Stat Boosting Rituals, Part 7 (Improving Items)

Continuing from Stat Boosting Rituals, Part 6, … to discuss making physical items better. It is something very left of center, and is based upon the idea that an item can be made closer to its ideal perfect form.

Considering that repeatedly cast powerful rituals can change the stats of a person, it stands to reason that other objects can also be improved in the same manner. Animals are an obvious extension of the Corpus and Mentem guidelines, so why not also objects?

Each type of object needs a separate ritual, as its generally bad spell design in the Ars setting to try to affect many very different types of objects with the same Creo-ish effect.

A reason why this type of transformation has probably been avoided is the Vis cost vs the silver pound cost to buy high quality items. High quality items can be commissioned with silver, and casting any ritual is expensive in vis, and Magi tend to save it for serious matters.

Ars Magica’s City & Guild source-book (p.70) has rules for the quality of items: Shoddy, Standard, Superior, Excellent, and then Wondrous.

Reviewing those rules gives two advances for an item beyond Standard craftsmanship, without becoming Wondrous. I’m excluding Wondrous items as they are akin to enchanted devices and are designed as one of a kind items for specific people. It is reasonable to state that they are beyond the capability of a ritual to improve a normal item into. Wondrous items are also very rare in actual play I’ve seen.

An aside – the City & Guide book also stipulates that magically enchanted items must be of Superior quality, else they suffer penalties to the lab total (see the inset box p.70). A rule that I’ve not seen often enforced, often hand-waved. That means troupes will need to decide if a typical magical device is Standard or Superior, especially if casting this style ritual after the item has been acquired and enchanted.

The difficult choice is to assign a baseline for objects. For living creatures the base starts from level 30 to make an attribute average (meaning +0), and scales per magnitude beyond. Lacking a better argument, that’s the method for items too.

New suggested Creo spell guidelines, with Forms appropriate to the item to be improved:

  • Base 30, to improve a crafted item from quality Shoddy to Standard.
  • Base 35, to improve a crafted item one quality level, up to Superior.
  • Base 40, to improve a crafted item one quality level, up to Excellent.

Practically the base 30 is a waste, and the base 35 might be useful to cast with a circle target on all items (such as weapons, as a level 40 final spell effect) in the covenant armory. Conversely if the ritual is invented using Target Circle then there is no reason to not cast it on every item available.

The Perfect Sword

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

The targeted swords are improved in quality by one category, to a limit of Excellent. Any type of sword may be affected by the ritual, and the requisite allows for any non-Terram based components to be improved.

(Base 40, +1 Touch, +0 Momentary, +0 Circle, Ritual)

Practically if a Magus was enhancing their prized sword from Superior to Excellent, and also upgraded a selection of other weapons by spending 9 pawns of vis – I’d allow that. It’s a fairly high expense compared to the game mechanic gain.

The same effect could be reworked for any item such tools, armor, books (which opens a Pandora’s Box of rules from the Covenants source-book on quality), to gain the positive skill and combat bonuses which Superior and Excellent items bring.

A meta-game consideration I’m pondering is what happens when the item is made “better” using these rituals and it is already enchanted. Superficially I think it shouldn’t matter – as it is the same item after the spell is cast. My reasoning is that a person can have active enchantments in a familiar bond or a longevity ritual and still be improved by magic. The same applies here.

Another consideration is the use of Finesse for conjuring items using Creo. A troupe will need to decide if Finesse rolls are needed, and I’d suggest that they can be hand waved due to the high base level used in the spell; especially when compared to crafting an item with Rego magic, which certainly do need Finesse.

Then lastly while the ArsMagica rules are being broken by this there is the consideration that the rituals might also “pay” for complexity to affect metals, gems, or other steps in materials magnitude. I’m ignoring that complexity, as it places the ritual level far beyond reason. If it were required I’d alter the base level down from 30 to 20 to account for another baseline at 15 which repairs all damage to an item (from Magi of Hermes source-book). If the base then starts from 20, then a metal item is improved by a level 30 ritual anyway due to the +2 mag cost for targeting/creating metals.

See my Ars Magica grimoire for hundreds of other new spells.

Stat Boosting Rituals, Part 6 (Animals)

Continuing from Stat Boosting Rituals, Part 5, … to allow animal companions, familiars, and potentially any beast to be permanently improved; to be closer to perfect.

To enhance animals the ritual spells are essentially the same using Animal. For normal beasts Cunning will replace Intelligence, and the Form changes to Animal for all the effects. These effects will be useful to wizards who have animal companions or familiars, or those who wish their stock to be the best.

At a minimum effect,

The Gift of Craftiness, Encircled

Creo Animal 35, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Circle, Ritual

Permanently increases the affected targets Cunning by 1 point, to no higher than 0.

(Base 30, +1 Touch)

Through to the maximum, and other rituals would be identical to those written in Parts 1&3 of the previous posts with their arts changed to Creo Animal.

The Perfection of Craftiness, Encircled

Creo Animal 60, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Circle, Ritual

Permanently increases the affected targets Cunning by 1 point, to no higher than +5.

(Base 55, +1 Touch)

All the new spells for Ars Magica can be found here.

A spell to create an Elegant Church

Tailoring of spells is a standard part of Ars Magica. This is a rework of Conjuring the Mystic Tower to create a cathedral instead of a tower. As such it has the same mechanics but a different description.

