A Fire spell for Leopold, cloaked in flames

I’m hoping this spell is evocative of the Lore of Fire, and also worthy of introducing into a Warhammer Fantasy game. I’ve seen a spell like this in dnd and ArM so it’s thematic enough to be in the zeitgeist of fantasy games.

Cloak of Cascading Flames

CN: 5, R: Self, T: Self, D: WP minutes, Fire

The wizard is surrounded in a cloak of fire which affects everyone within melee range but not the wizard them self; inflicting 2 +SL wounds to all creatures and igniting nearby flammable objects. Whilst active the wizard also gains protection from intense effects of cold and exposure.

This is a dangerous spell if used among allies fighting closely.

Ars Magica spell from a long lost game, for a Necromancer

Alas long ago several play-by-post-form Ars Magica games have died or moved on in ways that mean I can’t continue with them. I had a few plans and spells for those characters so its disappointing.

This is another rather ordinary necromancy spell boosted in effect.

All that was Becomes Dust

Perdo Corpus 25, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Group

This spell destroys a selection of human corpses, up to 100 size +1 corpses which are not controlled by an independent spirit.

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

Creating a batch of corpses in Ars Magica, a Necromancy spell

I never finally got a necromancer in-play, but in planning found that many spells in my spell list were strikingly similar to the spell Create a Dead Turb, in Hermetic Projects, pg.116. I wish my necromancer had seen the light of day; enough that I’d like to find a game for him.

In the design, the limitation of rituals levels came up (which is all rituals must be level 20 or higher). This spell could be made at level 15 for just one human corpse, however the ritual rule makes that at least level 20 anyway. Therefore it becomes better in terms of vis use to create a set of human bodies rather than one. With the RAW version creating ten bodies, I thought it better to create far more.

Every necromancer needs a few spares, and using the soldiers from your own home isn’t viewed well. If my character ever got to invent and cast this spell I’d be tempted to make the corpses all easily identifiable – albino, moor, or some other very obvious physical appearance which will stand apart from a more typical medieval European. Seems a useful expression of a sigil.

Once created my necromancer better pass the roll to create a spontaneous anti-decaying spell, otherwise this is a waste of vis and potentially a stinky outcome. That, or store the corpses in a T:Circle ring to keep them fresh…

Conjure the Remnants of War

Creo Corpus 25, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Group, Ritual

Creates a set of 100 identical size +1 human corpses, with an appearance subject to the desires of the caster. Optionally matching to a specific individual is possible with a successful Finesse check of 12+, with a familiarity adjustment between +/-3 depending on how well the caster knows the subject.

(Base 5 to create a corpse, +1 Touch, +2 Group, +1 group size)

p.s. I wonder what is the collective noun for a group of corpses is?

Lightborn necromancer

Houses for roleplaying Warhammer and Ars Magica

These are a few images that I find inspiring. One day there might be a post about a building of my own design for the Old World. For now I want to keep these as a note.

Why Warhammer Magic is different from many other RPGs

Now that I’ve played a selection of Wizards from a few rpg systems I thought a short observation of the magic style in WFRP might be interesting.

Warhammer treats its characters and indeed also its players different from many other roleplaying games. The high fantasy and/or dungeon crawl games like Dnd-ish / OSG style games encourage the characters to be supernatural in power level, and characters are often projecting themselves as heroes. Advancement is likewise heroic, with more experienced characters far out stripping beginning characters.

By contrast WFRP has characters who are struggling to survive and often are drawn unwillingly into the stories. These are quasi-normal people who don’t know much outside their professions who are trying to cope. That’s a huge draw card theme for many players which repeats throughout other aspects of the game; characters are often incompetent, characters die, progression gets tougher, and heroes are legends who no longer walk the earth.

Wizards in Warhammer Fantasy are not really “magic users”. Firstly they are borderline insane people who try to learn how to control chaos. A Wizard character will usually deliver on at least one other role in a group; such as a scholar, politician, historian, soldier, musician, diplomat, or even healer as much they are like wizards – within the lore and feel of the game setting. I think this is a paramount recommendation for people playing Wizards in Warhammer, because you need something else from the combat skills.

