Fantasy Runeblade built for Ars Magica

“The runeblade is an extension of your being. A death knight cannot battle without a runeblade.”

– Instructor Razuvious

Q. What would a runeblade be like if made using Ars Magica mechanics?

A. Incredibly nasty, especially if used against mundanes. As an-ex Wow’er this post has been a long time coming and I’ve enjoyed throwing all sorts of power descriptions below, and seeing which ones suit it best. For the purposes of this post the powers have been created using the Hermetic magic rules, while in-game an infernal equivalent is very reasonable. WoW and Ars Magica deal with

Runeblades are usually swords inscribed with magical or demonic runes that grant certain powers to the wielder. All high-ranking death knights wield their own personal, named runeblade, called vampiric runeblades. However, runeblades are not unique to the Scourge. Although Frostmourne was undoubtedly the most prominent runeblade in existence, there are quite a few additional ones.

– Wowikia

In game mechanically there is a magic resistance (MR) consideration for the invested powers which alter the runeblades but to not affect anyone hit with it; normally these would also be resisted by MR which in turn mean the weapon would be useless against any creature or person with MR. In my opinion and frequent house-rule is the non-material powers do not get stopped by MR. Likewise a power can be resisted and the physical sword blade can still hurt the opponent. The supernatural effect is resisted, but the steel is not. This is so that magical weapons do not need to be over engineered for the game and interactions with MR are simpler. YSMV.

Some sample powers might be:

Arcane Link – 1x pawn vis, as the runeblade is a fixed arcane connection to the owner.

Cause Fatigue – PeIg 38, (Base 4, +1 Touch, +1 Animal targets, +5 for 24 uses per day, +20 for Penetration +40, +3 specific owner only), if being held by the owner the next creature struck suffers a Fatigue level of exhaustion.

Dance and Float – ReTe28, (Base 4, +1 Concentration, +2 extra strength to stay in place, +5 device maintains concentration, +5 for 24 uses per day, +3 specific owner only), the sword may be commanded to float and dance in place, and cannot be moved by anyone else.

Dark Whispers – CrMe 43, (Base 3, +4 Arcane, +3 Moon, +5 for 24 uses per day, +5 for +10 penetration, +3 cannot affect owner), after touching blood the sword will whisper to the target who hears an eerie and disturbing voice in their mind speaking of their downfall or death.

Destruction of Men and Beasts – PeCo45, (Base 15, +1 Touch, +1 Animal targets, +10 unlimited uses, +10 for Penetration +20, +3 cannot affect the owner), inflicts a heavy wound on any human touched by the blade. This power may be resisted by powerful opponents, however it is designed to be devistating to lesser creatures.

Encase in Ice – CrAq30, (Base 3, +1 Touch, +1 Diameter, +5 for 24 uses per day, +17 for Penetration +34, +3 specific owner only), the next target touched with the blade is encased in ice, likely stopping all movement and soon to suffocate. Creature up to size +1 can be encased.

Eerie Light – CrIg17, (Base 3, +14 Constant effect), the blade always glows with an eerie blue and white light akin to torchlight.

Indestructible – MuTe24, (Base 4, +2 metal, +14 Constant effect), the blade is all but indestructible.

Wracking Pain – PeCo40, (Base 4, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +3 specific user not affected, +10 unlimited uses, +17 for +34 Penetration), if touched by anyone except the owner the power inflicts pain upon them until the next sunrise or sunset.

A Mass Teleportation spell

Getting a large volume of stuff from one place to another is tricky in Ars Magica, well tricky unless your group of wayward wizards has access to some darn heavy duty transportation magic.

This spell is an example of a powerful spell which might be used to teleport all sorts of items, animal herds, or people to or from the covenant. The use of the Target: Circle allows for larger volumes of mixed products to be sent, rather than individuals effects.

Mass Arcane Teleportation

Rego Animal Aquam Corpus Herbam Terram 40, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Circle

Teleport the contents of the circle to the place of the AC.

