Brought to Vesper as a child with no parental figures in sight, Cal Deven might have slipped through the cracks if he hadn’t shown a talent for both magic and scholarship early. Instead, he caught the eye of Progos Deven, a prominent Illustrati professor at the Academy of Esoteric Arts.
He might have spent his life as a scholar-mage happily living his life in near obscurity, perhaps serving as a professor himself someday, or writing papers few cared about outside of esoteric circles.
But as he grew, he began to hear rumors. Rumors his parentage was something or someone dire and dark. They swirled about the Academy and about his good name like a cloud, but his attempts to learn the truth failed him. It was his first mystery--and the only one that, to date, remains wholly unsolved. And perhaps that’s for the best.
But the more he heard about his “bad blood,” his “tainted heritage,” the more he felt he had something to prove. If he couldn’t identify the menace he’d sprung from he’d combat other menaces. Progos, the only father he’s ever known, disagreed with his choices, but Cal was undeterred. He took up training as a Justicar.
Illustrati to Justicar is hardly a typical path, and Progos wasn’t the only one who questioned his choice. It didn’t help that he’s a quiet, soft-spoken sort who tended to fade into the background, a low-key guy who still gives off a scholar’s vibe. He faced some scepticism from people within the organization too.
And yet as time went on, it became clear to those with eyes to see that this Justicar tended to get both his answers and his culprits. Thing is, few enough do have eyes to see. Thus, when Cal Deven appears to challenge those who might harm those he is sworn to protect he all but seems to come out of nowhere.
Once, being overlooked again and again frustrated him.
Now? Being underestimated is simply part of his modus operandi.
Dark Horse Illustrati Justicar
Relentlessly underestimated, more given to mystical works of language and the mind than showy demonstrations of brawn, and a big fan of staying prepared, Cal Deven is often the last thing his enemies see coming.
Invoke: Whenever the element of surprise might turn the tide at a dramatically appropriate moment. Whenever his enemies might underestimate him.
Compel: Dude, where’s my respect? It’s not uncommon for people to talk right over Cal, to dismiss his opinions, or even to downright forget he’s in the room, even when they know what he’s capable of. He’s just that kind of guy.
Last Scion of a Notorious Menace
Cal has absolutely no idea who or what this can be. Each rumor seems more disturbing than the last. He changed the entire course of his life trying to get to the bottom of it--and then trying to make up for it, as if a vast river of unknown crimes were all somehow his fault. Worst of all, these rumors might not even be true, and now some stories have attached him to various menaces, which means some people think they should involve him in schemes that probably have nothing to do with him.
Invoke: When his heritage pushes him to demonstrate he is ‘good.’ When gaining access to people who are otherwise out of reach. When his heritage might make him more intimidating.
Compel: When his reputation causes others to distrust him or marks him as a target. When his background is used to manipulate him.
Knight in Sour Armor
Cal has adopted an air of understated, somewhat cynical sass to protect what is, in fact, the heart of a really decent individual. It can make him really hard to live with, but it can also help him deal with the pressures of the life he’s chosen.
Invoke: When a snarky comment might help him resist attempts to coerce or intimidate him. When sass will allow him to talk his way out of a situation.
Compel: When having his mouth run away from him at the worst possible moment is likely to move the situation from bad to worse.
Owes Everything to Progos
Progos Deven has been Cal’s father, Academy Patron, and mentor. He might have taken a path Progos would have preferred him to abandon, but that only really increases the debt he feels he owes this man.
Invoke: When Progos’ reputation or expertise might be able to help Cal succeed.
Compel: When Progos is threatened either personally or professionally, or when Progos needs a favor at odds with Cal’s current mission or goals.
Attention to Detail
You can use Investigate instead of Empathy to defend against Deceive attempts. What others discover through gut reactions and intuition, you learn through careful observation of micro-expressions.
I’ve Read About That!
You’ve read hundreds, if not thousands, of books on a wide variety of topics. You can spend a Fate point to use Lore in place of any other skills for one roll or exchange, provided you can justify having read about the action you’re attempting.
Shield of Reason
You can use Lore as a defense against Provoke attempts provided you can justify your ability to overcome your fear through rational thought and reason.
You can use Lore for topics relating to magic and the occult.
Major Gateway: Mage - Illustrati
Illustrati: Illustrati are the keepers of magic-as-art. While any literate magus can create a scroll or – if they dare – a grimoire, Illustrati go one step further, encoding their magic into images in ink and paint, embroidering it into cloth or weaving it into stumptuous tapestries. Illustrati start with three purviews from the following list: Arcane Fundamentals, Blessings, Curses, Dimensional Transit, Elementalism (Any), Restorations, Sympathetic Magic. They suffer a -1 penalty whenever they cast a spell without a prepared medium (painting, scroll, magical tarot card or similar) Like techno-wizards, Illustrati must know the spells they encode into their work. Also like techno-wizards, they may give their encoded spells to others to use, which are activated similarly to techno-wizard devices.
