Variations on supernatural creature might stripping spells

I couldn’t find a room based Demon’s Eternal Oblivion (Ars Magica, p.160, Perdo Vim) so here are variants mixing supernatural realms, and demonstrating scaling up for Perdo Vim spells for rooms and big structures.

Strike Against the Undesirable Faerie

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

Reduces the Faerie Might of the creature touched by (Level of this spell +5), as long as the spell penetrates each creatures magical resistance.

(Base Gen, +1 Touch)

This effect could (arguably) be learnt at PeVi1 and still inflict +6 Might damage. This also shows that there are ways to help penetrate against powerful supernatural creatures when each dice roll counts; and could also be invested in a device to gain additional penetration – particularly a weapon with an “on-strike” trigger.

Excise the Unwelcome Magical Guests

Perdo Vim General, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Room

Reduces the Magical Might of all suitable creatures inside the affected chamber by (Level of this spell -5), as long as the spell penetrates each creatures magical resistance.

(Base Gen, +1 Touch, +2 Room)

Scaling means that this spell taken at PeVi5 has no effect, however at level 10 the spell will still inflict 5 points of night and may also identify creatures affected by they spell as they react. It’s a spell that probably is only spont cast by powerful wizards.

Excise the Unwholesome Demonic Interlopers

Perdo Vim General, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Structure

Reduces the Infernal Might of all suitable creatures inside the affected structure by (Level of this spell -10), as long as the spell penetrates each creatures magical resistance.

(Base Gen, +1 Touch, +3 Structure)

Ward against arrows, spells against Archers

The spell Shriek of Impending Shafts (Ars Magica p.136, InHe15) is a darn effective defense spell against wooden missiles. However it does not really neutralise the threat of an archer against others. So here are two approaches to better deal with archers.

Malevolent Gift of Roses

Muto Herbam 25, R: Voice, D: Diameter, T: Group

All items with wooden parts on the target are changed to roses. The spell is intended to be cast upon an enemy archer or soldier however it may also be used on any valid Group target.

(Base 3 to make one Herbam product into another, +2 Voice, +1 Diameter, +2 Group, +1 sub-parts of complex items)

The spell could also be used to ruin any item or thing which has wooden parts. Ladders, carts, and so on.

In the spell design I’ve opted to pay an extra magnitude to be able to affect the wood in component items, to affect a Group, and to do so for a fair duration in most fights – that is potentially overkill. The intent is to make the archer all but useless, and will probably make many parts of soldiers, workmen, and many other targets equally frustrated.

It would also be useful if scaled up for really large groups, however as it stands will affect a group of people in a fighting formation too as they form a valid target group. The limitation of this approach for arrows is that it is not plausible to affect all foes as there may be many of them and not in a group.

Ward Against Staves and Arrows

Rego Herbam 20, R: Personal, D: Diameter, T: Individual

Caster is protected against wooden weapons and missiles, which may not touch the caster.

(Base 15, +1 Diameter)

The ward could be changed to be R:Touch or an extended duration D:Sun for safety while travelling. These spells are part of the free new spells compendium for Ars Magica.

Clarification on the stats when Changing Creature Sizes in Ars Magica

Many spells change the size of a person or creature, or creatures have their size altered to suit the story needs of an Ars Magica saga. I’ve been asked several times about changing size in the last month (mostly because my blog post on gigantism had an error) so here is what I’ve sussed about it. Broadly speaking the spell mechanics are variable, so please see your story-guide.

  • Each +1 mag in spell design will add 3 size levels (note some spells sampled from the core books seem to use +2 levels instead, but there has been much discussion and the fair middle ground seems to be +3 per mag).
  • Each +1 mag in spell design will reduce size by 6 levels (again variable by books, some spells seem to be able to reduce by a far greater amount than increase, I think that is primarily because once a creature is smaller than size -4 they have such low wound levels than it is almost moot).
  • Each +1 Size = +2 Strength, -1 Quickness, +1 point in the wound level damage ranges (see HoH:MC p. 39).

That means changing a soldier from normal (size +0) size to size +2 adds 4 strength, subtracts 2 quickness, and alters their first “light wound” damage range to 1-7 points instead of 1-5. That might not sound like much of a change but it makes the soldier far more offensively oriented. Slower, harder to kill, and able to inflict more damage.

This is also why reducing an opponent down to -3 or smaller is very effective, it might make them quicker but they have radically reduced wound levels for penalties, which is savage in a prolonged battle.