Mechanically speaking (in terms of spending xp) they are often very specialised due to the high cost in xp for magical spells and talents. This means that the wizard characters secondary skills need to also be narrowly focused so they do not fall foul of a classic character design blunder in WFRP – that of being a generalist. Wizards need to avoid distractions, leave their fellow companions to build tangential skills, and focus on magic.

WFRP story snippet

We paused play of the Warhammer session just as my character was opening a door to a chapel suspected ruined by beastmen. This was the intro to the next session…

Nobody is keen to investigate so I dismount and walk to the main chapel doors. As I nudge the left most door, I expect corpses to be scattered amongst the ruins, but instead it is all dark and quiet. Partial fading light splinters through the intact and now desecrated windows. Chaos has taken the monastery for itself, twisting the frescos with bile and blood.

It is too quiet so foolishly I open the second door to shine light upon the dark, and then the horrors break from their shadows. The beasts lurch forward with half human shapes which mock the realms of men, all full of evil and malice; their snouts and horns ruinous, those that can smile have delighted grins – and all stink of rot and death. Sharp bones, twisted horns, mouldy teeth, and matted fur in disarray.

I want to scream as one of the mass throws a decapitated human head to my feet and roars a threat I don’t understand. Even as the dead man’s head rolls to a stop I chant; more in a panic than with purpose. I back away from the doors on shaking legs. This is the unbound evil which chaos feeds.

in WFRP Channeling becomes limited, and thats a shame

An apprentice in Warhammer will use the Channel skill very often, as they likely cannot successfully cast spells without first channeling to remove the CN cost penalty to success levels. It is common for spell casters to channel for one to two rounds before actually trying to cast a spell, which means an apprentice really only casts a spell once every 2-4 rounds in a battle.

Then as their skill in Channeling rises they can cast more quickly, and finally when they become a Wizard they might advance their skills enough to not need to Channel often. That shift to casting a spell every round is a fundamental change in how a Wizard feels when played. They more from trivial aid to dangerous opponent.

Mechanically the math is solid and proven out in the community in many discussions – there is a point where a Wizard will only channel to cast spells with high CN numbers (probably 6 or greater) because it would be faster to just use Language Magic to cast, and try again the next round if that fails. This approach also avoid the mishaps that come with mistakes when Channeling too.

This means that the Channeling skill becomes far less useful – a Wizard is better to raise their casting skills as a priority and leave Channeling where it is (mostly). Add to this too the fact that most combat spells have very short durations, then casting quickly and often is far better.

I think that is a real shame from a storytelling perspective and also a mechanical waste of xp to raise Channeling to a high level.

So instead of just accepting this, here are some ideas for extra breadth in what a Channeling skill check can do:

  • “Enforcing a Spell” – Channel more wind into a successfully cast spell with a Duration, sop that it becomes harder to dispel afterward. If it was cast prior with only the minimum SL, then now any dispel attempts need to overcome the extra SLs added by the additional Channel checks.
  • “Infuse with Wind” where the item held gains a handy but mostly superficial property relating to the colour of the wind. Red becomes warmer each round, until the object may melt to burst into flame. Shadow becomes ethereal so it might pass through solid objects, etc. 
  • “Combined Casting” – Allow two casters to combine Channeling checks (prolonged SL check) and one caster rolls the Casting roll. 
  • “Understand the Winds” Combine In with Channel to allow a Wizard to understand the wind in the area in detail. Far more than just a Perception check, this is the Wizard pausing to “smell” the prevailing winds, looking for mingling, complexities, and other aspects that maybe useful. A magical “check for traps” if you like. 

Happy casting, TyphoonAndrew


3d printed terrain

After buying a 3d printer as a hobby & toy, the temptation to print all sorts of terrain and features is really hard to resist.

Leprosería Tytalus, Ars blog in Spanish


Glad to share the https://laatalayademizomura.wordpress.com/ blog which is another great place to get material for Ars Magica – who is translating some of the posts from here into Spanish too. Thank you Kuni, the more fans of Ars Magica and table top roleplaying games the better. Happy gaming.