For those schools of magic that deal in study and learning – which is most of them – this Purview is often the first a new mage is taught. It’s a pretty mixed lot in general. Basic energy manipulation, basic armor spells, basic telekinesis, basic countermagic. The key word in there is ‘basic’. These are all things that are either relatively easy to teach neophyetes or essential to their future success and survival. As a rule, they tend to scale fairly well as a mage grows in knowledge. Very few people ever regret learning the fundamentals. Example lower end spells: Often known as ‘cantrips’, the easiest of the spells in this purview do things like clean clothes, function as an extra set of hands for picking things up or shut off unshielded electronics. Example higher end spells: At the higher end of the power and complexity scale for this purview are spells that wrap the mage in fields of protective energy like armor, hurl bolts of raw magic, turn the restless dead and dispel the workings of others. Special Note: Practitioners with the Arcane Fundamentals purview may take mark off one box of physical stress or take a physical consequence to restore one box of exotic stress.
The shortest distance between to points is a jaunt through some other dimension. No one said anything about the safest or the smartest. Dimensional Magic makes short work of space for travelling just as Sympathetic Magic makes short work of space for communicating or observing. Teleportations, portals to other dimensions and the ability to influence the very rifts that define the present age are the rewards of those who study this field of magic. Example lower end spells: At the lower end of the complexity and power spectrum, spells that move short distances – some of which may not even be able to move living matter – spells that can close rifts or open ones that others have closed and spells that can open rifts which connect to somewhere else in the same world or plane are the bread and butter of this purview. Example higher end spells: Once you’ve mastered your own plane you can move on to others. More powerful Dimensional Transit spells can teleport further with more accuracy or simply bring more along for the ride, open rifts to other dimensions or even open one way portals to this plane or another. Particularly confident or reckless Dimensional mages might simply bounce into the ether and let the chips fall where they may. Not a bad way to explore, perhaps, though it has plenty of risks.
There is a principle of magic that like calls to like and with the proper connections, a mage can make mockery of distance. That principle is the heart of the spells in this Purview. The two most common uses are communication and observation – using spells to talk to people and look at things that are distant. It can also be used to find things that are lost, though… or that don’t want to be found. Example lower end spells: Calling to friends and allies either with one way or two way messages (one entertaining version constructs a magical carrier pigeon to carry a message), and remote viewing are typical examples of the simpler kinds of spell Sympathetic Magic can pull off. Range tends to be limited to a few miles at this level, but it’s still handy if you don’t have a radio. Or are afraid of being listened to. Example higher end spells: Tracking objects over great distances, communicating over many miles and scrying specific individuals or places by their names alone are the heights of power for this Purview.
Arcane Defense: Whether it’s defense against attack or the elements, Arcane Defense is the study of protecting oneself and others from harm. Some of these lessons are learned in the basic spells that many casters study, but these are different animals all together. Whether putting up mystical walls, sheltering companions from a storm or drawing a circle to keep out supernatural evil the watchwords of this Purview are simple: You shall not pass. Example lower level spells: Simpler spells from this purview include more advanced versions of magical armor spells learned by neophytes studying the fundamentals, along with mystical shields, protective energy fields and the ability to make a person impervious to all manner of phenomenon be it directed energy, fire or drowning. Simple protective circles against the denizens of the multiverse’s various hell realms are also often learned by neophytes. They won’t keep out the more potent demons, but they do just fine against the more common ones. Example higher level spells: Powerful protective circles effective against all but the most masterful of supernatural evils, walls of force that can stop a charging robot dead in its tracks, consecrating rooms and buildings to make them sanctums, magical fields capable of turning both gunfire and inclement weather and even the creation of simple amulets of protection and good fortune are all within the reach of the upper end spells of this Purview. Special Note: Those proficient in the Arcane Defense Purview may know spells that allow them to defend against physical attacks on their person with the Arcana skill. These spells nearly always take the form of some kind of shield on or near the mage’s person. These shields cannot be used to protect others.
Arcane Assault: There are a lot of ways to hurt or impede someone with magic. The Arcane Assault Purview deals with those methods that are a little more direct than simply throwing fireballs or summoning lightning. Arcane Assault spells often cause direct harm or lack a flavor that makes them more appropriate for other fields of study. Example lower end spells: Flinging bolts of raw arcane energy is only the beginning, finer control allows even neophyte magi to fashion nets of mystical power to slow and tangle rather than killing. Other spells cause debilitating agony without any visible method. Blades of light, useless against mortals, provide a deadly threat to supernatural creatures of darkness like vampires, shadowbeasts and the like. Example higher end spells: There are words – dark words associated with dark magic – that can cause grave harms or even kill simply by their utterance. Other spells can drain a victim’s life directly, translating it into vitality and advantage for the caster. Still others can conjure meteors from the heavens, literally calling down the stars upon their foes.
The trip to collect the bark of magically saturated Eastern Redbud trees doesn't go quite as smoothly as Cal and Aloysius planned...
The rough beginnings of an adventure are plotted out between old friends after Cal and Aloysius happen to come across each other at the Academy.
A Justicar drops by Gran's again for questioning, a mystic practices reading, a mouse tries to warn, a clothier comes to make a delivery, and a Shifter tries to connect.