: plants.

Ignem: fire.

Imaginem: sensations, illusions, perception.

Mentem: thoughts, emotions, memories.

Terram: earth, dirt, stone, metals and inanimate objects in general.

Vim: magic itself. This includes magical creatures as well as spells. Vim is the form that governs the ability to counter the magic of other magi.

Limits of Hermetic Magic

Hermetic Magic has certain limits it can never overcome.

Major Limits

The Limit of Divinity

Magic cannot overcome the power of True Faith or the deceptions of infernal powers.

The Limit of Essential Nature

Magic cannot permanently alter or determine something’s essential nature. You can temporarily alter some things like natural aging, human or animal bodies but other things are impossible to alter like the Twilight, the heartbeast of a Bjornaer magus and supernatural auras.

Lesser Limits

The Limit of the Soul

Magic cannot affect an immortal soul, and so may not create true human life nor restore the dead to life.

The Limit of Creation

Magic is incapable of creating anything permanent without using vis.

The Limit of Time

Magic is incapable of altering the passage of time. It cannot affect anything in the past, and can only affect the future by making changes in the present.

The Limit of the Infernal

Intellego magic is almost completely useless against the Infernal, because it reveals only what  the  demons  want  you  believe,  whether that is true or not.The source of this limit is fiercely debated.Optimists think it is a limit in Hermetic theory.Pessimists  think  it  is  derived  from  the  Limit  of the  Divine.  Moderates  think  it  is  derived  from the Limit of Essential Nature, in that deception is the nature of demons, so that if you use Intellegoon  them  you  only  detect  their  deceptions.Heretical  magi  point  out  that,  thanks  to  this limit,  there  is  no  way  to  tell  the  difference between God and a very powerful demon.

The Limit of Arcane Connections

Hermetic magic cannot affect an unseen target without an Arcane Connection. See Rituals for some sample Arcane Connections.

The Limit of True Feeling

A few humans have a love, friendship or faith that Hermetic magic cannot affect in any way. Magi agree that this must derive from one of the two fundamental Limits,because most emotions can be affected by magic, but they disagree as to which one.

The Limit of the Lunar Sphere

Hermetic magic cannot affect the lunar sphere, nor anything above it.

The Limit of Energy

Hermetic magic cannot restore one’s physical energy so that one can cast more spells

Bonisagus Theory of the magical arts – Hermetic Magic

While having a unifying theory makes magic easy to learn for those with the gift, some people mean that by standardizing the teaching of magic you help mediocre wizards and stifle the truly brilliant ones. It does not encourage unique expression or individuality. Bonisuagus theory is also not completely perfect. A number of factors always influence the casting of a spell, which leads to unexpected results from time to time. The theory is the form of magic outlined within these rules. There are other ways to use magic, that might be able to break certain limits Hermetic Magic can’t. There are rumors of Arabic mages being able to perform things beyond the scope of Hermetic Magic. Dark rumours also spread about Necromancers from the region of Egypt.

Parma Magica

Parma magica is a unique ritual created by Bonisagus and is only taught to apprentices after 15 years of study within the order. It’s not a spell, since it does not have to be cast, only prepared. It lasts until the next sunrise or sunset. It creates an invisible shield around the user, protecting them from magic. It also has the added benefit of protecting the user from the negative effect of other mages Gift. Very strong magic can still pierce it but even so, it works as armor, taking the brunt of the blow. It can be lowered temporarily by the user if they are in a situation when they need magical aid from another mage or creature. Always assume that all mages who know the Parma Magica are using it.

Warping and Twilight

Mortals fear the coming of the grim reaper in the same way Mages fear the eternal Twilight. The more a mage uses magic, the more magic will leave it’s toll on them. When a mage casts spells, there is always the risk of a “Warp”. It’s remains of the magic that the mage uses which will now cling to them. If too much Warp is gained during a short period of time there is the risk of a “Warping event” which means twilight will try to pull the mage in. This happens to all mages at some point and it can have different results. Some might gain a deeper understanding of magic, some might realize the key to a problem they have been facing. For others, it leaves ugly scars as a reminder to tread lightly when casting spells. The more Warp a mage has collected in their lifetime, the longer they stay in twilight when they enter it. If you have amassed enough warp, there is the risk of staying in the Twilight forever. More mages are lost to the twilight than old age. Hermetic magic does not consider any Mage who has entered twilight to be dead. Their ghost can not be summoned nor can they be contacted in any way.

What is Twilight?

A unique experience for each mage. Some compare it to consuming copious amounts of hashish, others see it as a deeply religious experience. For some it’s a flight across nightmarish landscapes and for others it’s a pleasant journey through the vast cosmos. No one knows exactly what it is. It’s very possible it’s one or several magical realms that the human mind can’t comprehend and thus the imagery and sensory experiences are so confusing. House Criamon are fascinated by the Twilight and are better trained than other houses to understand a Twilight Experience.

Game Master section

The players have their moves and rules and these are the rules for the Gamemaster or GM. The GM controls the world and all things within it that are not controlled by the player. When a player rolls a partial hit or a miss, they also get to say what happens to the character that  performed the action that required the roll.

GM Goals

The following are the GM goals, which is what the GM strives to achieve. If these four things were accomplished in a session, you “won” that session.

Have a good time!

This one should be obvious but make sure everyone involved has a good experience. What this means exactly will vary from person to person. Some will enjoy deep conversations between complicated characters, others will enjoy making cool magical effects and some will enjoy getting into magical fights with monsters. This rule also applies to yourself.

Bring Mythic Europe to life

Mythic Europe is not middle age europe. While it shares the geography and time period it’s different in a lot of ways. Imagine what it would be like to live in a village with faeries in the forest, priests warning you for actual demons to lead you astray and wizards who could tear down your whole house with a snap of their finger. 

Make the Magis life interesting

Make sure things are going on. While the life of a Magi involves a lot of research, that part should take up the minority of screen time. Focus on the good and juicy dramatic parts.

Play to find out what happens

Never plan for what the players will do and never ever plan for what the players should do. You’re not there to guide players through a pre-set story, you’re more of a director who chucks strange situations and difficult choices to the player characters to see how they react. 

Principles

These are the rules you have to abide by to reach your goal. 

Be a fan of the Players Characters

Being a fan does not mean to let them have everything they want. As a fan you want to see them struggle and contend with challenges that seem to be above their station. Even though their circumstances can be hard, don’t let them forget how powerful they are or how skilled they are. They are still competent characters that can deal with a lot.

Ask questions, use the answers

Ask the players questions about their characters and use the answers. This lets the whole group think about their characters in new ways and lets them see other sides to characters they didn’t know existed.

Follow the fiction

The fiction is what’s happening in the game. It’s the collective experience that the group has created. Abide by it’s laws and let it lead you to a new direction. Don’t ignore things that have been established because you think it would be a better story.

Hold on lightly

You’re not the final arbiter of the story and neither are the players. It’s all of you together. Throw things into the mix and see where they go. Don’t plan outcomes, plan situations that the characters have to deal with and let them lead you forward.

Address the characters, not the players

Always say “Augustus, what do you do?” instead of “Janet, what does Augustus do?”. 

Display the fantastical, demonic and divine

Show the magic in the world, how demons ruin things and how God can actually protect people. Let the players see the power of the different realms and how they interact with each other and the world.

Bring forth the mundane

Don’t forget that the majority of people are simple farmers and city dwellers. Their most dramatic moment in their life might be the birth of a child, marriage or the death of a loved one. Let the players see these parts of life as well.

Think dangerous

Put the player characters under pressure. Don’t let their lives become too safe. There is always someone, mundane, magi or worse who would happily take what the PC:s had if they could. 

Think offscreen, too

Ponder what happens in places the PC:s have visited but aren’t presently at. What is changing? When will the PC:s see this effect?

Never speak the name of your move

Don’t say “I’m inflicting harm. Take 3 harm” or “The unwelcome truth you discover is that Rollo is actually your father”. Say “Your legs break from the fall and you take 3 harm.” “Rollo looks at you with evil in his eyes. You recognize those eyes. You’ve seen them every time you’ve looked into a clear pool of water or in a mirror. You finally realize he’s your father”.

Draw maps, leave blanks

Draw maps of the covenant, the local area and the world. But always leave room for new things for both you and the players to discover. Neither you nor the players will know what those blanks will contain. The same goes for all pre-session planning. Leave certain things open for players to fill in. Leave certain things open for you to discover during play.

Mythic Europe is not Real Europe

Don’t feel compelled to recreate middle age Europe in perfect detail. Let history inspire you, but don’t try to re-create it. We already know how it turned out, unlike the story with the Covenant. 

Moves

While the players have their moves, which usually require rolls, you have these moves. They are specific actions you describe happening in the fiction to move the story forward. Most things you say while playing should be a move in some form. Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it sounds.

Soft and hard moves.

Each move can be imagined on a scale with soft and hard on either end of the scale. A soft move means the consequences hasn’t happened and you have a chance to react. 

Inflict harm: “The dragon belches fire towards you”, 

Offer an opportunity: “She is considering casting a spell to destroy the magical harp, you have time to stop her though”

Put someone or something in danger: “Oskar, the hunter grog, trips over the root and you can see that the old Mage about to do something horrible to him.”

In each case, the players have the option to react before the consequence has happened and possibly stop it. Not so with hard moves.

Hard moves means the consequence has happened.

Inflict harm: “The dragons fire burns you into a charred husk. Take severe harm. You’ll die soon without help.”, 

Reveal an unwelcome truth: “When you run into the room she has already destroyed the magical harm. You were too late.”

Put someone or something in danger: “Oskar, the hunter grog, trips over the root and you can see that the old Mage was ready for it. He casts a spell before you have time to blink which turns Oskar into a chicken.”

Between these extremes you can make very soft moves, showing the tiny beginnings of a threat or very hard moves which can change the nature of the story completely. 

Make a move when:

  • When everyone looks to you to find out what happens

  • When the players give you a golden opportunity

  • When someone rolls a partial hit (softer move) or miss (hard move). 

  • On a botch, make it hard and make it hurt.

Moves

Put someone or something in danger, (political or physical)

Show signs of an approaching threat

Reveal relationships and old grudges

Inflict or trade Harm

Inflict Partial Warp

Draw them into Twilight (only when there is plenty of magic around)

Tell them the requirements or consequences and ask

Offer an opportunity, with or without cost

Make a threat move (from one of your Fronts)

Reveal an unwelcome truth

Destroy resources to shift the odds

Contest an important resource

After every move you make, always ask, "What do you do?"

The Order

The Order of Hermes 

The order of Hermes is the largest organisation of Mages in medieval Europe. It was founded in the 8th century. At its core lies a magical theory made by the wizard Bonisagus. Before the Order, the study of magic was highly individualized but due to a universal magical theory knowledge could be easily shared with other practitioners. Wizards outside of the Order could never compete with the knowledge and power the Order amassed. 

Quick Glossary

Gauntlet – The final test an apprentice goes through before being considered a full fledged wizard.

Vis – Magical essence in physical form. Required to make any magical effect permanent. The most important currency to mages.

Certamen – A formal magical duel where the duelists compete by using one technique and one form. It doesn’t have to be violent. A creo Animal certamen could be about creating the strangest animal or a perdo terram certamen about destroying the biggest pile of rocks.

Parens – The master designated to an apprentice for their 15 year apprenticeship.

Covenant – A small settlement usually in a magical place where mages do study and practice magic.

The Code of Hermes (The Hermetic Oath)

When an apprentice fulfils their gauntlet, they learn the Parma Magica and also have to take the Hermetic Oath. It is replicated in full below and a discussion about the implications are found below it.

The Hermetic Oath in full

“I, (Name) hereby swear my everlasting loyalty to the Order of Hermes and its members.

“I will not deprive nor attempt to deprive any member of the Order of his magical power. I will not slay nor attempt to slay any member of the Order, except in justly executed and formally declared Wizards’ War. I hereby understand that Wizards’ War is an open conflict between two magi who may slay each other without breaking this oath, and that should I be slain in a Wizards’ War, no retribution shall fall on he who slays me.

