Adelbert, a "Magi of Hermes" look at intellego and Astrology

Adelbert’s first fifteen years out of apprenticeship see him with lots of fires to put out. He needs to get a longevity ritual, he is going to join a mystery cult, he needs to become a formidable magical investigator, finally at least one of his children is growing up to be a crossbow wielding grog like their mother and Adelbert is not going to let them go out without a crossbow that helps nearly any fight go in his child’s direction.

Ten of the first fifteen years will be spent is study netting our gurnicus 300 xp (not ten years in a row but I'll work it out that way for the sake of both clarity and my sanity)
Creo 7 for 28
Intellego to 15 for 28 (because of his affinity)
Rego to 7 for 28
Herbam to 2 for 3
Imaginem to 4 for 10
Mentem to 11 for 30
Terram to 2 for 3
Vim to 11 for 56
Magic theory to 7 +2 (3) 45 (because of his affinity)
Magoi of the Star lore 2 15
Finesse to 3 for 25
Parma to 3 25
Portuguese to 3 for 5 xp

edit and 24 xp in penetration to bring the total to 300

So first things first: a longevity ritual - creo corpus lab total of 22 that gets him +4 to rolls and pushes back the specter of age for a bit.

His first initiation is the virtue of planetary magic

Here’s my imitation
The initiate uses astrology, their birth date and their place of birth to calculate a location from a set of arcane directions. The initiate goes to this location and spends the period of an orbit of the moon thinking about the stars and their influence. During this month the initiate must have a constant awareness of the relative location of the planets. The Magoi of the Star have several lab texts describing spells and items to facilitate their initiates to use to alter their awareness. However in all cases the initiate is responsible for creating the actual spell or item, not another magus. Here is the spell Adelbert learned.

After the month of contemplation the initiate must sacrifice the means he used to track the planets (a simple task in the case of an enchanted device or the realm of non-fatiguing spontaneous perdo mentem magic in the case of a spell)
This initiation leaves the magus open to the stars and planets. Once their magic has been opened they sometimes cannot close themselves to outside influences as easily. The flaw Astrological mutable flawed magic resistance (vim and mentem).

I have
a specific place and time +3
the place and time are specific to the user +3
the sacrifice of time to develop a way to do the initiation +2
the sacrifice of the item or spell that the initiate created +2
and a minor ordeal +3
that is a total of 13 points which should be close enough to the target number of 15 for mystagoge who isn't a presence-less ignoramus to run.

I did the initiations with the thought that they were developed by and for Hermetic magi. SO the creation of spells and devices is par for the course.


Adelbert is going to get lab texts from his house to enable him to be a better investigator. I have assumed that the following seven lab texts were made available to him at some point during his first fifteen years with no additional work required outside of what transpired in the 30 xp years.
Sight of the active magics
Sense the lingering magic
Bitter taste of betrayal
Impression of the faded sigil
Odor of lingering magic
Peering into the mortal mind
Thoughts Within Babble

If you think that it is unrealistic to have the lab tests made available so easily then you should make the character older when you run him as an NPC. For my money, I think that the house and the order have a vested interest in helping Gurnici become better investigators (providing they can choose ones that they can trust not to spy) that is strong enough that getting specific lab texts just for the asking is more believable than the alternative.

(but if you want to make a counterargument I have been know to be able to change my mind)

Three seasons for the following spell. I think that this is the only time in the first 105 years I let him spend three seasons on a single project. It seems to me that most of the time when a project can not be done in two seasons it makes more sense to work on raising the lab total then pushing through to get a project done. I made the exception here because he is young and has no real protective magics.

Two seasons for this one

Are the bonuses too large or too small? Shriek of the Impending Shafts provides a +9 for hearing the location of a wooden object. While I think this spell might deserve a larger bonus than just hearing the location, I think that +9 is overly generous for shriek of the impending shafts.

I'm hoping that the lack of responses to the previous spells and the initiation was because they were solid not because no one has been reading.