There is also a point at which the difference between the attacker and defender becomes so extreme that the defender really shouldn’t be able to “parry” to defend.

A rationale is: A mouse can avoid the boot of a man easily due to speed, but if the man successfully steps on it, then it really should be dead, or mostly dead.

So how big does your shield grog need to be to just squish opponents? Well I’m not sure. The size increases are meant to be 10x larger per 3 size ranks, but there is not a formula that shows how tall a person is per rank (a project for a rainy day?). Size 0 human vs a size 10 dragon seems altogether a massive challenge.

a giant fighting several folk, couldn't find the owner/artist - pretty good though eh?

Wizard’s Auger, with an example of spell penetration

Sharing several similar effects demonstrating how Muto Vim might raise the penetration score of another spell. The most likely use is a caster to alter their own spells, as demonstrated in a similar enchanted effect in a magical axe in Magi of Hermes, p.51, which uses Range: Touch. To cast upon another Magi’s spells cooperatively R: Voice is required.

These spells demonstrate an interesting potential for Magi with high scores in Muto Vim; they may be able to spontaneously alter another lower level spell for which they have poor art scores to increase its penetration.

Example scenario – the junior Magus Argento needs to cast a sleep spell on a troublesome faerie soldier.

Argento has very strong Muto and Vim arts, and while she has learnt “The Call to Slumber” (ReMe10, Ars p.151) and cast cast it easily under normal circumstances against foes without magical resistance, she believes she will not have a high enough casting total or penetration to put the faerie to sleep due to her low Rego and Mentem arts.

Argento stats: Int 2, Stm 2, Muto 12, Rego 6, Mentem 4, Vim 11, Penetration 0, which means The Call to Slumber (CtS) has a CT of 10+roll, and a spont spell has a CT of 22+ before dividing.

Fearie Soldier has a Might score of 10. So Argento needs an effective CT+Pen of 21+ to put the fae to sleep.

Argento might try to roll 12+ roll vs the Fae’s Might of 10, however unless Argento is lucky and gets 9 or over on her roll, she will not succeed. This is because the Fae’s might will require a penetration result of 11 or higher more than the spell’s level to be successful.

Argento needs to choose to either repeatedly cast Call to Slumber at the faerie and hope that she rolls 9 or higher on the dice roll, or she can opt to boost her penetration using the style of spell below, with the the knowledge that each casting will cost her a spontaneous fatigue level. Note that if Argento learns Wizard’s Auger or Wizard’s Awl (below) formulaically, she can boost many of her low level spells easily, giving her better penetration – if she had, the poor fay would be asleep in the first round. This does not add any more than +5 to +10 penetration to a spell, but that little extra is sometimes all that is needed.

Argento chooses to first cast a spontaneous version of Wizard’s Auger as a MuVi10 spell, for which she has a casting total of 25+ roll before halving the result by spending a fatigue level. Unless she botches she will succeed, and this raises the penetration of the next spell by +5.

She then casts her Call to Slumber as normal, and while she still has a CT of 12+, her final penetration for the spell is now CT+Pen of 17 + dice roll, making it far more likely that she could put the annoying fae to sleep. She only need a 4 or more on the d10 roll.

In this scenario yelling with powerful gestures also helps both styles of approach, it makes the casting without a MuVi spell far more likely, however it makes the solution with a MuVi spell almost a certainty (botches, twilight, etc).

Learned formulaically these spells add a lot of utility without requiring significant additional power or lab level. A Muto expert could also spont cast their own versions easily, and also might help their troupe if they cooperate with other Magi. Continue reading

A worked example of Break The Shield

Aside

I wrote up a short example of how the PeVi spell Break The Shield works against Parma Magica in a forum thread. It’s not my favourite spell in the raw (see grumble below), but it is legitimate in the rules so knowing how to play it out is handy.

A quick example of Break the Shield (a.k.a BtS, published in Hermetic Projects, p.85) in use by two magi against each other might be:

Magus Alphar (BtS PeVi15, Pe5, Vi5, Stm3, Pen 0, Parma 2) vs. Magus Betar (BtS PeVi15, Pe10, Vi12, Stm3, Pen 0, Parma 1)

