Coin of the Wolf, a simple stolen enchanted device

From the excellent Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets-An oldschool gaming blog, comes an interesting item which I decided to refit into Ars Magica.

The Coin of the Wolf – by Ancient Vaults (on May 10th 2017) writes the item as a D&D magical  item:

‘Are you going to lose that thing?’ Chalk asked Valance as the two adventurers strolled down the uneven cobblestones of Ird.

‘I intended to lose this coin and a few others if indeed Jarks is going into the deep woods in a few days,’ the priest of the Spider God said with a smile.

‘It isn’t like you to willingly lose, can’t you just drop it on his person?’ the wizard asked.

‘Too risky with all of his goons around, besides, spiders will lead us to the bodies to fetch the coins,’ Valance replied.

Chalk nodded as he saw a trio of chickens skitter nervously out of their path.

Forged by a dwarven forge-master at the request of a mischievous druid the Coin of the Wolf has lead to some interesting and sometimes unfortunate situations, almost all of which have been totally unexpected, except for that one strange fellow that defiantly carried one of these everywhere….

Benefit: This magical coin causes the one bearing it to give off the scent of an alpha wolf to all animals around. Domestic animals will panic when within 30′ of the bearer of the strange coin, attempting to flee whenever possible. Creatures of Animal to Semi- Intelligence (1-4) with 4HD or more that have aggressive natures will attack the one with the cursed coin 80% of the time. Even after getting rid of this dread item the effects last for one hour afterward.

For Ars magica it can be created as a basic MuIm device & effect.

Coin of the Wolf (Muto Imagonem 10, as CrIm base 1 to modify one sense, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 moving image. Then device mods: +5 for 24x uses per day). Changes the target’s scent of an alpha male wolf. Device requires a pawn of vis to create.


Lost Spells (part 2) Unnatural Fire

A strange and dangerous spell, although there are times when having a fire which burns while wet might be very handy. The original lasted for as long as the caster concentrated which makes sense as a demonstration of the transformation, but not as a true device of dangerous and unnatural fire. The spell is more dangerous than converting water to oil, as so many other water sources may be present which are uncontrolled.

Unquenched Flame

Muto Ignem / Aquam 20, R: Voice, D: Sun, T: Individual

This spell changes a fire of a size up to bonfire so it unnaturally consumes water as fuel, as though it were oil or wood. The fire would be particularly dangerous in a wet forest, or on a marsh, and could be used to actually burn a river.

(Base 4, +2 Voice, +2 Sun)

Over 550+ new spells for Ars Magica can be found here.

Complexity in Muto based Materials Manipulation

This post is more meta-magic system thoughts for ars magica –  on the complexity in Muto based materials creation and manipulation, raised from a forum discussion…

Switching one form to another should include a degree of flexibility in the final shape, as this is the declared purpose of the spell. As long as the spell is creating a specific object or thing. Surrounding air to a natural plant is fine and declaring the type and shape of the plant is reasonable in the Formulaic formula at base.

Then modifying for complexity in shape seems appropriate, as:

  • I see the complexity as quasi- geometric shapes (+0 mags) like lines, cubes, boxes, or walls. Exploiting a feature of the new material should be free too – like using a plant to create a natural shelter.
  • The allowing sub-shapes in the main shape (1) like windows, basic stairs, spikes.
  • Then almost any other ordinary detail (2).
  • Then finally very ornate details as (3) like artwork.

Having the additional mags should allow forgiveness in the Finesse check but not remove a basic “fit for purpose” check. A serviceable but ugly level for a simple item is vs 6 (a sword), and a more complex item is vs 9 (a suit of armor). Less than this and the finesse check might still be needed (vs 3) , but is really at the “don’t botch” level (a cube of stone).

So a basic sword is +1, and a full suit of armour might be +2. Then add mags for moderate flexibility in choice of form when casting. Making a spell which can pick when cast from a dagger, knife, or sword should cost something, whereas two different styles of swords which are serviceable seems plausible as a spell without too much added complexity. Sword vs axe should definetly need complexity modifiers, if not be allowed at all.

Ref: Atlas Games – Ars Magica forums.

And perhaps interrelated is the Creo vs Muto discussion here, or replacing Finesse with magnitudes of difficulty

Fire to bubbles

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.

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, 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.