A Vanilla Covenant for Ars Magica 5th Ed

After many seasons the folk who collaborated on the Vanilla Covenants project for Ars Magica now have a finished product! (available from the blog: http://david.berco.free.fr/wordpress/?p=690)

I’m exceedingly pleased it is released, and grateful to David Duke, aka The Man From Outerspace for continuing with dauntless faith through to the completion.

p.s. and the IronbondTome in the credits for a few bits is your truly. 

Variations on supernatural creature might stripping spells

I couldn’t find a room based Demon’s Eternal Oblivion (Ars Magica, p.160, Perdo Vim) so here are variants mixing supernatural realms, and demonstrating scaling up for Perdo Vim spells for rooms and big structures.

Strike Against the Undesirable Faerie

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

Reduces the Faerie Might of the creature touched by (Level of this spell +5), as long as the spell penetrates each creatures magical resistance.

(Base Gen, +1 Touch)

This effect could (arguably) be learnt at PeVi1 and still inflict +6 Might damage. This also shows that there are ways to help penetrate against powerful supernatural creatures when each dice roll counts; and could also be invested in a device to gain additional penetration – particularly a weapon with an “on-strike” trigger.

Excise the Unwelcome Magical Guests

Perdo Vim General, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Room

Reduces the Magical Might of all suitable creatures inside the affected chamber by (Level of this spell -5), as long as the spell penetrates each creatures magical resistance.

(Base Gen, +1 Touch, +2 Room)

Scaling means that this spell taken at PeVi5 has no effect, however at level 10 the spell will still inflict 5 points of night and may also identify creatures affected by they spell as they react. It’s a spell that probably is only spont cast by powerful wizards.

Excise the Unwholesome Demonic Interlopers

Perdo Vim General, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Structure

Reduces the Infernal Might of all suitable creatures inside the affected structure by (Level of this spell -10), as long as the spell penetrates each creatures magical resistance.

(Base Gen, +1 Touch, +3 Structure)

Vanilla Covenants Project – Asteria of Verditius

Continuing the ad-hoc Ars Magica character creation for the Vanilla Covenants Project – community sourced set of examples of beginning covenants for the Ars Magica RPG setting.

Asteria of Verditius

Asteria specializes in creating magical items out of bronze. Originally trained in Italy, she eventually moved to Cornwall. This is where the finest tin in the world is mined, and it allows her to create the finest bronze. Like most Verditius, she is incapable of enjoying the company of other members of her House, which also made the move to Stonehenge attractive. She drinks too much, and is very protective of her reputation, but beyond these minor foibles, she’s willing to discuss her work with the younger magi.

Stats at Gauntlet

Characteristics: Int +3, Per 0, Pre 0, Com 0, Str -2, Sta +1, Dex +3, Qik 0
Size: 0, Age: 25 (25), Height: 168 cm, Weight: 72 kg, Gender: Female
Decrepitude: 0, Warping Score: 0 (0), Confidence: 1 (3)

Virtues and Flaws:

Affinity with Metalsmith, Affinity with Terram, Deft Form (Terram), The Gift, Hermetic Magus, Improved Characteristics, Inventive Genius (Invent Lab Totals: +3), Minor Magical Focus (Bronze), Personal Vis Source (Terram), Puissant Magic Theory, Puissant Metalsmith, Puissant Terram, Verditius Magic* [Preparation Abilities: Philosophiae/*Craft], Blatant Gift (Interactions: -6 with normals), Deficient Form (Imaginem), Deleterious Circumstances (Against wind), Hatred (Non productive artistic types), Mentor (Verdi upper heirachy), Weakness (Drinking)

Personality Traits: Disciplined +3, Perfectionist +3, Spontaneous -2

Abilities:

Artes Liberales 1 (geometry), Athletics 2 (Climbing), Awareness 3 (flaws in stone and metal work), Finesse 1, Italian 5 (talking about metal and stone), Latin 4 (Hermetic terms), Magic Lore 1, Magic Theory 3+2 (Terram), Metalsmith 4+2 (Bronze) [Category: Laboratories], Parma Magica 1 (Terram), Philosophiae 2 (Verdi Runes), Scribe 1, Stonemason 3 (Statues and Busts) [Category: Buildings]

Arts: Cr 5, In 2, Mu 5, Pe 3, Re 6, An 0, Aq 0, Au 0, Co 0, He 0, Ig 0, Im 0, Me 0, Te 10+3, Vi 0

Spells:

  • Bindings of Bronze from Robes of Silk (MuAn(Te) 15) +6.
  • Measurement of Metal (InTe 10) +16
  • The Bronze Dart (Mu(Re)Te 15) +24
  • A Window of Singular Direction (MuTe 15) +19
  • Hardness of Adamantine (MuTe 25) +19
  • The Spell of Worked Bronze (ReTe 5) +26.
  • Forge of Purest Bronze (ReTe 15) +26
  • Ominous Levitation of the Weighty Bar (ReTe 20) +20

Custom spells known:

Bindings of Bronze from Robes of Silk

Muto Animal 15, R: Voice, D: Diameter, T: Individual

This spell turns an item of Animal based clothing or equipment worn by the target into bronze (typically a shirt, robe, etc), thereby hampering movement, affecting function, and increasing load. Exact effects will vary according to the articles worn by the target, ranging from no effect to practically complete immobilization.

