Discussing a portable floating laboratory

A laboratory is a fundamental tool for every Magus in Ars Magica. As such there are variations and rules in abundance for how to detail and personalise a lab (Covenants source book, p 106). Just to be slightly odd I thought detailing a few aspects of a floating lab might be interesting. Typically to find a structure for a lab isn’t difficult but finding something which is suitable as a portable and floating lab is harder, it’s either constructed purposefully by understanding mundane craftsman or conjured.

If constructed the sourcing becomes a challenge only in resolving how the building is designed for flight. The Magus comes to acquire the stonemasons, labourers, and materials of the build in context of their covenant resources.

If conjured the sourcing probably requires a bespoke spell for the shape and size required, so it adds seasons of work or vis to be spent if another Magus is supplying the solution. It does however grant the owner exacting design choices and options which would be very difficult for mundane craftsmen to complete.

Rather than a conjured room or tower which is then enchanted, I suggest taking a lead from the floating castle in Legends of Hermes (p.121), by using a massive sheet of stone as the base with a Rego Terram effect, say one pace thick by 30 paces across. That requires a constant lesser enchantment as ReTe28. This allows the stone sheet to move at the speed of a running horse. Then if it is commanded in the same way as The Flying Castle of Thomae then another constant lesser device of CrIg9 is needed to send the colored light as control commands.

A 30 pace wide disk is far more than large enough for a single lab and likely could hold a small tower, or many ancillary buildings too. The disk itself will have the same abilities and failings as listed for the flying castle. It’s plausible to have the disc far smaller than 30 x 1 paces to make a smaller block, especially if the next task is adding a multi-story building. It could be about 15 paces wide and still hold a huge lab, and reducing the blocks diameter makes it easier to fit into a lab for enchantment (note though the Ars rules allow for an outdoor lab, so it’s plausible to create a place to enchant this easily). Perhaps a block roughly 15×2 paces is better as it makes for an incredibly sturdy base.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Crafting the enchanted object for Initiation to Bjornaer Sensory Magic

Part of the Sensory Magic initiation process (HoH:MC, p.27-28) is the creation of a magical device in the shape of the Bjornaer’s Heartbeast which is imbued with five senses.

The Initiate must craft an object in the shape of his heartbeast and enchant it with the ability to see, hear, taste, touch, and smell.

This task is totally undefined and very open to interpretation. I thought to write out a few potential ways to create the object and discuss some of the options. While trying to complete the initiation requirements in blog-post form I have a few goals:

  • Meet the requirements of the initiation ritual minimally and simplistically, to demonstrate how to not waste vis and time.
  • Meet the requirements beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • See if any of the designs for the invested spells or effects might be reused for a similar purpose later.
  • See if any odd or weird options arise while pondering this design task.

From the outset of sketching potential solutions there was a large discrepancy between the options and the real answer is to set the requirements to what is reasonable for the character and the saga. There is no point getting overly prescriptive or pedantic in most Ars games because the gameplay is more about the interactions than the consumption of vis and seasons. The vis and seasons are a point of consistency in requirements for Magi, because almost everything else they do is totally subjective.

Therefore the goal should be an amount of seasons and vis which represents a sacrifice, and allows the story to continue.

Frankly with that in mind I’m tempted to recommend the most basic version be the default and move on (option one below). As anecdotal support for this a Bjornaer magus named Lexora (Through the Aegis, p.45) has the Sensory Magic virtue and also the flaw Weak Enchanter, which makes it implausible that Lexora created anything in the lab beyond the most basic magic item. So consider: she would struggle even with the simple “method one” version.

I’d also encourage the reuse in the lab, so if the Bjornaer can craft something which they can craft again to good use that’s a potentially good solution. Continue reading

A spell to find somebody

Update: realised I wrote an identical spell with another name a long time ago, so you won’t see these in the spells list. Ah well.

An RPG-StackExchange question was asked about finding people in huge areas. The problem with the OP’s desired goal is that while a big T: Boundary spell could find people inside the area, it cannot find only that one person. To find all of the men, or women, or just the gifted people – is all ok. But to find only a specific person needs an arcane connection so that all the others are excluded.

Here is a renamed version of spell I posted there as a quick solution, to show that an AC was still needed to find something specific within a wider area. As this spell is only InCo15 it does not need a large amount of optimisation, but it is not plausible for some magi to spont cast this spell.

Heading, As the Man Wanders

Intellego Corpus 15, R: Arc, D: Mom, T: Ind

Caster gains knowledge of the current approximate distance and direction to the target with whom they have an arcane connection.

(Base 3, +4 Arc)

It would also be possible for a magus to complete this task with spontaneous magic using Opening the Intangible Tunnel (at ReVi4) then cast the spell above reduced back to R: Touch which makes a InCo4 spell (as Base 3, +1 Touch); both effects far easier to spont cast.

