Vanilla Covenants Project – Asteria of Verditius

Asteria of Verditius – a sample Magus for the Vanilla Covenants Project

Asteria specializes in creating magical items out of bronze. Originally trained in Italy, she eventually moved to Cornwall. This is where the finest tin in the world is mined, and it allows her to create the finest bronze. Like most Verditius, she is incapable of enjoying the company of other members of her House, which also made the move to Stonehenge attractive. She drinks too much, and is very protective of her reputation, but beyond these minor foibles, she’s willing to discuss her work with the younger magi.

Asteria of Verditius, at Gauntlet

Characteristics: Int +3, Per 0, Pre 0, Com 0, Str -2, Sta +1, Dex +3, Qik 0
Size: 0, Age: 25 (25), Height: 168 cm, Weight: 72 kg, Gender: Female
Decrepitude: 0, Warping Score: 0 (0), Confidence: 1 (3)

Virtues and Flaws:

Affinity with Metalsmith (no calc), Affinity with Terram (no calc), Deft Form (Terram) [Form: Terram], The Gift, Hermetic Magus, Improved Characteristics, Inventive Genius (Invent Lab Totals: +3), Minor Magical Focus (Bronze), Personal Vis Source (Terram) [Location], Puissant Magic Theory, Puissant Metalsmith, Puissant Terram, Verditius Magic* [Preparation Abilities: Philosophiae/*Craft], Blatant Gift (Interactions: -6 with normals), Deficient Form (Imaginem), Deleterious Circumstances (Against wind), Hatred (Non productive artistic types), Mentor (Verdi upper heirachy), Weakness (Drinking)

*note: the no calc means that the affinity has not been factored into the final skill/art level.

Personality Traits: Disciplined +3, Perfectionist +3, Spontaneous -2

Abilities:

Artes Liberales 1 (geometry), Athletics 2 (Climbing), Awareness 3 (flaws in stone and metal work), Finesse 1, Italian 5 (talking about metal and stone), Latin 4 (Hermetic terms), Magic Lore 1, Magic Theory 3+2 (Terram), Metalsmith 4+2 (Bronze) [Category: Laboratories], Parma Magica 1 (Terram), Philosophiae 2 (Verdi Runes), Scribe 1, Stonemason 3 (Statues and Busts) [Category: Buildings]

Arts: Cr 5, In 2, Mu 5, Pe 3, Re 6, An 0, Aq 0, Au 0, Co 0, He 0, Ig 0, Im 0, Me 0, Te 10+3, Vi 0

Spells:

  • Bindings of Bronze from Robes of Silk (MuAn(Te) 15) +6.
  • Measurement of Metal (InTe 10) +16
  • The Bronze Dart (Mu(Re)Te 15) +24
  • A Window of Singular Direction (MuTe 15) +19
  • Hardness of Adamantine (MuTe 25) +19
  • The Spell of Worked Bronze (ReTe 5) +26.
  • Forge of Purest Bronze (ReTe 15) +26
  • Ominous Levitation of the Weighty Bar (ReTe 20) +20

Custom spells known:

Bindings of Bronze from Robes of Silk

Muto Animal 15, R: Voice, D: Diameter, T: Individual

This spell turns an item of Animal based clothing or equipment worn by the target into bronze (typically a shirt, robe, etc), thereby hampering movement, affecting function, and increasing load. Exact effects will vary according to the articles worn by the target, ranging from no effect to practically complete immobilization.

(Base 4 to change a animal product to metal, +2 Voice, +1 Diameter, +0 Terram)

The Bronze Dart

Muto Terram / Rego 15, R: Voice, D: Momentary, T: Individual

A 10-inch bronze dart rises from the ground at your feet, floats into the air, and speeds off like an arrow at a target that is within Voice range. It does +10 damage, and always hits its target, although it must penetrate Magic Resistance to have any real effect.

(Base 3, +2 Voice, +1 affect metal, +1 Rego requisite)

Measurement of Metal

Intellego Terram 10, R: Touch. D: Momentary, T: Individual

This spell informs the caster of the purity and quality of an amount of metal.

(Base 5, +1 Touch)

The Spell of Worked Bronze

Rego Terram 25, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Group

The magus may transform a piece of bronze into a finished form, as if a Bronzeworker had shaped and formed it. Up to ten cubic feet may be transformed.

The magus must pass a Perception + Finesse roll substituting for Craft: Bronzeworker against an Ease Factor at least 3 higher than the mundane Ease Factor. Failure reduces the bronze to a slumped lump as if an incompetent beginner had worked on it.