  • Due to the randomness of initiative Alphar casts BtS against his opponent Betar first,
  • Alphar’s BtS PeVi15, CT is 13+roll. He scores CT:20, which is Level 15 with +5 Pen.
  • Betar’s MR is equal to Parma (1*5) + Vim 12 = 17. This means the spell fails to penetrate. There is no need to roll the Level + dice to cancel the spell.
  • Betar returns the same BtS PeVi15 spell, with CT is 25+roll. She scores CT:32, which is Level 15 with +17 Pen
  • Alphar’s MR is equal to Parma (2*5) + Vim 5 = 15. This means that Betar’s spell has penetrated successfully, so now the test of (spell level + roll)/5 vs PM score must be checked.
  • Betar rolls Level 15 +roll, gets a total of 19. This total divided by 5 exceeds is  3.8, which is higher than Alphar’s Parma Magica score of 2, so down goes his Parma Magica.
  • the next round might be ugly for Alphar…

This demonstrates why low level PeVi spells are handy against supernatural creatures i might stripping, and also why having several Break the Shield Spells might be useful, or investing in mastery and penetration is important for BtS.

Aside – My grumble about Break the Shield is that it reduces the influence of Parma Magica in the game setting, which in turn was a major justification for the successful formation of the Order of Hermes.

If BtS was available then why was PM a successful bargaining point. Having BtS in the game also creates an escalation in PM stripping spells as an opening volley. The first magus specialises in stripping parma and then proceeds to decimate the target. Every Magus beyond their mid years should learn the spell and master it using the defense mastery so that they can try to resist it.

Rise Before Dawn

This spell was discussed a while back with questions raised about spell timers – essentially it’s odd that the spell would have an effect which changes over the course of the duration.

I think it is plausible to design an effect in this way because the spell is not changing the broad scope of its effect in each casting, instead it behaving in a prescribed manner. This is akin to the complexity which could be designed in an item.

Rise Before Dawn

Rego Mentem 20, R: Personal, D: Sun, T: Individual

Caster is kept in a relaxed state to help facilitate a good night’s rest, and then woken shortly before the spell expires.

(Base 4 change mental state, +2 Sun, +1 complexity of two mental states)

This spell is intended to allow a magus to get proper rest in difficult circumstances or an agitated mental state, but also awaken before their Parma Magica expires so it can be refreshed. It seems reasonable to have an extra magnitude to allow the degree of control.

It is a spell which I think would be popular in the Order of Hermes, particularly amongst the combative Magi.

Each troupe will have to decide if this is stretching hermetic complexity in design, given how complex some spells are I think this is a safe effect.

Sunrise

Discussing a portable floating laboratory

A laboratory is a fundamental tool for every Magus in Ars Magica. As such there are variations and rules in abundance for how to detail and personalise a lab (Covenants source book, p 106). Just to be slightly odd I thought detailing a few aspects of a floating lab might be interesting. Typically to find a structure for a lab isn’t difficult but finding something which is suitable as a portable and floating lab is harder, it’s either constructed purposefully by understanding mundane craftsman or conjured.

If constructed the sourcing becomes a challenge only in resolving how the building is designed for flight. The Magus comes to acquire the stonemasons, labourers, and materials of the build in context of their covenant resources.

If conjured the sourcing probably requires a bespoke spell for the shape and size required, so it adds seasons of work or vis to be spent if another Magus is supplying the solution. It does however grant the owner exacting design choices and options which would be very difficult for mundane craftsmen to complete.

Rather than a conjured room or tower which is then enchanted, I suggest taking a lead from the floating castle in Legends of Hermes (p.121), by using a massive sheet of stone as the base with a Rego Terram effect, say one pace thick by 30 paces across. That requires a constant lesser enchantment as ReTe28. This allows the stone sheet to move at the speed of a running horse. Then if it is commanded in the same way as The Flying Castle of Thomae then another constant lesser device of CrIg9 is needed to send the colored light as control commands.

A 30 pace wide disk is far more than large enough for a single lab and likely could hold a small tower, or many ancillary buildings too. The disk itself will have the same abilities and failings as listed for the flying castle. It’s plausible to have the disc far smaller than 30 x 1 paces to make a smaller block, especially if the next task is adding a multi-story building. It could be about 15 paces wide and still hold a huge lab, and reducing the blocks diameter makes it easier to fit into a lab for enchantment (note though the Ars rules allow for an outdoor lab, so it’s plausible to create a place to enchant this easily). Perhaps a block roughly 15×2 paces is better as it makes for an incredibly sturdy base.

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A spell to find somebody

Update: realised I wrote an identical spell with another name a long time ago, so you won’t see these in the spells list. Ah well.

