Legends was an interesting project which demonstrates the advantages of a tightly edited series of books. My initial way of writing the castle was to add a new Mystery to the rules, to allow my legendary character to do things which other characters could not do. This Mystery would have been an adventure reward for the player characters. This didn’t fly during the initial drafting: that’s when I came up with the new idea, which is basically that the castle works by trickery.

To me, this demonstrates that there’s a lot of value in this oppositional method of development. I sometimes wonder if the indie authors who do not have editors or line styles get this same advantage, of being told that no, being able to do whatever you like doesn’t necessarily make your work better.

Anyhow, in case you’d like to work with the ideas cut from the castle, here are some hooks for the new Mystery, which allows for a fully-enchanted megastructure, without Thomae’s cheat, and some spells designed for the first draft of the castle, where it was a massive magical item.

It also contains a bit of material I cut because I’d made a research error: I’d read “amethyst” for “agate”.

The Architects

Thomae’s death, falling from the sky, recalls faintly the death of Icarus, the son of Daedalus, one of the precursors that Hermetic Architects claim for their own. The Hermetic Architects know a way of making fantastic contraptions, exceeding the power of those they traditionally make, which they refuse to use. The Icarus Techniques, first by the desperate Daedalus in his jailbreak, create impossible items, but the magic supporting them is fickle and flimsy, and these items are destined to fail catastrophically. The lack of wards, and strange suboptimalisms in the rest of the design, make the castle more robust, but its still an experimental device that no sensible Architect will stray within sight of.

The Verditius who assisted Thomae will go into hiding if his link to the castle is discovered. Widespread knowledge of the existence of the Icarus Techniques lowers the dependability of the Hermetic Architects in the eyes of potential customers. Thomae’s allies might also seek revenge. When the Verditus runs, this makes the Quaesitores even more suspscious, and launch a hunt. The characters are well-placed to find Arcane Connections to the Verditus. They may wish to hand him to the Quaesitores whose goodwill they may want given that they now control Thomae’s legally-irritating castle. Perhaps the player characters instead cut a deal with him for aid in escaping justice. He can explain which things that make the castle’s enchantments more fragile and, with sufficient vis, maintain it as it fails.

Infernal

Some members of the Order believe that there are a group of immortal magi, which they call the Ashen College, who able to continue studying for centuries. They would have the Magic Theory scores required to build the castle. Sadly, they are in Hell.

This supposition first emerged after the Corruption of House Tytalus. One of the Tytalusian methods of trying to spread their corruption was to disseminate magical research. Initially this material was untainted, but over time it was gradually corrupted by infernal techniques. This was to tempt its users to refuse to give up their new techniques once they had become accustomed to greater power. A lingering question emerged, though: where did the demons source the clean, but revolutionary, research that they progressively tainted? The theory expressed at the time was that some souls were permitted to continue creating new magical insights, so that these could be used as lure by the Infernal.

If Thomae made a deal with a demon for the assistance of the Ashen College, the player characters may soon begin to see his ghost. Some records from the Corruption suggest that magi using the techniques of the Ashen College join it at death. Their ghosts, or facsimiles, are used as tempters to continue the College’s work on Earth.

Thomae may, alternatively, have tricked Hell. This is a long-term goal of some members of House Tytalus, who see it as going one better than the corrupted Primus, Tsagilla. If this is true, then at the site where the castle was constructed, there may be a laboratory which contains his notes, indicating what he did, and how. It likely contains powerful magical items that ward against the infernal, and may contain imprisoned demons.

Even if Thomae was not a servant of Hell, his castle provides such unique opportunities for sin that its residents will swiftly attract demonic interest. It has enormous destructive potential, which characters can be tempted with. It has a second, more subtle lure, though: the ability to just move the whole settlement means that the inhabitants can mistreat outsiders and never really be held accountable for their actions. Even if the magi guard against this, some demons will use this as a moral corrosive, encouraging crime and lechery among the covenfolk.

Spells

The Startling Leaps Of The Desperate Servant

ReCo Level 59

Pen +0, 50/day

R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Boundary, Requires Hermetic Architecture Mystery

Hermetic Architects, unlike other magi, are able to instill Boundary effects into items, provided the item defines the Boundary.

The enchantment allows those affected to swiftly move their bodies in whatever manner they wish for the duration of the spell.  Thomae designed this to allow his servants to escape the castle if the enchantment allowing flight failed. It takes up 6 spaces in the statuettes that enchant the castle.

The expense taken to enchant this effect into the disk was interpreted by his servants as a sign of his character. More cynical magi may note that the enchantment has military applications which make it worth the expense. This power allows grogs to fly, but this means that they are capable of providing airborne archery fire, are able to rapidly redeploy during sieges, and when the castle is in flight, can act as saboteurs or airborne infantry. It is triggered by a specific signal of colored light from the control chain.

Most servants in the castle were taught simple tricks on training days, like leaping from the courtyard to the top of a tower then down again, so that if they were required to leap from the castle to the ground below they would have confidence in the spell. Some others were trained in flight, while three of Thomae’s personal guards developed a style of acrobatics for use in combat. It is this spell that allowed the pioneers of San Lucia to escape the castle’s fall. The medallion that appears early in the Adventure section, later, creates a similar, but weaker effect so that training can be given without using the castle’s effect, which creates Warping because of its power.

