Wonderful Ars Magica inspired sketches

A blogger and professional artist named Richard has some wonderful illustrations created for his home Ars Magica game. Richard T’s artwork inspired from Ars Magica – this immediately says “magi council chamber” for a Spring covenant. He also creates maps (you must take a look at the island created for a D&D game) and all sorts of great material. Clever sod! He should draw for the line or Sub Rosa.

Richard T's artwork inspired from Ars Magica

Make an army slaughter themselves, piecemeal

Today’s spell is a quick Rego Mentem effect for Ars Magica designed to turn a single opponent into a violent rage-filled berserker. The approach is more subtle than raining down fire on an opponent, very effective in destroying a fighting unit, and would also have a nasty effect on morale. I could see the spell used very well for a few soldiers guarding a door, a cohort on patrol, or even a shield grog of another Magus.

Incite the Traitorous Villain

Rego Mentem 30, R: Voice, D: Diameter, T: Individual

The target of the spell is driven into a violent blood-lust causing them to immediately attack any person or creature around them. If an opponent is not present they will seek one out for the duration of the spell. The effect increases their natural ferocity which grants a personality trait based bonus to combat damage, and renders them incapable of recognizing friend from foe.

(Base 15 to control a human as long as you can see them, +2 Voice, +1 Diameter)

The spell is a quick way to create revolt within a group, very insidious, and difficult for the target to undo their actions. The spell may also be dangerous for the caster if they happen to still be in close proximity to the target. The effect is intended for use against targets within an organized group to create disarray and chaos, thereby breaking any unit cohesion. The vanguard of the group does not need to be targeted, just a member.

When using the spell against very large units it might be useful to use a R:Sight based Opening the Intangible Tunnel so that individuals can be easily picked from the crowd. As such the spell might be written up as:

Incite the Traitorous Mob

Rego Mentem 35, R: Touch, D: Diameter, T: Group

The targeted group of the spell is driven into a violent blood-lust which causes them to immediately attack any person or creature around them. If a target is not present they will seek out a target for the duration of the spell. This increases their natural ferocity which grants a personality trait based bonus to combat damage, but also renders them incapable of recognizing friend from foe.

It is intended that the effect not be directly touched due to risk of harm, instead the spell can be delivered through an Opening the Intangible Tunnel or artifact.

(Base 15 to control a human as long as you can see them, +1 Touch, +1 Diameter, +2 Group)

41816_1272686400See further custom spells for Ars Magica can be found in the summary spells page.

Transformation into Shadows and Ghosts

Transforming into a shadowy form for isn’t straight forward in Ars Magica, not because it’s overly complex, but because there are a few ways it can be done. That said, its a seriously impressive thematic effect and might have advantages in-play.

The spell effects to do this starts with a Muto Corpus base level 30 because it is closely related to becoming insubstantial, then is modified to suit the Form best related to shadow – which is a bit of a discussion topic as shadows are affected by both Ignem and Imagonem circumstantially, although Ignem typically only to remove them. I’d say the transformation effect from another form is firmly within the domain of Imagonem. I mention this as Hermetically transformed creatures are still affected by their base form, then any form which is appropriate under the paradigm. So an Imagonem based transformation might be affected (subject to circumstances) by all Corpus as normal, Creo Ignem, and all Imagonem spells.


The paradigm for images and light used in Ars Magica has a base in species rather than modern physics (which quickly gets very confusing), that dictate that Creo Ignem can assist in destroying a shadow, and Imagonem can directly affect it.

Aside – It is also possible to have a shadow-like effect using Auram depending on the results that the caster wants (See the spells Cloak of Mist and Transform to Water, see Ars p.131) such as a vampiric inspired transformation to mist or smoke. These effects have the minor benefit of not being subject to Creo Ignem effects as much, however they are not a true shadow-form and they bring their own limitations in terms of being subservient to the whims of their new shape.

As basic effect, a transformation to shadow using Imagonem might be written as:

Form of the Erebus’ Servant

Muto Corpus 45 / Imagonem, R: Personal, D: Sun, T: Individual

The caster is transformed into a shadow of themselves. They can no longer physically interact with the physical world, but instead can pass under and through the narrowest spaces, and move very quickly across the ground. This makes the shadow immune to physical damage, but highly susceptible to bright light and magical bursts of light may cause pain or damage. A small mirror is held by the caster and is dropped to remove the effect prematurely.

Like all transformation effects, some gear and equipment may not be transformed, or casting requisites may be required for some equipment; subject to troupe rules.

(Base 30, +1 controlled movement, +2 Sun)

The base effect is related to a referenced rule for MuCo with Au for a smoky ghost (TMRE pg. 68 calls “allowing the Magus to take ghostly form” MuCo/Au 30). An additional magnitude was added to allow the caster to control the direction of their movement, rather than being subject to the whims of light and darkness in the environment around them.