An RPG-StackExchange question was asked about finding people in huge areas. The problem with the OP’s desired goal is that while a big T: Boundary spell could find people inside the area, it cannot find only that one person. To find all of the men, or women, or just the gifted people – is all ok. But to find only a specific person needs an arcane connection so that all the others are excluded.

Here is a renamed version of spell I posted there as a quick solution, to show that an AC was still needed to find something specific within a wider area. As this spell is only InCo15 it does not need a large amount of optimisation, but it is not plausible for some magi to spont cast this spell.

Heading, As the Man Wanders

Intellego Corpus 15, R: Arc, D: Mom, T: Ind

Caster gains knowledge of the current approximate distance and direction to the target with whom they have an arcane connection.

(Base 3, +4 Arc)

It would also be possible for a magus to complete this task with spontaneous magic using Opening the Intangible Tunnel (at ReVi4) then cast the spell above reduced back to R: Touch which makes a InCo4 spell (as Base 3, +1 Touch); both effects far easier to spont cast.

There is probably also variants for animals, and all sorts of other things like ghosts, magical creatures, etc.

Heading, As the Crow Flies

Intellego Animal 15, R: Arc, D: Mom, T: Ind

Caster gains knowledge of the current approximate distance and direction to the target with whom they have an arcane connection.

(Base 3, +4 Arc)

Lastly as I think of it – far better to have a spell that is used through an Intangible Tunnel and also is D: Concentration based. That way the caster can know what changes.

Heading, As the Crow Flies Onward

Intellego Animal 5, R: Touch, D: Concentration, T: Ind

Caster gains knowledge of the current approximate distance and direction to the target with whom they “touch”, typically used through an intangible tunnel.

(Base 3, +1 Touch, +1 Concentration)

Pale Ones, a faerie host and the Lady of the Moon, Mistress of the Winter Wind

Writing a few faerie npcs for an Ars Magica game and thought I’d share the bits and pieces…as a story seedling. I’ve been wanting to share this post for a long while, but the story is almost done so no harm now.

The premise for the story is the friction between two separate groups of faeries who have been isolated within a regio for decades without human interaction. Recently the magi and covenfolk rediscovered the regio which revives both groups of fading faeries. Their skin becomes more colorful, their moods lighten, they rise from dormant states refreshed. Both groups are also overly keen to interact.

Fae of the Marketplace – the first group are playing out a marketplace setting, where the human interactors are given opportunities to trade, learn, and interact with fae as a common village market. Significant effects in the marketplace include:

  • Vendors and participants in the market will fade and then reappear every hour or so, sometimes changing appearance. This means that very few of the vendors will be present day after day, however once the vendors learn the types of objects the characters are seeking to buy they will be more present.
  • Three vendors will remain constant – a Toymaker, a Clothier, and a Trader. These three fae compete the most for human contact.
  • If groomed properly “the Marketplace” will make a good source of covenant stories, perhaps covenant income.

Fae of the Host – “the host” are a group of vicious hunters who prey on children to gain vitality, known as the Pales Ones. Each member reflects an aspect of being wintery, cold, lost, or hungry in their powers and movements, and also be either partial animals or full animals in appearance. Their role is to play out animalistic hunting behaviour; members of the host sniff out prey, and then the host hunts together to feed and kill.

These two groups have become entwined in the regio because a toymaker from the marketplace periodically sends his animated wooden children into the forest to seek out customers and interested humans, and they are destroyed by the Host. The toy maker also wishes to return to a deeper regio layer where his old home and workshop is, but is blocked by the Host.

The Host are frustrated with the true lack of prey.

The characters entered the scenario as visitors to the marketplace, potentially buying and trading for trinkets and gear.

Ghori, Lady of the Moon, Mistress of the winter wind. A Pale One.

Lady Ghori is an ultra thin grey skinned woman with mostly human features, notable is an overall feline taint to her eyes, ears, and teeth, and very long white hair, often braided in three thick strands. She dresses in long robes and coats of grey, white, and charcoal, decorated with teeth, bone and trimmed with animal hides.

Lady Ghori will often ride an unnaturally large wolf when she has to travel long distances or quickly, her mount of choice for the fear and distrust it incites in mortals. The wolf is not combative though, more smoke and glamour than a beast.

She is called “mistress” or “Lady Ghori” by her host of lesser faeries, as she hunts and feeds with them on children and lost travellers at nighttime. Lady Ghori has grown more powerful than the other members of the host, unknowingly changing her story to be the leader of the Host. She now thinks that she a distant cousin to a noble cast of fae known as the Pale Ones, and the Host are her followers.

