Backstory and Coven Advice

Hi there,

We had some questions about magic and covens in Highguard and hoped we might find some answers here.

Essentially we are planning on creating characters who focus on keeping people virtuous by punishing those who are not through curses.

We have been looking into how magic and rituals work and covens. We were wondering if we would have to make our own coven that specialises in curses (and how we would go about this) or if there are covens that already focus on this?

Furthermore, we were wondering specifically about ritual magic and how you go about doing the roleplaying without any prior knowledge of this (we have never attended an event and are unsure what roleplaying a ritual typically involves)?

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I’m not aware of any curse-focused covens in Highguard, but they may well already exist. However, if you have the numbers to cast the curses you want within your group, then that sounds like a really solid idea for a coven to make!

It’s very open-ended to give you the freedom to roleplay how you like. There are examples of traditions on the wiki, such as using the Runes, astromancy, or dramaturgy, but those are meant to be inspirational rather than didactic.

As a Highborn coven focused on prompting Virtuous action, you could perhaps centre your roleplaying around the lessons you want to teach your targets, invoking Paragons, and/or reciting/acting out Virtuous stories.

The wiki suggests that “The magical tradition of Highguard combines movement and sound. The slow beating of drums, the sonorous chime of bells and the recitation of ceremonial passages form the basis of their ritual magic, often accompanied by stylised and graceful gestures.” - perhaps that gives you some inspiration!

As a rule, rituals are a great opportunity to put on a show. Call out, set up questions and answers or call and response, repeat things three times - these are all common themes to help fill the time but also immerse you and your audience in the act.

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Highguard magister here!

There are no curse-specialist covens in Highguard to my knowledge. My chapter coven, the Suns of Couros, have cast territory curses in the past, but we’re by no means exclusive specialists. It sounds like a great focus for a coven!

As an aside, my character organises a meeting of the Highguard magisters every event, which is a good place to meet fellow mages and catch up on what’s going on in Highguard relating to magic.

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Nope no Covens in Highguard that specialise in curses, there’s one in the League who are somewhat famous/notorious but in Highguard the space for that is wide open :slight_smile: .

Handily there is a category page on the wiki for Curses. I’d go through them and see what personal curses you like the look of and then work towards being able to cast them, Winter appears to have the most personal curses, but some of the other realms have very entertaining curses like Unfettered Anarchy if you can work out how that works with your group goal.

Rituals very simply you either do them in the Imperial Regio, which gives each person in the ritual an extra level of lore which lets them spend more mana to cast spells, or anywhere where you can gather your group together. The Regio comes with it’s own ref to record the ritual, but there can be a queue and as you have 15 minutes to deliver the curse after the ritual it can sometimes be better to find a ref and do the ritual closer to your target.

Here are a few threads on the forum about the how your characters do rituals:

But it could be worth posting a new forum thread specifically asking about how Highguard players do their rituals as we have quite a number of different covens in the nation.

Also excellent group idea, a++ ignore anyone IC who tries to tell you that you shouldn’t be doing that, remember Courage says things like “Do not fear to act; only be shamed by inaction.”, “Despise cowardice which steers the spirit to weakness and inaction.” Check out the rest of the virtues for other things that will back up your totally justified actions promoting the Way :wink: .

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Also look into this:
https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Sorin’s_Rite_of_Agony
While you have that up, you can either add +1 Lore if it’s a Winter Ritual, or +2 to any curse in any realm.

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So firstly it sounds like a really interesting idea and I know people have had fun with the Dawnish version of this game (replace virtue with Love.)

A few things to consider:

  1. You will have a fairly limited pool of resource to curse at an event based on how many mana sites you have in the group, at most you can do 2.3 curses per player with a mana site. That will reduce with more powerful curses, that said I assume with the investigating and meddling that will come with the concept it would lead to plenty of game it’s worth bearing in mind when building characters.

  2. Political Power in Highguard comes from congregations and some of the powers of a priest might be useful in your mission. Particularly raising judgements of Inquisition.

Realm, this is an important thing to decide for a coven since it determines what rituals you can cast, at most as new players you could reach group number*8 Magnitude without support and that is if you have spent all your exp on one realm. (There are ways of getting higher but having things that are firmly in your range is good planning.) The other issue is each of you will have 7 mana if you have mana sites (a ritual if mastered costs 1 mana per 2 magnitude.)

As such I would definitely recommend having a realm with lower mag curses. The higher magnitude curses you go for the less you can afford. Being able to cast a curse alone will also mean you will struggle less with drop outs and can do it on a whim.

Winter: Personally I think Winter is the best option by far
Winter has the lowest castable curse (at mag 6), it also has a few options at Mag 8 although both are more challenging to cast due to requirements.
Winter also has a range of bigger curses at 20 (loose the effect to benefit from herbs, and all food tastes like ash) 23 (Curse them with Nightmares and can’t regain hero points naturally.) and 40 (weakness for a year.)

