The Hermetic Wild West
House Mercere: Knight of the Priory (Redcap Custodian)
Name: Wesley Valiant “Val” Carson; House: Mercere (Redcap)
Age: 26; Gender: Male; Size: + 2; Soak: 6 / 12
Confidence: 2 / 5; Decrepitude: 0 / 0; Warping: 0 / 0
Personality Traits: Brave + 5, Driven + 3, Temperate + 5
Characteristics: Intelligence + 0, Perception + 2; Strength + 3, Stamina + 3; Presence + 1, Communication + 1; Dexterity + 1, Quickness + 1
Virtues and Flaws: Animal Ken, Blood of Heroes, Dowsing, Giant Blood, Gift of Tongues, Improved Characteristics x2, Invisibility to Magic, Magic Items x3, Magic Sensitivity, Redcap, Second Sight, Tough, Well-Traveled, Wilderness Sense; Enemies, Heroic Personality, Incomprehensible, Overconfident, Poor Student, Temperate
Abilities: Animal Handling (Horses) x4, Animal Ken (Horses) x4, Artes Liberales (Grammar) (read/write English, Latin) x2, Athletics (Running) x1, Awareness (Ambushes) x4, Brawl (Dodging) x4, Carouse (Staying Sober) x1, Charm (Southern Wit) x1, Code of Hermes (Wizards’ Marches) x1, Concentration (In Battle) x4, Dowsing (Human Prey) x1, Etiquette (Southern Gentility) x1, Firearms (Rifles) x4, Folk Ken (Southerners) x4, Guile (White Lies) x1, Hunt (Tracking) x1, Intrigue (Order of Hermes) x1, Leadership (Intimidation) x1, Magic Sensitivity (Active Spells) x4, Native Language: English (Academic Subjects) x5, Organization Lore: Order of Hermes (Politics) x1, Ride (In Battle) x2, Second Sight (Invisible Things) x4, Stealth (Moving Silently) x1, Survival (Foraging) x1, Swim (Under Water) x1, Theology (Biblical Knowledge) x1, Weapon Mastery: Rifles (Mobile Firing, Point Blank, Precise Shot, Rapid Reload) x4, Wilderness Sense (Fastest Routes) x1
Equipment: Henry Repeating Rifle (rifle, .44 Henry, 15 shots, 1860), Remington New Army Revolver (pistol, .44 cap & ball, 6 shot, 1858), Dagger, Box of 50 (.44 Henry cartridges), Satchel of 50 (.44 balls with caps), Powder Flask with Charger (100 shots), Firearm Maintenance Kit, Spyglass, Pony Express Mochila (saddle cover/bags)
Magic Items (levels): Bloodline Gorget (17), Bullet’s Buckle (19), Corpse Spike (15), Flight Medallion (13), Hauberk of the Sentinel (19), Healer’s Wrap (21), Iron Cross (20), Lock-Breaker (7), Sequara’s Belt Pouch (7), Witch Compass (27)
Load: 9; Burden: 3; Encumbrance: 0
DETAILED CHARACTER CREATION (page 28-33)
Redcap Custodian: Knight of the Priory and guardian of the long trail
Val is a Redcap member of House Mercere. His usual role is a “custodian,” a type of Redcap tasked with protecting expeditions of magi or other Redcaps.
3. Virtues & Flaws:
Wesley Valiant “Val” Carson is a huge, sturdy man, the son of a Western legend. His father, “Kit” Carson, was a larger-than-life American hero, a famous tracker, mountain man and Indian fighter, and the hero of dozens of dime novels.
- Giant Blood (Major General Virtue)
- Tough (Minor General Virtue)
- Blood of Heroes (Special Virtue)
Val’s extraordinary origin affords him great advantages in the physical arena. It gives him a heroic personality and the confidence to master any situation.
- Improved Characteristics x2 (Minor General Virtues)
- Heroic Personality (Minor Heroic Flaw)
- Overconfident (Major Personality Flaw)
Val’s legendary blood also grants him two exceptional aptitudes:
First, Val has the gift of true speech; he can communicate with any living creature, animal or human, regardless of language. This is a feat possessed by many famous mountain men. But the ability to gain knowledge from all living things disinclined Val to book-learning. Neither can he competently teach others using terms familiar to those who studied in schools.
