Disguise of the Transformed Magus

A simple spell which allows the caster to alter their appearance, which is a downscaled version of Disguise of the Transformed Image. Hopefully how the character tastes and feels to touch isn’t often a problem while the spell is active.

The Magi’s character I intend to design this spell is a dwarf, and altering his appearance will help remove some of the strange looks.

Disguise of the Transformed Magus

Muto Imagonem 5, R: Personal, D: Sun, T: Individual

Changes the way the caster looks, smells, and sounds to almost any desire as long as it is passable as a human.

(Base 3, +2 Sun)

hanging

Corbin, ex Merinita – sample magus character for Ars Magica

Backstory

Corbin was unfortunately born into a very prestigious and serious clan. From birth the family taught its sons and daughters to fight honorably and always uphold the clan’s name. Generations of tales speak of their grace and power, and generations of rules dictate the lives of its noteworthy members. Corbin knows this and thinks it’s all a little pompous.

As exposure to the bluster and bravado increased as did the boy’s talent for not taking it seriously. Over time his teachers threw their arms up in disgust. The tales of heroic deeds filled his mind far more than the practical rules. He would daydream through lessons, escape his duties, and avoid almost all filial duties.

Eventually only a handful of direct family thought him more than a lazy and useless boy. Time spent practicing his songs and stories was ill regarded.

Corbin was far from lonely though. As an attractive youth with a musical talent he could be counted as a regular performer in clan gatherings., and also frequently found socialising among his clansmen. His father and uncle’s ire rising with the enjoyment of the crowd. However even the skalds and minstrels commented that he lacked the discipline to learn properly; to correctly follow their traditions.

As the boy grew he enjoyed the company in taverns, or quiet places, some majestic overlooks, and especially the company of lovers. This did little to harden his resolve.

His master found him practicing his singing along a quiet loch, walking for the pleasure of the wind itself. Corbin knows she saw greater things within him, even if they remained hidden under his carefree demeanour. Later she would admit his nature was at times frustrating.

The apprenticeship years were again frustrating for many around Corbin but not for him. Magical studies were infrequent enough that he was able to still practice his passions, and when he gained traction in Imagonem he began integrating the art into his practices. He loves what the magic can do, how it changes the art so much.

Corbin is actually a family nickname due to his dark complexion and slight build. It started as a casual pet name from his mother and stuck. Continue reading

Quaesitor Constantine, Follower of Guernicus. Sample Ars Magica Character

This character was created as “an advanced Magus” for a play by post Ars magica game. The stats and advancement is rather lengthy; detailed record of advancement is included at the end.

Link: Discussed and developed in the Ars Magica official forums.

Concept

The Atlantis Project is a revolutionary event. Constantine seeks to forge a new way for the Order to interact with mundanes, and demonstrate a better way for the Order to run. His focus is mundane and magical politics, power, and effective and fair rule. Rego, Mentem and Vim as focused arts.

 

Stats at Gauntlet

Characteristics: Int +2, Per +2, Pre +2, Com +1, Str 0, Sta +2, Dex 0, Qik -2 (deliberate)
Size: 0
Age: 25 (25), Height: 161 cm, Weight: 70 kg, Gender: Male, Confidence: 1 (3)

Virtues and Flaws: Affinity with Mentem, Clear Thinker (Bonus: +3 to resist lies, confusion, subterfuge), Deft Form (Mentem) [Form: Mentem],
Gentle Gift, The Gift, Hermetic Magus, Hermetic Prestige*, Improved Characteristics, Leadworker, Personal Vis Source (Mentem) [Location], Puissant Mentem, Deficient Form (Herbam), Dependent (his mundane family), Driven (Transformation of the Order), Overconfident

