Gift of the Bear’s Strength, and Hybrid Transformations using Muto

Thank you to Theomund for the comment on another post which started me thinking about the limits of what Muto Corpus / Animal spells can do, and what the guidelines imply. Initially the suggestion was to use the gorilla as the base animal, however I’ve used a bear in the naming as I think bears are more prolific in medieval Europe and the bear has a very high strength star in the Book of Beasts.

To begin an answer – the MuCo2 baseline which is commonly used for minor transformations an abilities seems far too low to allow for a wholesale change. A full transformation into an animal is MuCo10, and birds or fish is MuCo20, and the themes of Ars Magica seem to imply that moving to a know form (wolf, bird, etc) is easier than a partial or unknown form. So I think a Muto Corpus 15 base is better to represent this type of hybrid man/animal transformation. The transformation might grant a few new attributes or adjustments as long as the additional powers or aspects are very similar and thematic. Further additional magnitudes should allow even more strange abilities, such as combining attributes from different animals.

This is aligned with Gift of the Bear’s Fortitude, which uses a MuCo15 base, which transforms all of the target’s body to grant a combat mechanic advantage and does not use an Animal requisite.

This is very similar to what  I suggested for the Monstrous Transformations of Behemoths and Dragons and also in a Discussion on Muto Transformation Magic in an earlier posts:

(based upon the appropriate guideline for land or sea/air animals) … A few similar thematically alterations only cost +1 mag, but many will cost another +1 mag. So the extra +1 mag allows for say 12-15 powers, where the limited one allows for a few.

This means that once the base level has allowed for an animal transformation, an additional magnitude should allow for a strange transformation (making a rough new MuCo Baseline of 15 for partial transformations), and then a further magnitude should allow for a good spread of physical abilities. I think it’s logical to use the same spells as a guide for a hybrid form; as that is basically what the Behemoth was.

Aside – There has not been a Muto Corpus spell which adds to a stat, probably as it is covered by Creo Corpus although the Ars Magica system seems to allow for many different ways to achieve an end.

New Hermetic Baseline – Muto Corpus 15 – Allows a partial transformation of a human to a land animal, granting aspects of both the animal form and human form. Requisites are probably needed.

New Hermetic Baseline – Muto Corpus 25 – Allows a partial transformation of a human to a sea or air animal, granting aspects of both the animal form and human form. Requisites are probably needed.

A spell transforming with an aspect of animal strength might be as follows. This uses a “partial transformation” of MuCo/An15. This is a useful spell as it allows the target to continue to use human sized weaponry and armor against targets, and not suffer a limitation of striking MR due to an active spell (discussed here).

Gift of the Bear’s Strength

Muto Corpus / Animal 30, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

Changes the target’s body to gain the broad musculature of a bear which enhances their frame, increasing Strength by +3. Equipment and clothing are not altered by this spell and may no longer fit suitably.

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

A spell to transform into a hybrid creature might be:

Form of Hulking Werebear

Muto Corpus / Animal 30, R: Personal, D: Sun, T: Individual

Transforms the caster into a chimeric blend of man and bear, resulting in a large bipedal hybrid. The humanoid form increases in size by 2 to a maximum of Size +2, retains rudimentary humanoid head, hands and feet, although the gross shape and size change causes most equipment to be difficult to wear. Replace all physical attributes with those of an adult bear (Strength, Stamina, Dexterity, Quickness, and Size) and average Perception, Awareness, and Communication. The bear’s natural claw and bite attacks are halved in effectiveness. Equipment and clothing is not altered by this spell.

(Base 15, +2 Sun, +1 additional attributes and bear themed abilities)

Related link on Ars forums http://forum.atlas-games.com/viewtopic.php?t=32533, and other custom spells for Ars Magica can be found on the new spells page.

 

More Tidal Aquam spells

The following are spells for wizards who need to defend against water borne attackers, be those boats, mermen, swimmers, or natural creatures. For some of these effect there are several ways to reach the desired outcome, so a few similar spells might be included.

Drown the Floating Menace

Muto Aquam 25 / Auram, R: Voice, D:Momentary, T: Part

This spell alters the water in the target area so that it is briefly transformed into air, and then quickly back again. Anything within the target area will fall as they lack the support of the liquid.

If the spell is targeted beneath a specific spot, such as beneath a particular person or boat a targeting roll is required. The effect is designed to affect a cubic area, with a volume of up to 56,000 cubic feet of water (roughly 36 wide x 43 long x 36 ft deep). The difficulty of the targeting roll should be adjusted accordingly.

