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.

Milestone 550+ New spells for Ars Magica

Roughly another three months since hitting the 500 spell mark and there are 50+ new spells for Ars Magica, totalling 551 new spells, and I think around another 50 almost ready to be published. I’ve been working on writing about my the thoughts and impressions on Ars Magica more than spells recently which is why there are opinions and House Rules blog posts now as well as Hermetic spells in the feed.

Hope you enjoy both the rants and spells folks, Happy Ars Magica gaming.

Spells to Repair a Dwelling

Over time I’ve written a few new Perdo and Rego spells for Terram and Herbam to damage parts of objects or structures (often using Target: Part as it is slightly harder but far more versatile), so in support of a breadth of magical spells for Ars Magica, here are a few ways to repair buildings and structures.

There are two approaches: Creo rituals which might be thought of as healing or restoring damage, and Rego Crafting spells (Houses of Hermes: Societates, Rego and Creo Craft Magic p. 60) which reconstruct the building using available materials. In design I think both need to be specific to the base materials involved, and requisites which may be required.

For using Creo there is a canonical spell with a similar effect which can be used to benchmark the difficulty. The spell Seal the Breach (a CrTe20 Ritual, Lords of Men sourcebook, p.116) repairs a gap within one wall, however a new spell with a larger effect and broader applications is far more useful and no more complicated or powerful.

Recondition the Battered Castle

Creo Terram / Herbam 20, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Structure, Ritual

The targeted wood, stone, and glass structure is repaired of all structural damage, such breached walls, collapsed rooms, fallen ceiling, etc.

The repairs are basic and very likely obvious, so while they are functional they lack any ornate features, quality finish, or embellishments.

(Base 3, +1 Touch, +3 Structure, +1 complexity)

With every ritual having a minimum level 20, it makes sense to load as much scope into the effect if the spell will initially be lower than level 20.

Recondition the Battered Walkway

Creo Terram / Herbam 20, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Part, Ritual

The targeted wood, stone, and glass is repaired of all structural damage, such breached walls, collapsed rooms, fallen ceiling, etc. Or if the structure is too large for  a single casting, this spell can affect part of the greater whole and be applied many times.

The repairs are basic and very likely obvious, so while they are functional they lack any ornate features, quality finish, or embellishments.

(Base 3, +1 Touch, +1 Part, +3 size)

Another higher level ritual is needed to include complexity of an ornate structure, such as a damaged Conjured Mystic Tower; written up below. I like the fact that casting another CtMT would be cheaper than using this ritual, because it makes a kind of sense that while the tower was once a single piece of stone, it now is better treated as a structure with all its content. Nice too that all the items within the tower have the option to be repaired.

Recondition the Mystic Tower

Creo Terram / Herbam 40, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Structure, Ritual

The targeted structure and all its content is repaired of all wood, glass, stone, and metal structural damage, such as breached walls, collapsed rooms, or fallen ceiling.

The repairs suitably match the quality of the base structure, making repairs invisible unless a requisite material is missing.

(Base 5, +1 Touch, +3 Structure, +3 complexity)

A version for a boundary might be a more simple solution to covenants which are initially in a state of disrepair.

Recondition the Ruined Township

Creo Terram / Herbam 35, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Boundary, Ritual

All dwellings within the defined boundary made from wood, stone, and glass are repaired of all structural damage, such breached walls, collapsed rooms, fallen ceiling, etc.

The repairs are basic and very likely obvious, so while they are functional they lack any ornate features, quality finish, or embellishments.

(Base 5, +1 Touch, +4 Boundary, +1 complexity)

For approaches using Rego more interpretation is needed as the Rego crafting kick-in, there is also a degree of complexity involved when trying to use Rego in large areas. Instead of a spell affecting an entire castle the Rego magic works better when it is targeted to a much smaller area, both in the volume of material needed and also the complexity and effort modifications in the Finesse skill checks.

Renovation of the Neglected Walkway

Rego Terram / Herbam 25, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Group

Using appropriate available materials the caster can repair damage to buildings and walls made from stone, metal, or wood. To ensure the reconstruction is suitable a successful Finesse check vs 12+ is required for each repaired segment. Detailed planning and assistance from expert sources may reduce the Finesse difficulty for a specific area.