Personality Traits: Fair +2, Forthright +3, Reputations: Quaesitor (Hermetic) 3

Abilities: Area Lore: Area 2, Artes Liberales 1 (), Awareness 4 (searching), Brawl 1 (dodge), Charm 2 (), Civil and Canon Law 1, Code of
Hermes 3 (), Concentration 1 (), Etiquette 1, Finesse 1, Folk Ken 3 (), Gaelic 5 (storytelling), Guile 2 (concealing investigations), Latin 4 (Hermetic
terms), Leadership 1, Magic Lore 1, Magic Theory 3 (Mentem), Order of Hermes Lore 1 (legal cases), Parma Magica 1 (Mentem), Philosophiae 1,
Scribe 1, Teaching 1

Arts: Cr 0, In 10, Mu 0, Pe 5, Re 4, An 0, Aq 0, Au 0, Co 0, He 0, Ig 0, Im 5, Me 9+3, Te 0, Vi 5

Spells:
By His Works (CrMe 5) +14
The Call to Slumber (ReMe 10) +18
Posing the Silent Question (Sight) (InMe 30) +24
Ear of Truth (InMe 30) +25, Mastery 1 (acute sense)
Frosty Breath of the Spoken Lie (InMe 20) +24
Peering into the Mortal Mind (InMe 30) +24
Trust of Childlike Faith (Voice) (PeMe 15) +19
Veil of Invisibility (PeIm 20) +12

Continue reading

Lucien, a Flambeau Apprentice. Sample Ars Magica Character

Overview

A head strong, fearless, and intelligent orphan child, who is at risk of becoming either a “mini-dictator” or abandoned by the orphanage because he is too much trouble to handle. Lucien’s blatant gift means he stays aside from the noise and banter of orphanage life, trying to stay out of the way. He is also frequently absent from roll calls and curfews.

Since he has started to mature, his gift and angry personality has begun to get stronger and stronger. Most recently this has expressed as physical manifestations of smoldering and heat, especially when angered or cornered. Lucien is afraid of this new change and knows too well what happens to “different” children, as a troubled girl “ran away or disappeared” a few years ago even though she left her meager possessions in her bed. This may make Lucien even more resistant to change, and is certainly affecting his relationships within the orphanage.

Personality

Lucien is a smart child who’s natural intellect has lead to some bad habits forming. Raised as an orphan with parents unknown to him, his development has been ad-hoc and at the mercy of the sometimes brutal orphanage where he lives. I see the character as somebody who rejects authoritarian rules where the “why” cannot be explained, and this has led to him being labeled a troublemaker.

He tends to drive the actions of others through observation and advice. While not yet physically strong he is smart enough to attach himself to a figurehead type and push his agenda through that person. A large bull headed boy named Tomas, and a bossy girl named Eloise are his current associates. If not found by a Magus he would be a skilled advisor in later life, IF he can be found by the right people and learn to control his nature.

Background

Lucien’s magical bloodline is believed descended from a Flambeau of great renown (could it be even Reculed himself?) but also unacknowledged in the hotly debated House Flambeau apocrypha. If discovered his bloodline will create further disorder and volatility in the House due to it’s inherent power, and Lucien being a forgotten bastard child. I plan for Lucien to start to investigate his bloodline as a story. At some age he will want to know, as he will not be willing to just hope that it was Flambeau.

  • Where else has the bloodline deviated? Is Lucien’s past actually a deception designed to undermine the House?
  • How many other children have their been?
  • If not Reculed then who or what creature/ancestor allows such a potent magical connection?

Along with the recent expressions of fire and smoke Lucien has also seen physical manifestations of power in his own skin. His skin is now mottled or discolored in places. Over time this may make the otherwise indistinct child look more monstrous (will rationalise a low Pres score as the mythic blood physically manifests).

Lucien’ childhood appearance is boringly ordinary. Described by one of the brothers at the Abbaye d’Auberive (Auberive Abbey) as “A very unassuming countenance with a disruptive intellect. Of course we punish him, the brats raided the larder again!”

Quotes:

  • Said about him, “… the boy has such promise, just look at his lettering!”
  • “If the brothers can’t find it, then they don’t need to know. I’ll help you hide the kitten, but I’ll need a favor…”
  • “Don’t make me quiet your crying Thomas. Shut up, go back in and teach Audren a lesson. For all of us!”