“I will abide by the decisions made by fair vote at tribunal. I will have one vote at tribunal, and I will use it prudently. I will respect as equal the votes of all others at tribunal.

“I will not endanger the Order through my actions. Nor will I interfere with the affairs of mundanes and thereby bring ruin on my sodales. I will not deal with devils, lest I imperil my soul and the souls of my sodales as well. I will not molest the faeries, lest their vengeance catch my sodales also.

“I will not use magic to scry upon members of the Order of Hermes, nor shall I use it to peer into their affairs. “I will train apprentices who will swear to this Code, and should any of them turn against the Order and my sodales, I shall be the first to strike them down and bring them to justice. No apprentice of mine shall be called a magus until he first swears to uphold this Code.

*

“I request that should I break this oath, I be cast out of the Order. If I am cast out the Order, I ask my sodales to find me and slay me, that my life not continue in degradation and infamy.

“The enemies of the Order are my enemies. The friends of the Order are my friends. The allies of the Order are my allies. Let us work together as one and grow hale and strong.

“This oath I hereby swear on the third day of Pisces, in the nine hundred and fiftieth year of Aries. Woe to they who try to tempt me to break this oath, and woe to me if I succumb to the temptation.”

* At this point, followers of Bonisagus recite: “I shall further the knowledge of the Order and share with its members all that I find in my search for wisdom and power.” Others recite: “I concede to Bonisagus the right to take my apprentice if he should find my apprentice valuable to him in his studies.” 

Interpretation of the Code

The code is the cornerstone of the Hermetic Order and captures the spirit it’s founder wanted it to live up to. However, there are certain problems and uncertainties within the code that makes certain things legal grey areas. The following are the laws taken from the code and discussed a bit:

It’s Forbidden for a Mage to deprive another member of the order their magical power

Slaying, or attempting to slay, another member of the Order, except in formal wizard war is forbidden

Wizard War may be declared between two wizards. If either of them is slain as a result of this, no one should seek vengeance for this.

Declaring wizard war can be done by paying a redcap, usually one vis, to deliver a declaration of Wizard war to the mage that is being declared on. The war then starts one month after the message has been delivered and lasts for one month. During the war month, they may freely attack and slay each other and destroy each other's property but not property they have shared ownership in such as covenant buildings, vis sources owned by covenant etc. Excessive declaration of Wizard War can be a form of endangering the Order making sure that a powerful wizard won’t be able to slay all their rivals in a tribunal without consequence.

Endangering the Order through their actions is forbidden

Interfere with the affairs of the “Mundanes” (Regular ungifted people) is forbidden

This is one of the more troublesome parts of the code. While it clearly states not to interfere with mundanes, a covenant, unless in an extremely remote and isolated location, will establish some form of relationship with the nearby mundane powers. A local lord might demand a tax for the mages living on their land or a local priest might wish to visit to bless the poor grogs. The mages should try to follow the spirit of the law, that is to make sure their existence doesn’t affect the lives of mundane in any meaningful way. This is very hard and tribunals often deal with Mages who are befriending nobles or experimenting too wildly which causes great trouble for nearby villages. 

Dealing with Devils is forbidden

This is forbidden but many mages are ambitious and the chance to be more powerful than their peers is often tempting.

Molesting Faeries is forbidden

“Molesting” faeries makes this a very vague tenet. Some interpret it to mean to not interfere at all with the lives of faeries, while others take it to dmean that it’s fine to do whatever you want with faeries as long as they are alive and in the same shape after you’re done. The issue is still debated and it’s usually decided on a case by case basis. Some tribunals have allowed mages go into faerie dens, blast them with magic, steal any vis they can find and leave while at other tribunals this would be a heinous crime.

Scrying upon members of the Order to figure out what they are doing is forbidden

Since the Code specifies “magical scrying” it didn’t take long until powerful mages developed their own mundane spy networks. 

Train an apprentice in the tradition of the order is a requirement at some point in a mages life

A member of the order will have the same friends, foes and allies as the Order in who it considers friend or foe

Peripheral Code

The peripheral Code consists of all the rulings that have been made in tribunals in the years since the Code was written. It consists of precedents on important topics such as familiars, apprentices, formation of covenants, exactly how magi may relate with mundane powers and how Wizard War can be waged among other things.

Houses of Hermes

There are twelve houses in the order, where eleven are presented here. Each house can trace their ancestry (from parens to parens) back to one of the founders of the Order, except for House Ex Miscellanea which was founded later. The houses all have unique philosophies and expectations of their members and the teachings of a house will always influence a Mage during their whole life. 

House Bjornaer

Words:  

Symbol:

Political Goal:

  •  Protect the wild places of the world

  • Stop the Dominion from growing

Organization: Semi organized, divided into different clans within the house that work together.

Relationships to other houses: 

Magi of Bjornaer  concern themselves primarily with beasts and the animalistic side of human nature. Because of this emphasis in their training, each Bjornaer magus can take the form of an animal, known as his “heart-beast.” Understanding the heart-beast in particular and animals in general is considered more important than Hermetic magic by many in this house. Due to their nature, Bjornaer magi are unable to forge the necessary links to have a familiar, and the very concept is alien to them. Some Bjornaer deride magi who take familiars, which they call “substitute” heart-beasts. On the other hand, other magi are wary of followers of Bjornaer because of their fascination with the bestial. Furthermore, House Bjornaer is less respected than it might otherwise be because its founder was from a Germanic rather than a Roman magical tradition.

House Bonisagus

Words:  

Symbol:

Political Goal: 

  • Protect the Order from threats, within and without

  • Further develop the theory of magic

Organization: Tightly organized

Relationships to other houses: Mercere and Bonisugas were close when they were alive and the bond between the houses still remains. 

Mages of Bonisagus sometimes view themselves as superior to other houses, due to the lineage to the founder.

Bonisagus invented the Hermetic theory of magic, and his student, the maga Trianoma, masterminded the formation of the Order. As such, House Bonisagus has always enjoyed a great deal of respect from other magi. Most members of this house believe themselves to be of a privileged, gifted elite. Some Bonisagus magi refine and expand Hermetic theory, while others oversee the continued political development of the Order. Both types have a strong tradition of using their knowledge and power for the benefit of the Order. Selfishness is strongly discouraged.

House Criamon

Words:  

Symbol:

Political Goal: 

  • To escape the prison of time. 

  • Avoid large calamities. 

  • Promote non conflict between christians and muslims.

Organization: Tight. All Criamon within a tribunal form a network that communicates and help eachother called a “Clutch”. They usually have strange names. 

Relationships to other houses: 

Other houses consider Criamon a secretive house but that is not the whole truth. Criamon have a very strange (to most medieval people) philosophy which centers around time being cyclical. Everything will repeat constantly and all the souls are trapped within this cycle. Criamon considers their purpose to free the souls of the prison of time so they can live in Hypostasis (what other mages call the twilight). This worldview is false according to the lore, but might be different in your game. Whether they are right or not, their philosophy has led them into very strange and powerful magical territory. While they are the most deluded mages in some sense at the same time, they are also the most enlightened. Members of house Criamon can be recognized by the “Stigmata” or body markings that appear on their body as a result of their knowledge of magic. 

House Ex Miscellanea

Words:  

Symbol:

Political Goal

Organization: 

Relationships to other houses: 

This is a large, diverse, and highly disorganized collection of magi. Though originally founded by a renegade as a rival to the Order of Hermes, this association was eventually accepted as a house of its own. It accepts wizards of all kinds, many only nominally Hermetic, whose magic comes from many disparate traditions. Magi Ex Miscellanea are often called hedge wizards by their many detractors within the Order, and in fact, most of its membership originated in the peasant class

House Flambeau

Words:  

Symbol:

Political Goal: 

  • Push the order into new and dangerous territory

  • Keep the “join or die” clause in the Code of the Order so they can threaten non Order mages

Organization: 

Relationships to other houses: 

While most followers of Flambeau specialize in fire magic, some study spells of simple annihilation as a more subtle alternative. These aggressive and ferocious magi often cause trouble within the Order and frequently anger mundanes. However, their fearlessness and love of destruction make them invaluable when the Order requires the application of martial force.

House Jerbiton

Words:  

Symbol:

Political Goal: 

  • Unite the Order and the Mundane society

  • Create closer ties to the nobles of Mythic Europe

Organization: 

Relationships to other houses: 

House Jerbiton is interested in the mundane world, and sometimes assumes the duty of keeping the Order on good terms with the nobility and Church. This inclination in its members often stems from a noble background— apprentices are usually taken from the aristocracy, and often maintain ties afterwards. Many members of other houses believe that followers of Jerbiton are too closely bound to the mundane powers to be trusted. On the other hand, Jerbiton magi fear that members of the Order have become isolated from humanity, risking bloody conflict with the mundanes. They try energetically to heal this rift, and pursue aesthetic and Classical knowledge with a passion.

House Mercere

Words:  

Symbol:

Political Goal: 

  • Protect their status as messengers of the order

  • Protect the Order itself

Organization: Loosely structured, with Redcaps travelling around Mythic Europe to deliver messages.

Relationships to other houses: The founder, Mercere, was close to Bonisagus when both were alive and the bond still remains between the houses to this day.

There are two types of members of House Mercere, the gifted and the ungifted. The Gifted ones work like traditional mages but their research and life focus on supporting the house and the ungifted members of the house. The Redcaps are the ungifted members of the house and function as messengers within the order. 

All members of House Mercere regardless of whether they possess the Gift, are officially recognized as magi of the Order. Even non-Gifted Mercere spend 15 years in apprenticeship like other magi. Followers of Mercere are more commonly known as Redcaps because of the headgear they wear as a badge of office. Redcaps are permitted to attend and vote at tribunal, and are under the protection of the Hermetic Code. All members of house Mercere share is a blood relative to the founder in some way.

House Merinita

Words:  

Symbol:

Political Goal: 

  • Protect the Fae

  • Stop Dominions Encroachment

Possible secret goals:

  • Make the Order allow Fae to be mages

  • Weaken the order for a Fae invasion of Mythic Europe

  • Prepare to escape to Arcadia when the time is right

Organization: Unorganized and secretive.

Relationships to other houses: 

This house is focused on the world of faeries, and its members tend to be just as strange as the creatures they study. Merinita magi frequently remain isolated, having little to do with the rest of the Order, except to defend faeries from the assaults of other magi. Those of this house eschew the merely mortal, and seek answers within the mysterious world of Arcadia.

House Guernicus (Quaesitoris)

Words:  

Symbol:

Political Goal: 

  • Protect the order from breakers of the code

  • Grow the power of Quasitors

  • Keep their status as the Judges of the order

Organization: Very strict. Each member of the house needs to report to their superiors about investigations and possible breaches of the code.

Relationships to other houses: 

Actually named House Guernicus, after its founder, this house is usually referred to as House Quaesitoris. Members of this house are the judges of the Order, investigating wrongdoing and passing sentence on those who transgress the Code of Hermes and the Peripheral Code. They believe the Order will collapse through internal conflict without their fierce stewardship. Although House Guernicus trains and inducts their own apprentices, other magi can also join their ranks. One of the highest honors in the Order is to be invited by the elders of House Guernicus to become a quaesitor. Such magi usually retain membership in their original house.

House Tremere

Words:  Voluntas vincit omnia. (The will conquers all)

Symbol:

Political Goal: 

  • To rule the world

Organization: Strict Hierarchy within the house. The members stick together to further the ultimate goal of the house. Gathers often to plot and scheme.

Relationships to other houses: The founder of the House, Tremere, shared the same master as Tytalus and they were rivals when they were alive and the houses keep up this tradition.

Tremere wanted to rule the world when he was alive. Not because of greed or ambition, but because he would be the best steward to create a better world for all. This is the major philosophy of the house.

Members of House Tremere  emphasize the importance of judgment, strategy, and detailed planning. They believe in the respect of superiors and in asserting authority over minions. Dignity is of the utmost concern. Until recently, House Tremere was considered one of the more sensible and stable Houses, providing strength and courage when needed and refraining from action when peace better served the Order. This all came to an end early in the 13th century when it was discovered that several of the highest-ranking Tremere had become vampires in a misguided attempt to gain immortality and power. All the vampiric magi were destroyed in a bloody Wizards’ March or so it’s said.

