A selection of spells for a Terram Wizard

What type of spell effects would a Terram mage desire? I’m glad you asked. Here a few spells involving Terram magic in one way or another.

Portentous Levitation of the Mighty Obelisk

Rego Terram 30, R: Sight, D: Concentration, T: Group

Move an exceptionally large volume of stone as directed by the caster. A single block of up to 10 cubic paces in volume, or any smaller combination of stones may be moved, with the massive blocks moving at walking pace and smaller blocks moving as fast as a bird flies. The spell’s normal behavior is to float the mass a pace above the ground so that it follows behind the caster for the spell’s duration, and the stones will do so unless controlled otherwise.

The effect can be used to make the stone float high into the air up to the range of the spell.

When the effect is cancelled the stone will be have naturally, which may be used as a targeted attack using Finesse to crush a target. Dropping the stone or cancelling the spell above a target may crush them, inflicting +5 for a fist sized rock, +10 for a building stone, +21 for a large boulder, and up +35 for a massive obelisk or a massive volume of rocks.

A successful Finesse roll is required to strike a target. Particularly large blocks or a large number of blocks will be easier to target, and can inflict structural damage to buildings. It may however take more than one combat round to place the blocks above a target. The sheer volume of rock moved with the spell could also lift small modest sized stone dwellings from the ground, or slowly tear walls apart.

(Base 3 to move earth in a very unnatural fashion, +1 affect stone, +3 Sight , +1 Concentration, +2 Group)

This effect is similar to the Ominous Levitation of the Weighty Stone (HoH:S p38), and can be used to guide damage effects for different sized slabs. The intent was to provide a utility spell for moving stone, which also has far more combative potential.

This spell uses the Target Group so that many dangerously large stones can be moved around. On a battlefield that will make a very effective difference.

Aside – I had to google to find out what a cubic pace was, and how large it might be. It’s a disused measure which is wonderfully medieval. A cubic pace is cube with three feet to each side (forum discussion). Anything which is made from 10 cubic paces of stone is large and very heavy (approx 25 tons); crushingly so for squishy things like men and beasts.

The spell is intimidating but not very subtle. To rectify that an invisibility effect is needed.

Hide the Frightening Mass

Perdo Imagonem 25, R: Touch, D: Concentration, T: Group

Render the target object or creature invisible (any combination of mass up to 100 standard Corpus sized images) for the spell’s duration. The image destroyed could be a single large object, or many small ones.

(Base 4, +1 Touch, +1 Concentration, +2 Group, +1 size increase)

To make the spell more battle worthy the Terram specalist might employ a few cancellation effects, using Perdo Vim; and a Muto or Rego Vim spell to maintain it longer than concentration.

Any self respecting Terram wizard should be able to conjure sand, stone, mud, clay, or steel. Conceptually the style of spell to do so is very similar to each other, but according to the way Hermetic magic works separate spells are needed.

Conjuration of the Sand and Clay Deluge

Creo Terram 15, R: Voice, D: Sun, T: Individual

This spell creates up to 100 cubic paces of clay, dirt, mud, or sand. The caster can choose the volume of material, the shape it initially appears, and the point it appears when the spell is cast. This flexibility has a range of uses such as burying opponents, quickly summoning barriers, or even dampening fires.

(Base 1 for 10 cubic paces, +2 Voice, +2 Sun, +1 size, +1 flexibility in material and volume)

Then a variation to show how massive proportions of material are possible but probably unneeded; 100 or 10,000 cubic paces is a significant change, but I think the first spell will be enough.

Conjuration of the Sand and Clay Tide

Creo Terram 25, R: Voice, D: Sun, T: Individual

This spell creates up to 10,000 cubic paces of clay, dirt, mud, or sand. The caster can choose the volume of material, the shape it initially appears, and the point it appears when the spell is cast. This flexibility has a range of uses such as burying opponents, quickly summoning barriers, or even dampening fires.

(Base 1 for 10 cubic paces, +2 Voice, +2 Sun, +3 size, +1 flexibility in material and volume)

A spell to conjure a big stone, perhaps to drop on people, or quickly create a defensive wall, or bridge.

Conjure the Crushing Slab

Creo Terram 25, R: Voice, D: Sun, T: Individual

The spell conjures a mass of stone, up to 100 cubic paces in size. Size and shape are determined by the caster. The final shape can be deliberate, but must be inelegant, as the spell design has no allowance for significant complexity in the shape.

