A floating book, all a wizard needs

An item of fancy and indulgence for those Magi who insist on looking the part and being most prepared. It might also make a good justification for a lab improvement item with a focus on texts or reading. This is a similar function to the Bookstand of Hespera (Covenants, pg 121) except it affects just a book rather than a place to write and work. More purposeful for reference and study instead of creation. It will also cause warping in the target books over a long period.

Bookmark for a Text at Hand  (ReHeAn 25) is a small plate which is touched to the desired text and allows the text to float as the caster desires.

Ready an Attentive Tome

Rego Herbam / Animal 15, R: Touch, D: Concentration, T: Individual

The targeted book, scroll, or text floats next to the caster and can be set in position via concentration.

(Base 5, +1 Touch, +1 Concentration)

(+5 Device maintains concentration, +5 for 24 uses per day)

With a final device level of ReHeAn 25 the devices are still cheap enough to be crafted by more junior magi, and may well be used as lab texts for an inexpensive boost to labs. The bookstand from covenants “adds two points to a specialisation in texts“, and has a slightly higher baseline although lower final level. This device is designed to that it can be used to direct many books at once, each sustained by the bookmark and controlled by the user’s concentration. It makes sense that it would offer a similar bonus and also have a more diverse application than a singular bookstand.

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Rapid growth of a natural grove, room, or wall

This is a spell which rapidly grows a set of trees, cast on an existing seeds or saplings, allowing their branches to intertwine to the caster’s design. The intent is to cast upon many plants at once to imitate rooms, walkways, barriers, etc. Spells which do this are frequently high level as the smallest base effect is level 15, and from there the magnitudes stack quickly. A subtle caster may mark trees amongst a wider set with a sigil or paint so they can be easily identified as a Target: Group.

Although it would only be a note in the setting, the same spell could be used to guide the rapid growth of plants such as grape vines or fruit trees on farms in a manner which makes them easier to manage.

Growth of the Structured Grove

Creo Herbam / Rego 45, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Group

The targeted seeds and saplings mature over the day duration to their adult size in an alignment and layout to suit the casters desire. Branches may be intertwined, leaves given favorable angles, and limited only to the broad fundamentals of their plant type.

(Base 15, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +2 Group, +1 Rego sub-effect which dictates shape)

This spell is part of the free new spells compendium for Ars Magica.

Maintenance and Cleaning spells

Replacing the work based activities of servants and grogs with magic is interesting. It can be argued that it helps keep covenant costs or staff numbers down, but also that the vis spent is really wasted as it could be used for so much more (spend silver instead of vis). Simple work replacement devices can turn menial life of the Middle Ages into something akin to our lives in modern times.

These are work replacement spell effects, and some parts are based upon the enchanted devices such as the Abluere Magica (presented in Covenants sourcebook p 52), with parameters changed to affect larger volumes, add extra materials, or to provide more efficiency.

The spells also demonstrate changing the normal spell Target from Individual to Circle or Room.

Work of the Wooden Tub

Rego Herbam / Animal Terram 5, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Circle

Clothes and equipment within the circle are cleaned and laundered, as if cleaned by a skilled servant. A very simple Finesse check is required to ensure success (3+), otherwise damage maybe done, items missed, or remain soiled.

(Base 4, +1 Touch, +0 Circle)

Tidy Room of the Pedantic Servant 

Rego Herbam / Animal Terram 20, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Room

The room and all its contents are ordered, squared away, and stacked neatly, as if performed by a skilled servant. A basic Finesse check is required to ensure success (3+ to 6+), otherwise damage maybe done, items missed, or remain unordered.

(Base 4, +1 Touch, +2 Room, +1 complex materials)

Many hundred of new spells for Ars Magica can be found here.

Three Spells for Creating Firewood

Here are some simple spells to create cut timber, as a replacement for gathered firewood. Simple effects like this might form part of a justification for reduced covenant costs.

Two of the spells are written with a moon duration so the wood is available for a fair period of time. The spell with Sun duration may coincidentally make leaving fires overnight very safe as the fuel disappears at dusk or dawn.

Fuel for the Tired Travellers 

Creo Herbam / Perdo 5, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

This spell creates a small stack of cut timber, shaped to the casters desire. The stack is equivalent to wood from one cubic pace of wood.

(Base 2, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +0 Perdo requisite)

Fuel for the Starving Stove

Creo Herbam / Perdo 10, R: Touch, D: Moon, T: Individual

This spell creates a small stack of cut timber, shaped to the casters desire. The stack is equivalent to wood from one cubic pace of wood.

(Base 2, +1 Touch, +3 Moon, +0 Perdo requisite)

Fuel for the Hungry Hearths

Creo Herbam / Perdo 20, R: Touch, D: Moon, T: Group

This spell creates a large stack of cut timber, shaped to the casters desire. The stack is equivalent to wood from ten cubic paces of wood.

(Base 2, +1 Touch, +3 Moon, +2 Group, +0 Perdo requisite)

Fire’s Perfect Fuel

Perdo Aquam / Herbam 15, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Group

This spell dries and ages the targeted wood, so it is very suitable for burning. The group is equivalent to wood from ten cubic paces of wood.

(Base 4, +1 Touch, +2 Group, +0 Herbam requisite)

These and many other spells are on the New Ars Magica Spells page.

It's the right idea for a huge stack of firewood except for the old tyre.

A Mass Teleportation spell

Getting a large volume of stuff from one place to another is tricky in Ars Magica, well tricky unless your group of wayward wizards has access to some darn heavy duty transportation magic.

This spell is an example of a powerful spell which might be used to teleport all sorts of items, animal herds, or people to or from the covenant. The use of the Target: Circle allows for larger volumes of mixed products to be sent, rather than individuals effects.

