Barbs to Crush Keep and Manor

So I was thinking of a siege weapon, created by a mage that could be passed out along to bow men of normal skill. Using End of the Mighty Castle LVL 25 Pe/Te Spell (core book pg. 155) as a start, I thought of making a series of charged items, with the spell Touch and End the Mighty Castle a LVL 20 version of the spell but with a Touch range.

The Spell:
Touch and End the Mighty Castle Lv 20 Pe/Te

A touch utterly reduces a stone building to rubble and pebbles... the whole +10 damage to persons inside... ect.

(Base 4, +1 Touch, +3 Structure)

The Charged Item

Making arrow heads in the shape of a spade, base metal 5, size tiny x1

Arrow +2 aiming, Spade +4 destroy earth

The enchanted arrowheads would be fixed to shafts and launched by a skilled archer at a stone fortification, utterly destroying the single keep or tower or ect.

I know I would have to decide which bonus to apply and would get the similar spell bonus if I knew the spell, my question is does this seem to work as a enchanted item?

And what would be the Order's ruling on the use of this item. It would transform siege warfare it would seem.

What am I missing?

I guess that selling this item to mundanes can easily be seen as HEAVY interference, even if you used intermediaries to sell the items. Since it totally changes warfare there will be a hiuge outcry of "corcery!!" around, and that is Bad Stuff (TM) for the Order. The kind of interference that gets you marched.

Also, the Dominion might interfere with you. A chapel in the tower might interfere with the effect, protecting the building, so you will need to add penetration to the effect. But yeah, in general it will work.


Another option is to use one of the Mutantum Spell Mastery options (forgot the name of it - check HoH:TL), which can be learned by non-Mutantum magi.


I think that, if you want to use magic to end a siege, a simple Mentem spell that scares the besieged into surrender, or tricks them into forming a "strategic alliance" with the attacker, is actually a much better - and in my saga a much more widely used - option: it causes less fuss, it avoids a fight with castle-less but not weapon-less defenders, it gets you the castle intact etc.

That's why I think we do not see a lot of "castle blasting" around. If magi interfere, they can easily win without all the "sound and fury". Siege warfare has changed, but not to the mundane observer.

Incidentally, if you really insist on castle-blasting arrows, I would point out that you can create similar items with the "Touched by [Realm]" virtue from City and Guild -- there's no need for a full fledged Hermetic Magus.

I would make them Charged Items with only one use each. Otherwise, any survivors could simply pick it up and return fire, and your guys would be hosed.

Also, it takes a season to make them, regardless of how many you make. Which raises the question, "Why?" If there's a castle you want gone, it would make more sense, if your magi has PeTe sufficient to make the items in one season to begin with, to simply have him stand up there and cast the walls down.

If, on the other hand, this is designed to be a Test Case, and the magi expect to be hauled up before Tribunal on charges of interfering with mundanes, selling their services to nobles (and, even if it is done through intermediaries, I expect this to be really pushing the envelope), then that makes for some...interesting sessions coming up.

The idea was a cheap and easy way of using the Voice level spell, without having to actually be that close. I figured a Charged item with a decent Pe/Te Lab would let you make a handful of these arrowheads. Then you simply affix them to some shafts, take your grogs up to the offending castle and with four or five archers, you basically level a large fortification.

The idea of a chapel and Dominion obstructing and influencing the items is nice, never thought of it.

I did not consider selling the items, but one would wonder if you possibly could and get away with it. Not sure if during a battle it would be noticed just what had happened, although with magic it would probably be obvious. I wonder if the Order would notice and if they did investigate, what would they find? A single use, Charged arrow, amongst a large pile of rubble would be quite the proverbial needle/haystack.

I lack the HoH:TL book as well as C&G, so I had to work with what I had. The use of Mentem would be ideal except I was going with the heavy handed sorcerer "fury and vengeance" type of mage. He would be none to subtle I suppose, but he would be simply filling a need. "I need that castle crushed, how to crush it."

