Author Topic: Joining the White Council  (Read 913 times)

Offline Blechpirat

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Joining the White Council
« on: May 24, 2011, 07:42:35 PM »
Hi,

I have a character who started as a focused practioner and now gained enough refresh to buy the wizard template. I want to create an adventure around his joining the council.

Any ideas you would care to share? How would you design the process? Is there a quest? A trial? A test of some sorts?

Blechpirat

Offline stitchy1503

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Re: Joining the White Council
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2011, 08:00:23 PM »
Ramirez insinuates that there is a test involved. If he knows any wardens I'd have them administer the test, if not I'd have some wardens show up to test him. From what I gather the WC doesn't appreciate people hiding their talent from them.
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Offline Blechpirat

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Re: Joining the White Council
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2011, 08:09:39 PM »
Any ideas what test one could use?

Offline stitchy1503

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Re: Joining the White Council
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2011, 08:12:04 PM »
I personally would have it involve a soul gaze, the use of the sight and a show of evocative or thaumaturgical (I know, its not a word, but it should be!) power.
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Offline Bruce Coulson

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Re: Joining the White Council
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2011, 08:15:14 PM »
Is this before, during, or after the Vampire War?

Before, I got the impression that the White Council was a very exclusive club; they'd have to let you join if you showed sufficient talent, but they weren't actively recruiting, and actually discouraged most practicioners.

During and after the Vampire War, the standards got far more lax, because of the need for warm bodies to replace dead wizards.  Basic talent and power (full Evocation and Thaumaturgy, along with the Sight) was all that was necessary to show.

I doubt a Soulgaze would be required, unless there was some question about Lawbreaking.
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Offline Blechpirat

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Re: Joining the White Council
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2011, 08:19:56 PM »
I play during the beginnings of the Vampire Wars. The char never had a mentor or was an apprentice to a member of the white council.

Offline Haru

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Re: Joining the White Council
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2011, 08:40:07 PM »
The rpg books seem to indicate, that a wizard of the council would have at least evocation and thaumaturgy, which means 3 elements for evocation and he should be able to do a lot with thaumaturgy. A soulgaze should be mandatory, as well, especially for someone who wasn't trained by a "proper" wizard.

3 evocation elements can be demonstrated rather easy. If he is based on a different system, he should at least be able to show his ability with 3 or more different applications of evocation.

Thaumaturgy could be made both a written test (using lore against a fixed number (I think 1 or 2 would be enough for an introductory test) and a test that would require the candidate to solve a problem using a thaumaturgic ritual. This one most certainly should be colored by the wizard conducting the test. Harry for example might require the candidate to put up a search spell, Ramirez might require a veil and Morgan would require a ward.

And one of my favourite things from another thread: once he is a member of the white council, and the war has caused the council some serious casualties, if he asks for a warden to help with something, have a wardens cloak fedexed to him.
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Offline EdgeOfDreams

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Re: Joining the White Council
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2011, 08:40:50 PM »
Things I'd consider relevant for testing:

* Quote the laws of magic (this is a simple lore check)
* Soulgaze a warden?
* Use the Sight to see through a veil/illusion and describe what is behind it
* Perform at least two or three different rituals of sufficient power/complexity
* Perform evocation with enough power and accuracy to destroy a target with at least two or three different elements
* Brew a potion


Also, depending on how well a character does, they may qualify for an apprenticeship instead of full membership.  In fact, I feel like most wizards would NOT qualify for full membership just being self-taught.

Offline Richard_Chilton

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Re: Joining the White Council
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2011, 09:33:25 PM »
I handled something like that - the character was made an apprentice and slowly bought what was missing from the wizard template.

In Summer Knight they mention an ordeal - maybe it's something that you get after you pass the test and are seen as powerful enough to join the council.  Note that Harry skipped his - they thought that killing an experience wizard in self defense was enough of an ordeal.

I asked the player if he wanted a downtime "You went away an apprentice and came back a wizard" bit or if he wanted to play it out, and if he wanted to play it out did he want a chance to fail.  He decided to play it and risk failing.

So I did up a whole ceremony and the next time the group wanted to check out his mentor's library I sprang it on them.  When he arrived at the place where it was going to happen he was handled a brown robe and told to take a ritual bath - and something along the lines of "I assume you know how to use a face cloth so you can handle this yourself".  That was the first part of the ordeal he could fail.  I mean, if you say you can't give yourself a ritually cleansing bath then how can you call yourself a wizard?

Then I told him that he could start making declarations for his next spell.  The rest of the group chimed in with suggestions what he could declare and what skill to use for it.  For example, the bathroom was described as candle lit with scented water in the bath and a nice smelling incense filling the room - and I thought he might declare "The Lighting Set the Mood", "Incense Filled Lungs", "Centred From His Bath", "Relaxed" - that sort of thing, using Lore, Discipline, Conviction, and any other skill he could justify.  He didn't pick the aspects I thought he might, but he started declaring things and we wrote down everything he declared.

