Sicart filius Aestrius, the Leper Herald of Provencal

This young Redcap was prematurely cynical and bitter even before his adoptive father was murdered by northern Crusaders just after he successfully passed his Redcap gauntlet. Sicart blames all northerners as a result, a preoccupation that has started to interfere with his obligations to his House. His adoptive father and mentor was Aestrius (ArM3 A Midsummer Night’s Dream, pages 15-16), a grizzled and cynical Redcap who was much loved in the western part of the Tribunal and particularly by some of the younger magi of the Toulousain for his entertaining gossip about covenant elders. Sicart is sympathetic to the Hermetic faidits of Ostal de Exiles and secretly keeps them abreast of Tribunal politics when his duties in the central region allow.

Sicart was created using my article “Redcap Training Packages” (originally from Sub Rosa #13) starting with a Mischievous Childhood, the usual Redcap Grounding Package and then applying the Herald template of packages: Traveler, Messenger*; Athlete, Forager, Messenger, and Tinker. Herbwife has been substituted for Rider as in Mythic Europe lepers are forbidden to ride animals and in any case Sicart’s Offensive to Animals Flaw makes this impractical.

Sicart is balanced for use as a starting character and has 4 points of Virtues and Flaws that can be further customized. Following his father’s death late in 1217, the year he passed his Redcap Gauntlet, he has concentrated on martial training, reflected by the addition of 45 XP added to his Single Weapon skill, Stealth and Swim Abilities. He can be readily used as the basis for a newly Gaunteleted Redcap either from Provencal or another tribunal with only minor modification. 

I’ll post versions of Sicart at +15 years and +30 years eventually.

Sicart the Leper (3 years post Gauntlet)

Characteristics: Int +2, Per +1, Pre +1, Com -2, Str 0, Sta +3, Dex -1, Qik -1
Size: 0
Age: 26 (26)
Warping Score: 0 (0)
Confidence Score: 2 (5)
Reputation: none
Virtues and Flaws: Redcap; Herbalism, Relic (minor), Self-Confident; Disfigured (skin disease), Dutybound (leper’s restrictions), Fragile Constitution, Judged Unfairly (leper), Obsessed (avenge father’s murder), Offensive to Animals.
Personality Traits: Bitter +3, Cynical +3, Brave +1
Dodge: Init -1, Attack n/a, Defense -1, Damage n/a
Grapple: Init -1, Attack +2, Defense +2, Damage +0
Staff: Init +1, Attack +4, Defense +4, Damage +2
Broadsword: Init +1, Attack +8, Defense +5, Damage +6
Soak: +3
Fatigue Levels: OK, 0, –1, –3, –5, Unconscious
Wound Penalties: –1 (1–5), –3 (6–10), –5 (11–15), Incapacitated (16–20), Dead (21+)
Abilities: Artes Liberales 1 (rhetoric), Athletics 3 (running), Awareness 2 (ambushes), Brawl 2 (wrestling), Code of Hermes 2 (covenants), Craft: Tailor 2 (repairs), Folk Ken 2 (travelers), Great Weapon 1 (staff), Guile 3 (fast talk), Herbalism* 4 (diagnosis), Latin 4 (Hermetic usage), Occitan 5 (poetry), Order of Hermes Lore 2 (history), Profession: Apothecary 2 (poisons), Provencal Tribunal Lore 6 (covenants), Single Weapon 4 (broadsword), Stealth 3 (hiding), Survival 3 (Provencal), Swim 2 (rivers).
*substitutes for Medicine, see Art & Academe page 55.
Theriacs: 30 XP worth of formulae.
Equipment: leper’s garb, hooded veil, leper’s staff with small brass bell & relic
Encumbrance: 0 (0)
Appearance: a gaunt man wearing a russett leper’s robe and elbow-length gray gloves.

A Note on Lepers in Mythic Europe

The Leprosy Major Flaw and its negative physical and social effects has been detailed previously in Houses of Hermes: Societates, pages 93-96 and City & Guild, page 26-27. The following variation using Minor Flaws may be appropriate for companion characters, who may not wish to suffer the full penalties of true leprosy or for grogs, who may not take Major Flaws.

Many unsightly skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and small pox were lumped together with leprosy in the thirteenth century, most of which did not meet modern criteria for true leprosy. Not all such “lepers” need suffer the full physical effects of the Leprosy Major Flaw. Those afflicted by less debilitating skin conditions are still marked with similar social stigma and legal restrictions, reflected by the Dutybound Minor Flaw. These “minor” lepers are better represented by choosing the Disfigured, Judged Unfairly Minor and/or Offensive to Animals Flaws to reflect the visual effects of their skin diseases, the fear of the common folk and/or their strong odour of sickness. Those with significant physical disability due to their skin condition or pain may be represented by another physical Minor Flaw such as Arthritis, Fragile Constitution, or Palsied Hands.