(Base 4 to change a animal product to metal, +2 Voice, +1 Diameter, +0 Terram)

The Bronze Dart

Muto Terram / Rego 15, R: Voice, D: Momentary, T: Individual

A 10-inch bronze dart rises from the ground at your feet, floats into the air, and speeds off like an arrow at a target that is within Voice range. It does +10 damage, and always hits its target, although it must penetrate Magic Resistance to have any real effect.

(Base 3, +2 Voice, +1 affect metal, +1 Rego requisite)

Measurement of Metal

Intellego Terram 10, R: Touch. D: Momentary, T: Individual

This spell informs the caster of the purity and quality of an amount of metal.

(Base 5, +1 Touch)

The Spell of Worked Bronze

Rego Terram 25, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Group

The magus may transform a piece of bronze into a finished form, as if a Bronzeworker had shaped and formed it. Up to ten cubic feet may be transformed.

The magus must pass a Perception + Finesse roll substituting for Craft: Bronzeworker against an Ease Factor at least 3 higher than the mundane Ease Factor. Failure reduces the bronze to a slumped lump as if an incompetent beginner had worked on it.

(Base 2, +1 Touch, +2 metal, +2 Group, +1 flexibility, +1 size)

Forge of Purest Bronze

Rego Terram 20, R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Group

This spell smelts and purifies up to ten cubic feet of bronze source materials. The pieces may be existing bronze work or raw copper, zinc, or lead bars. To achieve a suitable final result the caster must succeed a Finesse difficulty check of 12+. Appropriate craft skills may be add to this roll.

(Base 2, +1 Touch, +2 Group, +2 metal, +1 size)

Ominous Levitation of the Weighty Bar

Rego Terram 20, R: Voice, D: Concentration, T: Individual

As per Ominous Levitation of the Weighty Stone, HoH:S p38, but directs items made of metal.

(Base 3, +2 Voice, +1 Concentration, +2 affect metal)

Continue reading

Karhu, Agnarr’s polar bear familiar, a sample magical creature

Karhu is a stoic creature. As one of the few magical beasts who inhabit the polar region he has grown used to quiet nights and peaceful landscapes. He was content with simple pleasures of plentiful food and being one of the more powerful beasts in the region. He and Agnarr crossed paths unexpectedly while both were hunting, and neither thought the other appetising. Initially they hunted apart, but the rare occasion when brother bear wasn’t able to quickly fill his belly, Agnarr shared a fresh seal kill. They then watched each other for many days, hunting and continuing to share food. After the initial meeting Agnar returned a few years later and befriended Karhu. Now years later the two are both magically and mentally joined.

Personality – Speaks very little, even to Agnarr. His Ars Magica stats can be found at the foot of this longer post on Agnarr, also repeated below.

Continue reading

Seven Lesser Enchanted Devices for Guards and Watchmen

These are a few enchanted items for Ars Magica grogs, intended to increase their effectiveness. The goal of these items is to make the grogs more efficient without compromising their capacity to respond, which means a range of situational powers is better than one large dramatic one. The powers have many uses per day as they can be used by every member of the guard, if these were designed for a single user they would be slightly lower level.

For example a power which affects the weapons of the grog would be avoided. Powers which affect the grog’s equipment are better as they also avoid warping.

The Seven Charms of the Earnest Guardsmen – this set of steel charms is set upon a life sized oak bust of a grizzled guardsman who is helmed and armored in scratched and worn gear. Each charm is held in place and enchanted separately as a lesser enchanted device. The bust is anchored in place in the watch-house or garrison of the covenant. The charms place enchantments upon the user, allowing a each charm to be used by many members of the covenant.

The items were designed as lesser devices and set together, this way further enhancements could be added over time and items could be replaced if another power was preferred. Each item could also be taken and worn, and each is a two way arcane connection to the wooden bust.

Each power is activated by touching the selected charm with one hand and the target’s chest with the other.

Charm of the Bear’s Hide – a steel chain around the neck of the statue, with a small bear shaped token attached. As per Gift of the Bears Fortitude (Ars p.131) (MuAn 35), (Base 15, +1 Touch, +2 Sun), with +5 for 24 uses per day.

Twin Charms of the Perceptive Hound – two steel cloak pins, shaped for a leaping dog and a sniffing dog, when worn together one jumps the other.

First pin’s effect is Nose of the Bloodhound (MuCo/An 10), (Base 2, +1 Touch, +2 Sun), with +5 for 24 uses per day. This effect changes the target’s nose to be that of a hound, greatly increasing their ability to track by scent and notice unusual odours.

Second pin’s effect is Ears of the Bloodhound (MuCo/An 10), (Base 2, +1 Touch, +2 Sun), with +5 for 24 uses per day. This effect changes the target’s ears to be that of a hound, greatly increasing their hearing abilities.

