Seven Lesser Enchanted Devices for Guards and Watchmen

These are a few enchanted items for Ars Magica grogs, intended to increase their effectiveness. The goal of these items is to make the grogs more efficient without compromising their capacity to respond, which means a range of situational powers is better than one large dramatic one. The powers have many uses per day as they can be used by every member of the guard, if these were designed for a single user they would be slightly lower level.

For example a power which affects the weapons of the grog would be avoided. Powers which affect the grog’s equipment are better as they also avoid warping.

The Seven Charms of the Earnest Guardsmen – this set of steel charms is set upon a life sized oak bust of a grizzled guardsman who is helmed and armored in scratched and worn gear. Each charm is held in place and enchanted separately as a lesser enchanted device. The bust is anchored in place in the watch-house or garrison of the covenant. The charms place enchantments upon the user, allowing a each charm to be used by many members of the covenant.

The items were designed as lesser devices and set together, this way further enhancements could be added over time and items could be replaced if another power was preferred. Each item could also be taken and worn, and each is a two way arcane connection to the wooden bust.

Each power is activated by touching the selected charm with one hand and the target’s chest with the other.

Charm of the Bear’s Hide – a steel chain around the neck of the statue, with a small bear shaped token attached. As per Gift of the Bears Fortitude (Ars p.131) (MuAn 35), (Base 15, +1 Touch, +2 Sun), with +5 for 24 uses per day.

Twin Charms of the Perceptive Hound – two steel cloak pins, shaped for a leaping dog and a sniffing dog, when worn together one jumps the other.

First pin’s effect is Nose of the Bloodhound (MuCo/An 10), (Base 2, +1 Touch, +2 Sun), with +5 for 24 uses per day. This effect changes the target’s nose to be that of a hound, greatly increasing their ability to track by scent and notice unusual odours.

Second pin’s effect is Ears of the Bloodhound (MuCo/An 10), (Base 2, +1 Touch, +2 Sun), with +5 for 24 uses per day. This effect changes the target’s ears to be that of a hound, greatly increasing their hearing abilities.

Charm of the Perceptive Watchman – a full steel helm. As per Eyes of the Cat (Ars p.131) (MuCo/An 10), (Base 2, +1 Touch, +2 Sun), with +5 for 24 uses per day.

Charm of the Resilient Gambeson – a steel brooch set upon the bust’s chest, shaped as a round-shield and decorated with a gauntlet symbol. As per Doublet of Impenetrable Silk (Ars p.118) (MuAn 20), (Base 4, +1 Touch, +2 Sun), with +5 for 24 uses per day.

Charm of Preternatural Growth – a steel pauldron strapped to the shoulder of the bust. As per Preternatural Growth and Shrinking (Ars p.131) (MuCo/AnTeHe 15), (Base 3, +1 Touch, +2 Sun), with +5 for 24 uses per day. The target and their equipment increases in size by one category to a maximum of size +1.

Charm of the Allied Turb – a diamond shaped steel badge worn over the bust’s heart which signifies the covenant symbol. (MuIm 10) (Base 1, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 detailed), with +5 for 24 uses per day. The target’s appearance is altered to match their untransformed form (for those with some of the effects above), and also to be wearing a tunic of covenant colors and symbol. This effect is used in combination with the others to indicate those on duty and also the expiry of the other effects.

Final note: beware the warping some of these items will cause if used regularly. Initially I had a goal to create all the items with no warping, however it proved too difficult.

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Tyne, a sample Ars Magica Shield Grog

portrait-tyneTyne proved her worth as a brawler in prison surviving through harsh conditions and torturous captors. She was sent away for “correction of her manner, being too impolite and unruly for decent living” but has never spoken of the activities which brought her to that position. Tyne was certainly changed, and when she exited she had learned to hold her fists and tongue far better, and had also gained invaluable martial skills. When she was finally released as a clemency on a holy day, she traveled briefly to her home village and then left to wander. She fell in with a band of brigands and was later again captured by the authorities, this time branded as a criminal. Tyne met Magus Corbin close to the end of his apprenticeship after her second release from incarceration. He needed a guard who wouldn’t ask questions and she needed protection and money to survive. Continue reading

Sean, a sample Ars Magica lab assistant

portrait-seanSean is the personal assistant to Magus Corbin, Follower of Merinita. He is a failed monk who is one of the rag-tag bunch brought to the covenant by Corbin.

