Spells to Observe Through Fire

A few spells akin to Eyes of the Flame (InIg35, ArM p.141) which enhance the range of observation a Magus can perform, and also demonstrate a fair use for the Faerie Duration: Fire. When writing these spells I found the Fire duration limiting and overtly expensive in terms of how many levels it adds to spells. It really should not be a +3 Magnitude adjustment given how limited the mechanics of its use are, and how rarely it is used in-play.

Ears of the Flame

Intellego Ignem 35, R: Arcane, D: Concentration, T: Individual

Lets you hear a fire and anything within its radius of heat and light up to the size of a large campfire which you have an Arcane Connection to.

(Base 10, +4 Arc, +1 Conc)

And then,

Ears of the Faerie Flame

Intellego Ignem 45, R: Arcane, D: Fire, T: Individual, Faerie

Lets you hear a fire up to the size of a large campfire within its radius of heat and light which you have an Arcane Connection to, while it still burns.

(Base 10, +4 Arc, +3 Fire)

Then two variants designed for use with an Intangible Tunnel which makes the spell far lower level.

Eavesdrop by the Fire

Intellego Ignem 25, R: Touch, D: Concentration, T: Individual

Lets you see and hear a fire up to the size of a large campfire within its radius of heat and light which you can touch. The intention is to combine this spell with an Intangible Tunnel to a particular fire.

(Base 10, +1 Touch, +1 Conc, +1 additional sense)

Eavesdrop by the Faerie Fire

Intellego Ignem 35, R: Touch, D: Fire, T: Individual, Faerie

Lets you see and hear a fire up to the size of a large campfire within its radius of heat and light which you can touch. The intention is to combine this spell with an Intangible Tunnel to a particular fire.

(Base 10, +1 Touch, +3 Fire, +1 additional sense)

Over 650+ new spells for Ars Magica can be found here.

Battle, Siege, and War spell durations for Ars Magica

There was an interesting idea shared on Atlas Games Ars Magica forums a long time ago for spell duration based upon battles and wars. Credit to Dunia for the idea. It reminded me of many of the durations used in both online games and other pen and paper RPGs. For a wizard who concentrated their skills in war such as many Tremere, Tytalus, or Flambeau this might be very appealing.

When I first read the post I thought that having Battle duration as equivalent to D:Sun was a bit on the expensive side as very few battles last this long; and in writing these versions of the new durations I have added conditions to their scope. Battle, Siege, and War are slightly different from how they were proposed in the forums.

As time has passed I’ve rethought and now think that there is a way to allow casual use of this style of duration which is a little more expensive, and also allow a dedicated war magus to use them with a bonus.


The difference comes down to the player buying a virtue, making a breakthrough for the effects, or just using them casually.

Hermetic Virtue – Warfare Magic (Minor +1) The magus has been trained in special disciplines especially devoted to warfare, and has access to three new durations: Battle, Siege, and War. Continue reading

Critical Recovery – more variations on Ars Magica spells

Flicking through the Ars Magica spells here and there, there are as many permutations and variations as a player could want. That said, I sometimes find it easier to review a complete variation of a spell for use with a character instead of considering it in my head. There is something more tangible when writing out the summary of terms and mechanics.

Vital Rest for the Incapacitated Custos

Creo Corpus 30, R: Touch, D: Ring, T: Circle

This spell grants the target touched a +18 bonus to all wound recovery rolls made while the spell is in effect, and the target must stay within the circle/ring for the duration. Note that the spell will cause warping.

This variant is intended for custos who require critical intervention and will not be moved.

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

A variant spell for healing a group of critically injured people, with this version using the highest spell guideline from the core rules and reworked to last as long as needed. I can see this being used when an important character suffers a dire wound and they must be cared for straight away. An incapacitated character could be placed within the magic circle to ensure their rest and recovery is optimal.

See further custom spells for Ars Magica can be found in the summary spells page.


What is “unnatural” in Creo and Muto?

What is intended by the term “unnatural” material in Ars Magica’s magic system, with regard to Creo of unnatural items? Well a long while back the 5e line editor clarified the intent, and I found it the other day while reading a tangential forum post.

