Ars Magica: Druesberg

Story So Far: Druesberg and Caelinus

The Covenant of Druesberg was once one of the most powerful in the Tribunal of the Greater Alps, but over the 12th Century the covenant declined as the magi aged and one by one entered Final Twilight.

In 1219 the Order of Hermes decided to send a set of new magi to revitalise the covenant, against the wishes of the last surviving magus of the previous generation, Caelinus of Bonisagus. The magi travelled to the covenant from Zurich and Caelinus reluctantly allowed them to set up labs.

In 1222, Caelinus departed on a pilgrimage to Bethlehem, saying he would be gone for one year, and leaving the new magi in charge in the meantime. He has not been heard from since.

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Story So Far: Aqrab

In Summer 1222, the Quaesitor Christina of Guernicus accused Sarrazin Ex Miscellenia of teaching magic to an outsider without inducting them into the Order of Hermes. This hedge wizard, Fulbert of Beziers, was now taking sides in a mundane conflict, another breach of the code. Sarrazin had taught Fulbert in a university but not taught him magic. He set out for Beziers to find out what was going on.

Fulbert turned out to be an infernalist, who believed he was being taught Hermetic magic but was actually being taught infernal powers by a mysterious woman named Aqrab. Aqrab claimed that she was Sarrazin’s servant and that she was teaching Fulbert based on Sarrazin’s magical techniques.

Sarrazin and his companions captured Aqrab, but she managed to escape while they were bringing her back to the covenant.

Some time later, when someone in the covenant was wounded, Aqrab reappeared and offered to heal them. She appeared to be able to cast Hermetic healing spells, or something indistinguishable from them.

Later, Aqrab appeared to Pietyr of Verditius, this time taking the form of a blue-skinned faerie, and offered to teach him. He narrowly managed to keep has association with Aqrab secret, and built a secret underground temple for her to teach him in. She has appeared to him variously as the blue-skinned faerie woman and as a cloud of midnight-blue smoke filled with eyes and mouths. She has taught him Magic, Infernal and Faerie lore, and shown him how to create vis by profaning holy objects.

When the giant living near the covenant was going to convert to Christianity, Aqrab convinced Pietyr that this would damage the covenant’s Magic aura, leading the magi to convince the giant to remain a pagan.

Aqrab still lives near the covenant and appears in Pietyr’s temple whenever he wishes to learn from her. Her plans are unknown.

By studying a book that Aqrab gave to Fulbert (which she claimed was written by Sarrazin, but was actually written by her), Sarrazin has learned Aqrab’s True Name. This can be used as an Arcane Connection to her, which could be useful if trying to affect her with spells.

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Story So Far: Lord Erwin

In Autumn 1222, the magi met Joachim the Scribe, who introduced them to his master Lord Erwin, the feudal lord whose land is closest to the covenant.

Hoping to gain Joachim’s service from Erwin, the magi went to his castle to impress him with a magic show. Unfortunately they failed to overcome the effects of the Gift, and were forced to abandon the plan.

That Christmas (1222), Lord Erwin’s castle came under attack by a Lindwurm. The magi and their companions dealt with the dragon and earned Lord Erwin’s gratitude.

A few years later, at Christmas 1226, Lord Erwin asked the magi to entertain him, his family, and his feudal superior, a visiting duke. He also wanted them to join him in hunting the Emperor Wolf. The magi impressed Erwin with a magic show, but, instead of hunting the wolf, got everyone really drunk and then made them think they had hunted the wolf.

Since that Christmas, Lord Erwin has sent his daughter, Lady Elsa, to study at the covenant under Sarrazin for one season each year. Erwin does not hide the fact that he hopes that this tuition will turn into a courtship, so that Erwin can gain some magi allies by marriage.

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Story So Far: Calebais

Summer 1228: A Redcap named Ash delivered a damaged letter to the magi concerning the legendary covenant of Calebais, which collapsed into ruin fifty years ago. The letter’s owner had kept it secret since then, but recently heard of a disturbance in the village near Calebais, and asked Ash to seek the magi’s help in case the disturbance was related to the ruined covenant. The letter mentions the Bell of Ibyn, a magical artefact of great power.

The magi and their companions travelled to the village and set up a camp nearby. They learned that the disturbance was the death of a man and the disappearance of his daughter in the forest. The magi learned that satyrs live in part of the forest, and met Sir Gilbert, a knight who has come to slay the dragon he believes lives in the forest.

The magi managed to navigate through the magical illusions warding the covenant site, and reached the covenant itself. They have descended into the underground ruins of Calebais and met several of its inhabitants, which include ghosts, and humanoid ferret-like creatures called Hrools, and a fire drake who was once a familiar. They have also found and adopted an ambulatory rock, which was one a human child, and which they have promised to keep safe at the behest of his mother’s ghost.

The magi managed to reach the ruined laboratories of the magi of Calebais, and explored the lab that once belonged to a maga named Drininkeana, whose magic appeared to focus on plants and earth. From here they recovered a pair of books and a set of enchanted crystalline plants.

