So, I had this idea for a convention one-shot scenario. I’m writing it up here because there’s no chance I’ll work on it this year, and I don’t want to forget the elements which have started to congeal in my mind.
The background of it works like this: the Criamon cosmology contains a couple of apocalyptic elements. Twilight is only possible because Criamon holds the way to Twilight open (in this sense he’s similar to certain types of Buddha) and his followers are seeking Wisdom because they are meant to find a better solution before his strength fails and he must pass into Twilight himself, which will close the way behind him. The genius locus of the Cave of Twisting Shadows has something to do with the plan, as does the prophesied return of the missing Primi. Some Criamon even believe they know which number is the final Primus (because Criamon designed their sepulchres and only left a certain number of spaces).
There’s also this idea that the parts of the psyches of magi who go into Twilight in an impure state fall back into the world, as magical aberrations. This hasn’t been picked up in any of the later books, and if the whole combined writing project for November falls through I might do thirty of these. Basically there are a heap of these aberrant magical begins out there, and they can combine into new and worse forms. Criamon himself potentially left one of these things behind. He’s hinted at a couple of times: he’s an embodiment of all of Criamon’s spiritual failures. That doesn’t make him powerful, because Criamon was a great guy, but it does make him dangerous, because he probably understand the apocalypse better than anyone else.
So, he’s the villain.
A time comes when the path to twilight, which is represented as the World Tree, which the Hermetics stole from Transylvania (which is from Hedge Magic, not the upcoming book) is about to fail. Various old magi don’t go into Twilight when they botch spells, they just die horrifically. The shadow of the tree leads to a piece of the magic realm where the leftover bits of Criamon’s psyche are about to poison the world, using centuries of Hermetic aberrations to do the damage. The Genius of the Cave knows it can’t send magi against the creature, because it can just pull fresh aberrations from the souls of magi, sending them into Twilight and bolstering its forces, so it calls champions from the Redcap tradition, reaching out through time and selecting those with non-Hermetic powers.
The player characters are:
Belin was active in the early years of the Order, and is the oldest. She has the skills to deal with mortals, and understands much of the structure of the Order in 1220. She knew Criamon, and may have some inkling of how the Enigma works. Belin is a throwback to the Bloodline of Heroes, which predates the Order.
Characters from after Belin remember her as the Perfect Redcap, and that she mysteriously disappeared.
Ricardo is in his forties, and comes from the Renaissance, from an Order which fought a shadowy war against the Ventetians and was given land and concessions in exchange for peace. The Knights of the Ibis, of which he is a ranked member, are the putative owners of this small territory, but they are just a face for the Order. Ricardo has the sort of military hardware you’d associate with the leader of a magical band of musketeers. He brings the firepower, and can at least understand much of the Order, because he knows the pre-war layout of Europe. He has some items of Strange Magic, a Realm which appeared after 1220, filled with clockwork spirits.
Characters from after Ricardo’s time remember him as the Order’s point man in the Blue Hummingbird War, against the Diedne Empire in South America. During the War he rose to the Generalship of the Knights, and subdued Feathered Serpent Territories, which were all-but ruled by the Order through the Knights.
Montpellier is in his late twenties, and is the descendant of a mid-African tribe of blacksmith wizards who joined the Order in the late 1600s, although he comes from 1890. Montpellier is an amputee, but it is hard to tell, because he wears a suit of thin, super-toughened, bronze that moves like a body would, giving him a full body prosthesis. He can’t project force, but he’s basically unkillable in the suit, and has heroic strength and stamina. The suit’s strangest device is its Baraka Engine, which allows him to swap vis, confidence points, and pips on rolled dice around. This is non-Hermetic magic, from the Sudanese tradition.
Janet remembers Montpellier as the first leader of both the Sudanese and Verditius traditions, merging them, and being the first Primus to move a Domus Magnus outside of Europe. He also invented methods of sending spells over telegraph wires, using old Roman Road magic.
Janet is a courier in a modern world, serving a secret cabal of wizards. Her magic items are all implants, although they are not detectable to casual observation. She has a familiar-spirit which was personally tailored for her, and force grown using something that the Soqotrans might vaguely recognise as tree spirit binding. It looks like a mobile phone most of the time. It also works as a phone, and is filled with preloaded incantations. Once pulled into the past she can feed her phone with Magical Ambience or vis, but can’t get a signal to change her apps. She’s a bit of a history nerd, so she’s not absolutely lost, and she was swept from time while on a camping holiday so she has some excellent modern gear, but she’s the least experienced character.
There’ no-one here to tell Janet what she does that makes her an epitome of redcapness.