Spells to Repair a Dwelling

Over time I’ve written a few new Perdo and Rego spells for Terram and Herbam to damage parts of objects or structures (often using Target: Part as it is slightly harder but far more versatile), so in support of a breadth of magical spells for Ars Magica, here are a few ways to repair buildings and structures.

There are two approaches: Creo rituals which might be thought of as healing or restoring damage, and Rego Crafting spells (Houses of Hermes: Societates, Rego and Creo Craft Magic p. 60) which reconstruct the building using available materials. In design I think both need to be specific to the base materials involved, and requisites which may be required.

For using Creo there is a canonical spell with a similar effect which can be used to benchmark the difficulty. The spell Seal the Breach (a CrTe20 Ritual, Lords of Men sourcebook, p.116) repairs a gap within one wall, however a new spell with a larger effect and broader applications is far more useful and no more complicated or powerful.

Recondition the Battered Castle

Creo Terram / Herbam 20, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Structure, Ritual

The targeted wood, stone, and glass structure is repaired of all structural damage, such breached walls, collapsed rooms, fallen ceiling, etc.

The repairs are basic and very likely obvious, so while they are functional they lack any ornate features, quality finish, or embellishments.

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

With every ritual having a minimum level 20, it makes sense to load as much scope into the effect if the spell will initially be lower than level 20.

Recondition the Battered Walkway

Creo Terram / Herbam 20, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Part, Ritual

The targeted wood, stone, and glass is repaired of all structural damage, such breached walls, collapsed rooms, fallen ceiling, etc. Or if the structure is too large for  a single casting, this spell can affect part of the greater whole and be applied many times.

The repairs are basic and very likely obvious, so while they are functional they lack any ornate features, quality finish, or embellishments.

(Base 3, +1 Touch, +1 Part, +3 size)

Another higher level ritual is needed to include complexity of an ornate structure, such as a damaged Conjured Mystic Tower; written up below. I like the fact that casting another CtMT would be cheaper than using this ritual, because it makes a kind of sense that while the tower was once a single piece of stone, it now is better treated as a structure with all its content. Nice too that all the items within the tower have the option to be repaired.

Recondition the Mystic Tower

Creo Terram / Herbam 40, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Structure, Ritual

The targeted structure and all its content is repaired of all wood, glass, stone, and metal structural damage, such as breached walls, collapsed rooms, or fallen ceiling.

The repairs suitably match the quality of the base structure, making repairs invisible unless a requisite material is missing.

(Base 5, +1 Touch, +3 Structure, +3 complexity)

A version for a boundary might be a more simple solution to covenants which are initially in a state of disrepair.

Recondition the Ruined Township

Creo Terram / Herbam 35, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Boundary, Ritual

All dwellings within the defined boundary made from wood, stone, and glass are repaired of all structural damage, such breached walls, collapsed rooms, fallen ceiling, etc.

The repairs are basic and very likely obvious, so while they are functional they lack any ornate features, quality finish, or embellishments.

(Base 5, +1 Touch, +4 Boundary, +1 complexity)

For approaches using Rego more interpretation is needed as the Rego crafting kick-in, there is also a degree of complexity involved when trying to use Rego in large areas. Instead of a spell affecting an entire castle the Rego magic works better when it is targeted to a much smaller area, both in the volume of material needed and also the complexity and effort modifications in the Finesse skill checks.

Renovation of the Neglected Walkway

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

Using appropriate available materials the caster can repair damage to buildings and walls made from stone, metal, or wood. To ensure the reconstruction is suitable a successful Finesse check vs 12+ is required for each repaired segment. Detailed planning and assistance from expert sources may reduce the Finesse difficulty for a specific area.

This spell will not prepare the source materials or ensure they are fit for purpose, so other spells may be required.

(Base 5, +1 Touch, +2 Group, +1 group size)

Comprehend the Handwork of Dilapidation

Intellego Terram / Herbam 25, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Part

This spell allows the caster to examine a whole structure or segment, and understand its current state of disrepair. The information gleaned extends beyond basic damage to include the internal structures and how it might best be repaired.

(Base 15, +1 Touch, +1 Part)

These and over 552 other new spells for Ars Magica can be found here.

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Spell to Slowly Deconstruct a Castle

Rego spells can build things and perform the work of a craftsman in an instant. I’m certain they could deconstruct a complex thing as well as build one. Or wreck something in a manner consistent to the skills of a craftsman. Why? Well materials are expensive and also not always abundant. Deconstruct a castle into reusable materials and then build a new one elsewhere.

Starting with a spell which performs the work of a laborer for one day, we have to decide how hard it is to knock out bricks. Let’s say it’s an Easy task, which requires a base Finesse difficulty check of 6+. Then we see check that a Rego Terram effect can manipulate a cubic pace of material, which sounds reasonable for a day’s work.

In the spell design it’s plausible to increase the amount of work performed, or increase the materials affected; however that raises both the Finesse difficulty and the effect level. It is better to create a lower level simple effect and use an item to allow it to be used repeatedly.

Deconstruct the Obtrusive Wall

Rego Terram 10, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Part

This spell removes, cleans, and stacks Terram based materials from a targeted structure. The spell makes no account for the structural integrity of the affected surface, but will remove the bricks safely and stacks them neatly to the side. A finesse check of 6+ is required to perform the spell neatly and quickly.

(Base 3, +1 Touch, +1 Part, +1 stone)

Then modified in an item as: +10 unlimited uses; for a final device level 20.

These effects, like all the others I’ve pondered are part of a new spells compendium for Ars Magica.

House rule to Mitigate High Finesse Target Numbers

High target numbers for Finesse checks frustrate me in Ars Magica, the required target numbers are borderline ridiculous for a typical wizard, and I see them as a game mechanic seeking to limit the use of certain styles of magic. They should be a way to add depth and risk to an activity, not punish players.

In a previous post about extensions to the Conjuring the Mystic Tower spell I commented about the blisteringly high finesse checks which were introduced in the Covenants and later source books. When talking about casting CtMT:

It has some issues in the expanded game, when the Finesse rolls required are extrapolated upon in additional rulebooks, so that it may (depending on the troupe) have a very high finesse check to perform, and with that the risk of a total waste of vis if the Tower is malformed. And a somewhat troubling clean-up task too.

I am an advocate of hand-waving away almost all those aspects given how infrequently the spell would be cast in a typical game, and how fundamental to a covenant’s growth the effect is.

Not to say that a botched spell or flawed finesse roll couldn’t present an intriguing opportunity…

I stand by the point that Conjuring the Mystic Tower was never intended (when first written) to require a Finesse check of 24+. It is implausible for an NPC and frankly a waste of XP for a player character.

For non-rituals, then sure roll Finesse – I accept that a little more. However any time a caster has the time to stop and plan the way an effect will be brought into being, then they should be able to greatly reduce their risk of failing that roll.

Perhaps the guide should be a +1 to the Finesse check for each day the caster spends working on how the spell will be cast. If that approach isn’t punishing enough then use the pyramid scale from XP to require a massive amount of days to be spent to “buy” the finesse roll bonus.