(Base 3, +2 Voice, +2 Sun, +2 Size)

A Terram magus will need some permanent materials to work with. This effect carves smaller segments of stone from a larger mass, subject to the size whim of the caster. It could be cast upon statues, other segments, walls, or a mountainside. Given a moderate sized stone block, the caster could cut thousands of suitable projectiles, and the effect is low level enough that most specialists could spontaneously cast the spell.

Cut from Stone the Projectiles of Vilano

Perdo Terram 15, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Group

This effect carves segments of stone from a larger mass. The shape and size of the segments is chosen when cast, from as small as tiny pellets or up to a cubic pace of stone. It is not possible for this spell to create intricate detail, form and shape of the result must be utilitarian.

The spell design allows it to produce the segments from a much larger mass by using a Target: Part within the design, although Target: Group is needed in the final level so that multiple projectiles can be cut at once.

(Base 4, +1 Touch, +2 Group)

Then a spell to carve a giant obelisk so it is essentially natural and won’t be stopped by magical resistance in combat scenarios.

Cut from Stone the Titanic Obelisk

Perdo Terram 20, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Part

This spell cuts a segment of stone from a larger mass, up to 100 cubic paces in size. Exact shape and size is determined by the caster, but is limited to basic shapes and forms without intricacy.

(Base 4, +1 Touch, +1 Part, +2 Size increase)

Lastly two more pragmatic effects, to make short work of disarming an enemy warrior.

Vacillate the Soldier’s Arms Between Steel and Sand

Muto Terram 10, R: Voice, D: Momentary, T: Individual

The metal weapons and armor of all members in a group are temporarily changed from metal to sand. As sand has no cohesive strength it dissipates and the items are misshapen and ruined when they return to their normal state.

(Base 3 to change stone to earth, +1 to effect metal, +2 Voice)

Vacillate the Company’s Arms Between Steel and Sand

Muto Terram 20, R: Voice, D: Momentary, T: Group

The metal weapons and armor of all members in a group are temporarily changed from metal to sand. As sand has no cohesive strength it dissipates and the items are misshapen and ruined when they return to their normal state. This spell can affect up to 10 standard individuals.

(Base 3 to change stone to earth, +1 to effect metal, +2 Voice, +2 Group)

More custom spells can be found in the New Spells for Ars Magica page.

 

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What should a beginning wizard be able to do?

When designing a Magus character is Ars Magica there are as many styles of wizard as you please. However a wizard who is over specialized, or who ignores some basic abilities might face some early challenges.

What should a beginning wizard be able to do?

  1. Defend or extricate themselves from a small group of mundane opponents. That could be a small bonus to soak and some weaponry, or a good few offensive spells, or whatever. Be ready for a basic scuffle.
  2. Neutralize, annihilate, or at the very least harm another creature; particularly at a Range beyond Touch. Touch is a little too close for many starting wizards.
  3. Affect a magical creature with a might score of 5-10. If the character has a large BOOM spell for inflicting large amounts of damage they should also consider another which is useful against creatures with Magical Resistance
  4. Because stories often take the character to new places – they should be able to travel in some manner with comfort. That might be teleportation, or transforming into a bird, or flying, or even just not suffering the chills and inconvenience of regular foot travel.

What should be considered?

  1. Spell to find & extract Vis.
  2. Be able to dispel your own effects if needed.
  3. Spell to maintain Duration:Concentration spells.
  4. A spell to bind wounds or mitigate damage.
  5. Interaction with mundanes, or ways to deal with it. 

Shamefully almost every Magus I’ve ever created fails some these points. Ah well, that’s the nature of the game – to play interesting stories. If the magus has all the answers then perhaps the stories might be missing too. 

 

Muto Vim Guideline clarification

The Ars Magica Muto Vim guidelines in the official errata state that a MuVi spell only needs to be present for the length of the spell casting time, not matched to the duration of the changed spell. 

I’d not realised that rule was in place, and especially the implication that it has for ritual spells which can take hours rather than a moment to cast. 

Clearly then the intent is that the Muto Vim spell alters the way the magical effect forms before execution. This makes a kind of sense to me from a programming perspective; this alters the script just before it is run. 

Discussion – http://forum.atlas-games.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=31300&start=15

Note to self – this is about as meta as Ars Maguca gets, I’m enjoying the banter in the forum link. Openly acknowledge how bizarre this post would be to a non ArM player.  

Happy spell casting folks. 

Some simple fire spells for Ars Magica pyromaniacs

Designing fire spell that inflict damage is darn easy in Ars Magica. There are very detailed guidelines in the rules and many evocative examples in Creo Ignem; such as Ball of Abysmal Flame at level 35 and Pilum of Fire at level 20, p 140.

