Gift of the Bear’s Strength, and Hybrid Transformations using Muto

Thank you to Theomund for the comment on another post which started me thinking about the limits of what Muto Corpus / Animal spells can do, and what the guidelines imply. Initially the suggestion was to use the gorilla as the base animal, however I’ve used a bear in the naming as I think bears are more prolific in medieval Europe and the bear has a very high strength star in the Book of Beasts.

To begin an answer – the MuCo2 baseline which is commonly used for minor transformations an abilities seems far too low to allow for a wholesale change. A full transformation into an animal is MuCo10, and birds or fish is MuCo20, and the themes of Ars Magica seem to imply that moving to a know form (wolf, bird, etc) is easier than a partial or unknown form. So I think a Muto Corpus 15 base is better to represent this type of hybrid man/animal transformation. The transformation might grant a few new attributes or adjustments as long as the additional powers or aspects are very similar and thematic. Further additional magnitudes should allow even more strange abilities, such as combining attributes from different animals.

This is aligned with Gift of the Bear’s Fortitude, which uses a MuCo15 base, which transforms all of the target’s body to grant a combat mechanic advantage and does not use an Animal requisite.

This is very similar to what  I suggested for the Monstrous Transformations of Behemoths and Dragons and also in a Discussion on Muto Transformation Magic in an earlier posts:

(based upon the appropriate guideline for land or sea/air animals) … A few similar thematically alterations only cost +1 mag, but many will cost another +1 mag. So the extra +1 mag allows for say 12-15 powers, where the limited one allows for a few.

This means that once the base level has allowed for an animal transformation, an additional magnitude should allow for a strange transformation (making a rough new MuCo Baseline of 15 for partial transformations), and then a further magnitude should allow for a good spread of physical abilities. I think it’s logical to use the same spells as a guide for a hybrid form; as that is basically what the Behemoth was.

Aside – There has not been a Muto Corpus spell which adds to a stat, probably as it is covered by Creo Corpus although the Ars Magica system seems to allow for many different ways to achieve an end.

New Hermetic Baseline – Muto Corpus 15 – Allows a partial transformation of a human to a land animal, granting aspects of both the animal form and human form. Requisites are probably needed.

New Hermetic Baseline – Muto Corpus 25 – Allows a partial transformation of a human to a sea or air animal, granting aspects of both the animal form and human form. Requisites are probably needed.

A spell transforming with an aspect of animal strength might be as follows. This uses a “partial transformation” of MuCo/An15. This is a useful spell as it allows the target to continue to use human sized weaponry and armor against targets, and not suffer a limitation of striking MR due to an active spell (discussed here).

Gift of the Bear’s Strength

Muto Corpus / Animal 30, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

Changes the target’s body to gain the broad musculature of a bear which enhances their frame, increasing Strength by +3. Equipment and clothing are not altered by this spell and may no longer fit suitably.

(Base 15, +1 Touch, +2 Sun)

A spell to transform into a hybrid creature might be:

Form of Hulking Werebear

Muto Corpus / Animal 30, R: Personal, D: Sun, T: Individual

Transforms the caster into a chimeric blend of man and bear, resulting in a large bipedal hybrid. The humanoid form increases in size by 2 to a maximum of Size +2, retains rudimentary humanoid head, hands and feet, although the gross shape and size change causes most equipment to be difficult to wear. Replace all physical attributes with those of an adult bear (Strength, Stamina, Dexterity, Quickness, and Size) and average Perception, Awareness, and Communication. The bear’s natural claw and bite attacks are halved in effectiveness. Equipment and clothing is not altered by this spell.

(Base 15, +2 Sun, +1 additional attributes and bear themed abilities)

Related link on Ars forums http://forum.atlas-games.com/viewtopic.php?t=32533, and other custom spells for Ars Magica can be found on the new spells page.

 

Stat Boosting Rituals, Part 5 (Stacking Pluses)

Continuing from Stat Boosting Rituals, Part 1, 2, 3, 4, … to outline raising stats by more than +1 in each spell. This has the effect of creating very powerful and efficient boosting rituals.

A level 30 base effect can change a stat by +1 (to max 0), then maybe further magnitudes be added to raise it by more. It is a concept outside RAW, so some groups would say, “use the game as written fella” and ignore the suggestion. I can respect that choice and see that a reason to not do this is so that players won’t just create huge rituals to skip over multiple castings and seasons learning each step, and to avoid the vis costs. Frankly though that is a balance issue more than a game world issue. Ars Magica commonly uses extra magnitudes to enhance a base effect, so it deserves a discussion.

