Spells for Arcance Connections

In Ars Magica an Arcane connections is a link between the spell caster and a specific object or thing, that exists regardless of the distance between the two – to channel magic. In game they are a double edged sword, which can be used powerfully by magi, but also used against them.

This post contains a number of new spells which demonstrate some of the new spell guidelines for arcane connections, and also introduces some variations on how these might be used in game.

Craft the Mystical Anchor

Creo Vim 15, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

The spell creates a temporary arcane connection between the object touched and the caster, and holds that connection in place for the duration. For the purpose of power and maintenance the initial arcane connection power is considered to be equivalent to “Hours”, but is them maintained by being placed within the duration.

This also means that the Perdo Vim effects that destroy arcane connections can affect this spell easily (level 5 base effect for Hours).

The arcane connection may then be used by the caster to target the object at range: Arc.

(Base: 4, +1 Touch, +2 Sun)

The arcane connection strength is very important when considering how difficult it may be to remove the connection. A “hours” connection is the weakest possible, and a base effect 5 spell will render this level ineffective.

An alternate version might be created with a duration of ring, with the specific use of forming a connection that is maintained by the Ring, rather than needing an investment of Vis. Initially this might sound overtly powerful, until the ramifications of a Ring duration are understood – which basically means that the Magus has a connection back to an object, but that object must always remain present within the ring. If the object is moved from within the ring, the ring is marred, or the object destroyed, then the arcane connection is lost.

An important note in creating these effects is that the duration of the spell and the strength of the arcane connection will need to share a purpose. A spell may be able to create a connection that will last “hours”, but that is only useful for as long as the spell is also present. I.e. a spell with Duration: Conc and a “hours” connection still only lasts for as long as the caster concentrates.

The power of the Creo Vim effect must sustain both the duration of the hermetic spell and the connection itself. The longer the connection, the connection the more magical power needed.

The core point of debate for this spell is what the base effect level would be. In the ArM5 Creo Vim guidelines a level 3 creates a taint, and each 5 levels can inflict a point of warping. In relative terms of power a permanent arcane connection normally requires the expenditure of Vis, and a fair effort of activity to construct; however that is to create connections which are indefinite and permanent. A connection in magic is probably similar in power to a warping effect but has no permanent negative effect by its existence, so level 4 is chosen. This is in line with the base guidelines in Realms of Power: the Infernal (RoP:I sourcebook p.121), which allow creation of arcane connections between magi and demons with a base effect level 4.

It is however slightly different to the guidelines introduced in Magi of Hermes (MoH sourcebook p. 113), which indicates that Creo Vim level 5 is needed to slow the decay of a connection. I’m comfortable with a base effect of 4 for hours, with an understanding that extending the strength of a connection by one step adds a magnitude as demonstrated by the MoH guidelines.

A more powerful version of this spell could be crafted to make the base effect more resilient to Perdo Vim magic. To do this increase the magnitude of the spell for each step up the arcane connection duration (ArM p. 84).

  • Hours – the base strength for an effect base 4.
  • Days – +1 mag strength.
  • Weeks – +2 mags
  • Months – +3 mags
  • Year – +4 mags
  • Decades – +5 mags
  • Indefinite, not possible with this effect.

This will make the effect more resilient to Perdo Vim effects which seek to destroy the Arcane Connection, whereby the magnitude of the PeVi spell must consider the strength of the link.

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A Curse of Bliss

Mentem effect granting absolute bliss on a person for the duration, used as an alternative to Weight of a Thousand Hells (Ars p148); very dilapidating but the target may like it.

Fleeting Distraction of Heavenly Bliss

Creo Mentem 20, R: Voice, D: Diameter, T: Individual

Makes the target experience a sense of happiness and pleasure about someone or something of your choice, which is so powerful that all their other considerations are irrelevant – all they can feel is their own pleasure. Appropriate personality trait rolls suffer a -5 modifier, and a general -2 modifier on rolls that require thought and concentration.

(Base 4, +2 Voice, +1 Diameter, +1 extreme joy)

All the new spells for Ars Magica can be found here.

A Lightning Shield

Magi of Tom has created a sample Flambeau who is focused in lightning. That’s a great character concept. It reminded me of a love for lightning spells, especially thematic ones – like the ball lightning which surrounds Shaman characters in WoW. So extending on the two other lightning based blog posts with spells (a ward and improved lightning bolt spells) – here is a lightning shield.

Shield of Crackling Lightning 

Creo Auram / Rego 35, R: Personal, D: Diameter, T: Individual

The caster is surrounded by webs of interlaced lightning which will not harm them but will damage anything directly interacting with their body. The lightning inflicts +30 damage.

(Base 5, +1 Diameter, +4 unnatural, +1 Rego protection)

This and over 551 other new spells for Ars Magica can be found here.

Arms at the ready, creating weapons and armour with Muto

These spells transmute the earth into a set of arms and armor. This might suit poorly equipped grogs, or combatants who have changed in size due to another spell. All have the limitations of conjured items attacking opponents with MR, which is also why minor qualities have been included – if the weapon is going to be resisted its no disadvantage to have a further power. Other small variations could replace the examples below.

