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.

Spells to strengthen the mind and resist other Mentem spells?

Can a spell make a mind more resistant to coercion? Or more resistant to magical manipulation? I’d say yes, so this post is a discussion of the points to why, and a few spells to demonstrate potential approaches.

A Perdo Mentem spell can dramatically increase the chance of manipulating somebody, then a Rego effect could allow them to not change their mind, or perhaps a Creo effect could make the mind more resilient or logical. A spell can probably artificially strengthen a target’s resolve and willpower.

This might come into play mechanically by altering the target’s personality traits, or describing a change in behaviour in a more abstract manner just like the cannon spell from the Ars Magica main rulebook Trust of the Childlike Faith (a PeMe spell where the target will believe almost any passable lie).

The Dogged Will

Rego Mentem 25, R: Voice, D: Sun, T: Individual

The target finds it impossible to change their opinions and beliefs for the duration of the spell. Only the intervention of a more powerful supernatural effect will allow the target’s views to be changed.

(Base 5, +2 Voice, +2 Sun)

But will that add more defence against another spell when the second effect is active at the same time as the first, and is lower level, and also has a similar effect? Yes, but it wouldn’t protect against manipulation of memories or state of mind, potentially leading to a person understanding an alternative point of view but unable to change their specific opinions or core beliefs.

It is perhaps similar to when two similar spells wish to perform directly contradictory actions, such as to change a targets shape. Assuming equal penetration; transforming a human into a cat at level 25 or a bird at level 30. The level 30 effect will be dominant, but the cat effect is still there underneath. If the bird effect is prematurely ended then the target becomes a cat. What fun!

I think there is also a difference between improving the mind’s capacity for reasoning, enhancing the mind’s capability to resist being changed, and forcing the mind to stay the same; Creo vs Rego in terms of Arts. That presents an alternate Creo spell.

Enhancement of Logic and Reason

Creo Mentem 25, R: Voice, D: Sun, T: Individual

The target’s mind is better able to operate logically, reason more soundly, and ignore some of its emotional preconceived notions. This may grant bonuses to ability rolls, willpower checks, or alter personality traits favourably in those circumstances.

(Base 5, +2 Voice, +2 Sun)

And aversion for a council chamber or meeting hall, because that is where logic is needed.

Solar of Enhanced Logic and Reason

Creo Mentem 35, R: Voice, D: Sun, T: Individual

All targets in the affected room are better able to operate logically, reason more soundly, and ignore some of their emotional preconceived notions. This may grant bonuses to ability rolls, willpower checks, or alter personality traits favourably in those circumstances.

(Base 5, +2 Voice, +2 Sun, +2 Room)

Perhaps these effects haven’t been considered all that useful for magi due to Parma Magica resisting the effects, andthe laws of casting upon others? Perhaps useful as an invested device for a mundane sheriff or knight. There are Rego Vim spells to prohibit teleportation spells, scrying spells, or intangible tunnel spells, so it’s just as plausible to ward against mental spells. The effect being resisted will need to be specific.

Impede the Dominating Will

Perdo Mentem Gen, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

The target’s mind is protected against Mentem spells or supernatural effects seeking to issue instructions and commands, or directly alter the target’s behaviour; requiring any opposing spell to exceed (level of this spell +5 + stress dice (no botch)). It has no effect on other spells, or similar Mentem spells which alter memories in the target.

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

This could be useful for a Magus and/or Familiar if enchanted into a familiar link, to allow for constant protection with no ongoing warping. Then for others, as:

Impede the Dominating Will, Encircled

Perdo Mentem Gen, R: Touch, D: Ring, T: Circle

The target’s mind is protected against Mentem spells or supernatural effects seeking to issue instructions and commands, or directly alter the target’s behaviour; requiring any opposing spell to exceed (level of this spell +5 + stress dice (no botch)). It has no effect on other spells, or similar Mentem spells which alter memories in the target.

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

The PeVi baseline is from Ars Magica core rules, as demonstrated in the anti-teleportation spells from TME p109. These and many more new spells for Ars Magica in my grimoire of spells.

The Voiceless Chambers hook and map, with Ars Magica mechanics

The Voiceless Chambers by  demonstrates why he is a favourite blogger and mapper for me. Each week a new map is sketched and shared (for free online, and via a Pateron account for supporters). The Voiceless Chambers has a fantastic introduction, and this post is about some of the magics involved created as Ars Magica spells and magic items. All kudos and high praise for the story hook and map by Dyson.