House Tytalus

Words:  

Symbol:

Political Goal: 

Organization: 

Relationships to other houses: 

The philosophy of Tytalus magi is to master all forms of conflict. To this end, they promote innovation in all sorts of contests. They do not feel alive unless they are in a constant state of struggle, perpetually testing the strengths and weaknesses of others. In their never-ending search for conflict, the leaders of House Tytalus went too far in the 10th century, falling prey to demonic machinations. Those masters of intrigue arrogantly believed they could master the dark forces, but despite their skill, were unable to outwit Hell. The leaders were executed for their crime of diabolism, and House Tytalus has been distrusted ever since.

House Verditius

Words:  Omnia Nostra Instrumenta (All things are our tools)

Symbol: A hand with a ring on each finger. Assumed to be Verditius five rings.

Political Goal: 

  • Keep a low profile in the Order

  • Keep the Order open to selling magical items to Mundanes

Organization: Informal but very social. They have one Primus managing the house but no other hierarchy. They often enjoy social gatherings to show of their magical creations.

Relationships to other houses: 

Good business relationships with many houses.

Magi of House Verditius have unsurpassed skill at creating enchanted items, making them

invaluable to other magi and non-Gifted persons. Almost all, unfortunately, have also inherited their founder’s magical flaw, making them unable to cast formulaic spells without the aid of magical foci. Followers of Verditius are sometimes considered inferior to other magi because of this weakness.

Playbooks

House Bjornaer

Potentio super ipso potentia super allis (Power over the self is power over others.)

Playing a member of House Bjornaer

Bjornaer mages are comfortable in the wild, whatever that is. They are as much wild animal as they are human and they can never escape this duality. A Bjornear should always pick their heartbeast with care. It should be something that reflects the inner nature of the mage. Bjornaer mages are close to the wild nature and work to protect it. Some in the house speak of teaching the mundanes how to live in harmony with nature but some in the house are more radical and scare, threaten and fight mundanes that destroy the deep wild. Be mindful of where you fall on that scale and make sure it works with the rest of the group.

Bjornaer mages focus on Animal and Herbam magic to be able to interact with nature in different ways. One aspect of magic that Bjornear mages dislike is the ability to turn into animals using Muto Animal. This is seen as perverse, since the Mage already has their heartbeast and that is the only animal they should turn into.

NameOf House Bjornaer

Look

Parens

Starting Dot: Body

Xp Trigger: If you acted in nature with your heartbeast when faced with a dilemma during this session, mark XP.

DisadvantagesDebilities

(MARKED) Unable to Have a familar – You are unable to have a familiar. Such things are replacements of the heartbeast and won’t do for you.

Raised by wolves – You’ve had never set foot inside a large mundane settlement. If you enter a large mundane settlement, all instincts tell you to flee. Take -1 to all actions that aren’t leaving the settlement.

Wilderist – You have sworn to protect nature against mundane interference. When you let the wild suffer at the hand of mundanes, mark 1 harm.

Moves

Animal Ken(Magical ability)

You instinctively understand animals and they understand you. You can perform basic communication with them using noises and body language. You can “Study a Person” on animals, although their answers might be a bit strange.

Thieromorphy 

You can change parts of your body into the same parts of your heartbeast. (Legs of a horse, ears of a fox etc)

Natures Wrath

When you witness callous destruction of nature by mundanes and let the rage flow over you, gain 2 points. Spend the points, 1 for 1 to.

  • Lose control, destroy the threat to nature but awaken to big personal consequences

  • Instantly turn into your heartbeast

  • Spend 3 extra points on a spontaneous spell targeted at natures enemies

Sensory Magic (Magical Ability)

You can cast sensory magic. They are specific size AND range targets when creating prepared spells or casting spontaneous spells. The first option costs 2 points and increases with one for each magnitude. See notes on moves for specific rules regarding this ability.

  • Everyone tasting the Mage 

  • Everyone touching the Mage 

  • Everyone who smells the scent of the Mage

  • Everyone who hears a noise the mage makes

  • Everyone who sees the mage 

Notes on the move:

When using sensory magic, you only pick one of the options that counts as both a range and a size. This is why they are slightly costlier.

There are some restrictions to this style of magic:

  • No Intellego spells can be used with this style of magic.

  • New people can’t be affected unless they perceive the stimuli the mage is performing.

  • It must penetrate the magical resistance of any or all targets individually to have an effect.

  • To target must be able to perceive the sensory stimuli. Inanimate objects can’t perceive anything, thus they can’t be affected with this style of magic.

  • These spells can’t be used in the creation of magical objects

  • They can’t be copied unless the copier knows sensory magic.

Calling in the Clan (Downtime Move)

When you call for your clan (members of house Bjornaer living in the tribunal with heartbeasts that go well with your own) roll+ order. On a hit, pick 2. On a partial hit, pick 1. 

  • They demand something of you

  • They are late

  • They have their own motivations

Special:

The Heartbeast:

When you turn into your heartbeast, pick one:

  • It takes a minute or two

  • Mark 2 fatigue

In your Hearbeast form:

If targeted by magic, the caster must use Animal, not Corpus.

You can’t use gestures, nor speak (there are spells to remedy the speaking part) 

You gain all the benefits associated with being an animal of that kind.

Special Twilight Experience: 

Instead of escaping into Twilight, you turn into your heartbeast and flee from human interaction for as long as your twilight experience lasts.

The Heartbeast is as much your true form as your human form. It’s form should somehow represent you. A sly person might have a fox as a heartbeast and a friendly relaxed person might have an otter. An ambitious aggressive person might have an eagle or a wolf and a deep thinker might have a fish.

Creating your Heartbeast.

Pick a noble, non domesticated animal that exists in Europe.

Pick 2 options from below:

  • All items transform with you when you transform (Otherwise they fall to the ground)

  • You have a special form of movement (Flying, swimming etc)

  • You’re extra a dangerous (+1 harm) in your heartbeast form

  • You’re extra strong or fast (+1 to body) in your heartbeast form

  • You’re more adorable or loveable (+1 spirit) in heartbeast form

(The following are kept in the rulebook and not on the character sheet. Make some way for the players to know this through advancement)

Pursuing the inner Mysteries

(Move to pursue the inner mysteries)

Searching for an ancestor

During downtime, a season or longer,spend one of your points to search for your ancestor.

When you search for your ancestor, mark 1 segment on a four segmented countdown clock.

If you fill in the clock, you’ve found your ancestor who is a greater beast. A great beast is a former mage who faced eternal twilight, entered the shape of their inner heartbeast and escaped far away from the dominion and humans. You will need to perform a great quest for the great beast before it will teach you the form of your inner heartbeast.

When you gain the inner heartbeast you will gain a flaw from your ancestor. Pick one:

  • Inability to use a form of magic

  • Needs to be touching the ground to cast spells

  • Unable to cast spells unless they can see the sky

  • Other, similar restriction as agreed on between you and the GM

PIck one form your inner heartbeast takes:

  • The Epitome (most perfect version) of your heartbeast

  • A Chimera (A combination of two or more animals)

  • An Anima (Your heartbeast but in the form of an element such as fire, water or earth or other substance such as smoke or shadow.)

Epitome

You are the finest version of your kind. All other animals of your kind recognize you as their superior. 

Bonuses only apply in the shape of your inner heartbeast, unless otherwise specified. The bonuses you’ve already picked for your Heartbeast also applies.

Pick two:

  • Extreme size: You are extremely large for your kind with the strength and speed that comes with it. Take +1 to all body rolls.

  • Mythic Ability: Spend 2 fatigue to perform a mythic feat using one of the abilities of your animal.

  • Leader of a pack: A flock of animals, the same kind as your heartbeast, considers you their leader and will follow you, even in human form. 

  • Part of Nature: When you’re in your natural habitat, take +1 to all rolls using your Body, Mind or Spirit

Notes on Epitome:

Mythic ability: A mythic feat depends on the animal. An eagle could see something from a thousand paces away with perfect vision, a wolf might be able to stalk the most alert prey, a stag might be able to hold back or fight a much stronger creature, a deer might be able to outrun the fastest hunter, etc.

Chimera

You are a combination of two or three animals. You can’t pick human as one of the animals. The combination has to look noble, not ridiculous.

Bonuses only apply in the shape of your inner heartbeast, unless otherwise specified. The bonuses you’ve already picked for your Heartbeast also applies.

Pick two:

  • Very Dangerous. Take +1 Harm

  • Extreme size: You are extremely large for your kind with the strength and speed that comes with it. Take +1 to all body rolls.

  • Magic Resistance: You have a magical resistance of 4.

  • Strong Hide: You have an armor of 2.

Anima

You are a combination of your heartbeast and an element or a form. When someone targets you with a spell, they need to use the form closest to the one you have. If you’re made of fire for instance, the caster must use ignem.

Bonuses only apply in the shape of your inner heartbeast, unless otherwise specified. The bonuses you’ve already picked for your Heartbeast also applies.

Pick two:

  • Intangible form: you can’t be harmed by mundane means.

  • Spontaneous spells: You can cast spontaneous spells using your form. When you do, gain 3 extra points to spend.

  • Strong Magic: When casting a spell (spontaneous or prepared) take +1 

  • Wise: Take +1 to all mind rolls both in human and in heartbeast form


House Bonisagus

Pertinatia sapientiaque ad cognitionem cursus sunt (Perseverance and wisdom are the keys to knowledge)

Playing a Bonisagus:

A Bonisagus is the ultimate academic mage. They focus heavily on research and their goal is often to push the limits of what Hermetic Magic is capable of. This can lead to a neglect for politics and a neglect of the rest of the world in general. There are stories of Bonisagus mages shutting themselves off in their labs for a long time and to emerge with revolutionary insights into magical theory, only to find their whole covenant has passed over. So even though the lab might be your home, remember to do your part for the covenant once in a while.

Name

Look

Parens

Starting Dot: Mind

Xp Trigger: When you interfere with your fellow magi in the name of your magical research, gain XP

Debilities (pick at least one):

Stockade Parma Magica – Once activated, you can’t lower your Parma Magica to receive beneficial spells from other mages.

Academic Rival – You have a rival who always tries to outshine you when it comes to research and magical discoveries. If you’re working on something, you can bet they are working on something similar, trying to beat you to the punch!

Weak Spontaneous Magic – Whenever you perform Spontaneous Magic, remove 1 point to spend.

Moves

Pushing the limits (Lab Activity)

As a lab activity, you can choose to try and make a magical breakthrough in the Hermetic Theory. Mechanically, it works as a ritual.

Notes on the move:

Smaller breakthroughs include new additions to the magical system such as a new range or duration. Examples of this could be a range that is everything you can hear (Range: Sound) or a duration that lasts until someone grows their first grey hair (Duration: First grey hair). The requirements for this should always be very hard. Work with the GM to make sure your ideas fit into the world. Other potential ideas for Ranges could be: Forest, Shadow, Grove, Roof. Duration ideas could be: Harvest, Specific Holiday, Hourglass,smile. You can come up with basically whatever as long as the rest of the group is all right with it. The GM will determine what level of Quality the specific range or duration is.

A major breakthrough pushes a lesser Limit. This is even harder than small breakthroughs. They might study to create SOMETHING permanent without Vis, pushing the Limit of creation. They might push the limits of the soul and create something similar to human life. The possibilities are endless. However, one of the requirement should be a VERY long time devoted to this study, among other complicated requirements.

Dutiful Apprentice

When you have an apprentice with at least 1 segment mark in their countdown clock, they will aid you in your studies. Take +1 Lab move every 2 seasons during downtime.

Bonisagi Brethren

When you face a magical mystery and write to your house about it, roll + Order. On a hit: Someone is doing research on it and can provide very detailed and useful information and you will get it as soon as possible. On a partial hit, Someone wants your mystery to further their academic reputation.

Notes on the move: It might take some time in the fiction to gain information this way but the information they receive should be extensive and very useful.

Isolated

Once per session: When you ignore a dangerous problem for you or the covenant to focus on your studies, perform 1 lab move immediately.

