Arcane Bridges – Tunnels between ACs in Ars Magica

I had a thought to trying forming an arcane tunnel between two thing which are arcane connections to each other, thereby allowing communication and spell casting between the two points at an equivalent of Range: Touch.

Why? Well those ACs might be enchanted devices which use spells to communicate.

So the “near” endpoint is not connected to the caster, but between two items that are already valid arcane connections to each other. Or the caster can target the endpoint near them as normal, and not be directly target-able from the other end. Or allow another Magus near one endpoint to target the other location. Or as a mechanism for two parts of an enchanted device to send signals to another without using the R: AC for the subsequent spells.

Opening the Intangible Bridge

Rego Vim Gen, R: Arcane Connection, D: Concentration, T: Individual

This spell opens a magical tunnel between two arcane connections, one of which is in the possession of the caster. Spells cast through this tunnel must be at least one magnitude less than the level of this spell.

(Base Gen, +4 Arc, +1 Conc, +1 additional Arcane target)

And a version to affect all the endpoints if multiple ACs are to be used, using target: Group.

Opening the Intangible Network

Rego Vim / Imaginem Gen, R: Arcane Connection, D: Concentration, T: Group

This spell opens a magical tunnel between either the caster and a set of up to ten arcane connections, or an arcane connection the caster posses and a set of endpoints. Spells cast through this tunnel must be at least two magnitudes less than the level of this spell, and may optionally use the target: Group to affect all endpoints at once.

(Base Gen, +4 Arc, +1 Conc, +2 Group)

These and other new Ars Magica spells are found in the Grimoire.

Penetration HR for Item Creation using Arcane Connections

In many myths and stories weapons and devices are crafted to hurt specific creatures, or a type of creature. Ars Magica does not specifically support powers meant for classes or types of opponents. Examples like the way Stormbringer from the Elric saga drinks energy, or Sting from the Lord of the Rings warns when orcs are near.

In Ars Magica items can be designed with powers to affect supernatural creatures however often these creatures will have resistance to spells and powers. As Penetration vs MR is the existing mechanic in-play to represent this I think it makes sense to provide options for Penetration which empathise the saga and story aspects of these special tools.

These are the types of proposed special options in item creation in Ars, all which modify how an item calculates its penetration score for a particular power:

  • Prescribed Penetration
  • Entity Penetration
  • Arcane Penetration

Note that if any of these options for additional penetration are used together their effects are not multiplicative, meaning that they modify the base amount of penetration in the enchantment, not the boosted amount.

Prescribed Penetration (+5) – Penetration of invested powers is enhanced when used with the Target for whom the AC applies, and is otherwise ineffective. The goal with this style is to prescribe the type of target and how the AC is used within the enchantment.

This adds half again the Penetration point already invested into the invested power design, however the invested power has zero penetration against other targets.

Invested powers using Prescribed Penetration must declare the material and technique of ACs which can be used and the manner in which the power interacts with the item. The method must also match thematically to the use of the power and item.

i.e. a magical sword could be given a “blood drinking” power to gain enhanced penetration against foes. That invested power could not make use of another AC which wasn’t blood.

The AC need not be “fixed” or permanent, however the AC must be physically touching the item when the power is invoked.

For example: Blood on a sword. Powers invested in a magical blade have enhanced penetration only if the wielder is able to first inflict at least a light would with the blade (or otherwise draw blood of the victim onto the blade).

Entity Penetration (+10) This option links the invested power to a fixed arcane connection to a specific individual, thing, or place. When used this enhances the penetration by doubling the invested base item penetration.

Arcane Penetration (+10) the penetration of the invested effect uses the penetration skill of the person activating the power, as per the Form + Tech + Penetration ability with all normal modifications for the arts of the invested effect rather than points invested in Penetration.

Arcane Penetration also requires that the activator also be touching the magical device when the power with this option is activated, and when a power with this modification is used an arcane connection is formed from the activator to the item for one week per magnitude of the power.

Spells for Arcance Connections

In Ars Magica an Arcane connections is a link between the spell caster and a specific object or thing, that exists regardless of the distance between the two – to channel magic. In game they are a double edged sword, which can be used powerfully by magi, but also used against them.

This post contains a number of new spells which demonstrate some of the new spell guidelines for arcane connections, and also introduces some variations on how these might be used in game.

Craft the Mystical Anchor

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

The spell creates a temporary arcane connection between the object touched and the caster, and holds that connection in place for the duration. For the purpose of power and maintenance the initial arcane connection power is considered to be equivalent to “Hours”, but is them maintained by being placed within the duration.

This also means that the Perdo Vim effects that destroy arcane connections can affect this spell easily (level 5 base effect for Hours).

The arcane connection may then be used by the caster to target the object at range: Arc.

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

The arcane connection strength is very important when considering how difficult it may be to remove the connection. A “hours” connection is the weakest possible, and a base effect 5 spell will render this level ineffective.

An alternate version might be created with a duration of ring, with the specific use of forming a connection that is maintained by the Ring, rather than needing an investment of Vis. Initially this might sound overtly powerful, until the ramifications of a Ring duration are understood – which basically means that the Magus has a connection back to an object, but that object must always remain present within the ring. If the object is moved from within the ring, the ring is marred, or the object destroyed, then the arcane connection is lost.

An important note in creating these effects is that the duration of the spell and the strength of the arcane connection will need to share a purpose. A spell may be able to create a connection that will last “hours”, but that is only useful for as long as the spell is also present. I.e. a spell with Duration: Conc and a “hours” connection still only lasts for as long as the caster concentrates.

The power of the Creo Vim effect must sustain both the duration of the hermetic spell and the connection itself. The longer the connection, the connection the more magical power needed.

The core point of debate for this spell is what the base effect level would be. In the ArM5 Creo Vim guidelines a level 3 creates a taint, and each 5 levels can inflict a point of warping. In relative terms of power a permanent arcane connection normally requires the expenditure of Vis, and a fair effort of activity to construct; however that is to create connections which are indefinite and permanent. A connection in magic is probably similar in power to a warping effect but has no permanent negative effect by its existence, so level 4 is chosen. This is in line with the base guidelines in Realms of Power: the Infernal (RoP:I sourcebook p.121), which allow creation of arcane connections between magi and demons with a base effect level 4.

It is however slightly different to the guidelines introduced in Magi of Hermes (MoH sourcebook p. 113), which indicates that Creo Vim level 5 is needed to slow the decay of a connection. I’m comfortable with a base effect of 4 for hours, with an understanding that extending the strength of a connection by one step adds a magnitude as demonstrated by the MoH guidelines.

A more powerful version of this spell could be crafted to make the base effect more resilient to Perdo Vim magic. To do this increase the magnitude of the spell for each step up the arcane connection duration (ArM p. 84).

  • Hours – the base strength for an effect base 4.
  • Days – +1 mag strength.
  • Weeks – +2 mags
  • Months – +3 mags
  • Year – +4 mags
  • Decades – +5 mags
  • Indefinite, not possible with this effect.

This will make the effect more resilient to Perdo Vim effects which seek to destroy the Arcane Connection, whereby the magnitude of the PeVi spell must consider the strength of the link.

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