- Animal Ken (Minor Supernatural Virtue)
- Gift of Tongues (Minor Heroic Virtue)
- Poor Student (Minor General Flaw)
- Incomprehensible (Minor General Flaw)
Although Val lacks the Gift, his second aptitude is the ability to discern the various components of the supernatural. He can see magic in its various forms, including things concealed or disguised by magic. Being in-tune with the perception of magic, and how magic perceives others, he is also able to conceal himself from it while concentrating.
- Magic Sensitivity (Minor Supernatural Virtue)
- Second Sight (Minor Supernatural Virtue)
- Invisibility to Magic (Major Heroic Virtue)
Because of his obvious exceptionality, Val was invited to train at the Louisiana Priory as a Redcap custodian, a Knight of the Priory. Val’s adherence to knightly virtues and his success on the trail earned him the trust of the Priory and several extra sets of magic items.
- Redcap (Major Social Status Virtue)
- Temperate (Minor Personality Flaw)
- Magic Items x3 (Minor General Virtues)
Val traveled extensively on Western and Southwestern trails. There he interacted with a variety of European and Native peoples. Some of his time was spent tracking escaped slaves, but most of it was spent escorting missionaries and supporting Catholic missions. Along the way, Val learned to track using Indian techniques and developed a natural understanding of the outdoors.
- Well-Traveled (Minor General Virtue)
- Dowsing (Minor Supernatural Virtue)
- Wilderness Sense (Minor Supernatural Virtue)
Following the war, Val received special status and immunity for crimes associated with the Louisiana Priory. Val had played a negligible role in the conflict and showed immediate willingness to hunt his former covenant members and bring them to justice. Val’s assistance with the reunion of the tribunal has earned him some powerful enemies, particularly his former allies in the South.
- Enemies (Major Story Flaw)
Val appears to be a normal man of huge size. He is exceptionally strong and enduring. He also has a very sharp eye.
- Strength + 3
- Stamina + 3
- Intelligence + 0
- Perception + 2
Val has a natural agility and speed, and has a quiet gentility about him that belies his rough trade.
- Dexterity + 1
- Quickness + 1
- Presence + 1
- Communication + 1
5. Early Childhood:
Val’s mother brought him up in high-society, giving him some practice in social circles at a very young age.
- Native Language: English (Academic Subjects) x5
- Charm (Southern Wit) x1
- Guile (White Lies) x1
Although raised in the urban environs of Montgomery, Val’s mother insisted that he spend time outdoors on long “adventures” with the “servants” (African and Native American slaves). She greatly admired the boy’s father and, though he was absent, she wanted her son to develop the same “manly” traits.
- Athletics (Running) x1
- Awareness (Ambushes) x2
- Stealth (Moving Silently) x1
- Survival (Foraging) x1
- Swim (Under Water) x1
6. Later Life:
From age six through ten, Val spent time on his own, in the city and in the nearby western frontier. He practiced a few new skills, in particular, how to ride and track, as well as how to drink liquor like a gentleman. He also learned to keep his head under stress; to maintain his gentility even while brawling or drunk.
- Ride (In Battle) x1
- Hunt (Tracking) x1
- Brawl (Dodging) x1
- Carouse (Staying Sober) x1
- Etiquette (Southern Gentility) x1
- Concentration (In Battle) x4
Val apprenticed as a Redcap at the Louisiana Priory. He initially travelled to Pic du Paradis for his induction rituals, where he received several months of esoteric training. There he developed latent talents related to magic detection. After Val’s return to the Priory’s main chapter house in Arkansas, he learned reading and writing and he studied the history of the Order of Hermes. He also learned to carefully read the varied types of people that he was so frequently in contact with on the trail.
- Magic Sensitivity (Active Spells) x4
- Second Sight (Invisible Things) x4
- Artes Liberales (Grammar) (read/write English, Latin) x2
- Code of Hermes (Wizards’ Marches) x1
- Organization Lore: Order of Hermes (Politics) x1
- Folk Ken (Southerners) x4
- Intrigue (Order of Hermes) x1
- Theology (Biblical Knowledge) x1
As a future custodian, Val trained diligently with firearms, particularly the rifle. This weapon would serve him well for hunting humans and game alike. He also developed some supernatural knacks that helped him in the wilds.