(Base 35, +1 Touch, +0 Circle)

In the saga our wizards have raised a new island far off the western coast of Spain and getting materials to and from the island is tougher than I first thought it would be. This spell assists that purpose.

Along with the spell itself a magical item with the same effect would be handy. This might allow non-wizards to assist with the coordination of moving gear around. I also think that creating a circle via a spell might be handy too, or having designated points marked with circles as way-points for transfer. They could be designed to be ten to fifteen paces in diameter, allowing for a large volume of material to be transferred at once.

Circle’s Keystone (ReAnAqCoHeTe50)  – a large grey stone tile invested with as the Mass Arcane Teleportation spell above, altered for unlimited uses per day. The stone is set touching the rim of the circle to be targeted, the arcane connection is set in a small depression atop the stone, and then a command phrase is spoken to activate. In this way the stone is reusable at multiple sites.

This and many other new spells for Ars Magica can be found in the grimoire page.

A simple enchanted device – Daylight Lantern

The Daylight Lantern is a simple magic item which mimics the abilities of a standard lantern, created as a lesser enchanted device for an Ars Magica covenant.

Now assuming that the creator of this didn’t want to take the easy way out, and just use a Circle spell to make an indefinite small light – I’d almost always opt for the simple ring/circle spell.

Daylight Lantern – a lantern crafted from steel, inset with a ceramic core. The lantern may be turned on and off by command word, and also by turning the lid clockwise and counter-clockwise. It provides a bright soft light equivalent to daylight which shines all around.

Shine as the Day – CrIg 18 (Base 4 for light of a cloudy day, +1 Touch, +1 Conc), 6 uses per day +3, device maintains concentration +5.

Created with Shape and Material bonus of a lamp (+7 to produce light). If being reproduced from a labtext the lantern could be created by junior wizards or perhaps an apprentice. 

A spell and item for a Gentle School or Flock of Animals

The intent of this spell is to allow manipulation of a large group of animals as a herd of cows or a school of fish will often exceed a normal group of 10. It is a useful spell for calming raging beasts or monsters if the effect can penetrate their magical resistance.

The Gentle School

Rego Animal 30, R: Voice, D: Concentration, T: Group

Targeted animals are rendered placid and docile even during unusual or violent circumstances. Up to 10 size +4 animals may be affected by each casting; potentially allowing for a great many smaller animals to be affected.

(Base 4, 2 Voice, +1 Conc, +2 Group, +1 beast size to +4)

Based upon The Gentle Herd, from Covenants page 51.

Shepherd’s Crook (Enchanted device – ReAn 40)

This crook is a simple twisted wooden staff with a knobbly protruding head. It has been enchanted as a lesser device with the spell The Gentle School (ReAn30, above), and further altered as to Maintains Concentration, and allow a few uses per day.

This is be set as an overall 10 increase in level; as +5 to maintain concentration, +2 for five uses per day, and +3 to allow a penetration score of 6 which should affect many simple magical creatures.

If purchased at build time for a covenant it has a purchase price as a spell lab text of 7 BPs. This and over 470 other new spells for Ars Magica can be found here.

An odd spell to Craft Invisible Illusions

Yep, you read that right. The idea is to create an illusion which is normally not able to be perceived by a human, and then a second spell which then allows the wizard to perceive the special effect. Such as an illusion using ultrasonic sound or ultraviolet light and the caster has a second spell which detects them.

Why? Well I was thinking about how an Ars Magica Magus might create their own heads-up system, or mark allies before battle, or a way to tag people they meet as significant. This way their tags are not readily readable by everyone, and the target need not know. Alternatively the illusion might almost match the true image of the target, which is then highlighted by a special Intellego spell.

The complexity in building a HUD is effect duration and memory. Effect duration can be solved by investing the effect into an enchanted device, which then maintains concentration and can be enhanced with greater penetration. Memory cannot, and this is why the spell creates a marker on the target so they can see the detail.