Sicard’s Items

Note as a Redcap three years out of his Gauntlet, Sicart has up to 56 levels of spell like effects in the form of magic items available. The following items total 47 levels, leaving 9 levels available for another potential low level effect or item to customise the character.

Sicard’s Redcap Pin

This copper Redcap pin once belonged to Sicart’s late father Aestrius, and was recovered by Sicart from his corpse after the elder Recap’s death at the hands of the northern Crusaders. Aestrius used to complain so much about the damp that eventually one of the Provencal magi enchanted his Redcap pin to avoid having to listen to his grumbling. Sicart keeps it as an emotional reminder of his father but also appreciates its more pragmatic benefits on the road.

Ease This Poor Traveler’s Passage
ReAq 6, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Ind Pen 0, 2/day
This effect protects the wearer as the spell Cloak of a Duck’s Feathers. It is activated by tapping the pin with a wet finger.
(Base 1, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 slightly unnatural control; +1 2/day)

Warm These Cold Bones
CrIg 5, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Ind Pen 0, 2/day
This effect warms the wearer to a comfortable temperature when the pin is rubbed in a circular motion. It is a favourite of Redcaps throughout Mythic Europe.
(Base 2, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 2/day)

The Lazar’s Crutch

This wooden leper’s staff with a small copper bell was commissioned for Sicart by his late father, the Redcap Aestrius, to help protect his son during his travels. Sicart finds that the first power is usually sufficient to deter those human opponents not afraid to touch him in his guise as a leper, but the second effect has greater utility on the road against wild animals. It is an invested item with the following effects:

Unclean, Unclean!
ReCo 28, R: Touch, D: Diam, T: Ind Pen 0, 6/day
Only those without Magic Resistance are affected by this effect, which protects Sicart against physical contact by mundane humans. Mostly this short-term effect just nudges people aside when passing through a crowd and the sight of his leper’s garb then creates further distance. If attacked with fists however, his opponent’s blows always miss – their hands are pushed aside as a warded against individual cannot act across the ward. The ward does hinder opponents armed with melee weapons but is not effective against thrown or missile weapons whatsoever. The effect is triggered by ringing the copper bell attached to the tip of the staff and muttering thrice the word “Ego immunda est, immunda est” (Latin: “I am unclean, it is unclean”).
(Base 15, +1 Touch, +1 Diam; +3 6/day)

A Trick My Father Taught Me
MuHe(Te) 8, R:Per, D: Diam, T: Ind Pen 0, 6/day
This effect transforms the wooden component of Sicart’s staff into a steel broadsword. By preference, the weapon is similar to the one his father once used while traveling. The small copper bell remains attached by a ring to the pommel, allowing the Redcap to still invoke the first power if required. Reshaping the staff successfully into a sword with magic requires an Intelligence + Finesse roll, as noted on page 77 of ArM5. An Ease Factor of 6 is sufficient to make the sword of mediocre, but serviceable, workmanship. The magically transformed staff must penetrate in order to harm opponents who have Magic Resistance. The effect is triggered by holding the staff in a defensive fighting pose and lasts two minutes (20 combat rounds), sufficient for a typical roadside combat encounter.
(Base 4, +1 Diam; +3 6/day)

The Tooth of St Lazarus

This minor Christian relic consists of a tin plated molar of St Lazarus, patron saint of lepers. The tooth forms the clapper for Sicart’s leper bell. The relic provides Sicart with 1 Faith point and a Magic Resistance of 10 when the bell is clasped firmly.

5 thoughts on “Sicart filius Aestrius, the Leper Herald of Provencal”

  1. Hello! As it is, I don’t think Unclean Unclean would work: Being range personnal, it would protect the staff, but not Sicart against humans. To do that, it needs Range: Touch, since it isn’t a Talisman. Nice redcap, however, thanks

  2. Not a huge fan of the Unclean! Unclean! effect, but sadly I think it probably passes muster.

  3. I’ve incorporated Plouc and Pelle’s comments above. The effect is indeed based on a similar spell from Magi of Hermes page 95 “Repulse the Unwanted Attention” but is intended more as a non-combat spell or to prevent physical abuse in crowds rather than as personal armour. Checking the ward guidelines, the effect on melee weapons is an automatic part of the nature of the spell but I agree that a less martial effect would probably suit the character concept better.

  4. Yes, RAW personnal Wards are very, very powerful, and not a favorite of mine.

    Pelle: it works as written, but it protects the staff, not Sicart 😉 imagine the staff had a personnal Ward against Heat and Flames: it wouldn’t protect it’s wearer against a PoF.
    In MoH 95, it works with Personal Range because, as I’ve written in my previous comment, it is invested into a Talisman: see p94, Fides Sororis, for a non-talisman version: it has Touch Range, to cast the Ward on The item’s wielder.

  5. Me again, sorry for the triple post.
    I thought about what you said about a less martial effect.

    What about a Touch range mentem effect that creates revulsion, using a non standard range of Room+1, just like “To see as through a Plethron Distant”? Or something that makes people ignore him so long as he isn’t hostile?

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