There is probably also variants for animals, and all sorts of other things like ghosts, magical creatures, etc.

Heading, As the Crow Flies

Intellego Animal 15, R: Arc, D: Mom, T: Ind

Caster gains knowledge of the current approximate distance and direction to the target with whom they have an arcane connection.

(Base 3, +4 Arc)

Lastly as I think of it – far better to have a spell that is used through an Intangible Tunnel and also is D: Concentration based. That way the caster can know what changes.

Heading, As the Crow Flies Onward

Intellego Animal 5, R: Touch, D: Concentration, T: Ind

Caster gains knowledge of the current approximate distance and direction to the target with whom they “touch”, typically used through an intangible tunnel.

(Base 3, +1 Touch, +1 Concentration)

Pale Ones, a faerie host and the Lady of the Moon, Mistress of the Winter Wind

Writing a few faerie npcs for an Ars Magica game and thought I’d share the bits and pieces…as a story seedling. I’ve been wanting to share this post for a long while, but the story is almost done so no harm now.

The premise for the story is the friction between two separate groups of faeries who have been isolated within a regio for decades without human interaction. Recently the magi and covenfolk rediscovered the regio which revives both groups of fading faeries. Their skin becomes more colorful, their moods lighten, they rise from dormant states refreshed. Both groups are also overly keen to interact.

Fae of the Marketplace – the first group are playing out a marketplace setting, where the human interactors are given opportunities to trade, learn, and interact with fae as a common village market. Significant effects in the marketplace include:

  • Vendors and participants in the market will fade and then reappear every hour or so, sometimes changing appearance. This means that very few of the vendors will be present day after day, however once the vendors learn the types of objects the characters are seeking to buy they will be more present.
  • Three vendors will remain constant – a Toymaker, a Clothier, and a Trader. These three fae compete the most for human contact.
  • If groomed properly “the Marketplace” will make a good source of covenant stories, perhaps covenant income.

Fae of the Host – “the host” are a group of vicious hunters who prey on children to gain vitality, known as the Pales Ones. Each member reflects an aspect of being wintery, cold, lost, or hungry in their powers and movements, and also be either partial animals or full animals in appearance. Their role is to play out animalistic hunting behaviour; members of the host sniff out prey, and then the host hunts together to feed and kill.

These two groups have become entwined in the regio because a toymaker from the marketplace periodically sends his animated wooden children into the forest to seek out customers and interested humans, and they are destroyed by the Host. The toy maker also wishes to return to a deeper regio layer where his old home and workshop is, but is blocked by the Host.

The Host are frustrated with the true lack of prey.

The characters entered the scenario as visitors to the marketplace, potentially buying and trading for trinkets and gear.

Ghori, Lady of the Moon, Mistress of the winter wind. A Pale One.

Lady Ghori is an ultra thin grey skinned woman with mostly human features, notable is an overall feline taint to her eyes, ears, and teeth, and very long white hair, often braided in three thick strands. She dresses in long robes and coats of grey, white, and charcoal, decorated with teeth, bone and trimmed with animal hides.

Lady Ghori will often ride an unnaturally large wolf when she has to travel long distances or quickly, her mount of choice for the fear and distrust it incites in mortals. The wolf is not combative though, more smoke and glamour than a beast.

She is called “mistress” or “Lady Ghori” by her host of lesser faeries, as she hunts and feeds with them on children and lost travellers at nighttime. Lady Ghori has grown more powerful than the other members of the host, unknowingly changing her story to be the leader of the Host. She now thinks that she a distant cousin to a noble cast of fae known as the Pale Ones, and the Host are her followers.

Story Guides should tweak Lady Ghori’s Might score to use her as a combative challenge. She is intended to be very difficult for grogs alone to defeat, and with a handful of her host she might make a reasonable challenge to a Magus.

Goals: To risk her life hunting humans with her host (see below), provoking violent responses. To invoke fear.

Method: Lady Ghori stays in hiding, using the host to scavenge for lost travellers. When a potential target is she joins the host in playing cat and mouse games with the prey, eventually leading to a physical confrontation. As she drawn her energy from the reactions of fear she prefers to draw out fights and induce anger. Best played as a bully, with her weaknesses being greed for energy and her own fear of being ridiculed.

Faerie Might: 15

Characteristics:  Int 0, Per +2, Pre 0, Com 0, Str +0,  Stm +1,  Dex +1,  Qik +2, Size: -1

Virtues: Faerie Speech, Humanoid Faerie, Cognizant within Role,  Flaws: Cyclic Potency (weaker in daytime) -1, (balance to buy powers)

Personality Traits: Careful+1, Cruel +3, cat +1

Combat: Longspear  Init +5,  Atk +8,  Dfn +9,  Dmg +6

Soak: +3 (layered leather armor) , Fatigue: OK, 0, -1, -3, -5, Unconscious; Wounds: -1 (1-4)

Pretenses:  Good Combative skills, a few negotiation skills, and hunting skills.