As a stand alone spell, intended to be used over a longer time period.

Paint with Invisible Brushstrokes

Creo Imagonem / Muto 20, R: Voice, D: Moon, T: Individual

This spell creates a simple visual illusion using tailored species which are not normally perceivable by humans.

(Base 1 to create a visual illusion, +2 Voice, +3 Moon, +1 moves with the target, +1 for complexity)

Paint with Invisible Sigils

Creo Imagonem / Muto 20, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Group

This spell creates a simple visual illusion upon all members of the group touched, using tailored species which are not normally perceivable by humans. The sigil is is a simple coloured marking, up to a pace in any direction. The intent is to mark allied companions and soldiers before battle which allows them to be easily differentiated, but it may also be used to mark any group.

(Base 1 to create a visual illusion, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 moves with the target, +1 for complexity, +2 Group)

Then the spell to perceive the typically invisible illusions.

Perceive the Brushstrokes of Invisible Paint

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

Allows the caster to perceive any normally invisible illusion or “brushstrokes” created with the associated spell.

(Base 1, +1 Concentration, +4 Vision, +1 for complexity)

Ref: A discussion thread on the topic in the official Ars Magica forums. This and other spells can be found in the Grimoire of New Spells for Ars Magica.

A few Cloud spells

“When the clouds above the covenant shape themselves into my sigil it is time to strike as the mundane guards will have been subdued.”

While drafting one spell to shape distant clouds a few more came to mind. The shaping spell might be used as a visual call to action which can be seen across a very wide area.

Conjure a Simple Cloud

Creo Auram 15, R: Sight, D: Sun, T: Individual

A cloud gathers high in the air, which will persist for the Spells duration reacting normally to the surrounding weather conditions.

(Base 2, +3 Sight, +2 Sun)

Theatrical Cloak of Black Tendrils

Creo Auram 25, R: Voice, D: Concentration, T: Group

Creates a voluminous and dark cloud of smoke which is filled with intertwining wisps and tendrils that surrounds the caster as they move. The cloud obscures all visibility within its core and then thins toward its edges; forming an opaque radius of 15 paces around the caster and thinning over 25 more paces.

(Base 3, +2 Voice, +1 Concentration, +2 Group, +1 unnatural locale)

An alternate for Rain of Stones (Ars p.127) which uses an acid instead of transformation to stone, with the General guideline for acidic air.

Rain of Viscous Acid

Muto Auram 20, R: Voice, D: Sun, T: Individual

Turns rain into a oily acid as it falls, causing +4 damage per round when it strikes an object or person. Continued exposure will cause significant damage.

(Base 4, +2 Voice, +2 Sun)

Cloudy Imaginings

Rego Auram 20, R: Sight, D: Concentration, T: Part

A selected cloud mass is reshaped to suit the designs of the caster, such as animal shapes, letters, or three dimensional faces. The shape can be slowly changed but will disburse as normal when the spell expires. A simple Finesse check vs 3 is required.

(Base 2, +3 Sight, +1 Concentration, +1 Part, +1 complexity in shape)

This and over 584 other new spells for Ars Magica can be found on the spells page.

A frozen castle, but not in a cartoony way

In Ars Magica a fire might not be considered magical (and therefore resisted by magic resistance) if it does not have fuel. Although it’s circumstantial, once an item is set on fire it may burn normally and harm everyone just like abnormal fire. A spell I wrote a little while ago to burn a castle (Immolation of Harrenhal) plays with this demonstrating how dangerous an entire building might be to both magical and mundane inhabitants. Once it is burning naturally the environment is deadly.

So the same is perhaps true of freezing things. Trapping a foe in a freezing chamber that they cannot escape from will chill, fatigue and maybe incapacitate them as long as it stays cold enough.

