What do I want from magic? I want to see magic burn. MuVi on Spont effects…

As the hail of steel rained down upon the hillside the shrieks of war peaked and drained away to whimpers. The hill was now empty of moving figures where seconds before they swarmed viciously upon each other. A lone grey-hooded woman picked her way down the hillside, stepping through the haphazard remains soldiers and weapons. She walked with purpose toward a clutch of armoured figures collapsed together on the ground.

In their centre a similarly robed old man half reclined with a spear through his midsection and open cuts peppered across his body. Blood pooled around him, soaking the earth beneath.

“Neutral you said. Neutral” he gurgled.

“Your sworn-men came for me yesterday assisted by magic. You broke our peace,” she replied sharply. “This is the outcome,” gesturing to the ring of dead soldiers around him, and the carnage beyond.

The old man’s pain permitted a half smile with sad eyes, but he couldn’t laugh.”Let’s be done then,” he groaned, looking through her and away down the hill.

The young woman bent to her knee and reached to touch her opponent with a final gesture. She drew a deep breath as her other arm began moving in inelegant gestures, their tempo different to her gobbledygook words. A moment later the old man also rasped a quick phrases of his own, one hand forming a bridge on his chest, the other touching her. He thumped his other hand to the ground. The woman screamed in surprise and frustration, her spell gone awry. His perfectly.

The old man looked on as her conjured array of short steel spines instantly surrounded her and struck home across all quarters of her body. Her body ruined with holes sunk sideways to the ground as the spines disappeared. Lifeless.

The old man smiled again and exhaled hard. A shimmer washed him head to foot as his illusion dissipated, his skin and clothes actually unmarried; except for the long spear which still sunk deep into his side and the ground behind. He reached out for her body once and missed with a grimace of pain, then again successfully touching the woman’s body which dissipated into dust.

Looking across the field he knew he had a long evening ahead to remove all the evidence of their battle.

In the blurb above the wounded Magus uses a Muto Vim spell to retarget the spell on another – changing the range to Personal. I took a license with the concept just to have a story introduction to meta-magic post.

A fair and reasonable game balance rule in Ars Magica is for a MuVi spell to not be able to affect a Spont spell, which is why in the story blurb above the young woman casts her spell longer than the old man – hers is a formulaic spell, and his a spontaneous one. In Ars Magica’s RAW her spell could only be formulaic as spontaneous effects can’t be altered.

In-game it’s dangerous, “too chaotic and the caster will loose control“. Out-of-game the limitation is there so that Spont magic does not get trivialised (boosted, sustained, or empowered) by assistance from a Muto Vim expert.

There is also an out-of-game consideration that altering a spontaneous spell with Muto Vim is terribly inefficient way to scale up a spontaneous spell, unless the caster of the MuVi is a specialist and also cooperating with the other caster.

However in-game what if it was allowed via a breakthrough? If we take the spell guidelines as written what would happen when a Magus starts working on a magical breakthrough to find a Muto Vim discovery for spontaneous magic?

  • The SG might say the breakthrough theme just isn’t going to work, which is totally reasonable.
  • It might not work as intended but be a great story thread for the game; as it’s a great theme for an NPC wizard in Ars Magica.
  • Or perhaps it allows a MuVi based chaos effect which deliberately hooks into the randomness of Spontaneous magic. Similar to deliberately ruining a magical experiment to see what happens, it ruins both spells.
  • Or an additional rule-set is created for Muto Vim in these circumstances? And/Or it’s allowed but the penalties for botching are horrific?
  • Or allow it. Yes, it took the wizard some 30+ in-game years to develop, but they’ve cracked part of the Hermetic puzzle. It’s a huge thing for game balance, but has legs for high powered sagas.
  • Perhaps this is what all the House Diedne brouhaha was about?
  • Perhaps the breakthrough does not allow Muto Vim to alter the target spell in a predictable way, but does force the Spont spell to be chaotic – it might have an effect which is undesirable for both the caster of the Spont and the caster of the suCcessful MuVi effect?

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Suppressing the magic of others, a meta-magic question for Ars Magica

An aside I pondered a while ago – how hard is it to suppress the magic of others?

The effect from the core rulebook called Suppressing the Wizard’s Handiwork uses the Rego Vim guideline for a caster’s own spells and lasts only while the caster concentrates. It is an excellent example of a core spell designed to inspire variations. From that inspiration, here is a variant designed to suspend the spells of others.

Suppressing the Conjurer’s Incantation

Rego Vim (Gen), R: Voice, D: Concentration, T: Ind

Suspends a spell cast by another, less than or equal to Half (Vim spell level -1 magnitude) of this spell.