The items would I assume be made well in advance of their need. Much like armaments, I would guess a war focused wizard would pre-make many implements for future use, based upon need. There was no intent at first to sell any of the arrowheads... but now I begin to wonder.

You're not going to have Quaesitors looking for a needle in a haystack.

The magus' item affected the whole castle, his sigil is going to be all over it. Then it's a matter of identifying the sigil, which can be done using the InVi guidelines in HoH:S.


You wouldn't be likely to have this be a good idea for a PC troupe.

However, it would be a viable story idea with a Craft Magus (HoH: Societas), an ex-Miscellania tradition, if they had the Mercurian Mastery Ability "Disguised Casting," applicable to Spell-Crafting Charged items.

In fact, it would be an absolutely perfect fit for a Craft-Magus, as they are rabidly anti-establishment (Robin Hood in canon was one, I think.) A Craft-Fletcher could distribute hundreds, no problem. They'd be untraceable.

And the Order would promptly shit itself. The local tribunal just might want your Covenant to Look In To It. Or else.

And then they face the most underestimated class of magus in Mythic Europe...

I don't think it'd be a matter of appointing a local covenant to investigate. I'd expect the Praeco to call in an influx of Quaesitors and Hoplites to go hunting for the culprit, given the larger ramifications of such an action in an area like England or France.

Plus, there's reputations to consider. Unless you're moving into a Tribunal after Gauntlet and then hiding out from the tribunal gathering, failing to talk to Redcaps, generally not interacting with any other magi, someone's going to know about you and they're going to come looking for either the new guys or the known crafter-- who will probably be the target of local Verditius Hubris. It's a quick trip to getting some seriously bad attention. Magi have the benefit of more modern speeds of communication and response that make their organization viable, and they're going to make sure such an action is dealt with before the mundane forces can respond.

Don't get me wrong, for outlier watchtowers or contested fortifications on the edges of the Order's influence-- in say, the Levant, maybe parts of the Reconquista or Northern Scotland, I'd go for it, especially if you were employing Flambeau protocols regarding mundane survivors (and could be certain of enforcement). But in the bulk of Mythic Europe? I think it's a recipe for calling down the thunder.


While I generally agree with Leonis_Bjornaer, I'd caution that there are Magi who manage to stay off the map. The Craft Magi often have very, very little to do with the Order. Some are members pro forma for the purpose of not getting marched, many are mostly unknown.

In fact, in their section in HoH: Societas, the canon puts it out there that Verditus, though they would be interested if they did know who these magi were, have no idea that the Craft Magi even exist!

With disguised casting, a Craft Magi's crafted charged items would, once spent appear to be normal arrows.

So. No sigil ID. No remenant items. In fact, no evidence linking the magus to the item exists at all. As far as the Qaesitors and Hopolites know, its a wizard (hedge or hermetic) using a sight range direct cast verstion.

Even in Mythic Europe, invesitigators would know "When you hear hoof-beats, think horsies, not zebras." Their anonymity and obscurity makes Craft Magi the perfect antagonists, especially since head-strong Hopolites would likely overlook Craft-Magi motivation for tearing down a castle. A big fortress goes down, people think of the other noble enemies, inter-kingdom intrigue and overlook the grumpy tax-payer.

A Craft Magus can be hard to spot. He needs no laboratory. He likely lives and works as a normal crafter amongst the people, and may well have a strong reputation as a non-magical resident.

So... needle? haystack? Good luck...

Except that it's an item the creator spent a goodly amount of time fashioning, and therefore acts as a delicious AC back to the creator for weeks.

With an Intellego based magus, you could question the rubble and thereby learn an arrow struck the building and then the building collapsed. With some hunting and additional casting, you could probably even scare up the fragments of this arrow.

Then you would scry on the the creator, who has no Parma, or likely has no Parma...or if he does, is going to wish he had more Parma.

Then you'd call down the Hoplites, and all that's left is the smoke, screaming, and the smell of burnt hair. :wink:


Nope! Craft Magi craft these items in the same time it takes to craft a mundane version (minimum time, 15 minuites per magnitude. Craft Magi rock.) No AC unless he uses Foci, which would hardly be necessary. :smiley:

Another possibility is to double-craft. Effect 1: Fall of Mighty Castle. Effect 2 (on a different "item", in fact just a different part of the same item...): PeHe(Te), linked trigger to first effect... I think that's possible.

Or keep an arcane connection to the arrow, and invent a spell/devise that destroys arrows at arcane-connection range. Make sure you still use Disguised Casting! Then those dumb Flambeau hopolites are just standing there, scratching their heads saying "Hey, Wha'happened?" Absolutely no evidence.

What fun!

For story potential, I'd actually make the Craft Magus use Disguised Casting to set up a frame-job, mimicing the sigil of someone within the Covenant. That would get those lazy so and so's on the hunt.

Otherwise, as you said, nothing but smoke, screams and the smell of burnt hair.

Hunt fast, dear troupe of mine!

(Best ways to find him:

1.) Smoke him out. If he's defending the common man, start hurting the common man. Force him out of hiding to protect his community.
2.) Follow the legend of the folk hero. SOMEONE will notice something, just not magi or nobles. Companions with social contacts might be able to trace the rumours of rumours back to their source in a forest hamlet...
3.) Someone has to fire the arrow. This might be the magus, or might be someone else. But if its a crime spree, the targets aren't exactly inconspicuous. Intellego experts, lets see those ambush and alarm spells do their thing!)

As an item designed and made by the target, it's got a stock AC consideration of "weeks," that's just looking at the insert in ArM, page 84. If you wanted to treat it as "something mundane" made by the target, then you've got days to use it. Why do you think:

applies, since it's definitely something the magus will have made?

I think you could do the linked trigger as a lesser enchanted device, but you'd need an appropriate piece of wood with 6 (I think) pawns of vis in it-- which I think might be tough for the material and you really, probably could get away with a wooden arrow without a metal or stone head, making the magus need a PeTe/PeHe(An) + Craft/S&M casting total of 106 (20 for the castle, 30 for the PeHe(An) (Base 4 + 4 AC +2 group), +3 for the linked trigger, doubled to complete it.) It's definitely (relatively) quickly produced, I just don't know how feasible.

For it to work as craft magic, the target needs to be at hand, and for the arrow, you'd need to be within Touch range or Voice range (at that cost). I guess if you kicked it up to Sight, you'd just need a casting total of PeTe30, and you could do it as a regular craft magic casting but it would leave the arrow (bits) behind.

Just doing the arrow as a charged item would be easier, and just require a PeTe25 total (for one charged arrow with touch range), then with a PeHe30 effect, you could destroy the remaining arrow bits at AC range. Using the Disguised Casting mastery would help, but it looks like even it can be identified-- and you'd need to do it twice, giving you a second chance to be spotted. Although not doing the second casting would be a bad idea, as it leaves the AC behind.

All said, that's an interesting character-- a Mercurian Mechanical with Disguised Casting, decent in Pe and a few lesser Forms, probably a Craft:Bowyer/Fletcher of 5ish. I think the PeHe30 effect would be the toughest part. (Thanks for the entertaining exercise!)


I am taking this all in, enjoying the read quite a bit.

If it is a charged item, and that single charge is used up, then the arrowhead...?

I guess what I am asking is, after being used how long would the item remain magical?
If it is still magical, other than residue, then how?
And for how long?
And how easy or hard would it be to find said magical arrow head, say a few days to a couple of weeks after it was used and is perhaps buried under tons of stone?
And as for AC, it is a Charge item and the arrowhead made by a smith, in the dozens. So the AC would be to the smith for days? And the Charged item aspect would be a AC to the mage for how long?