Freezing of Harrenhal

Perdo Ignem 35, R: Touch, D: Concentration, T: Structure

This spell cools an entire structure, or a sub-part chosen by the caster, and everything within it to below freezing, which creates a dangerous environment for the inhabitants and materials. All items inside will be affected either by the initial freezing or the remaining chilling temperatures which likely continue after the spell expires. Whilst active the spell inflicts +5 cold damage per round.

(Base 5 to freeze water, +1 Touch, +1 Concentration, +3 Structure, +1 Part flexibility)

These and others effects I’ve pondered over the past few years are part of the new spells grimoire for Ars Magica.

New Ars Target: Wall

A new meta-magic target which allows all forms to be created in variants of a Wall.

Target: Wall (+1) Used as barriers, curtain walls, and other circumstances where a non-standard shape for the Form is desirable. While the target name implies a wall the final orientation and shape may vary to suit the casters needs, such as being used instead as a bridge, and it also includes simple crenellations to assist with defence.

It may also find a use with MuVi spells which allow for changing of the target spell, or characters with the Flexible Formulaic Magic virtue. If being researched in-play it should be a Minor Hermetic Breakthrough.

The Target creates a wall to a specific dimensions limited by the standard maximum of the spell’s Form. Unless otherwise specified the wall area is generated to a ratio of 10 wide, by 5 high, by 1 thick. Extra magnitudes expand this volume as normal.

  • Use of Wall is more typical for earth and stone, although any Form is permitted.
  • For creation effects a wall must be placed along a stable surface or between at least two stable points, such as two trees, a fence post and another wall, or even in an existing gateway to block the area. The spell could not anchor to a person, or to an item which is easily mobile, such as a cart.
  • The spell will allow an existing wall already in existence to be targeted as a discrete thing even when it is part of a greater whole (such as for Mu or Pe effects), essentially T: Part is included in this special target.

Sample Spells – these spells are variants of either previously written custom spells. demonstrating the source for a wall of ice or fire, and for wrecking walls of stone.

Wall of Protecting Ice

Creo Aquam 15, R: Touch, D: Diameter, T: Wall

This spell conjures a wall of ice in a simple shape and orientation chosen by the caster. The ritual will create 5600 cubic feet of liquid; akin to a wall roughly 6 feet tall, 3 feet thick, and 300 feet long (roughly 90 yards); for the duration. The wall contains simple crenellations atop for improved defence.

(Base 3, +1 Touch, +1 Diameter, +1 Wall, +1 size)

Wall of Defensive Fire

Creo Ignem / Rego 35, R: Voice, D: Sun, T: Wall

Conjures a blazing wall of fire shaped to the caster’s desire, which inflicts +15 damage to anyone who crosses it. Optionally the caster may elect to create defensive segment and holes in the wall, and also ensure that the heat of the wall projects in one direction, which makes the wall ideal as an additional defensive barrier.

(Base 10, +2 Voice, +2 Sun, +1 Wall)

Breach the Outer Defenses of Stone

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

The affected segment of wall is turned from stone to sand, destroying its cohesion and likely causing chaos for defenders.

(Base 3, +2 Voice, +1 Wall)

Designed as a triggered effect when a target walks through a doorway or narrow area (in an item), using Wall as a special area of effect.

Wall of Magic Nullification

Perdo Vim Gen, R: Voice, D: Momentary, T: Wall

Cancels any active magic effect with a level less than or equal to half the (level + 1 magnitude) of this spell + a stress die (no botch). Conditional aspects for penetration and Parma magica are identical to Winds of Mundane Silence (Ars p.160)

(Base Gen, +2 Voice, +1 Wall)

See 500+ other new spells for Ars Magica, and the main Ars page on this blog for more strange and useful Ars Magica related material.

More spells and items for a Magus with a Focus in Bronze

Continuing from the Verditius sample character, and spells for a magus who specialises in bronze; here are a few more spells. The goal is to create several moderate power spells which allow the specialty in bronze to be more widely used. When implemented many will be useful in items rather than spells to be cast.