Draw from Dust a Skin of Steel

Muto Terram 35 / Animal Herbam, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

This spell raises a fully formed set of mail armour sized to the desires of the caster from the ground, which must be donned before use. The full suit of armour is unnaturally light and strong, granting Protection 9 and Load 3. However as the full mail suit is magically created it will be resisted by MR as normal.

To create functional gear the caster must succeed a Finesse check of 9 or higher, and a botched result indicates the equipment is unknowingly sub-standard and will probably fail basic use or at a critical moment.

(Base 4 for dirt to stone, +1 for metal, +1 unnatural qualities, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +2 complexity of material form, Herbam and Animal requisites free)

Draw from Dust a Blade of Steel and Fire

Muto Terram 30, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

This spell raises a fully formed sword sized to the desires of the caster from the ground. The blade is unnaturally resistant to fire and heat, allowing it to be used with other common weapon enhancing magic. However as the weapon is magically created it will be resisted by MR as normal.

To create functional weapon the caster must succeed a Finesse check of 9 or higher, and a botched result indicates the item is unknowingly sub-standard and will probably fail basic use or at a critical moment.

(Base 4 for dirt to stone, +1 for metal, +1 unnatural qualities, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 complexity of material form)

All the 550+ new spells for Ars Magica can be found here.

Jack’s Beanstalk in Ars Magica

With all the Game of Thrones, Frozen, and Snow White I thought to give Jack and the Beanstalk a try too. First among the fantastic elements in Jack and the Beanstalk is the beanstalk itself.

Conjure a Beanstalk to the Clouds

Creo Herbam 45, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

The beanstalk created by this spell is enormous, as wide as several oak trees at its base and reaches far into the clouds. The beanstalk must be rooted into solid earth for the spell to work.

(Base 1, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +8 size, +1 unnaturally strong)

All the new spells for Ars Magica can be found here.

A Minuscule Immovable Lab

Edit: this should be called “Minuscule Movable Lab”, clearly I missed the title. 

A quick post with an odd purpose – to shrink a room or lab down to a tiny size so it is easier to transport. For this to work the lab or building would need to be constructed specifically as a container, so that once it is very small it can be picked up like a storage box. Another spell then follows to ensure the room’s contents stay intact as it is carried.

What I really love about using a Target of Structure or Room is that the complexity of all the content is in-built in the effect. There is no additional scaling needed to target everything within the room. My reservation is that these spells are very high level, which means only more advanced PCs might be able to have them.

Chamber as Ornament

Muto Terram 40, R: Touch, D: Moon, T: Room

The target room and all its non-living contents is shrunk to a tiny size; a standard room is shrunk to a thumbnail, with the content also reducing proportionally. The caster can opt to affect only the room’s contents. Requisites are required when cast on non-Terram materials.

(Base 4, +1 Touch, +3 Moon, +2 Room, +2 incredibly small)

For the design of Chamber as Ornament picking the base level was normally for a doubling of each dimension, or an increase of mass by eight times. In Ars Magica it is also generally easier to shrink a thing than to enlarge a thing. When reducing a 16x reduction is reasonable at the base, and for a room that turns a chamber into a chest. A further reduction by adding another magnitude makes that chest into a cup, then another for a cup to a thumbnail.

Another design consideration was the Duration of Moon which is how I see the spell being effective, however both these spells are better as enchanted devices which can be turned on and off.

Then to keep the items in place when the room is shrunk this spell is needed. It might also serve to ensure a lab is slightly harder to break into and ransack. The caster must also have a way to remove it if they need to – which is where the power is probably best as a complex enchanted item.

Keep Everything in Place

Rego Terram 40, R: Touch, D: Moon, T: Room

The target room and all its contents is fixed in place so that nothing can move. Objects stay as placed, doors are held, and pots of water will stay full even if disoriented.

This spell does not affect living targets such as trees, animals, or people. Requisites are required when cast on non-Terram materials.

(Base 5, +1 Touch, +3 Moon, +2 Room)

All the new spells for Ars Magica can be found here.

Warping Points advancement house rule

A Final Twilight event as a result of extended Warping for Magi is potentially how their lives as characters will end, although to be fair many Magi in my experience are retired by story events, killed, or paused due to a permanent hiatus of the game. In my view warping is something which infrequently impacts a Magus character and very rarely ends their life through Final Twilight.

When advancing a character through their years post-gauntlet in bulk there is a rough rule of thumb to add a few warping points each year due to longevity, strange events and spell casting botches. Two points per year is ok, but does not reflect virtues and flaws, or other game events.

So how many points are reasonable to add per year when advancing a character before play begins?

Here are my suggestion:

  1. Add 1 point per year the character has a Longevity Ritual. This is standard to the core rules.
  2. Add 1 point for each extra virtue or flaw gained though non-Twilight related means (cult initiation, realm of magic, freaky story event in accelerated advancement, etc).
  3. Add 1 point per 5 years (rounding down) if the character has a flaw which makes Twilight more regular or more severe. If the character has more than one of these flaws then they are cumulative.
  4. Add 5 points per 10 years after their Gauntlet; because things go wrong.
  5. Mitigate the total value of item 4 above by subtracting the Familiar’s Golden Bond score; because the cord should greatly reduce the probability of botching.
  6. Further mitigate item 4 if the character has a suitable virtue such as Cautious Sorcerer, reducing by -1 for each.

Hope this is useful.