(Base 4 change a liquid to gas with Au req, +2 size increase, +2 Voice, +1 Part)

And a variant using Perdo Aquam.

Swallowed by the Sea

Perdo Aquam 35, R: Waterway, D: Momentary, T: Part, Atlantean

A large amount of water is destroyed; if targeted upon a ship it will drop into the hole and be crushed as water fills the void. It looks as if the sea opened its mouth and swallowed the ship whole.

If the spell is targeted beneath a specific spot, such as beneath a particular person or boat a targeting roll is required. The effect is designed to affect a cubic area, with a volume of up to 56,000 cubic feet of water (roughly 36 wide x 43 long x 36 ft deep). The difficulty of the targeting roll should be adjusted accordingly.

(Base: 5, R: Waterway +3, D: Momentary, T: Part +1, Size +2)

In design the spell is tricky for two reasons. Firstly the Base 5 is for greatly reducing the volume of water instead of destroying outright. Leaving an amount (be that a tiny fraction, or even a third) of water behind after the spell takes effect is moot when the overall effect is placed, and the base is smaller.

Secondly the choice of Range: Waterway was used here because it allows targeting of a craft that can be perceived upon the same waterway (according to RoP:M p 43), and certainly includes Sight range.

Perfection of Tidal Wrath

Rego Aquam 40, R: Sight, D: Concentration, T: Individual

A tall churning tidal wave is created from a body of water. Once invoked the wave may be directed by the caster to crash upon specific targets, change direction, or flow back into the background water source.

At maximum the wave is ten miles wide and 100 paces wide and 15 paces high. The wave will decimate coastlines and wreck swimmers, vessels, or creatures caught within it.

(Base 10, +3 Sight, +2 size, +1 Concentration)

And finally, for a true crushingly powerful spell which is boosted (from the Ars Magica Core p125) to horrible proportions.

Neptune’s Wrath Unbound

Rego Aquam 50, R: Sight, D: Momentary, T: Individual, Ritual

A terribly large wave is created in a very large body of water. Once invoked the wave is uncontrolled, and needs 15 miles of water surface to gather into full height. At maximum the wave is ten miles wide and 200 feet high. The wave will destroy coastlines for miles inland, and potentially wipe clean islands or flat countryside.

(Base 10, +3 Sight, +5 size, ritual for large effect)

It is unlikely that a magus would actually need this spell… All the new spells for Ars Magica can be found here.

Herbam spells for vaults in trees

Here are a few Herbam spells which are more odds & ends rather than game changing effects. Very darn near useless for a magus living away from large trees, but useful for those in and around forests.

Bolthole in the Heart of the Oak

Muto Herbam 20, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

This spell opens a large chamber within a targeted tree, reshaping the tree unnaturally if necessary. The chamber may be up to 10 cubic paces in size.

The contents of the chamber are ejected from the tree when the duration expires.

(Base 3, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 Part, +1 size)

Vault in the Heart of the Oak

Muto Herbam 20, R: Touch, D: Moon, T: Part

This spell creates a small chamber up to a pace to a side within a tree within which items can be stored. The shape of the chamber may be adjusted to suit the tree and likewise the tree will reshape itself to accommodate the chamber, as long as it could do so. The contents of the chamber are ejected from the tree when the duration expires.

(Base 3, +1 Touch, +3 Moon, +1 Part)

Shape Wood as Clay

Muto Herbam / Terram 15, R: Touch, D: Concentration, T: Part

This spell changes the consistency of any Herbam based material to that of clay, up to a pace to a side in size. The inclusion of the Target:Part allows for modifying smaller parts of much larger plant based objects.

(Base 4, +1 Touch, +1 Conc, +1 Part, Terram free)

Device: A Secret in the Weirwood

This small carved wooden disc is enchanted as a simple magical device to create a cache within a large tree. When applied to the tree it causes a small receptacle to be formed in the tree allowing the storage of objects. The disc is left within the cache as well, providing the ongoing magical effect sustaining the cache. A command word is spoken aloud to open and close the cache, and the cache may be moved by moving the disc to a different tree.

Effect as per Vault in the Heart of the Oak (above) modified to be a constant effect (see Ars p 99), which becomes a level 22 Muto Herbam effect.

Find over 400 new spells for Ars Magica in my Grimoire.

The Crucible of Wonder, an enchanted device

Magi in Ars Magica have the potential to create wondrous magical items all around them, to better enhance their magic. Initially a player’s mind might go to items like a Wand of Fire, however the real power in Ars is the long game, and the lab is where the long game shines for a character. With that as a basis – here is the Crucible of Wonder, an enhancement to a lab which is also nominally a forge and workshop.

