Spells to Control Animals

The core spell String of the Unwilling Marionette allows for controlling human targets and there is no core spell to do the same to animals. In the Rego Animal guidelines the level 5 will paralyze an animal, 10 makes an animal passive, and 15 will allow commands to be issues and followed. Similar but not the same. Although it is not RAW I think a level 10 base is reasonable to control the major movements of an animal.

Leash for the Unwilling Puppet

Rego Animal 30, R: Voice, D: Concentration, T: Individual

The caster concentrates to control the movements of the target animal, including walking, running, or moving in place. If the animal tries to resist the movements appear jerky. This spell affects creatures up to size +4.

(Base 10, +2 Voice, +1 Concentration, +1 increase target size)

Leash for the Unwilling Herd

Rego Animal 40, R: Voice, D: Concentration, T: Group

The caster concentrates to control the movements of a group on animals, who must all be controlled in the same way. Movement includes walking, running, or moving in place. If the animals try to resist the movements appear jerky. This spell affects creatures up to size +4.

(Base 10, +2 Voice, +1 Concentration, +2 Group, +1 increase target size)

This and many other new spells for Ars Magica can be found here.

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A Mass Teleportation spell

Getting a large volume of stuff from one place to another is tricky in Ars Magica, well tricky unless your group of wayward wizards has access to some darn heavy duty transportation magic.

This spell is an example of a powerful spell which might be used to teleport all sorts of items, animal herds, or people to or from the covenant. The use of the Target: Circle allows for larger volumes of mixed products to be sent, rather than individuals effects.

Mass Arcane Teleportation

Rego Animal Aquam Corpus Herbam Terram 40, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Circle

Teleport the contents of the circle to the place of the AC.

(Base 35, +1 Touch, +0 Circle)

In the saga our wizards have raised a new island far off the western coast of Spain and getting materials to and from the island is tougher than I first thought it would be. This spell assists that purpose.

Along with the spell itself a magical item with the same effect would be handy. This might allow non-wizards to assist with the coordination of moving gear around. I also think that creating a circle via a spell might be handy too, or having designated points marked with circles as way-points for transfer. They could be designed to be ten to fifteen paces in diameter, allowing for a large volume of material to be transferred at once.

Circle’s Keystone (ReAnAqCoHeTe50)  – a large grey stone tile invested with as the Mass Arcane Teleportation spell above, altered for unlimited uses per day. The stone is set touching the rim of the circle to be targeted, the arcane connection is set in a small depression atop the stone, and then a command phrase is spoken to activate. In this way the stone is reusable at multiple sites.

This and many other new spells for Ars Magica can be found in the grimoire page.

A spell and item for a Gentle School or Flock of Animals

The intent of this spell is to allow manipulation of a large group of animals as a herd of cows or a school of fish will often exceed a normal group of 10. It is a useful spell for calming raging beasts or monsters if the effect can penetrate their magical resistance.

The Gentle School

Rego Animal 30, R: Voice, D: Concentration, T: Group

Targeted animals are rendered placid and docile even during unusual or violent circumstances. Up to 10 size +4 animals may be affected by each casting; potentially allowing for a great many smaller animals to be affected.

(Base 4, 2 Voice, +1 Conc, +2 Group, +1 beast size to +4)

Based upon The Gentle Herd, from Covenants page 51.

Shepherd’s Crook (Enchanted device – ReAn 40)

This crook is a simple twisted wooden staff with a knobbly protruding head. It has been enchanted as a lesser device with the spell The Gentle School (ReAn30, above), and further altered as to Maintains Concentration, and allow a few uses per day.

This is be set as an overall 10 increase in level; as +5 to maintain concentration, +2 for five uses per day, and +3 to allow a penetration score of 6 which should affect many simple magical creatures.

If purchased at build time for a covenant it has a purchase price as a spell lab text of 7 BPs. This and over 470 other new spells for Ars Magica can be found here.

Bind Wounds for Animals

A quick spell for preventing wounds from worsening, akin to Bind Wound in Creo Corpus for animals instead.

Bind Beastly Wounds

Creo Animal 10, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

All wounds on the target animal are closed, and cannot get any worse.

(Base 3, +1 Touch, +2 Sun)

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

Stat Boosting Rituals, Part 7 (Improving Items)

Continuing from Stat Boosting Rituals, Part 6, … to discuss making physical items better. It is something very left of center, and is based upon the idea that an item can be made closer to its ideal perfect form.

Considering that repeatedly cast powerful rituals can change the stats of a person, it stands to reason that other objects can also be improved in the same manner. Animals are an obvious extension of the Corpus and Mentem guidelines, so why not also objects?

Each type of object needs a separate ritual, as its generally bad spell design in the Ars setting to try to affect many very different types of objects with the same Creo-ish effect.

