Another quick OtIT variant – Widening the Illustrated Tunnel

Another variant on an illustrated magical tunnel, reworked as a wizard in a pbp game called The Light of Andorra (one of the longest running pbp Ars games I’ve seen) needs a version at Range: Touch. I’ve called it widening as the intent is to cast this additional Tunnel after casting a normal version which uses Range: Arcane and Duration: Concentration, or casting upon a person the magus can touch.

Using this spell after a normal tunnel means that many Magi can cooperate to use the tunnel easily, and it can channel slightly higher level spells without the duration expiring unexpectedly. Its handy too that my magus has the Harnessed Magic virtue which means the tunnel can be cancelled anytime. Kudos to the player who first spec’ed him.

It would be wasteful for the magus to invent too many versions, however this widening concept demonstrates how a secondary tunnel might facilitate very powerful effects (described in more detail here).

Widening the Illustrated Tunnel

Rego Vim / Imaginem Gen, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

This spell opens a magical tunnel between the caster and the target (identical to the spell Opening the Intangible Tunnel) except the the caster’s endpoint of the tunnel is clearly visually represented as a swirling vortex styled by the casters sigil.

Spells cast through this tunnel may be one magnitude greater than the level of this spell.

(Base Gen, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 Im sub effect)

…now some spells where the active effect moves out of visual range of the caster need an AC to be incorporated into the design (eg. Image of the Wizard Torn (ReIm)), and this spell perhaps should use that – I’m not sure, so I left it out.

Happy roleplaying folks,

doorways from one realm to the next

Strange item – Wand of Cleaning

Inspired from a strange Atlas Games Ars Magica forum post, here is a Wand of Steam cleaning. Breakdown was:

  • CrAu base of 5 for slightly unnatural effect.
  • Rego sub-effect for the removal.
  • +1 Touch, Mom, Ind,
  • maybe +1 mag for the cleaning of an entire unspecified thing
  • Also requires a finesse check to use, botches might wreck the material.
  • It might also scold but do no real damage (perhaps +0 damage roll).

Wand of Steam Cleaning – (CrAu/Re25) a hardwood wand twisted by the warping effects of water and time, which is enchanted to activate when run across a targeted person or item of clothing.

Steamed to Perfection

Creo Auram / Rego 15, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Individual

The targeted item is steamed in a particular manner which removes all the dirt and muck from the item. Metals are cleaned and materials freshened. A Finesse check of 6+ is required to ensure the steaming is effective, and botched may indicate the damage. If used against a living target the steam inflicts +0 damage. The caster is protected from damage by the rego requisite.

(Base 5, +1 Touch, +1 for complex motion)

(As an enchanted wand: +10 unlimited uses)

Find the other enchanted devices for Ars.

Wizard’s Obstinance, a Muto Vim spell to Resist Disruption

I was thinking about the Ars Magica Vim, and the meta-magic spell effects in Rego, Muto, and primarily Perdo Vim, which suspend or dispel a magical effect. Generally speaking these effects must exceed the level of the target spell to affect them, and they are very effective in totally neutralising the target spell. Through clever design there are also Rego Vim spells which remove magic for their duration in a target area, or suspend it (see Wind of Mundane Silence, p161 and Suppressing the Wizard’s Handiwork, p162).

So a trisky magus might design a Muto Vim effect which is cast along side another effect to strengthens the spell against such disruptions, but does not alter the target spell’s effect description, or range, duration, or target. The effect is cast as normal, and the additional Muto Vim spell raises the base level of the effect for the purposes of being suspended or dispelled by other spells.

This effect would be similar to a Wizard’s Boost (Ars p.160), but with no material change of effect. Just like Wizard’s Boost there could be a different version for each form, and there also could be a less powerful more general spell for any Hermetic Form.

The rationale for Muto Vim spell guidelines are sometimes difficult to apply, as there is a tendency to say that almost all alterations to an effect are at least considered significant, and as degree of change in this effect adds two magnitudes, it must be considered a total change according to the MuVi guidelines.

