The Voiceless Chambers hook and map, with Ars Magica mechanics

The Voiceless Chambers by  demonstrates why he is a favourite blogger and mapper for me. Each week a new map is sketched and shared (for free online, and via a Pateron account for supporters). The Voiceless Chambers has a fantastic introduction, and this post is about some of the magics involved created as Ars Magica spells and magic items. All kudos and high praise for the story hook and map by Dyson.

The hook begins:

When the Sorceress Queen Nemorlienne finally died, some efforts were made to keep her that way. While her rule was generally good for the state of the nation, those closest to the halls of power found her ways destructive and maniacal and her magically-augmented temper shortened many an advisor’s lifespan.

Like the other deceased queens, she was first burned to ashes and then those ashes converted into a gem using dark alchemies. However, unlike those before her, her tomb was sealed completely and magically, and in addition to the usual magical guards and wards over the tomb, the whole place was made magically and perpetually silent so no one could seek her counsel even in death.

But someone has broken the outer seals of the crypt, …

(read more)

This is how these implied effects might be written up for the Ars Magica RPG…

In terms of naming style Ars often has thematic and descriptive names for spells and effects, however as this is a non-standard setting I thought it would be fun to go for a more cultish feel. As if all parts of the process have to be ceremonial.

First effect to silence the chambers is performed by enchanting one of the last stones placed within the interior walls of the chambers has been enchanted to nullify all sound within.

A Hidden Stone Which Brings Silence To All, Lest She Be Disturbed (PeIm 29, Lesser Device), a fist sized cube of high quality marble, carved with deliberately creepy and dangerous looking sigils. It is buried deep within one of the interior walls of the chambers.

Quiet Loose Tounges Within the Crypt

Perdo Imagonem 20, R: Touch, D: Diameter, T: Structure

All sound within the targeted structure is destroyed for the duration, rendering it deathly silent.

(Base 3, +1 Touch, +1 Diameter, +3 Structure)

(As device: +1 mag for extra duration, +4 levels for adjusting to Constant effect, Ars p.99)

The Voiceless Chambers, you feel the Ars Magica and high magical & mystical flavour all through the description.

Then, creating a normal gem with magical aura as a distraction from the real gem is a great fantasy theme.

A False Majesty Unworthy of Her Presence, Lest They Call Her (CrVi 59, Lesser device), a beautiful and valuable gemstone by normal standards which has been enchanted to appear invested to resist magical inspection. The gem has also been fixed as an Arcane Connection to a non-enchanted twin, so that recovery by the high priests is far easier. Investing the effect creates a legitimate magical presence, and then the protective effect ensures the investigation will be troublesome which completes the deception.

Invested Shell of Simple Obfuscation

Creo Vim 45, R: Personal, D: Momentary, T: Individual

The shell resists attempts to divine any invested effects if they are level 50 or below. Investigation spells therefore must be rituals.

(Base 45, to resist investigation effects upon itself up to level 50 effects) 

(As device: +2 mags, +4 levels for Constant effect modification)

See Shell of False Determinations (Ars p.157 for a similar effect) which seemingly can be cast upon objects to perform a similar outcome although it is unclear to me how that spell is effective in the long term with a Momentary duration; odd.

Then, the enchantments on the true jewel of Queen Nemorlienne are very important, as they setup significant restrictions for use of the gem.

The real change for the dust and gem in the introduction is the alchemical change from the remains of the sorcereress into the gem. In Ars Magica that could be as simple as creating a fixed arcane connection, which runs contradictory to the lore in the introduction but also perhaps hints that the priests wish to retain access to Her after her death. Cool and creepy. It has two effects within it and is also set as a permanent arcane connection, the first effect prohibits using the gem an a connection, and the second makes the gem appear flawed.

A True Key Against Those Who Call Beyond the Grave, Lest She Hear Their Call (PeVi 37, MuIm 12, Greater device) an even more beautiful gemstone than the distraction above, this gem is striking and lovely to behold and obviously extremely valuable. The best magi from the realms worked years to craft and enchant this gem, to protect their realm and the ghost of the dead Queen Nemorlienne.

Impede the Meddling Scryers and Fools

Perdo Vim, R: Personal, D: Sun, T: Individual

This spell limits the target so it cancels any other spell attempting to use the target as an Arcane connection for the purposes of scrying, unless it is greater than the (level of this spell +10 + stress dice (no botch)).

(Base Gen, +2 Sun)

(+4 to raise to constant effect, +3 to affect everyone except the current Priesthood)

With a more general version which might be more useful as a Duration: Ring and Target: Circle, which can be used outside an enchanted item.

