Gift of the Bear’s Strength, and Hybrid Transformations using Muto

Thank you to Theomund for the comment on another post which started me thinking about the limits of what Muto Corpus / Animal spells can do, and what the guidelines imply. Initially the suggestion was to use the gorilla as the base animal, however I’ve used a bear in the naming as I think bears are more prolific in medieval Europe and the bear has a very high strength star in the Book of Beasts.

To begin an answer – the MuCo2 baseline which is commonly used for minor transformations an abilities seems far too low to allow for a wholesale change. A full transformation into an animal is MuCo10, and birds or fish is MuCo20, and the themes of Ars Magica seem to imply that moving to a know form (wolf, bird, etc) is easier than a partial or unknown form. So I think a Muto Corpus 15 base is better to represent this type of hybrid man/animal transformation. The transformation might grant a few new attributes or adjustments as long as the additional powers or aspects are very similar and thematic. Further additional magnitudes should allow even more strange abilities, such as combining attributes from different animals.

This is aligned with Gift of the Bear’s Fortitude, which uses a MuCo15 base, which transforms all of the target’s body to grant a combat mechanic advantage and does not use an Animal requisite.

This is very similar to what  I suggested for the Monstrous Transformations of Behemoths and Dragons and also in a Discussion on Muto Transformation Magic in an earlier posts:

(based upon the appropriate guideline for land or sea/air animals) … A few similar thematically alterations only cost +1 mag, but many will cost another +1 mag. So the extra +1 mag allows for say 12-15 powers, where the limited one allows for a few.

This means that once the base level has allowed for an animal transformation, an additional magnitude should allow for a strange transformation (making a rough new MuCo Baseline of 15 for partial transformations), and then a further magnitude should allow for a good spread of physical abilities. I think it’s logical to use the same spells as a guide for a hybrid form; as that is basically what the Behemoth was.

Aside – There has not been a Muto Corpus spell which adds to a stat, probably as it is covered by Creo Corpus although the Ars Magica system seems to allow for many different ways to achieve an end.

New Hermetic Baseline – Muto Corpus 15 – Allows a partial transformation of a human to a land animal, granting aspects of both the animal form and human form. Requisites are probably needed.

New Hermetic Baseline – Muto Corpus 25 – Allows a partial transformation of a human to a sea or air animal, granting aspects of both the animal form and human form. Requisites are probably needed.

A spell transforming with an aspect of animal strength might be as follows. This uses a “partial transformation” of MuCo/An15. This is a useful spell as it allows the target to continue to use human sized weaponry and armor against targets, and not suffer a limitation of striking MR due to an active spell (discussed here).

Gift of the Bear’s Strength

Muto Corpus / Animal 30, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

Changes the target’s body to gain the broad musculature of a bear which enhances their frame, increasing Strength by +3. Equipment and clothing are not altered by this spell and may no longer fit suitably.

(Base 15, +1 Touch, +2 Sun)

A spell to transform into a hybrid creature might be:

Form of Hulking Werebear

Muto Corpus / Animal 30, R: Personal, D: Sun, T: Individual

Transforms the caster into a chimeric blend of man and bear, resulting in a large bipedal hybrid. The humanoid form increases in size by 2 to a maximum of Size +2, retains rudimentary humanoid head, hands and feet, although the gross shape and size change causes most equipment to be difficult to wear. Replace all physical attributes with those of an adult bear (Strength, Stamina, Dexterity, Quickness, and Size) and average Perception, Awareness, and Communication. The bear’s natural claw and bite attacks are halved in effectiveness. Equipment and clothing is not altered by this spell.

(Base 15, +2 Sun, +1 additional attributes and bear themed abilities)

Related link on Ars forums http://forum.atlas-games.com/viewtopic.php?t=32533, and other custom spells for Ars Magica can be found on the new spells page.

 

Animal Communications spells

An odd scenario I read in another pbp rpg game gave me the idea to write up these animal based spells for Ars Magica. Sometimes making a beast understand that you mean no harm, understanding it’s mood might be valuable.

There are two styles of spell effect, and two versions of each. The first intended for use with an Intangible Tunnel and the second with the arcane connection factored into the spell. I also chose to create the lower versions with a range of Voice, as touching animals might still be very difficult for a magus due to the negative effects of the gift. The difference in level really highlights why Intangible Tunnels are so darn powerful.

Speak to the Beast at Hand

Creo Animal 10, R: Voice, D: Concentration, T: Individual

Allows the caster to speak directly inside an animal’s mind.

