The Cursed Gift of Daedalus

I’ve liked the idea of a flying companion in Ars Magica for a long time, and only now have a write up. This effect is the classic: “grant a man wings of a bird” and as such is such a wonderful match to the imagery of the Icarus and Daedalus legend. Daedalus certainly paid for his hubris is a most vicious way, and while his crafting of waxen wings wasn’t his only great achievement in the legends (i.e. the labyrinth was a wonder too), it is one that he is most famous for.

The Cursed Gift of Daedalus

Muto Corpus 30. R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Part, Req: Animal

Grants the target a pair of wings and the ability to fly.

(Base 5, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 Part, +1 Requisite)

Obviously the MuCo5 guideline requires Target: Part to be effective, and Sun is a desirable duration as Concentration is just too risky. As a story suggestion – an Athletics ability check might be used for maneuvering at the story-guide’s discretion.

Rubens,_Peter_Paul_-_The_Fall_of_Icarus

Milestone unlocked: 102 spells for Ars Magica

Aside

It’s been a while since I started blogging spells for Ars Magica – in fact several years. Recently I published my 102nd spell which I’m proud to have reached. If Ars blogging was a game an Achievement icon would have pop’ed onscreen, ding! All the spells can be found on this page.

library

Transformation into Gargantuan Creatures, Part Six. Special Powers

Continuing from Parts One, Two, Three, Four, and Five.

Part Six – Special powers and other effects

There are a number of powers and abilities that monsters have in the myths and legends, and the approach in this blog post has generally been to look at the physical form benefits, and ignore the special powers. Adding powers into the existing transformation spells is not within the flavour of Ars Magica Hermetic magic, as each effect really should be it’s own spell. That is problematic for a transformation effect which is already high level, but the rules are the rules.

(a) CamouflageThere are some suggested guidelines in the Muto Animal section for how to do this, but it is mostly adding more magnitudes of power into spells which are already very high. A previously written up spell named Disguise of the Chameleon (MuAn 10) does this for creatures assuming they are typical sized and also changing to a static colouring. Perhaps the trick here is to allow a true shifting set of hues to blend the creature.

Disguise of the Gargantuan Chameleon

Muto Animal 20. R: Personal, D: Diameter, T: Individual

Allows the caster’s to changed animal based form to shift to match it’s background. Size is limited to affect up to size +7 creatures.

(Base: 5 change an animal in a minor way so it is no longer natural, +2 Diameter, +2 additional 6 size increments)

(a) Soaking Damage – Mechanically speaking it is not a true gargantuan creature unless it can soak up a lot of damage and keep moving; so a very high Soak score is needed. The ideal way to do that is to add a resistance of a sort for common weapon types, and also dramatically increase the Soak score itself.

To increase soak, we look to the Muto Corpus spell guidelines and design this effect, based upon +1 Soak per magnitude:

Gift of the Herculean Fortitude

Muto Corpus 45, R: Personal, D: Diameter, T: Individual

The caster gains a bonus of +8 to Soak.

(Base 40, +1 Diameter)

A bonus of +8 to soak in combat is a monumental number. Consider that combative creatures tend to already have Stamina (say +3), their natural armor (say +3), and then size adjustments – an effect which grants a +8 bonus is making that creature all but immune to most normal weapons.

hercules-slaying-envy

A lightning bolt (which can inflict +35 damage) will still fry whatever it hits; but weapons are kind of moot when the creature gets a combined soak of +14. So it feels about right, and then make the creature +6 size ranks larger and the Soak is +20. Whoof!

(b) Fire Breath – this is a popular power for dragon forms so its included here. There are a number of ways to create a fire breath like effect, and for the sake of brevity I’ll only demonstrate one.

(c) Huge Armor and Arms – if the transformation might also make use of equipment or armor, then transforming what the caster already has is a viable approach, or as an alternatively have them shaped from the environment at the time needed.

Humility and Versatility for Cormoran and Jack Alike

Muto Terram 40, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Ind

This effect allows the item touched be resized up to the desires of the caster, up to eight times each dimension, and thirty-two times the mass. Requisites are required for the Form of the target. The original item may be no larger than a small hut.

Note that a weapon effected by this spell will be resisted by the MR or Parma Magica of the opponent. The spell is named after the desire to use the same equipment for Jack the Giant Killer and a foe Cormoran.

(Base 4, +1 Touch, +2 Sun,+2 affect metals, +1 to affect an object ten times larger than a large chest, +2 for extra quadrupled)

As a base from Object of Increased Size which doubles each dimension of an object, with an eightfold increase in mass, the effect allows for gargantuan equipment and weapons. The rationale is that the base effect doubles the size, so each magnitude also doubles; 1 mag is double which is the base spell, a further +1 mag is four times, and +2 mags is eight times the length and thirty-two times the mass.

What is “unnatural” in Creo and Muto?

What is intended by the term “unnatural” material in Ars Magica’s magic system, with regard to Creo of unnatural items? Well a long while back the 5e line editor clarified the intent, and I found it the other day while reading a tangential forum post.

David Chart wrote:

The intent was for “unnatural” to have the same meaning in all guidelines. You can Creo flammable water. However, since it isn’t natural, you can’t use vis to make it endure; it’s only sustained by the magic, like Muto. There is no form for it; that’s what makes it unnatural. It wasn’t written as requiring a Muto requisite because you aren’t changing anything; you are bringing something into existence with those properties. Looking at it now, the magnitude boost is probably too small, however.

I don’t think this got heavily playtested, because looking at the rules shows that they aren’t as clear as they should be. That probably indicates that I and all the playtesters thought that the meaning was perfectly clear, without actually agreeing on what that meaning was. But since no-one saw a problem, no-one raised it for discussion.

Great answer and fair enough. Considering the implications of this statement, they directly match to the behaviour of spell effects that are traditionally in the purview of Muto, but also may be performed with Creo with an increase in spell level. IMHO Creo was never restricted to only creating things that were “real”, as we know when spells can create mythical creatures and all sorts of wonderful things outside a peasant’s mindset.

This does give Creo a wider scope than I first thought though to give it, which is a nice enhancement to it’s role intertwined amongst the 5x techniques.