A simple enchanted device – Daylight Lantern

The Daylight Lantern is a simple magic item which mimics the abilities of a standard lantern, created as a lesser enchanted device for an Ars Magica covenant.

Now assuming that the creator of this didn’t want to take the easy way out, and just use a Circle spell to make an indefinite small light – I’d almost always opt for the simple ring/circle spell.

Daylight Lantern – a lantern crafted from steel, inset with a ceramic core. The lantern may be turned on and off by command word, and also by turning the lid clockwise and counter-clockwise. It provides a bright soft light equivalent to daylight which shines all around.

Shine as the Day – CrIg 18 (Base 4 for light of a cloudy day, +1 Touch, +1 Conc), 6 uses per day +3, device maintains concentration +5.

Created with Shape and Material bonus of a lamp (+7 to produce light). If being reproduced from a labtext the lantern could be created by junior wizards or perhaps an apprentice. 

Conjure the Orb of Sunshine

Here is another spell for Ars Magica, to create a portable non-flammable light. The spell was created because my current character in a play-by-post game needs a way reliably have light around him instead of carrying torches, and I intend later to create a permanent magical device which casts this effect. The character is also a specialist in Muto (transformation and change) magic, so while this is an inefficient way to get a simple light, it would be in the style of the character.

Conjure the Orb of Sunshine

Muto Terram 20 / Ignem. R:Touch, D: Sun, T: Ind

The material touched glows brightly, and may be used like a torch. The creator Magus designed the spell so that a large volume of the enchanted material could be shared amongst many people, or used to light a large area.

(Base 3 for an unnatural glowing which affect up to 10 cubic paces of dirt, mud, sand, or up to 1 cubic pace of stone or glass. Glow very brightly +1, Affect stone/glass +1, R: Touch +1, D: Sun +2)

Why write it up? A similar effect could easily be cast using Creo Ignem, or a wonderful array of possibilities however using a spontaneous spell always risks loss of fatigue, which I often find my characters need for other things.

Tricky uses for Imagonem magic in Ars Magica

In previous games my Magi have used Imagonem magic with Ring durations to remove or alter the image of a wall, thus creating magical windows. In an expansion source book a sample spell does this exact effect too, which was a nice nod of the head to the Ars players who had been using this trick. I’m sure I initially borrowed the idea from a player’s post to either a forum or some online resource. It is not a new idea, but it is clever. I know that it might seem a little silly initially, but given the amount of time that Magi spend indoors and the desire to keep their sanctum secure, windows that are actually solid walls have some benefit (This post extends on a previous one, which talked through the basics of some Ring baset sneaky spell effects, and I cannot ignore the recent palava around how it breaks the game in a thread in the official forums). Anyway, do as you will in your games folks; this is what I do in mine. It is another example of where the use of the Duration: Ring in Ars Magica can be very handy and effective.

These effects create a great natural source of light during daytime in the lab, and does not affect security. Like most things in Ars Magica’s magic system there are many way to get this result, depending on the detail of how the effect is designed. There are two effects I can thing of to do this “cheaply”; that is to remove the image of the wall totally, or move the image of the wall slightly out of the way. Given T: Part is probably as effective and it is a smaller effect, that seems the best choice.

Summary of effects:

  • Pedo Imagonem 15 = Base 4 affect sight, R: Touch +1, D: Ring +2, T: Circle +0. This effect removes the image from the area within the target circle, so that it is rendered invisible.
  • Rego Imagonem 10 = Base 2 to make it appear 1 pace away, R: Touch +1, D: Ring +2, T: Part +1. This effect shifts the image of the circle up to 1 pace away. This leaves the target area invisible.

When translated into full spells:

Ring of Impermanently Clear Vision

Perdo Imagonem 15, R: Touch, D: Ring, T: Circle

This effect removes the image from the area within the target circle, so that it is rendered invisible.

(Base 4 affect sight, R: Touch +1, D: Ring +2, T: Circle +0)

Ring of Transiently Clear Vision

Rego Imagonem 10, R: Touch, D: Ring, T: Circle

This effect removes the image from the area within the target circle, so that it is rendered invisible.

(Base 2 to make it appear 1 pace away, R: Touch +1, D: Ring +2, T: Part +1)

The trick for Ring duration and Circle targets is that they last only until the ring or circle is marred or damaged. The game is not specific about what that particularly means, and I like that some parts of this magic system are left for the players to decide.

The effects also can take time to cast, given the circles must be drawn. A solution to that problem is for another spell to drawn the circles properly and permanently.

Inscribe the Magic Circle

Perdo Terram 10, R: Touch, D: Mom, T: Part

This spell inscribes a magic circle into the surface of the object touched. The circle may be as large or small as the caster desires, up to around 5 feet diameter. The spell affects simple materials such as dirt, clay, or sand; and harder substances such as stone or glass. It may also affect other materials subject to requisites at time of casting.

(Base 3 to destroy, Touch +1, D: Mom, Part +1, to affect stone or glass +1, and requisites for different materials at time of casting are free)

I’d suggest that a Magus who is going to use Circles for effects routinely might also want a spell which will not carve into the surface, and also allow them to have more control of the durations. A variation on the effect above could be called Render the Magic Circle to allow a circle to be drawn easily and perfectly, remain even though others attempt to mark it, but also not be permanently inscribed on the object.

A marking spell could be designed in a variety of ways. A simple approach is a Creo Imagonem effect to draw the circle at the point touched. This is probably the simplest approach as it creates a very low level effect.

Render the Magic Circle

Rego Imagonem 5

The caster draws a circle onto the surface touched. The circle may be as large or small as the caster desires, up to around 4 feet diameter.

(Base 1 to create something affecting one sense, R: Touch +1, D: Moon +3, T: Ind)

The duration of Moon is useful as it is long enough for it to not need to be recast frequently, but also not make the final effect level too high.

A Muto Imagonem spell could also be designed, and it would have the same base effect; so would a Animal, Herbam, Terram, or even Corpus (yuk) effect to “write” the circle using different materials.

Using the optional rules from one of the source books for crafting magic, a Rego effect could also be used to actually draw the circle if the caster has the inks or tools on hand. This allows the casters to have their “almost permanent” rings drawn as they like, but has a downside of requiring the material to hand. Not a problem in a wizard’s lab, but certainly a problem in the wild.

Draw the Magic Circle

Rego Herbam 5

The caster quickly draws a circle onto the surface touched, far faster than the typical inscription time. The circle may be as large or small as the caster desires, up to around 100 paces in diameter. The caster must make a Finesse check of 3+ or else the circle is unusable.

(Base 1 to create something simple, R: Touch +1, +3 for very large circles)

This spell could have been invented at ReHe2 but the circle size would have only been around 1 pace maximum and as the key benefit of crafting magic is to accelerate work, it seemed too much of a lost opportunity not to scale it up to level 5 and have a more useful effect.

I’ll be the first person to say that these effects are odd, but in the hands of a character casting wards and circles all the time they save on the hassle of stressful casting conditions.

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.