A reason why this type of transformation has probably been avoided is the Vis cost vs the silver pound cost to buy high quality items. High quality items can be commissioned with silver, and casting any ritual is expensive in vis, and Magi tend to save it for serious matters.

Ars Magica’s City & Guild source-book (p.70) has rules for the quality of items: Shoddy, Standard, Superior, Excellent, and then Wondrous.

Reviewing those rules gives two advances for an item beyond Standard craftsmanship, without becoming Wondrous. I’m excluding Wondrous items as they are akin to enchanted devices and are designed as one of a kind items for specific people. It is reasonable to state that they are beyond the capability of a ritual to improve a normal item into. Wondrous items are also very rare in actual play I’ve seen.

An aside – the City & Guide book also stipulates that magically enchanted items must be of Superior quality, else they suffer penalties to the lab total (see the inset box p.70). A rule that I’ve not seen often enforced, often hand-waved. That means troupes will need to decide if a typical magical device is Standard or Superior, especially if casting this style ritual after the item has been acquired and enchanted.

The difficult choice is to assign a baseline for objects. For living creatures the base starts from level 30 to make an attribute average (meaning +0), and scales per magnitude beyond. Lacking a better argument, that’s the method for items too.

New suggested Creo spell guidelines, with Forms appropriate to the item to be improved:

  • Base 30, to improve a crafted item from quality Shoddy to Standard.
  • Base 35, to improve a crafted item one quality level, up to Superior.
  • Base 40, to improve a crafted item one quality level, up to Excellent.

Practically the base 30 is a waste, and the base 35 might be useful to cast with a circle target on all items (such as weapons, as a level 40 final spell effect) in the covenant armory. Conversely if the ritual is invented using Target Circle then there is no reason to not cast it on every item available.

The Perfect Sword

Creo Terram / Animal Herbam 45, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Circle, Ritual

The targeted swords are improved in quality by one category, to a limit of Excellent. Any type of sword may be affected by the ritual, and the requisite allows for any non-Terram based components to be improved.

(Base 40, +1 Touch, +0 Momentary, +0 Circle, Ritual)

Practically if a Magus was enhancing their prized sword from Superior to Excellent, and also upgraded a selection of other weapons by spending 9 pawns of vis – I’d allow that. It’s a fairly high expense compared to the game mechanic gain.

The same effect could be reworked for any item such tools, armor, books (which opens a Pandora’s Box of rules from the Covenants source-book on quality), to gain the positive skill and combat bonuses which Superior and Excellent items bring.

A meta-game consideration I’m pondering is what happens when the item is made “better” using these rituals and it is already enchanted. Superficially I think it shouldn’t matter – as it is the same item after the spell is cast. My reasoning is that a person can have active enchantments in a familiar bond or a longevity ritual and still be improved by magic. The same applies here.

Another consideration is the use of Finesse for conjuring items using Creo. A troupe will need to decide if Finesse rolls are needed, and I’d suggest that they can be hand waved due to the high base level used in the spell; especially when compared to crafting an item with Rego magic, which certainly do need Finesse.

Then lastly while the ArsMagica rules are being broken by this there is the consideration that the rituals might also “pay” for complexity to affect metals, gems, or other steps in materials magnitude. I’m ignoring that complexity, as it places the ritual level far beyond reason. If it were required I’d alter the base level down from 30 to 20 to account for another baseline at 15 which repairs all damage to an item (from Magi of Hermes source-book). If the base then starts from 20, then a metal item is improved by a level 30 ritual anyway due to the +2 mag cost for targeting/creating metals.

See my Ars Magica grimoire for hundreds of other new spells.

Stat Boosting Rituals, Part 6 (Animals)

Continuing from Stat Boosting Rituals, Part 5, … to allow animal companions, familiars, and potentially any beast to be permanently improved; to be closer to perfect.

To enhance animals the ritual spells are essentially the same using Animal. For normal beasts Cunning will replace Intelligence, and the Form changes to Animal for all the effects. These effects will be useful to wizards who have animal companions or familiars, or those who wish their stock to be the best.

At a minimum effect,

The Gift of Craftiness, Encircled

Creo Animal 35, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Circle, Ritual

Permanently increases the affected targets Cunning by 1 point, to no higher than 0.

(Base 30, +1 Touch)

Through to the maximum, and other rituals would be identical to those written in Parts 1&3 of the previous posts with their arts changed to Creo Animal.

The Perfection of Craftiness, Encircled

Creo Animal 60, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Circle, Ritual

Permanently increases the affected targets Cunning by 1 point, to no higher than +5.

(Base 55, +1 Touch)

All the new spells for Ars Magica can be found here.

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.