Storms of Stone, two variations on Vilano’s Sling

The spell Vilano’s Sling introduced in Houses of Hermes: Societies book many years ago defines how magic can be dangerous to any creature, even those normally protected by magical resistance.

Here is a modification of Vilano’s Sling to cover a wide area of effect, with one hundred projectiles.

The Chaotic Storm of Stone

Rego Terram 35, R: Voice, D: Momentary, T: Group

The spell animates up to 100 pebble or bullet sized stones, and causes them to fly about randomly, in an area of effect shape determined by the caster (an arc, square, etc).

The area uses the caster’s voice as a practical size limit, typically a 20 pace radius at round the caster. The stones are flung about by the spell in a manner akin to The Invisible Sling of Vilano. 

The number of potential targets is limited by the volume of stones present, each being targeted by a stone in the storm suffers +10 damage.

The spell design allows the caster to never be directly targeted by any of the stones, so they may stand unharmed.

(Base 10, +2 Voice, +2 Group, +1 size of Group)

Then a reworking of Vilano’s Sling, to grossly increase the damage inflicted by the rock or bullet. The reworking is based upon the Rego Terram guidelines in HoH:S p. 38 which has examples for level 5 inflicting +5, level 10 for +10, and level 15 for +15 damage.

The Vicious Projectile

Rego Terram 25, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Individual

This effect hurls a stone in a manner identical to Invisible Sling of Vilano, with the force of the projectile increased to inflict +20 damage. The stone is accurate to 20 paces and requires a successful Finesse roll to hit the target. As the stone is flung by spell rather than guided, the effect is not influenced by Magic Resistance.

(Base 20, +1 Touch)

This was the simplest approach. A more complex rationale might also increase the range for which the spell can still inflict damage, due to the fact that the projectile probably is still moving quickly after 20 paces, and should probably decrease it’s damage incrementally. i.e. +20 damage out to 20 paces, the +15 to 30 paces, then +10 at 35 paces, then +5 at 40 paces. I cannot think of other spells which use this kind of rationale; a sympathetic troupe may be open to it.

These and many more custom spells can be found in the New Spells for Ars Magica page.

carved-covenant

Advertisements

A spell for Intelligent Helpful Furniture

Odd thought while watching kids television – a spell to grant animation and low level obedience to furniture (I know, probably too much kids viewing in my recent past; it’s the holidays). What’s even more odd is that the Carved Assassin spell from Tales of Mythic Europe is basically the spell I want. It’s intended for use on wooden statues but can animate anything (aside – the Carved Assassin is missing 5 levels for range Touch too, errata has it as level 25).

This version is for prolonged use, so the duration has been increased and the allowable size of wooden object increased. Regular use will cause warping, but that should be expected in a Magi’s laboratory in Ars Magica.

The Subservient Lumber

Rego Herbam 35, R: Touch, D: Moon, T: Individual

The spell grants animation and sentience to an item made of wood. Items can move as directed and follow the caster’s simple commands, but will be confused by complex tasks. Different items can move with various degrees of mobility directly related to how they might utilise their physical form. Chairs can walk well, cupboards less so, and statues with sufficient detail can often move identically to a person.

The spell can be cast on any wooden item up to 10 cubic paces in volume, which allows for animation of very large objects (such as wagons or boats) or massive trees. Casting requisites are required for compound items.

(Base 10, +1 Touch, +3 Moon, +1 extra size)

an awesome library

A small assortment of enchanted devices

Here is a selection of magical devices from an Ars Magica play-by-post game starting shortly. The devices are not overly different from the core spells they’re based on before being used in lesser enchanted devices, however as written there are a few key differences.

The intent of the first item is to provide a very dangerous spell effecting terms of the damage it inflicts, which is done by extending the duration of the normal lightning spell from a momentary lightning strike to a prolonged effect which surrounds the target. A +30 damage is very harmful already, with this effect that damage continues for 2 minutes.

Ring of Enveloping Lightning

The ring is enchanted as lesser device, with a “Prolonged Incantation of Lightning“, as a total effect level 60.

(CrAu40 – Base 5, +2 Voice, +4 unnatural, +1 Diameter), then Pen 34 (+17), 6 Uses per day (+3). Inflicts +30 damage per round for Diameter, knockdown effect as per spell in Ars p126.

The device shape is a small precious gem hidden within a plain silver ring, activated by touching the thumb to the ring and speaking the phrase “no more” in Latin.

The second ring is a defensive tool. As a ghost the wearer is removed from almost all typical sources of harm.