Powers:

  • Sidestep 0 points, Init -5, Can teleport 5 or so paces at will.
  • Confusion: 2 points, Init +2, Mentem: as the level 15 ReMe Confusion of the Numbed Will. When used a cold wind will be felt in the area.
  • Chilling Wind: 1 point, (CrAu/IgPe) creates a wind that chills all within for a fatigue level.
  • Winter Snow 0 points (CrAq) makes snow fall over a wide area.

Equipment: Full leather armour, longspear, shortsword, trinkets and jewelry,

Vis:  3x pawns of Corpus vis in hands.

Continue reading

Anhedon ex Miscellanea, a Necromancer

(Edit: the formatting is horrid, will be fixed shortly)

Presenting another necromancy focused character as presented to a new-ish play-by-post forum game on the Mythweavers forums – Anhedon ex Miscellanea. My last necromancer was a Bonisagus, and while this character has some similar aspects the split of virtues and flaws and the starting position are very different. I went for a far more creepy theme which is backed by a very solid raw reference in the Lion and the Lilly sourcebook ( p.102 for covenant backstory). This npcs Pater is Eulogius ex Miscellanea, patron of Donatores Requietis Aeternae, in the Normandy tribunal. As a Magus of House ex Miscellanea he could be straight off the page.

Appearance

Anhedon appears a quiet shy man who dresses in dark earthy shades, or if travelling some distance will change to dress as a humble monk. He has a thin build and decrepit pale complexion which gives him a disturbing otherworldly appearance, especially confronting when paired with his blatant gift. As such has learnt to voice his needs through his grogs and proxies, as he is frequently too disturbing for mundanes and townsfolk. He walks with a tall staff and carries satchels. His apprenticeship is seeped in the roots of Donatores Requietis Aeternae oldest traditions; that of spiritual and corporeal necromancy.

Early Life 

Anhedon was born into a family serving at his master’s covenant of Requietis Aeternae. As the magi took little care of the servants beyond their physical needs it was not unusual for many children raised at R.A. to be warped, weird, or conflicted. He was identified as significantly warped by magic even at his birth, as his blatant gift expressed itself from birth instead of later in his childhood. This meant his natural parents distrusted him, and he often was left to perform his chores alone, or under the scrutiny of unforgiving masters. This fortunately also led to his gift being identified early, which acted as a doubly hard lesson for his natural family; their freakish son was now potentially to be a wizard – if he survived.

During his grooming for his apprenticeship another current apprentice fell foul of the Master Eulogius, and suffered a terrible mishap. Anhedon was too young to understand the details of the accident, but the apprentice was left bereft of sanity for many months, and while his mind recovered slowly his magical gift drained away. Master Eulogius was displeased by the waste of resources spent on the failed apprentice, and set the poor boy to dangerous tasks and demeaning work now that he was not useful. Instead Anhedon was thrust into the new apprentice role, where he understood failure might end his potential or his life. The covenant was desperate for new magical blood, and he understood that his place was to join the strict hierarchy for R.A., however Anhedon secretly wished escape the covenant, and departed as soon as his apprenticeship was computers and his Oath sworn.

ex MIscellanea necromancer

Continue reading

Finding Corpses, Necromancy part 13

Just a quick post to add a few more quasi-Necromancy spells. A reworking the Inexorable Search (Ars p.131) as suggested in the Core rule-book, for corpses of humans and for living and dead animals.

Tracing the Trail of Death’s Stench

Intellego Corpus 20, R: Arcane, D: Concentration, T: Individual

As per the spell The Inexorable Search designed to find dead human corpses.

(Base 3, +4 Arcane, +1 Concentration)

I can see an inquisitor asking “and why do you need this incantation?”.

The Inexorable Search for the Lost Companion

Intellego Animal 20, R: Arcane, D: Concentration, T: Individual

As per the spell The Inexorable Search designed to find a living animal.

(Base 3, +4 Arcane, +1 Concentration)

Tracing the Tracks of Death’s Companion

Intellego Animal 20, R: Arcane, D: Concentration, T: Individual

As per the spell The Inexorable Search designed to find an animal corpse.

(Base 3, +4 Arcane, +1 Concentration)

Inexorable Search keeps on giving. The free new spells compendium for Ars Magica.

Late Ars Magica presents

Bringing today that I picked up Ars Magica books Antagonists, Grogs, and The Cradle and the Crescent in hardcover as a late personal present. While they’re unlikely to dramatically change the material I write I have already found an odd snippet just by flicking through the physical books instead of using a pdf.