The hook begins:

When the Sorceress Queen Nemorlienne finally died, some efforts were made to keep her that way. While her rule was generally good for the state of the nation, those closest to the halls of power found her ways destructive and maniacal and her magically-augmented temper shortened many an advisor’s lifespan.

Like the other deceased queens, she was first burned to ashes and then those ashes converted into a gem using dark alchemies. However, unlike those before her, her tomb was sealed completely and magically, and in addition to the usual magical guards and wards over the tomb, the whole place was made magically and perpetually silent so no one could seek her counsel even in death.

But someone has broken the outer seals of the crypt, …

(read more)

This is how these implied effects might be written up for the Ars Magica RPG…

In terms of naming style Ars often has thematic and descriptive names for spells and effects, however as this is a non-standard setting I thought it would be fun to go for a more cultish feel. As if all parts of the process have to be ceremonial.

First effect to silence the chambers is performed by enchanting one of the last stones placed within the interior walls of the chambers has been enchanted to nullify all sound within.

A Hidden Stone Which Brings Silence To All, Lest She Be Disturbed (PeIm 29, Lesser Device), a fist sized cube of high quality marble, carved with deliberately creepy and dangerous looking sigils. It is buried deep within one of the interior walls of the chambers.

Quiet Loose Tounges Within the Crypt

Perdo Imagonem 20, R: Touch, D: Diameter, T: Structure

All sound within the targeted structure is destroyed for the duration, rendering it deathly silent.

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

(As device: +1 mag for extra duration, +4 levels for adjusting to Constant effect, Ars p.99)

The Voiceless Chambers, you feel the Ars Magica and high magical & mystical flavour all through the description.

Then, creating a normal gem with magical aura as a distraction from the real gem is a great fantasy theme.

A False Majesty Unworthy of Her Presence, Lest They Call Her (CrVi 59, Lesser device), a beautiful and valuable gemstone by normal standards which has been enchanted to appear invested to resist magical inspection. The gem has also been fixed as an Arcane Connection to a non-enchanted twin, so that recovery by the high priests is far easier. Investing the effect creates a legitimate magical presence, and then the protective effect ensures the investigation will be troublesome which completes the deception.

Invested Shell of Simple Obfuscation

Creo Vim 45, R: Personal, D: Momentary, T: Individual

The shell resists attempts to divine any invested effects if they are level 50 or below. Investigation spells therefore must be rituals.

(Base 45, to resist investigation effects upon itself up to level 50 effects) 

(As device: +2 mags, +4 levels for Constant effect modification)

See Shell of False Determinations (Ars p.157 for a similar effect) which seemingly can be cast upon objects to perform a similar outcome although it is unclear to me how that spell is effective in the long term with a Momentary duration; odd.

Then, the enchantments on the true jewel of Queen Nemorlienne are very important, as they setup significant restrictions for use of the gem.

The real change for the dust and gem in the introduction is the alchemical change from the remains of the sorcereress into the gem. In Ars Magica that could be as simple as creating a fixed arcane connection, which runs contradictory to the lore in the introduction but also perhaps hints that the priests wish to retain access to Her after her death. Cool and creepy. It has two effects within it and is also set as a permanent arcane connection, the first effect prohibits using the gem an a connection, and the second makes the gem appear flawed.

A True Key Against Those Who Call Beyond the Grave, Lest She Hear Their Call (PeVi 37, MuIm 12, Greater device) an even more beautiful gemstone than the distraction above, this gem is striking and lovely to behold and obviously extremely valuable. The best magi from the realms worked years to craft and enchant this gem, to protect their realm and the ghost of the dead Queen Nemorlienne.

Impede the Meddling Scryers and Fools

Perdo Vim, R: Personal, D: Sun, T: Individual

This spell limits the target so it cancels any other spell attempting to use the target as an Arcane connection for the purposes of scrying, unless it is greater than the (level of this spell +10 + stress dice (no botch)).

(Base Gen, +2 Sun)

(+4 to raise to constant effect, +3 to affect everyone except the current Priesthood)

With a more general version which might be more useful as a Duration: Ring and Target: Circle, which can be used outside an enchanted item.