- Firearms (Rifles) x4
- Weapon Mastery: Rifles (Mobile Firing, Point Blank, Precise Shot, Rapid Reload) x4
- Animal Ken (Horses) x4
- Dowsing (Human Prey) x1
- Wilderness Sense (Fastest Routes) x1
As his apprenticeship drew to a close, Val carefully honed some of the skills he picked up earlier, believing them to be important for him when he left the safety of the Priory.
- Animal Handling (Horses) x4
- Awareness (Ambushes) x4
8. After Apprenticeship:
Val spent most of his eight years post-apprenticeship working as a Redcap custodian, a “Hospitaller” knight still in the service of the Louisiana Priory. A small part of his time was spent on the trail tracking escaped slaves. But mostly he trained new custodians to fight for the covenant.
- Ride (In Battle) x2
- Brawl (Dodging) x4
- Leadership (Intimidation) x1
9. Personality Traits:
By his current age, Val has developed a Brave + 5, Driven + 3, and Temperate + 5 personality.
Val has no reputations.
Val’s Confidence Score begins at a rating of two because of his Heroic Personality Flaw. He starts with five Confidence Points to spend.
While based out of the Louisiana Priory following his training, Val was reasonably equipped for his tasks as a Redcap custodian. In addition to a large collection of minor magical items, he carries a bowie knife, a rifle and pistol, a stock of ammunition and cleaning supplies, a spyglass, and a special saddle designed for delivering mail.
REDCAP MAGIC ITEMS: Redcap (Major Social Status Virtue) + Magical Items (Minor General Virtue) x3 + 8 years of service post-apprenticeship = (165 levels)
Created for use by members of a long-lost society of wizards, this engraved gorget has the power to hide the wearer in plain sight. The command word “invisibilis” activates and deactivates the effect when spoken by the wearer.
Invisibility (Pe Im 17); R: Per, D: Sun, T: Ind. The target becomes completely undetectable to sight, regardless of what he does. The target still casts a shadow. (Base 4, + 2 Sun, + 1 changing image) (+ 2 levels for three uses per day)
This tarnished belt buckle bears the “CS” logo of the Confederate States of America. When worn on a belt around the waist, it provides a constant protection against metal projectiles like bullets. This is one of the magical items that the Louisiana Priory provided to Southern officers to assist in the war effort. Val wears this belt under the broad leather waist brace of his pistol harness, preferring not to announce any Confederate association.
Block the Bullet’s Stride (Re Te 19); R: Personal, D: Diam, T: Ind. This spell deflects attacks against you from projectiles composed of small amounts of metal. This includes firearm and sling bullets, metal-tipped arrows, and metal-tipped crossbow bolts. The firs such attack each round is blocked; any others are not affected. These weapons will not penetrate the target’s body or the things she is wearing or carrying (according to the Personal target parameters). (Base 3, + 2 Sun, + 2 metal) (+ 1 level for two uses per day and + 3 levels for environmental trigger = the effect is constant)
This device looks like a short steel ice pick with an ebony handle. It is activated by inserting the pointy end into the lung of a corpse, either through the chest or the back. This item forces the spirit to speak aloud with the user, animating the corpse’s mouth and facial features.
Palaver with the Dead (In Co 15); R: Touch, D: Conc, T: Ind, Req: Mentem. You can speak with a human spirit through its corpse, so long as the corpse has not yet decayed into a skeleton, been buried in a Church burial, or gone straight to Heaven (as would a saint or a crusader). The spirit that you speak with is not compelled to tell the truth; you can, of course, find ways to coerce or trick it into doing so. All those around you can hear the voice of the corpse. (Base 5, + 1 Touch, + 1 Conc, no cost for requisite) (+ 0 for one use per day)
This coin-sized iron medallion is engraved with a simple pattern on the front and the symbol of House Mercere on the back. It is worn around the neck on a leather thong. Placing the metal portion into the wearer’s mouth lets him fly at a slow speed so long as he concentrates.
Slow Flight (Re Co 13); R: Per, D: Conc, T: Ind. This effect grants true flight, albeit a slow and clumsy version. The user can move slowly in any direction, at about the same speed as rising smoke. (Base 5, + 1 Conc) (+ 3 levels for six uses per day)
Hauberk of the Sentinel
This rusty old mail supposedly dates back to the Flambeau Milites of the Thirteenth Century. It is one of several such suits that were used by Redcaps based out of Pic du Paradis. In addition to providing mundane protection, the wearer enjoys added security from arrows and other weapons with wooden components in them. For modern use, this hauberk has been modified, opened partly down the front and sewn into the lining of an overcoat to camouflage it. While this makes it more subtle, an astute examiner will quickly notice the armor’s bulk.