That was fifteen seasons leaving five more. He’s going to use them to construct a magical crossbow for his son.

Adelbert is going to find the greatest crossbow/balista maker in Iberia and commission a crossbow of absurd size, at least twice the size of a normal crossbow, and with a much harder pull than any human could be expected to perform ( I used exceptional quality +2 on accuracy, from City and Guild). The bow of the crossbow is the highest vis capacity part which I deemed to be a large steel object that could be opened with 20 pawns.(which is why I did a bit of optimization on the original character to get puissant Magic Theory)

Looking at Covenants, if the base crossbow could be used by a person (perhaps a giant) it would have the following characteristics
Init +5
Attack +7
Defense 0
Damage +12
Range 40
Str +(7?)
Load 4

Does that look appropriate?

Adelbert spends one season opening the bow for enchantment. He names it the gaze of the protective father because of his hopes and because of the fearsome looking pair of eyes that he had the crossbow maker include in the design of the front of the weapon.

He spends one season enchanting the following effect

This is one of the unusual situations where duration sun (because it adds a magnitude rather than levels) would in some ways be superior to duration concentration item maintains concentration.
Adelbert spends one season on this effect

And two seasons on this one

I used level 4 “learn one mundane property of an object”, i.e. where it is going to shoot things with it being the crossbow, as the base for this spell. Does that seem reasonable or does the mutability of air and the fact that it is functioning with as many quarrels as he puts into it necessitate a different approach to the design?

Question: how are you getting these numbers?

I'm looking at TMRE, pg. 15, and I'm seeing the following:

Specific Time and Place +3
Time/Place specific to user +3 that's a Quest bonus, rather than a Time/Place bonus. Is this canon?
Sacrifice of Time +1
Sacrifice of Wealth +1
Minor Ordeal +3

Are you assuming that the Sacrifice of Time/Wealth both gain a +1 Sympathy bonus for appropriateness? (Seems fine to me - just checking.)

I must admit, I wasn't reading. I'll try to get it done.

I'd strongly recommend using the crossbow/Arbalest designs in LoM (p. 138-139) over the write-up in Covenants.
The differences are small but significant, including the rules provided.
The Heavy Arbalest is very close to what you're looking for.
It is also about the only crossbow design available before 1300 apparently. Not sure about that part though.

Steady-ness and light to move are kinda opposed, neh?
Not a huge fan of the bonuses.
Indeed, from your description, I'd call it flat out impossible to use this weapon without this effect or a stand of some sort (think tripod).

This is an interesting statement, since you do not appear to use the magnitude for anything significant? Did I miss something?

Pretty much mandatory. Discussed elsewhere on this board as I recall. Main question:
Why in code rather than quote? Mis-click? :slight_smile:

That's something of a bonus you have there! How did you figure it to be that high? It seems entirely unreasonable to me. But then, I'm more inclined to let it allow the user to ignore penalties than gain that huge a bonus.

The first effect seems ok to me.

In LoM, a ballista does +15 damage. Depending on how you picture your crossbow, +12 might be a little too high, or too low, if you intend it to be crossbow-sized.

The same can be said about the Strength: Str +7 would be about that of a "normal" giant of size +3. This is coherent with a ballista IMO, but may be too high for something smaller.

I’d put this at +6, maybe less (but probably not).
Rationale: Shooting at a given, stable point is not that difficult, and this is what this spell helps one to do. The problem comes when that point is moving, when you must track your target, anticipate its movements and fire at the right moment. To me, it seems +9 helps too much for the later.
Also, for what it's worth, it seems "help" spells in supplements often give a +3 bonus. +9 is way above that, especially for a low base without added magnitudes for precision.
Now that I think about it, I’d probably give it a +3 bonus to hit, but allow it to cancel some range penalties, as it facilitates ballistics a lot.