Background

Born a lame bastard of a trivial midlands clan, Sean has no great destiny. His early life saw him shipped off to a college school as he seemed to be passingly smart and could do very little of the field work or hard laboring with his gimp leg. The church needed more hands, and saw fit to begin his training. Alas he was a poor fit for the monastic life and he left the Church shortly after taking his final vows, and fled to his old home. Sean was found by Corbin during a brief but utterly problematic visit to his old clan. Corbin was one of the only people who gave Sean a second look, and for that reason alone the clan were happy for Sean to hobble after Corbin when he departed.

While Corbin completed his apprenticeship he saw that Sean was trained in more skills than just writing, and found him to be an useful extra set of hands. When the time came there was little doubt that Sean would accompany Corbin to his new home. Continue reading

Grogs, servants, commoners, and guards

A collation of the grogs and commoners I’ve drafted recently for a few play by post Ars Magica games.

Below we have a Shield Grog, a Servant, a Lab Assistant, and a Point Guard. Building up the mechanics of grogs isn’t complex compared to creating a magus however its still a chore so here are a few samples – it might fast track a few NPCs. Continue reading

Sneaky effects for magic items on the cheap

In Ars Magica there is a tendency (for me at least) to try to create spell effects and items that are powerful and flexible. When doing this it tends to make the final artifacts expensive in terms of time and resources.

I was thinking about a second approach, which would exploit the rules for quasi-permanent effects which the Duration: Ring provides. Essentially Ring is a duration that lasts for as long as the ring is maintained. With that in mind here is a few sneaky effects.

The Persistent Torch

To start with get a craftsman to create a sturdy circular compartment, something solid which the grog can drop and not break, anything really as long as it has a lid that will cover the insides well. In the design you need to note a few aspects: a place for the ring to be either carved or attached on the inside, and a separate space for the item which is to be enchanted. In layman’s terms this could be a very small wooden box with a clasp which shutters the insides.

The craftsman insets the separate piece of some material that is inexpensive and easy to enchant in the middle of the box – I’d choose wood as it will be darn cheap. Avoid metals and stones as affecting them with magic is harder than wood, and there is no need to blow out the spell size.

Then the effect is simple – a Creo Ignem effect at level 10 to 15, with base effect level of either 3 or 4, +1 mag for Touch, +2 for Ring. It really depends on how powerful the light is meant to be. A base 3 light is a torch equivalent, and this seems useful for a grog wishing to travel without attracting too much attention – at as a level 10 effect could be spont’d easily.

A base 4 the light created is as bright as a cloudy day, which is more than enough, although spont’ing that level of effect will take some effort for some younger magi. Either way it is castable, and creates a portable light which can be given to grogs; or perhaps even given to mundanes as a gift. Light has a huge quality of life benefit, especially to the poor.

As alternates duration Ring can be used for these other purposes too:

  • Granting heat and warmth to devices which increases the comfort of an inhabitant. Perhaps a carpet or small bed could be cast upon after being inscribed with a ring. Creo Ignem again for the effect, approx level 2 base effect will see a final effect level 5.
  • Create a fireplace which never expires. CrIg around level 5 as a base, with 20 as the final effect – would make a great comfy fire to heat a room.
  • Create a simple magical compass, using a Rego effect combined with an Intellego effect so that the target always points north. Rego Terram 10 as the total effect. Base effect 2 for slightly unnatural movement, with +1 Intellego requisite, and +1 for Touch, +2 for Ring. Makes for a great gift.
  • A Magus could have many of the lights crafted by a mundane craftsman, and spont cast the rings on the surface of each. This could give an almost endless amount of light for a lab with no outlay of Vis, and very little maintenance.
  • Simple wards to protect against vermin, humans, or beasts. Rego with an appropriate form of a level around 10. There are special rules for wards which mean they are far easier to cast too, so don’t ignore them.