Chain Mail (Partial); 6 Protection; 4 Load
Shriek of the Impending Shafts (In He 19); R: Per, D: Sun, T: Hearing. This spell lets you know where anything wooden will be in the immediate future by a shriek that sounds in the air in advance of the wood’s coming. A piece of wood that is controlled may change course, so the spell is sometimes wrong. You get a + 9 on Defense scores against wooden weapons (provided you have the freedom to dodge), and you can automatically dodge wooden missiles fired from more than ten paces away. The shriek is only audible to you, and it cannot be simulated by people making noises. (Base 2, + 2 Sun, + 3 Hearing) (+ 1 level for two uses per day and + 3 levels for environmental trigger = the effect is constant)
This black strip of heavy cloth is about ten feet long and four inches wide. The entire length is embroidered with simple pattern in green thread. The item is activated by wrapping it around the target several times and tying or clipping it to hold it in place, usually like a belt; the position does not have to correspond with the target’s wound location(s). Reactivation requires removal and re-application of the wrap.
Sanitization of the Festering Wound (Cr Co 21); R: Per, D: Sun, T: Ind. The target gains a + 15 bonus to Recovery rolls to recover from injuries or diseases, as long as it has been under the influence of this effect for the whole of the recovery interval (or the effect has been activated repeatedly to maintain a consistent benefit.) The recovery interval is counted from the time that the effect begins; any previous time is ignored. (Base 10, + 2 Sun) (+ 1 level for two uses per day)
This hammered iron crucifix is made from two coffin nails. It is worn on a leather thong around the neck to protect the wearer from malicious faeries.
Personal Ward Against Faeries (Re Vi 20); R: Per, D: Sun, T: Ind. Wards the wearer against creatures with Faerie Might less than 21. Faerie-Realm creatures cannot directly affect the target physically or by magical means. (General 16, – 1 Per, + 0 Sun, + 0 Ind) (+ 1 level for two uses per day and + 3 levels for environmental trigger = the effect is constant)
This rusty iron ring appears to have no monetary value. Its primary magical function is as a lock-breaker; after rusting a lock to uselessness with a touch, a sharp blow should be enough to break through. The rustiness of the remains tends to deter suspicion of magic use. The Lock-Breaker can also be used for various other tasks such as destroying hinges, degrading weapons, making metal plows worthless, or fouling complex machinery. The item activates when touched to a metal target while the wearer speaks the command word: “adflicto affligo.”
Decaying Touch of Ten Score Years (Pe Te 7); R: Touch, D: Mom, T: Ind. The targeted metal becomes so thoroughly rusted that it breaks if used in any demanding way (for example, used to strike a blow in combat or to pry open a door). It also loses any sharpness it might once have had. (Base 4, + 1 Touch) (+ 2 levels for three uses per day)
Sequara’s Belt Pouch
This leather belt pouch has a draw-string top that ties it closed and a plain flap that covers the tie. The pouch is used to identify a human by placing an arcane connection into it (or opening the pouch completely such that the “inside” is touching the arcane connection). The object is activated by touching the pouch for about ten heartbeats while the user’s eyes are closed.
The Face of Evil (In Co 7); R: Arc, D: Mom, T: Ind. This effect gives the user a hazy mental image of the person the user has an Arcane Connection to. (Base 1—borrowed from Intellego Animal effect, + 4 Arc) (+ 2 levels for three uses per day)
This delicate contraption folds down to store in a thin, velvet-lined case. When assembled, it looks like a cross between a compass and a sextant. Its function is to point the way to a target the user is tracking. (Despite the name, the Witch Compass is just as useful for tracking mundane people.) The arcane connection used must be able to fit into the small box that serves as the item’s base, three inches by three inches and one inch high, or the compass must be placed on top of the arcane connection so that the box is touching it.
Find the Man (In Co 27); R: Arc, D: Mom, T: Ind. This effect determines the location of the subject by providing his direction and approximate distance. The effect comes with 20 points of magic penetration. It yields no results if the target is dead. (Base 3, + 4 Arc) (+ 2 levels for three uses per day, + 10 for 20 penetration)