In Ars Magica there is a tendency (for me at least) to try to create spell effects and items that are powerful and flexible. When doing this it tends to make the final artifacts expensive in terms of time and resources.
I was thinking about a second approach, which would exploit the rules for quasi-permanent effects which the Duration: Ring provides. Essentially Ring is a duration that lasts for as long as the ring is maintained. With that in mind here is a few sneaky effects.
The Persistent Torch
To start with get a craftsman to create a sturdy circular compartment, something solid which the grog can drop and not break, anything really as long as it has a lid that will cover the insides well. In the design you need to note a few aspects: a place for the ring to be either carved or attached on the inside, and a separate space for the item which is to be enchanted. In layman’s terms this could be a very small wooden box with a clasp which shutters the insides.
The craftsman insets the separate piece of some material that is inexpensive and easy to enchant in the middle of the box – I’d choose wood as it will be darn cheap. Avoid metals and stones as affecting them with magic is harder than wood, and there is no need to blow out the spell size.
Then the effect is simple – a Creo Ignem effect at level 10 to 15, with base effect level of either 3 or 4, +1 mag for Touch, +2 for Ring. It really depends on how powerful the light is meant to be. A base 3 light is a torch equivalent, and this seems useful for a grog wishing to travel without attracting too much attention – at as a level 10 effect could be spont’d easily.
A base 4 the light created is as bright as a cloudy day, which is more than enough, although spont’ing that level of effect will take some effort for some younger magi. Either way it is castable, and creates a portable light which can be given to grogs; or perhaps even given to mundanes as a gift. Light has a huge quality of life benefit, especially to the poor.
As alternates duration Ring can be used for these other purposes too:
- Granting heat and warmth to devices which increases the comfort of an inhabitant. Perhaps a carpet or small bed could be cast upon after being inscribed with a ring. Creo Ignem again for the effect, approx level 2 base effect will see a final effect level 5.
- Create a fireplace which never expires. CrIg around level 5 as a base, with 20 as the final effect – would make a great comfy fire to heat a room.
- Create a simple magical compass, using a Rego effect combined with an Intellego effect so that the target always points north. Rego Terram 10 as the total effect. Base effect 2 for slightly unnatural movement, with +1 Intellego requisite, and +1 for Touch, +2 for Ring. Makes for a great gift.
- A Magus could have many of the lights crafted by a mundane craftsman, and spont cast the rings on the surface of each. This could give an almost endless amount of light for a lab with no outlay of Vis, and very little maintenance.
- Simple wards to protect against vermin, humans, or beasts. Rego with an appropriate form of a level around 10. There are special rules for wards which mean they are far easier to cast too, so don’t ignore them.