Extensions to Conjuring the Mystic Tower

Conjuring the Mystic Tower (CtMT, ArM p153) is a principal and sometimes troubling spell for Ars Magica, because it demonstrates how easily wizards can create new structures, yet the mechanics are obfuscated. It requires a moderate expenditure of vis and requires a wizard who is experienced to cast it, but it’s presence in the core book demonstrates clearly how quickly a powerful covenant can expand their home.

It has some issues in the expanded game, when the Finesse rolls required are extrapolated upon in additional rulebooks, so that it may (depending on the troupe) have a very high finesse check to perform, and with that the risk of a total waste of vis if the Tower is malformed. And a somewhat troubling clean-up task too. I am an advocate of hand-waving away almost all those aspects given how infrequently the spell would be cast in a typical game, and how fundamental to a covenant’s growth the effect is. Not to say that a botched spell or flawed finesse roll couldn’t present an intriguing opportunity…

Here are a few additional effects are interesting once Conjuring the Mystic Tower is taken as a basis for modification.

Conjuring the Mystic Citadel

Creo Terram 40, R: Touch, D: Mom, T: Ind, Ritual

An expansion of the Conjuring the Mystic Tower to create an entire citadel. A central tower three times the volume of the normal tower, connected to six surrounding towers via walls and walkways. The effect forms the citadel according to the caster’s designs from a single stone, with a floor plan approximately ten times larger than the standard Tower.

(Base 3 to create stone, +1 Touch, +5 additional size, +3 elaborate design)

citadel drawingInitially it might seem a little exploitative to add an additional 5 levels, and garner such a large increase in property, but adding size through additional magnitudes is a tenant of the Ars Magica system. Conjuring the Mystic Tower might be a good instant-covenant for beginning wizards, but this is where I see a powerful wizard putting their energy. Especially if we are to believe that there is a market within the order for the casting of spells like this.

In fact I think CTMT is included in the core rules as a baseline example specifically so that players will be initially amazed by what that might give to a covenant, and then the game-gears in their heads will start to spin up variations; or at least I hope so.

Why mess about with a single small tower, when this Citadel could be conjured instead? Or make the effect 10 times larger again with a level 45 ritual. Adding 5 levels is not overly much once all the vis and powerful wizards have been found (Conjuring the Monumental Fortress, or Conjuring the Mystical City?). A dwelling of that size would be difficult to fill with regular coven folk. Yes, these spells need to be designed and crafted, but I’m thinking that something akin to this has to almost certainly already exist in most settings once we tip our hat to these style of logical extensions.

Further the Ars Magica source books go to extremes in creating mystical projects which are utterly ultra-fantastic. When a wizard can conjure a floating castle, fold magical realms into creation, or create an entire off-shore island – a small castle is humble by comparison.round citadel with towers

A variation that I’ve had in mind for many years is a construction of similar size, but created below ground.This would have the advantage of not pop’ing a tower into the hillside overnight, and make concealment of the covenant’s size easier.

It makes the spell effect technically totally different, but as the effect is a similar theme I’m including it here as an idea. The spell is slightly harder due to creating the chambers within the ground, which requires the Target: Part modifier.

Conjuring the Mystic Mausoleum

Muto Terram 45, R: Touch, D: Mom, T: Part, Ritual

This effect constructs an underground dwelling, with an internal size equal to ten times the size of Conjuring the Mystic Tower.

This effect could target the basement in an existing tower to add further basements, or construct a stand alone underground mausoleum.

(Base 3 to change dirt to stone, +1 Touch, +1 Part, +5 additional size, +3 elaborate design)

A single CtMT is roughly a ten level silo, with 10 feet tall and 30 feet wide per level. Given that CtMT makes a basement/foundation without Re or Pe requisites it is reasonable to assume that the underground changes will occur with “magical” consideration to the local environment. This will obviously not change certain unsightly effects, such as creating a cellar below the water table, or the damage the new structure might do to wells or underground rivers which flow through the area.

Casale_Monferrato_map_(018_003)Find more Ars Magica spell shenanigans in my list of New Spells for Ars Magica.

6 thoughts on “Extensions to Conjuring the Mystic Tower

  1. These are quite lovely maps…what’s your source?
    I have thought about this quite a bit, as I was responsible for some of the excesses you mention above, and there’s one thing about the Mythic Tower that doesn’t make sense: its foundation can’t support it, in so far as I can see. Even in the real world, you have shell keeps because if you just put a big bit of stone on top of anything other than stone, the soil compresses at different rates and the stone cracks. Just putting down a single sheet of stone, as the spell does, doesn’t fix this. You’ve probably seen cracks in cement pavements? Cement foundations do this, and far worse, because of the weight applied. (I studiously avoided mentioning this in the whole “Atlantic” thing…there are ways around it based on driving in piles.

    In real life, the time it takes to build large structures, historically at least, meant you could rework your plan, by adding more rows of bricks on one side. The tower in Pisa’s a great example of this:.

  2. The images & maps were a google search, then a quick bit of snipping. I used “citadel” as one of the search terms. I should really use TinEye to find the authoritative owners and beg permission.

    From memory CtMT has a total of ten levels with two levels created as basements. Another side problem is how the ritual digs and creates those basements given the CrTe guidelines don’t really allow for creating something in something else like that.

    For an Ars game that is enough detail for me to accept that they won’t fall over, and hope the real world physics don’t come into play. If a player or NPC needed to affect the tower using flooding, water tables, excavation then I’d readily allow that as fair play. Getting an instant custom tower has to have some drawbacks.

    Reminds me of the “I built a castle in the swamp, and it sank, so I built another…” from Monty Python.

  3. Pingback: House rule to Mitigate High Finesse Target Numbers | The Iron-Bound Tome

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