A simple enchanted device – Fixed Bookplate

Bookplate of the Watchful Librarian – A matched set of a silver bookplate and a reed sized silver token, which are enchanted as a fixed arcane connections to each other. This allows the bookplate to be attached to a tome and lent out, and the token can be used to find the book should it become lost. A simple device which costs a pawn of vis to fix as a permanent AC in one season. Perfect as an apprentice level lab activity.

Resilient Might – a Personal power for supernatural creatures

The spell Demon’s Eternal Oblivion (DEO) in Ars Magica and the other variations for draining Might from supernatural creatures has an interaction with MR and spell levels which encourages taking the spell at low level and repeat casting. This means that a low Might opponent in Ars Magica can be dispatched easily by a low level spell cast with high penetration, which in turn somewhat trivializes lower Might creatures as opponents. It is not ideal to boost the creatures might just so it becomes more of a threat.

To nudge this balance, the Resilient Might personal power is suggested. It allows tailoring of how tough a Might creature is against those effects without just adding more Might.

Resilient Might (Personal Power)

Rego Vim, 0 Points, R: Personal, D: Sun, T: Individual

The creature is more resilient to Might draining powers and spells, and reduces the effective Might drained by such spells by (level of this spell -15).

(Base, +2 Sun, Constant)

Complexity in Muto based Materials Manipulation

This post is more meta-magic system thoughts for ars magica –  on the complexity in Muto based materials creation and manipulation, raised from a forum discussion…

Switching one form to another should include a degree of flexibility in the final shape, as this is the declared purpose of the spell. As long as the spell is creating a specific object or thing. Surrounding air to a natural plant is fine and declaring the type and shape of the plant is reasonable in the Formulaic formula at base.

Then modifying for complexity in shape seems appropriate, as:

  • I see the complexity as quasi- geometric shapes (+0 mags) like lines, cubes, boxes, or walls. Exploiting a feature of the new material should be free too – like using a plant to create a natural shelter.
  • The allowing sub-shapes in the main shape (1) like windows, basic stairs, spikes.
  • Then almost any other ordinary detail (2).
  • Then finally very ornate details as (3) like artwork.

Having the additional mags should allow forgiveness in the Finesse check but not remove a basic “fit for purpose” check. A serviceable but ugly level for a simple item is vs 6 (a sword), and a more complex item is vs 9 (a suit of armor). Less than this and the finesse check might still be needed (vs 3) , but is really at the “don’t botch” level (a cube of stone).

So a basic sword is +1, and a full suit of armour might be +2. Then add mags for moderate flexibility in choice of form when casting. Making a spell which can pick when cast from a dagger, knife, or sword should cost something, whereas two different styles of swords which are serviceable seems plausible as a spell without too much added complexity. Sword vs axe should definetly need complexity modifiers, if not be allowed at all.

Ref: Atlas Games – Ars Magica forums.

And perhaps interrelated is the Creo vs Muto discussion here, or replacing Finesse with magnitudes of difficulty

Fire to bubbles

Sharing control of an Ars Magica spell – Sharing the Reigns

Sharing the Reigns of (Form) is similar to the Passing the Reigns (Muto Vim, Hermetic Project, p.97) spell except both caster and target can alter the direction of the altered spell. This style of meta-magic effect was an afterthought in a story where a master wishes to give an apprentice some degree of control on a levitation spell, however for safety’s sake they also wish to still have control. Then considering the idea that a meta-magic effect could steal control of another spell is very interesting.

Sharing the Reigns of (Form)

Muto Vim General, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Individual

Ongoing control of another of the caster’s spells is shared between the caster and a creature touched. The spell to be shared must be equal to or lower than the level of this spell + 5 levels, and the spell to be shared must have a duration longer than Momentary. In the event of a conflict in instruction a contested Finesse check might be appropriate, or the spell tries to fulfil both instructions chaotically.

(Base General, +1 Touch)

Stealing the Reigns of (Form)

Muto Vim General, R: Voice, D: Momentary, T: Individual

Ongoing control of another spell is passed to either the caster of this spell, or a third party within range they choose. The spell to be stolen must be equal to or lower than the level of this spell, and the spell to be shared must have a duration longer than Momentary.

(Base General, +2 Voice)

These spells are part of the free new spells compendium for Ars Magica.

