Ars Character Creation: Marcus of Bonisagus

I realize I’m posting this rather late, but you never know. Somebody might have a look at it and offer some feedback before tonight.

From the journal of Artus de Essex, Magus of House Bonisagus, Londinium Covenant, Year of Our Lord 1199:

I undertake this writing on the behalf of my filius, Marcus, but without his consent or approval. Our covenant’s archivist desires a biography of each magus of the covenant, for the sake of prosperty, but Marcus has demurred thus far, claiming the stresses of his studies. Knowing my filius as I do, I fully believe that he could delay until the Day of Judgment, so I write this in his stead.

When I first encountered Marcus, he was known as Hal, son of Bertram, who was one of the legions of fishmongers who populate the lower quarters of our city. Hal was the fifth or sixth child of the family; I did not investigate too closely. I gathered that he had spent his youth running through the alleys of the city, causing whatever mischief such children do. At the age of eight years, he had just begun to acquire a cohort of urchins who followed his lead. I feel certain that he would have come to no good end, had his Gift not manifested in that year. As I understand it, a street dog, a favorite of Hal’s, came down with some wasting illness. After Hal spent some time with the cur, it recovered, but would not come near the boy again. Rumors were rampant, of course, and the boy’s parents were quite willing to surrender him to the covenant; I doubt they even noticed his absence.

After he entered the covenant and began his apprenticeship, the boy only answered to the name Marcus, and will not speak of his earlier life. He threw himself into his studies with a will, and showed an excellent grasp of Hermetic theory. His mind grasps new concepts readily, and he was an excellent assistant in my laboratory work, sure-handed and careful. With no false modesty, I believe I have trained the boy superlatively, and I expect he will become a credit to the covenant and House Bonisagus.

Physically, Marcus is tall, and quite thin. Despite an active youth, since joining the covenant, he has shown no interest in the martial exercises some apprentices engage in. He possesses a hawk-like nose and high brow, no doubt indicative of some Roman blood buried somewhere in his heritage. Some of the newer covenfolk who have not known him long find his expression intimidating, although in truth he says little to those who do not have the Gift.

In fact, I fear my filius may be somewhat too devoted to his Hermetic studies. His interest and his talents have always been in the processes of the living body. He would have confined his studies only to men, but I convinced him that he had much to learn from the plant and animal kingdoms as well, and he took to those with a will. He is now quite skilled in the healing arts, but he has studied the Perdo technique as well, reasoning that one must learn to destroy in order to properly create and preserve. Although I have tried to engage him in the other Forms, he disdains the four elementals, for he believes that manipulating base earth and air matters little compared to learning the secrets of life itself. With the Imaginem form, he is hopeless; he seems to have a natural deficiency there. Finally, I must note that whenever Marcus works magic, the effect is accompanied by a flash of light. We have worked to eliminate this effect, but to no avail, and it is a source of embarrassment to my pupil.

Toward the end of his apprenticeship, Marcus began to express irritation regarding Hermetic Magic’s inability to raise the dead to life. He is of the group who believe this is a flaw in the Theory, and not related to the Limitation of the Divine, although I am myself uncertain. My filius wishes to dedicate himself to overcoming this limitation, although I do not think he is so foolish as to believe that he can conquer this block himself, or even within his lifetime. I am concerned that he may become one of those magi who sequester themselves from the outside world, which in my opinion deprives the mafe of a valuable source of new insight. I understand that there is to be a Grand Conclave in Venice next year. Such a journey would certainly prove beneficial to Marcus; I will urge him to attend.

Virtue/Flaw Modification: House Bonisagus gains Puissant Magic Theory for free.

Major Flaws:
Weak Spontaneous Magic (cannot exert himself when casting), -3

Minor Flaws:
Deficient Form (Imaginem), -1
Warped Magic (flash of light when casting), -1
Driven (learn to raise dead), -1
Proud (arrogant), -1
Temperate, -1

Major Virtues:
Hermetic Magus, 0
The Gift, 0
Flawless Magic (automatic mastery of spells), +3

Minor Virtues:
Puissant Magic Theory, 0
Adept Laboratory Student (+6 when working from texts of others), +1
Skilled Parens (60 extra XP, 30 extra spell levels), +1
Book Learner (books +3 levels of quality), +1
Clear Thinker (+3 to resist lies and subterfuge), +1
Strong Willed (+3 to will rolls), +1


Int +3 Per 0
Str -2 Sta 0
Prs +1 Com +1
Dex 0 Qik 0


Early childhood:
Native Language (English), 5
Area Lore (London), 2
Athletics (Running), 1
Awareness (Watchful), 2
Stealth, 1
Survial (urban), 1

Later childhood:
Bargain (footstuffs), 2
Brawl (fists), 1
Guile (lying), 2
Leadership, 1
Swim, 1

Artes Liberales, 4
Latin, 4
Magic Theory, 4
Finesse, 3
Parma Magica, 1

Creo, 7
Intellego, 5
Muto, 6
Perdo, 6
Rego, 0
Animal, 5
Aquam, 0
Auram, 0
Corpus, 7
Herbam, 3
Ignem, 0
Imaginem, 0
Mentem, 2
Terram, 0
Vim, 0

4 thoughts on “Ars Character Creation: Marcus of Bonisagus

  1. Very nicely done, Brian. I have only two (related) concerns: 1) What will I (as a GM) have to do to make him willing to go along with the rest of party folk on our grand adventure, and 2)
    Is this magi going to be too bookish to use regularly during sessions. If you can answer “no” to #2, I can figure out #1.

  2. The answers are related: As a Bonisagus, he's unfailingly loyal to his House and his parens. If either one sends him on a mission, he'll go. He may be grumpy about it, but he'll go. His “Driven” flaw is minor, not major, so he'll accept diversions for the good of the House and the Order in general. If he think he can get some useful knowledge out of it, so much the better. He's not bound and determined to hide in his lab for the rest of his life; it simply hasn't occurred to him yet to do anything else.

    As for his usefulness, although I haven't chosen his spells yet, I imagine he'd be the healing/buffing type of mage. Less showy than Madame Flambeau over there, but still quite useful. Plus, I imagine he's got a few nasty perdo spells up his sleeve.

  3. Madame Flambeau? Logic tells me that this means Wendy is playing a Flambeau . . . Wendy, does your wizard's sigil make all of the flames she produces pink? 🙂


  4. Pfft. Had I actually created him, my Monsieur Flambeau would have been mighty — MIGHTY, I tell you! And not in a pink way, either.

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