These spells and effects demonstrate the use of hermetic magic in enhancing physical combat, typically for others. While it is easy for a magus to destroy or impair a mundane opponent in an overt manner, these effects can be used in combat in a far more subtle way than fireballs, walls of earth, or lightning bolts; and may also be the basis for effects in enchanted devices for companions.
A spell to increase Soak for a character matches the guidelines as a core effect. As a base effect a +2 bonus to soak is a significant combat advantage, while keeping the spell level small enough to not be considered a powerful effect.
The bonus to soak guidelines offer a +1 Soak for each +1 magnitude of spell, so the spells above could be raised or powered by a few levels to provide a different bonus subject to what the caster desires.
The Resistant Skin
Muto Corpus 20, R: Personal, D: Sun, T: Individual
The casters body is enhanced and toughened, gaining a +2 bonus to Soak for the duration. From the Ars Magica muto corpus guidelines p. 132.
(Base 10, +2 Sun)
This spell could be re-worked through to level 35 for +5 soak bonus, which is powerful enough to change a melee combat outcome if only mundanes are involved.
A re-working of the Resistant Skin could also be created to be cast on soldiers in prep for battle. This affect could also have been designed at the same level with a target of Room to affect a much larger amount of people, but it would then not be possible to cast without a room.
Blessing of Oreus’s Fortitude
Muto Corpus 35, R: Touch, D: Diameter, T: Group
This effect enhances a group of up to 10 soldiers soak scores for two minutes, with a +3 bonus.
(Base 15, +1 Touch, +1 Diameter, +2 Group)
Arms and Armour
The spells above help the combatant’s bodies soak, but there are other ways to enhance combat; through enhancement of weapons and armor.
As a first example the Edge of the Razor spell is a good baseline effect for increasing weapon damage (+2 edged weapon), although it is a much higher level effect due to the need to modify metals rather than earth.
Using the same scale of enhancement, the weight and load of armor can be adjusted. The effect of making earth weightless would change from an slightly unnatural, to highly unnatural effect, which increases the magnitude of the spell by one.
Buoyant Arms and Armor
Muto Terram 30, R: Touch, D: Diameter, T: Group
The metal weapons and armor of all members in a group are have their effective weight reduced to zero for combat purposes. The weapons and armor effected are rendered almost weightless.
Optional rule: The weight is reduced by two thirds round down, to reflect movement encumbrance.
(Base 4, +2 metal, +1 Touch, +1 Diameter, +2 Group)
This effect could be altered to reduce rather than remove the weight of the effected equipment, which would lower the end level by one magnitude, but would also probably only halve the weight of items.
A fair note though – there is an argument to be made where the load of the armor is due to both the physical weight and the movement impairing effect it has. It may be more realistic to say that the effective load is reduced to two thirds the armor’s load, rounded down. This means that lighter armors are basically weightless, but heavier armor still has some encumbering effect. I don’t might that as a limitation.
Another consideration for game-play is for weapons where their damage comes from their weight and force applied by large swings, such as war mauls. A maul with zero weight in modern physics would probably also have reduced damage (like a nurf bat), so instead consider the spell to be greatly reducing the weight, but the weapon retains some heft. The change could be considered the difference between a bamboo weapon compared to a metal weapon.
If the optional breakage rules are used (optional in the core rules, and also the Lords of Men supplement), it may also be beneficial to increase the strength of a weapon or some armor. This would be a slightly unnatural effect for metals, and is provided as a spell to affect a single touched target.
Strength of Titan Steel
Muto Terram 15, R: Touch, D: Diameter, T: Individual
The metal weapons and armor carried by the target are made far stronger and more resilient. Reduce the number of botch dice rolled when checking for a breakage by one, even if this means no botch dice are rolled.
Optional rule: If Lords of Men breakage check is used, modify the enhanced weapon’s Weapon Breakage roll by +5, and increase the Damage Levels the weapon has by +1. This is greatly decrease the change that the weapon will be damaged as a result of combat stress, but retains the initial check to see which combatant’s weapon is affected by a breakage check.
(Base 3, +2 metal, +1 Touch, +1 Diameter)
This spell demonstrates a base effect which would be effective to cast on a weapon regularly, or even cast on a group of soldiers as they entered battle by increasing the magnitude of the spell.