Making an Object Immovable

Terram is also for generic effects, in this case two spells for making objects immovable. The Ars Magica sourcebook Transforming Mythic Europe (p125) has a section on creating motive power, even almost covering spell levels into equivalent horse power. That section uses a Base 2 for the spell effects as it is designing spells to rotate gears which can be considered slightly unnatural, however holding an object mid-air is highly natural which needs a Base 3.

For most purposes the first spell will be more than enough, as I thought the effect could be used to hold doors closed, block areas, create impromptu stairs, hold aloft torches, etc.

Object is Stubborn

Rego Terram 10, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

The object touched becomes almost immovable, and if moved will seek to return to the spot where it was initially placed. The object can be placed to float in mid air. The spell ends prematurely if the object is moved more than a pace from the position it is placed.

The object can be slowing shifted by an exceptionally strong person or many people (combined strength of greater that +5), or a stronger magical force (higher than Base 3) can move the object very slowly. The force of resistance is equivalent to one horse power. Casting requisites are required.

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

The a longer duration and more powerful version.

Object is Immovable

Rego Terram 20, R: Touch, D: Moon, T: Individual

The object touched becomes almost immovable, and if moved will seek to return to the spot where it was initially placed. The object can be placed to float in mid air. The spell ends prematurely if the object is moved more than a pace from the position it is placed.

The object can be slowing shifted by an exceptionally strong person or many people (combined strength of greater that +50), or a stronger magical force (higher than Base 4) can move the object very slowly. The force of resistance is equivalent to ten horse power. Casting requisites are required.

(Base 3, +1 for increased strength, +1 Touch, +3 Moon)

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Some simple fire spells for Ars Magica pyromaniacs

Designing fire spell that inflict damage is darn easy in Ars Magica. There are very detailed guidelines in the rules and many evocative examples in Creo Ignem; such as Ball of Abysmal Flame at level 35 and Pilum of Fire at level 20, p 140.

Pondering a House Flambeau fire wizard, and I wanted some slight variations on these spells. Firstly I wanted more spells to inflict damage directly, and also at a lower level so a junior wizard could learn them (and I really like Pilum of Fire’s name, so have used that as a theme).

Spear of Fire

Creo Ignem 10, R: Voice, D: Mom, T: Ind

A short spear-shaped burst of fire flies from your hand, inflicting +5 damage.

(Base 4, +2 Voice)

This might seem an underpowered effect however +5 damage is still not irrelevant and at such a low level a more powerful caster will be able to penetrate through far more magic resistance. Remember too that while almost every soldier will be armored enough to stop this spell’s damage, many wizards depend on their Parma Magica alone for defense; rarely wearing armour. It is a long way from +20 or +30 damage inflicted by the powerful spells in core, so perhaps a +10 damage variant is more desirable.

Lance of Fire

Creo Ignem 15, R: Voice, D: Mom, T: Ind

A spear-shaped burst of fire flies from the caster’s hand, inflicting +10 damage.

(Base 5, +2 Voice)

All these spells are single use, which wasn’t what I though of when picturing a pyromaniac Flambeau. I saw a fire wielding madman which flames pouring from his hands continuously. Also consider that immolating a target over many combat rounds will be far more damaging and wonderfully intimidating for onlookers. Thankfully creating these effects is darn easy too; they’re almost the same.

Jet of Flame

Creo Ignem 20, R: Voice, D: Concentration, T: Ind

A thin jet of flame pours from the caster’s hands inflicting +10 damage to anything it touches. The caster can move their hand to re-target the jet for as long as they concentrate.

(Base 5, +2 Voice, +1 Concentration)

Useful for hosing an area in fire, burning as the caster pleases. Damage as low as +10 is powerful when applied every combat round, and if multicast using mastery could be aimed at several targets.

Immolate Miscellanea

Creo Ignem 20, R: Touch, D: Diameter, T: Ind

The object touched bursts into flames for two minutes, requiring twenty soak checks against +10 damage. The fire will also ignite nearby objects and spread naturally, which may create additional problems for the target.