The Crucible of Wonder is a massive stone bowl, with a matching cap roughly over three paces in diameter and height. It is held in an insulated frame of stone and metal, to allow the materials to be poured, and the crucible to be moved safely.

Within the crucible are many enchantments detailed below (there are not specifically designed as lab enchanted devices from the Covenants source-book, but may be useful as such). A magical crucible does not need to do much more than heat something efficiently and well, so this item has three effects – to heat, to be unbreakable, and to be moved safely. None of these effects are terrifically high level, meaning that crafting a similar device is probably viable for a player-character wizard.


Firstly, the crucible is enchanted to resist damage and breakage, based upon the Hardness of Adamantine (MuTe25, HoH:S p.37) spell reworked with reduced power to protect stone instead of metal.

Unbreakable Vessel of Stone (MuTe 24)

Muto Terram 20, R: Personal, D: Sun, T: Individual

A stone object is instilled with supernatural strength and hardness, becoming essentially unbreakable.

(Base 4, +1 affect stone, +2 Sun, +1 size)

(Enchantment effect: Muto Terram 24 (Enchantment mods: Constant +3 Env trigger sunrise/set, +1 for 2 uses/day))

Written as a stand alone spell for use on other large stone objects this would be:

Hardness of Bedrock

Muto Terram 25, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

A stone object of up to ten cubic paces is instilled with supernatural strength and hardness, becoming essentially unbreakable for the duration.

(Base 4, +1 Touch, +1 affect stone, +2 Sun, +1 size)

Then, to ensure it can operate as intended in the lab efficiently, a heating enchantment is invested (CrIg/Re 30) on the inside of the crucible so it can be set to a temperature desired by the user, beyond the temperature to melt any metal.

Heat of the Conflagrant Forge (CrIg/Re 35)

Creo Ignem / Rego 25, R: Personal, D: Concentration, T: Individual

An area of the target up to three paces in each dimension can be set to a temperature chosen by the user, up to hot enough to melt any metal. Rego requisite is required to optionally keep the outside of the object cool while the inside is heated.

(Base 10 to melt lead, +1 increase heat to include melting any metals, +1 Conc, +1 size)

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

Lastly an effect to facilitate movement of the crucible. A buoyant bowl of molten metal isn’t a wise idea in a lab, so care is still needed (final effect as ReTe 19).

Pleasant Alleviation of the Weighty Burden

Rego Terram 10, R: Touch, D: Concentration, T: Individual

This spell allows a large primarily stone object to be moved easily. It will not move or float by itself but can be moved more easily, as if almost weightless due to the spell assisting the manual effort. The object can only be lifted a few paces of the ground and may only move at walking speed; exceeding these limitations ends the effect.

(Base 2, +1 Touch, +1 affect stone, +1 Concentration, +1 size)

(As constant effect +9 as: +1 mag for D:Sun, and +4 for two uses per day and an environmental trigger)

Happy smelting – see the other magical items and spells created for Ars Magica.

Timing illusions

These spells are illusions which changes image or colour according to the remaining duration – a simple visual clue for lab projects and casters with a poor memory.

Chromatic Timer

Muto Imagonem 10, R: Touch, D: Diameter, T: Part

This illusion washes the target in a hue of colours which changes over the spell’s duration. The caster dictates the time between colour changes and the colours in the sequence. A typical casting moves the hue through quarters of the overall remaining duration using blue, green, yellow, and red. The style of the hues, range of colours, and pace is dictated by the casters preference and hermetic sigil.

The changing of the colours is dependent on the casters knowledge of when the spell will expire rather than an absolute astrological event, so is subject to small deviations, unforeseen factors, and errors. It may be cast on a target or part of a target, and may affect an area equal to the size of a man.

(Base 1, +1 Touch, +1 Diameter, +1 changing image, +1 moves with target, +1 flexibility in casting configuration)

The spell was designed for a character named Zharkune of Bonisagus who was seeking a visual indicator of when items needed to be actioned, or when other effects might expire, as many were moon based spells cast throughout the season. His sigil expressed in the visual design as a gradual decay of one colour which reveals another.

Its simple to make variants with different durations, perhaps to time experiments. The spell is a half measure toward having a versatile timer spell which can be set to alert after a specified number of minutes up to a maximum duration. I’ve read that such a timer would be problematic in normal hermetic magic spells, although several nested effects in an enchanted item would be able to simulate a count-down. Assuming these spells are not cast at an obvious point in time (such as dawn) TMRE p 51 provides Intellego Vim spells for detecting the accurate astrological time, which would need to be cast first if accuracy needed to be assured.

