Simple spells for Glaring Sunlight

While walking through the city many months ago I was caught off guard by how bright the sun was; reminding me of how poor it would be to fight while looking into bright sunlight. So, lacking a hat, what would a wizard do? They’d spontaneously cast a spell to handle the problem of course!

A basic idea is to create a very small floating disk which blocks the direct spot in your field of vision where the sun is, and have the spot move to always stay between the person and the sun. It does not remove the vulnerability of an attack from the angle of the sun, but would assist with the blinding effect.

Then the second spell is probably a better solution, removing the need for an obstruction and reducing the effect of extreme light. The third is a variation using control magic instead of destruction magic for light. So three ways of achieving the same kind of result.

The design of the second effect uses a Voice range as it is destroying the light as it approached the target, which is different from the third effect which is acting as a ward against bright light. I’m not sure if the spell really needs to be Voice range or not, so defaulted to making it slightly higher level.

These spells are probably useful in harsh environments to avoid sunburn too, and demonstrate again how the magic system can do a similar thing in many ways.

Blessing of the Floating Dark Sun

Creo Imagonem 10, R: Voice, D: Sun, T: Individual

This spell creates a small dark disc which constantly floats close to the target, between the target’s eyes and the sun, thereby greatly reducing the chance they will be blinded by looking into direct sunlight.

(Base 1, +2 Voice, +2 Sun, +1 moves with target) 

A Less Radiant Glare

Perdo Ignem 10, R: Voice, D: Sun, T: Individual

Causes bright or harsh light falling upon the target to be reduced so that all glare and blinding levels of light are lowered to a comfortable level. The subject is unaffected by any extremely bright light, and may choose the degree of reduction when the spell is cast.

(Base 2, +2 Voice, +2 Sun)

Ward Against Light and Glare

Rego Ignem 10, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

The person or object touched is warded against extreme light and glare, reducing each down to a comfortable level. The subject is unaffected by any extremely bright light, and may choose the degree of reduction when the spell is cast.

(Base 3, +1 Touch, +2 Sun)

These and others effects I’ve pondered over the past few years are part of the free new spells grimoire for Ars Magica.

Magus Agnarr Kallhjartad, Ex Miscellanea – a sample Ars Magica wizard. 


Two men draped in furs walk side by side through a hilly grassland covered in silvery frost. Both are indistinguishable due to the dim moonlight, although one is clearly armed with shield and long spear. Following behind them aways walks a large white bear.

“I’ll tell you a little, but lets keep walking till the sun’s up.” The other nods. “Was born a Sami, who live far in the north. Not the pleasant north here, far beyond that; right to edge of the ice where man cannot survive and the cold will break your teeth. My family were herders and trappers in their village, and with their short lives and dark nights they are an untrusting and spiritual people.”

“Untrusting like you.”

“Yes, and worse Jaern. I’m told that when I was born my family knew I was different. They call it touched, and in those lands it meant a child is cursed in a way that splits them from life. I was kept fed but not expected to live through the harsh winters. The family broke with tradition and refused to name me as all children are named in spring, enough of an admission to the rest of the village. ”

“After a year or so the shaman who lived many days downriver came and performed some sort of rites, and finally gave me my tribe name – Kallhjartad, the Cold Heart. It was fitting and allowed my family to see an end. And any end was preferable for them as the shame and guilt of bearing a touched child was a burden.”

“Wait, your sorcery isn’t a boon?”

“The curse makes people nervous and hostile. My family were openly troubled by my curse and this naming confirmed that if I survived another handful of years I’d have a place apart from the family, and still technically part of the community. You don’t feel it at present as I often shield you from its worse effects, that illease and creepiness is the touch of magic.”

“The shaman said when the time came I would be taken and trained in their ways. However only a few years after, and well before the shaman returned to claim me another man, a soothsayer well feared, came through the village and claimed me instead. My old pa knew of him but da had never seen him. He took me before my third name day, and from what I gather now he took me by force and cared little for what the village thought. That other man was Master Ailo. After that I stayed at the covenant for all my days. Trying to not get a whipping and learn something useful. ”

“That’s Ailo for certain, never around and as snappish as his old wolf. ”

“That wolf is twice as mean as any other natural animal I’ve met, but he’s also loyal. Means a lot to us. That’s why they mended your arm when it was half torn off too,” nodding upward at Jaern’s spear arm.