Ring of Ghostly Form

Enchanted as a lesser device, with “Form of the Lost Ancestor“, effect level 50.

MuCo/Me 40 (Base 30, +1 Conc, +1 Touch), Device Conc (5), 24 Uses (5). Form is a precious gem hidden within silver ring.

Effect will make the target insubstantial, similar to a ghost. They are unaffected by physical things such as weapons, beasts, the elements, and likewise cannot touch physical things, but remains visible. The target can move themselves at running speed.

The third device was invented to be thematic. It has no real game mechanical advantage.

An Illustrative History of the Order

A tapestry several paces wide and floor to curling tall, woven with the symbol of the Order of Hermes as a large central emblem which is surrounded by a sigil of each art, and then each house.

The Weave of Lore and Whimsy – effect Creo Imagonem 20 (CrIm 1, +1 moving, +2 variety of images, +1 complex high quality art, +2 Sun), +2 for 6 use/day, Env trigger +3 for sunrise and sunset. Tapping the edge of the tapestry three times in quick succession will also stop or begin the cycle.

The device’s effect shows a cycle of complex moving images which represent major stages and personalities in the history of the Order. Each image moves slightly to lend a depth, shadow, and movement. Each depiction still looks as if it was crafted in tapestry form, and also moves with it’s own animation.

E.g. The fire around Flambeau moves, as he stands in place. Akin to the Harry Potter portraits, stylised for medieval art. The symbol of Tytalus slowly turns clockwise and counter clockwise, the Bjornaer symbol morphs between cone, circle, triangle. Etc.

Events include The Founding, the Sundering, the Fight against the Spider, the war against Diedne, and thematic visualisation of each Founder, and many more (to suit a 2 mag increase in complexity!)

The last device is specifically chosen for communications and because the spell is apparently not viewed as scrying by the Order in the strictest sense.

The Orb of Telepresence

An orb of white marble one span in diameter, held in a rosewood and brass box.

Device level 60. Effect as per Haunt of the Living Ghost (CrIm/In 35) Ars Magica p.144, modified as a lesser device as: +5 Device maintains conc, +2 for 6 use/day, +18 Pen bonus +36.

Spells for Animating statues

An animated statue is a well established theme in fantasy settings. From tome guardians, stone juggernauts, creepy gargoyles, and so on; they’re a feature in countless stories. In Ars Magica rpg all the potential styles create a myriad of potential derivations in spell design. That said, a basic animated stone statue certainly has a “best” way of being performed.

A simple spell for creating a statue, called Likeness in Sculpted Stone, was published in  the Hermes Portal magazine, Issue 14, and is likely to be the best and simplest design for creating a temporary statue. The spell below follows that design, with key differences of extended duration and additional complexity to allow for the final shape of the statue selected when casting the spell instead of copying a specific person.

The Flattering Statue of Man, in Stone

Creo Terram 30, R: Touch, D: Moon, T: Ind

This effect creates a life-sized statue, subject to the desires of the caster up to the size of a standard human. The appearance of the statue and the pose is determined when the spell is cast. As the caster chooses the shape, and the resulting statue may be deliberately far more or far less flattering if it is cast to copy a human subject.

A finesse roll determines if the result is a suitable impression, and what the aesthetic value may be; a Finesse skill check of 6+ is needed for a properly formed generic statue (which is suitable for animation, as different from a lumpy abstract sculpture of a person), and a 9+ indicates a specific subject’s appearance is represented by the result. A Finesse check result higher than this increases the aesthetic appeal of the final result, but has no other mechanical ramifications.

(Base 3, +1 Touch, +3 Moon, +2 elaborate detail, +1 flexible design when cast)

statue-singular

For conparison – a further version of the same spell effect altered to allow for very large statues which are also created permanent (i.e. a ritual spell).

The Wondrous Spectacle of my Heart’s Desire, in Stone

Creo Terram 25, R: Touch, D: Mom, T: Ind, Ritual

This effect creates a complex sculpture in stone subject to the desires of the caster, using up to 100 cubic paces of stone. The appearance of the stone could be a diorama, a single huge statue, or any other form chosen by the caster. This spell can also be used to form permanent immediate defensive walls, bridges, or other structures, due to the flexibility in the spell design.

A finesse roll determines if the result is properly suitable for purpose, and what the aesthetic value may be; a Finesse skill check of 6+ is needed for a properly formed generic statue (as different from a lumpy stone sculpture), and a 9+ indicates a specific subject’s appearance can be well represented in the result. A finesse roll of 12+ indicates the work is both properly formed and truly beautiful.