Two of the characters have been wounded in the ruins. Sister Abigail is heavily wounded, unable move herself without assistance, and will likely take several seasons to recover. Cadheal has several light wounds, which will likely heal in one or two weeks; currently he can walk slowly without assistance but not perform strenuous activities.

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Calebais: Into the Depths

Arcturus, Pietyr, Sir Adele, and Ivan continued to explore the ruins of Calebais.

They found the lab of Ierimyra of Bjornaer, Magister of Life, in which they found some crystals (probably containing vis), a two-foot-long stoppered bronze beaker containing an unidentified liquid, and a scroll detailing the process by which Ierimyra granted the Hrools intelligence. A band of Hrools, from the Hrool warren adjoining the lab, confronted them and attacked them when they refused to surrender the items they had taken. The champion Hrool wounded Ivan with a spear, but Arcturus and Pietyr killed him. The adventurers took the champion Hrool’s magical shield, left, and barricaded the Hrools in their lair.

The adventurers then entered another wizard’s lab, which was initially full of illusions. They saw through the illusions and encountered the ghost of Mormulus, Magister of Illusions, who had created the veil that warded the covenant from scrying.

Next they descended to the level below, where they encountered the ghost of Pitsdim, Magister of Flames, in the ruins of the Calebais library. He managed to kill Bertram the mercenary, and the rest of the party escaped by jumping into the water at the bottom of the well.

At the bottom of the well, the party found themselves in a lab that had once belonged to the weather-mage Ventus Gurges. Here they encountered the ghost of Ventus Gurges’ lab assistant, whom they laid to rest by giving her some magical food.

Arcturus, Pietyr, Sir Adele, Ivan (who is slightly wounded), and the two surviving mercenaries are now stuck at the lowest non-flooded level of Calebais.

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Calebais: Escape from Pitsdim

Arcturus, Pietyr, Sir Adele and Ivan were stuck at the bottom level of Calebais, with no stairs up and with the mad ghost of a fire wizard on the level above.

Pietyr managed to save the books and fragile items the party had discovered by taking them out of the well using his wall-walking ability. Arcturus found some more books in the lab of Ventus Gurges, which took up the bottom level, plus a set of three clay pots labelled ‘Tempest in a Pot’.

The party attempted to escape by freezing the water of the well and then draining it into a new cavern created beneath Calebais by Pietyr. The noise attracted Pitsdim, who descended the well to attack the party. They opened the tempest pots, which contained air elementals that attacked Pitsdim and distracted him. Sir Adele also prayed for help, and her guardian angel appeared and did battle with Pitsdim. Arcturus miscast a spell and entered Wizards’ Twilight.

Pietyr created some stairs out of the bottom level, and the party managed to escape, with the Twilight-ridden Arcturus. Arcturus emerged from Twilight, warped by the experience but having gained insights into Aquam magic. The angel exhausted Pitsdim in combat, although he would return at full strength the next day.

The whole party travelled back to Druesberg to plan their next move. Pietyr created a magical floating stone platform to allow Sister Abigail to be transported despite her wounds.

The wounded Sister Abigail confessed her lycanthropic curse to Malkan, who asked Pietyr to construct a special cell under the Druesberg covenant chapel to contain her whenever she transformed. With Malkan’s help it took her a little over four months to fully recover from her wounds.

Back at the covenant, the magi cooperated to prepare to rescue the woman whose disappearance had brought them to Calebais in the first place. Cadheal spent a season fixing the lock of the woman’s hair that the party had recovered into a permanent Arcane Connection to her. Pietyr created an experimental one-use magic item to locate her based on that Arcane Connection and a map (Intellego Corpus 20); the experiment worked, although a side-effect caused the map to become covered in gemstones. The item determined that she was alive in the faerie forest near Calebais.

Arcturus spent two seasons experimenting on a spell to make a person resistant to fire in case they had to fight Pitsdim again (Ward Against Heat and Flames, Rego Corpus 25). He invented the spell successfully, although he has a sense that his experiments may have also had another effect which has yet to become apparent.

Arcturus and Pietyr returned to the village near Calebais. With the information gained from the spell and Arcturus’s Second Sight they easily found their way into the faerie regio where she was being held as a communal wife by the satyrs. She had eaten the satyrs’ food and was unable to leave, but with the help of the dryad and her fiancĂ© they were able to free her. The couple found themselves no longer welcome at the village, but the magi invited them to live at the covenant.

The magi intend to spend two years becoming more powerful and then possibly return to Calebais. (This two years includes the time they’ve already spent freeing the woman.) The magi therefore have 8 seasons of downtime before the next adventure.