“Still hurts in winter. Not that you’d notice..”

Interrupting with a laugh, “..sook more Jaern. You’re twice as rich and twice as old as every other grog we have. A linnorm takes a snap on your elbow, and you live in hospice for a month and find yourself with a nice wife. ‘Tis a good outcome.”

“Hrrhmm. Be better when kids are grown. That’ll settle Ella’s moods,” looking sideways at Agnarr.

Smiling, “Oh yes? Horse dung it will!”

“Then give me a rote to help, you know her!”

“Ha, no. Her hospice was one of the few places outside Ailo’s lab that I saw for my apprenticeship. She’s as much a kind mother to me as Ailo might be a misguided father. No kid knows any different from their growing ways, but I knew the other apprentices were treated differently. They certainly got out more and the hospice has a quiet private place where everyone didn’t mind bending the rules. I’ll not be hexing Ella.”

“Wasn’t just you they watched Agnarr. That girl lost to the wildfires and another normal child stolen from our village a score of years before meant everyone got watchful.”

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Spells for Perceiving People as Music

Adding new supernatural senses through hermetic magic is not low level, and is also often very effective. Spell effects have to be specific and purposeful. Here are two spells which perceive dead and then living humans as musical tones and notes.

Music for the Earthly Remains

Intellego Corpus / Terram 25, R: Personal, D: Concentration, T: Hearing

Caster gains an additional hearing sense for dead humans and is able to hear when they are close by through musical notes and chords. The corpses appear to speak and sing to the caster, with their style and manner reflecting the casters sigil.

(Base 4 for general information about a body, +1 Concentration, +3 Hearing, +1 hearing through solid earth)

Music for the Sneaking Assassin

Intellego Corpus 25, R: Personal, D: Sun, T: Hearing

Caster gains an additional magical sense for living humans, and is able to hear their presence when they are close by through musical notes and chords. Targets appear to speak and sing to the caster, with their style and manner reflecting the casters sigil.

(Base 4 for general information about a body, +2 Sun, +3 Hearing)

Spells for Cold Climates

Here are more spells that suit a Magus specializing in frigid climates, many of the other CrAq & PeIg spells were inspired by Frozen across the blog posts last year, where these are instead effects that would be needed for life in the region.

Ward Against Winter’s Cold

Rego Ignem 15, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

Target is protected against all normal cold and supernatural effects inflicting +5 damage.

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

This ward protects in the same manner as the Ward Against Heat and Flame (Ars p.143).

Then moving on to a more mythic spell which surround the caster in toughened armour of ice. I like the idea that a specialist will find benefits and alternatives which suit their magic rather than mundane or obvious means.

Armour of Unbreakable Ice

Creo Aquam / Muto Terram 15, R: Personal, D: Sun, T: Individual

The caster is encased in a thick armour of unnaturally resilient ice, which offers protection akin to skin of metal armour. The ice moves with the caster, adjusting to their movements which provides an additional 6 Protection and 3 Load.

Without some extra tolerance to cold conditions the caster will find themselves uncomfortably chilled, loosing a Fatigue level per diameter of exposure.

(Base 4 for highly unnatural substance with Muto requisite, +2 Sun, +1 very strong with Terram requisite)

Aside – I’m not sure what the correct adjustment for Protection and Load should be. Ice itself wouldn’t provide much additional Protection from damage  (base 3), but when the ice is further made highly unnatural (base 4 with Muto to have flexibility and become like armour), and then has additional mag for toughness with a Terram requisite it feels right to me that the strength of metal and the unnatural attributes would provide a benefit better than normal armour can offer.

There is also no steel full armour akin to a contiguous skin-suit, as even full plate has links, gaps, and problems of being a set of interconnected parts. This magical ice armour does not have these limitations. I also considered a Rego requisite to have the armour move with the wearer but am not convinced that it is needed.

Rather than special glasses this spell allows the caster to see in the worst snow storms and tough conditions.