(Base 10, +1 Touch, +1 Diameter)

I didn’t think there was much use for this level and the core rulebook has Cloak of Flame as a higher level spell, but then recalled the Opening the Intangible Tunnel spell, for which Touch spells are needed or by using a talisman to extend reach. Perhaps a disgruntled Magi will find a use there.

Then a simple cosmetic spell to bathe the caster in flames. It could as easily be created by using an illusion (Creo Imagonem) however I like using fire as the Art here.

Immolation of the Cowardly Pyromancer

Creo Ignem 5, R: Personal, D: Concentration, T: Individual

The caster is covered in a fire which can be felt but neither burns nor heats significantly.

(Base 4 to create an unnatural fire, +1 Conc)

And lastly for the arrogant pyromaniac who is not afraid to really burn. I don’t expect many wizards to bother learning this, but it was interesting to create and might be spontaneously cast. Perhaps to be rid of fleas?

Immolation of the Haughty Pyromancer

Creo Ignem 5, R: Personal, D: Concentration, T: Individual

The caster is covered in a fire which inflicts +5 damage per round.

(Base 4 to create inflicting 5+ damage, +1 Conc)

ice-surrounded-by-flame-field_385476152

The spell may also be called “have I got something in my teeth“. More custom spells can be found in the New Spells for Ars Magica page.

Transformation into Shadows and Ghosts

Transforming into a shadowy form for isn’t straight forward in Ars Magica, not because it’s overly complex, but because there are a few ways it can be done. That said, its a seriously impressive thematic effect and might have advantages in-play.

The spell effects to do this starts with a Muto Corpus base level 30 because it is closely related to becoming insubstantial, then is modified to suit the Form best related to shadow – which is a bit of a discussion topic as shadows are affected by both Ignem and Imagonem circumstantially, although Ignem typically only to remove them. I’d say the transformation effect from another form is firmly within the domain of Imagonem. I mention this as Hermetically transformed creatures are still affected by their base form, then any form which is appropriate under the paradigm. So an Imagonem based transformation might be affected (subject to circumstances) by all Corpus as normal, Creo Ignem, and all Imagonem spells.

Flint_OdysseusInHades

The paradigm for images and light used in Ars Magica has a base in species rather than modern physics (which quickly gets very confusing), that dictate that Creo Ignem can assist in destroying a shadow, and Imagonem can directly affect it.

Aside – It is also possible to have a shadow-like effect using Auram depending on the results that the caster wants (See the spells Cloak of Mist and Transform to Water, see Ars p.131) such as a vampiric inspired transformation to mist or smoke. These effects have the minor benefit of not being subject to Creo Ignem effects as much, however they are not a true shadow-form and they bring their own limitations in terms of being subservient to the whims of their new shape.

As basic effect, a transformation to shadow using Imagonem might be written as:

Form of the Erebus’ Servant

Muto Corpus 45 / Imagonem, R: Personal, D: Sun, T: Individual

The caster is transformed into a shadow of themselves. They can no longer physically interact with the physical world, but instead can pass under and through the narrowest spaces, and move very quickly across the ground. This makes the shadow immune to physical damage, but highly susceptible to bright light and magical bursts of light may cause pain or damage. A small mirror is held by the caster and is dropped to remove the effect prematurely.

Like all transformation effects, some gear and equipment may not be transformed, or casting requisites may be required for some equipment; subject to troupe rules.

(Base 30, +1 controlled movement, +2 Sun)

The base effect is related to a referenced rule for MuCo with Au for a smoky ghost (TMRE pg. 68 calls “allowing the Magus to take ghostly form” MuCo/Au 30). An additional magnitude was added to allow the caster to control the direction of their movement, rather than being subject to the whims of light and darkness in the environment around them.

Lastly a variation into a spirit or umbra transformation – into an incorporeal ghost-like form using Mentem, which might also render the target invisible because ghosts are rarely visible unless under the effects of spells and powers to allow them to coalesce.

Form of the Shade of Hades

Muto Corpus 45 / Mentem, R: Personal, D: Sun, T: Individual

The caster is transformed into a spirit-like creature, unnatural and incorporeal. The caster can still be seen, but appears as a ghostly version of their normal self. This ghost like form cannot interact with the physical world except for basic movement, and may float in a ghost-like manner through solid objects.