Lastly a variation into a spirit or umbra transformation – into an incorporeal ghost-like form using Mentem, which might also render the target invisible because ghosts are rarely visible unless under the effects of spells and powers to allow them to coalesce.

Form of the Shade of Hades

Muto Corpus 45 / Mentem, R: Personal, D: Sun, T: Individual

The caster is transformed into a spirit-like creature, unnatural and incorporeal. The caster can still be seen, but appears as a ghostly version of their normal self. This ghost like form cannot interact with the physical world except for basic movement, and may float in a ghost-like manner through solid objects.

While transformed the caster can still speak and be heard normally, although the voice takes upon ethereal features, and the caster does not need to breathe. A token inscribed with a human skull is held during the spell casting, which can be dropped to end the effect prematurely.

(Base 30, +1 controlled movement, +2 Sun)


See further custom spells for Ars Magica can be found in the summary spells page.

Conjure the Humble Skiff

One of my characters had a need to get across a moderate sized area of water with his companions, and it proved to be a little bit of an ungainly problem. Initially I wanted to create a boat and row across using Creo. It would have almost worked, except that we needed a longer boat ride than either Concentration would reliably allow, or that Diameter could provide. In the end our arts were stronger when each person was slowly moved with Rego magic across the surface of the water. It was a solution, and I’d like something more elegant.

It got me thinking of the ways to create a boat on demand. Conceptually this could be:

  • Create using Creo Herbam, or some other Form to suit the caster.
  • Muto something into a boat, using an abundantly available material.

So here are the effects, using a range of Forms.

Conjure the Humble Skiff

Creo Herbam 15, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Ind

This spell conjures a moderate sized wooden boat, single sail, and running gear suitable for six travelers and their gear. The spell requires a finesse check to determine the quality of the boat*.

(Base 3 for a finished product, R: Touch +1, D: Sun +2, increased target size for a moderate boat +1)

* note: the degree of difficulty in that Finesse check is debatable. Set it wherever your troupe likes; I don’t want a can of worms based around a target number of 6 vs 9 vs 12.

CharmingSkiffBut what about when You’re gonna need a bigger boat. A large boat, say a boat which is large enough to comfortably cruise the open ocean would be another size increase of +1 mag, resulting in a CrHe level 20 effect – perhaps called the Conjure the Dawn Treader or the Merchant’s Dream. At that size the skiff becomes something with multiple sails, a full crew, and capable of hauling many hundreds of tons of cargo.

Continue reading

Melt the Company’s Arms – quick variations on Ars Magica spells

A spell I wrote up a long while back – Melt the Vanguard’s Arms is useful against one target. This is a quick modification to that spell to affect an entire Roman company of up to 100 soldiers.

Melt the Company’s Arms

Creo Ignem 35 / Terram, R: Voice, D: Mom, T: Group

Up to ten metal items carried by or on the target are heated to melting point. Thus a soldiers sword, helm, and segments of armor will all instantly be burning hot, and melt. This has a side effect of inflicting +5 damage per round while metal items targeted are carried or worn.

(Base 10 heat an object to melting point, +2 Voice, +2 Group, +1 increase size of group, +0 Te Requisite)

The spell guidelines in the first version used Target Part and an additional magnitude to affect multiple parts, however when affecting 100 targets the Target: Group makes more sense and would incorporate the needs of Target: Part.

More custom spells can be found in the New Spells for Ars Magica page.

Mundane gear: A switching circle

Ars Magica has a lot of scope for magical gear for Magi, but what about a useful mundane item?

Is a switching circle possible? Its a carabiner device which can be used during the casting of circle or ring spells. Device is closed and locked, but can be opened as soon as an effect needs to be cancelled. The ring/circle breaks and the spell ends. The stability of the circle is far stronger or reliable than drawing the circle in something like salt, or scribbled with a stick.

These could be designed into floors or carried in the caster’s palm so that they are portable (if the saga allows such things, portable circles are sometimes controversial).


Critical Recovery – more variations on Ars Magica spells

Flicking through the Ars Magica spells here and there, there are as many permutations and variations as a player could want. That said, I sometimes find it easier to review a complete variation of a spell for use with a character instead of considering it in my head. There is something more tangible when writing out the summary of terms and mechanics.

Vital Rest for the Incapacitated Custos

Creo Corpus 30, R: Touch, D: Ring, T: Circle

This spell grants the target touched a +18 bonus to all wound recovery rolls made while the spell is in effect, and the target must stay within the circle/ring for the duration. Note that the spell will cause warping.

This variant is intended for custos who require critical intervention and will not be moved.

(Base 15, +1 Touch, +2 Ring)

A variant spell for healing a group of critically injured people, with this version using the highest spell guideline from the core rules and reworked to last as long as needed. I can see this being used when an important character suffers a dire wound and they must be cared for straight away. An incapacitated character could be placed within the magic circle to ensure their rest and recovery is optimal.

See further custom spells for Ars Magica can be found in the summary spells page.