Mass Arcane Teleportation

Rego Animal Aquam Corpus Herbam Terram 40, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Circle

Teleport the contents of the circle to the place of the AC.

(Base 35, +1 Touch, +0 Circle)

In the saga our wizards have raised a new island far off the western coast of Spain and getting materials to and from the island is tougher than I first thought it would be. This spell assists that purpose.

Along with the spell itself a magical item with the same effect would be handy. This might allow non-wizards to assist with the coordination of moving gear around. I also think that creating a circle via a spell might be handy too, or having designated points marked with circles as way-points for transfer. They could be designed to be ten to fifteen paces in diameter, allowing for a large volume of material to be transferred at once.

Circle’s Keystone (ReAnAqCoHeTe50)  – a large grey stone tile invested with as the Mass Arcane Teleportation spell above, altered for unlimited uses per day. The stone is set touching the rim of the circle to be targeted, the arcane connection is set in a small depression atop the stone, and then a command phrase is spoken to activate. In this way the stone is reusable at multiple sites.

This and many other new spells for Ars Magica can be found in the grimoire page.

Jack’s Beanstalk in Ars Magica

With all the Game of Thrones, Frozen, and Snow White I thought to give Jack and the Beanstalk a try too. First among the fantastic elements in Jack and the Beanstalk is the beanstalk itself.

Conjure a Beanstalk to the Clouds

Creo Herbam 45, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

The beanstalk created by this spell is enormous, as wide as several oak trees at its base and reaches far into the clouds. The beanstalk must be rooted into solid earth for the spell to work.

(Base 1, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +8 size, +1 unnaturally strong)

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

Stat Boosting Rituals, Part 7 (Improving Items)

Continuing from Stat Boosting Rituals, Part 6, … to discuss making physical items better. It is something very left of center, and is based upon the idea that an item can be made closer to its ideal perfect form.

Considering that repeatedly cast powerful rituals can change the stats of a person, it stands to reason that other objects can also be improved in the same manner. Animals are an obvious extension of the Corpus and Mentem guidelines, so why not also objects?

Each type of object needs a separate ritual, as its generally bad spell design in the Ars setting to try to affect many very different types of objects with the same Creo-ish effect.

A reason why this type of transformation has probably been avoided is the Vis cost vs the silver pound cost to buy high quality items. High quality items can be commissioned with silver, and casting any ritual is expensive in vis, and Magi tend to save it for serious matters.

Ars Magica’s City & Guild source-book (p.70) has rules for the quality of items: Shoddy, Standard, Superior, Excellent, and then Wondrous.

Reviewing those rules gives two advances for an item beyond Standard craftsmanship, without becoming Wondrous. I’m excluding Wondrous items as they are akin to enchanted devices and are designed as one of a kind items for specific people. It is reasonable to state that they are beyond the capability of a ritual to improve a normal item into. Wondrous items are also very rare in actual play I’ve seen.

An aside – the City & Guide book also stipulates that magically enchanted items must be of Superior quality, else they suffer penalties to the lab total (see the inset box p.70). A rule that I’ve not seen often enforced, often hand-waved. That means troupes will need to decide if a typical magical device is Standard or Superior, especially if casting this style ritual after the item has been acquired and enchanted.

The difficult choice is to assign a baseline for objects. For living creatures the base starts from level 30 to make an attribute average (meaning +0), and scales per magnitude beyond. Lacking a better argument, that’s the method for items too.

New suggested Creo spell guidelines, with Forms appropriate to the item to be improved:

  • Base 30, to improve a crafted item from quality Shoddy to Standard.
  • Base 35, to improve a crafted item one quality level, up to Superior.
  • Base 40, to improve a crafted item one quality level, up to Excellent.

Practically the base 30 is a waste, and the base 35 might be useful to cast with a circle target on all items (such as weapons, as a level 40 final spell effect) in the covenant armory. Conversely if the ritual is invented using Target Circle then there is no reason to not cast it on every item available.

The Perfect Sword

Creo Terram / Animal Herbam 45, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Circle, Ritual

The targeted swords are improved in quality by one category, to a limit of Excellent. Any type of sword may be affected by the ritual, and the requisite allows for any non-Terram based components to be improved.

(Base 40, +1 Touch, +0 Momentary, +0 Circle, Ritual)

Practically if a Magus was enhancing their prized sword from Superior to Excellent, and also upgraded a selection of other weapons by spending 9 pawns of vis – I’d allow that. It’s a fairly high expense compared to the game mechanic gain.

The same effect could be reworked for any item such tools, armor, books (which opens a Pandora’s Box of rules from the Covenants source-book on quality), to gain the positive skill and combat bonuses which Superior and Excellent items bring.

A meta-game consideration I’m pondering is what happens when the item is made “better” using these rituals and it is already enchanted. Superficially I think it shouldn’t matter – as it is the same item after the spell is cast. My reasoning is that a person can have active enchantments in a familiar bond or a longevity ritual and still be improved by magic. The same applies here.

Another consideration is the use of Finesse for conjuring items using Creo. A troupe will need to decide if Finesse rolls are needed, and I’d suggest that they can be hand waved due to the high base level used in the spell; especially when compared to crafting an item with Rego magic, which certainly do need Finesse.

Then lastly while the ArsMagica rules are being broken by this there is the consideration that the rituals might also “pay” for complexity to affect metals, gems, or other steps in materials magnitude. I’m ignoring that complexity, as it places the ritual level far beyond reason. If it were required I’d alter the base level down from 30 to 20 to account for another baseline at 15 which repairs all damage to an item (from Magi of Hermes source-book). If the base then starts from 20, then a metal item is improved by a level 30 ritual anyway due to the +2 mag cost for targeting/creating metals.

See my Ars Magica grimoire for hundreds of other new spells.