Potential story seed – a rumor of a child who survived a barn fire where many animals and the building itself was totally engulfed.

Recent History

Recently the carers at the Abbey have found a way to entice Lucien to be compliant, which is to offer him additional study. What began as a punishment for a particularly clever prank against a groundsman, exposed a keen interest in learning and books. He has learnt to write in his native French and now keenly is looking to Latin. His inventiveness is also finding a use with illumination and sketching of texts much to the delight of the abbey’s librarians. The librarians are frustrated with Lucien’s inability to clearly communicate how he thinks his idea up, but are pleased with the results.

Lucien is aware that his interest in study places him socially separated from his peers, and is using that separation to his advantage by frequently assisting those less talented – especially if those other children can be lead toward his goals.

Appearance

Once a slightly quirky looking but ordinary sandy haired child, now Lucien’s skin is beginning to physically reflects his mythic bloodline. The areas of mottled, scarred, or reddened skin slowly move and shift week by week, meaning that his physical appearance subtly changes as the rorschach inkblots creep on his skin. Not fast enough to see moment by moment, but very different dawn to dusk.

When he is able to escape formal rules he is often seen with a mutt dog at his heel. His clothes are almost always disheveled and grubby, although he does carry a cloak and extra odd clothing in case he or a friend needs them. Continue reading

Father Augustus, a gentle priest. Sample Ars Magica Character

Backstory

Father Augustus yearly life as a priest was as a notable and respected member of the Edinburgh community, who after several intense interactions with supernatural forces of different kinds had a change of heart in his approach to the faith. His holy life was once intensely demanding, but in an uncomplicated and simplistic manner; then with the interjection of a divine angel, his life was turned inside out. His faith was challenged by it’s agenda, new realms were opened, and it brought about a fundamental change in Augustus.

A handful of years ago Augustus was guided away from his city life to live among the northern wilds. Preaching to the faithful, living through real challenges, and experiencing a very different life. His faith is now stronger than ever, and he is no longer as linear or binary in his perceptions of good and evil. Complexities in faith are serious considerations for Augustus, and while he believes in bragging all souls to the divine; he has a far more pragmatic and realistic view on how that is best performed.

In his new life he has become responsible for a small community, and is beholden for their care – particularly one family who were shattered by the corruptible influences of greed and pride. Augustus has taken the family under his wing

Intention

When the saga starts, Augustus should already be known (to any Magi who have an interest) as a priest who visits throughout the highlands, and cares deeply for the welfare of it’s people. He is wary but not fearful of paganism, having known good men among pagan and Christian alike. If/when the communication starts with the Atlantian Magi he would be a suitable candidate to move with them into this new land, and would discretely manage his migration there with the local Church authorities. Continue reading

Perdo vs Rego for Magic Surpression and Cancellation

A quick post to shake out my thoughts of effect level and effect power for spells which modify or cancel other spells. Specifically noting the difference between Perdo and Rego in terms of spells cast by the Magus or anyone’s particular spell in Ars Magica.

For Perdo Vim effects – I’m looking at the The Heathen Witch Reborn (from HoH:S) and Unraveling the Fabric of (form) (from ArM p161) as source examples, and I think they are both using the General spell guideline below. Both effects are at the Level+2 mags + dice, at Range: Voice. That Guideline is at R:Per, D: Mom, T:Ind as normal, then each has altered from the +4 mags to +2 mags to account for the Voice range. Continue reading

Discussing and Improving the Invisible Sling of Vilano

Here are some thoughts about the Invisible Sling of Vilano, which is arguably one of the most dangerous offensive spells in the Ars Magica role playing game. These are meta-thoughts on the mechanics of spells, rather than actual spells which are direct boosts (you’ve been warned, heh).