The issue I struggled with was deciding if this effect needed to be designed as a Form specific effect, or if it could be a more general spell. I decided that the best choice was to closely match the Wizard’s Boost and Wizard’s Reach spells from the Muto Vim section of the core rules, which both add +5 levels in a specific manner at a base effect: level equal to the effect +1 mag.

In the design considerations I also looked at how the desired effect of “resisting disruption” might be handled mechanically in the game. These meta-magic spells have a similarity in design, where almost any of them could be used for this effect, and I see that as not meeting the goal of this effect. The extra +5 levels should do something of note.

The version of the spell designed for specific forms, designed as a basic effect:

Wizard’s Obstinance of (Form)

Muto Vim Gen, R: Touch, D: Mom, T: Ind

This spell is cast with another spell of a level less than the level of this one. The effective level of the other spell increases 5 levels in power, but not past the level of the Wizard’s Obstinance, and the altered spell is treated as being twice it’s new level for the purposes of resisting spells to alter it further, or dispel it.

A Wizard’s Obstinance may never affect a single spell more than once. There are ten variants of this spell, one for each Hermetic Form.

(Base effect of Significant change to a spell – at level +1, +1 Touch)

Refs and links:

Strange female wizard kid spell

The Grim Mask

A mask which appears as the face of a human skull, which when worn alters the wearers outward appearance to suit their desire. The mask’s standard alteration is to make the wearer appear skeletal, atrophied, and garbed in a ephemeral black cloak (akin to the grim reaper). The masks creator had a dangerous predilection for macabre overstatement, and it is rumored that the mask was taken from his dessicated corpse.

Illusion of the Reaper

Muto Imagonem 5, R: Personal, D: Concentration, T: Individual

Enchanted device level 10: Form Mask (+N to ),

This effect transforms the wearer image, sound, and smell to a form they desire when activated. By default the mask will transform the wearer into a resemblance of death.

Device maintains concentration +5. Activation trigger is to swipe the mask from temple to chin with a finger.

(Base 3, +1 Touch, +1 Concentration)

And then to cancel the illusion.

Void the Illusion

Perdo Vim – This effect to cancels any illusions currently active on the target.

Activation trigger is to swipe the mask from chin to temple with a finger.

(Base N, +1 Touch)


Conjure a few more Boats

In a spells post recently there were two spells for acquiring a boat. In that post I mentioned creating larger vessels. As a post here with those spells, and also a short discussion of the complexity in Creo effects and the difference in spell level for permanent vs non-permanent effects.

There is also no reason why the same spells below can’t be reworked for any wooden crafted item, such as buildings, carts, etc. Ships are simple in terms of being discrete things, but a variation could conjure almost anything.

Conjure the Merchant’s Dream

Creo Herbam / Terram 50, R: Touch, D: Moon, T: Ind

This spell temporarily creates a moderate sized wooden boat, one or two sails, oars, and running gear suitable for twenty travelers and their gear, and requiring a crew of four to operate properly. The ship will have a modest cargo hold and a few small cabins. The ships draft is designed to allow it to sit high on the water, so it may use rivers as well as oceans for travel. The spell requires a finesse check to determine the quality of the boat.

(Base 3, +2 treated and processed Herbam materials, +1 Touch, +3 Moon, +2 increased target size for a moderate boat, +2 complexity, +1 Terram)

The spell would certainly be lower level if placed into an item so that the item could maintain concentration. It also may be better for a Rego Vim spell to be cast to maintain concentration, and reduce the spell level down by 10 levels (+3 Moon becomes +1 Concentration, altering the level downward to CrHe/Te 40). Sure, that adds a requirement on a second high level spell, but it also saves the spell bordering on a ritual.

There is a larger ship, designed as a proper ritual.

Conjuration of the Dawn Treader

Creo Herbam / Terram 40, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Ind, Ritual

This spell permanently creates a large wooden boat, multiple sails, oars, and running gear suitable for fifty travelers and their gear, and requiring a crew of nine to operate properly. The ship will have a sizable cargo hold, multiple decks and internal cabins for crew and guests. The ship is not suitable for travel on small rivers, but may use larger ones. The spell requires a finesse check to determine the quality of the boat.

