Shackles for Unfriendly Wizards

I was trying to design a set of magical shackles based upon the Perdo Vim effects which limit casting totals, but then a new thought occurred to me. A sufficiently powerful Mentem spell can change the targets memories completely, or limit use of a power or ability.

A spell which temporarily rewrites the targets memories so that they forget they’ve learned magic, or perhaps prohibits access to how to use those skills will be just effective. Unfortunately that level of memory alteration is also a effect base 25 and means a spell utilizing that effect will be exceedingly high.

As an alternative the spell Blessing of Childlike Bliss does exactly this (Ars Magica p.151), so is perfect. When placed in an enchanted device to neutralize a magus it might look like:

Shackles for the Non-compliant Magus

Perdo Mentem 50 Enchanted device.

The wearer of these shackles has their metal capacity reduced to that of a child, akin to the effect Blessing of the Childlike Bliss. They cannot cast spells, and will problem solve and reason like a child.

(Base 10, +1 Touch)(+14 levels for constant effect, +21 for +42 penetration)

These effects, like all the others I’ve pondered are part of a new spells compendium for Ars Magica.

Spells to assist with Vilano’s Sling

A few months ago I wrote up a spell to carve out of raw rock the projectiles which are handy for use with an Invisible Sing of Vilano spell, then found by coincidence a link recently that talked about the Romans using carved sling ammunition with sayings like “This is a Hard Nut to Crack“. That’s darn sardonic wit.

A wizard using the Invisible Sling of Vilano frequently might have a little trouble carrying and gathering the ammunition. Generally a story guide won’t care too much unless the amount of projectiles is large. Servants can do it, or the magus can walk the battlefield.

These are some niche spells for a dedicated (or perhaps lazy) magus to use along with their Vilano spells.

Sight of the Perfect Bullet

Intellego Terram 15, R: Personal, D: Concentration, T: Vision

Thus spell highlights visually to the caster any stones in their sight which are suitable for the caster’s purpose. Despite the spell name the spell will find any serviceable sized stone to match the caster’s requirements; not just sling stones.

(Base 2, +1 Concentration, +4 Vision)

Stones as Insects

Rego Terram 25, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Group

The stone materials touched are made to float around the caster in fluctuating rotating pattern for the spells duration. Up to 1 cubic pace of materials may be affected by each casting.

(Base 3, +1 for stone, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +2 Group)

Gathering a Bullet to Hand

Rego Terram 5, R: Sight, D: Momentary, T: Individual

The targeted stone flies to the casters hand, or to a place they designate within sight.

(Base 3, +1 for stone, +1 Sight)

Gathering a Bullet by the Bagful

Rego Terram 15, R: Sight, D: Momentary, T: Group

The targeted stones flies to the casters hand, a container, or to a place they designate within sight.

(Base 3, +1 for stone, +1 Sight, +2 Group)

For these and over 250 other new Ars Magics spells see the list of spells.

a roman sling stone

Spells for creating groups of animals

Here are some spells which demonstrate how to create animals in Ars Magica. The core rulebook spell The Wizards Mount (CrAn35) illustrates creating a horse, however it does not make clear the way the guidelines might be applied for smaller or larger creatures, or how to handle big groups of creatures. Here is some extrapolation.

The size calculations for how many of a particular size creature are interesting with the magical paradigm of Ars Magica. Individual creates one item, group creates ten times as many but also mentions that it creates ten times the standard mass of the standard amount, and that the base mass of the creature is a factor.

e.g. A base 15 spell creates one animal up to size +1, which can be extended by the Target: Group to up to an equivalent mass of 10x size +1 creatures.

This means that creating a swan is a level 15 base effect but creating a very large number of swans is very easy as they are so much smaller than a size +1 creature. As a swan is roughly equivalent to size -3 creature, a Target: Group version creates 200 swans (Houses of Hermes: Mystery Cults p.39 has a table of animal sizes).

The rough rule of thumb for creates sizes is a difference of +3 between two animals means a ten fold increase in mass, which is equivalent to a +1 magnitude in spell power required.

The mass of a standard animal using Target Group is:

  • 1 animal of size +4
  • 2 animals of size +3
  • 4-5 animals of size +2
  • 10 animals of size +1
  • 20 animals of size 0
  • 40-50 animals of size -1
  • 100 animals of size -2
  • 200 animals of size -3
  • 400-500 animals of size -4
  • and do on.

If for whatever reason the wizard might desire, a very large amount of animals could be created by adding additional magnitudes to the spell designs. Here are some worked examples:

Conjuring the Flock of Honking Swans

Creo Animal 30, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Group, Ritual

This spell permanently creates a very large flock of swans, up to 200 individual animals.

(Base 15, +1 Touch, +2 Group, Ritual)

You might think that swans was an odd choice, however swans illustrate the different size class calculation well and have some useful hermetic uses. Continue reading

Necromancy spells, part 5

When creating and controlling dead creatures there is also the option to design a spell effect which creates and controls them with the one spell. The first spells in this set of blog posts used the two separate spells as there are two separate guidelines, but it need not be so.

As the baseline effect for directly controlling a dead animal is base 1 and creating the animal corpse is base 10, the control magic can be added to a creation spell with only a small increase in overall level. That is a significant saving if the caster desires to combine effects, particularly if the effect was going to be enchanted in an item.