Conjuring the House of the Gods

Creo Terram 35, R: Touch, D: Mom, T: Individual, Ritual

This spell creates a large cathedral, subject to the desires and designs of the caster. A typical layout has a broad central hall, several tall spires, many private chambers along all sides, stairways between levels, window spaces along all walls, a subterranean vault, and a smaller private chapel to one side.

Walls 1-3 feet thick at the base. The cathedral is bordered by a 1 pace tall wall set 10-15 paces from the outer edges of the church. The cathedral has room to accommodate hundreds of worshipers in the main hall, and their supporting staff dwellings, supplies and meeting places.

The spell provides 10,000 cubic paces of stone. The complexity modifier allows for the structure to be ornate, and made a single piece of stone with shutters, doors and such built in. When small parts are needed they are created within the single piece using thin stone slivers. The overall spell design has allowed for some internal and artistic complexity.

(Base 3 to create stone, +1 Touch, +4 size, +3 complex design, ritual)

Within the game where I hope the spell will be used there are many types of faith, with flexible design the same spell can create very different catherdrals, as long as the building is sufficiently church like. It would not be possible to use CtMT to create this style of building just like a spell to create a horse cannot create a dog.

Find this spell and hundreds more for Ars Magica in my grimoire.

Spells of Tailored Poisons

Here are a few more poison oriented spells, starting with a lethal dose and then getting into some weirder options, and one very good way to kill a specific wizard.

The Ars Magica spell guidelines tell us that a lethal dose of poison is base 25 with an ease factor of 3 to resist, and each additional magnitude increases the ease factor by 3. Yet an Incapacitating wound is 20 and a Heavy wound is 15. I like that the potency and severity are balanced in the guidelines.

A Sip of Consummate Ruin

Creo Aquam 50, R: Touch, D: Diameter, T: Individual

This spell creates a single dose of a lethal poison, enhanced to be highly potent; which requires a Stamina check against an ease factor of 12 to resist.

(Base 25, +1 Touch, +1 Diam, +3 for an additional 9 to the ease factor to resist)

With a duration so short the caster would have to know it will be used soon, perhaps on a blade or in a drink. And with such a high level spell it is unlikely to penetrate another Magi’s magical resistance.

The alternative to the poison having a duration is to design a spell which conjures an exceptionally virulent poison permanently with vis. As a permanent creation it no longer is resisted by Parma Magica.

A Quaff of Absolute Havok

Creo Aquam 45, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Individual, Ritual

This spell creates ten doses of a poison which inflicts an Incapacitating wound, enhanced to be highly potent; which requires a Stamina check against an ease factor of 12 to resist.

(Base 20, +1 Touch, +3 for an additional 9 to the ease factor to resist, ritual, +1 size)

On to stranger and more magical poisons. Firstly spells designs for poisons to affect a specific person. A poison spell, which only affects one person, designed as a mild poison so it could be boosted as desired.

As the options get more diverse the complexity increases which really makes these spells very particular.

A Sip for My Oldest Nemesis

Creo Aquam 35, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

This spell creates a single dose of poison with enhanced potency, which will only affect Sir Dion of Alexandria. It requires a Stamina check against an ease factor of 6 to resist. The poison inflicts a medium wound.

(Base 10, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 for an additional 3 to the ease factor to resist, +1 for a specific person)

A poison spell, which only affects a Bloodline.

A Sip for That Cursed Family

Creo Aquam 45, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Bloodline, Faerie

This spell creates a single dose of poison with enhanced potency, which will only affect members of Sir Dion of Alexandria’s bloodline. It requires a Stamina check against an ease factor of 6 to resist. The poison inflicts a medium wound.

(Base 10, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +3 Bloodline, +1 for an additional 3 to the ease factor to resist, Faerie spell)

A poison spell, which affects the person you have an AC to, or you are touching.

A Sip for My Newest Nemesis

Creo Aquam 40, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

This spell creates a single dose of poison with enhanced potency, which will only affect a person the caster is touching or has an arcane connection to. It requires a Stamina check against an ease factor of 6 to resist. The poison inflicts a medium wound.

(Base 10, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 for an additional 3 to the ease factor to resist, +1 for a specific person, +1 for flexibility)

There is no reason that the poison crafted by any of these spells cannot vary in nature, perhaps made into inks to emulate the terrible ink from the novel and film The Name of the Rose. As spell it could be identical, and crafting the poison as an ink is a very insidious way to distribute it. Especially if that ink also affects only a Bloodline or an individual, or the recipient is not protected by magical resistance.

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

A quick spell – The Chirurgeon’s Healing Circle

Just a quick spell that will be included in a summary of a powerful healer in Ars Magica. This is a quick reworking of the default healing spell from the core rulebook, so that everyone with a drawn circle can be healed a body level, not just one person.

Same level, much wider application, but then it also has the constraint of needing all the targets together and not being able to be cast without vis. I think that is pretty neat.

The Chirurgeon’s Healing Circle

Creo Corpus 20, R: Touch, D: Mom, T: Circle, Ritual

As per The Chirurgeon’s Healing Touch, modified to Target all creatures within a drawn circle. Spell will permanently restore one light body level of damage permanently.

(Base 15, R: Touch +1)

If a character of mine ever takes the Chirurgeon’s Healing Touch then I think Ill take this one instead. Now off to try to finish some of the other roleplaying projects on my plate. Silly real life distractions.

Note to self, Ars 5e longevity rituals

There are some changes to the Longevity Ritual in Ars Magica 5th edition from 4th, that are really interesting; and greatly shifted from my understanding. If you’re not new to 5th edition (being as it’s many years old) then you can probably move along safely.

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