Notes on the move: 

Bonisagus Special

Since you’re a member of the Founders Line, you can claim an apprentice from a mage of another house. There is nothing they can do about it. If you steal a very skilled or a loved apprentice, their Parens might become very angry with you.

House Bonisagus (Trianomae)

Pertinatia sapientiaque ad cognitionem cursus sunt (Perseverance and wisdom are the keys to knowledge)

Playing a Trianomae:

While Bonisagus was the genius inventor of Hermetic Theory, his apprentice Trianoma was the mastermind behind the formation of the order. Thus house Bonisagus is split into two branches. Trianomae are the ones protecting the Order itself by acting in the shadows, using diplomacy and intrigue to dispatch threats, both within and without the order. Keep the order at peace, keep the knowledge flowing, keep the houses and tribunals equal and keep the houses bickering are the four important tasks of a Trianomae. Few people outside of the house know about the true purpose of the Trianomae, which is why they refer to themselves as Bonisagus, just like the other branch of the house.

Name  Of Bonisagus

Look

Parens

Starting Dot: Order

Xp Trigger: When you discover or extinguish a threat to the order, mark XP.

Debilities (pick at least one):

Dark Secret – You have a dark secret that threatens to resurface which will cause shame, rejection and revenge if discovered.

Compromised parens – Your parens who taught you intrigue has been compromised somehow and is somehow turning against the Order itself. You are the only one who knows it to be true.

Powerful enemy – You have a magically powerful enemy who constantly appears and causes trouble for you. They might be a mage, magical creature or faerie.

Moves:

Masters of Intrigue

When you’re investigating a plot, Roll+order.

On a hit, ask 3. On a partial hit, you’re somehow exposed or your involvement is discovered.

  • How could this plot be turned or parried to benefit the Order?

  • How could it be changed to the benefit of the Covenant?

  • Who is really behind this?

  • What side is _____ on?

  • What is the true goal of this plot?

Notes on the Move:

What is investigating a plot?

True Diplomat

When you partake in a social ritual of a clique or group, roll+Order. On a hit, They will consider you one of their own, for the duration of the scene. On a partial hit, you need to show you know their games before you can be acknowledged.

Notes on the Move.

Being considered “one of their own” could mean they speak freely of secret information or give you opportunities to investigate something.

To show you know their games vary widely by context. At a Tremere party it might just be a friendly game of chess but among Flambeaus it might be a fistfight until someone is unconcious.

Order before all

When you dramatically reveal a breach of the code you’ve performed in defense of the Order in order to shock or surprise, you get an opportunity. Pick one:

  • An opening to escape

  • They expose a weakness, flaw or usable information

  • You regain 2 Fatigue

Notes on the move: 

Revealing a breach of the code should come with considerable risk to yourself if the one you reveal the information to were to bring it to a tribunal.

Trianomae Special

Secret agent of the Order

House Bonisagus will never acknowledge the following, and if you’re discovered, House Bonisagus will deny any knowledge of the following and will denounce you as a breaker of the Oath of Hermes.

In Defense of the Order you are allowed to do the following:

  • Anything, as long as you remain undiscovered.

Notes on the special:


House Criamon (Path Of Strife)

Name

Look 

Parens

Starting Dot: Body

Xp Trigger: When you suffer a sin so your sodales don’t have to, mark XP at the end of the session.

Debilities (Pick one):

Stigmatic Catalyst: Stigmatas appear on nearby people that has no magical resistance. This is very upsetting and scary. They can be removed through some religious ritual.

Adulteration: An adulteration of you exists nearby. It feels your negative thoughts and desires and acts on them to terrifying results. Your enemies might suffer bad results from someone who looks like you, someone you dislike might be brutally murdered etc.

Moves:

Enigmatic Wisdom

When you use your Enigmatic Wisdom to interpret dreams, events, visions or understand riddles, roll+mind. On a hit, the GM will give you oddly phrased, but useful information. On a partial hit, you will get strange information but you have to figure out what it means.

Labyrinth Meditation

Pick a weapon you use when you perform your labyrinth meditation ______________

When you use that weapon in a fight, gain +1d on your first roll to cause damage. If you lose it, you can use another weapon.

Perdo Focus

When using Perdo to cast Spontaneous spells, gain +2 points to spend.

Special:

Path of Strife

You are walking the Path of Strife. You have taken it upon yourself to riddle your soul with sin, so your sodales don’t have to. You will kill, lie, cheat and steal for your house. In some ways, you might live the most fulfilling life on earth of all of your housemates but it will end in your death and you won’t join them in the Hypostasis.

The path consists of five avenues that must be walked before you reach the repose. They must be walked in order from top to bottom. Each  Avenue that the mage reaches, requires them to come up with an answer to a question posed by the avenue. When you have walked an Avenue, you have reached the accompanying station and gained those abilities/detriments. Before being able to walk an Avenue, you must unlock them with your insight.

Insight [  ] [  ] [  ] [  ] [  ]

When you engage in a sin willingly, mark insight.

When all Insight are marked, unlock the next Avenue. If all Avenues are unlocked, Mark Repose and read it.

Avenue of faith in Strife[  ]

Avenue that Splinters[  ]

Avenue of Charm and Scorn[  ]

Avenue of Befriending the Silent[  ]

Avenue of Death[  ]

Repose[  ]

Avenue of faith in strife

Your first test is to kill someone innocent. This will riddle your body with strife and you will realize you are beyond saving. What within you changes after you have taken a life?

The station of the eater of sin

Gain the Blatant gift. Your gift will be more disturbing than most.

Avenue that splinters 

Performed at a place with a lot of death. Let yourself be beaten to a pulp by humans or creaturs that are there. Realize that everything mundane can be broken and understand how. Everything has flaws. What are yours?

The station of Blood and Bronze

If you perform a Labyrinth meditation around a mundane object it will slowly decay and be destroyed. 

The weapon you use while meditating gain magic penetration equal to 3 by exploiting flaws in magical enemies. Doesn’t work against the divine realm.

Avenue of charm and scorn 

Find a lover to marry. Must be the perfect symbolic complement to the mage. If the mage is strong and boastful, the lover must be weak and soft spoken for instance. What is it like to meet the love of your life?

The station that repels and attracts elements

You learn to attract and repel mundane objects based on form. When you Overcome by repelling or attracting a form, roll +that form instead. If you attract or repel something heavier than you, you will be moved instead.

Avenue of befriending the silent

Learn the symbolic language of the elements. One season of hard study learning to speak to the elements. What does objects and things actually dream of?

The station that Charms the Elements.

You learn to converse with objects made purely out of an element. For instance, you can converse with a lake or a nail but if the lake is dirty or the nail is hammered into a tree, they are not pure anymore. 

The object you talk to can’t be bigger than a barn. Objects generally enjoy conversation with mages since they rarely get to speak. They can provide information but their grasp on time is limited. Their perception is also completely different from humans. They can also move which looks slightly unnatural (a fire can spread without wind, a rock can roll downhill). They can never do something that would be impossible (burning through solid stone or a lake flow straight up a wall). They sometimes form emotional bonds with humans in their proximity. To convince them to help might require the Mage to Overcome.

Avenue of death

This is the last and hardest steps of the path. The GM will dictate what it is, but it’s very dangerous and not all survive. You will be pushed far from harmony and only retain strife.

The station of Golden Cider

No more harmony: Lose the ability to use Creo with anything but Corpus and Vim

Golden Cider

You can remove the magic inherent in objects and beings. Magical items become mundane, magical creatures become mundane. Demons lose their earthly body and return to hell. Faeries might turn into dreams, objects or memories. A dragon might become a raging fire and a troll might become a mossy rock. Divine beings are unaffected.

To perform the Golden Cider

Labyrinth meditation for one hour where the mage meditates on the greatest weakness of the object or victim.

Place their bare hands on the object or victim for 3 minutes. 

Mark Insight after you’ve performed the Golden Cider.

Notes on the Golden cider:

This power can render most dangerous creatures dead with a simple ritual. The strongest faerie queen or the most powerful dragon will be rendered into nothingness by the power of the golden cider. To use it might require restraining the creature though, which might be hard. The weakness the mage know must also be true. If it’s false, the Golden Cider won’t work. If they fail in using the Golden Cider they will need to meditate again.

Repose

If you’ve reached the Station of the Golden Cider: Within the next day at some point you will Ascend to Final Twilight. But if you do, your impurity would cause very dangerous adulterations. You have to use Golden Cider on yourself and after that, take your own life, otherwise you risk to undo everything you’ve accomplished.

If you haven’t reached the Station of the Golden Cider: You know what you’re supposed to do but you don’t. The earthly life tempts you too much for you to let go. Instead of giving up your life in service of your house, you choose to flee and set up somewhere else where you can live out your sinful life. This character will become an NPC that may return as a threat later.


House Criamon (Path Of Body)

Name

Look 

Parens

Starting Dot: Body

Xp Trigger: When you push your body to its limits, mark XP at the end of the session.

Debilities (Pick one):

(Starts marked) Vow of living Aptly: You have sworn not to sin. You can’t steal, cheat, seek power over others or seek mortal pleasures. Harming someone is only done in extreme emergencies or self defense. If you break the vow, you lose your ability to use magic and should make a new character.

Moves:

Enigmatic Wisdom

When you use your Enigmatic Wisdom to interpret dreams, events, visions or understand riddles, roll+mind. On a hit, the GM will give you oddly phrased, but useful information. On a partial hit, you will get strange information but you have to figure out what it means.

Labyrinth Meditation

When you perform a labyrinth meditation by walking over and over again in a labyrinth shaped like the symbol for infinity for a few hours, take +1d on the next time you overcome using your body.

Corpus focus

When making a prepared spell using Corpus as the main form, gain +1 point to spend.

Magical ink (Magical Ability)

You can use ink tatooed on your body as a magical item. You have to create the magical item as per usual.

Special:

Path of Body

The path of the body focuses on the human body and it’s connection to magic and the universe. It ends with you being reborn as the universe itself.

The path consists of five avenues that must be walked before you reach the repose. They must be walked in order from top to bottom. Each  Avenue that the mage reaches, requires them to come up with an answer to a question posed by the avenue. When you have walked an avenue, you have reached the accompanying station and gained those abilities/detriments. Before being able to walk an Avenue, you must unlock them with your insight.

Insight [  ] [  ] [  ] [  ] [  ]

When you use your body to overcome a problem, mark insight.

When all Insight are marked, unlock the next Avenue. If all Avenues are unlocked, Mark Repose and read it.

Avenue of Subduing the Meat[ X ]

Avenue of Drinking the Winds of Inspiration[  ]

Avenue of the Perfect Seed[  ]

Avenue of the Spherical Mirror[  ]

Avenue of Repose in the Body[  ]

Repose[  ]

Avenue of Subduing the meat 

To subdue the meat, there are two ways. Either you exercise vigorously for one year. This is assumed to be done in your freetime. You won’t have time to go adventure, but you will have time to do Labwork. The other option is to turn yourself into a plant and live like a plant for one year. You won’t be able to do anything besides things that plants are able to do. How does the strength of your body change the way you do magic?

Station of the perfect tool

If you’re sick, gain -1D to any magic rolls. 

Gain +1D to body, as long as you’re not sick.

The avenue of Drinking the Winds of Inspiration 

Fast for a season in an area with a magical aura. Your body will learn to absorb the magic as nourishment instead. What is the difference between consuming food and consuming magic?

The station of spiritual nourishment

As long as you are within a magical area, you don’t need to eat, drink, sleep or breathe. Magic itself will feed you, make you awake and fill your lungs.

You must perform labyrinth meditations 6h per day for this power to work.

In areas without a magical aura you should eat, drink, sleep and breathe normally. To consume the magic in faerie, infernal or divine areas would lead to horrible results.

The avenue of the perfect seed 

One season of extreme excercise. You won’t be able to do lab work or go adventuring that season. What is the only limit stopping the body from reaching it’s potential?

 

The station of Perfect Economy of Movement

Each week, you can perform one amazing physical feat such as, jumping 30 paces, lifting a boulder as big as a house or running faster than the wind.