What increment for raising?

A single magnitude adds 10x the volume but there is not a direct correlation to stats. I first thought that a scale which uses the benefit to the dice roll of the increase might work, but the more I think on it the more it seems a very artificial and “mechanical” approach. Instead looking at the way it is potentially going to be abused, look at the impact to the setting.

Suggested Spell Guideline: Each additional magnitude adds a +1 boost to the stat, which must remain within the guideline of the base effect.

For example:

  • A base effect 30 to raise a stat by +1, to a maximum of zero.
  • Then add +1 mag for Range: Touch
  • Then an additional 3 magnitudes to change the effect from +1 to +4.
  • Final spell effect level 60: increases a stat by +4 to a maximum of +0.

When does it break?

Well rituals don’t really break, it’s more a question of game balance. Initially I debated many different costs and decided a mag per +1 increase as it’s the general rule. It allows for a little variety in non-permanent spells, however the spells at the higher baselines could potentially be unbalancing.

For example – A base 55 effect allows for a +1 stat boost to a limit of +5 Attribute, with +1 mag for R: Touch is a level 60 spell. Then adding another 4 mags allows a level 80 ritual to raise a stat increase to +5, to a limit of +5 final score. Then combined with another spell using base 30 for maximum of +0, at level 50 for a +5 gain.

Mass Infusion of Strength for Weaklings

Creo Corpus 50, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Circle, Ritual

The affected targets Strength is increased by +5 to a maximum of +0.

(Base 30, +1 Touch, +4 to boost by +5, Ritual)

Mass Infusion of Strength for Warriors

Creo Corpus 80, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Circle, Ritual

The affected targets Strength is increased by +5 to a maximum of +5.

(Base 55, +1 Touch, +4 to boost by +5, Ritual)

And a temporary version, allowing greater than +1 boosts.

Temporary Mass Infusion of Strength

Creo Corpus 50, R: Touch, D: Diameter, T: Circle

The affected targets Strength is increased by +2 to a maximum of +1.

(Base 35, +1 Touch, +1 to boost to +2 bonus, +1 Diameter)

Using +1 mag per +1 stat allows for a ritual to skip over many subsequent castings of the level 60 spell to raise an attribute permanently. It feels a little too easy, but using +2 mags per +1 feels far too punitive.

Closing… After writing this uber-boost concept and reflecting I’ve basically reversed my opinion – ultra-rituals would suit high-powered sagas, but not suit many groups. The temptation to raise stats gets far harder to resist if the vis investment is reduced, and that should be left to the troupe.

All the new spells for Ars Magica can be found here.

calm-wow-art

Stat Boosting Rituals, Part 4 (Reduction)

Continuing from Stat Boosting Rituals, Part 1, 2, 3, … to discuss Perdo versions to reduce character attributes.

There is also a fair argument to say that as a Creo ritual can permanently increase the starts of a person, so to another Perdo spell could decrease their stats. As this is a baseline, the spell only has to be a ritual if it will be permanent, so temporary beneficial and punitive spells are also possible.

What isn’t clear is how the incremental base difficulties should work for Perdo based reductions. For Creo the base 30 increases any stat below 0 by +1, which is telling us that it is harder to raise higher stats. Likewise it is probably harder to make a very low stat worse than a higher one. There is also the Muto Corpus guidelines which imply that it is easier to shrink a target than grow.I could also see the logic of an argument which says the base should be the same, as it is affecting the body whole, but the same isn’t true for game mechanic reasons in Creo.

Overall I think it makes most sense (because it is a simplistic approach) to use the same guidelines as CrCo and CrMe for PeCo and PeMe except with -1 instead of +1 in the description.

For example, in Perdo Animal, Perdo Corpus, or Perdo Mentem :

  • Base 30 to reduce a stat by -1, on a stat which is equal to or less than 0.
  • Base 35 to reduce a stat by -1, on a stat which is equal to or less than 1.
  • Base 40 to reduce a stat by -1, on a stat which is equal to or less than 2.
  • Base 45 to reduce a stat by -1, on a stat which is equal to or less than 3.
  • Base 50 to reduce a stat by -1, on a stat which is equal to or less than 4.
  • Base 55 to reduce a stat by -1, on a stat which is equal to or less than 5.

