A forced doppelgänger in Ars Magica?

Reading through some of the linked sites from Project Redcap reminded me of a spell from a few Ars editions ago – the Exchange Between Prison Bars (was it in the 3e Grimoire?). This spell switched the images of two people. From 3rd edition days the targets were a lot more fluid and debatable. In 5th edition the spells tend to have a single target or “pay” for a group target, although it is certainly possible to have non-standard targets too.

Here is a variant for 5th edition Ars Magica.

Exchange Between Bars

Muto Imaginem 25, R: Voice, D: Sun, T: Special

 All four sensations of the person targeted and the caster are switched.

(Base 4, +2 Voice, +2 Sun, +1 additional special target)

Nice, but a Rego spell is really doing the switch properly, although it’s probably superfluous to actually switch positions. Maybe handy in some combat circumstances or to capture an enemy.

Teleport Between Bars

Rego Corpus 20, R: Voice, D: Momentary, T: Special

The target and the caster exchange placed via teleportation as long as they are within 50 paces of each other. Requisites may be required

(Base 5, +2 Voice, +1 additional special target)

Find over 513 other new spells for Ars Magica can be found on the spells page.

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Lost Spells (part 3) Crossing rivers

Continuing the series of converting old spells… In Christs Footsteps (ReCo5) was introduced to 5th edition in Guardians of the Forest (P96), however that does not assist with companions and familiars, and is dangerous when the caster gets distracted or in a crisis.

Footsteps Across the Sweeping River

Rego Corpus 15, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

Allows the targeted person to move across any surface that otherwise could not support them for the duration. Invented for travel in regions where the ground is unstable or where many rivers and lakes would impede a direct route.

(Base 4, +1 Touch, +2 Sun)

Hoofbeats Across the Turbulent Sea

Rego Animal 15, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

Allows the targeted animal to move across any surface that otherwise could not support them for the duration. Invented for travel in regions where the ground is unstable or where many rivers and lakes would impede a direct route.

(Base 4, +1 Touch, +2 Sun)

Over 500+ new spells for Ars Magica can be found here.

Lost Spells (part 1) Extending Injuries

I’ve found an old site full of Ars Magica spells which appear to be from the third edition of the game (it’s French and looks like 3e … ?), and while many are now in some book or other – spells remain which are darn great so I’ve revamped them for 5th edition Ars Magica. This is the first of many post based upon these “lost spells”.

Firstly a spell stop natural healing for the duration, which makes more sense as a reworking of the Creo Corpus guidelines for wound recovery. In 5e it is easier to inflict a light wound than heal one (base 10 vs 15), so using similar stepping difficulties with Perdo Corpus base 1 causes a -3 to rolls, which scales by additional magnitude to base 10 to cause a -18 modifier. And further to base 15 to stop all wounds from improving for the duration.

Curse of Chronic Injury

Perdo Corpus 15, R: Touch, D: Moon, T: Individual

The target suffers a -9 to all wound recovery rolls for the duration.

(Base 3, +1 Touch, +3 Moon)

The Stagnant Flesh

Perdo Corpus 35, R: Touch, D: Moon, T: Individual

The target cannot heal naturally from any wounds or infliction for the duration. All recovery rolls which indicate an improvement are ignored, and negative side effects of rolls are retained.

(Base 15, +1 Touch, +3 Moon)

All the 550+ new spells for Ars Magica can be found here.

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.