Pondering a House Flambeau fire wizard, and I wanted some slight variations on these spells. Firstly I wanted more spells to inflict damage directly, and also at a lower level so a junior wizard could learn them (and I really like Pilum of Fire’s name, so have used that as a theme).

Spear of Fire

Creo Ignem 10, R: Voice, D: Mom, T: Ind

A short spear-shaped burst of fire flies from your hand, inflicting +5 damage.

(Base 4, +2 Voice)

This might seem an underpowered effect however +5 damage is still not irrelevant and at such a low level a more powerful caster will be able to penetrate through far more magic resistance. Remember too that while almost every soldier will be armored enough to stop this spell’s damage, many wizards depend on their Parma Magica alone for defense; rarely wearing armour. It is a long way from +20 or +30 damage inflicted by the powerful spells in core, so perhaps a +10 damage variant is more desirable.

Lance of Fire

Creo Ignem 15, R: Voice, D: Mom, T: Ind

A spear-shaped burst of fire flies from the caster’s hand, inflicting +10 damage.

(Base 5, +2 Voice)

All these spells are single use, which wasn’t what I though of when picturing a pyromaniac Flambeau. I saw a fire wielding madman which flames pouring from his hands continuously. Also consider that immolating a target over many combat rounds will be far more damaging and wonderfully intimidating for onlookers. Thankfully creating these effects is darn easy too; they’re almost the same.

Jet of Flame

Creo Ignem 20, R: Voice, D: Concentration, T: Ind

A thin jet of flame pours from the caster’s hands inflicting +10 damage to anything it touches. The caster can move their hand to re-target the jet for as long as they concentrate.

(Base 5, +2 Voice, +1 Concentration)

Useful for hosing an area in fire, burning as the caster pleases. Damage as low as +10 is powerful when applied every combat round, and if multicast using mastery could be aimed at several targets.

Immolate Miscellanea

Creo Ignem 20, R: Touch, D: Diameter, T: Ind

The object touched bursts into flames for two minutes, requiring twenty soak checks against +10 damage. The fire will also ignite nearby objects and spread naturally, which may create additional problems for the target.

(Base 10, +1 Touch, +1 Diameter)

I didn’t think there was much use for this level and the core rulebook has Cloak of Flame as a higher level spell, but then recalled the Opening the Intangible Tunnel spell, for which Touch spells are needed or by using a talisman to extend reach. Perhaps a disgruntled Magi will find a use there.

Then a simple cosmetic spell to bathe the caster in flames. It could as easily be created by using an illusion (Creo Imagonem) however I like using fire as the Art here.

Immolation of the Cowardly Pyromancer

Creo Ignem 5, R: Personal, D: Concentration, T: Individual

The caster is covered in a fire which can be felt but neither burns nor heats significantly.

(Base 4 to create an unnatural fire, +1 Conc)

And lastly for the arrogant pyromaniac who is not afraid to really burn. I don’t expect many wizards to bother learning this, but it was interesting to create and might be spontaneously cast. Perhaps to be rid of fleas?

Immolation of the Haughty Pyromancer

Creo Ignem 5, R: Personal, D: Concentration, T: Individual

The caster is covered in a fire which inflicts +5 damage per round.

(Base 4 to create inflicting 5+ damage, +1 Conc)

ice-surrounded-by-flame-field_385476152

The spell may also be called “have I got something in my teeth“. More custom spells can be found in the New Spells for Ars Magica page.

Player Etiquette

What is the baseline for what to expect from players? Here is a darn good post I found sifting through wordpress freshly posted. Kudos to Okay… Back to the Plot!

Okay... Back to the Plot!

This really shouldn’t be too difficult, right? You show up and you play the game. You roll and add your numbers correctly. You stay true to your chosen class and background, and you don’t step out of line or deviate from the plot. Right?

You’re not wrong, and I’d like to go few a through things that I’ve learned as a player when it comes to making the process a little smoother for your GM. I’m sure Syd has got plenty of things he’d love to add to the list, but he can write his own post on what he expects from his players and we’ll see how well we match up.

  1. Come prepared and ready to play. Unless it’s a character creation session, in which case you should at least show up with some idea of what you want. There is nothing more annoying than everyone being in a…

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A few spells for heating halls, for Ars Magica

I’ll hopefully be playing an apprentice character soon, who specialises in creating fire. Creo Ignem is not a combination of Arts in Ars Magica which gives a breadth of utility (not like Rego), but I’m pondering some small useful spells anyway. The spell below would be handy in the field while camping and also in a castle.

