Spells to investigate potential apprentices and familiars in Ars Magica, 30 Days of Magic

Here are a few spells which are useful when a Magus seeks an apprentice or familiar; both for detecting gifted people and also for determining the raw physical attributes the apprentice or familiar might have. In many games these characters are generated just like another character to suit the desires of the story, so there is basically no need to determine the NPCs characteristics – however it’s an interesting idea for a character to cast spells to understand the potential of another person. Perhaps evaluating grogs, lab assistants, servants, etc. Please note due credit to Cuchulainshound from the Ars forums for the spells and inspiration for his magus concept of an apprentice hunter.

Firstly to determine if a person has the Gift “The Numbness of the Gift” (InCo20, Hedge Magic, p.6) is the canonical example spell. It uses the Intellego Vim base 10 guideline for detecting the traces of powerful magic and combined with sensory Touch magic. It is constrained in use by design, not too high level, and an excellent spell for subtle investigations.

That spell is useful for individuals close at hand, but a higher version is far better for detecting by hearing or sight for scanning larger areas, although would need to be cast forcelessly so that it would not anger other Magi, and would probably still count as scrying – so not without in-game risks. A Magus named Solomon in another pbp game a long time ago created a ritual to be cast on a town using Target: Boundary as a way to find the gifted people; that is grant overkill but very effective for surveying towns in a single casting.

The Chimes of the Gift

Intellego Vim 30, R: Personal, D: Concentration, T: Hearing

The caster can hear individuals with the gift as the tones playing from wind chimes.

(Base 10, +1 Concentration, +3 Hearing)

The Shimmering of the Gift

Intellego Vim 35, R: Personal, D: Concentration, T: Sight

The caster can see individuals with the gift, their image wavers as viewed through a haze of heat.

(Base 10, +1 Concentration, +4 Sight)

As an item intended to be used by mundane grogs and servants, the spell would need to function differently as magical devices do not have any sense to link into.

Nursemaid’s Auditing Cross – this plain looking wooden cross is attached to a chain or string. It is activated by placing the coin on the back of the target’s hand and tapping the cross three times. The cross will vibrate if it detects the gift. The cross deliberately does not include Penetration in its enchantment. The invested powers are:

  • Audit for the Gift – InVi18 (base 10, +1 Touch) (+3 linked trigger, +2 levels for 3 uses a day)
  • Declare the Gift found – ReHe3 (base 3)

Then one a Gifted person or potential familiar is found there might be consideration of what their raw stats are, using the two most desirable physical and mental stats for Magi as examples.

Quantify Their Fortitude

Intellego Corpus 10, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Individual

The caster determines the Stamina of the targeted person.

(Base 5, +1 Touch)

Quantify Their Intellect

Intellego Mentem 15, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Individual

The caster determines the Intelligence of the targeted person.

(Base 10, +1 Touch)

Then variants to quantify all the physical and mental stats of a target, and include a variant for animals so that familiars and foes can be investigated.

Quantify the Beast

Intellego Animal 20, R: Voice, D: Momentary, T: Individual

The caster determine all four physical characteristics (Strength, Stamina, Dexterity & Quickness) of the targeted beast, and is usable on animals up to Size +4.

(Base 4 to determine a specific item of information, +2 Voice, +1 mag complexity for determining all, +1 size of beasts)

Quantify the Body

Intellego Corpus 20, R: Voice, D: Momentary, T: Individual

The caster determine all four physical characteristics (Strength, Stamina, Dexterity & Quickness) of the targeted person.

(Base 5, +2 Voice, +1 mag complexity for determining all)

Quantify the Mind

Intellego Mentem 25, R: Voice, D: Momentary, T: Individual

The caster determine all four mental characteristics (Intelligence, Perception, Communication & Presence) of the targeted person.

(Base 10, +2 Voice, +1 mag complexity for determining all)

The design/meta explanation from a while ago is below, and I think it still holds as reasonable except that adding a mag “just because” seems harsh. The guidelines are clear enough to have the spells at their listed values, and adding +1 mag is not going to address a core “game-breaking opinion”.

If the InCo were Base 10 (Base 5 for “specific piece of info” plus 1 mag “just because”), then making InMe one magnitude higher (Mentem Guidelines seem tougher than Corpus, and that makes some sense) would effectively be InMe Base 15. I’d think that the spell that determines this “specific piece” would have to be specified. i.e. which Physical/Mental Characteristic is analyzed (or an additional magnitude for more information, and get all 4 of whichever, physical or mental Characteristics).

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1 thought on “Spells to investigate potential apprentices and familiars in Ars Magica, 30 Days of Magic

  1. Pingback: Ars Magica – 30 Days of Magic Challenge | The Iron-Bound Tome

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