(Base 3 (see Mentem), +2 Voice, +1 Conc)

Speak to the Distant Beast

Creo Animal 20, R: Arcane Connection, D: Concentration, T: Individual

Allows the caster to speak directly inside an animal’s mind.

(Base 3 (see Mentem), +4 Arcane Connection, +1 Conc)

Intent of the Beast at Hand

Intellego Animal 25, R: Voice, D: Concentration, T: Individual

Allows a magus to read the surface thoughts of an animal they have an arcane connection to.

(Base 10, +2 Voice, +1 Conc)

Intent of the Distant Beast

Intellego Animal 35, R: Arcane Connection, D: Concentration, T: Individual

Allows a magus to read the surface thoughts of an animal they have an arcane connection to.

(Base 10, +4 Arc Connection, +1 Conc)

For many more new Ars Magica spells see the quickly growing grimoire.

Necromancy spells, part 10

I couldn’t resist adding more spells involving physical necromancy. This post started as one spell specifically to assist a magus clean up a skeleton, and came about due to a story thread where the players need to find a skeleton to use in an enchanted device. Obviously the characters could create the skeletons they need, however skeletons in Mythic Europe can’t be impossible to find.

In Ars Magica there is more than one way to skin a cat:

Extirpate Dead Flesh Through Attrition 

Perdo Corpus 15, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Part

This spell destroys everything in the targeted human corpse except the skeleton.

(Base 5, +1 Touch, +1 Part)

Extirpate Dead Flesh Through Butchery

Rego Corpus 4, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Individual

This spell performs the work of striping the flesh away from a human corpse, leaving only the skeleton. The stripped materials are placed aside according to the caster’s desires; often into a container for disposal. A Finesse check vs 9+ is required to properly perform the work properly, and a botch may ruin the bones beneath.

(Base 3, +1 Touch)

Separation of Gore by Texture and Type

Rego Corpus 15, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Group

This spell separates corpus material according to the casters desire, such as all bones from flesh, all blood from other materials, etc. The spell affects up to a standard amount of dead corpus material (size +1 human).

(Base 4, +1 Touch, +2 Group)

Extirpate Dead Flesh Through Vermin

Creo Animal 30, R: Touch, D: Ring, T: Group

This spell creates hundreds of thousands of tiny insects of a type which consume the flesh of any dead animal, plant, or human remains they find. Insects (typically beetles) will scavenge to find whatever food they can and will disappear if they move outside the ring.

(Base 5, +1 Touch, +2 Ring, +2 Group)

Similar spells are needed to directly affect animal corpses.

Extirpate Dead Beasts Through Butchery

Rego Animal 2, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Individual

This spell performs the work of striping the flesh away from an animal corpse, leaving only the skeleton. The stripped materials are placed aside according to the caster’s desires; often into a container for disposal. A Finesse check vs 9+ is required to properly perform the work properly, and a botch may ruin the bones beneath.

(Base 1, +1 Touch)

Extirpate Dead Beasts Through Attrition 

Perdo Animal 10, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Part

This spell destroys everything in the targeted animal corpse except the skeleton.

(Base 4, +1 Touch, +1 Part)

These and many more new and creepy spells for Ars Magica in my grimoire of spells, and several other pages of Necromancy themed spells (parts one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine), and a “Zharkune” a sample Magus Necromancer.

Spell to regrow an animal limb

A quick variant on an Ars Magica base effect, to restore the injured limb to a beast. I drafted a version for humans a while ago, and thought an animal equivalent is fair.

Regrow the Misplaced Limb for Beasts

Creo Animal 30, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Individual, Ritual

This spell allows the target to regenerate a lost segment of their body. The spell can restore a single missing aspect of the targets body, be that a limb, hand, nose,  or whatever.

(Base 25, +1 Touch, Ritual)

This spell is part of the free new spells compendium for Ars Magica.

Spells to ignore wounds and pain in battle

How more effective is a combatant when they cannot feel pain, and what would that mean mechanically in rpg combat?

There are canonical spells and guideline for Ars Magica which address pain, wounds, and exhaustion directly, and they have a potential contradiction. Assuming that the wound penalties are from both due decreased functionality and pain, a spell which removes pain should also decrease would penalties. They are:

  1. Creo Corpus Base 1, which improves the penalties from wounds by one category.
  2. Blissful Sensations (MoH p.20), which removes pain up to and including a light wound; using Creo Corpus Base 15.
  3. Rego Corpus Base 10, to ignore wound and fatigue penalties (as used in Endurance of the Berserkers, Ars Magica p.134).

