Sample enchanted items for a crossbow

After finding this image I wanted to write up a magical auto-loader for a crossbow which makes firing each round possible. Crossbows are already interesting in Ars Magica because they inflict a lot of damage (with the optional rules) with not a lot of skill if already loaded (reduced botch dice), but they are darn slow.

With the two enchanted devices I think it is reasonable that a crossbow could be fired at least once per round, if not twice per round; as all the soldier is doing is pointing and pulling the trigger. Lords of Men indicates that shooting a preloaded crossbow is a quick action, meaning the user can fire and move or fire and do something else. With these enhancements they could fire twice – perhaps each enchanted device allows firing in one round, granting two shots per round if both are used.

And the bolts being fired will not be resisted by MR. Designing and placing these items on an arbalest would be brutal, and no harder magically.

Snipers Gleam (ReHe 20)

The gleam is matched pair of brass pins depicting crossed arrows, one is placed upon a crossbow and the other upon the container of ammunition. Each time the gleam is activated it moves a bolt from the container to the crossbow in a firing position. The power is activated by specific clicking tone of the crossbow being drawn back, or a command word.

Effect: Load the crossbow

Rego Herbam 10, R: Voice, D: Momentary, T: Individual

A bolt is moved from a container to the crossbow or bow, loaded into a suitable firing position.

(Base 3, +2 Voice, +1 accuracy in positioning)(+10 unlimited uses)

Snipers Hold (ReTe 20)

The hold is a buckled leather band which is strapped to the soldier’s arm. The effect moves the crossbow’s metal bow after each firing, so that the holder does not need to act to redraw the bow, which saves significant time.

Effect: Draw the Crossbow

Rego Terram 10, R: Voice, D: Momentary, T: Individual

The crossbow’s arm is drawn back and locked properly, ready for firing. Terram is added as a requisite to allow for different materials in the crossbow’s construction.

(Base 2, +2 for metals, +2 Voice) (+10 unlimited uses)

Note: updated with the feedback below.



Fast casting against another wizard in Ars Magica

One of those forum conversations that leads into a brief explanation of how the game mechanics resolve magic… The Mirror of Opposition spell reverses the effect of a spell, but not the target. So a spell to hurt a person might help them instead. It is a very interesting spell because it relies on so many of the meta-magic layers in Ars Magica, primarily around Muto Vim spells, but there are compounding questions in the details.

Pyrale wrote: Another question regarding spell manipulation : Supposing I see someone starts casting, and I decide to cast a mirror of opposition on his spell. Does my spell have to pierce the caster’s defenses ?

If not, do I have a window of opportunity if the spell has no time of travel, or can I only cast it on projectiles ?

My 2c which might be dodgy… I think you can cast it on anything, and the SG gets to decide what it does.

  • First you need to use the rules for identifying what Form the spell is, because Mirror of Opposition is different for each Form, but I guess you might know if the caster had previously been shooting away with missile spells and just assume you’re correct if your perception Check failed. The Perception check isn’t going to slow down the rest.
    … Perception + Awareness + roll vs. 15 – (effect mag). If the opposing caster has silent/subtle magic/deft magic it gets a lot harder.
  • Then if you are not cooperating with the other caster (fair assumption) you need to fast-cast the MoO:(form), as per p.159 of Ars about not being able to intercept the spell quickly enough. Its basically a -10 to casting roll with 2x extra botch dice, and you need the fast-cast Mastery option for the MoO spell.
  • Then your Penetration total for your casting roll (which includes that -10 mod) must beat the other caster’s Penetration total
    (i.e. spell CT + roll – Spell level + Pen ability vs same from the other guy).
  • The rules imply that you don’t need to penetrate the caster’s parma which is great, although if they were casting a spell with Range: Personal upon themselves I’d argue that you’d also need to penetrate their Parma for it to work too (?).
  • The caster must be in range of your MoO spell too (voice), unless you’ve got a funky version or using an Intangible Tunnel and an AC.
  • I don’t know what happens if they are fast-casting a mastered spell, but I think you still could fast cast to intercept and alter it (?).
  • You can’t alter Spont spells with MuVi which is a bugger but it makes sense why.

Easy! However…

  • If the first spell was fast-cast then the second magus can fast-cast one to defend/intercept, but it should come back to speed (point made here). Essentially the magic system seeks to avoid situations where magi just fast-cast-BLAST their way through all encounters.
  • As MoO and many other Muto Vim spells do not work against Spont magic, and also typically must penetrate against the target spell, and also usually only affect half their level, not many wizards are able to Spont cast Muto Vim spells in defence. It is possible, but very unlikely.


A thought on affecting spells with requisites, a meta-magic question for Ars Magica

An aside – How do requisites affect which spells can be affected by magic?

A question raised during the forum discussion asked if a Muto Vim effect could change a spell enough to make it no longer effected by a Perdo Vim form specific effect. e.g. A Sun duration Rego Terram effect is altered to a Rego Aquam effect at cast time – can a Perdo Vim/Terram spell affect it if it has “changed” the form it uses? Further could the same Perdo Vim spell affect only Terram spells, or can it also affect spells with a Terram Requisite?

I tend toward thinking a spell with a Tech and two Forms can be affected by either Form specific dispel effect. The unraveling affects part of the spells structure and it doesn’t really matter which form it unravels to make the spell loose it’s cohesion. This makes requisites a slight disadvantage, and implies that some part of the original spell is still there to be unraveled.

But I hold the same concept to other ways of affecting spells it also introduces an advantage to Mu effects affecting the Forms too. i.e. a Muto Vim Terram spell to alter Range up by 1 mag can be applied to any spell using Terram, either as the base form or a requisite. I don’t see adding breadth of application into Vim spells as unbalancing.