(Base 2, +1 Touch, +2 metal, +2 Group, +1 flexibility, +1 size)

Forge of Purest Bronze

Rego Terram 20, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Group

This spell smelts and purifies up to ten cubic feet of bronze source materials. The pieces may be existing bronze work or raw copper, zinc, or lead bars. To achieve a suitable final result the caster must succeed a Finesse difficulty check of 12+. Appropriate craft skills may be add to this roll.

(Base 2, +1 Touch, +2 Group, +2 metal, +1 size)

Ominous Levitation of the Weighty Bar

Rego Terram 20, R: Voice, D: Concentration, T: Individual

As per Ominous Levitation of the Weighty Stone, HoH:S p38, but directs items made of metal.

(Base 3, +2 Voice, +1 Concentration, +2 affect metal)

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Ritual for Conjuring a Magical Wyrm

And then a mystical wyrm to demonstrate what other types of beasties might be possible.

Conjure the Mythical Wyrm

Creo Animal / Mentem Auram Vim 75, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Individual, Ritual

A magical drake is created with 11 Magic Might, +7 size, and a selection of powers such as fire-breathing, fire-immunity, and supernatural toughness. The magical beast is permanent and intelligent. The creature will have a personality and traits of its own and will initially serve the caster in a loyal manner.

(Base 50, +1 Touch, Mentem for intellect, Ignem / Auram for powers and resistance to fire, +2 size increase, +1 Rego for loyalty to caster, +1 Might increase)

Find this spell and hundreds more for Ars Magica in my grimoire.

Ritual for Conjuring a Magical Wolf

These next are two spells which indicate the complexity required for Hermetic magic in Ars Magica to create permanent magical creatures, as proposed through a discussion. This is not based upon a RAW guideline, rather some very logical forum discussions.

It’s worth noting that creating a normal wolf permanently is far easier; both these spells create creatures which could exist in the setting. If used in a saga I suggest that each spell become far more specific in terms of beast description, demeanor, and powers. A creature of the magic realm they should be closer to the idealised forms of their animal types.

Conjure the Majestic Wolf

Creo Animal 55, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Individual, Ritual

An adult wolf is created with 10 Magic Might and a small selection of powers, such as supernatural stealth and resilience. The magical beast is permanent and may have  Cunning or Intelligence. The creature will have a personality and traits of its own and is under no obligation to serve the caster.

(Base 50, +1 Touch)

This idea came from the Atlas Ars Magica forums thread:

If we look at the ‘Conjure the Walking Dead’ Ritual Spell from Hermetic Projects (Pg 117), it explains that the base level for creating a magical human is level 45; coincidentally the magical might of the revenant (pg 116) is 9; a simple ruling could be made that the magnitude of the spell is the amount of Magical Might that the creature would have.

Base level 50 for magical animal would make a magical might 10 creature, with +1 magnitude for +1 Magical Might

i.e a magical might 15 lion would be: Creo-Animal 80 ritual
(base 50, +1 Touch, +5 for higher might) with requisites for the powers that the lion has, Imaginum/Aurum for a super loud roar etc.

Find this spell and hundreds more for Ars Magica in my grimoire.

Setting: Mythic Heresy?

One of the topics that cycles regularly over the years is doing an Ars Magics game without player character wizards. Magi (and covenants) are a huge focus of the game, so removing that element really starts to become – what are you seeking play? 

The setting material as quasi-historic, perhaps a long precursor game to the introduction of wizards, or a feel for life around the Order of Hermes but not within it. It could be interesting and there are certainly other games about which do similar things. 

It reminds me of the Fantasy Flight Games for Death Watch when compared to playing “normal people”. The Space Marines are so pivotal in their fluff stories and so overpowered compared to regular humans that there is no real middle ground. And yet FFG have a darn successful set of RPGs set specifically at various power levels. Sure the player characters are not space marines, but they might be inquisitors, rogue traders, or darn tough mercenaries. 

So why can’t Ars Magica do this too?

Setting: Mythic Heresy – a tip of the hat to the Dark Heresy rpg where the players are members of an inquisition investigation team seeking to uncover the truth of various mythic legends and stories. 

Some quick thoughts:

  • Finding magic, or any other supernatural force might be a discovery in the setting. Or magic could all be gumpf, or all the work of the devil. 
  • It could get dark quickly. Especially if real work horrors are used as inspiration. i.e. The Cathars.  
  • Playing along side the magi or having to confront a magi should be the ultimate story event if it’s going to happen. Much like finally seeing an eldritch horror in a Call of Cthulhu game. If fact CoC probably has some delights to offer which are readily transportable. 
  • Not having magic might make players design diverse characters?
  • Should the players build a team of investigators or mix it up?

