A spell to practice Finesse or Concentration

From a question I asked on the Ars Magica forums, on how Magi might proactive their Finesse skill without taking risks with powerful magic. The simple answer which I think most saga use is that the Magus sits there using very low power magic effects to spin rocks or some such. If that is the case it is probably only going to offer the most basic level of practice, and the Magus is probably not being challenged enough.

There is also the likelihood in a “real-ish” game that the character may do themselves some damage if they botch the casting or the finesse roll badly. There is a degree of risk using control magic to spin rocks, and not really having full control.

I thought maybe a solution might be created which allowed a higher level of challenge, didn’t depend on others (such as the Bellum game which allows for fighting between magically controlled illusions, from the Apprentices source-book), and removed the risk of damaging the caster.

  • Base effect: Creo Imaginem 1 (create an image that affects one sense, p144 ArM core)
  • Modifiers for Range: to Touch (+1), Duration: to Conc (+1), Target: Individual (+0)
  • Rationale: A moving image (+1), directed by use (+1), which is increasingly complex (+1). Which is also seeking to hamper or avoid the caster’s intent (+1).
  • Final effect level: CrIm 15.

As written up as a spell:

Mastery of Thought and Purpose

Creo Imagonem 15, R: Touch, D: Conc, T: Ind

When the spell is cast an abstract image forms in front of the caster which they may manipulate using Finesse rolls, while making Concentration rolls. The spell presents a detailed changing image, which tries to resist and contradict the alterations of the caster. Slowly as time progresses the image changes more quickly, and the caster is challenged with controlling the spell for as long as possible.

Unlike practice using normal spells requiring concentration and finesse, this spell is designed to frustrate and challenge the caster. This grants a source quality of 5 for practicing the Finesse and Concentration abilities.

(Base 1 to create an image that affects one sense, R: to Touch +1, D: to Conc +1, moving image +1, directed by use +1, which is increasingly complex +1, seeking to hamper or avoid the caster’s intent +1)

The spell may also be a useful candidate for learning to multi-cast, given the concentration required.

The spell is superfluous to almost all games, where normally a player will say their characters are practicing. I wanted to supply a reasonable answer for how they were practicing.

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Device: The Unburdened Mind

A typical limitation in many rpg magic systems are spells that only last as long as the caster is concentrating on the affect. Detecting magic, seeing invisible, etc all typically last only moments or as long as the caster concentrates. This is not a show stopper, but there are times when a wizard may want a bit of free thinking time just after casting, without having to focus on the spell. In Ars Magica a good way to do that is to invent a magic item that casts another spell that maintains the first one for you.

The effect of the device keeps the first spell active in an unchanged way, so the caster gets on with something else. Here is a sample magical device to do just that.

a black cubeAmulet of the Unburdened Mind – This amulet is made from a cubic piece of loadstone (a black gritty stone) three fifths of an inch wide on each face, held in a silver mount and chain. The faces of the loadstone are inscribed with stylised hermetic symbols for Rego, Terram, and Corpus (controlling earth and humans). To activate the amulet’s effect the wearer must clasp it in a clenched fist. Continue reading