Chromatic Timer, Till Moonrise

Muto Imagonem 20, R: Touch, D: Moon, T: Part

This illusion washes the target in a hue of colours which changes over the spell’s duration. The caster dictates the time between colour changes and the colours in the sequence. A typical casting moves the hue through quarters of the overall remaining duration using blue, green, yellow, and red. The style of the hues, range of colours, and pace is dictated by the casters preference and hermetic sigil.

The changing of the colours is dependent on the casters knowledge of when the spell will expire rather than an absolute astrological event, so is subject to small deviations, unforeseen factors, and errors. It may be cast on a target or part of a target, and may affect an area equal to the size of a man.

(Base 1, +1 Touch, +3 Moon, +1 changing image, +1 moves with target, +1 flexibility in casting configuration)

The spell could also be written up as a Creo Imagonem effect which conjures an image of an hourglass. The purpose for the spell was to trigger an informational warning for another effect, so changing the colour of an object affected was more suitable. As a CrIm spell with a simple scope.

Exhibit of Passing Time

Creo Imagonem 10, R: Touch, D: Moon, T: Individual

This illusion creates an hourglass which shows the gradual change over the spell’s duration. The timing is dependent on the casters knowledge of when the spell will expire when cast rather than an absolute astrological event, so is subject to small deviations, unforeseen factors, and errors.

(Base 1, +1 Touch, +3 Moon, +1 changing image)

This and over 390 other new spells for Ars Magica can be found here.

orb

 

Fishy Transformation spells

I started thinking again about transformation spells (for overtly Disney reasons – curse you charming and distracting television) and it occurs to me that deprivation will affect a transformed target in an unsuitable environment very severely. It only takes 30 seconds to force a deprivation check, which escalates quickly in Ars Magica (see Ars Magica p.180). So this allows Muto to be used to inadvertently fatigue or kill, or perhaps the smaller fish form to be easily disposed of.

Transformation of the Vicious Beast to the Floundering Fish

Muto Animal 25, R: Voice, D: Sun, T: Individual

The targeted animal is turned into a small fish, size -8. Without a suitable habitat the fish will suffocate due to deprivation. Fish bones may be held by the target and dropped to end the spell prematurely.

(Base 5, +2 Voice, +2 Sun)

I suppose a similar spell could make a fish into a land animal, but that is such a niche concern. Then the same effect designed to affect a human target, with Voice range so it may be used on friends and foes alike.

Transformation of the Haughty Man to the Floundering Fish

Muto Corpus / Animal 40, R: Voice, D: Sun, T: Individual

The targeted person is turned into a very small fish, size -8. Without a suitable habitat the fish will suffocate due to deprivation. Fish bones may be held by the target and dropped to end the spell prematurely.

(Base 20, +2 Voice, +2 Sun)

If I were choosing this spell for a player character is likely not have the fish form so small. A shark gives better combative survival or a dolphin can also breathe normally and swim to reasonable depths.  

Silly spell – Jafar’s Giant Cobra

Hermetic transformation spells are a double edged sword in Ars Magica, and this spell highlighted the point that reoccurs whenever I get excited about a thematic effect. Against a normal animal or human a transformed Magus is very powerful, especially if the spell has been designed to have an even more grandiose result.

However Magical Resistence completely blocks the transformed subject from attacking. This works in movies and such as they don’t have a concept of MR. In an Ars game Jafar would be very intimidating to a street rat but a complete triviality to an Order of Hermes magus. Yep I’m mixing it up but the point holds. I’d love a way for transformations to allow physical combat against wizards – such is life though.

Regardless, here is the transformation spell Jafar uses in Aladdin written up as a hermetic spell.

Transformation of the Giant Cobra

Muto Corpus / Animal 30, R: Personal, D: Sun, T: Individual

Jafar’s signature spell transforms the caster into a gigantic cobra, equivalent of a size +7 creature. The spell may be ended prematurely by dropping a cobra fang held while the spell is in effect.

(Base 10, +2 Size, +2 Sun)

A contentious part of the spell might be the size increase. My rationale is that a transformation effect can shift into any creature of size +1 or less, so when designing a spell the size of the cobra could already be large. The additional magnitudes then add on top of the large cobra, shifting the size upward by 3 tanks for each magnitude. A size 4 cobra didn’t feel big enough when I re-watched that bit of the movie, so I went to the limit of the next magnitude.

YSMV. Check out more new and custom spells for Ars Magica in my ever growing Grimoire.