Conjuring the Obedient Deceased Donkey

Creo Animal / Rego 30, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

This spell creates the corpse of a small donkey (size +1), animates it, and allows the caster to mentally concentrate to control it’s actions. The animation lacks any cunning or capacity to act independently, and commands from the caster will be followed literally. Appearance, size, and condition of the body is chosen by the caster.

(Base 10, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 Rego)

Such a beast could power a grindstone in a mill every day and never tire. My preference would still be to have the spells split for the times when the necromancer wants to animate a body they have acquired rather than created. I suppose a human zombie could also be used in the same way as an animal too.

The human corpse baselines are controlling as base 10 and creating as base 5. It is similar to the Animal magic scenario with the arts reversed. However a humanoid servant probably needs a basic intellect to be able to act as any type of servant, so a Mentem requisite is added.

Conjuring the Deceased Obedient Slave

Rego Corpus / Creo Mentem 35, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

This spell creates a human corpse (up to size +1), animates it, and allows the caster to mentally concentrate to control it’s actions. The animation has a dull intellect to act independently, however commands from the caster will be followed unimaginatively. Appearance, size, and condition of the body is chosen by the caster.

(Base 10, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 Creo, +1 Mentem)

Now onto stranger things: the animation of body parts.

Animation of the Creeping Hand

Rego Corpus 30, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

This spell grants an unnatural motion and dull intellect to a severed part of a human body so it may perform tasks as commanded by the caster. The body part is granted the ability to follow very simple instructions, and does so unimaginatively.

The spell is commonly used on the severed hand of thief, but might be used on any body part which could conceivably move under its own motion.

(Base 10, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 Mentem)

Now that I look at the standard spell for animation a corpse and this one, the only difference is how much of the body is present. I’m not sure a separate spell is needed at all. Animating a hand to climb and crawl feels different from an entire corpse, but it really is just more corpus material.

Aside – Do troupes even want to answer meta-physical zombie questions? This spell is plausible if the story-guide rules that the bulk of a corpse must be present, or perhaps the head must be intact on the corpse for the more traditional spells to work.

And lastly some of the most thematically distasteful spells I can think of for a necromancer in the medieval setting – the construction of bespoke horrific human corpses for later animation.

To begin old materials and parts can be reworked to a new purpose.

Crafting of Shells and Strings from the Remains of Man

Rego Corpus 15 / Muto, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Group

This spell uses human remains as raw materials to construct strings, bone plates, splints, sockets, and many various segments and components which can then be used in human taxidermy or construction of automatons. The Muto requirement allows the materials to be made temporarily malleable during their transformation.

A finesse check determines the quality of the conversion, with 6+ required to convert raw materials into a prepared state. Suitable raw materials must be on hand for the spell to be cast successfully.

This spell was invented by Zharkune of Bonisagus who recognized that a necromancer’s arts could be expanded by a less conservative approach.

(Base 3, +1 Touch, +2 Group, +1 complexity)

Assembly of the Monstrous Humanoid Fiend

Rego Corpus 20, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Group

This spell constructs a range of prepared corpus materials into a large multi-limbed fiendish looking monster. A set of base raw ingredients must exceed the volume of the finished form and this is best achieved by having at least one reasonably complete human corpse and many extra components of various types.

The default configuration for the fiend is a size +1 humanoid with four arms, reinforced limbs and torso, sharpened teeth and claws, and a bone carapace over the body. The appearance and construction of the final form can be altered by the caster.

A finesse check determines the quality of the construction, with 9+ required to form the basic construct and a 12+ for a high quality outcome.

The additional strength of materials adds a +2 bonus to the soak score of a typical animated corpse. The corpse may also wear and wield armor and weapons.

If the optional group combat rules are used in the saga, then the additional limbs allow the animation to function as if it is an additional combatant in an untrained group.

(Base 3, +1 Touch, +2 Group, +2 complexity)

For these and over 250 other new Ars Magics spells see the list of spells.

Necromancy spells, part 4

Three spells for animal based necromancy, and a forth while not strictly necromantic will be needed to avoid scaring common folk. The first spell demonstrates how to create a corpse, particularly a horse and then two effects to control a dead animal. The first control spell is very low level (due to the low base guideline) and the second returns the nature of the animal to the corpse along with the animation.

Conjure the Abandoned Steed

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

This spell creates the corpse of a horse, and even though a typical horse is size +2 the spell can create a corpse of up to size +4. Appearance, size, and condition of the body is chosen by the caster.

(Base 10, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 size)

Control the Beastly Remains

Rego Animal 5, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

This spell allows the caster to directly control the actions of an item made from animal materials including an entire corpse. As the animated material has no inherent animal like cunning, the caster must concentrate to change or cease the action it is taking. The spell can control materials up to size +4.

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

Command the Beastly Automaton

Rego Animal 35, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

This spell allows the caster to directly control the actions of an item made from animal materials including an entire corpse. As the animated material is granted the an inherent animal like behaviors and cunning matched to its living form and can follow complex mental commands from the caster to the best of its ability. The caster must concentrate to issue new commands, and the animated animal is not disturbed by the caster’s gift. The spell can control materials up to size +4.

(Base 15, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 size)

Disguise of the Majestic Beast

Muto Imagonem 15, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

This spell allows the caster to alter the appearance, smell, and sound of any animal, although they must be at least passably similar in shape and motion (a large horse can be made to look like a pony, but not a snake). Animals up to size +4 can be altered.

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

 For these and over 250 other new Ars Magics spells see the list of spells.