There are two basic flaws in this failsafe. The effect is cast forcelessly, so it will not save those with any sort of Magic Resistance. Hermetic Architects cannot create Boundary enchantments with a Range greater than Touch. This means that to be affected by the failsafe, a person must be touching the flight disk when it is activated.

Effect: Base 15, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +4 Boundary; Modifications +3 linked trigger to the failure of the enchantment that allows the castle to fly, +6 levels fifty uses per day.

Ward Against Missile Weapons

CrAu(Re) Level 49

Pen +0, 24/day

R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Boundary, Requires Hermetic Architecture Mystery

Hermetic Architects, unlike other magi, are able to instill Boundary effects into items, provided the item defines the Boundary.

This effect, despite its name, is a variant on Circling Winds of Protection (ArM5, pages 125-126). This surrounds the castle in a ball of powerful winds. Anyone fighting through the wall of wind has -3 on Attack rolls and must make a Size stress roll at the beginning of each round equal to 9 or more, or they are blown away from the castle. All projectiles coming into the affected area suffer a -9 Attack penalty.

(Base 3, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +4 Boundary, +2 unnatual, +1 Rego effect; Modifications, +4, 24 uses per day)

The Ward Against The Spirits of the Air

ReAu Level 54

Pen +18, constant

R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Boundary, Requires Hermetic Architecture Mystery

Hermetic Architects, unlike other magi, are able to instill Boundary effects into items, provided the item defines the Boundary.

This effect prevents lesser air spirits (Might 16 or less) from touching the castle, or attacking its inhabitants. This enchantment takes up six spaces in the golden statues that power the flight disk.

Base 16 (Warding at Touch Range, with Ring Duration and Circle Target has a Base equal to the level of the creature warded: ArM, page 129), +4 Boundary. Modifications: +4 levels constant use, +18 levels Penetration.

The Unfailing Strength of the Guardian

ReCo Level 49

Pen +0, 12/day

R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Boundary, Requires Hermetic Architecture Mystery

Hermetic Architects, unlike other magi, are able to instill Boundary effects into items, provided the item defines the Boundary.

This enchantment replicates the spell Endurance of the Berserkers (ArM5, page 134) which allows targets to act without Wound or Fatigue penalties until they use up all of their Fatigue levels. This causes them to lapse into unconsciousness.  This enchantment takes up five spaces in the golden statues that power the flight disk. It causes Warping, and so is only used in emergencies.

Base 10, +1 Touch, +1 Sun, +4 Boundary; Modifications: 12 uses +4 levels

Vanity

MuIm 24

Pen +0, constant

R: Per, D: Sun, T: Boundary, Requires Hermetic Architecture Mystery

Hermetic Architects, unlike other magi, are able to instill Boundary effects into items, provided the item defines the Boundary.

This spell is a variant of Aura of Ennobled Presence but rather than making a human appear more authoritative, it makes the castle appear more majestic and imposing. Add +3 to any rolls that use the castle’s size, majesty or magical nature to impress.

Base 3, +1 Sun, +4 Boundary: Modifications +4 levels, constant

Amethyst

In this section, I’ve stored a piece written because I misread what griffin eggs are made of. It was cut from the book when I saw the mistake, but the plot hook is useful in other contexts.

Eggs of Amethyst

Griffin eggs are perfect amethysts. Goblets made from, or decorated with, amethyst aid magic that resists or causes drunkenness. Amethyst is also useful for spells that quiet passions, and assists in illusions that deceive. Amethysts aid magic that commands tigers, although this is little known among Hermetic magi.

Some fauns are attracted to amethysts, which folkloristically have their colour from wine poured over the original amethyst by Dionysius. They can suck this original wine from unenchanted amethysts, leaving a milky stone that aids magic that guards chastity or causes petrifaction.

 

Alternative Hook: Ancient Rego Magic

 

Pliny, a Roman writer, derisively records charlatans in his time who had talismans of amethyst, and in doing so he may be recording the final remnants of an Egyptian magical practice. A Bonisagus magus following up this clue may replace the redcap, described below, as the hook character for this scenario. In this case, the griffins themselves, not the flying castle, are the attraction.

“The falsehoods of the magicians would persuade us that these stones are preventive of inebriety, and that it is from this that they have derived their name. They tell us also, that if we inscribe the names of the sun and moon upon this stone, and then wear it suspended from the neck, with some hair of the cynocephalus and feathers of the swallow, it will act as a preservative against all noxious spells. It is said too, that worn in any manner, this stone will ensure access to the presence of kings; and that it will avert hail and the attacks of locusts, if a certain prayer is also repeated which they mention. They make similar promises, too, in reference to the smaragdus, if graven with the figure of an eagle or of a scarabæus: statements which, in my opinion, they cannot have committed to writing without a feeling of contempt and derision for the rest of mankind.”(Pliny, Natural History, Bostock translation)

This is of interest to Hermetic magi because the “cynocephalus” is a type of ape that was sacred to Thoth. Thoth is believed, by some magi, to be the same spirit as Hermes, making the Priests of Thoth the ancestors of the Order. Pliny notes a claim that the charm above provided generic magic resistance, protection from all noxious spells, which is unique to Hermetic magic.

 

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