IMG_8219I’m wanting to give strong direction to new players here, so the virtues can’t just be “Divide by 2 rather than 5 for spellcasting totals”. I’m looking to give a serious twist to the characters, and put in some Victorian steampunk pseudoscience too.

Here are the basic virtue sets

Monkey Testicles
Your character has eight monkey testicles implanted in his abdomen. They give you the ability to perform feats of endurance far greater than those usual to the scholars who do magic. You do your best to mitigate it, but they also incline you toward blistering rages when you are frustrated. A firm punch to the right midsection is cripplingly painful to you: like being kicked in the groin, but magnified many times over.

Nightwalker
While you sleep, your spirit can roam. While roaming, it can be invisible and intangible, or it can take a ghostly appearance and move objects. Your ghostly form is ethereal in a purely mechanical sense: that is, it is made of ether, a subtle gas which is used as an anesthetic. Your ghostly presence generally renders people unconscious, although with careful stage management you can often stand close enough to a chimney or window to mitigate the effects a little.

Nobleman
You are the heir of a nobleman. This means you are wealthy and socially connected, but also that, at a cellular level, you believe, you are fundamentally superior to the people who are around you. Many aspirational people know this, and act accordingly. Magic which causes fear or confusion in lesser people does not affect you because of your blinding arrogance. Poor people, however, sense your aura of superciliousness, and loathe you.

Prosthetic hand
Your left hand is a miracle of modern engineering, but looks normal while gloved. It is virtually indestructible, and you are capable of crushing stone with your fingers. You are not capable of some acts of superhuman strength because the hand is grafted into the normal bone of your forearm, so you can’t do anything which would rip your arm off at the elbow. Sight of the ungloved hand can fascinate or terrify people.

Pyroempathy
Fires like you, can communicate with you, and will even do slightly unnatural things at your request. You don’t need to see a fire to command it, but it needs to be within human earshot of you. All types of fire are included, so you can speak with street lamps and the boiler fires in steam engines. An unfortunate side effect of your power is that the deafening, incoherent howling of the Sun forces you to avoid direct sunlight.

Shapeshifter
You can take the form of a rat or rook (raven) with only a moment’s delay. While in animal form, your human nature is undetectable. Your clothing does not change with you unless you happen to be wearing a particular, prepared suit of clothes. You only have one set which shifts with you, and it can’t contain any metal or plant products. Choose what it looks like now. In animal form you can speak with either mammals or birds, but after returning to human form it can take you a few minutes to adjust your mind to social niceties.

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One thought on “Virtue sets for characters in “The Shadows in the Smoke”, an Ars Magica adventure for GoPlay Brisbane

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