A Hearth Both Comfortable and Warm

Creo Ignem 15, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

Creates a warm and healthy campfire or hearth fire which sustains itself without fuel for the duration of the spell. The fire emits light and heat, but will not emit fumes, and has difficulty burning other substances. For combative purposes the fire will not inflict damage unless it is applied for a prolonged period.

(Base 4 for an unnatural fire, +1 Touch, +2 Sun)

The base effect level here is a little hard to grasp. You’d think it would be easier. Creating a fire like Palm of Flame (Ars p139) is an unnatural fire which is hand sized, so I used that as a basis and increased it slightly. That also matches to the Muto Ignem guideline which deals with unnatural fire having a base of 4 as well. I first thought the guideline should have been level 2. Ah well.

twoworlds2_e3_01

The same effect might be enchanted into a magical device, to sustain an entire castle. It would have been nice to have the final effect level be a multiple of 10 to save a little Vis. The effect could be reduced to Target: Room, and increase the number of uses, or even kept down at a single hearth per use and been lower – but that is sacrificing utility for Vis, which was not my aim. There are also spells which might heat the air in the castle directly (MuAu/Ig), or warm all the inhabitants, but they are less desirable as they may cause warping.

Enchantment: Every Hearth Both Comfortable and Warm

Creo Ignem 30, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

Final Effect Total: 31

Creates a warm and healthy hearth fire in every hearth throughout an entire structure, which sustains itself without fuel for the duration of the spell. The fire emits a pleasant light and strong heat, but will not emit fumes, has difficulty burning other substances, and can not inflict damage. A single hearth within the structure must be touched by the item when the power is invoked.

With this effect a hearth can be added into any room within the structure and it will automatically gain the benefit of the safe fire when the item is next used.

(Base 4 for an unnatural fire, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +3 size)

Effect modifications (+1 for 2 users per day)

Once the item is present wizards might decide to heat up a room a little more by adding extra hearths. This is more an effect that a Master wizard might cast spontaneously.

Conjure the Cozy Hearth

Creo Terram 10, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

Conjure a fireplace, hearth, and flue made from dressed stone at the location touched. The hearth is not automatically connected to any ventilation, but will stand stable and sturdy. The exact dimensions are chosen when the spell is cast, but the fireplace is not ornate unless a suitable finesse roll is made.

(Base 3, +1 Touch, +2 Sun)

As a side use, the caster could easily block a door with this spell, or conjure them off the side of a wall to crush invaders. More custom spells can be found in the New Spells for Ars Magica page.

More variations on Ars Magica Damage spells

During a discussion of the best and worst Forms to inflict damage in Ars Magica had a segway into the best and worst ways to hurt a mundane vs hurting a wizard. We all agreed that magic resistance makes hurting wizards troublesome, so it is done via dedicated devices with high penetration, indirect spells, or mundane means. When we considered hurting mundanes the options are almost too broad to consider, as almost anything will work.

My view is that affecting a mundane with damage is made slightly nastier by adding longer durations to the spells. This won’t always work thematically for spells that create a temporary medium to inflict damage (lighting bolts and fireballs) but will be effective for spells which affect the target directly. Varying spells to inflict the same damage over many combat round (also know as D.O.T. – damage over time) means the targets are likely to be incapacitated eventually. Wizard’s Icy Grip (Ars p.142), The Wound That Weeps & Invocation of Weariness (Ars p.133) are just some single use examples which could be remade.

The disadvantage of using damage over time effects is that they are unforgiving on targets you do not wish to kill, and they generally are slightly less powerful than single use effects.

Wizard’s Icy Shroud

Perdo Ignem 30, R: Voice, D: Diameter, T: Individual

As per Wizard’s Icy Grip – Chills a single target so that it takes +15 damage each combat round the spell is in effect. If this is enough to kill, the target is frozen solid. Armor does not add to Soak against this spell.

(Base 15, +2 Voice, +1 Diameter)

The spell Wizard’s Icy Grip uses a Base 20 for +20 damage based upon the base 10 for +10 damage. Even +5 damage per round will eventually hurt a tough character due to dice rolls.

See also The Toxic Solar as an example of a Muto Auram effect which affects an entire room with a damage over time effect, and this further variation to affect a structure.

The Toxic Ziggurat

Muto Auram 35, R: Touch, D: Diameter, T: Structure

This spell changes the air within a single structure touched to a highly corrosive gas which inflicts +10 damage per round to everything within. This gas will also damage delicate items within the room, such as paper, food, fur and cloth.

(Base 10 for Level as damage, +1 Touch, +1 Diameter, +3 Structure)

naxxramas-toxic-chamber

See further custom spells for Ars Magica can be found in the summary spells page.