This spell will not prepare the source materials or ensure they are fit for purpose, so other spells may be required.

(Base 5, +1 Touch, +2 Group, +1 group size)

Comprehend the Handwork of Dilapidation

Intellego Terram / Herbam 25, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Part

This spell allows the caster to examine a whole structure or segment, and understand its current state of disrepair. The information gleaned extends beyond basic damage to include the internal structures and how it might best be repaired.

(Base 15, +1 Touch, +1 Part)

These and over 552 other new spells for Ars Magica can be found here.

A Pick Pocket spell for the Discerning Burglar

A Magus with shady inclinations could gather a stable rudimentary level of wealth very easily. After donning a spell to move amongst mundanes without difficulty these spells might be useful to garner money or other useful materials from passing traders and townsfolk.

Smell of Wealth and Decadence

Intellego Terram 10, R: Personal, D: Concentration, T: Smell

You can smell any particular Terram material which is chosen as the spell is cast. In the inventor’s version of the spell the different metals smell like various pungent herbs and precious stones smell like citrus fruits; with the potency relating to their approximate distance and volume.

(Base 2, +1 Concentration, +2 Smell, +1 for any Terram based materials)

Sight of the Astute Burglar 

Intellego Terram / Herbam Animal 25, R: Personal, D: Concentration, T: Vision

You can see a chosen type of Terram material through 3 paces of other interposing materials made from Terram, Herbam, or Animal products, and know roughly how much is present and how pure it is. The spell’s inventor wished to inspect the contents in warehouses, crates, and shops without raising suspicion.

(Base 2, +1 Concentration, +4 Vision, +1 for any Terram material, +1 to see through intervening material)

These effects are similar to the Probe for Pure Silver (InTe4) and The Miners Keen Eye (InTe, both in Ars p.153) reworked with alterations to suit more regular sneaky uses.

Then these spells are akin to Invisible Hand of the Thief (MoH p.93) with alterations to steal from within containers or rooms. They make theft of valuables very easy, especially when combined with the Intellego spells above.

Highjack the Piquant Purse

Rego Terram 25, R: Voice, D: Momentary, T: Room

Teleports the content of the targeted container or space which must be within 5 paces to a place the caster is touching, and optionally the container may also be teleported. Requisites are added when casting on non-Terram materials.

(Base 4, +2 Voice, +1 secured items, +2 Room)

Highjack the Handy Haversack

Rego Terram 35, R: Sight, D: Momentary, T: Room

Teleports the content of the targeted container or space which must be within 50 yards, to a place the caster is touching, and optionally the container may also be teleported. Requisites are added when casting on non-Terram materials.

(Base 4, +3 Sight, +1 secured items, +1 for transport up to 50 paces, +2 Room)

All the 545+ new spells for Ars Magica can be found here.

Bind Wounds for Animals

A quick spell for preventing wounds from worsening, akin to Bind Wound in Creo Corpus for animals instead.

Bind Beastly Wounds

Creo Animal 10, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

All wounds on the target animal are closed, and cannot get any worse.

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

This spell is part of the free new spells compendium for Ars Magica.

Experimenting with Unusual Qualities of Sand

I’m not sure when or why these spells would be handy, or why sand was chosen. Perhaps as base components of a lab with an experimental specialisation. Or a Magus with a minor magical focus in sand, akin to a focus in bronze, stone, or ice – as sand is not quite as versatile as other focuses but still has many applications.

Remarkably Magnetic Sand

Muto Terram 10, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

The targeted sand is made magnetic, gathering together and allowing moulding into unusual shapes.

(Base 3 for slightly unnatural, +1 Touch, +2 Sun)

Remarkably Bright Sand

Muto Terram / Ignem 15, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

The targeted sand glows with an eerie luminescence, while noticeable it is not bright enough to replace a useful source of light.

(Base 4 for highly unnatural, +1 Touch, +2 Sun)

Transmutation Between Oil and Sand

Muto Terram / Aquam 10, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

The targeted sand is changed to oil, and oil to sand.

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

All the 544+ new spells for Ars Magica can be found here.