While transformed the caster can still speak and be heard normally, although the voice takes upon ethereal features, and the caster does not need to breathe. A token inscribed with a human skull is held during the spell casting, which can be dropped to end the effect prematurely.

(Base 30, +1 controlled movement, +2 Sun)

SciFi.Fantasy.DarkWizard.DarkWizard2.jpg.rZd.137640

See further custom spells for Ars Magica can be found in the summary spells page.

The Buoyant Grog – marching an army across rivers

A long while ago I played in a story where the grogs and mundanes needed to cross a moderate body of water. It was a simple challenge, but the Magi present couldn’t use a magical-brute-force spontaneous effect to solve the issue. When moving across a stable body of water vertical changes were not an issue, however when inventing a spell for future use the Base 5 was chosen to allow the caster to move the target in any direction they choose and to concentrate to alter that movement. This allows for a far greater variety in application.

The same story also had a supernatural creature swimming in the water, so it was far better to have our grogs float above the surface of the water rather than swim.

The Buoyant Grog

Rego Corpus 20, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

The target is moved slowly in any direction the caster desires horizontally or vertically, as fast as smoke rises. The spell affects targets up to size +1 and the caster must concentrate to alter the movement. Heavier targets move more slowly.

(Base 5, +1 Touch, +2 Sun)

The spell has a range of potential uses, not just to move grogs across untraversable gaps or waterways. If the effect was to be used on a hostile target the Range: Touch is a factor to consider and if successful the target could be moved well away from combat or dangerously high into the air.

A variant for a squad of targets, for the times when the Magus perhaps does not have the time to cast this spell many times; such as falling or while being chased.

The Buoyant Squad

Rego Corpus 25, R: Touch, D: Concentration, T: Group

The target is moved slowly in any direction the caster desires horizontally or vertically, as fast as smoke rises. The spell affects targets up to size +1 and the caster must concentrate to alter the movement. Heavier targets move more slowly.

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

And lastly a version for the caster to use upon themselves. If the caster knows either of the versions above then this is almost superfluous, although a lower level effect allows for better fast-casting. This version is also

The Buoyant Magus

Rego Corpus 10, R: Personal, D: Concentration, T: Individual

The caster is moved slowly in any direction they desire, horizontally or vertically as fast as smoke rises. The spell affects targets up to size +1 and the caster must concentrate to alter the movement. Heavier targets move more slowly.

(Base 5, +1 Concentration)

See further custom spells for Ars Magica can be found in the summary spells page.

crossing water

Return to the True Form of Man, reversing transformation effects

Another thought on transformations – what to do if you’re a target of a transformation effect. The idea for this spell is that a wizard can use this to remove any hermetic transformation effects upon themselves, regardless of the source of the transformation.

Many Hermetic transformation spells are designed with a termination utility within them, which makes sense, and renders this effect a little moot. The exception is those Muto Corpus effects which botch, have gone astray, or were cast by others. As a personal general spell, it could be learned at a low level and still have an excellent chance of cancelling the undesired transformation.

Return to the True Form of Man

Perdo Vim Gen, R: Personal, D: Momentary, T: Individual

This effect to returns the target to their humanoid natural form, ending any magical or supernatural transformation effects including Hermetic Muto Corpus related spells. The target effect is cancelled if it is equal to or less than the (level of this Perdo Vim spell + 20 + stress die (no botch)).

This spell will also end a shape-shifters transformation or non-hermetic effects, but cannot affect Heart Beast transformation effects of a Bjornaer Magus.

(Base General)

There is a kindred spell called The Heathen Witch Reborn from HoH:S p129 or GotF, which is the same effect designed at Range: Voice. As a General spell with a level+20+roll modifier it can be taken at a low level and still be effective.

This version is intended as insurance, for more defensive and personal uses rather than The Heathen Witch Reborn which has overt malicious tones.

Spells to mitigate warping in Ars Magica

When I initially thought of the effect I was planning to see it used on the friends of my Magus character, so they suffer less effects from the application of short term powerful transformation spells. The wider blog post and subsequent spells grew from this concept.