(Base 3, +2 treated and processed Herbam materials, +1 Touch, +3 increased target size for a large boat, +2 complexity, +1 Terram)

Interesting that the larger ship is a lower level spell due to the magnitudes of increased Duration in the temporary version, although the lower is a ritual so requires vis.


Conjuration of the Titan’s Barge of War

Creo Herbam / Terram 45, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Ind, Ritual

This spell conjures a permanent monumentally large ship, suitable for transporting incredible amounts of cargo or acting as a vehicle for war. The ship created is clearly unnatural and fearsome as no ship in history would be even close to this size.

The ship is outfitted for war, and contains defensive structures, armaments mounted along the hull, and also a large ram. It is designed with multiple sails, oars, and running gear suitable for its size, and smaller boats to use for short commutes.

Due to how large the ship is a crew will have to learn over many weeks to operate this ship properly. The ship’s draft is so deep than it cannot be docked in most ports. The spell requires a finesse check to determine the quality of the boat.

(Base 3, +2 treated and processed Herbam materials, +1 Touch, +4 increased target size for a large boat, +2 complexity, +1 Terram)

It is worth mentioning that an official Ars Magica product Hermetic Projects already has a ritual spell for conjuring a full ship, although it uses a Target of Structure in the book, which has then been errata’ed to Target: Individual. It also used a +3 complexity modifier which seems incredulously exorbitant. The reason (I think) such a high modifier was chosen was to reflect the “build” process of crafting a ship identically to a real ship. If the ritual forgoes the idea that the ship is perfectly constructed to manual methodology, then it can take simplifications in design and form, which in turn reduce the complexity of the spell. A +3 complexity modifier should be saved for spells like Conjuring the Mystic Tower, thus the spells here have been designed with a +2 complexity modifier (see a summary of complexity below).

Remember too that the spell has already “paid” for the spell to construct a treated and finished herbam product in the cost breakdown. That payment should already include the complexity of conjuring finished items instead of raw plants. The degree of complexity beyond this should be for items which have increasing ornate detail, many moving parts, stress points, and other plainly obvious or beautiful features which take significant thought and planning.

An explanation of my thoughts on relative complexity:

  • Standard (+0 mags) – These items have little or no complexity in function or moving parts. e.g. Mounds of matter, swords, chairs, walls.
  • Slightly Complex (+1 mags) – a few moving parts, and a few different materials. e.g. a Cart with tack and harness. A simple small boat. A building with a few uniform rooms and floors.
  • Moderate Complexity (+2 mags) – many features which move independently from the whole, many compartments, or sub-functions. Many different materials. e.g. ocean going ships. A moderate sized building with multiple rooms, hallways, walk ways including doors and some features.
  • Highly Complex (+3 mags) – Fully formed towers will inconsistent internal structures, with as many complex features as desired. Complex machinery. This is about as complex as a spell can get. e.g. Conjuring the Mystic Tower.


More variations on Ars Magica Damage spells

During a discussion of the best and worst Forms to inflict damage in Ars Magica had a segway into the best and worst ways to hurt a mundane vs hurting a wizard. We all agreed that magic resistance makes hurting wizards troublesome, so it is done via dedicated devices with high penetration, indirect spells, or mundane means. When we considered hurting mundanes the options are almost too broad to consider, as almost anything will work.

My view is that affecting a mundane with damage is made slightly nastier by adding longer durations to the spells. This won’t always work thematically for spells that create a temporary medium to inflict damage (lighting bolts and fireballs) but will be effective for spells which affect the target directly. Varying spells to inflict the same damage over many combat round (also know as D.O.T. – damage over time) means the targets are likely to be incapacitated eventually. Wizard’s Icy Grip (Ars p.142), The Wound That Weeps & Invocation of Weariness (Ars p.133) are just some single use examples which could be remade.

The disadvantage of using damage over time effects is that they are unforgiving on targets you do not wish to kill, and they generally are slightly less powerful than single use effects.

Wizard’s Icy Shroud

Perdo Ignem 30, R: Voice, D: Diameter, T: Individual

As per Wizard’s Icy Grip – Chills a single target so that it takes +15 damage each combat round the spell is in effect. If this is enough to kill, the target is frozen solid. Armor does not add to Soak against this spell.

