Ice Spells (part ten) More strange ice spells

As part of a November 2017 Ars Magica writing challenge – I’m doing one spell a day. Here is a spell which a Magus might need when they travel in icy climates; which extends on previous parts.

Sense the Feet that Tread the Ice

Intellego Aquam 30, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

You touch an expanse of snow and ice and feel what is moving within a mile of where you stand.  You can discern the same useful information as Sense the Feet which Treat the Earth (InTe30, Ars p154).

(Base 4, +1 Touch, +1 Concentration, +1 part, +3 size)

All the 650+ new spells for Ars Magica can be found here.


A Minuscule Immovable Lab

Edit: this should be called “Minuscule Movable Lab”, clearly I missed the title. 

A quick post with an odd purpose – to shrink a room or lab down to a tiny size so it is easier to transport. For this to work the lab or building would need to be constructed specifically as a container, so that once it is very small it can be picked up like a storage box. Another spell then follows to ensure the room’s contents stay intact as it is carried.

What I really love about using a Target of Structure or Room is that the complexity of all the content is in-built in the effect. There is no additional scaling needed to target everything within the room. My reservation is that these spells are very high level, which means only more advanced PCs might be able to have them.

Chamber as Ornament

Muto Terram 40, R: Touch, D: Moon, T: Room

The target room and all its non-living contents is shrunk to a tiny size; a standard room is shrunk to a thumbnail, with the content also reducing proportionally. The caster can opt to affect only the room’s contents. Requisites are required when cast on non-Terram materials.

(Base 4, +1 Touch, +3 Moon, +2 Room, +2 incredibly small)

For the design of Chamber as Ornament picking the base level was normally for a doubling of each dimension, or an increase of mass by eight times. In Ars Magica it is also generally easier to shrink a thing than to enlarge a thing. When reducing a 16x reduction is reasonable at the base, and for a room that turns a chamber into a chest. A further reduction by adding another magnitude makes that chest into a cup, then another for a cup to a thumbnail.

Another design consideration was the Duration of Moon which is how I see the spell being effective, however both these spells are better as enchanted devices which can be turned on and off.

Then to keep the items in place when the room is shrunk this spell is needed. It might also serve to ensure a lab is slightly harder to break into and ransack. The caster must also have a way to remove it if they need to – which is where the power is probably best as a complex enchanted item.

Keep Everything in Place

Rego Terram 40, R: Touch, D: Moon, T: Room

The target room and all its contents is fixed in place so that nothing can move. Objects stay as placed, doors are held, and pots of water will stay full even if disoriented.

This spell does not affect living targets such as trees, animals, or people. Requisites are required when cast on non-Terram materials.

(Base 5, +1 Touch, +3 Moon, +2 Room)

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

Variations on the spell Object of Increased Size

As a very useful utility spell in Ars Magica is the Object of Increased Size. It is handy but limited in terms of how far it transformed the object.As there is no rules in RAW to dictate the scaling of size increases beyond the base +1 or -2, take the scaling here as advised and commented in the official forums. My preference is for a more magical and mythical setting for Ars, which predisposes me to allow wider and bigger spell effects’ YSMV.

Here is a few versions which enhance the size of the final object. As a tip-of-the-hat I’ve kept the names in line with the core spell, which also makes it easy to see which is which in a spell list, but misses the opportunity to call it something silly and fun.

Object of Increased Size, Enlarged

Muto Terram 20, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Ind

This spell increases the size of the object touched by up to four times it’s normal dimensions, and up to sixty four times it’s mass. The spell can affect an object up to the size of a large chest. When cast requisites are required for the form of the affected object.

(Base 4, R:Touch +1, D:Sun +2, +1 further increase in scale)

Alice-bigA typical weapon will be enormous when this is cast – a dagger becoming almost a yard long with a grip far too wide to hold, or a helm increased to gigantic proportions. It maybe more of a trick spell than actually beneficial when taken much further.