(Base to suppress spells cast by another, equal to half (level +5 mag) of the Vim spell, +2 R to Voice)

It illustrates that suspending the spells of others is very difficult, even more so if this effect was redesigned to extend to Sun duration; effectively suspending effects of less than or equal to half of (level -3 mags). Meaning the spell must be at level 25 and will only neutralise spells of level 5 or less – not worth it at all when compared to how easily a Wind of Mundane Silence can remove effects.

As with many things, it is easier to destroy than change or maintain. Interesting.

Wizard’s Obstinance, a Muto Vim spell to Resist Disruption

I was thinking about the Ars Magica Vim, and the meta-magic spell effects in Rego, Muto, and primarily Perdo Vim, which suspend or dispel a magical effect. Generally speaking these effects must exceed the level of the target spell to affect them, and they are very effective in totally neutralising the target spell. Through clever design there are also Rego Vim spells which remove magic for their duration in a target area, or suspend it (see Wind of Mundane Silence, p161 and Suppressing the Wizard’s Handiwork, p162).

So a trisky magus might design a Muto Vim effect which is cast along side another effect to strengthens the spell against such disruptions, but does not alter the target spell’s effect description, or range, duration, or target. The effect is cast as normal, and the additional Muto Vim spell raises the base level of the effect for the purposes of being suspended or dispelled by other spells.

This effect would be similar to a Wizard’s Boost (Ars p.160), but with no material change of effect. Just like Wizard’s Boost there could be a different version for each form, and there also could be a less powerful more general spell for any Hermetic Form.

The rationale for Muto Vim spell guidelines are sometimes difficult to apply, as there is a tendency to say that almost all alterations to an effect are at least considered significant, and as degree of change in this effect adds two magnitudes, it must be considered a total change according to the MuVi guidelines.

The issue I struggled with was deciding if this effect needed to be designed as a Form specific effect, or if it could be a more general spell. I decided that the best choice was to closely match the Wizard’s Boost and Wizard’s Reach spells from the Muto Vim section of the core rules, which both add +5 levels in a specific manner at a base effect: level equal to the effect +1 mag.

In the design considerations I also looked at how the desired effect of “resisting disruption” might be handled mechanically in the game. These meta-magic spells have a similarity in design, where almost any of them could be used for this effect, and I see that as not meeting the goal of this effect. The extra +5 levels should do something of note.

The version of the spell designed for specific forms, designed as a basic effect:

Wizard’s Obstinance of (Form)

Muto Vim Gen, R: Touch, D: Mom, T: Ind

This spell is cast with another spell of a level less than the level of this one. The effective level of the other spell increases 5 levels in power, but not past the level of the Wizard’s Obstinance, and the altered spell is treated as being twice it’s new level for the purposes of resisting spells to alter it further, or dispel it.

A Wizard’s Obstinance may never affect a single spell more than once. There are ten variants of this spell, one for each Hermetic Form.

(Base effect of Significant change to a spell – at level +1, +1 Touch)

Refs and links:

Strange female wizard kid spell

Quick effects for Wizards who like Winter

Another few effects for a wizard concerned with cold climates, particularly because of a penalty the wizard has in temperatures which are too hot. These are spells which might have peripheral uses but are mainly so that Agnarr Cold-Heart (an Ice mage) will be comfortable in warmer weather.

Aura of Winter’s Cold

Perdo Ignem 10, R: Personal, D: Sun, T: Individual

An area 1 pace immediately surrounding the caster is lowered to just above freezing for the duration.

(Base 4 to chill and object, +2 Sun)

Circle of Winter’s Cold

Perdo Ignem 15, R: Touch, D: Ring, T: Circle

The temperature within the targeted circle is lowered to an uncomfortable chill.

(Base 4 to chill and object, +1 Touch, +2 Ring)

Solar of Winter’s Cold

Perdo Ignem 25, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Room

The temperature within the targeted room is lowered to an uncomfortable chill.

(Base 4 to chill and object, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +2 Room)

Ward Against Summer’s Heat

Rego Ignem 10, R: Personal, D: Sun, T: Individual

Target is protected against all normal warm temperatures and supernatural effects inflicting +5 fire and heat damage. Such effects are unable to approach within 1 pace of the target, and will dim as they pass.

(Base 4, +2 Sun)

I was contemplating a version for a castle or tower, but it is more efficient to craft the spell into a device when the  and the intent is to have a stable repeatable effect.

Ward Aganist Warmth (PeIg 34) – A steel outline shapes with intricate snowflake markings, to a hand width.

Tower of Winter’s Cold

Perdo Ignem 30, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Structure

The temperature within the targeted structure is lowered to an uncomfortable chill.