Thematically I like Verditius who appear to have tools and foci scattered all over them, or carry a set of pristine tools, suitable for their spell casting and crafting. As such these effects have been proposed in lesser enchanted devices, which are exceptionally cheap (in terms of vis) for a Verditius to create.

Scalpel for Bronze (Lesser Enchanted Device) – A thin steel knife with a small one sided dull blade, mounted on a long thin handle.

Invested effect: Destroying Bronze (PeTe 35).

Destroy Bronze

Perdo Terram 25, R: Voice, D: Momentary, T: Part

This spell utterly destroys up to ten cubic feet of bronze, the amount chosen by the caster. Delicate or fine destruction may require a Finesse check.

(Base 5, +2 Voice, +1 Part, +1 size)

(+10 unlimited uses)

Bulbous Shovel Ornament (Lesser Enchanted Device) – a finger sized fat silver shovel with a small leather loop on one end for attaching to belts and equipment.

Invested effect: Change Terram to Bronze (MuTe35, effect with unlimited uses).

Rocks and Rubble of Bronze

Muto Terram 25, R: Voice, D: Sun, T: Part

The Terram based material such as metals, rock, or dirt, are transformed to bronze. Up to ten cubic paces of dirt, a cubic pace of stone, or a cubic foot of metal may be affected, and is transformed into a cubic foot of material.

(Base 4, +2 Voice, +2 Sun, +1 Part) (+10 unlimited uses)

A particular use for this effect might be to change part of the ground creating a gap or hole, as the transformation will also reduce the volume of material, changing 10 cubic paces of soil to 1 cubic foot of bronze. Continue reading

Items and spells of Wind and Water for Covenants

An ice and winter themed wizard I’m writing will be joining a newly founded covenant soon, so I’m pondering how he might contribute toward the covenant’s establishment, development, and well-being. He already has spells which might be handy to defend against mundane attackers, so in this blog post I am thinking more utility effects.

Some of these spell effects make more sense when invested into items, and despite being forewarned by the theme of the game my Magus is currently ill equipped for starting a hidden or independent covenant.

…Hmm, and that is also kind of the point of the game to me – having a character who is great at setting up a remote covenant would be tricking the meta-game and just be a call to the GM to raise the difficulty level higher.

These spells and item are part of my brainstorming for ways to assist.

Hidden Hypocaust – (CrIg 24) is a charm placed at a central location within the main structure which warms the structure. This enhances the living conditions for the inhabitants due to the warmth provided; grants the Magical Heating – Superior Heating lab virtue. The charm has been crafted with many variations in shape, popular recently is investment in decorative items such as mirrors and tapestries as they are wall mounted.

A Pleasantly Warmed Tower

Creo Ignem 20, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

The floors, walls and ceilings of the targeted structure are warmed to the touch, providing a pleasant environment.

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

As an item add (+3 environmental trigger for sunrise and sunset, +1 for two uses per day) although not designed as a constant item so it can be moved to different building if required. 

Note: There has been a lot of discussion on using back to back Sun duration vs Constant effects on the Ars Magica forums and my 2c is that both options are fine; it is the designers intent which determines how the item works. Given that the alternative is for the device to be D: Conc with +5 Maintain Conc – thus requiring somebody to trigger it – its almost moot.

And as a spell for a single room lab…

A Pleasantly Warmed Sancta

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

The floors, walls and ceilings of the room touched are warmed to the touch, providing a pleasant environment.

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

Another side affect of living in colder climates is the freezing affect on books. This spell could be used as is as an enchantment for a travelling trunk, or used in a lab.

Librarians Dehumidifier – (PeAu21) a small brass sigil in the shape of a fire inset with a book, which when placed upon a wall or inside a container will dehumidify the contained space.

Dry the Damp Storeroom

Perdo Auram 15, R: Touch, D: Concentration, T: Room

Reduces the ambient humidity in the chamber to be dry, making it a useful effect for libraries and potentially healthier for inhabitants.