Impede the Meddling Scryers and Seekers

Perdo Vim, R: Touch, D: Ring, T: Circle

This spell limits the target so it cancels any other spell attempting to use the target as an Arcane connection for the purposes of scrying, unless it is greater than the (level of this spell +5 + stress dice (no botch)).

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

And an effect to reduce glamour of the gem, to make it appear inconsequential. Note that the effect could be slightly lower, however I’ve used a target touch as I intend the effect to be listed as a normal spell, not just for investment in an enchanted device.

Lacklustre Sheen to a Perfect Vessel

Muto Imagonem 5, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual

The item touched is made to look and feel far less valuable or ornate. It remains true to its basic type, however it will appear ordinary, scratched, tarnished, rough, dishevelled or poorly formed.

(Base 2, +1 Touch, +2 Sun)

(+4 to raise to constant effect, +3 to affect everyone except the current Priesthood)

Then, as almost every chamber is decorated with artworks, tributes and prizes, the priests have used these as animated defences for the chambers, as tomb guardians.

A Wooden Puzzle of Horrible Death, Revealed to those who Seek Her Glory, (ReHe 42, Lesser device), an item which animates wooden decorations in the room to become weapons. The rooms are deliberately stocked with edged weapons, arrows, laminated spurs, large spars, and solid blocks. Many such items are sequestered within the chambers.

Animate Her Treasures of Wood as Weapons of Woe

Rego Herbam 35, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Room

The all wooden items in the targeted room rise and attack any creatures within it, crushing, slicing, and pummelling the occupants. The objects strike with an Initiative +5, and Attack +7 and inflict +10 damage each round.

(Base 10, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +2 Room)

(+4 to raise to constant effect, +3 to affect everyone except the current Priesthood)

Then, several rooms within the chambers has been enchanted to protect against intrusion.

The effects are designed as a warding device which can act to protect a room or also act an a prison if need be (as a reworking of Ward Against the Curious Scullion (ReCo30), Covenants p.104).

A Constant Guard Against Trespassers, Interlopers, and Thieves, (ReCo 44, Lesser device), a small sphere of polished gold, inscribed with runes and sigils denoting terror and disease to any who trespass. The sphere as been buried within an internal wall of the central crypts away from the entry point so that is difficult to access even if it can be detected. Several of these warding globes were crafted and installed in the chambers.

Solar Impervious to Curious Scullions

Rego Corpus 40, R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Room

Humans find it impossible to enter or leave the targeted room.

(Base 15, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +2 Room)

(+3 Environmental trigger, +1 for 2 uses per day)

A final aside – if you like this please have a look at the material which Dyson Logos create, and also at the large arrange of other Ars Magica material written over the many here’s on this blog. Spells, Magical Items, Npcs, and many stranger things for the Ars roleplaying game.

crypt-internal

Variations for disrupting magic

Cancelling spells are a great tool in a wizard’s grimoire, so much so that I think most older Magi have variations on the basic magical disruption spells. Wind of Mundane Silence serves a very specific purpose but isn’t useful when the caster only wishes to remove one spell in the room.

Breath of Mundane Silence

Perdo Vim Gen, R: Voice, D: Momentary, T: Individual

Cancels a single spell if it is level is less than half the level of this spell + 10 + stress dice.

(Base Gen, +2 Voice)

Then a reworking of Unraveling the Fabric of (form) (Ars Magica p.161) for the caster’s own spells. There was no direct guideline for using Perdo on the caster’s own spells, so I’ve taken a slight liberty. An Intellego Imagonem effect can allow a caster to see their own illusions, so there is a precedent.

Unraveling the Fabric of My Own Art

Perdo Vim Gen, R: Voice, D: Momentary, T: Individual

Cancels another of the caster’s spells if it’s level is less than level of this spell + 10 + stress dice.

(Base Gen, +2 Voice)

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

Arcane Tunnels for Road and Waterway in Ars Magica

An aspect of having new spell ranges of Road and Waterway with Faerie Magic and Atlantean virtues (and many others) is the limited range of spells which are designed using them. Magi might be reluctant to take these virtues as their existing spells are not geared for the new ranges. Muto Vim spells can greatly change that, as does the major Virtue Flexible Formuliac Magic, and some spell mastery options.