And as I’m a fan of taking spells well too far, here is another version which goes to extremes for a shorter period, we can create:

Object of Increased Size, Gargantuan

Muto Terram 35, R: Touch, D: Diameter, T: Ind

This spell increases the size of the object touched by up to 100 times it’s normal dimensions, and one million times it’s mass. The spell can affect an object up to the size of a large chest. When cast requisites are required for the form of the affected object.

(Base 4, R: Touch +1, D: Diameter +1, +5 further increases in scale)

Noted in the official forum thread for spell moderation is the idea that the size multiplier for each dimension isn’t x2, x4, x8, x16, x32, x64, but instead x2, x5, x10, x20, x50, x100. This makes a small but useful difference for the effects as a spell adds magnitudes, so the effects will be designed using that. At the high end the difference between the two approaches is obvious, but not so much in terms of comparison within the setting. Is there a difference between a shortspear changing from 2 yards long to either  64 yards long or 100 yards? Both are massive.

When adding +1 mag to increase an objects size, the incremental step is base 4 equals x2 in dimensional increase, then x5, x10, x20, x50, x100, and so on.

This also equates to a mass increase of base as x8, then x125, x1000, x8000, x125,000, and x1,000,000

Like most guidelines in Hermetic magic, they become borderline absurd when taken too far; but only at the power levels of rituals will get into the extremes. SG may rule that the effect is too extreme and I sympathise a little, except for the damage that a typical level 35-40 spell can inflict. Yes the power is broad when written in isolation, but far less so when you consider what other level 35-40 effects in the game can do. And a magus who spends seasons inventing these effects may not have a wide set of applications for them.

The suggested scaling doesn’t cover how the effect scales downward though, and down scaling is something not covered well in hermetic magic spell guidelines in the core rules.

Generally the guidelines imply that affecting a smaller than “standard” sized object with magic is simple, and that reducing sizes is easier than increasing them. It appears that a +1 mag can make a doubling of the objects dimensions upward, and twice that again if the object is being shrunk. But that would mean each mag is reducing the size of the object by 75%, which is a very significant change (I’m not sure as I write this if that is too much, or appropriate). It creates a rough guide as:

When adding +1 mag to decrease an objects size, the incremental step as base effect level 4 equals x4 reduction in dimensions, then x16, x64, x256.

This also equates to a base mass decrease at Base effect of x64 times less mass, then x4096 times less at +1 mag, and then 262, 144 times less mass at +2 mags.

This leads to another spell to reduce the size of an object, and given the ease in doing so the change can be dramatic without being a particularly high level spell.

As a starting point the base guideline should stay as MuTe Base 4. This is because it is fundamentally the same effect in reverse. The difference comes from the effect of moving downward through size categories, in terms of how hard that should be for Hermetic magic. Looking at the final result of the spell design it might apply in game, as applied to a reasonable sized box. The step of each magnitude is:

  • At base a large chest of 1 cubic yard, becomes a box just over 7 inches per side. That does not see overtly bad in terms of the scaling down.
  • At +1 extra mag, the 7 inch box becomes a cube 1/7th of an inch to a side. That seems ok too, considering that the effect is reaching around level 20 at a minimum. This is not an effect that a typical starting wizard can spont cast.
  • At +2 mags extra, the box is really too small to define, as it is smaller than a grain of sand. That is ok too. At some point the effect should make this small.

The effect when written up is powerful enough to make most man sized things or smaller into tiny tokens of their former size.

Object of Decreased Size, Diminutive

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

This spell decreases the size of the object touched by up to 64 times less it’s normal dimensions, and 262,000 times less mass. The spell can affect an object up to the size of a large chest. When cast requisites are required for the form of the affected object.

(Base 4, R: Touch +1, D: Sun +2, +2 further decreases in scale)

Beyond that scale of change is the need to also target large objects with the same spell, so that larger objects can be reduced downward. That would require the addition of more magnitudes for the spell to initially target the object, and in most cases a +1 magnitude increase will affect initial targets which are very large objects using the scale of size increase from the spells above.

This and other custom spells for Ars Magica can be found on the new spells page.