Impede the Meddling Scryers and Seekers

Perdo Vim, R: Touch, D: Ring, T: Circle

This spell limits the target so it cancels any other spell attempting to use the target as an Arcane connection for the purposes of scrying, unless it is greater than the (level of this spell +5 + stress dice (no botch)).

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

And an effect to reduce glamour of the gem, to make it appear inconsequential. Note that the effect could be slightly lower, however I’ve used a target touch as I intend the effect to be listed as a normal spell, not just for investment in an enchanted device.

Lacklustre Sheen to a Perfect Vessel

Muto Imagonem 5, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

The item touched is made to look and feel far less valuable or ornate. It remains true to its basic type, however it will appear ordinary, scratched, tarnished, rough, dishevelled or poorly formed.

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

(+4 to raise to constant effect, +3 to affect everyone except the current Priesthood)

Then, as almost every chamber is decorated with artworks, tributes and prizes, the priests have used these as animated defences for the chambers, as tomb guardians.

A Wooden Puzzle of Horrible Death, Revealed to those who Seek Her Glory, (ReHe 42, Lesser device), an item which animates wooden decorations in the room to become weapons. The rooms are deliberately stocked with edged weapons, arrows, laminated spurs, large spars, and solid blocks. Many such items are sequestered within the chambers.

Animate Her Treasures of Wood as Weapons of Woe

Rego Herbam 35, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Room

The all wooden items in the targeted room rise and attack any creatures within it, crushing, slicing, and pummelling the occupants. The objects strike with an Initiative +5, and Attack +7 and inflict +10 damage each round.

(Base 10, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +2 Room)

(+4 to raise to constant effect, +3 to affect everyone except the current Priesthood)

Then, several rooms within the chambers has been enchanted to protect against intrusion.

The effects are designed as a warding device which can act to protect a room or also act an a prison if need be (as a reworking of Ward Against the Curious Scullion (ReCo30), Covenants p.104).

A Constant Guard Against Trespassers, Interlopers, and Thieves, (ReCo 44, Lesser device), a small sphere of polished gold, inscribed with runes and sigils denoting terror and disease to any who trespass. The sphere as been buried within an internal wall of the central crypts away from the entry point so that is difficult to access even if it can be detected. Several of these warding globes were crafted and installed in the chambers.

Solar Impervious to Curious Scullions

Rego Corpus 40, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Room

Humans find it impossible to enter or leave the targeted room.

(Base 15, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +2 Room)

(+3 Environmental trigger, +1 for 2 uses per day)

A final aside – if you like this please have a look at the material which Dyson Logos create, and also at the large arrange of other Ars Magica material written over the many here’s on this blog. Spells, Magical Items, Npcs, and many stranger things for the Ars roleplaying game.


City Map generator by Frugal GM

Frugal GM has told us of a city map generator and it’s free (I initially thought he wrote it which is why the title of the blog is still that way).

Wait what? What is it?

The Roleplaying City Map Generator comfortably creates maps of any kind of settlement, such as villages, medieval towns, or 20th century big cities, in few minutes requiring only a couple of mouse clicks. You define the values of various city parameters, either manually or via pre-defined or own templates – The Roleplaying City Map Generator randomly creates realistic maps which can be printed or exported as image also as matrix or section.

Ok, but what does it look like?

city-map-UIHow did I not know of this? Godlike. Awesome. Praise be.

Why? Because a quick shot map of a city is far better than just using words. Players can get a feel, even if that feel proves rough, this is so much more awesome than using generic stuff.

Lands of Ice and Fire Map Pack

Um, wow. A Lands of Ice and Fire map pack, created by one of the best mappers I’ve found – Jon from Fantastic Maps.

Jon’s blog and the site have further info.

Conceptually this is as cool to me as a Tolkien atlas, or years ago when I found a Dragon Riders of Pern atlas for my mother who was a fan of the series. True that you have to be a nerd, but hey. Yup.

“Now this dazzling set of maps, featuring original artwork from illustrator and cartographer Jonathan Roberts, transforms Martin’s epic saga into a world as fully realized as the one around us.”

Dave’s Mapper, a random map generator

rough sample of daves mapper

Don't like the maps, then contribute some of your own!

Dave’s Mapper – a map creator which is incredible. As a quick summary, it has:

  • Good interface
  • Many tilesets
  • No pricetag
  • Community input
  • Many output formats

Basically all you could want from a web based application to generate simple maps.

I’ll be using this the next time I need a random dungeon crawl.