Two spells to Purify a Lake or Stream

A wizards in a play-by-post game I was playing in have a large lake which was once part of an ocean, but now is being fed by freshwater streams and rivers (big island raising style of magic). However till the lake is purged of all the salt water is not not overly useful to the surrounding landscape.

This is a very situational spell to remove all the salt from a water source.

As the need is ultra-specialised I went a step further and used the T: Body-of-Water spell parameter from Realms of Power: Magic (which comes from the Atlantean Magic virtue), specifically for large bodies of water. There are almost no spells using Atlantean magic virtue.

Purify the Lake, Waterway, and Stream

Perdo Aquam 45, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Body-of-Water

This spell removes the saltiness from all water within the current body of water, and may affect very large bodies of water.

(Base 15, +1 Touch, +3 Body-of-Water, +2 size)

Creating the spell with a conventional Ars Magica from the core rules might be similar, however the T: Body of Water has some inbuilt aspects which make it more efficient. A trick to note is that the “Body of water” target can affect a larger mass of liquid, and to perform the same spell without it Target: Part is useful. This allows successive castings to eventually remove the salt from the water, but only in small amounts.

Purify the Salty Pool

Perdo Aquam 25, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Part

This spell removes the saltiness from all the targeted water, affecting the whole or part of an amount of salt water up to 560 cubic feet of water.

(Base 15, +1 Touch, +1 Part)

A small lake is hundreds of millions of litres, so would take tens of thousands of casting to do; however a magic item might be perfect for that. Plonk it into the water and watch it slowly desalinate the water. It could also be made in a variety of shapes such as an attachment to the bottom of a boat, or an anchor to be placed at the bottom of the lake bed.

Eventual Reduction of Saltiness – (PeAq38) This small silver fisherman’s charm is triggered each time the sun moves its diameter in the sky (every two minutes), and casts the Purify the Salty Pool spell on the water it is placed in. (Base PeAq25, with +10 for unlimited uses, +3 environmental trigger)

Find these spell and hundreds more for Ars Magica in my grimoire.

What happens during a Tremere Gauntlet?

The Apprentice Gauntlet in Ars Magica is the last event and potentially the biggest which a starting Ars Magica Magus character will have before gameplay begins. For some Houses this is just a formality and for others it is an arduous or horrible test. In some sagas the character background is not complete until the player has detailed the gauntlet, and that’s an approach I strongly encourage. The members of House Tremere use the magical competition called Certamen as this test of skill and capability.

The Houses of Hermes book for House Tremere describes a Certamen event between the Master and Apprentice which the Apprentice can lose and usually will. It is ceremonial in nature, and as in many other aspects of a Magi’s life are more complex, I’m imagining that often there is more to the process than a single round of Certamen.

Here are notes from a play-by-post game in which a Tremere character is arranging the gauntlet of his Apprentice (thread on the forums).  Continue reading

An Imaginary Lab in the Familiar Bond

The Crown of Hermes magical device (Covenants p.121) allows the wearer to have an imaginary lab within their mind to perform their magical investigations, limited to particular activities like studying arts and inventing spells. I’ve never seen this device used in a game but it is a very interesting option for a Magus who travels a lot or with strong Mentem Arts, as they can have a lab anywhere. When combined with the lab specialisation rules the lab might be on par with a standard lab for some activities.

A primary advantage is how portable it makes a lab. A Bonisagus Seeker might get a lot of use from it when they are frequently traveling, likewise a Mercere Magus, or a Magus who wishes to remain untethered. One of the primary downsides of the device is the warping it inflicts (even though it might be designed for the wearer).

So what if the enchantment was performed on a familiar bond instead a normal device, as the familiar bonds do not cause warping (as per Ars Magica p.168)?

Modifications would need to allow for casting upon the wizard, and perhaps also the familiar could share the experience, and preferably an effect which can be used more frequently if desired. It becomes an invested power of the bond as:

Imagined Laboratory of Hermes, Invested

CrMe/InMuRe 58, Base 35, +1 Touch, +1 Conc, +1 extra target. Then mods for +5 device maintains concentration, and +3 for 6 uses per day.

In this version the spell affects both the Magus and the familiar, allowing them to work together. It could also be made as (CrMe/InReMu 53) by only affecting the magus but being controlled by the familiar – which might make sense if the familiar was to guard the body of the Magus while the spell is in effect; although typically a magus wants that familiar in the lab to gain their skills. Those additional uses allow for interruption now that the effect duration is concentration.  Continue reading