Spells for enhancing beasts in Ars Magica

In preparation for an activity in an Ars Magica play-by-post forums game, here are a few quick effects to enhance beasts. These effects are simple use of the Muto guidelines from the ArM core rulebook. I’ve already written up a few handy effects for animals such as changing their colour and size, so these spells round out the simple things that are easily plausible to do with Animal magic in Ars.

Note too that these spells have been designed using the base guidelines, meaning that they will only affect creatures of size +1 (a pony) or smaller. Bigger animals will need additional size modifiers.

(Hmm, I think a name change is needed for the spell below, but I’m muddle-headed this week. Keeping it this way will make it easier to find next to the other for humans.)

Gift of the Bear’s Fortitude to Beasts

Muto Animal 25, R: Touch, D: Diameter, T: Individual

This effect grants the target animal a +3 bonus to Soak.

(Base 15 to Make a body resistant to damage (+3 Soak) from the Corpus guideline, Range to Touch (+1), Duration to Diameter (+1))

It makes me wonder – What would happen if Gift of the Bear’s Fortitude was cast on a bear?

If I were the GM I’d allow it to enhance the bear just like any other animal. The rationale is that while the magic of the spell takes it’s inspiration and anchor in the setting from the stamina of a bear, it is still providing a powerful enhancement over and above what is natural.

Aside: I am not sure if this effect should be designed for all animals, for a specific type (so it only effects wolves, horses, or whatever), or if affecting a wide variety of animals is actually an enhancement which should be paid for in terms of difficulty.

 

If a Muto Corpus spell can affect all humans, then why not a Muto Animal spell on all animals?

 

Hmm. Do we start having separate Muto Herbam spells for each family of plant?

In terms of another enhancing effect the Muto Animal guidelines already provide a written up spell to affect horses called The Steed of Vengeance. I’m a fan of that spell, except the part where the creature must made a stamina roll of 9+ or die when the effect ends. What a waste of a good horse! It seems to be a meta-mechanic to discourage a player from using an otherwise great spell, or a hangover from older editions; either way I’m going to totally ignore it.

Leaving that side-effect out, a base 15 guideline in Muto Animal can alter a creature to give them an enhanced form. So after the +3 soak from above, the animal is further enhanced to be more suitable for lethal combat. Gone are teeth, mandibles, claws, or limbs suited for foraging or climbing, instead it is transformed so it’s natural attributes are enhanced into weapons designed to kill more efficiently.

The Vicious Transformation of Fenrir

Muto Animal 25, R: Touch, D: Diameter, T: Ind

The animal touched becomes a more vicious and combative version of itself. Claws, teeth, beaks (etc) all become sharper and stronger, the animal gains +3 to attack and damage scores (due to an increase in muscle mass and speed), and any aggressive personality traits involving combat are raised by +2 as the creatures temperament is altered.

The spell will effect any creature of size 0 or smaller. The spell’s name references the wolf Fenrir who will consume Odin during the battle of Ragnarok.

(Base 15, R: Touch +1, D: Diameter +1)

Lastly an effect which might be slightly controversial, but I hope is still founded in logic of the Muto guidelines. A aspect of some animals is their advanced sense of smell, and how that can sometimes lead to discovery. So rather than alter the smell of the target creature as it leaves the creature as a Muto Imagonem effect, instead the creature is altered so that it’s body naturally smells different.

Scent of the Natural Earth

Muto Animal 5 / Terram, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Ind

This spell causes the target creature’s scent to be altered to the smell of natural earth. Creatures which hunt by scent, or depend on scent for alert purposes will not notice the creature.

(Base 2 for a superficial change, R: Touch +1, D:Sun +2, Terram requisite free)

The effect could very easily also be created as a Muto Imagonem effect, around final level 4, so this is certainly not the best way to grant this power. A MuIm effect could also easily alter the sound the animal makes, so that it’s movements are masked within the environment.

Mask the Passage of the Beast

Muto Imagonem 10, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Ind

The appearance, smell, and sound of the target animal is altered to be akin to other natural elements in the background, appropriate to where the target is traveling. The target’s smell changes to match the ground near them, and their sounds become akin to normal natural parts of the environment. The appearance of the creature is not made invisible, rather it takes on a natural camouflage, using same hues and colors of the environment.

The effect will seem odd if it is used to mask blatant dramatic sounds or smells, or if the target moves quickly as these effects are very unlikely to occur naturally and this will make the target far easier to discern.

(Base 3 for look, smell and sound, R: Touch +1, D:Sun +2)

The same effect could be made for Humans as “Mask the Passage of Man”, or potentially also add a +1 magnitude modifier to this spell and allow it to effect both “man and beasts”.

For the other spells I’ve created take a look at the now 70+ new spells for Ars Magica.

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