The Avenue of Spherical Mirror 

For one season, the mage must lay in a glass chest in a completely dark room. They will experience strange dreams and visions. The body is the universe and the universe is the body. How is the centre of the universe and the centre of the body the same?

The Station of the Microcosm

Your body is connected to the cosmos in such a way that your body is an arcane connection to all mundane places you remember. Remembering some areas you rarely visit might require you to Overcome.

The Avenue of Repose in the Body 

Search Mythic Europe for four representations of the bodily humours (blood, black bile, yellow bile and phlegm) in the form of Vis. Consume them at a site of legendary magic. How is the universe trapped within time and how will it be free?

The Threshold of Corporeal Repose

Short of death, the mages body heals completely at full moon. All physical scars fade away. Stigmata, All Warp (partial and full) and twilight scars remain.

Repose:

If you’ve reached the Threshold of Corporeal Repose: You enter final twilight within the next week or so. You will be reborn as the universe itself.  

If you haven’t reached the Threshold of Corporeal Repose: You enter Final Twilight within the next few weeks.

House Criamon (Path Of Seeming)

Name

Look 

Parens

Starting Dot: Mind

Xp Trigger: When you try to find the answer to a dangerous secret, mark XP at the end of the session.

Debilities:

(Starts marked) Vow of living Aptly: You have sworn not to sin. You can’t steal, cheat, seek power over others or seek mortal pleasures. Harming someone is only done in extreme emergencies or self defense. If you break the vow, you lose your ability to use magic and should make a new character.

Moves:

Enigmatic Wisdom

When you use your Enigmatic Wisdom to interpret dreams, events, visions or understand riddles, roll+mind. On a hit, the GM will give you oddly phrased, but useful information. On a partial hit, you will get strange information but you have to figure out what it means.

(usually intellego focused)

Special:

Path of Seeming

Path of Seeming provides the mage tools for seeing the world for what it truly is. It lets the mage see things other people will be unable to perceive. They will be able to study the prison of time, in hope to find the cracks. However, their perception will be so warped that by the end they will be unable to differentiate between what is real and what is not, and will stop existing once they can’t discern the real world from their imaginary world.

The path consists of five avenues that must be walked before you reach the repose. They must be walked in order from top to bottom. Each  Avenue that the mage reaches, requires them to come up with an answer to a question posed by the avenue. When you have walked an avenue, you have reached the accompanying station and gained those abilities/detriments. Before being able to walk an Avenue, you must unlock them with your insight.

Insight [  ] [  ] [  ] [  ] [  ]

When you act on information others can’t perceive, mark insight.

When all Insight are marked, unlock the next Avenue. If all Avenues are unlocked, Mark Fading out of the World and read it.

Avenue of of Gruel, Water and Starlight[ X ]

Avenue that Assaults the Modesty of the Universe[  ]

Avenue of the unexpected[  ]

Avenue that leads to transcending[  ]

Fading out of the world[  ]

Avenue of Gruel, Water and Starlight 

The first steps on this path begins when the mage embraces the truth that what seems real is not real and what is real is not what seems real. The mage will feel all sensations to an extreme degree and can only cope by eating tasteless gruel, drinking water and only be exposed to minor natural light or be temporarily blinded. This lasts for one season. Why is what appears to be true actually false?

The Station of Differentiation of the Seeming

You know whenever someone is lying.

Avenue that Assaults the Modesty of the Universe 

When you start walking along this avenue, imaginary friends will start to walk by your side. They will ask you to help you with something. It will be something that won’t break your vow of living aptly. What is the difference between a real friend and a false friend?

The Station of True Sight

Gain second sight (Magical Ability) and one or several imaginary friends that can provide advice and information if you ask them. No one else will be able to perceive them in any way but other Criamon will understand.

Avenue of the Unexpected

For a season, you will sleep with several objects around you. The mage will be transported into the body of a person who has owned one of the objects previously and must deliver the object to the mage. All this is obviously unreal and is most likely not how the mage aquired the object in the first place. However, you will gain insight into what mundanes think of you. How do you know an object belongs to someone?

(Example, coma with a red ribbon nearby. In the dream, they awaken as a peasant holding the red ribbon. They know a mage live nearby. How do they get the ribbon to the mage?)

The Station of Vivid Memories from Objects

When you hold an object in your hands you can ask 2 of the following questions about it’s history. It is all you can ever ask that object.

  • Who has owned you before?

  • How where you built?

  • What secrets have do you know?

  • Who wants you but don’t know it?

Avenue that leads to transcending 

In your dreams you will be able to spiritually travel through mythic Europe and maybe even farther. It’s unclear if what you perceive is actually the real world or what you imagine the real world to be like. You need to do this for a season in which you will be asleep the whole time. What exists on the unexplored side of the world?

The Station from which to Ignore the Real

You will have a tough time differentiating between the real and your imaginary world. Things you imagine will be able to affect you physically.

If you mark 1 fatigue, you can pass through any mundane objects you choose for 10 seconds.

Fading out of the World

If you’ve reached the Station from which to Ignore the Real, you will slowly fade out through the following season. At the end of the season, you will stop believing in the real world and simply stop existing.

If you haven’t reached the Station from which to Ignore the Real, you will experience Final Twilight within a season.

House Criamon (Path Of Walking Backwards)

Name

Look 

Parens

Starting Dot: Spirit

Xp Trigger: When you help the weak, poor and sick, mark XP at the end of the session.

Debilities:

(Starts marked) Vow of living Aptly: You have sworn not to sin. You can’t steal, cheat, seek power over others or seek mortal pleasures. Harming someone is only done in extreme emergencies or self defense. If you break the vow, you lose your ability to use magic and should make a new character.

Moves:

Enigmatic Wisdom

When you use your Enigmatic Wisdom to interpret dreams, events, visions or understand riddles, roll+mind. On a hit, the GM will give you oddly phrased, but useful information. On a partial hit, you will get strange information but you have to figure out what it means.

Dancing Labyrinth meditation

Healing people

Creo FOCUS

Special:

Path of walking Backwards

The path of walking backwards is based on muslim Sufi traditions. It focuses on helping those in need, specifically by healing. By learning to heal, the mage will move closer to harmony, so close they will be able to resolve an important mystery or answer an unanswerable question before their repose. The path has a clearly defined hierarchy where the mage will follow a mystagouge who will lead them through the path.

The path consists of five avenues that must be walked before you reach the repose. They must be walked in order from top to bottom. Each  Avenue that the mage reaches, requires them to come up with an answer to a question posed by the avenue. When you have walked an avenue, you have reached the accompanying station and gained those abilities/detriments. Before being able to walk an Avenue, you must unlock them with your insight.

Insight [  ] [  ] [  ] [  ] [  ]

When you heal those who would want you harm, mark insight.

When all Insight are marked, unlock the next Avenue. If all Avenues are unlocked, Threshold of Repose and read it.

Avenue of Surrender,[ X ]

Avenue of Healing[  ]

Avenue of Adulation[  ]

Avenue of a Thousand Beautiful Faces[  ]

Avenue of Silencing Discordant Whispers [ ]

Repose or Ascension [  ]

Avenue of surrender

Travel to a spiritually important place and find your Mystagouge. The mystagouge is a person with great spiritual understanding, free of sin and not necessarily a mage. Traditionally they are muslim, but can be people of any faith as long as they are pure and wise.

Spend one season learning theology from them.

What makes a spirit pure?

Station of Service to Harmony

Your gift becomes gentle (see XX)

Your desire for wealth, power, cause harm or pursue mystical pleasure fades. If you ever act on those impulses, take 4 harm (magical burns from acting in bad faith).

Avenue of Healing

Travel to a place where a lot of people congregate and tend to the injured and sick. Spend 2 seasons doing this. Who in this world requires the most healing?

Station of Rice and Honey

You lose the ability to inflict harm on living creatures. If you ever were to do harm, it’s reduced to zero. 

Mystical creatures in your area will be drawn to you if they are harmed. They will seek your help. Healing them might require more than just taking care of the physical ailment though. It might require some sort of adventure to gather information or find the cause of their injury.

Performing Labyrinth meditation around a person will now slowly heal them at a pace of 1 harm per 12 hours.

Avenue of Adulation

Travel to a place of unspeakable beauty and remain there for one season with your mystagouge. What is true beauty?

Station of Expression

You will start to move in a beautiful way. When you dance, most people will be unable to do anything but admire your grace. Those with magic resistance will be able to ignore you.

Argumentation through Art

When you deliver an argument through dance, name the action you want the onlookers to take or the opinion they should have. Roll+Spirit.

On a hit, Most of them will see things from your point of view. On a partial hit, a few will be convinced, others will feel that your opinion is “wrong”. 

Notes on the move:

The onlookers won’t always be able to articulate the argument you are making or even rationally explain it, but they will feel the message through your dance.

Avenue of a Thousand Beautiful Faces 

The Mystagouge will ask you to perform something great in service of people. The deed will be in accordance with your vow of Acting Aptly. How can Harmony persist in a world of Strife?

The Station of Exaltation

You lose the ability to use Perdo except for with Vim or Intellego.

Make an object more virtuous through labyrinth meditation. Adds a plausible positive adjective. Advantages are positive from the mages point of view, which means it’s impossible to make something more dangerous or more valuable since the mage rejects violence and money.

Avenue of Silencing Discordant Whispers 

Somehow, as if the world itself resists your attempts to join Harmony, you will through strange courses of events be offered everything you might have once wanted. Power over others, Comfort and riches, Sensual pleasures and eternal life. All those things mere mortals would never be given are now offered freely to you. If you accept, you become an NPC that can be used by the GM.

You need to resist these temptations for a year.

What is sin?

Notes on this Avenue: The Gm should really make these chocies difficult. Sure, the player character may not want to become Queen of England, but make sure to tempt them. Even though it’s considered a sin from the characters view, show them all the good that can be done with power. These events should come about in strange, almost miraculous events. 

The Station of the Threshold of Repose

You can select their age, gender and species as often as they like. The transformation only takes a minute or so. It looks strange, but not scary. All the versions appear to be blood relatives of one another and there is only one version of each form. Example: Only one Old Woman can exist. If you turn into a young woman, they will look related to the old woman. 

Repose

When you reach your repose you will be able to determine your time of death. Pick one:

  • Within the Year (Name the date)

Keep playing this character until the date happens. If you go on risky adventures, you might die sooner. When you reach the date read “Ascension” below.

  • Within more than one year to several hundred years. This player becomes an NPC and will retire from the covenant to meditate in a lonesome place. Before they die they will re-appear and deliver very important information, helping your house figuring out how to escape the prison of time.

Ascension

Harmony will let you ascend into peace and tranquility. It will let you bring some creatures of any kind with pure hearts with you. It will also allow you to bring along one or two beings filled with sin, so that Harmony may purify them for the next cycle of time. Simply touch those you wish to bring along on the day of your death, and they will arise with you at your moment of choosing during the day.


House Ex Miscellanea

Name

Look

Parens

Starting Dot: 

Xp Trigger:

Debilities

Moves

Second sight here somewhere?


House Flambeau

Ad Mortem incurramus (Unto death, let us charge)

Playing a Flambeau

Those joining House Flambeau all share a martial streak, an independant air but most of all, they share a thirst for glory. The House Flambeau considers itself the knights of the order. They are brave and protective of the rest of the order and follow a code of honor. In an order defined by it’s academic research and general distance from regular medieval society, the Flambeaus stand out as those who want to use magic in combat to gain fame and glory. Some houses might consider them belligerent buffoons for the most part but no one is complaining when there is fighting to be done and they have a Flambeau by their side.

While their founder emphasized the destructive power of Ignem, the Flambeaus specialize in different arts with the only requirement being that it should be useful in a fight. Most of them are also strong physical specimens and able to hold their own in a non magical fight.

Name

Look

Parens

Starting Dot: Body.

Xp Trigger: If you fought someone honorably or accomplished a feat worthy of a heroic story, mark experience.

“Debilities”

(Pick at least one)

Powerful Enemy- You have a powerful enemy who wants you destroyed or even better, humiliated. You detail.