Charm of the Perceptive Watchman – a full steel helm. As per Eyes of the Cat (Ars p.131) (MuCo/An 10), (Base 2, +1 Touch, +2 Sun), with +5 for 24 uses per day.

Charm of the Resilient Gambeson – a steel brooch set upon the bust’s chest, shaped as a round-shield and decorated with a gauntlet symbol. As per Doublet of Impenetrable Silk (Ars p.118) (MuAn 20), (Base 4, +1 Touch, +2 Sun), with +5 for 24 uses per day.

Charm of Preternatural Growth – a steel pauldron strapped to the shoulder of the bust. As per Preternatural Growth and Shrinking (Ars p.131) (MuCo/AnTeHe 15), (Base 3, +1 Touch, +2 Sun), with +5 for 24 uses per day. The target and their equipment increases in size by one category to a maximum of size +1.

Charm of the Allied Turb – a diamond shaped steel badge worn over the bust’s heart which signifies the covenant symbol. (MuIm 10) (Base 1, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 detailed), with +5 for 24 uses per day. The target’s appearance is altered to match their untransformed form (for those with some of the effects above), and also to be wearing a tunic of covenant colors and symbol. This effect is used in combination with the others to indicate those on duty and also the expiry of the other effects.

Final note: beware the warping some of these items will cause if used regularly. Initially I had a goal to create all the items with no warping, however it proved too difficult.

Fantasy Runeblade built for Ars Magica

“The runeblade is an extension of your being. A death knight cannot battle without a runeblade.”

– Instructor Razuvious

Q. What would a runeblade be like if made using Ars Magica mechanics?

A. Incredibly nasty, especially if used against mundanes. As an-ex Wow’er this post has been a long time coming and I’ve enjoyed throwing all sorts of power descriptions below, and seeing which ones suit it best. For the purposes of this post the powers have been created using the Hermetic magic rules, while in-game an infernal equivalent is very reasonable. WoW and Ars Magica deal with

Runeblades are usually swords inscribed with magical or demonic runes that grant certain powers to the wielder. All high-ranking death knights wield their own personal, named runeblade, called vampiric runeblades. However, runeblades are not unique to the Scourge. Although Frostmourne was undoubtedly the most prominent runeblade in existence, there are quite a few additional ones.

– Wowikia

In game mechanically there is a magic resistance (MR) consideration for the invested powers which alter the runeblades but to not affect anyone hit with it; normally these would also be resisted by MR which in turn mean the weapon would be useless against any creature or person with MR. In my opinion and frequent house-rule is the non-material powers do not get stopped by MR. Likewise a power can be resisted and the physical sword blade can still hurt the opponent. The supernatural effect is resisted, but the steel is not. This is so that magical weapons do not need to be over engineered for the game and interactions with MR are simpler. YSMV.

Some sample powers might be:

Arcane Link – 1x pawn vis, as the runeblade is a fixed arcane connection to the owner.

Cause Fatigue – PeIg 38, (Base 4, +1 Touch, +1 Animal targets, +5 for 24 uses per day, +20 for Penetration +40, +3 specific owner only), if being held by the owner the next creature struck suffers a Fatigue level of exhaustion.

Dance and Float – ReTe28, (Base 4, +1 Concentration, +2 extra strength to stay in place, +5 device maintains concentration, +5 for 24 uses per day, +3 specific owner only), the sword may be commanded to float and dance in place, and cannot be moved by anyone else.

Dark Whispers – CrMe 43, (Base 3, +4 Arcane, +3 Moon, +5 for 24 uses per day, +5 for +10 penetration, +3 cannot affect owner), after touching blood the sword will whisper to the target who hears an eerie and disturbing voice in their mind speaking of their downfall or death.

Destruction of Men and Beasts – PeCo45, (Base 15, +1 Touch, +1 Animal targets, +10 unlimited uses, +10 for Penetration +20, +3 cannot affect the owner), inflicts a heavy wound on any human touched by the blade. This power may be resisted by powerful opponents, however it is designed to be devistating to lesser creatures.

Encase in Ice – CrAq30, (Base 3, +1 Touch, +1 Diameter, +5 for 24 uses per day, +17 for Penetration +34, +3 specific owner only), the next target touched with the blade is encased in ice, likely stopping all movement and soon to suffocate. Creature up to size +1 can be encased.

Eerie Light – CrIg17, (Base 3, +14 Constant effect), the blade always glows with an eerie blue and white light akin to torchlight.

Indestructible – MuTe24, (Base 4, +2 metal, +14 Constant effect), the blade is all but indestructible.

Wracking Pain – PeCo40, (Base 4, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +3 specific user not affected, +10 unlimited uses, +17 for +34 Penetration), if touched by anyone except the owner the power inflicts pain upon them until the next sunrise or sunset.

An update to Agnarr,

I missed posting final stats for Agnarr, so updating the character sample provided earlier to his “advanced” stats. In hindsight I altered a starting spell to allow Agnarr to conjure ice using formulaic magic, as an ice Magus I think he needed that. Also added his familiar – a large polar bear. Characters are sometimes never finished.