Also, I’d put this at momentary, +10 unlimited uses, or something with Concentration duration.
Rationale: The effect must adjust itself every time the wind, crossbow angle… change. This, to me, says that it must either be cast each time these change, or be able to adjust itself (concentration)

I'll check them out

I want a force to both lift the crossbow and prevent it from quick jiggling. much like a tripod, it supports the weight and keeps the crossbow from shaking. Yes steady and light are a bit at cross purposes on some levels this is why I gave a penalty to hit nearby objects. I think that a bow that doesn't shake so much would be easier to hit things with (providing that they aren't moving fast with respect to how quickly the bow can move). What would you put the bonus at? I'm willing to change it.

that was the intention. Your statement makes me think that my writing was insufficiently clear. I am sorry.

A duration sun version of the spell would be level 6 but it could not be turned off without a perdo vim spell. This is a tool to be given to a grog. I guess I just thought that having the crossbow constantly hovering around like a half deflated helium balloon for long periods of time was something to be avoided.

His scores, (rego 7 herbam 2 magic theory (with specialization and puissance )10 int 2 aura 3 planetary magic bonus +2 is perfectly safe and dependable) give him a lab total of at least 26. I was worried about filling up the space in the item but my previous draft had 5 fewer pawns of capacity. I think it makes sense to make a level 13 effect with lots more uses per day.

yes. I went back and corrected the post.

That's something of a bonus you have there! How did you figure it to be that high? It seems entirely unreasonable to me. But then, I'm more inclined to let it allow the user to ignore penalties than gain that huge a bonus.
Yes that is a big bonus I took it from shriek of the impending shafts. I've posted earlier in the thread that shriek of the impending shafts is unrealistically good. I agree that I should rewrite this with a smaller bonus. I do think however that a bonus is warranted. The spell is intellego terram (auram) not just intelego auram. It tells the wielder where the arrow is going to hit. How big a bonus is appropriate for knowing exactly where your shot will land.

I'm more concerned with the idea that granting the target understanding won't cut it and the spell should be redesigned as a target vision spell allowing the character to see where the shot will hit.

I'm picturing a crossbow about a meter and a half long with a huge metal bow and thick cable. Something that is too heavy and unwieldy to be used without the aid of magic.

Let's look at the options:

vision option
base 4 +1 touch +1 diameter +4 vision +1 auram requisite +3 levels several uses per day level 38

Concentration option
base 4, +1 Touch, +1 concentration +1 Auram requisite, +4 levels several uses per day level 19
this would require the user to maintain concentration on the effect which seems really cool story wise. But why don't I just use item maintains concentration and get the the same level as the original version?

recasting option
base 4 +1 touch +1 auram requisite +10 levels unlimited uses level 20
this one means that the grog can't hand the crossbow to a magus and let them benefit from the effect

What is Adelbert's lab total here anyway
MT 10, intellego 18, auram 0, intelligence 2, aura 3, planetary magic +2 (+3 gives a 10% chance of failure and a 1% chance to botch I could go there but I'd rather not) +1 for the teram effect in the crossbow already, shape an material is a quandry:
Would the +5 from bows destroy things at a distance apply? I suppose that the crossbow could be made from a tree struck by lightning and gain a+3 to auram, The "eyes" of the crossbow could be made from rock crystal for +5 to clairvoyance of +4 to clarity would the bonus for a dead tree to affect dead wood apply +4, how about granite eyes for a +3 to terram or inlays of beechwood for +3 for knowledge.

his lab total is 36 + shape and material bonus lets say he can get at least +5 from the shape and material add in early riser for a grand total of 42. Two seasons allows a creation of an effect with a level of 28.

The target vision option (the one I like best) is level 35 for even one use per day. So I either table the design for a later point in Adelbert's career, drop the auram requisite, or use another choice

The concentration option is the most mechanically advantageous item maintains concentration is an option otherwise the grog needs to make concentration rolls so it becomes an impractical design.

The recasting with an environmental trigger so it is simple for the user to wield (a trigger like "the crossbow is held ready to shoot") is a very strong choice, and Adelbert does have the lab total to pull it off. That means that this is a grog only enchantment. (Which is fine)

I'll have to reread how range penalties work but that seems fine to me .

