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)

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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.

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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.

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.