Blatant Gift – Your gift is much more disturbing than the normal gift.

Dark Secret – You have a dark secret that threatens to resurface which will cause shame, rejection and revenge if discovered.

Moves

Personal Honor – When you partake in a fight, gain 1 point for each option:

  • You face them from an obvious position, 

  • You're at a clear disadvantage, 

  • You have no trick or backup plan prepared, 

  • You tried to resolve it peacefully, 

  • You had time to make a dramatic speech,

During the fight, spend points 1 for 1 to:

  • Kill, disable, or disarm (GMs choice) an NPC within physical striking distance 

  • Quickly reposition yourself to anywhere on the battlefield 

  • Redirect a magical attack within reach to another character within your reach, or else to nowhere—into the ground or a wall or the sky 

  • Reduce the casting time on a spontaneously cast spell to 1 second for free 

Magical Knight -When you make a dramatic entrance or risk your life to save someone, +1 Armor for the duration of the scene

Boastful – When you tell a boast about one of your accomplishment to goad someone into action, roll+spirit. On a hit, all three. On a partial hit, pick 1.

  • They have to take the action or look like a coward

  • You don’t have to come along with them

  • You impress someone in the crowd

Second Life (Magical Ability)

Add this option to the “When you’re about to die” move.

  • Hero is born – Remove all harm.

Strike out this option when it has been used.

Dangerous – When you inflict harm, deal +1 Harm, if you choose.

Power from destruction – At your option, you can increase the intensity of a spontaneous or prepared spell by one level, as long as it causes severe collateral damage.         

( You could increase the intensity of a spontaneous spell one to the third level, even though that isn't an option)

Immunity to Fire (Magical ability) – You can’t be harmed by any non magical fire. You take less damage from magical fire, based on the intensity.


House Jerbiton

Quae Pulchra, placent (Beauty is all that pleases)

Playing a Jerbiton

The House of Jerbiton is held together by shared culture that appreciates all things beautiful. Compared to other mages who prefer to shut themselves in their labs and study until they enter twilight, Jerbiton wants to see the world and its wonders. They often come from privileged families and carry the Gentle Gift. This makes it possible for them to interact with mundanes without the usual suspicions gained by the Gift. They are closer to mundanes than any other house and often stay in touch with their mundane families throughout their lives. This in turn often leads them to come into conflict with the Codes clause of “Not interfere with mundanes”. This doesn’t stop most Jerbitons for aiding mundane causes they think worthwhile, like supporting artists or aiding sides in conflicts they deem protecting beauty.

Jerbitons usually focus on Mentem and Imaginem to work on the minds and senses. While magic itself usually is a tool for most mages, to Jerbitons it is an expression of art and its appearance is as important as it’s function.

Name

Look

Parens

Starting Dot: Spirit

Xp Trigger: When you overstep the bounds of the order to aid mundanes or a mundane cause, mark XP

Debilities (Pick at least one)

Mundane Obligation: You have one or several mundane obligations that require your attention and brings you trouble. Your lover, family or friends.

Pacifist: You’re a pacifist and have trouble harming people. Whenever you harm someone, it’s always two levels of harm less.

Family Feud: Your mundane family, which you are still connected with, is in a complicated and dangerous feud with an organization, family or country. They expect your help.

Moves

Gentle Gift (Magical Ability)

Your gift is much less disturbing than most. You can interact with mundanes and animals as normal.

Beauty is all

When you display an artwork you’ve created, roll+spirit. On a full hit, spend 2. On partial hit, spend 1. Spend 1 to name an NPC and choose one:

  • They must meet me

  • They are fascinated by me

  • They want my art

  • They will let me leave in peace

Note on the move: What exactly an artwork is varies from character to character. It should be pleasing in some way.

Mundane Fixation

When you ignore the code and interfere with mundane matters in a way that could be dangerous to you, take +1d for the duration of the scene.

Notes on the move: The move has to incur a real risk to your character in the form of repercussions for the order. 

Ambassador to the Mundanes (Lab Move)

1 Vis Unable to experiment

Travel to a nearby settlement and make a name for yourself with your opulence and grace. Name an NPC with good taste that you’ve befriended.

Notes on the move: The NPC could very well be a king, community leader or a priest. The connection has to make sense in the fiction of course. The Vis spent represents the gold and clothes the mage summons to display their wealth.

Subtle Magic

When casting a spell of zero intensity, gain +1 level of subtlety


House Mercere

Ordinem ministramus et sustinemus (We serve the Order and keep it alive)

Playing a Mercere

Protecting the order, supporting other redcaps

Name

Look

Parens

Starting Dot: Spirit

Xp Trigger: When you help a Redcap in need or serve the Orders best interests, mark XP.

Debilities:

Pagan – You believe in something else than Christianity. When inside Dominion or near Holy people you feel ill at ease and have trouble doing normal activities. If you pretend to be Christian you may anger your gods.

Illegitimate Lineage – Unlike nearly all members of House Mervere, you’re not a blood relative to the founder. Other Mercere thinks your worth less and not a “true” member of the house.

Vice – You have a vice you can’t control. Gambling, Sex or Drink are usually the most common within the house.

Moves

Mutantum Magic

You gain the following options when casting a spell.

  • Tether: Give the ability to cast and end the spell to someone or something else within range.

  • Boosting: Spend 1 Vis to increase Range, Duration and target by one magnitude.

Notes on the move:

Mutantum Magic is a form of “metamagic” that can change properties of spells. The roll is done when you cast the spell and you still suffer any bad effects.

Tether: Giving something the ability to cast a spell means an inanimate object will cast the spell as soon as a suitable target enters it’s range.

Ceremonial Casting

Add this option when casting Spontaneous or making Prepared spell.

Casting time

(same magnitude as 10 seconds)

 Ceremonial Casting – takes half of an hour to carry out a ceremony to cast the spell. Add +2 points to spend on the spell.

Mercere Portal (Lab Move)

Using a ritual, you can build Mercere portals. When done you move them to where they will be used and activate them with the ritual. These two portals are connected and when you walk through one, you exit through the other. You may set a password to enter them. If they are moved once activated, the effect is destroyed.

Notes on the move: Usually there are several portals leading to the Mercere house Covenant.

Friends in every port

When you arrive to a place you can always declare you have a friend there. When you do, roll + Spirit. On a hit, all is well. They will help you in whatever way they can. On a partial hit, They are also caught up in difficult situation and needs help.

Notes on the move:

Feel free to declare whoever your friend as long as it’s plausible. Some players might be tempted to declare very powerful people their friend. Remember that powerful people will face a lot more difficult problems than the common man.

Invisible to Magic (Magical Ability)

You are unable to be detected by all but the most strong magic.

Notes on the move: This does not make you invulnerable to magic. It mostly means Intellego magic can’t perceive you. A fireball shot at you will still hurt.

Special:

Mercer House 

You run a Mercer House. 

The House best features: (pick 2)

Redcaps who would do anything for the order

Accurate and useful information

A steady income of vis from lending and selling magical items

A very skilled bard, poet or other artist

It’s name carries weight in the Tribunal

Great food and drink

It’s worst features (Pick 2)

A bunch of drunken Redcaps only looking for easy tasks

A steady stream of thugs and goons looking for a score

A rumour mill that hurts your covenants reputation

The worst artists you can imagine

Stolen goods usually show up, and you’re held accountable

Redcaps being threatened by other mages and need your protection

When you listen to the Gossip in the Mercer house, roll+Spirit. On a hit, ask 2. On a partial hit, you’re completely drunk or somehow caught in a compromising position.

  • Where could I find _______?

  • How is the covenant of _______ doing?

  • What new threat is facing the covenant?

  • What is the most interesting message delivered recently?

Rights of the Mercer House

You have the following rights as a Mercer house:

  • Put out a bounty on situations or people threatening the safety of the redcaps. The Bounty is paid from the Tribunal coffers

  • Blacklist a mage. They won’t receive any messages from redcaps. They will most likely be angry and take this up in a tribunal, if not declaring a wizard’s war.

  • If approved by a quasitor, you’re allowed to copy messages sent to and from a mage involved in an investigation. Any messages not related to the investigation need to be destroyed.

Notes on the special:

A Mercer house is a place to support your house from. Travelling Redcaps can rest and gossip there. In best of cases, its a place of business, information and effective organization of messengers. In the worst of cases, it’s a rum smelling, rat infested ramshackle building where the roof is only held aloft by the good spirits of those within.

The rights of the Mercer House are powerful but should be used with caution. An important aspect of the Mercere house is to protect its position as messengers within the order. Abusing this position could lead to the house losing it’s status.


House Merinita (Path of Fae)

Natura Veritas Unica (Nature is the only truth)

 

Name

Look

Parens

Starting Dot: Spirit

Xp Trigger: When you let your human relations suffer to grow closer to fae, mark XP.

Debilities: 

Fae foe – A faerie has marked you for vengence and won’t stop until they’ve had their way.

Fae activist – You are publically fighting for the right to allow Fae to join the order. This has gained you a lot of enemies within the Order.

Fae heritage –You are part fae in some way. Strange eyes, body shape or other otherwordly feature marks you. Peasants will be afraid, Fae will assume things about you and the Order will be suspicious of you.

Weak to cold iron- Cold iron is your weakness. If you touch it, a spell you’ve recently cast is dispelled, the GM chooses which. If it’s pressed against you, all your magic is dispelled. Cold iron will penetrate any magic means you use to protect yourself from it.

Moves:

Fae Negotiations

When you negotiate or deceive by using clever double meanings, innuendo and misleading statements take +1D.

Arcadian Connections

When you use your Faerie connections to get something, information, an item or a resource, roll+spirit. On a hit, you get it and fast. On a partial hit, it comes with strings attached.

Faerie Trod

When in an area where fae live and you search for a path the Fae walk, roll+mind. On a strong hit, you get all. On a partial hit, pick 1.

  • It goes where you want, or almost.

  • No one is guarding or protecting it

  • You won’t be followed by a Fae

Faerie Friend

Special

Wayfarers – explorers of arcadia. Finds gates. Arcadian travel

Arcane connection to gate landmark (learn to summon a gate?)

Move:

Alluring to (Beings)

These creatures are drawn to you and generally trust or obey you

Cold Iron (debility)

Your magic is dispelled when touching cold Iron 

House Mysteries

Becoming a Fae?

Faerie Familiar (Mystery)

Shared powers

Shared senses

Shared Fatigue

A faerie yearns to be free and will eventually leave the mage. If not allowed to leave, will start to resent the mage. Unless the Iron, Tin and leaden cord are forged they will break free.

Some Meriinta consider this process cruel towards faeries.

Special cords that bind a fae familiar

Leaden cord – Makes you less liked in dominion. Mage becomes weaker against divine. More prone to errors in its presence

Iron Cord – Can’t stand the feel of cold iron. Hurts them more. Penetrates armor. Feels worse in infernal areas.

Tin Cord

Magic is more culnerable outside of supernatural auras. (Blatant gift sortoff) Faeries bound with these cords become resentful and some might try to fight their master to gain their freedom

(Specific spell to gain a faerie familiar)

Binding the gift

Lessen the effect of the gift

Golden gift – better interaction with magical beings (creatures beings mages)

silver gift – better relations w. fae

Bronze Gift – better interactions with mundane

Become Fae

Transforming Body into a faere

Age becomes fix

No fatigue

Transofrming mind

No sleep needed

Can’t learn new abilities but improve old ones. New spells have to be similar to old ones. Transforming the spirit. Sacrifices the gift and becomes faerie. No warping.

Faerie chains of the familiar slave

Capture a magical creature/faerie as your familiar

lasts until a condition is met (or 1-2 years)

Subjugated creature /faerie. 

Pick a few options

At odds

Targets ranges and durations

Faerie Magic : Range: Road (everyone or anything on a road), Duration: Bargain, Fire, Until(duration) target: Bloodline

New Durations

Held – same as concentration. It is fired when the mage stops holding it. Then it’s cast as momentary duration

Midday/midnight – sun duration

While (Condition) – Duration. Same as concentration. Target must perform some condition or fulfill some common temporary physical condition. Sleeping, being drunk, dancing

Not (Condition) – Duration same as sun) Lastsa as long as the target does NOT fulfill some common physical condtion. Cannot last more than a month.