I say arguably as the defense against the spell is trivial to accomplish for an experienced wizard who dedicates significant time to it, but impractical for most wizards, and the spell is wonderfully effective against creatures with high resistance to magical attacks. Frankly an opponent who has high magical resistance and also a high soak is darn powerful and is not meant to be fought head on without planning. Ars Magica is a story & discussion (at length) rpg and high challenge beasts should not be knocked down by a single style of attack. It would be the same in any game, but particularly so in Ars Magica as it does not make for compelling stories.

(a) Have you tried Multi-casting?

Simply put Multi-casting with Mastery is far less contentious because this is exactly the style of spell that should directly benefit from multi-casting, and it is the core rules. Use it. In fact this is really the go-to way to gain the maximum bang for your XP once a spell has been mastered.

Some troupes will limit or curtail the power of multi-casting, and that’s the troupe choice – I’m not a fan of that option, but it’s fair if applied equally and stated up front. There are so many ways to be an effective combat wizard in Ars Magica that it shouldn’t be a problem.

(b) Can the damage scale or stack?

Well maybe. Strictly speaking the rules are not definitive.

The ways that a Rego Terram spell like this could be improved is very particular to the style of the group playing Ars Magica. Opinions are divided in the discussion forums, although they do lend themselves toward one interpretation. The opinion was tending toward limiting the multiplicative power of concurrent iterations of a spell in spell designs (to be clear, you don’t just add more versions of an effect to increase the overall damage). Other players seek to allow stacking effects for increased damage output in a very linear way.

I’ve seen it called modifying the “base effect” vs modifying the “effect usage”. That makes a kind of sense, such as the difference between a large fire spell and a small one using a different base 10 or base 25 (variations on Pilum of Fire or Ball of Abysmal Flame), and also fire effects that use a Target: Group to increase the area of damage (Arc of Firery Ribbons). Both are legit.

There are two general approaches, each with variations, depending on how the troupe treats a change from Target: Individual to Target: Group – which in RAW is essentially allowing 10x times the material to be manipulated by a spell. Note too that many troupes will dismiss all these options as munchkin-isms.

  1. The 10x increase in the volume of thrown stones requires each throw to be aimed individually and damage to be resolved individually. This means 10x targeting rolls and 10x damage rolls, each doing +5 damage. This results in the spell being far more powerful and inflicting dramatically more damage due to how many more opportunities the spell has to hit and roll a high damage result.
  2. As (1) above, except the targeting rolls are made per target, and the damage is still inflicted per effect. This is a better option for speed of game-play, but sacrifices the opportunity for spray effects.
  3. As (1) above, except that targets with a soak/toughness +10 points or more above the +5 damage (so soak +15 or higher in the base example) brush off the damage without actually resolving the dice rolls. This mitigates the threat to targets with high soak. Tough characters stay tough, but softer targets are still significantly threatened.
  4. As (2) however a penalty applies for splitting the targets. This approach dictates that one primary target is chosen and trying to split the spell to target two different foes is very difficult,and suffers a Finesse targeting modifier.
  5. Allow the 10x fold increase to inflict damage once for each target, which inflicts more damage using a scale of how many stones struck each target. The scaling chosen really makes of breaks the approach, and scaling is dangerous (very ill-favored). Linear scaling: 1 stone +5 damage, 5 stones +10, 10 stones +15. Pyramid scaling: 1 stone +5 damage, 3 stones +10, 6 stones +15, 10 stones +20 damage.

Which to choose is up to the troupe. It is worth noting that going beyond 10x stones with a spell is certainly possible, but will not be practical in most scenarios as the raw materials are not present to fling so many rocks around.

(c) Increase the base effect guideline to make new versions?

Well I hope it can, as that’s what this spell does – a vicious version of Vilano’s Sling.

The RAW mechanics allow for damage to scale with the base effect, and that an increase in the size of the projectile make no significant change in the damage. Therefore a good design keeps the stones to fit sized as:

  • Base 5, +5 damage
  • Base 10, +10 damage
  • Base 15, +15 damage
  • And I assume this can continue just like the Ignem damage increments.

Refs: