Thinking about a spell (and then an item later) which helps a magus practice their finesse skill.
Given that Practice grants 3-8 xp, and typically 4 xp per season, I'm keen to see a simple device that can be used as a high source of xp.
I'm not saying this is final at all, and looking for alternatives if better options are around. Given CrIm has a reasonable base 1 effect, it seemed logical.
Base effect: Creo Imaginem 1 (create an image that affects one sense, p144 ArM core),
R: to Touch (+1), D: to Conc (+1), T: Ind (+0),
A moving image (+1), directed by use (+1), which is very complex (+1).
Which is also seeking to hamper the caster's intent (+1).
Effect level: 15.
Effect description: When the spell is cast an abstract image forms in front of the caster which they may manipulate using Finesse rolls. The spell will present a detailed quickly changing image, which tries to resist and contradict the alterations of the caster. Slowly as time progresses the image
Questions for the forum folks:
add a second sense to allow the device to work on two senses at a time (+1), perhaps to allow for increased difficulty?
is it plausible that the item could contradict and challenge a Magus in this manner? Or would it need to have variations created, one for each gradient of difficulty in Finesse?
I like the conc duration but perhaps it should be Dia or longer so that the user focuses on their finesse skill, not the concentration.
Perhaps then it might also be used as a tool to practice Concentration skill?
Ok, I purchased the Apprentices Pdf. Bellum is similar, but not the same.
A stand alone spell allows a magus to practice by themselves and not engage in a competitive activity which also implies spell casting as an outcome, or casting to create a distraction.
I'd consider upping the SQ for practice to 5 xp, from 4. I wouldn't ever consider designing a spell that allows one to better practice finesse, though. A spell that allows one to practice Finesse and get a higher SQ leads to similar issues for Penetration and the like. Finesse, in some ways is similar to a mastery ability, but one that applies to a broad class of spells. 5 XP from practice is reasonable, just like spell mastery. Note, I'd extend this to the Penetration ability, too, SQ of 5 when practicing.
I had an idea for an item, not a spell, to teach others Finesse. Simply put it's wand that can levitate small objects (a rock no bigger than one's hand) several times a day with Concentration as the duration. Basically give it to anyone (especially grogs or custos) and with it they can practice both Finesse (moving rocks about) and Concentration; skills that non magi typically don't get. I can see many grogs that work for a Verditius needing to learn these skills to use the devices he makes.
I'm saying it is a good spell to use. It is low level for the most part, so you could teach the spell instead of inventing a device, it will produce usable crafts that can be sold or used to reduce costs at the covenant, and the duration is momentary and non ritual, so it could be cast literally thousands of time a day under non stress conditions, formulaically. (assuming 5 seconds per casting this is 12 times a minute or 720 times an hour) Of course this might result in exp for spell mastery instead, but given the demand for finesse it is good choice and low cost. In fact considering each casting does 1 days worth of work you can get a years worth of work in an hour...
Depends on what you are making. ReHe food items you can feed to animals until they get their finesse up to making worthwhile items. Making things that are not meant to last and the cheap results can be given to charity... say blankets for example.
Well, if you have a Rego craft spell, you're probably making the same thing over and over again, because that's what the spell does. Or eventually you run out of source material, or any of a dozen things that can reasonably explain why someone doesn't create a years worth of stuff in an hour.
Practice for an ability really closely aligns with studying Vis for an Art (there's a reason you can't practice Arts). When you study vis, you do it all at once, basically and then spend the rest of the season reflecting on your experience. Much like studying from Vis, practice, at least in real life, does have an element of observation and reflection. When I'm doing a difficult cut or piece in woodworking, I'll build the entire piece or part in another cheaper wood, such as poplar, and not waste wood by making a mistake. I get all the steps down, and comfortable with the method, and only then will I move to the actual wood in the project. And then I'll mess it up in unforeseen ways.
For those reasons, I'm disinclined to allow double dipping as you suggest, both earning a living, so to speak, and also earning XP in finesse. Just like the craft master, if he wants to earn a living with finesse, he gets exposure XP. If he's trying to improve his ability, he can't make a living from it. Yes, I know the magus using finesse isn't actually making a living from his crafted items, but neither should he get any sort of substantial economic reward for his efforts due to what I initially outlined above and the fact that it's virtually identical to what a craft master does.
Except that, as noted previously, one hour of actual work is enough to make a years worth of product, and that is if the person were working full time instead of 2 seasons. You could cast and reflect for a significant period of time and still make a "living". I would see this more as a training situation, or being forced to work situation which at least has a source quality of 5 instead of 4... being able to see your work would be the "immediate feedback"
So, all of this to agree that it's a SQ of 5, and not 4, which is what I said.
I'm going to leave the issue of creating a years worth of stuff in an hour as an issue to be solved by any SG who decides to buy into that particular line. It's a rather large logistical problem created on both the acquiring the raw materials side and the disposal of the finished good side when one creates more than 500 years worth of stuff during a season of practice. 8 hours a day, 5 days per week at your proposed rate.
You can also use rickety stack from Severus of Tytalus (ToME p. 55), since apparently it was designed to do jut that, but curiously it does not require finesse at all per the spell description. It could be implied, but it does not give a difficulty number for Finesse.
I prefer to get Finesse practice AND get a nice spell for hunting MR creatures. Basically a catapult of Vilano, put using wood since it is easier to move:
An arrow to hunt griffins ReHe4
Touch, Mom, Ind.
This spell propels a wooden item up to a cubic pace in size at high speed towards the target. It requires a finesse roll to hit the target. Base damage is from +1 for a small item like a wooden peg to +10 for a sharpened staff or spear or a log of wood. An arrow shaft (the general item being used>) tends to do a base of +6 damage
Base 3, +1 touch, +0 momentary, +0 individual.
Less violence-minded mages (or the ones that consider that the 1st magnitude spell already covers this even if you have to penetrate with a level 5 spell that does not require aiming) can try with the invisible carpenter or similar. level 5 or lower Herbam spells are easy to come by and are extremely useful to practice while young and also useful while older. It is the kind of spells that most magi would use without even using words or gestures (while doing other stuff) to move things around with a plain thought, since they are very easy to cast and the results are useful to move stuff around with precision.
The labor of the crippled maid ReHe5
This spell controls a wooden item to move as directed for the duration of the spell. As long as the magus concentrates, he can control the speed (it could be thrown, but now with much force) and direction of all the movements the item does. It requires FInesse rolls as per Covenants. Generally this spell is taught to an apprentice as his first spell... and then she is sent to the head maid of the covenant, where he will work as a maid moving a broom around for a season or two or moviing around buckets and other items. Most magi remember this period of their apprenticeship as exhausting and degrading, but most continue using this spell thorugh their lives since it is an extremely useful one. A few of them even picked a little appreciation for what their servants do (and a few even picked some folk ken!), but those are a rare minority.
Base 3, +1 touch, +1 concentration.
In this environment, where one could easily recycle and rework the underlying material, you could argue that a stress die isn't called for, and therefore the odds of creating a masterpiece fall to 0.
The goal in the OP was to earn xp in finesse by practice.
Thank you to everyone who wrote in the thread. I'd considered the use of a normal spell, but was interested to see if it would be considered the same as a dedicated effect. After reading all the options and and opinions here I think using a Rego effect which also has a practical use is probably better; almost identical effect, but wider utility. A little less cool though, and the fact that Bellum is present in a source book, plus the need for an option to apply Penetration and other abilities - I'm going to ponder more if a season is worth it.