Wizard Life Hack – Use casting tablets with your memory palace

A life hack for hermetic Magi with a few good virtues (source on Ars forums). In short – the idea is that a memory palace has a certain number of “rooms” which can contain a single document, and as a casting tablet is a single document – it can be memorised.
While I’ve no strong feelings on casting tablets, ever since I came up with the idea I’ve wanted to play a character with a personal vis source in mentem and the memory palace skill. the character would frequently use the Creo Mentem “add a room to your memory palace ritual” (I forgot the name) to memorize casting tablets thereby effectively learning (but not really learning) a whole mess of spells. – Erik Tyrrell

 

I love this. Its broken, but its great.

Sharing control of an Ars Magica spell – Sharing the Reigns

Sharing the Reigns of (Form) is similar to the Passing the Reigns (Muto Vim, Hermetic Project, p.97) spell except both caster and target can alter the direction of the altered spell. This style of meta-magic effect was an afterthought in a story where a master wishes to give an apprentice some degree of control on a levitation spell, however for safety’s sake they also wish to still have control. Then considering the idea that a meta-magic effect could steal control of another spell is very interesting.

Sharing the Reigns of (Form)

Muto Vim General, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Individual

Ongoing control of another of the caster’s spells is shared between the caster and a creature touched. The spell to be shared must be equal to or lower than the level of this spell + 5 levels, and the spell to be shared must have a duration longer than Momentary. In the event of a conflict in instruction a contested Finesse check might be appropriate, or the spell tries to fulfil both instructions chaotically.

(Base General, +1 Touch)

Stealing the Reigns of (Form)

Muto Vim General, R: Voice, D: Momentary, T: Individual

Ongoing control of another spell is passed to either the caster of this spell, or a third party within range they choose. The spell to be stolen must be equal to or lower than the level of this spell, and the spell to be shared must have a duration longer than Momentary.

(Base General, +2 Voice)

These spells are part of the free new spells compendium for Ars Magica.

Spells to mitigate warping in Ars Magica

When I initially thought of the effect I was planning to see it used on the friends of my Magus character, so they suffer less effects from the application of short term powerful transformation spells. The wider blog post and subsequent spells grew from this concept.

Ars Magica’s spell rules for Warping dictate that a target of a powerful effect (roughly magnitude 6 or higher) will recieve a Warping point each time a spell is cast upon them, and a personalised spell will mitigate this warping. Typically the personalised version of the spell is created in as a lab exercise.

As a storyguide I’ve previously guided players to assume that a spell with Range: Personal is always considered “personalised” for the caster because I assume that part of the task of learning the effect is also learning how to design it for themselves. This means that by default all other spells are never personalised. It is plausible that a spell could be designed at another range but still be personalised for the caster, as there is an argument to be made that any effect can be designed specifically for the caster, but that should not be the default and certainly not unless agreed in advance.

Given that Muto Vim spells can radically change almost any singular aspect of a spell (purpose, range, duration, target, sigil, effect power, splitting, etc), it seems probably that a Muto Vim spell could also be able to change another spell so that it is considered personalised for the other spell’s target, or personalised for the caster.

Note that the RAW indicate that the warping occurs on first application of an effect and also each season/year it is in effect. This means that this first set of spells is a partial measure to avoid Warping, as it can only mitigate the initial application of the spell.

Further below in this post I’ve written about potentially mitigating the long term effects, but that is not being suggested by these first two spell designs.

Inhibit the Egregious Deviations of the Warp

Muto Vim Gen, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Individual

This spell alters the target spell so that it is considered tailored for it’s target for the purposes of any warping it may cause. This spell may alter any effect which is equal to the Muto Vim spell’s level.

(Base of a Significant Change to less than or equal to spell level +1 mag, target own spells as +1 Touch)

I’m happy with this spell concept. It applies a plausible effect which is not overpowered in the setting and not unbalancing in the game. This spell must be learnt above level 30 to have any purpose at all, more likely level 40+ to be broadly effective. That does not seem unbalancing, given how much effort is required to design a high level effect.

The logical variant is to personalise spells which are cast by others, where the Magus will be the target. Through cooperative casting (see the Vim guidelines) one caster’s first spell effect will not warp the target Magus because they cast the spell below in unison.

Inhibit the Selfish Deviations of the Warp

Muto Vim Gen, R: Voice, D: Momentary, T: Individual

This spell alters the target spell so that it is considered tailored for the caster, as if the target spell was designed for the caster to not cause warping. This spell may alter any effect which is equal to the Muto Vim spell level less one magnitude (spell level -5). It is designed with Range Voice because  it must be cast cooperatively with another wizard to limit the warping effects of their spells.

(Base of a Significant Change to less than or equal to spell level +1 mag, target own spells as +2 Voice)

I think the second effect is the more powerful, because it may also be used in place of the first, although at a slight disadvantage in effective power level. When using these effects they are not useful to learn at less than level 30 and 35 respectively (due to the rules for warping with regard to mag 6 effects), so it is far more likely that either of these effects will need to be learned at level 40 or higher. That will be at least a challenge to many characters; a goal not a quick means to an end.

Base of a Significant change is due to a change in treatment of the target which can be considered a change in target according to the Ars guidelines on p158. Continue reading