IF (condition) – If target fulfilss a condition, spell is activated. If caster enters twilight, dies or a year passses, the spell is dispelled. How long it last if activated?

Animae (faerie creatures)

Artifical souls

Intelligent. Can interact w. environment. For mortal pleasures they can do favors. A wineskin a kiss a juicy piece of meat. Affected by corpus mentem and the form their object was. Turning a rock into a small rock looking dude.

(Muto X)


House Merinita (Path of Nature)

More focused on Nature than faeries

Natura Veritas Unica (Nature is the only truth)

 

Name

Look

Parens

Starting Dot: 

Xp Trigger:

Debilities

Moves

Faerie Friend

Special

Wayfarers – explorers of arcadia. Finds gates. Arcadian travel

Arcane connection to gate landmark (learn to summon a gate?)

Move:

Alluring to (Beings)

These creatures are drawn to you and generally trust or obey you

Cold Iron (debility)

Your magic is dispelled when touching cold Iron 

Faerie Familiar (Mystery)

Shared powers

Shared senses

Shared Fatigue

A faerie yearns to be free and will eventually leave the mage. If not allowed to leave, will start to resent the mage. Unless the Iron, Tin and leaden cord are forged they will break free.

Some Meriinta consider this process cruel towards faeries.

Special cords that bind a fae familiar

Leaden cord – Makes you less liked in dominion. Mage becomes weaker against divine. More prone to errors in its presence

Iron Cord – Can’t stand the feel of cold iron. Hurts them more. Penetrates armor. Feels worse in infernal areas.

Tin Cord

Magic is more culnerable outside of supernatural auras. (Blatant gift sortoff) Faeries bound with these cords become resentful and some might try to fight their master to gain their freedom

(Specific spell to gain a faerie familiar)

Binding the gift

Lessen the effect of the gift

Golden gift – better interaction with magical beings (creatures beings mages)

silver gift – better relations w. fae

Bronze Gift – better interactions with mundane

Travelling to arcadia

Trod – magical passages to arcadia that show up randomly in areas

Mage can design a charm that will let them travel a trod. Charm must depict the destination. New charm must be created for a new destination

Become Fae

Transforming Body into a faere

Age becomes fix

No fatigue

Transofrming mind

No sleep needed

Can’t learn new abilities but improve old ones. New spells have to be similar to old ones. Transforming the spirit. Sacrifices the gift and becomes faerie. No warping.

Faerie chains of the familiar slave

Capture a magical creature/faerie as your familiar

lasts until a condition is met (or 1-2 years)

Subjugated creature /faerie. 

Pick a few options

At odds

Targets ranges and durations

Faerie Magic : Range: Road (everyone or anything on a road), Duration: Bargain, Fire, Until(duration) target: Bloodline

New Durations

Held – same as concentration. It is fired when the mage stops holding it. Then it’s cast as momentary duration

Midday/midnight – sun duration

While (Condition) – Duration. Same as concentration. Target must perform some condition or fulfill some common temporary physical condition. Sleeping, being drunk, dancing

Not (Condition) – Duration same as sun) Lastsa as long as the target does NOT fulfill some common physical condtion. Cannot last more than a month.

IF (condition) – If target fulfilss a condition, spell is activated. If caster enters twilight, dies or a year passses, the spell is dispelled. How long it last if activated?

Nature Lore (Magical)

area, forest swamp hills etc

You canb converse with nature itself in that area

Animae (faerie creatures)

Artifical souls

Intelligent. Can interact w. environment. For mortal pleasures they can do favors. A wineskin a kiss a juicy piece of meat. Affected by corpus mentem and the form their object was. Turning a rock into a small rock looking dude.

(Muto X)

Awakening

You awaken the magic within a creature of that area. Costs vis. Ritual etc. Can be used as a familiar or will probably be an ally. They gain intelligence

Wilding (Lab activity)

Bring forth the power of nature in physical things Gains vis for a few days after timeskip

Become a guardian spirit

Guide nature as if part of body. Split between human and nature. Can’t sustain this form for long.


House Guernicus

Lex super voluntate. (The law above the will)

Playing a Guernicus

A Guernicus will by default be an inquisitor. A bastion of justice and protector of the code. At least on paper. In a covenant with mages from other houses you will have your hands full. If you’re playing a Guernicus, it’s recommended that you know about the Code that the Order uses to determine what is a criminal act and what isn’t. The GM should try to highlight the complicated nature of the code and how it’s interpretation varies from tribunal to tribunal. As a Guernicus you will possess a lot of legal power at the start of the game. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and investigate possible breaches of the code. 

Guernicus generally focus on Intellgeo spells to gain information about situations. An Intellgeo Mentem spell, targeted at a person, can make it possible to detect lies they tell. This is only used on other Mages of the order in extreme cases and rarely against the mages will.

Name

Look

Parens

Starting Dot: Order

Xp Trigger: If you investigate a breach of the code at peril to yourself or your covenant, mark XP

Debilities (Pick at least one)

Powerful Enemy–  You have a powerful enemy who wants you destroyed or even better, humiliated. You detail.

Vow of Truth – You have taken part in a ritual that punishes you when you lie. Mark 1 Partial Warp when you lie.

Blackmailed – Someone within the order has some dirt on you they are using to make you do their bidding.

Moves

Judge

When you make a judgement on a difficult issue based on the code roll+Order. On a strong hit, all three. On a partial hit, pick one.

  • Your ruling is a sound interpretation of the code

  • The violating party must pay right now 

  • The violating party doesn’t bring this up in the next tribunal

Notes on the Move:

If one option isn’t picked, it’s up to the GM if the option is picked or not. The violating party might still hold a grudge and feel the judgement is unfair, regardless of what options are picked.

Your ruling is a sound interpretation of the code – If picked, this means the ruling has a sound legal basis. If not picked, it could still mean that, but it could also be addendums or local customs the mage doesn’t know about which puts the judgement in question.

The violating party must pay right now – They have to pay the price right now. If that is arrest, a fine of vis, or something worse depends on the crime. If not picked, this could mean they can stall and hold off on paying the price until the time is better.

The violating party doesn’t bring this up in the next tribunal – They won’t make this a public trial that the Quaesitor has to defend. If not picked, this could be a big event in the next tribunal or a small affair, depending on the violation of the code commited.

Part Time Quaesitor 

During Timeskips, you’re performing your legal duties. Roll+Order. On a hit, Pick 2. On a partial hit. Pick 1. On a miss, pick 1 but you start in a dangerous or potentially embarrassing situation.

  • You’ve found an important witness 

  • You’ve found incriminating evidence

  • You’ve remained undetected 

Notes on the move:

The GM has the final authority on what case you find witnesses or evidence regarding.

If you remain undetected, it means your enemies or people of interest in the investigation don’t know you’re investigating them or that you’ve found something.

Curse of Thoth

You can replace a requirement for a ritual by changing it to “It requires a human sacrifice” or “You need the help of Two other members of House Guernicus”

Notes on move: Using a human sacrifice is very much frowned upon in the order. It has only been used in cases of extreme emergency when the Order as a whole has been threatened.

Investigation and deduction

When you figure something out during an investigation, take +1D.

Memorized Sigils (Magical Ability)

You know almost all of the members of the Order’s Sigils when they cast a spell. As long as you can somehow perceive a spell sigil, you will most likely know who cast the spell.

Guernicus Special

You start with this item:

A letter from the Primus of house Guernicus identifying you as a Quaesitor.

Rights of a Quaesitor:

Demand Magi Cooperate with official investigations.

Magical scrying on other mages is allowed for the purposes of an investigation.

2 vis per Year can be spent on an investigation which will be repaid by the tribunal coffers.

Declare Wizard's March – Remove the protection of law from a mage.

Draft or Witness formal agrements between covenants and individuals.

Notes on the special:

Demand Magi Cooperate with official investgation:  Answer reasonable questions. Never required to reveal magical secrets. Failure to cooperate is a low crime

Magical scrying on other mages is allowed for the purposes of an investigation. It should still protect a mages magical research and spells.

Declare Wizard's March – Remove the protection of law from a mage. They must be able to prove this in the next tribunal with compelling evidence. This is a very powerful right that should be used with caution.


House Tremere

Voluntas vincit omnia. (The will conquers all)

Playing a Tremere

House Tremere believes they should rule the world. This isn’t a secret. They consider the order to be the most pragmatic route to achieve their goal that they have found so far. As a member of the house, you are expected to serve loyally but in turn you will have strong support when in trouble. The founder of the House, Tremere, considered the members of the house to be like a wolfpack. Loyal, strong in numbers and always ready for a fight. The strong loyalty to the house will eventually cause trouble if a Tremere shares a covenant with members of other houses. Sometimes your houses interests will directly interfere with those of the covenant and in those times you have to make a choice. 

Tremeres traditionally focus on Necromancy, which uses Rego and Mentem to control the spirits of the dead. They also focus on Certamen as a means to resolve their problems within the order.

Name

Look

Parens

Starting Dot: Body

Xp Trigger: When you strengthen your house or draw on their strength to overcome a challenge, mark XP

Debilities:(Parens holds sigil. You may pick more)

Parens Holds Sigil

 Your parens will hold your sigil and vote for you, until you defeat them in Certamen.

Dark Secret: Dhampir

A Dhampir is a half vampire. Ages more slowly. Gains Second Sight (Magical Ability). No weakness of a vampire. When a Dhampir dies, they are resurrected as a full vampire. The training of a Dhampir is strictly forbidden in House Tremere. Your vampire parent is still out there. 

Haunted

A ghost of some kind is haunting you. Only you and people with second sight can see it and it will interfere and annoy you. It can subtly move things in your presence to interfere. If you yell at it for a minute or so it leaves your presence for a while. It’s possible to make it pass over if you figure out why it’s haunting you.

Moves:

Planned for this

You can declare "I planned for this" at any moment during daily play. Describe the preparations you made in the past to resolve this situation. Mark 1 fatigue if your plan is plausible. Mark 2 if it's complicated or involves a lot of variables. It might require a roll at the GM:s discretion.

Notes on the move:

Using a flash back, you can get away with quite a lot. 

If the move requires a roll it shouldn't mean the preparation themselves were a failure because that in turn could lead the the question "Why would my character do this if the preparation didn't succeed?". Make sure whatever the roll, the preparation were successful but now, when the execution happens, the GM makes a hard move.

Chessmaster

When you engage in a boardgame of strategy to figure out your opponent, take +1D.

(Certamen move, when I’ve made Certamen basic move)

Backed By the House

When you're threatened and you call the house for aid, roll+order. On a hit, Your house will help you out. On a partial hit, You will be backed but the House will demand a big favor afterwards. 

Notes on the move: This move is a get out of jail free card but remember to follow the fiction. A housemember who is constantly asking for aid will at some point be seen as a liability and not an asset by the house. The help that is sent is also dependent on the situation but it’s cost should not outweigh the potential reward from aiding.

Necromancer

When you use Rego Mentem to control a ghost, take +1D Mentem to control ghosts

Tremere Special:

Pick a few jobs that you perform for your house:

Negotiating on behalf of the house with local mundane leaders and hedge wizards, Finding and Claiming suitable gifted children for superiours,Investigating accusations made against the house and finding witnesses to support the house in a trial, Investigating and defeating the machinations of demons, Assisting senior magi in their personal concerns, Locating ancient battlefields or artifacts for the houses necromances, Guarding large quantities of money and vis or other valuable resource kept at your covenant to be used by the house in a time of crisis, Supporting the schemes of a local nobleman allied to the house, Recovering the bodies of missing tremere magi and executing vengence, Securing heavily defended sites, including vis sources, on behalf of the house,

The House will give you tasks from time to time but expects you to serve their interests independently.