An additional way to help mitigate this is the use of a special version of an Intangible-Tunnel-style effect which seek to connect the caster to a remote Waterway or Roadway via an arcane connection.

These variant Rego Vim spells establish a mystical connection to the road or body of water, so instead of the caster needing to personally touch it, the caster touches the AC. In effect it is a special mystic tunnel which bridges the Range of an intangible tunnel spell instead of the Target of the intangible tunnel spell.

If approved by the troupe these spells add significant leverage to the magi with access to the ranges because they allow for those effects to be used at great range, and this might be a controversial option. I think the style of wizard who sits in their lab using Arcane Connections is already present in Ars Magica, and these spells are no more powerful than an Intangible Tunnel itself. The caster is still required to learn the new “Mystical” tunnels as Rego Vim spells, and also still required to cast a spell with the appropriate Range.

Opening the Mystical Roadway

Rego Vim General, R: Arcane, D: Concentration, T: Individual

This effect establishes a mystical connection to a Roadway to which the caster has an Arcane Connection. Spells cast through this mystical tunnel must still be cast using the Range: Roadway parameter (an aspect of the Faerie Magic virtue), and may not be higher level than this spell.

(Base effect, +4 Arc, +1 General)

Opening the Mystical Waterway

Rego Vim General, R: Arcane, D: Concentration, T: Individual

This effect establishes a mystical connection to a Waterway to which the caster has an Arcane Connection. Spells cast through this mystical tunnel must still be cast using the Range: Waterway parameter (an aspect of the Atlantean virtue), and may not be higher level than this spell.

(Base effect, +4 Arc, +1 General)

I think that is quite a nice treat for characters with these virtues, when using these variant OtIT effects – all they need is an arcane connection to a road or waterway to affect anything within it. It could be pretty neat.

For these and over 200 other new Ars Magics spells see the list of spells.

a portal to where?

How to calculate Ars Magica General spell levels

I had a query on two Ars Magica spells that appeared ostensibly to be doing the same thing, but have different final effects. From my first look it appeared one was incorrect in the final spell level. In fact both were right, but it took worked examples for me to understand it.

  • Paralysis of the Gift (PeVi20), from HP p.86. At level 20 it reduces casting totals by 10, R: Touch, D: Conc.
  • Belittle the Ferocious Warlock (PeVi20), from MoH p134. At level 20 it reduces casting totals by 5, R: Sight, D: Diam.

They are both using this PeVi guideline:

Reduce the casting total for all magic cast by the target by half the (level +2 magnitudes) of the spell. If 2 or more spells affect one target, only the highest has any effect: the penalties do not add. The spell must penetrate the target’s Magic Resistance in order to have any effect.

Why can two Perdo Vim spells be at the same level and have significantly different effects? Well, the trick  is due to the way the guidelines use the term “level”, and the way that the changes to Range, Duration, or Target are performed for general spells. The Paralysis of the Gift effect requires R:Touch which is slightly lower level, so more of the magnitudes can be applied into the core spell power.

e.g. breaking down the spells we get:

  • PotG = ((Lvl 20 – 2 mags for Touch/Conc) +2 mags )/2 = -10 mod to CT.
  • BtFW = ((Lvl 20 – 4 mags for Sight/Diam) +2 mags )/2 = -5 mod to CT.

Fundamentally the level is always the spell level the character is seeking to learn the spell at, and the guideline’s use of +1 mag or +x mags is where the adjustments for Range, Duration, and Target are applied. It would be clearer to say “chosen effect level”.

Hope this helps a little, writing it did.

botched-spell

Muto Vim Guideline clarification

The Ars Magica Muto Vim guidelines in the official errata state that a MuVi spell only needs to be present for the length of the spell casting time, not matched to the duration of the changed spell. 

I’d not realised that rule was in place, and especially the implication that it has for ritual spells which can take hours rather than a moment to cast. 

Clearly then the intent is that the Muto Vim spell alters the way the magical effect forms before execution. This makes a kind of sense to me from a programming perspective; this alters the script just before it is run. 

Discussion – http://forum.atlas-games.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=31300&start=15

Note to self – this is about as meta as Ars Maguca gets, I’m enjoying the banter in the forum link. Openly acknowledge how bizarre this post would be to a non ArM player.  

Happy spell casting folks.