  

Wizard’s Obstinance, a Muto Vim spell to Resist Disruption

I was thinking about the Ars Magica Vim, and the meta-magic spell effects in Rego, Muto, and primarily Perdo Vim, which suspend or dispel a magical effect. Generally speaking these effects must exceed the level of the target spell to affect them, and they are very effective in totally neutralising the target spell. Through clever design there are also Rego Vim spells which remove magic for their duration in a target area, or suspend it (see Wind of Mundane Silence, p161 and Suppressing the Wizard’s Handiwork, p162).

So a trisky magus might design a Muto Vim effect which is cast along side another effect to strengthens the spell against such disruptions, but does not alter the target spell’s effect description, or range, duration, or target. The effect is cast as normal, and the additional Muto Vim spell raises the base level of the effect for the purposes of being suspended or dispelled by other spells.

This effect would be similar to a Wizard’s Boost (Ars p.160), but with no material change of effect. Just like Wizard’s Boost there could be a different version for each form, and there also could be a less powerful more general spell for any Hermetic Form.

The rationale for Muto Vim spell guidelines are sometimes difficult to apply, as there is a tendency to say that almost all alterations to an effect are at least considered significant, and as degree of change in this effect adds two magnitudes, it must be considered a total change according to the MuVi guidelines.

The issue I struggled with was deciding if this effect needed to be designed as a Form specific effect, or if it could be a more general spell. I decided that the best choice was to closely match the Wizard’s Boost and Wizard’s Reach spells from the Muto Vim section of the core rules, which both add +5 levels in a specific manner at a base effect: level equal to the effect +1 mag.

In the design considerations I also looked at how the desired effect of “resisting disruption” might be handled mechanically in the game. These meta-magic spells have a similarity in design, where almost any of them could be used for this effect, and I see that as not meeting the goal of this effect. The extra +5 levels should do something of note.

The version of the spell designed for specific forms, designed as a basic effect:

Wizard’s Obstinance of (Form)

Muto Vim Gen, R: Touch, D: Mom, T: Ind

This spell is cast with another spell of a level less than the level of this one. The effective level of the other spell increases 5 levels in power, but not past the level of the Wizard’s Obstinance, and the altered spell is treated as being twice it’s new level for the purposes of resisting spells to alter it further, or dispel it.

A Wizard’s Obstinance may never affect a single spell more than once. There are ten variants of this spell, one for each Hermetic Form.

(Base effect of Significant change to a spell – at level +1, +1 Touch)

Refs and links:

Strange female wizard kid spell

A few Cloud spells

“When the clouds above the covenant shape themselves into my sigil it is time to strike as the mundane guards will have been subdued.”

While drafting one spell to shape distant clouds a few more came to mind. The shaping spell might be used as a visual call to action which can be seen across a very wide area.

Conjure a Simple Cloud

Creo Auram 15, R: Sight, D: Sun, T: Individual

A cloud gathers high in the air, which will persist for the Spells duration reacting normally to the surrounding weather conditions.

(Base 2, +3 Sight, +2 Sun)

Theatrical Cloak of Black Tendrils

Creo Auram 25, R: Voice, D: Concentration, T: Group

Creates a voluminous and dark cloud of smoke which is filled with intertwining wisps and tendrils that surrounds the caster as they move. The cloud obscures all visibility within its core and then thins toward its edges; forming an opaque radius of 15 paces around the caster and thinning over 25 more paces.

(Base 3, +2 Voice, +1 Concentration, +2 Group, +1 unnatural locale)

An alternate for Rain of Stones (Ars p.127) which uses an acid instead of transformation to stone, with the General guideline for acidic air.

Rain of Viscous Acid

Muto Auram 20, R: Voice, D: Sun, T: Individual

Turns rain into a oily acid as it falls, causing +4 damage per round when it strikes an object or person. Continued exposure will cause significant damage.

(Base 4, +2 Voice, +2 Sun)

Cloudy Imaginings

Rego Auram 20, R: Sight, D: Concentration, T: Part

A selected cloud mass is reshaped to suit the designs of the caster, such as animal shapes, letters, or three dimensional faces. The shape can be slowly changed but will disburse as normal when the spell expires. A simple Finesse check vs 3 is required.

(Base 2, +3 Sight, +1 Concentration, +1 Part, +1 complexity in shape)

This and over 584 other new spells for Ars Magica can be found on the spells page.

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.