FWIW, I would also tend to favor the idea of it reducing range penalties rather than a flat bonus. It seems like it'd be much less useful at point-blank range. When the bolt is still flying flat and level and will get there before my target can do too much movement, it is a lot easier to know where it'll will go even without magic. On the other hand, when you are talking about long shots with a significant trajectories and the need to adjust for target motion, this kind of magical laser-sight would be really useful indeed. Making it scale in usefulness via range seems logical and natural.

About 1/3rd of what you had :wink:
Almost certainly not greater than the magnitude. But possibly I'm just conservative about that sort of thing. Also, see below.

Ah. In that case it's simple. I wouldn't grant any bonus at all. Simply being able to use that siege crossbow as a personal weapon is plenty.

Ah, I see what you mean.

Agreed. A bonus is cerainly warrented, and yes, Shriek is probably too god, especially for it's level.

Very interesting thought. Not sure what to do with it though :-/

I like the target vision, it makes sense and makes a nice HUD, but I have trouble picturing the effect.
What worries me is that, as I see it, it has the same problems I layed out before: It needs to adjust for shifting conditions, which, IMO, means either 1 casting per use, or concentration. This would make it too hard an effect.

IMO, sure.
It's in the corebook about concentration and items: if you want an effect to vary, you must be within range and concentrate. There, the concentration is just done by the item.

As I see it: Yes to everything save Destroy things at a distance. This ain't a destructive effect.

Agree. I thought he was gonna lift it in another fashion, and thus was just to help his aim.

I've done something like this in Andorra (a flying ballista).
I use ReHe base 3, (+2 Voice), +1 size, +1 Concentration.
Pretty similar to what you (Erik) did, but with a magnitude for size (I figured the base individual was maybe too low for a freakin' ballista), and no bonus at all to hit.

I disagree about a target vision version having to be recast. Sensory target spells allow the user to get magical information through their senses. I imagine the targeted character seeing a glowing red line that stretches from the tip of the crossbow to one or more big eyeballs where the path of the crossbow bolt will impact an object. This line moves with the crossbow and disappears when the crossbow isn't cocked and ready to fire. A non-sense target spell would have to to gather the information constantly over the duration of the spell and communicate it to the target constantly. That strikes me as a bit weird because it is sort of acting and adjusting to new situations, not what I imagine spells doing it is "too smart". With the sense target however the effect just grants the target the ability to perceive for the duration and then maintains these enhanced senses. It seems less AI like.

I think that I'll put off this effect for a few years until he can manage it. Instead I'll have Adelbert use the two seasons for something else. I'm thinking of something like frosty breath of the spoken lie that works in conjunction with whispers through the black gate. If he can get that done in a single season (unlikely), I'll do a second rego herbam to hold the crossbow steady and get some sort of accuracy bonus like I had originally planned for Sturdy Brace and Steady Hand. The game balance argument - that being able to both shoot the crossbow and get an accuracy bonus is too good for a level 10 effect- was convincing to me.

i doubt I'll have time to do the rewrite prior tot he weekend though so there's still plenty of time to hash this stuff out better and convince me to make an NPC that's more to your liking.

You may be right, but I'm not sure.

There a tendency in the raw to have spells that need adjusting, including sense spells, to be either momentary or Concentration duration. Take, for example, Pierce the Faerie Veil, Odor of the Lingering Magic or Sight of the Active Magics.
Conversely, spells with a fixed duration tend to be linked to a specific target, like Dream of the Mind that Sit.

This is not an universal rule, and there are a some exceptions, mostly InAu spells like Eyes of the Bat, but not many. And, for example, a case can be made for this spell that it "just" allow you to perceive air, whereas your spell makes ballistic calculations based on the angle of the bolt, the ballista's power, and the strength/direction of the wind you're seeing. Much more complex and variable, IMO.