Then as spell samples, although a level 60 ritual may as well just kill a person.

The Loss of Reason, Encircled

Perdo Mentem 35, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Circle, Ritual

Permanently decreases the affected targets Intelligence by 1 point, to a stat equal or less than 0.

(Base 30, +1 Touch)

The Withering of Reason, Encircled

Perdo Mentem 60, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Circle, Ritual

Permanently decreases the affected targets Intelligence by 1 point, to a stat equal or less than 5.

(Base 55, +1 Touch)

All the new spells for Ars Magica can be found here.

Stat Boosting Rituals, Part 3 (Maximum Boost)

Continuing from Stat Boosting Rituals, (Part 1, 2) … to outline versions of the most powerful a ritual can be to boost a characters attribute stats, to +5. The maximum versions for each stat are listed below. Both Creo Corpus and Creo Mentem are needed to cover all eight attributes.

For the Mentem based effects (note that the Intelligence based enhancements were covered in an earlier post):

The Perfection of Foresight, Encircled

Creo Mentem 60, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Circle, Ritual

Permanently increases the affected targets Perception by 1 point, to no higher than +5.

(Base 55, +1 Touch)

The Perfection of Gravitas, Encircled

Creo Mentem 60, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Circle, Ritual

Permanently increases the affected targets Presence by 1 point, to no higher than +5.

(Base 55, +1 Touch)

The Perfection of Elucidation, Encircled

Creo Mentem 60, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Circle, Ritual

Permanently increases the affected targets Communication by 1 point, to no higher than +5.

(Base 55, +1 Touch)

For the Corpus based effects:

The Perfection of Force, Encircled

Creo Corpus 60, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Circle, Ritual

Permanently increases the affected targets Strength by 1 point, to no higher than +5.

(Base 55, +1 Touch)

The Perfection of Endurance, Encircled

Creo Corpus 60, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Circle, Ritual

Permanently increases the affected targets Stamina by 1 point, to no higher than +5.

(Base 55, +1 Touch)

The Perfection of Celerity, Encircled

Creo Corpus 60, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Circle, Ritual

Permanently increases the affected targets Quickness by 1 point, to no higher than +5.

(Base 55, +1 Touch)

The Perfection of Agility, Encircled

Creo Corpus 60, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Circle, Ritual

Permanently increases the affected targets Dexterity by 1 point, to no higher than +5.

(Base 55, +1 Touch)

All the new spells for Ars Magica can be found here.

Stat Boosting Rituals, Part 2 (Temporary Boosts)

Continuing from Stat Boosting Rituals, Part 1, … now looking at non permanent versions of the boosting rituals. The non-permanent versions of these spell’s are very limited as they will automatically become rituals if the level exceeds 50. That greatly limits the maximum effect possible for non-permanent non-ritual effects. For example:

The Gift of Reason, Encircled till Dusk

Creo Mentem 45, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Circle

Permanently increases the affected targets Intelligence by 1 point, to no higher than 0.

(Base 30, +1 Touch, +2 Sun)

In an item the effect will end up as at least a level 55 effect:

The Blessing of Reason, Encircled for enchantment. 

Creo Mentem 50, R: Touch, D: Concentration, T: Circle

Permanently increases the affected targets Intelligence by 1 point, to no higher than 2.

(Base 40, +1 Touch, +1 Concentration)

(+5 Device maintains concentration, +0 for one use per day)

The enchanted device write up could also be used as a special creature power. Familiars can grant powers and boosting their masters is reasonable.

All the new spells for Ars Magica can be found here.

Stat Boosting Rituals, Part 1 (using Circles)

Based upon The Gift of Reason (Ars Magica p.148) there is the potential to create a ritual using each of the Mentem and Corpus guidelines which increases the attributes for Ars Magica characters. As one of my characters is looking to invent some of these in play, below are some sample rituals and a discussion of the choices players have. And because the series became quite long they are separated into several blog posts.