Sometime during the bath his clothing went missing from the room, leaving only the robe and the towels when he emerged from the tub.  (Another choice: would he wear towels under his robe.  He went with just the robe and made a Lore declaration "Dressed for the Part".)  Then as he left he found the hallway outside the bathroom had been lit.  Candles of one colour burned on the left hand side of the door, candles of another colour burned on the other.  He could pick a path, or just follow one back to the stairs and leave (leaving would be a failure).  After he picked he asked if there was any meaning to the colour and when I shrugged there was a Lore declaration for "Following the <colour name> path".

As he walked down the hallway there were other things he could use for inspiration (including things that I hadn't meant to be used; some of the basic descriptions were used to make declaration) until he came to a maze.  Then he had to choose if he would follow the left hand wall or the right hand wall to find the centre.  When he got to the centre he was able to declare a few more things.

Leaving the maze he came to a stairway - and could decided to go up or down (another choice and another thing to declare off of).  He had a few more choices and ended up at the basement stairs.  There were no lights in the stairway and a door at the bottom of the stairs.  He declared "Descending into the Darkness" and made his way down.

When he opened the door we switched back to the other characters, who were having brandy and sherries in the basement with members of the White Council.  Note: they would been having drinks wherever he showed up - the White Council being better able to guess his movements than I was.    By this point he'd been give the chance to make about 30 declaration but the dice had not been his friend on many of them.  Oh, and he had also been given the chance to cast spells to make his way easier - without being warned that if he cast any he would be using up all his prepared declarations.

He was told that there was another candidate - and a Brown Robe that was lying on the floor was pointed to.  Then a door was pointed to and he was told "Two Brown Robes enter, one White Robe leaves".  He had choice, to leave his robe or take it with him, and used the choice to make a last declaration - "Giving it all up for Magic" (or something like that).  In the room waited a man around his own age wearing boxer shorts who laughed and sneered something about "Didn't you have the brains to conjure something to wear? This is going to be so easy!" which led to a bit of a sidetrack as the group debated how many steps it would take to conjure boxer shorts and if he should waste an action or two to do so.  Note: if he had wasted all those declaration conjuring clothes he would have failed - being too narrow sighted to make it as a wizard (and he wouldn't have been able to pass the test).

He decided not to bother (and tried for a Presence based declaration of "I've got nothing to be ashamed of") and I announced combat was starting and the other guy was swinging his hand around and... Wait, we should do initiative here.  He's got identical stats to you so let's roll off to see who goes first.  Luckily the player rolled +++[] so he didn't think it was odd when I rolled and quickly scooped up the dice and said he won.

Then there was his action.  He asked others for advice - shield first or strike first?  The discussion went on for a while I told them that from the way the other guy was moving it was clear that he was going to attack.  When asked if it looked like there he had any defenses I shrugged and said "Only the boxer shorts".

Finally the player decide for an attack that could be non-lethal and hopefully take out the other guy in one go.  As he started debating how many declarations to use, I pointed out that they could only be used for his NEXT spell and yes, if he had conjured the boxers he would have conjured some pretty fantastic underwear.

He had about 14 aspects to tag, so he tagged them and three of his aspects from his sheet.  That meant that his attack spell was 34 + plus conviction + successes from the targeting.  And yes, it was huge amount of damage handed out...

Which was when I informed him that there was only one person in the room - himself (hey, he never used his sight!) and all that damage was hitting him.  It was going to be a takeout, but he could decide if he wanted to use his consequences.  If he filled all of his consequences - including the extreme one - then he would have only X stress left after his track was filled and that I'd be basing the results on how much excess stress was left.  The normal consequences were filled in quickly (well, he decided to take them and I said we would work out the details afterwards) but that extreme....  Long agonizing bit over that, but finally he decided to use it.

At which point I said it was time to deal with consequences.  It went something like: "Now let's see, for the extreme we have to modify one of your aspects.   See your High Concept Aspect of 'Potential Comic Book Inspired Wizard'? Erase the word 'Potential'.  Congrats, you passed."

Then we went over the various points where he could have failed.  Not being able to declare enough aspects - a wizard has to be imaginative and use what he has on hand.  Making enough declarations but dribbling them away on a series of small spells - a wizard needs to be able to conserve his powers, especially when he knows that there is a challenge coming.  Not acting decisively when faced with an opponent that needed to be taken out.  Not being willing to give it all (including his extreme consequence) for magic.

And when we finished this, we had a list of 14 phrases that he had come up via declarations - words that described what sort of a wizard he would be.

All in all I think it went well - even the players who weren't getting the face time enjoyed themselves.  Would everyone had enjoyed it if he had failed? Who knows? But he wanted a chance to fail so I gave it to him.