(Base 4 to chill and object, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +3 Structure) (+4 levels for constant effect trigger)

Finally a stranger effect which I think might serve best as an item to enhance a covenant, being that it is fairly superficial and a little fun.

Soothing Bath

Creo Aquam / Rego Ignem 20, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

Creates a pool of very warm soothing water which holds it’s unnatural heat and shape; sized to allow 2-3 bathers.

(Base 4, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 Rego)

Find 600+ more new spells for Ars Magica in the Grimoire.

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Karhu, Agnarr’s polar bear familiar, a sample magical creature

Karhu is a stoic creature. As one of the few magical beasts who inhabit the polar region he has grown used to quiet nights and peaceful landscapes. He was content with simple pleasures of plentiful food and being one of the more powerful beasts in the region. He and Agnarr crossed paths unexpectedly while both were hunting, and neither thought the other appetising. Initially they hunted apart, but the rare occasion when brother bear wasn’t able to quickly fill his belly, Agnarr shared a fresh seal kill. They then watched each other for many days, hunting and continuing to share food. After the initial meeting Agnar returned a few years later and befriended Karhu. Now years later the two are both magically and mentally joined.

Personality – Speaks very little, even to Agnarr. His Ars Magica stats can be found at the foot of this longer post on Agnarr, also repeated below.

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Seven Lesser Enchanted Devices for Guards and Watchmen

These are a few enchanted items for Ars Magica grogs, intended to increase their effectiveness. The goal of these items is to make the grogs more efficient without compromising their capacity to respond, which means a range of situational powers is better than one large dramatic one. The powers have many uses per day as they can be used by every member of the guard, if these were designed for a single user they would be slightly lower level.

For example a power which affects the weapons of the grog would be avoided. Powers which affect the grog’s equipment are better as they also avoid warping.

The Seven Charms of the Earnest Guardsmen – this set of steel charms is set upon a life sized oak bust of a grizzled guardsman who is helmed and armored in scratched and worn gear. Each charm is held in place and enchanted separately as a lesser enchanted device. The bust is anchored in place in the watch-house or garrison of the covenant. The charms place enchantments upon the user, allowing a each charm to be used by many members of the covenant.

The items were designed as lesser devices and set together, this way further enhancements could be added over time and items could be replaced if another power was preferred. Each item could also be taken and worn, and each is a two way arcane connection to the wooden bust.

Each power is activated by touching the selected charm with one hand and the target’s chest with the other.

Charm of the Bear’s Hide – a steel chain around the neck of the statue, with a small bear shaped token attached. As per Gift of the Bears Fortitude (Ars p.131) (MuAn 35), (Base 15, +1 Touch, +2 Sun), with +5 for 24 uses per day.

Twin Charms of the Perceptive Hound – two steel cloak pins, shaped for a leaping dog and a sniffing dog, when worn together one jumps the other.

First pin’s effect is Nose of the Bloodhound (MuCo/An 10), (Base 2, +1 Touch, +2 Sun), with +5 for 24 uses per day. This effect changes the target’s nose to be that of a hound, greatly increasing their ability to track by scent and notice unusual odours.

Second pin’s effect is Ears of the Bloodhound (MuCo/An 10), (Base 2, +1 Touch, +2 Sun), with +5 for 24 uses per day. This effect changes the target’s ears to be that of a hound, greatly increasing their hearing abilities.

Charm of the Perceptive Watchman – a full steel helm. As per Eyes of the Cat (Ars p.131) (MuCo/An 10), (Base 2, +1 Touch, +2 Sun), with +5 for 24 uses per day.

Charm of the Resilient Gambeson – a steel brooch set upon the bust’s chest, shaped as a round-shield and decorated with a gauntlet symbol. As per Doublet of Impenetrable Silk (Ars p.118) (MuAn 20), (Base 4, +1 Touch, +2 Sun), with +5 for 24 uses per day.

Charm of Preternatural Growth – a steel pauldron strapped to the shoulder of the bust. As per Preternatural Growth and Shrinking (Ars p.131) (MuCo/AnTeHe 15), (Base 3, +1 Touch, +2 Sun), with +5 for 24 uses per day. The target and their equipment increases in size by one category to a maximum of size +1.

Charm of the Allied Turb – a diamond shaped steel badge worn over the bust’s heart which signifies the covenant symbol. (MuIm 10) (Base 1, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 detailed), with +5 for 24 uses per day. The target’s appearance is altered to match their untransformed form (for those with some of the effects above), and also to be wearing a tunic of covenant colors and symbol. This effect is used in combination with the others to indicate those on duty and also the expiry of the other effects.

Final note: beware the warping some of these items will cause if used regularly. Initially I had a goal to create all the items with no warping, however it proved too difficult.