Ars Magica’s spell rules for Warping dictate that a target of a powerful effect (roughly magnitude 6 or higher) will recieve a Warping point each time a spell is cast upon them, and a personalised spell will mitigate this warping. Typically the personalised version of the spell is created in as a lab exercise.

As a storyguide I’ve previously guided players to assume that a spell with Range: Personal is always considered “personalised” for the caster because I assume that part of the task of learning the effect is also learning how to design it for themselves. This means that by default all other spells are never personalised. It is plausible that a spell could be designed at another range but still be personalised for the caster, as there is an argument to be made that any effect can be designed specifically for the caster, but that should not be the default and certainly not unless agreed in advance.

Given that Muto Vim spells can radically change almost any singular aspect of a spell (purpose, range, duration, target, sigil, effect power, splitting, etc), it seems probably that a Muto Vim spell could also be able to change another spell so that it is considered personalised for the other spell’s target, or personalised for the caster.

Note that the RAW indicate that the warping occurs on first application of an effect and also each season/year it is in effect. This means that this first set of spells is a partial measure to avoid Warping, as it can only mitigate the initial application of the spell.

Further below in this post I’ve written about potentially mitigating the long term effects, but that is not being suggested by these first two spell designs.

Inhibit the Egregious Deviations of the Warp

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

This spell alters the target spell so that it is considered tailored for it’s target for the purposes of any warping it may cause. This spell may alter any effect which is equal to the Muto Vim spell’s level.

(Base of a Significant Change to less than or equal to spell level +1 mag, target own spells as +1 Touch)

I’m happy with this spell concept. It applies a plausible effect which is not overpowered in the setting and not unbalancing in the game. This spell must be learnt above level 30 to have any purpose at all, more likely level 40+ to be broadly effective. That does not seem unbalancing, given how much effort is required to design a high level effect.

The logical variant is to personalise spells which are cast by others, where the Magus will be the target. Through cooperative casting (see the Vim guidelines) one caster’s first spell effect will not warp the target Magus because they cast the spell below in unison.

Inhibit the Selfish Deviations of the Warp

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

This spell alters the target spell so that it is considered tailored for the caster, as if the target spell was designed for the caster to not cause warping. This spell may alter any effect which is equal to the Muto Vim spell level less one magnitude (spell level -5). It is designed with Range Voice because  it must be cast cooperatively with another wizard to limit the warping effects of their spells.

(Base of a Significant Change to less than or equal to spell level +1 mag, target own spells as +2 Voice)

I think the second effect is the more powerful, because it may also be used in place of the first, although at a slight disadvantage in effective power level. When using these effects they are not useful to learn at less than level 30 and 35 respectively (due to the rules for warping with regard to mag 6 effects), so it is far more likely that either of these effects will need to be learned at level 40 or higher. That will be at least a challenge to many characters; a goal not a quick means to an end.

Base of a Significant change is due to a change in treatment of the target which can be considered a change in target according to the Ars guidelines on p158. Continue reading

Ars Magica 5e last products

Atlas Games has announced that they have set a sunset on the Ars Magica 5th edition game, which coincides with the resignation of the line editor David Chart, and the announcement of the last few books due for publication in 2015-16 and some tie-in products with Ars Magica flavour through 2016.

The community response was mixed, although generally very supportive. Some commenters in the official forums spoke of their disappointment, and the fact that the game is now dying by default. Here is my short post from the forums on the subject:

The idea that a game is dying because it has announced it’s last (future) books is reasonable for big games, but probably isn’t the right model for Ars. A big game like DnD will do that as we’ve seen.

I think the Ars situation is different because the most of the active online community is already on the forums, and every book can be purchased just as easily from an online retailer than from a store. Sure small shops might needs special order, fine, get it online. Ars is a very very niche audience, so the market is not going to fold up much smaller than it already is. 5th edition games will still be played for a long while after today – consider how long it took to migrate from 4th to 5th edition. Consider too that the game has a very large body of work, and that the body of work has never depended on publishing module series books (like A1-4, D1-3 in the dnd days).

To be frank – the publishers really also need (a) time to let 5e settle and continue to be played after the book releases, (b) time to prep any 6e work, (c) time to assess if they wish to continue the line from a profitability perspective.

Atlas have worked darn hard to keep Ars going, give them their due.