Stat Boosting Rituals, Part 7 (Improving Items)

Continuing from Stat Boosting Rituals, Part 6, … to discuss making physical items better. It is something very left of center, and is based upon the idea that an item can be made closer to its ideal perfect form.

Considering that repeatedly cast powerful rituals can change the stats of a person, it stands to reason that other objects can also be improved in the same manner. Animals are an obvious extension of the Corpus and Mentem guidelines, so why not also objects?

Each type of object needs a separate ritual, as its generally bad spell design in the Ars setting to try to affect many very different types of objects with the same Creo-ish effect.

A reason why this type of transformation has probably been avoided is the Vis cost vs the silver pound cost to buy high quality items. High quality items can be commissioned with silver, and casting any ritual is expensive in vis, and Magi tend to save it for serious matters.

Ars Magica’s City & Guild source-book (p.70) has rules for the quality of items: Shoddy, Standard, Superior, Excellent, and then Wondrous.

Reviewing those rules gives two advances for an item beyond Standard craftsmanship, without becoming Wondrous. I’m excluding Wondrous items as they are akin to enchanted devices and are designed as one of a kind items for specific people. It is reasonable to state that they are beyond the capability of a ritual to improve a normal item into. Wondrous items are also very rare in actual play I’ve seen.

An aside – the City & Guide book also stipulates that magically enchanted items must be of Superior quality, else they suffer penalties to the lab total (see the inset box p.70). A rule that I’ve not seen often enforced, often hand-waved. That means troupes will need to decide if a typical magical device is Standard or Superior, especially if casting this style ritual after the item has been acquired and enchanted.

The difficult choice is to assign a baseline for objects. For living creatures the base starts from level 30 to make an attribute average (meaning +0), and scales per magnitude beyond. Lacking a better argument, that’s the method for items too.

New suggested Creo spell guidelines, with Forms appropriate to the item to be improved:

  • Base 30, to improve a crafted item from quality Shoddy to Standard.
  • Base 35, to improve a crafted item one quality level, up to Superior.
  • Base 40, to improve a crafted item one quality level, up to Excellent.

Practically the base 30 is a waste, and the base 35 might be useful to cast with a circle target on all items (such as weapons, as a level 40 final spell effect) in the covenant armory. Conversely if the ritual is invented using Target Circle then there is no reason to not cast it on every item available.

The Perfect Sword

Creo Terram / Animal Herbam 45, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Circle, Ritual

The targeted swords are improved in quality by one category, to a limit of Excellent. Any type of sword may be affected by the ritual, and the requisite allows for any non-Terram based components to be improved.

(Base 40, +1 Touch, +0 Momentary, +0 Circle, Ritual)

Practically if a Magus was enhancing their prized sword from Superior to Excellent, and also upgraded a selection of other weapons by spending 9 pawns of vis – I’d allow that. It’s a fairly high expense compared to the game mechanic gain.

The same effect could be reworked for any item such tools, armor, books (which opens a Pandora’s Box of rules from the Covenants source-book on quality), to gain the positive skill and combat bonuses which Superior and Excellent items bring.

A meta-game consideration I’m pondering is what happens when the item is made “better” using these rituals and it is already enchanted. Superficially I think it shouldn’t matter – as it is the same item after the spell is cast. My reasoning is that a person can have active enchantments in a familiar bond or a longevity ritual and still be improved by magic. The same applies here.

Another consideration is the use of Finesse for conjuring items using Creo. A troupe will need to decide if Finesse rolls are needed, and I’d suggest that they can be hand waved due to the high base level used in the spell; especially when compared to crafting an item with Rego magic, which certainly do need Finesse.

Then lastly while the ArsMagica rules are being broken by this there is the consideration that the rituals might also “pay” for complexity to affect metals, gems, or other steps in materials magnitude. I’m ignoring that complexity, as it places the ritual level far beyond reason. If it were required I’d alter the base level down from 30 to 20 to account for another baseline at 15 which repairs all damage to an item (from Magi of Hermes source-book). If the base then starts from 20, then a metal item is improved by a level 30 ritual anyway due to the +2 mag cost for targeting/creating metals.

See my Ars Magica grimoire for hundreds of other new spells.