(Base 15, +2 Voice, +1 Diameter)

The spell Wizard’s Icy Grip uses a Base 20 for +20 damage based upon the base 10 for +10 damage. Even +5 damage per round will eventually hurt a tough character due to dice rolls.

See also The Toxic Solar as an example of a Muto Auram effect which affects an entire room with a damage over time effect, and this further variation to affect a structure.

The Toxic Ziggurat

Muto Auram 35, R: Touch, D: Diameter, T: Structure

This spell changes the air within a single structure touched to a highly corrosive gas which inflicts +10 damage per round to everything within. This gas will also damage delicate items within the room, such as paper, food, fur and cloth.

(Base 10 for Level as damage, +1 Touch, +1 Diameter, +3 Structure)


See further custom spells for Ars Magica can be found in the summary spells page.

Transformation into Shadows and Ghosts

Transforming into a shadowy form for isn’t straight forward in Ars Magica, not because it’s overly complex, but because there are a few ways it can be done. That said, its a seriously impressive thematic effect and might have advantages in-play.

The spell effects to do this starts with a Muto Corpus base level 30 because it is closely related to becoming insubstantial, then is modified to suit the Form best related to shadow – which is a bit of a discussion topic as shadows are affected by both Ignem and Imagonem circumstantially, although Ignem typically only to remove them. I’d say the transformation effect from another form is firmly within the domain of Imagonem. I mention this as Hermetically transformed creatures are still affected by their base form, then any form which is appropriate under the paradigm. So an Imagonem based transformation might be affected (subject to circumstances) by all Corpus as normal, Creo Ignem, and all Imagonem spells.


The paradigm for images and light used in Ars Magica has a base in species rather than modern physics (which quickly gets very confusing), that dictate that Creo Ignem can assist in destroying a shadow, and Imagonem can directly affect it.

Aside – It is also possible to have a shadow-like effect using Auram depending on the results that the caster wants (See the spells Cloak of Mist and Transform to Water, see Ars p.131) such as a vampiric inspired transformation to mist or smoke. These effects have the minor benefit of not being subject to Creo Ignem effects as much, however they are not a true shadow-form and they bring their own limitations in terms of being subservient to the whims of their new shape.

As basic effect, a transformation to shadow using Imagonem might be written as:

Form of the Erebus’ Servant

Muto Corpus 45 / Imagonem, R: Personal, D: Sun, T: Individual

The caster is transformed into a shadow of themselves. They can no longer physically interact with the physical world, but instead can pass under and through the narrowest spaces, and move very quickly across the ground. This makes the shadow immune to physical damage, but highly susceptible to bright light and magical bursts of light may cause pain or damage. A small mirror is held by the caster and is dropped to remove the effect prematurely.

Like all transformation effects, some gear and equipment may not be transformed, or casting requisites may be required for some equipment; subject to troupe rules.

(Base 30, +1 controlled movement, +2 Sun)

The base effect is related to a referenced rule for MuCo with Au for a smoky ghost (TMRE pg. 68 calls “allowing the Magus to take ghostly form” MuCo/Au 30). An additional magnitude was added to allow the caster to control the direction of their movement, rather than being subject to the whims of light and darkness in the environment around them.

Lastly a variation into a spirit or umbra transformation – into an incorporeal ghost-like form using Mentem, which might also render the target invisible because ghosts are rarely visible unless under the effects of spells and powers to allow them to coalesce.

Form of the Shade of Hades

Muto Corpus 45 / Mentem, R: Personal, D: Sun, T: Individual

The caster is transformed into a spirit-like creature, unnatural and incorporeal. The caster can still be seen, but appears as a ghostly version of their normal self. This ghost like form cannot interact with the physical world except for basic movement, and may float in a ghost-like manner through solid objects.

While transformed the caster can still speak and be heard normally, although the voice takes upon ethereal features, and the caster does not need to breathe. A token inscribed with a human skull is held during the spell casting, which can be dropped to end the effect prematurely.

(Base 30, +1 controlled movement, +2 Sun)


See further custom spells for Ars Magica can be found in the summary spells page.