A spell to Burn Down a Castle

This is a quick spell to burn a building down from the inside. In the design I wanted an effect which would allow a pyromancer to immolate parts of a building but not others. Picture a staircase and rooms burning, which directs the panicking inhabitants down the only “safe” passage. Nasty!

It means adding a dual-target adjustment in the spell design, to grant the flexibility and control desired. I thought about creating the spell as Diameter instead, but thematically liked the idea that the magus can at will cancel the effect, and once several rounds have passed the building will continue to burn even though the spell has expired.

Immolation of Harrenhal

Creo Ignem 40, R: Touch, D: Concentration, T: Structure

Heats an entire structure, or a sub-part chosen by the caster, and everything within it to melting point, which creates a devastatingly dangerous environment for the inhabitants and materials. All items including typically non-flammable items will catch fire, and likely continue to burn after the spell expires.

(Base 10 to melt an object, +1 Touch, +1 Concentration, +3 Structure, +1 Part flexibility)

This and over 505 other new spells for Ars Magica can be found here.

A few spells inspired from Snow White for Ars Magica

Here are some spells based upon Snow White (as best as I can fit them) for Ars Magica. Some of the magical effect from the story are detailed in the core rules; such illusions, transformation, scrying, and forms of divination.

The Queen’s poisoned apple could be written many ways. A straight wounding poison, an extended sleep spell, and a faerie sleep spell. The trick with hermetic magic is to create a poison which knocks the target unconscious rather than wounding them. A Creo spell shouldn’t be able to replace the process for creating potions although by creating specific poisons within another substance is a work around. YSMV. My thought is that a toxin can wound, fatigue, sleep, or other effect; and the trick is really getting the target to eat it.

This means proposing a new Creo Aquam guideline for a fatiguing toxin instead of a wounding one. Not a huge leap.

  • Creo Aquam Guideline: Base 5, to inflict 1 level of fatigue if a Stamina check is failed against a difficulty of 3.
  • Each magnitude adds an additional fatigue level. Optionally each magnitude also increases the difficulty check by 3.

Draft of Weariness

Creo Aquam 20, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

The draft of toxin conjured inflicts a fatigue level if the imbiber fails a Stamina check vs 3.

(Base 5, +1 Touch, +2 Sun)

Which means a low powered spell matching the poison-apple using fatigue would be as below, noting that the higher of the two base effects is chosen; Base 1 CrHe to create a fruit, and Base 5 for the poison.

Fruit Created for Suffering

Creo Herbam / Aquam 20, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

The food conjured is tainted with a powerful magical toxin which inflicts a fatigue level on anyone who eats it if they fail a Stamina check vs 3. The spell may create a single discrete item of unprocessed food, such as fruits.

(Base 5, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, Herbam requisite free)

Fruit Imbued with Suffering

Muto Herbam / Aquam 20, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

The targeted food is tainted with a powerful magical toxin which inflicts a fatigue level on anyone who eats it if they fail a Stamina check vs 3. The taint becomes harmless when the spell expires.

(Base 5, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, Aquam requisite free)

The base for altering Herbam is MuHe3 however as the base for the toxin was CrAq5 that was used, which rationalised the free Aq requisite.

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

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.

Mentem Gestalts (part two)

From spell effects directly influencing combat (part one) now we move onto spells which are more like real gestalts.

Joining of Two Minds

Intellego Mentem / Creo 35, R: Touch, D: Concentration, T: Individual

More than just facilitating a two way conversation, this spell additionally links the thought processes, emotions, and the associated memories between the caster and the target. Each participant can see the deeper thoughts of the other, allowing a heightened awareness of personal perspectives and making subterfuge impossible.

(Base 20, +1 Touch, +1 Concentration, +1 two way communications with Creo sub-effect)

Joining of Many Minds

Intellego Mentem / Creo 45, R: Touch, D: Concentration, T: Group

This spell mentally links all people in the group facilitating rapid communication, thought processes, emotions, and the associated memories. Each participant can see the deeper thoughts of the others, allowing a heightened awareness of the other all perspectives and making subterfuge within the group impossible.

(Base 20, +1 Touch, +1 Concentration, +2 Group, +1 two way communications with Creo sub-effect)

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.