You may call this my tendency to have magic be more like a science :wink: Add to that that I prefer items to be more "rigid" than spells, and you have my feeling.

Note, though, that, in retrospect, I don't think you need T: Vision to have an HuD, nor do I think this is appropriate.
Magical Senses give their target informations about his surroundings that he couldn't perceive otherwise, like seeing air, or magical effects, or seeing through air. As far as I can tell, this is all-encompassing, in that Vision of Heat's Light allows you to perceive temperatures (an enhanced sense), but won't allow you to perceive only the temperature of a given item, anymore than, with your sight, you can chose to see only one chair and nothing else.

What you want here is information about a bolt's trajectory, given the air. A specific bolt, not all bolts or metals around you, which would be a Sense spell.
I really have trouble picturing this as a Sense target, this really seems like a spell whose target or Target must be the bolt.
But, how is that information conveyed to you? It might be an intuitive sense of where the bolt will land. It might be that you "see" its trajectory, or see a target of the point of impact.
So, IMO, your first design was better, you just need to write how you want the information to be known to your character. Which is good for you, I suppose, since it is easier :laughing:

Shit, must go. Sorry for the unfinished post.

Ok, back, been thinking about this a little more, from the bottom up. Maybe this'll inspire/help you, or not. After all, it's just my vision of the thing :wink:

How would I do it, as a spell? Say, if I have a dagger in hand, where will it land?
It must take into account the target's characteristics, the item I'm intellegoing, that is, the dagger. So, range touch, intellego terram. Assuming the wind is a problem (not for a dagger, but yes for a bolt), we add an Auram requisite. One could say it also needs to account my own strength and all (corpus requisite), just like it might need to know the ballista's pull (He).
So, I have a dagger in hand, I cast on it my touch range spell, and I know where it will land. The details are cosmetic, so let's say I see a nice brown curve.

Now, what happens if I increase the duration? For this particular spell, this makes me able to track that dagger's trajectory for longer. Not very useful. Can I change target? Nope, I'd say.

Invested in an item, it's the item that "knows" the trajectory. We run the problem of intellego effects invested in items. There are surely examples of these in the RAW, but I can't think of any, so I can't help, just hazard ways to do it.
=> Depending on your strictness, you might require a linked effect to convey the information to the item's holder (say, a CrIm display), require something thematic linked to the item (the infamous tapestry that displays scried images), or just allow the holder to benefit from the information like if he was the caster.

If I make this a Sense spell... Difficult to say, this change the spell utterly. I'm not sure at all my interpretation is good, really. Sense spells are tricky.

As a Personnal, Target Sense spell, I guess it might tell you the trajectory of every dagger at Sense range, but I'm not sure. I have trouble picturing this, and am not sure it'd work like this
As a Touch Range Target Sense spell, I'd give that ability to someone.
The closest exemple we have in the Legacy Spell Shriek of the Impending Shafts, which, as far as I can tell, tells you the trajectory of every wooden item that's inside your Hearing range and conveys the info through that sense, not unlike Daredevil's Radar Sense.
I've told you above my thoughts on the duration, I won't come back to it :wink:
It works on wooden items that already are in movement, thus the absence of requisites. It doesn't predict it before it's began, which your spell does (I think, nonetheless, that it should work, given the good requisites, but, IMO, it is, at the boundary of divination, which happens to be great for that character)
Note, though, that, as a Sense spell, it doesn't discriminate so that you can only hear one arrow of your choice.

Following that example, a Personnal spell based on the similar model would tell the trajectory of every bolt at Sense range, and display it through the sense.
The information also needs to be understood (Say, for touch, you might feel a pressure at some point of your body. Good luck translating that)
Vision if clearly the best here, but, in a way, it is also self-defeating, since it gives you the potential trajectory of every metal item you see. You can probably restrict that further based on weight, though, but, IMO, not to "this one bolt and not the other, and certainly not the dagger in my grog's belt"
Depending the requisites, it might also be too hard.