I would figure there is maybe a one in four chance that someone would think there was a magical feat performed. Then perhaps a one in ten chance that this suspicion would engender enough suspicion to have the subject brought within the ears of a Order member. Even then I would question how or why the Order would investigate but say they do, Quaestor arrives looking at a castle with various piles of rubble about. Let's be generous and say that it has been only a week after the use of the charged item. ((This has never been anything but a Charged single use item, from the beginning of the stream. I only have three books and none of them have craft magic in it so I have no idea what those are))

When the Quaestor starts to investigate is where I am ignorant. Looking over In/Vim, a Charged item has no vis used at all, so the magnitude is what zero? Once detected then a season to research the item... seems a bit of time to keep a Lvl 20 spell from decaying. I cannot see how they would find the item, and once found how they would research it quickly enough.

As for the actual spell, Lvl 20 Pe/Te would start at 4th magnitude, then drop to 2nd mag as soon as it enacts. Then the duration is momentary, which means it decays quite rapidly. Now I understand a Quaestor could walk out and drop a Ritual lvl spell and pick up the magic but is that likely?

I admit I am completely out of my depths in the discussion of how a Quaestor would determine what happened and who did it, but it would seem to be far more difficult to catch than a average reckless mage would consider prohibitive.

A castle represents a significant investment of time and power, demonstrating a noble's intent to command an area. You can be certain the response to one's destruction is going to be proportionate, so long as the noble can afford to respond. If he knows anything about the Order, he's going to start hunting. If he has hedge wizards in his reach and knows about them, he's going to start squeezing. I can see a noble asking a local bishop for guidance, and getting pointers to the Order. But the Order's going to move faster, because he's got to ride out, verify the story, start dispatching people to work for him...wizards get to bamf or fly and that's faster.

Setting aside the craft magic option, which is pretty clever, and looking at a standard Hermetic approach...

If the culprit creates arrows enchanted with the equivalent of End of the Mighty Castle, he's going to leave his sigil and they'll be Arcane Connections back to himself. But, if he forgets that, or figures no one will notice, let's consider the Quaesitor's investigation. I would have him ask for a neutral assistant from within the Tribunal, who's reputation makes them trustworthy, but preferably someone fairly skilled in Intellego who can verify his findings. This magus is just here to observe the Quaesitor.

He can question mundanes-- and while they might not be valid for evidence at tribunal, their story lays ground work for further investigation. What happened? Did they see the castle fall? How did it happen? Was it sudden or was there siegecraft involved?
He absolutely must question the rubble of the structure-- using InTe, to learn what the structure itself can tell about the destruction. Where did it first fall apart? Did anything strike it just before it fell apart?
He must investigate the scene of destruction and search for remnant magical effects and sigils.

So what do you need to do this?
Talk to the rocks-- InTe 30 and a lot of concentration.
Talk to the people-- ReMe/InMe/interrogatio of your choice.
Check for a sigil over the ruins-- InVi

Investigate the rubble for a possible arrow? That takes another InTe, either to ask the rocks in the area where the effect hit, or to simply look through the rubble for an arrow-- maybe with a He prerequisite. If he's lucky enough to find the parts, he's got gold. (Remember it's a PeHe30 effect to destroy the parts at AC range [Base 4 + 4 for AC + 2 for Group]) If he just gets the sigil, then he's going to be hunting through the Tribunal for the particular sigil, interviewing members, trying to trace it to the magus or pater who trained the magus, maybe even a filius who can identify the sigil. That can become a wider search unless the sigil is well known by the magus' previous involvement in Tribunal affairs. Let's be honest, really, it depends on how the SG is running the game with this point. If the SG favors a sandbox approach, then this may or may not work based on the arts of the culprit. If the SG favors a more linear adventure progression, then he'll be investigating until he hits the proper point in the storyline to engage the culprit-- but that depends on the culprit's purpose to the story. Is it meta? To an extent, but it helps determine if you're going to be following breadcrumbs or prying the clues out by the skill of your dagger-sharp wit.