David Chart wrote:

The intent was for “unnatural” to have the same meaning in all guidelines. You can Creo flammable water. However, since it isn’t natural, you can’t use vis to make it endure; it’s only sustained by the magic, like Muto. There is no form for it; that’s what makes it unnatural. It wasn’t written as requiring a Muto requisite because you aren’t changing anything; you are bringing something into existence with those properties. Looking at it now, the magnitude boost is probably too small, however.

I don’t think this got heavily playtested, because looking at the rules shows that they aren’t as clear as they should be. That probably indicates that I and all the playtesters thought that the meaning was perfectly clear, without actually agreeing on what that meaning was. But since no-one saw a problem, no-one raised it for discussion.

Great answer and fair enough. Considering the implications of this statement, they directly match to the behaviour of spell effects that are traditionally in the purview of Muto, but also may be performed with Creo with an increase in spell level. IMHO Creo was never restricted to only creating things that were “real”, as we know when spells can create mythical creatures and all sorts of wonderful things outside a peasant’s mindset.

This does give Creo a wider scope than I first thought though to give it, which is a nice enhancement to it’s role intertwined amongst the 5x techniques.

New Ars Duration: Tide

When you have an Ars Magica character with Flexible Formulaic Magic (FFM) every opportunity to lean a new Range, Duration, or Target adds significant leverage into a character. It may not add game shattering raw power, but instead add breadth of options which is why FFM is such an interesting virtue.

Duration: Tide – effect lasts until the tide changes twice.

I though that Duration: Tide might make an interesting new Duration for a magus. I see it as equivalent to Sun (+2), as the guideline would require the tide to change twice for the duration to expire. This makes it slightly less powerful than Sun during part of the day, and slightly more powerful afterward. A nice match.

A water or ocean oriented Magus could even replace all their typical Sun duration spells with Tide as a quirk of their magic to add flavour. There is an argument to make that use of this duration would require a certain level of magical experimentation and discovery, or that it should be a +3 mag adjustment just to be “harder” than Sun, and if required by the troupe this would be a simple discovery. The counter argument would be to let the Magus create a series of formulaic spells with Tide as the duration, as an ad-hoc way of learning the deeper aspects of tides, and that is certainly already allowed in the new spell creation guidelines of Ars.

As a story guide I’d dread trying to ponder when the tides would change twice, so I suggest using a tide checker site for the story location and take that as a broad brush solution.


p.s. the artwork is a wonderful piece by Bill Sharp. It’s a very clever image, simple on first look, but there is a lot of character to it as you look. Please take a look at the rest of his work.

List of Ars Magica Ranges, Durations, and Targets

600px-Alberti_cipher_diskHere is a list of Ars Magica spell Ranges, Durations, and Targets; compiled from the official spell guidelines and also from various quasi-official places by Gremlin44. Written on the Ars Magica forums (the source post for this contains all the official ones into a darn handy post in Feb 2014), other source books, and other new ideas I’ve added at the end.

Thank you Gremlin44, legendary post. Continue reading

New Ars Duration: Seal

When pondering the Target: Container, I came across the Ars communities thoughts on adding a new Duration: Seal as an allowed Hermetic spell constraint. Its a very good idea thrashed out by these community members (Ezzelino, Xavi, Timothy Ferguson, Gerg, YR7, Cuchulainshound, MarioJPC, GribbletheMunchkin, Jabir, Tellus, Richard Love).

Seal – this duration lasts until either the seal on the object is broken, or the object is opened in another way; the seal is active until it is effectively bypassed. The seal duration would be valid when used on a flask sealed with lead, but the spell would end immediately if the flask was broken, even if the flasks lead seal was not damaged.

The target of the spell using a Seal duration must be contained by the seal, the container, or the seal itself. Thus the contents of a bottle are valid, but a the object within a room behind a sealed door are not.

The seal must be intended to hold the object closed in a permanent manner, and must be applied to an object which could reasonably be sealed. Closing a door, or locking a chest is not permanent enough to use the Seal duration. Typical seals are wax sealed bottles, sealed letters, doors sealed with clay.

When used in this manner the seal is inscribed and marked in detail when initially created. Seal is a base: +3 magnitude duration when used.

This is a Duration that would require a Hermetic breakthrough to utilise, as while it has a narrow range of applications it does also extend some durations far beyond normal hermetic limits.