(Base 3, +1 Touch, +2 elaborate detail, +1 flexible design when cast, +2 increased mass)

A secondary potential purpose for this spell is to create a large set of individual statues, each linked via a slim tether of stone to the next when the spell is cast. As presented the The Wondrous Spectacle of Heart’s Desire ritual would create up to 100 statues, which could be then untethered from each other to supply a large warband worth of animated soldiers.

And now that the wizard has a statue it can be animated in a few different ways to become a servant. An effect for animating a statue again from Hermes Portal magazine, Issue 14, page 13:

The Walking Statue

Rego Terram / Muto 20, R: Voice, D: Conc, T: Ind

Animate a stone statue to move as you direct. A statue is very clumsy but also very strong. Its combat statistics are Initiative -2, Attack +5, and Damage +6. While animated it is immune to most weapons but heavy, blunt weapons may be able to damage it at the storyguide’s option (its suggested Defense is +1 and its Soak, +12).

Besides fighting, the statue can be a useful servant. It is tireless and very strong. It is immune to hazards like poison and fire, so some magi use animated statues to perform certain laboratory work. When the spell ends, the statue freezes into its current position, which may be different from its original position.

(Base 3, +2 Voice, +1 Conc, +1 affect stone, +1 precise control, +1 Muto)

I really like these types of spells, which evoke a truly mythic thematic style for Ars Magica. I can see this spell as an alternative to the Unseen Arm, and useful for a range of purposes. The trick I don’t like with this spell is the Duration and the fact that the statue will follow very simple commands while the caster concentrates but cannot act unto itself at all. If the caster ceases concentrating it will end, and I have in mind a stone servant.

Reworked – here is an alternative version with longer duration and added sentience, which turns the statue into a useful servant.

The Animated Statue, of Stone

Rego Terram / Muto Mentem 40, R: Voice, D: Moon, T: Ind

This effect animates a stone statue so it can move and and grants the statue a basic form of intelligence, akin to that of a dull human. A statue is clumsy but also very strong. Its combat statistics are Initiative -2, Attack +5, and Damage +6. While animated it is immune to most weapons but heavy, blunt weapons may be able to damage it at the storyguide’s option (its suggested Defense is +1 and its Soak, +12).

When the spell expires, the statue freezes into its current position.

(Base 3, +2 Voice, +3 Moon, +1 affect stone, +1 precise control, +1 Muto, +1 Mentem)

I was considering the spell could be invented as Muto Terram with Mentem requisite, and forego the Rego component, as other Muto spells allow the affected target to also gain motion (such as Stir the Slumbering Tree (MuHe25) see Ars page 137). In this case the form is essentially nonliving matter which is gaining additional motion and intellect, so I chose to pay heartily in the spell design for the final spell effect; it is arguably 5 or so levels less depending on the interpretation of how difficult the base effect should be, or how hard it is to awaken stone to intelligence. With a final effect level of 40 it feels more than enough to address meta-game and power-game issues.

The caster might need to disguise the statue as a normal person for use around mundanes, and a Muto Imagonem effect will do, like Disguise of the Transformed Image (MuIm15) (Ars p146). A sarcastic magus might opt for this as their default shield grog.

Variations could be made for a range of metals by redesigning the animation spell to be +1 magnitudes higher. I am unsure how prolific bronze statues were in the period, and if unheard of, there will also need to be a spell to create a likeness in bronze, steel, etc.

The Animated Statue, of Bronze

Rego Terram / Muto Mentem 45, R: Voice, D: Moon, T: Ind

This effect animates a bronze statue so it can move and and grants the statue a basic form of intelligence, akin to that of a dull human. A statue is clumsy but also very strong. Its combat statistics are Initiative -2, Attack +5, and Damage +6. While animated it is immune to most weapons but heavy, blunt weapons may be able to damage it at the storyguide’s option (its suggested Defense is +1 and its Soak, +12).

When the spell expires, the statue freezes into its current position.

(Base 3, +2 Voice, +3 Moon, +2 affect metal, +1 precise control, +1 Muto, +1 Mentem)

The Flattering Statue of Man, in Bronze

Creo Terram 35, R: Touch, D: Moon, T: Ind

This effect creates a life-sized statue, subject to the desires of the caster up to the size of a standard human. The appearance of the statue and the pose is determined when the spell is cast. As the caster chooses the shape, and the resulting statue may be deliberately far more or far less flattering if it is cast to copy a human subject.