Really? A can of worms and a headache, IMO :wink:
Maybe a better solution would be to have the ballista have the spell at Target: touch and a linked CrIm HUD (or CrMe) that would translate the info, but that's mostly the same thing as the solution above.

Well, that's all, mostly. I don't think I'm much help, finally :-/

OK the last two seasons of the 0 to 15 years time period are spent developing the following spell.

Is this spell even necessary or will frosty breath (or Ear of Truth from HoH:TL) work with whispers through the black gate already.
Will the spell work at all is the target not appropriate? The deceased spirit isn't available at range touch.

Looking at Lords of Men and City and guild for exceptional quality, if the base crossbow could be used by a person (perhaps a giant) it would have the following characteristics
Init +5
Attack +7
Defense 0
Damage +13*
Range 35
Str +(7?)
Load 4

  • strength does not apply to damage from crossbows
    I gave it a bit more damage than a even a heavy arbelist but less than a balista. I used the range for a heavy arbelist. I Kept the load at 4 because I do see the crossbow as just hugly large

He spends one season enchanting the following effect

I decided to stay with two uses per day to save capacity in the weapon.

As far as necessity goes, the Range: Eye of the core Frosty Breath is what would bother me. You can't look a spirit in the eye if it isn't visible and I've always taken it to mean that's who is really speaking (and thus lying), but Black Gate says "the voice of the corpse", so maybe you can look the body in the eye? I'd have to think on that one and decide how exactly I think Black Gate works in terms of who/what needs to be targeted by the spell.

If Touch works for Black Gate though, it should work for an equivalent Frosty Breath that's targeting the same spirit or connection to the spirit or what-have-you. I see no difference in how you are drawing the line between spell's effects and their target.

If combining them, I would definitely add a magnitude for the requisite, however, as you are clearly causing two effects: 1. speaking with the corpse's spirit, and 2. detecting if it is lying. I don't think that's too much for one spell, but it seems a pretty clear candidate for a +1 to me.

I'm not combining them. Adelbert casts them separately first the duration diameter Deceitful Mist then Whispers. Deceitful Mist has a the same level as Frosty Breath but it also has a Mentem requisite to the Corpus spell so it is marginally more difficult.

Ah, I misunderstood! Carry on then! :slight_smile:

I'm going to bring up, as an alternative to Deceitful Mist from the Black Gate, Ear of Truth from HoH:TL. It is a target hearing spell that detects lies. Whispers through the black gate makes sounds that all in the area can hear. Does Ear of Truth, an intelego mentem spell work with whispers through the black gate an InCo(Me) spell? Or does it not function with dead minds for some reason?

Going back to "Track the Quarrel" Ear of truth determines the truth of all statements it does not need to be recast for every statement. Sight of the Active magics works with every magical effect that the target sees. Shiver of the lycanthrope does not need to be recast every time the target touches a person. Likewise an effect that tells where objects shot from a particular crossbow will hit shouldn't need to be recast for every crossbow bolt one puts into the weapon. This isn't about a sensory target or not its about the ability of the spell to adjust to new information.

I see that I'm talking about duration concentration spells (or so I think, I didn't check to make sure) but as The Fixer said up thread, there are counter examples. I believe the commonness of duration concentration is in large part due to the spells not being over designed. When duration concentration will do one doesn't use duration moon because it would be hard to turn off and much harder to invent, (I'll admit that duration concentration also has a greater sense of appropriateness for spells that require adjustment, but I think it is only that, a sense rather than a requirement).

Mr. Fixer's example of the dagger spell seems fine but the fact that it makes sense to have a spell to cast on an arrow to predict where that arrow will be shot, does not preclude the possibility of a spell on a bow that predicts where the arrows will land, the spell on the arrow needs to get information about the bow, where is the issue with a spell on the bow getting information about the arrow.

But then everyone else can see it as well. It might be akin to giving the targets shriek of the impending shafts for free.

And thank you as always for responding.