Hope this helps

Richard

Offline devonapple

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Re: Joining the White Council
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2011, 09:44:46 PM »
At which point I said it was time to deal with consequences.  It went something like: "Now let's see, for the extreme we have to modify one of your aspects.   See your High Concept Aspect of 'Potential Comic Book Inspired Wizard'? Erase the word 'Potential'.  Congrats, you passed."

Clever! I really liked that ::wipes an imaginary tear:: It made the sacrifice so much more poignant.

I have three Apprentices in my game - it will be hard to use that ruse on them unless I get them separated. Or perhaps, if one "makes it" before the others, then he can survive the procedure, and smile wickedly as the next Apprentice twists in the wind.

Thank you for the story!
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Offline Richard_Chilton

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Re: Joining the White Council
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2011, 09:53:48 PM »
You're welcome.

I left out the fact that the other consequences disappeared (they wouldn't have if he had failed) - but the real trick was making sure he had enough chances to make declarations before he finished getting ready.  Otherwise he wouldn't have had the juice to take himself out.

Richard

Offline Obsid

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Re: Joining the White Council
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2011, 11:05:03 PM »
I think the test the Wardens can give are more simple. Things like puzzles that need to be solved through magic. Maybe a couple demonstrations. "Does this person have the magical skill and power to be a wizard?" is what the wardens would be looking for. Probably something like the beads test Harry gives Molly in White Night.

An ordeal is... well, it's an ordeal. Ever read Neverwhere? You're given an objective, and stuff gets in your way. (In Neverwhere, a Niel Gaiman book, the objective is to get through a simple small room. The only thing getting in your way is... um, insanity).

As a test for a wizard, an ordeal should be something like, "bring me X faery's true name," or "retrieve this old book," or "give this message to X being." Something that would almost seem simple. There should be multiple ways of passing the ordeal and it should require a certain level of both evocation and thaumaturgy.

Example methods could include a direct route (found through thaumaturgy) that puts the character in danger that requires magic (especially evocation) to survive. A diplomatic path that has little actually danger but requires knowledge of lore, rapport, and the wisdom to deal with those beings able to help you, this would still require thaumaturgy for summoning or transporting to their location, and probably evocation to impress them.

In other words, something that doesn't require someone to behave in a certain way to succeed, but requires them to excel at whatever way they behave. They should be judged by their piers. This means not by the Senior Council or Wardens, but by regular members of the White Council.  Preferably just a handful of them.

I think the example Richard gave fits mot of this perfectly. But it's not a method I would choose. Too tame for my tastes.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2011, 06:20:22 PM by Obsid »

Offline UmbraLux

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Re: Joining the White Council
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2011, 04:59:16 AM »
I have a character who started as a focused practioner and now gained enough refresh to buy the wizard template. I want to create an adventure around his joining the council.

Any ideas you would care to share? How would you design the process? Is there a quest? A trial? A test of some sorts?
Have you discussed the White Council with your GM?  What is it in your group's world?  An elite social club?  A political entity to further a small group's power?  Altruists working to defend humanity as best as they can?  A corrupted group whose original purpose has been subsumed?  Some mix?  Or something else entirely?

What the council is will flavor entering the council.  Some would give you a choice, for others the test is simply to determine whether or not you meet draft criteria.  I tend to lean towards drafting myself.  If you meet the qualifications you're in...welcome to the war.   ;)

----------
A couple other comments: 
  @Richard Chilton - cool story.  While I'd tend towards something darker, I like what you set up.  Makes for a good "wizard's trial".
  @Obsid - Sometimes the colors detract from your message.  The one above in particular is difficult for me to read.
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Offline Blechpirat

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Re: Joining the White Council
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2011, 06:10:21 PM »
Have you discussed the White Council with your GM?  What is it in your group's world?  An elite social club?  A political entity to further a small group's power?  Altruists working to defend humanity as best as they can?  A corrupted group whose original purpose has been subsumed?  Some mix?  Or something else entirely?
I'm the GM. I want to introduce one of my players into the Council (WC) and looking for ideas.

The WC is not yet clearly defined. I have problems with PCs that always try to ask the WC for permission and help, so the WC at this moment seems to be rather occupied with the Vampire wars and slow to respond.

Offline Bruce Coulson

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Re: Joining the White Council
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2011, 06:57:04 PM »
In that case, come up with some reasonable way to induct the PC into the Council.  (During the War, I suspect, a lot of the procedures, rules, rituals, and policies got...'streamlined'.)

Then, the PC can be told that since he's now a full Wizard, he's expected to handle matters on his own; the Council is VERY busy, and unless the story involves a major vampire incursion or a break-out by Outsiders, Wizard's are expected to be able to hold their own.

I mean, one in-bad-graces wizard with little experience was able to prevent a re-creation of
(click to show/hide)
, so what's your excuse?
You're the spirit of a nation, all right.  But it's NOT America.