A finesse roll determines if the result is a suitable impression, and what the aesthetic value may be; a Finesse skill check of 6+ is needed for a properly formed generic statue (which is suitable for animation, as different from a lumpy abstract sculpture of a person), and a 9+ indicates a specific subject’s appearance is represented by the result. A Finesse check result higher than this increases the aesthetic appeal of the final result, but has no other mechanical ramifications.

(Base 3, +1 Touch, +3 Moon, +1 for metals, +2 elaborate detail, +1 flexible design when cast)


Aside – if you are interested in Ars Magica and have not picked up copies of Hermes Portal magazine (now out of print, but in pdf) or the Sub Rosa magazine (very much alive and well); then you’re missing out on great content.

Using Mentem spells to detect invisible hidden or foes

Initially wanted a spell which would be used by a Mentem expert to assist in finding hidden or invisible opponents; then I started to ponder the fact hat those opponents might be animals just as likely as humaniod in Ars Magica’s quasi-fantasy setting. As all creatures have either intelligence (mentem based) or cunning (animal based) two effects are needed. For intelligent creatures:

Hear the Chattering of Man and Manes

Intellego Mentem 15, R: Personal, D: Diameter, T: Hearing

Detect minds of all creatures around the caster as sounds of chattering for men and whispers for spirits. The more active the creatures mind is, the louder the noise of their mind will be.

(Base 3 to detect a mind, +1 Diameter, +3 Hearing)

An then for animals:

Hear the Chirping of Beast and Bird

Intellego Animal 15, R: Personal, D: Diameter, T: Hearing

Detect minds of all creatures around the caster as sounds of chirping for avian, growls for beasts, hisses for reptiles, and whistles for fish. The more active the creature’s mind is, the louder the noise of their mind will be.

(Base 3 to detect a mind, +1 Diameter, +3 Hearing)

I also thought that a version using vision instead of hearing may be useful as well, although each increase in power means it is far more difficult to perceive those creatures with high magical resistance.

See the Ramblings of Man and Manes

Intellego Mentem 20, R: Personal, D: Diameter, T: Vision

Detect minds of all creatures around the caster as squalls of thick blue smoke for men and purple tendrils for spirits. The more active the creatures mind is, the louder the noise of their mind will be.

(Base 3 to detect a mind, +1 Diameter, +4 Vision)

Having an effect using T: Vision might have a secondary use of identifying targets which have magical resistance if cast forcelessly.

These and other new spells for Ars magica can be found gathered together here.

A few quirky fire spells

Here area few simple fire effects. Primarily for travelers, although many will have tricky wider applications. Firstly a cheeky way to extend the range of a Faerie Duration: Fire spell. The affected fire still needs fuel, but this effect allows for easier maintenance and longer effects.

Fire of Little Fuel

Muto Ignem 15, R: Touch, D: Fire, T: Individual, Faerie.

Changes a fire to consume almost no fuel, and to be more resistant to disruptive effects of wind and rain. A fire under this spells effect burns for three to four times longer on the same supply of materials, and can withstand strong wind and rain.

(Base 3 for an unnatural effect, +1 Touch, +3 Fire)

The second effect is intended to make a fire safer around people. I had an odd thought that it might also be a useful fast-cast defense against Ignem spells too.

Fire That Burns No Man

Muto Ignem 20, R: Touch, D: Fire, T: Individual, Faerie.

The effected fire can warm but not burn humans. All other aspects of the fire remain unaffected. The targeted fire may be as large as a house fire.

(Base 3 unnatural, +1 Touch, +3 Fire, +1 extra target size)

Then an effect designed for use in the wilderness, on ships, or anywhere a fire is could be useful, but the environment is not conductive to flames.

Fire for the Boatman, Shepherd, and Scribe

Creo Ignem / Muto 25, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Circle.

Creates an unnatural fire which can warm but not burn people or man made products (treated or manufactured items), but will cook raw ingredients as normal. The fire’s size is determined by the circle drawn during casting, and may be as small as a candle or as large as a campfire. The fire can be extinguished prematurely by breaking the circle.

(Base 4 to create a fire hot enough to cook with, +1 for Muto effect, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 complexity for multiple exclusions, +0 Circle)

winter-campfire

Milestone unlocked: 200 spells for Ars Magica

Aside

I hit 102 spells posted on April 12, 2015. Now as 2015 ends I’ve hit 200 custom spells. Achievement Unlocked! All the spells can be found on this page.
library