(Base 4, +1 Touch, +1 Concentration, +2 Room)

As an item add (+5 device maintains concentration, +1 for two uses per day).

The Protective Weathervane – An oak and iron eagle with platinum and agate highlights designed to be set atop a tall building so it can “see” the surrounding weather. The weathervane is very high quality workmanship and is made up of many interconnected parts, some enchanted. The parts are Head, Wings, Tail, Body, and Whistle; with the head and wings currently enchanted.

These item effects are intended to be combined into a multi-part item to assist a covenant have healthier living conditions and better weather all year round. The intent is to use Creo Auram to push the poor or hazardous weather away from the covenant, so it appears that only mild weather falls there. The Protective Weathervane device was made as several lesser items so that the overall crafting time avoided the seasons to open the device for enchantment and reduce vis costs.

Item: Wings of the Protective Weathervane (CrAu28), a set of iron and oak eagle wings, inset with platinum tips (oak +7 protection from storms, platinum +4 air), which are bolted together with the other weathervane parts. When triggered the conjured gale force wind blows the detected weather event away from the weathervane out to sea. The Wings have unlimited uses so that they may be triggered multiple times during severe weather, and activate any number of times each day.

Item: Head of the Protective Weathervane (In19), an eagle head shaped from oak and iron with agate (agate +3 air) eyes and a platinum beak (+4 air), which is bolted onto a weathervane. The constant effect can detect powerful weather and will trigger the other effects.

Item: Whistle of the Protective Weathervane, a thumb sized platinum and oak bird whistle which can be used to trigger each of the other powers. Although it is very high quality it is not enchanted yet.

Sweep Away the Wayward Stormclouds

Creo Auram 15, R: Sight, D: Diameter, T: Individual

This spell creates a single gale force wind high up in the air which blows in a direction the caster chooses. This is intended to push away other weather phenomenon within sight, but may have other uses.

(Base 3 “gale force”, +3 Sight, +1 Diameter)

As item add (+10 Unlimited uses, triggered by a high pitched whistle, or linked trigger +3 from the InAu spell below)

Sailor’s Blindingly Obvious Opinion

Intellego Auram 5, R: Sight, D: Momentary, T: Individual

Detects if the weather within sight which is stronger than mild wind or rain will approach the caster.

(Base 2 “detect one property of air”, +3 Sight)

As an item add (+14 constant)

Snow Shovel’s Touch – a reuseable rod of oak which transforms fallen snow, gathered ice, and frost, and then gathers it elsewhere as ice.

Lift the Blanket of Winter

Rego Aquam 20, R: Voice, D: Momentary, T: Special
The targeted snow, ice, and frost covering all materials in the target area is lifted away to a place the caster chooses, and converted to ice. A simple Finesse check of 6+ is required to lift the covering and place it elsewhere.

Regular timely use will assist plant survival and decrease maintenance needs on dwellings and pathways in wintertime. The spell affects a 5 pace radius surrounding the targeted point within range.

(Base 3, +2 Voice, +2 Special Area Target, +1 move away as directed)

As an item add (+10 unlimited uses)

 Note: this item could just as easily be Perdo Aquam, or even Muto/Rego Aquam – however that does not suit my ice wizard. This gives the covenant a little extra icy water.

Route the Turbulent River

Rego Aquam 25, R: Touch, D: Moon, T: Part

The targeted river is rerouted to a new pathway chosen by the caster for the duration of the spell. The caster may opt to shift all the river or a part to create a split path for the water. The affected water is also moved at a rapid speed to better create a permanent channel.

(Base 4, +1 Touch, +3 Moon, +1 Part)

The intent of the spell was to allow a new stream to be cut from an existing river, so that a covenant could gain a water supply. The spell might also be used to cutoff a water supply to a downstream village or flood through a village.

Fantasy tower in rain