Trap Spells

As part of a previous post on traveling spells I was trying to find a way to use magic to trap and capture creatures. The concept is a spell effect that will trap and hold a creature without the caster being present at the location – like fly paper. It sound simple initially but due to the features of spell targeting it is tricky to have conditional triggers in spells.

A standard Ars Magica ward is a barrier across which the warded thing cannot cross. They are great to either trap something inside so it can’t get out, or to protect the person inside; but they also must have the targets present when activated. The essential part missing was the trigger mechanism, which would normally require a Watching Ward spell – and that is too expensive in terms of vis. So a ward will not do it.

A basic effect that works would be to make the ground in an area highly adhesive, so that creatures are bound to it. As a base spell it might look like:

Trap of Unearthly Stickiness

Muto Terram 20, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Part

This spell enchants an area of ground or earth (equivalent to 10 cubic paces) to be ultra sticky, so that anything which touches the area is stuck to the earth. Stuck creatures can attempt a Strength + Size roll of 9+ to break free of the effect. The spell will effect creatures of size +1 or smaller.

(Base 4 to change earth to have a highly unnatural property, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 Part)

This is a different route to a magical trigger – that is to craft a special spell designed to trap an animal using a consistent ground affect, rather than a trigger. This type of spell requires some intelligence in built in and that might be contentious for Ars Magica, as it really is a minor detection effect side-by-side with an effect, but I think the core effect is sound.

Trap of the Lazy Huntsman

Muto Terram 25 / Intellego Animal, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Part

This spell enchants an area of ground or earth (equivalent to 10 cubic paces) to be ultra sticky, so that animals who walks across the area are stuck to the earth. The animals specified may be as wide as “any moderate sized creatures”, or “only boars and pigs”; but is limited to animals of size +1 or smaller.

Creatures that are not specified in the spell might notice the ground to be slightly tacky but are not impacted by the effect. Stuck creatures can attempt a Strength + Size roll of 9+ to break free of the effect.

(Base 4 to change earth to have a highly unnatural property, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 Part, +0 Animal Req, +1 Intellego Req)

This version is used to hunt for animals, and like any magical effect will be resisted by MR, and for non-magical beasts this is fine. The effect does require a degree of intelligence to differentiate between animals, and a basic rule is the creature types should not be able to be specified beyond wide categories or types.

e.g. All dogs seems fine, all brown dogs is not. All fur covered animals is borderline, and certainly should not allow for detection of features of a target such as length of limb, special traits, markings, etc.

The spell effect could be reworked to effect humans by switching from an Animal to Corpus requisite, which then gives the Magus a handy tool for capturing interlopers. It would then follow though that the effect should also be able to be cast on wooden and stone surfaces, so that it can effect all the places that humans might travel. That will add requisites to the spell, and some extra magnitude due to the complexity. Changing the spell to affect stone will also greatly reduce the target area, back to 1 cubic pace, although that is plenty to protect the entrance to a corridor.

Trap the Curious Interloper

Muto Terram 30 / Intellego Animal Herbam, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Part

This spell enchants an area of earth or stone (equivalent to 1 cubic pace) to be ultra sticky, so that humans who walks across the area are stuck to it. The ttpe of human may be specified but must be a broad category such as “any adults”, or “only men”; and is limited to humans of size +1 or smaller.

Creatures that are not specified in the spell might notice the ground to be slightly tacky but are not impacted by the effect. Stuck creatures can attempt a Strength + Size roll of 9+ to break free of the effect.

(Base 4 to change earth to have a highly unnatural property, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 Part, +1 Intellego Req, +0 Animal Req, +0 Herbam Req, +1 to effect stone)

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