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Calebais: Spoils of Calebais

Loot gathered from the party’s first expedition to Calebais:

Books

  • A Catalogue of the Magical Properties of Plants (Summa on Herbam, level 5, quality 9) by Drininkeana
  • A New Technique for Magical Growth (Tractatus on Creo, quality 9) by Drininkeana
  • A lab text detailing Ierimyra’s creation of the Hrools
  • A two-volume History of the Order of Hermes (Two Tractatus on Order of Hermes Lore, quality 8) by Ventus Gurges
  • A three-volume Magical History of the Roman Empire (Three Tractatus on Area Lore: Rome, quality 8) by Ventus Gurges
  • A five-volume The Storm Spells of Ventus Gurges (Five Tractatus on Auram, quality 8) by Ventus Gurges

Vis

  • 2 pawns Mentem (left by Dargaud’s ghost once the party convinced him he was dead)
  • 3 pawns Mentem (left by Josephine’s ghost once the party convinced her Gemaric was safe and she could move on)
  • 2 pawns Perdo (golden tusks from a boar skull from the lab of Ierimyra)
  • 8 pawns Vim (small crystals found amid the rubble of the lab of Ierimyra)
  • 5 pawns Auram (blue smoke trapped in glass containers from the lab of Ventus Gurges)

Other

  • The Captain’s Shield: A magical shield that makes the wearer invisible if they stand completely still for several seconds. It is also magically resistant to wear and decay. It is currently emblazoned with the symbol of Calebais, although this could be painted over.
  • A two-foot-long stoppered beaker of non-magical acid.
  • Gemaric the magic walking rock
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Dominic and Dionisia

Autumn/Winter 1228: The couple that the magi invited to live at the covenant after rescuing her from the satyrs are named Dominic and Dionisia. They ask Malkan to marry them in the covenant chapel (if he doesn’t want to, they’ll go to the Yberge parish priest).

Dionisia was pregnant when the magi rescued her, and gives birth soon after she marries Dominic. The baby girl has yellow eyes and a pair of tiny horns on either side of her head. She also has a magical air to her, possibly indicating that she has the Gift. Despite this, Dominic decides to ignore her parentage raise her as if she were his own. The couple ask Malkan to baptize the baby, whom they name Iseut.

Dominic says he wants to repay the magi by becoming a shield grog and protecting them. He has had no military training but is physically fit and eager to learn.

Dionisia’s personality seems to have been altered by her stay with the satyrs; either that, or they chose her in the first place because she had a satyr-like personality. She turns out to have a voracious sexual appetite and a somewhat lax idea of what constitutes marital infidelity. She also wants to ‘repay’ the magi for rescuing her, especially Pietyr, whom she finds strangely fascinating.

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Miscellaneous downtime events

General:

Pietyr:

  • Aqrab informs Pietyr (either in person or in a dream) that she could tutor him and the other magi in Magic Lore. Bring the other magi to her, she says, and she can pose as a teacher – they don’t need to know her real nature. Alternatively, if he brings her writing materials, she could write them a book for their covenant library.
  • Despite now being married to Dominic, Dionisia is very grateful for being rescued, and when Dominic’s back is turned she chases Pietyr around the covenant in the hope of expressing that gratitude.

Arcturus:

  • He has a feeling that something went wrong while experimenting on his ward against flames, but he can’t tell what. The spell appears to function properly.
  • Shortly before the end of the two years, his magical dog breeding regime produces a puppy with Magic Might, which reaches maturity quickly. James gets to create a magical dog using the point-buy system in Realms of Power: Magic. It is a Spring character (120 starting XP) with a Magic Might of 10-size. You should probably use the stats for the Hound in RoP:M as a starting point, or one of the dog variants in Lords of Men if you have it.

Sarrazin/Ivan:

  • In addition to the eight seasons of downtime, Sarrazin and Ivan each gain 10 XP from the Calebais adventure. (Other players spent this at the end of the session)
  • If Sarrazin continues to tutor Lady Elsa, that takes up two of his eight seasons. He gets 2 XP in Teaching for each one, and he gets to pick what he teaches her. She is clever and studious but does not have the magical Gift.

Cadheal:

  • No character-specific events besides what we’ve discussed by email.
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Greetings from Other Magi

Late 1228: Word of the exploits of the revitalised covenant of Druesberg is spreading in the Order. Ash the Redcap brings letters of greetings from three senior magi who might wish to trade with the Druesberg magi.

  • Portia of Bonisagus is a specialist in healing and longevity rituals. She regularly creates longevity rituals for other magi, and occasionally for very wealthy mundanes. She generally takes payment in the form of vis.
  • Oracus of Criamon is a reclusive scholar, rumoured to have the finest collection of magical books in the Alps Tribunal. He is protective of his library but sometimes lets other magi make copies in return for payment. He is interested in rare books and in permanent Arcane Connections to interesting people, creatures, or places.
  • Bellatrix of Flambeau was once a famous battle-mage, but has since retired to contemplate the mystical dimension of fire magic. She sometimes tutors younger magi in the arts of combat magic, or sells magical items of a martial bent. She is interested in Igmen vis, magical books, and insights into the Divine.
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