So you want to form an Autumn Coven

The gripping penultimate episode in our ongoing series on Covens.

Today let’s talk about Autumn covens, what would you tell anyone thinking of starting one up?

What are the cool Autumn rituals, what kind of items would you recommend they make or look out for, what potions? Would you recommend any particular Magical Traditions to them? What kind of shenanigans do Autumn Covens get up to? Which Eternals should they talk to, oppose or at least have frosty silences with? How do they work in your particular nation’s magical traditions and Hearth Magics?

And the most important question, what are the classic styles and fresh new looks for Autumn Magic this season? How should Autumn mages accesorise?


So you want to form a Winter | Summer | Autumn | Spring | Day | Night Coven

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I’m coming at this from a Highguard perspective, and with a real focus on using magic to make money. Which is tricky because the high price of mana on the field makes lots of economic rituals marginal (to be clear, fun always trumps efficiency unless of course your fun comes from making money.)

I think as a solo caster it is a bit underwhelming, but it scales really well which seems a good fit thematically.

My favourite ritual to perform is lure of the distant shore, because just before I start I lean forwards and whisper ‘it is going to sound like I am cursing you, please don’t stab me’ before starting the ritual by shouting ‘I invoke the Mountain and bring you nothing but failure!’ at the top of my voice. Also you are buying an excuse to make up ridiculous stories about what happened to you to tell at the next event.

The single most useful ritual to have is call the winged messenger because being able to communicate with NPCs is ace. But it is such a common ritual that it’s hard to get paid much for it. One neat trick is to carry three measures of iridescent gloaming with you, and offer a ‘full service’ ritual at a price that reflects the convenience you have provided.

The ritual I want to love is gift of the wiley broker because it is so thematic, and it turns a dull personal resource (have some coin) into a source of fun (what can I do with all this junk?) but my black withered bean counting heart just won’t let me.

Honourable mention goes to timeless rhythm for being a ritual that is very situational, but when those situations arise is just kisses air.

In terms of ritual style, I always like to include the transfer of the fee as part of the ritual if possible. Back when we hand-wrote our wing messengers I used to make melting sealing wax and then pressing a coin into it as part of the ritual. That always felt cool.

I’m afraid I don’t have a lot of advice about eternals, style or useful items. Well, other than stick a plus one autumn lore potion in your pocket. In case anybody is willing to pay through the nose for you to use it in order to cast a ritual you otherwise would not be able to……

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Agreed that Call Winged Messenger is super cool and that if you can be someone who is right there when someone needs a message sent with iridescent gloaming, some nice paper and writing implements to hand you’re much more likely to get return business :slight_smile: .

Shared Mastery of the Magician’s Guild is very handy if you’re all ritual mages who also want to take the battlefield as mages. Give a few members of your coven an extra string to their bow relatively cheaply. Also very useful when you’re just starting out.

Mantle of the Golden Orator all priests (bar possibly the Lucidians) will find someone casting this useful at some point, even if you’re not in Highguard. With a seasons warning you can set up priests to push through a judgement or vote for a cardinal. So discreetly making your nations priests aware that you have this ritual will see them beating a path to your door at some point, I guarentee :slight_smile: .

Chamber of Pallas fun for parties and it’s a whole different mood to Chamber of Delights. If you wanting to throw a big bash and show off your prosperity then this is good option, likewise if you want to stage a discussion of some kind and give people an excuse not to be dicks (of course there are always hero points for that).

The other super useful thing these magic auras do is that they restore personal mana with a 15 minute rest inside them. Also for spells like Brazen Claws of the Lictor resting in a magical aura gives you back all of the uses per day. So again useful at main events for people doing skirmishes, super useful at player events where there’s a lot of combat going on.

Hand of the Maker super useful for any plot stuff to do with an unknown item, also very useful at player events which are focussed on investigation. With a previous character I had a lot of fun hearing the details of who made the various nation’s gifts to the then new Empress, as it gave a bunch of interesting soft intel on them. And now I think of it some huge events in the games history have come from a casting of Hand of the Maker revealing something unxpected.

Sum of Parts is a lovely flavourful buffing ritual where I imagine you can have a lot of fun with casting, especially if you’re into Blood Magic :slight_smile: .

