Remembering those who have been lost

This post is about spells to hold and recall memories and emotions in Ars Magica. One of my characters has the Lost Love flaw, where he is haunted and deeply affected by the death of his wife. It is a difficult theme to bring into a typical quasi-fantasy roleplaying setting. It is also a theme which is challenging for groups to contend with – it is a very real emotional state which I’m sure nobody wants to trivialize. Heck I was nervous taking the flaw for the same reasons. How can a play-by-post game treat the subject respectfully? I think these factors contribute to the aspect of the character not really being played often.

When I was reading the source books looking for material for a new character a description of a spell guideline jumped out – the ability to change a memory or emotion into a physical object (Ars Magica source book Houses of Hermes: Societies, p70). This is strikingly apt for a character who is haunted by a lost loved one. Here is a way to use the game mechanics to reinforce the character’s loss in-game.

Further the section of the source book also does not have a named spell for the guideline, just the guideline itself (Muto Mentum Base 5 to alter a memory or emotion into a new form) and a reference back to a more powerful variant in the core rules. Excellent. The effect as I imagine it is similar to that of the “pensive” as presented in the Harry Potter books – a way to withdraw a memory from the target’s mind, but still allow them (and perhaps others) to view it, to experience it.

If enchanted into a device, a memory or emotional device of an event could be made quasi-permanent. The user of the spell need never miss a detail of something important and always have it ready for analysis.

Our Foremost Memories Consigned to Stone

Muto Mentum 20 / Terram, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

The target touched has a significant memory of their choosing transformed from their mind into a small stone curio. The form of the curio object will be influenced by the caster’s sigil, the memory, and the desires of the target, but may be no larger than a 1 foot cube of stone. Shape and elegance should be challenged with a Finesse roll, at SG’s discretion.

As per HoH:S p.70 the owner of the memories can recall the memory accurately in full detail by holding the curio, and others may well also be able to access the memory.

(Base 5, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, Terram free)

As written the guideline and effect implies that the memory is no longer easy for the subject to recall (I’d argue it is removed totally). This is very useful in the idea I have in mind for my character – a Magus who removes his most harrowing memories at the start of each day so he can be productive, but who is certain that they will return at nightfall, so he can continue to honor and remember his lost love.

I chose stone as it is a strong substance and my character has a beginning score in Terram. The core spell mentioned above which turns the entire mind of the caster into a bird uses Animal; and uses it without “paying” the magnitude of an additional form – no neither did I in this spell design. The spells are sympathetically related.

And an effect to view the memories.

Our Foremost Memories Perceived

Intellego Mentum 15, R: Touch, D: Concentration, T: Individual

Allows the caster to perceive the memory which was transformed into an object. If the object was not transformed then the spell has no effect. Requisites are required at cast time for the form of the object which contains the memory.

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

Then two similar effects, for emotions rather than memories. Interesting to ponder what removing doubt, fear, guilt, or love might do to a character.

Our Foremost Feelings Consigned to Stone

Muto Mentum 20 / Terram, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

The target touched has a significant emotion of their choosing transformed from their mind into a small stone curio. The form of the curio object will be influenced by the caster’s sigil, the memory, and the desires of the target, but may be no larger than a 1 foot cube of stone. Shape and elegance should be challenged with a Finesse roll, at SG’s discretion.

As per HoH:S p.70 the owner of the memories can recall the memory accurately in full detail by holding the curio, and others may well also be able to access the memory.

(Base 5, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, Terram free)

Our Foremost Feelings Perceived

Intellego Mentum 15, R: Touch, D: Concentration, T: Individual

Allows the caster to perceive the emotion which was transformed into an object. If the object was not transformed then the spell has no effect. Requisites are required at cast time for the form of the object which contains the emotion.

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

Placed into an enchanted object, the effects could be set to use the Device Maintains Concentration modifier, and a few uses, so that a large number of objects could be created and maintained by an enchanted device. The Intellego effect to view the memories or emotions would be very aptly enchanted into a scrying pool or mirror.

More custom spells can be found in the New Spells for Ars Magica page.

winters-grave

Advertisements

Speaking to stone without Intellego

Here are a few sneaky spells to allow an Ars Magica hermetic wizard to speak to stone without using Intellego. Why? Well my player character is darn awful at casting Intellego spells (perception magic) and I need a work around. It seems suitable that it the work around is more complex and harder to do than the direct approach, but also pleasing that it can be done.

The Unobtrusive Observer’s Sight in Stone
Muto Terram / Mentum 30, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Part
The surface touched is awakened to consciousness. The surface is able to see and hear it’s surroundings, will remember details of events for the duration of the spell.When cast a small human face is added to the surface touched, and effect’s perception is based upon the position of that face. The position and size of the face is decided when the spell is cast.

(Base 4 to awaken the consciousness of a plant in the earth instead, Mentum requisite in base effect +0, highly unnatural effect for earth +1, to affect stone +1, R: Touch +1, D: Sun +2, T: Part +1)

The base 4 guideline from MuHe is the closest similar spell guideline but it is not a perfect match to the effect, as the earth is arguably “less alive” than plants. Therefore I added an additional magnitude to adjust for a “highly unnatural” effect.

I also considered the Muto Terram guideline for Level 5 which changes earth into an animal as being very similar in style, and it was nice that the two difficulties matched.

The Unobtrusive Observer’s Voice in Stone
Muto Terram / Corpus 25, R: Touch, D: Conc, T: Part

The surface touched gains the power of human speech as long as the earth is already awakened.

(Base 4 to grant the power of speech, highly unnatural for earth +1, Corpus requisite in base effect +0, to affect stone +1, R: Touch +1, D: Conc +1, T: Part +1)

Credit must go to the Ars Magica community (Ezechiel357 and Pralix) who helped in my forum post, they’ve added a few more sneaky ideas around this concept – particularly the point that granting a Creo Imagonem / Mentum effect is more direct and would probably be the more direct way of granting the speech effect; but I think that style effect may still need Intellego to allow the effect to understand the mind in the stone.

I also found a similar Herbam based effect called the Eye of Daisy in an old thread.

tomb-of-horrors-classic-cover

A spell for Interrogating Ghosts

Ghosts are tricky and maddening, especially those who insist on not being helpful no matter how close or far they are from the afterlife. In a recent rpg session the characters where trying to commune with a ghost who proved to be rather uncooperative.

The players used “Whispers Through The Black Gate”, an iconic spell in Ars Magica used for talking to ghosts. The spell is powerful but relies on the skill of the questioner, and wizards are typically poor orators and not overly sensitive to the needs of the dead.

Instead of whispers, the magi could have used force – mentally reading the ghost’s remaining mind, or even forcing it to answer using spells designed to strip truth from the unliving.

Here is a rough outline of how that spell would be presented in Ars Magica Continue reading