Clear Sight of the Arctic Fox

Intellego Aquam 15, R: Personal, D: Sun, T: Vision

The caster can see through snow and ice, which appear as highly translucent shadows of their previous images. This allows the caster to see through barriers and obstructions, and clearly in snowstorms.

(Base 1, +2 Sun, +4 Vision)

Lastly a never melting ice block might be handy outside the region to provide an instant cold room in warmer lands. It’s a very simple and low level effect.

Persistent Circle of Ice

Creo Aquam 10, R: Touch, D: Circle, T: Individual

Conjures a block of ice within the drawn circle, shaped to the size of the circle. The ice will persist until the circle is broken. Anything else within the circle will be encapsulated.

(Base 3, +1 Touch, +2 Circle)

Find hundreds more new spells for Ars Magica in the Grimoire.


Spells from Game of Thrones, part 1 (The Wall)

Here are some of the awesome set pieces and magical effects from A Song of Ice and Fire (a.k.a. Game of Thrones) written up as hermetic spells for Ars Magica. This particular post is all about “The Wall“.

The Wall is a colossal fortification which stretches for 100 leagues (300 miles) along the northern border of the Seven Kingdoms, defending the realm from the wildlings who live beyond.

The Wall is reported to be over 700 feet tall and is made of solid ice. It was supposedly constructed using both magic and mundane means some eight millennia ago, in the aftermath of the Long Night to defend the realm against the White Walkers who apparently dwell in the far north, though they are now considered myths by most.

Source: Game of Thrones Wiki

Aside – when your GM says “these creatures are thought to be a myth” you should expect to gear up to fight them; its a pen and paper rpg thing.

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Welcome to 2017

Happy new year to all the folk reading the blog. Hope 2017 is interesting and challenging in a good way. This year I’m set on reaching another spell milestone and also adding the odd campaign or story elements into the posts. To that end I might also see about getting some material out in the Ars Magica community too – subject to life’s regular demands. That’s not a resolution. 

There is a renewed interest in the Ars Magica community for content now that the official line has stopped publishing new books – in the Sub Rosa magazine (where I’ve had one thing published) and in a new magazine called Peripheral Code which started very recently. Both take submissions, have the support of Atlas Games, and also have writers from the product line and the community involved. It’s a time where the community now gets to write and direct the 5th edition material that is shared to the public which is exciting and positive.

While I’m not playing a face to face RPG game I am playing in several forum games of Ars; a slow burn based in Eastern Europe with a Bonisagus, a Scottish Merintia, a picked up Tremere based in the mountains of Andorra, and hopefully to start a Scandinavian game with a Mage specialising in ice and snow survival. 

Happy gaming folks. 

Certamen makes no real sense in the Ars setting (to me anyway)

Certamen – the method in Ars magica that two wizards decide an argument over an issue – makes about as much sense as two skilled swordsmen strongly disagreeing about who owns some spoils of battle, and deciding to play cards to see who is better (ahem) playing cards. In setting characters who are gamblers might decide to play cards to decide, however that is very character dependant. 

Essentially Certamen is a magical contest which is favours the powerful wizards. Higher art scores and basic skills will defeat many opponents. 

It might be legitimate as a tool to use in a story, but does it make sense in the setting’s wider themes and context, and is it plausible? I’m doubting that it does.

If I disagree with another person and I know they are “more powerful” or stand a much better chance of winning, that does not invalidate the discussion or issue at hand. Saying that a wizard would defer their logic and rights to a magical competition does not make sense, especially so if they are not likely to win. Even in contract negotiations where one side has basically all the leverage (say a buyer in an over supplied commodities market) there are negotiating tricks and player to be found. 

Basically the stakes of the issue need to be low enough that the result of a Certamen will be honored by the magi who looses, and high enough to bother with a formal duel. Which is to say not very often. Certamen comes back to character ego, a sporting activity, and a strange game mechanic, not a method for resolving disputes. Sure, edge cases are available, however I don’t see Certamen regularly used in games and certainly don’t see characters prioritizing their advancement to account for it.

So what’s the solution? Well that depends on what the players want from Certamen. The current model does use a range of skills which has a higher skill point cost, but conversely it is difficult to be great at everything. The current mechanics have done well. 

harry potter magical battle isnt certamen