When you accomplish a job, mark 1 debt. For each debt you have on your house, you may call in one of the following:

A gift of 4 rooks of vis

A gift of 6 chattels of silver or gold

The secret assistance of a skilled mundane individual or group  (Poisoner, bandits, blacksmith)

Use of a debt owed to the house by prominent local leader

Assistance of a young tremere Magi


House Tytalus

Auctus ex dimicatione (From conflict, growth)

Playing a Tytalus

The only thing you need to be a member of House Tytalus is adherence to their philosophy. That is through conflict you grow stronger and if you’re strong enough, everything you can take and hold is what you deserve to have. Follow your passions and if you win, you’ve gotten what you wanted. If you lose, you will grow stronger to win the next time. This does not mean that a member of house Tytalus are impulsive or base in nature. They are schemers and fighters. Their true strength lies in their unyielding persistence. Apprenticeship under a Tytalus is grueling but it teaches the apprentice one thing. To never give up. Learn from your mistakes and grow stronger.

Tytalus is a martial house and favors spells and arts useful in combat but they are also schemers and plotters. Being able to manipulate a foe through spells might be preferable to destroying them.

Name

Look

Parens

Starting Dot: Spirit

Xp Trigger: If you suffered a bitter defeat when pursuing a challenge far above your station, mark XP.

Debilities (Pick at least one)

Slayed Master -You slew your parens during your apprenticeship. This is considered a form of graduation. Remove 2 points of your arts for your shortened education.

Beloved Rival – The character has a rival who is both fiercely protective of the character and obsessed with opposing them at every turn. (Further explanation: A Beloved Rival is a formal rival, usually the apprentices former parens or an older apprentice that enters this relationship. The Beloved rival will freely put their rivals life at risk and cause problems for them for they love them so much and these actions will make them stronger. They will take any interference in their lessons as a personal affront and punish those who try to stop them. They will therefore be ruthless towards anyone interfering with their Beloved Rival.

Leper Magi – You’ve gained the Leprosy Magic from the line of Tytalus himself. Gain the following moves:

Inner Leprosy: Take a Light wound and gain 1 vis for use immediately. Only heals when the activity is done and the vis is spent. 

Leper: You suffer from Leprosy. You’re hideous and marked by the disease. Traditionally they cover themselves in bandages and carry a stick with a bell to warn of their coming. You won't be allowed near other people, even mages. -1d to any trustworthy die. 

Moves

Will of steel– Once per session, you can get an automatic success when facing a tough challenge that you’ve failed at overcoming before.

Learning from Failure – When you have suffered a bitter defeat, you get a free lab move during the next timeskip if you work on overcoming whatever defeated you.

Personae (Magical Ability) – You have a second human appearance you can change into with a few minutes of concentration. It always looks the same. You can stay in it for a day before needing to return to your normal appearance. It doesn't change your essential nature so it could be revealed if someone were to use magic to see your essential nature. Your items or clothes does not change with you.

Sophistic Arguements – Whenever you lie or deceive to convince someone, take +1D.

Agents: You employ a few agents to help you with your schemes. They are either a Spy, Thug, Someone blackmailed by you or a Smuggler: Pick 2. Whenever you send your agents to perform an action roll+Order. On a crit: They do it and discovere something useful. Hit: They do it. Partial: They get captured, wounded or killed doing it.  You can detail who they are and what their general purpose is:

Name______ Outline_____ Type:

Name_____ Outline______ Type:

Life Linked Magic

You can mark more than one fatigue to gain the corresponding number of dice on a roll.


House Verditius

Omnia Nostra Instrumenta (All things are our tools)

Name

Look

Parens

Starting Dot: Spirit

Creating character note: Instead of Formulaic spells, can spend x points on Magical Items.

Xp Trigger: If your pride gets you in trouble, mark Xp at the end of the session.

Debilities:

(Start with this) Formulaic Casting Tools – All Verditius require some sort of unique tool for each of their formulaic spells. Without it, they can’t cast the spell. They can never have the same tool for two different spells.

Vendetta against _______ – You have a Vendetta against a housemember. Either inherited from your parens or for your own hubris. You two will go out of your way to make life troublesome for the other, short of physical violence. Theft, spying and slander will happen constantly. Violations of the Code will not be taken to the Order, since it’s a personal matter. Until the other admits defeat, the Vendetta will go on. 

Spontaneous Casting Tools: You have 15 tools, one for each art, that you need to cast spontaneous spells. If you’re missing a tool that you need to use for a spontaneous spell, you can’t cast the spell.

Moves

Hubris (Core move)

Hubris Score:

When you receive praise, recognition, fame, money or vis for a magical Item you have made, either reject it and mark 3 Fatigue and remove 1 Hubris or accept and Increase your Hubris with one.

When you feel stupid, foolish or make a ridiculous mistake, you lose 1 hubris.

When you’re not working on a magical item lose 1 Hubris per season,.

If your Hubris reaches 0, you will take dangerous and risky action to regain your confidence. Pick one.

  • Steal back a magical item you crafted and sold

  • Start a Vendetta against a Housemember

  • Go and viciously insult an NPC who has slighted your work

The GM will narrate how it works out for you. After that, set your Hubris to 2.

If your Hubris reaches 5, you are probably the best magical item crafter in the world, or so you think. Pick one:

  • You start your plans for a new magical item, with 3 extra points to spend on it’s effect.

  • Learn a new House Mystery

After you have picked, you will send a message to an important NPC telling them of your amazing skill. Then, set your Hubris to 2.

Studio

Connected to your Lab is your Studio, a place where you show off your magical items and amazing contraptions. It’s gaudy, opulent and stylish.

When you invite your Housemembers for a feast in your studio to show off a new magical item you’ve made roll+spirit. It will happen in a season or two. On a hit, word spreads like wildfire. Someone very important within your house will attend. Gain 1 Hubris. On a partial hit, a bunch of your friends will attend. On a miss, someone you really don’t want there will show up. 

Grand Reputation

Whenever you meet someone new, you can say that they have heard of you. Roll+spirit. On a hit, they know who you are and are impressed with your person. On a partial hit, they know you, but will test to see if your reputation is true. 

Simple Magical items (LAB MOVE)

During downtime, you can create a magical item in one season, following the normal procedures. However, you can only use the following frequency which costs 0 points:

  • 3 times then depleted.

Verditius House Mysteries

Enchanting Casting Tools (Lab Move)

1 Vis

By inscribing certain runes into a casting tool, you can make it easier to use.  Each Casting tool can hold two runes.

  • Rune of Returning “Borte”

With a spoken word, your Casting Tool can return to your lab.

  • Rune of Appearing “Komme”

With a spoken word, your Casting tool can appear in your hand, as long as the rune is intact and it’s not in another magical realm.

  • Rune of Subtlety “Dovurr”

The subtlety is reduced by one magnitude

  • Rune of Casting Fast “Hastigurr”

The casting speed of the spell is reduced one magnitude.

Create Automata  (Lab Move)

2 vis

1 Chattel of the necessary materials

The construction of an Automata is one of the biggest secrets of the house. It’s an ingenious device that can perform simple actions that it’s maker decides during it’s creation. It works partly on magic but also with ropes, pulleys and counterweights on the inside of it. If house Verditius discovered that one of their own was sharing this secret with outsiders, that mage would soon “disappear”. It has no thought of its own, thus can’t communicate or make decisions. It’s usually used as a form of slave or as entertainment.

When you work on your Automata, mark 1 segment on a four segmented clock.

If you mark the last segment, your Automata is finished. 

When the clock is filled, Spend 2 points to pick it’s abilities. You may spend Hubris, 1 for 1, to add abilities.

  • Can perform some form of craft (smithing, weaving, pottery etc.)

  • Can harvest some form of resource (Mine, harvest etc)

  • Entertain guests in some fashion (Juggle, dance, perform puppetry etc.)

  • Fight (Very dangerous since it lacks thought and most likely can’t tell friend from foe)

  • Able to make some form of simple sound. It will only be able to make this sound and no other.

  • Can fly or move in some other strange fashion

  • Looks Extremely realistic.

  • Understands simple commands. 

Instill abilities:

To make it perform one of its abilities, it’s master has to say a specific triggerword. If the triggerword is not spoken, it will remain inactive.

Bind Curse (Lab Move)

1 vis for a minor curse 2 vis for a major curse

By using certain runes, you can put a curse onto an item.

Trigger:

  • Touch of the object

Minor curses: Annoying

  • physically weaker

  • Warts

  • strange odor

  • forget a certain word

  • Crows voice

  • Donkeys ears

Major curses, severe:

  • Feeling of burning, itching flesh

  • Gain the head of a demon

  • Brittle bones

  • Leprosy

  • Faster aging

  • Severe doubt in themselves

Removing the curse is Perdo Vim for minor curses and it’s used to drain the magic from the item.

Major curses require a divine or magical being with a lot of power. If they breathe on a cursed person the curse will be removed

Stealing the Magic of Creatures

Drain vis from a magical creature or bind a single power of a magical creature to you

Creature must be captured and in your lab. Steal it’s magic to use as vis. Creature will still be magical but unable to use their magic. How much Vis you gain will depend on how magical the creature is. Usually it’s between 1-5 vis.

Binding the magical power works like getting a Magical Power move. They can only take one ability per race of magical creatures (1 from all unicorns for example)

The creature loses that power.

It’s also possible on fae but probably against the code so very few have tried it. Rumours of Verditius mages using it on infernal and Divine creatures pop up from time to time.

Soul Attunement (major mystery)

When your hubris reaches five, you may pick this option instead of another: “You start your plans for a new magical item and you attune it to your soul. You gain 5 extra points to spend on it. Set your hubris to 1 afterwards.”

If you lose this object or it’s far away from you for more than a day, instantly take 2 magical harm that is armor piercing. Repeat each day you’re away from it.

Mage Creation 

Link to character sheets

Playbook, Name, Look and Parens

Choose a playbook, which will determine what House your character belongs to. It will also give you a unique move based on your house and a special debility that has come from your training.

Figure out a name or borrow one from a sheet

Imagine what your character looks like

Decide who their Parens (master) is. What are they like? What did they emphasize in their training?

Chose a magical sigil 

A magical Sigil has three parts:

A unique feature of the mages magic (A special scent, a distinct sound or a visual manifestation). This will always appear when the Mage makes a spell. 

A unique shape or feature that serves as the Mages signature. Draw it on your character sheet. This is your symbol. It might be related to your magic sigil or it may not. This is used when you sign documents and on your lab work to know you’ve made it. Since some mages have the same name, all their sigils are unique to differentiate them.

A physical object inscribed with your object used as voting at tribunals.

Determine your stats

Place 2 dots in Body, Mind, Spirit or Order as you please. It might represent your training or natural aptitude. You already start with one dot in a stat which displays your House’s focus.

Determine your Arts

Pick a statline and spend the points in whichever arts you want, with each value going to a seperate art. You can’t place two 1 values in the same art for instance:

  • 3,3,1,1 The rest zero

  • 3,2,1,1,1 The rest zero

  • 2,2,2,1,1 The rest zero

  • 2,2,1,1,1,1 The rest zero

Gain a move

If a move is pre-marked on the playbook, you have that move. If none are marked, pick one.

Pick (or create) Formulaic Spells

If you’re new to the game and want to get it running fast, go to the spell example section and pick out spells worth a total of 8 points.

If you want to create your own spells, start with eight points to spend on creating formulaic spells using the lab move “Inventing a spell”. 

Create your Lab

Design (Pick one or two)

  • Cozy fireplace and soft furniture

  • Luxurious and spacious interior

  • Dark and dungeon like design

  • Spartan room with a sparring ground

  • Plants and weed grows and an indoor stream runs through it

  • Dusty and unclean with piles of books strewn around

  • Sturdy wood banisters and beautiful carvings

  • Different, as you detail

Features (Pick 3)

  • A testing ground for experiments

  • Magical booby traps

  • Woodworkers bench and tools

  • An object from a far away place

  • Some tomes forbidden by the order (you detail)

  • A scattering of ancient relics, now depowered

  • A small but fertile garden and gardening tools

  • paint brushes and easels

  • a large magical cauldron that stirs itself

  • Large armory with all kinds of weapons and armor

  • a cold stone slab, a jar of leeches and surgical tools,

  • telescope and tools to measure the stars,