This series of blog posts will cover thoughts in general about permanent and temporary stat spells:

  • Each variant could also have an Animal version. Animals have the capacity to have stats outside the +/-5 range too, although it is arguable that magic might not be able to boost beyond that even if creatures themselves could. Boosting animals physical stats and mental stats also uses Animal for both which means less arts are needed, although separate spells still need to be invented. Bjornaer magi could potentially get a lot of gain there.
  • To make a spell list easier to navigate, a naming convention would be useful. The spells are likely to be listed with each other, so the Gift of Int, Per, Pres and Com will line up for each of the stat boosts to the +0 limit.
  • Then the colorful phrasing might be +1 for Boon of Reason, +2 is called Blessing, +3 for Favor, +4 for Surge, +5 for Perfection.
  • … of Reason for Intelligence, of Foresight for Perception, of Gravitas for Presence, and of Elucidation for Communication.
  • … of Force for Strength, of Endurance for Stamina, of Celerity for Quickness, of Agility for Dexterity.
  • It is a reasonable assumption that reducing stats is the same difficulty, with a spell switched to Perdo rather than Creo, still at the same baseline level.
  • The negative versions to remove one point of stats might be called Lack (from 0 or lower), Loss (1), Forfeit (2), Raze (3), Waste (4), and Ruination (from 5),
  • Remember that these may invented as Target: Individual or Circle.
  • Spells should also be invented to not warp the caster and as many targets as the SG will allow.

The first important point: perhaps the Gift of Reason missed an optimization opportunity and should be using Target: Circle. As circle spells can affects more than one target with no increase in level, that means the same amount of vis for the ritual could affect a much larger amount of targets. In my opinion the spells should have been written using a Circle target.

For example – A mature wizard is probably needed to create these rituals as they are all approx level 40 or higher. That wizard is best served getting a familiar, a lab assistant, and perhaps an apprentice. Raising just the casters Intelligence score is nice, but gaining a multiplicative effect in their own lab is far better. The level 60 ritual will raise Int up to +5 which could add an extra 6 to lab totals depending on starting Int score and how many wizards it affects. It will cost a huge amount of vis, but that is worth the investment in a long game. Another consideration is first creating a level 35 or 40 version which might take a few seasons for a younger wizard, and then subsequent versions gain the +7-8 lab total boost from knowing a similar spell.

As generated these spells also do not strictly need to be rituals in the basic versions, instead they might also be made into items to grant temporary bonuses. Rituals are far better in the long term for managing warping, however an enchanted device might make a wonderful and expensive gift.

As written the spell guidelines for raising abilities has the same baseline difficulty from -5 through to 0 (base level 30). It seems slightly illogical to reduce the stats of a person using a baseline 30 effect, when a similar level effect can do far worse damage – which is why these spells have been probably regarded as moot.

As an example, the Gift of Reason is all but identical when rewritten as with a Circle Target. Spending 7 pawns of vis for one person or many people is an easy choice.

The Gift of Reason, Encircled

Creo Mentem 35, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Circle, Ritual

Permanently increases the affected targets Intelligence by 1 point, to no higher than 0.

(Base 30, +1 Touch)

mind-of-stars

As my wizard has to choose which style of rituals to create and at what level, he’d design one which allows him an immediate gain. Going from Int +2 to Int +3 permanently is worth 10 pawns of vis. Likewise for the additional seasons it will take to craft, a 12 pawn ritual is reasonable too.

The Favor of Reason, Encircled

Creo Mentem 50, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Circle, Ritual

Permanently increases the affected targets Intelligence by 1 point, to no higher than +3.

(Base 45, +1 Touch)

The Perfection of Reason, Encircled

Creo Mentem 60, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Circle, Ritual

Permanently increases the affected targets Intelligence by 1 point, to no higher than +5.

(Base 55, +1 Touch)

All the new spells for Ars Magica can be found here.

Spells for Perceiving People as Music

Adding new supernatural senses through hermetic magic is not low level, and is also often very effective. Spell effects have to be specific and purposeful. Here are two spells which perceive dead and then living humans as musical tones and notes.

Music for the Earthly Remains

Intellego Corpus / Terram 25, R: Personal, D: Concentration, T: Hearing

Caster gains an additional hearing sense for dead humans and is able to hear when they are close by through musical notes and chords. The corpses appear to speak and sing to the caster, with their style and manner reflecting the casters sigil.

(Base 4 for general information about a body, +1 Concentration, +3 Hearing, +1 hearing through solid earth)

Music for the Sneaking Assassin

Intellego Corpus 25, R: Personal, D: Sun, T: Hearing

Caster gains an additional magical sense for living humans, and is able to hear their presence when they are close by through musical notes and chords. Targets appear to speak and sing to the caster, with their style and manner reflecting the casters sigil.

(Base 4 for general information about a body, +2 Sun, +3 Hearing)