Night: Has the other low curse, but unfettered anarchy while really fun, might not fit as well with the concept due to connection to a false virtue. (and might make some unvirtuous folks act less virtuously)

Spring: Spring’s curses are at 15 (Infested with biting insects) and 40 (venom for a year),

Autumn and Day also have curses but Day has no low level ones and Autumn’s Mag 8 requires consent, and it’s more of keep deal that punish curse.

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You can still be in the Synod and be a full on ritual mage, you just pick Congregation as a resource and that would let you interact with the Highguard National Assembly and the rest of the Synod as much as you wanted to. I agree with @McGonigle having one of you with this power would be useful for your concept I think.

Also if you’ve got a good candidate for some Virtuous correction, you might be suprised as how much Mana you could get donated by asking around :slight_smile: So don’t worry if all of you can’t take Mana Site as there are a bunch of ways to get Mana.

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Oh yeah there are some HG covens that can and have cursed people but no specialists, sounds like a great idea tbh! If you can get your name out there i suspect there is a solid market for people wanting curses too.

Winter is great as noted above and there are a fair few Winter ritualists around the nation too who could be brought in on a more or less temporary basis to do big curses if needed.

That said the Spring curses are absolutely BRUTAL :smiley: (Best Realm! :wink: )

Thank you all so much for your responses!

We have learned a lot and it really helped us narrow down our ideas and think about how we are going to go about our time in Anvil.

Your advice on rituals was incredibly useful, we are hoping to maybe witness a few during our first events to get some inspiration for our own.

It was particularly nice to get some validation that we are not coming across as too mean for wanting to curse others :sweat_smile: ultimately we would not want to hinder other players experiences by our own actions.

@McGonigle your point about looking into political power was really useful, alongside the magic we were also really interested in the political side and it’s nice to know we can be flexible and look into both. Also, having looked into the realms we agreed about Winter being the best option (partially because we found the curses to be quite interesting and also that it seems to fit with our intentions and Highguard).

I don’t suppose any of you also have some advice about creating a new coven, besides promoting it IC during the event. Would it be appropriate to make a post on the Facebook pages looking for more members?

Finally, we have looked and couldn’t seem to find a list of the current covens, @thresher I wasn’t sure if you might know how we could find this out?

Looking forward to seeing you all at an event soon!

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There isn’t a list of covens that I’m aware of. The major covens who do impressive stuff are known on the field. I know of 2 larger Winter covens Highguard, but that’s partly because a couple of my Chapter mates belong to one of them.

There is a mage meeting somewhere once a summit, someone comes round to let you know where and when, be worth sending someone to listen anyway.

As far as creating a coven you can do this off the field, create it online and register everyone you’ve got with the right realm lore before you hit the field. You’ll need your Coven Oath to type in, that joiners swear to when they join. This has the benefit of saving some mana, and a bit of ref time on the field. If not get the coven name and oath registered online and then feel free to make up some ceremony to add your mates and do that on the field. (Write the oath in your notebook then you can intone it slowly and portentously to reassure everyone you haven’t just forgotten it entirely!)

Recruitment is a matter of trying to persuade others to either become magicians and pick Winter as their realm lore, or finding people already with Winter lore and persuading them to join. Come up with some arguments why they should join you instead of others, possibly worth a pamphlet? Do note Covens can only be of one nation so you are only appealing to other Highborn - this may make the Virtue angle easier to sell!
Direct recruiting by facebook is frowned on, although you are welcome to put an intro to your Chapter post on the HG FB page so we know to say hi when we get to the field, and say you are open to additional members on there.

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There’s no list availble OC except in the character creator (under the covens drop down). IC you might be able to find a list if you seek out my character :wink:

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If you want to try and recruit people to your group, a post on the Highguard FB group giving a bit of IC and OOC info about the group and saying you’re looking for new members is fine. And if part of your group concept is “we’re all magisters with at least some Winter Lore who are in a coven together” then ok.

But trying to recruit people to join your coven from current players, that’s fun game and roleplaying that should happen on the field. To be honest, going out and doing magic stuff rather than just sitting there feeling powerful is one of the best recruiting methods. Do cool stuff and people who like the cut of your jib will try to get involved. Also don’t think you need a huge Coven to do cool stuff, having a few people who can do a ritual together at the drop of a hat is much better than a huge powerful coven that might only be able to herd all it’s people together once an event.

As for a list of Coven’s, you can’t rely on the one in the dropdown in character creation as they’ll a bunch of defunct ones and ones that haven’t been played yet as they’re connected to back up characters .

If you ask around in various different chapters at your first game you’ll soon get pointed at the magically active chapters and the various coven’s that exist.

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