Story Guides should tweak Lady Ghori’s Might score to use her as a combative challenge. She is intended to be very difficult for grogs alone to defeat, and with a handful of her host she might make a reasonable challenge to a Magus.

Goals: To risk her life hunting humans with her host (see below), provoking violent responses. To invoke fear.

Method: Lady Ghori stays in hiding, using the host to scavenge for lost travellers. When a potential target is she joins the host in playing cat and mouse games with the prey, eventually leading to a physical confrontation. As she drawn her energy from the reactions of fear she prefers to draw out fights and induce anger. Best played as a bully, with her weaknesses being greed for energy and her own fear of being ridiculed.

Faerie Might: 15

Characteristics:  Int 0, Per +2, Pre 0, Com 0, Str +0,  Stm +1,  Dex +1,  Qik +2, Size: -1

Virtues: Faerie Speech, Humanoid Faerie, Cognizant within Role,  Flaws: Cyclic Potency (weaker in daytime) -1, (balance to buy powers)

Personality Traits: Careful+1, Cruel +3, cat +1

Combat: Longspear  Init +5,  Atk +8,  Dfn +9,  Dmg +6

Soak: +3 (layered leather armor) , Fatigue: OK, 0, -1, -3, -5, Unconscious; Wounds: -1 (1-4)

Pretenses:  Good Combative skills, a few negotiation skills, and hunting skills.

Powers:

  • Sidestep 0 points, Init -5, Can teleport 5 or so paces at will.
  • Confusion: 2 points, Init +2, Mentem: as the level 15 ReMe Confusion of the Numbed Will. When used a cold wind will be felt in the area.
  • Chilling Wind: 1 point, (CrAu/IgPe) creates a wind that chills all within for a fatigue level.
  • Winter Snow 0 points (CrAq) makes snow fall over a wide area.

Equipment: Full leather armour, longspear, shortsword, trinkets and jewelry,

Vis:  3x pawns of Corpus vis in hands.

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Anhedon ex Miscellanea, a Necromancer

(Edit: the formatting is horrid, will be fixed shortly)

Presenting another necromancy focused character as presented to a new-ish play-by-post forum game on the Mythweavers forums – Anhedon ex Miscellanea. My last necromancer was a Bonisagus, and while this character has some similar aspects the split of virtues and flaws and the starting position are very different. I went for a far more creepy theme which is backed by a very solid raw reference in the Lion and the Lilly sourcebook ( p.102 for covenant backstory). This npcs Pater is Eulogius ex Miscellanea, patron of Donatores Requietis Aeternae, in the Normandy tribunal. As a Magus of House ex Miscellanea he could be straight off the page.

Appearance

Anhedon appears a quiet shy man who dresses in dark earthy shades, or if travelling some distance will change to dress as a humble monk. He has a thin build and decrepit pale complexion which gives him a disturbing otherworldly appearance, especially confronting when paired with his blatant gift. As such has learnt to voice his needs through his grogs and proxies, as he is frequently too disturbing for mundanes and townsfolk. He walks with a tall staff and carries satchels. His apprenticeship is seeped in the roots of Donatores Requietis Aeternae oldest traditions; that of spiritual and corporeal necromancy.

Early Life 

Anhedon was born into a family serving at his master’s covenant of Requietis Aeternae. As the magi took little care of the servants beyond their physical needs it was not unusual for many children raised at R.A. to be warped, weird, or conflicted. He was identified as significantly warped by magic even at his birth, as his blatant gift expressed itself from birth instead of later in his childhood. This meant his natural parents distrusted him, and he often was left to perform his chores alone, or under the scrutiny of unforgiving masters. This fortunately also led to his gift being identified early, which acted as a doubly hard lesson for his natural family; their freakish son was now potentially to be a wizard – if he survived.

During his grooming for his apprenticeship another current apprentice fell foul of the Master Eulogius, and suffered a terrible mishap. Anhedon was too young to understand the details of the accident, but the apprentice was left bereft of sanity for many months, and while his mind recovered slowly his magical gift drained away. Master Eulogius was displeased by the waste of resources spent on the failed apprentice, and set the poor boy to dangerous tasks and demeaning work now that he was not useful. Instead Anhedon was thrust into the new apprentice role, where he understood failure might end his potential or his life. The covenant was desperate for new magical blood, and he understood that his place was to join the strict hierarchy for R.A., however Anhedon secretly wished escape the covenant, and departed as soon as his apprenticeship was computers and his Oath sworn.

ex MIscellanea necromancer

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