Circle of Gold is another great ritual for a group going into combat, which also helps encourage the group to stick together, because the “stay with me” only works for people who who were in the casting of the ritual. Also has a great roleplaying effect which helps encourage people like Bravos to get into fights while defending their band :smiley: .

Like Water Through Your Fingers is a very fun curse, especially if cast upon someone who buys into it heavily. Yes mechanically they lose a chunk of resources for a year, but more importantly they can just look really shabby and can roleplay that fate has turned against their character for a whole year. That can much more devestating that just the loss of the money :slight_smile: .

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Oh yes fashion wise all the fashionable Autumn Covens love a Mercantilist’s Mask which let’s you run wild with Bees, Fish, Squirrel and coin themes if you fancy having a go at making your own masks :slight_smile: .

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In terms of magical traditions, I think Autumn might be the only realm you could actually cast all your rituals using Theurgy (Using Paragons and Exemplars as magical symbols.) It’s still a really difficult magical tradition to learn (since seriously you need to make it up.) But it’s a way of really standing out with your magical style (and would really suit a highly religious Autumn coven.)

It’s also worth bearing in mind that absurd over the top props are their own reward. Generally I wouldn’t recommend magical masks, but cool mask props (or your nation equivalent) are awesome even if unlamied.

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Well, I doubt anyone ever said that I’m unwilling to contribute an opinion, and I doubt they’ll start today. You’ve heard from League about their poncy masks and how economic rituals are barely worth it, and that’s true for them. Do the sums on the good ol’ fashioned gathering the harvest, and it’s chums. Don’t bother with the winter one, it’s useless. I’ll still be here when you’re done.
So if you’re interested I can usually get them all done on my own, thanks to this straw mask and a couple of favours I’ve earnt along the way. The other things I’ve done for folks is ambassadorial gatekeeper, ties that bind, hand of the maker, lure of distant shores, chamber of pallas, winged messenger and mark of ownership. My coin purse doesn’t have much to show for all this, despite what you might expect, but I’ve got a lot of folks who owe me a favour.
Ambassadorial gatekeeper, chamber of pallas and winged messenger are great for getting the right conversations going, and some of the wrong ones too. Ties that bind and hand of the maker get you some fairly interesting information. Distant shores is fun, and more stuff is more stuff, but you’d need to be sailing from the Brass Coast before you see the scale at which it pays its way. Mark is really cheap, which is fortunate because I’m not sure its actually useful.
I’ve honestly not looked at what a coven of Autumn mages could achieve. Don’t bother scaling Gathering the Harvest, the Spring and Summer enchantments scale much better for much less faff. 20 mana to cover a retreat seems really cheap. Helping a band of soldiers help each other can only be good, so that’s a recommendation for circle of gold. I doubt bound by common cause will ever be cast again, don’t bother. Not since it got more expensive and the wolves have a permanent version. Find the best path seems alright, but is too expensive, I’d much rather raise a couple of forts.
Oh, and get yourself a Bronze Spider Balsam in your pocket. They aren’t cheap, but they don’t go off and they’re really useful when they’re useful.
Anyway, I need another cup of coffee. Be right back!

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I’ve tried to avoid focusing on the bigger strategy stuff, because generally it feels less relevant to the average player but…

Bound by Common Cause is potentially an amazing ritual, I can’t remember when it went up in price, but it’s still a bargain at the cost. But while it’s one of the easier army buffs to cast, it’s one of the harder ones to use. The Empire can only support so many castings of it with military units (but that’s closer to two on an average season, and could be higher with boot work.)

  • Potentially however this means it’s a ritual that casting it once or twice could be most of your events, if you are proactive with it. Conferring with generals to find out what the strategy is likely to be, hunting down military unit commanders to persuade them to join your cause for the event.

Find the Best Path is an emergency ritual, however if you are going military Autumn Coven having it on the book could be useful in an emergency, but it’s generally not likely to come up.

However pinnacle of Autumn Strategic magic is Brotherhood of Tian, the logistic ritual may not be as exciting as the other army enchantments, but the Empires current military strategy heavily relies on this resupplying ritual. It is the magical mule that keeps our armies fighting and between this and Common Cause, if you can achieve a strategic Autumn coven it is probably worth doing.

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