Rego Corpus is an odd choice for assisting with ignoring wounds, and would be very effective if applied to a group of combatants.

Suppress the Harvest of War, Encircled

Rego Corpus 25, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Circle

The human targets of this spell will feel only the dullest sensations in place of pain, wounds, and fatigue. It has no effect on sensations which are not painful. Multiple castings beyond the target’s Size +2 have no effect.

(Base 10, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +0 Circle)

Suppress the Harvest of War for Beasts, Encircled

Rego Animal 25, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Circle

The animal targets of this spell will feel only the dullest sensations in place of pain, wounds, and fatigue. It has no effect on sensations which are not painful. Multiple castings beyond the target’s Size +2 have no effect.

(Base 10, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +0 Circle)

This last version is designed for a warband containing mounted troops. While the spell’s level is raised significantly by having a Sun duration and a group target, it means a group of mounted combatants can be prepared by casting a single spell. It might also be useful to have the spell with a target of Room, which would allows for different usage, and the same level.

Suppress the Harvest of the Warband

Rego Corpus / Animal 40, R: Voice, D: Sun, T: Group

The human and animal targets of this spell will feel only the dullest sensations in place of pain, wounds, and fatigue. It has no effect on sensations which are not painful. Multiple castings beyond the target’s Size +2 have no effect.

(Base 10, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +2 Group, +1 Animal)

This spell is part of the free new spells compendium for Ars Magica.

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Fishy Transformation spells

I started thinking again about transformation spells (for overtly Disney reasons – curse you charming and distracting television) and it occurs to me that deprivation will affect a transformed target in an unsuitable environment very severely. It only takes 30 seconds to force a deprivation check, which escalates quickly in Ars Magica (see Ars Magica p.180). So this allows Muto to be used to inadvertently fatigue or kill, or perhaps the smaller fish form to be easily disposed of.

Transformation of the Vicious Beast to the Floundering Fish

Muto Animal 25, R: Voice, D: Sun, T: Individual

The targeted animal is turned into a small fish, size -8. Without a suitable habitat the fish will suffocate due to deprivation. Fish bones may be held by the target and dropped to end the spell prematurely.

(Base 5, +2 Voice, +2 Sun)

I suppose a similar spell could make a fish into a land animal, but that is such a niche concern. Then the same effect designed to affect a human target, with Voice range so it may be used on friends and foes alike.

Transformation of the Haughty Man to the Floundering Fish

Muto Corpus / Animal 40, R: Voice, D: Sun, T: Individual

The targeted person is turned into a very small fish, size -8. Without a suitable habitat the fish will suffocate due to deprivation. Fish bones may be held by the target and dropped to end the spell prematurely.

(Base 20, +2 Voice, +2 Sun)

If I were choosing this spell for a player character is likely not have the fish form so small. A shark gives better combative survival or a dolphin can also breathe normally and swim to reasonable depths.  

Silly spell – Jafar’s Giant Cobra

Hermetic transformation spells are a double edged sword in Ars Magica, and this spell highlighted the point that reoccurs whenever I get excited about a thematic effect. Against a normal animal or human a transformed Magus is very powerful, especially if the spell has been designed to have an even more grandiose result.

However Magical Resistence completely blocks the transformed subject from attacking. This works in movies and such as they don’t have a concept of MR. In an Ars game Jafar would be very intimidating to a street rat but a complete triviality to an Order of Hermes magus. Yep I’m mixing it up but the point holds. I’d love a way for transformations to allow physical combat against wizards – such is life though.

Regardless, here is the transformation spell Jafar uses in Aladdin written up as a hermetic spell.

Transformation of the Giant Cobra

Muto Corpus / Animal 30, R: Personal, D: Sun, T: Individual

Jafar’s signature spell transforms the caster into a gigantic cobra, equivalent of a size +7 creature. The spell may be ended prematurely by dropping a cobra fang held while the spell is in effect.

(Base 10, +2 Size, +2 Sun)

A contentious part of the spell might be the size increase. My rationale is that a transformation effect can shift into any creature of size +1 or less, so when designing a spell the size of the cobra could already be large. The additional magnitudes then add on top of the large cobra, shifting the size upward by 3 tanks for each magnitude. A size 4 cobra didn’t feel big enough when I re-watched that bit of the movie, so I went to the limit of the next magnitude.

YSMV. Check out more new and custom spells for Ars Magica in my ever growing Grimoire.