Between the previous two effects, he might learn that an arrow struck the castle, and where, and with it (or parts of it) in hand, he can then perform the InCo scrying which would reveal the culprit-- but only once he's checked with the Tribunal's Praeco to be clear on the local rules regarding scrying and received permission. It's possible that the item was stolen, that it was a commission, that the builder was unaware of its use, and so this step is necessary to show the probable culprit's face, but to have witnesses who see that he's just looking long enough to identify the individual to the observers.

Now comes a delicate choice. Based on what (who?) he's discovered, the quaesitor has to decide if he shows up with a pack of hoplites and asks the suspected culprit to come in nicely or goes with a more aggressive stance. The culprit's response will likely dictate the end result, and you could really see the suspected magus responding badly, because he probably isn't going to be happy with the idea. Why would the suspected culprit be guaranteed his Parma? How long would he be held? Would there be an emergency tribunal? All of it could spiral very quickly out of control, and the quaesitor may need to act as a guarantor of the culprit's safety to maintain his own reputation.

Overall, it seems like a very cool adventure-- whether it be in the box or on the rails-- for a quaesitor.


EDIT: Added portion on sigil investigation.

You could create 2 sets of minor items: the arrow tip (made of hardwood for simplicity) and the arrow shaft + feathers. The tip carries the PeTe effect that destroys the castle. The shaft releases an effect (PeHe(An)15 since it is touch range only) that destroys the whole arrow after it hits. The shaft carries Both parts of the arrow release their effects when the arrow is shot and hits a structure.

No arrow anymore. Somewhat more complicated than having the simple arrow,. but not difficult to make, and if you are trying to mess things up so much, this wouldn't be a strange precaution


For some reason, I was thinking that the Quaesitores would have, for lack of a better word, a registry of the sigils of every magus in the Tribunal. But I can't remember if that was canonical, a holdover from 4e, or even something I read that was houseruled somewhere.

But if that were the case, that would make it a lot easier to track down the Person of Most Interest in the incident.

So essentially two items with the same linked trigger, or a similar linked trigger? You'd need to play with the linked trigger some to have both meet the condition, since essentially only one component is hitting the castle-- the arrowhead. My only concern-- and I would guess this would be a troupe or SG call-- is that the arrow might break on impact, and therefore you'd need the AC range to be sure you got the broken fragments. Maybe a lesser range would be enough, but personally, if I were planning this kind of action, I'd want the AC range. Again-- I'm just suggesting that it's a concern, and one discussed by the SG and troupe, because they may feel that the magic happens such that the AC range is unnecessary.


Some things to clear up about Craft Magic:

1.) It has more than one application. Essentially, you can make either lesser items or charged items not through echanting, but by "casting" them. The AC would definately be less, because the magic is in the crafting, not in the object itself, at least according to HoH: Soc.

2.) Because it can be used for charged items, you can make an item that lasts until used with one charge.

3.) You don't need to be Mercurian to have minor virtue Disguised Casting.

4.) These items could easily be distributed anonymously and used far away from where the magus is hiding.

5.) The charged item could be a bow, with "sight" range or "voice" range, with the arrow as a cosmetic effect. Then the bow is very easily destroyed. And very hard to track. (InTe: Hey walls, how'd you fall? Well, I was standing, and then, I was less standing. Oh. OK. Well, I'll remember that, then.)

6.) You can use Life Boost to increase your casting total for Crafting spell magic. :smiling_imp:

7.) A Mechanical would probably be doing this to support a general uprising. Dropping a castle is not useful if the noble just forces the peasents to build a new one. Yes, the Hopolites would be swarming.

8.) A Mechanical does not need a lab to make his items. Just mundane tools.

9.) In fact, something like this effect was used by a legendary Craft Magus of peripheral code fame, who faced off against a covenant that was trying to bully him and local peasents. Over the course of a year, he made minor magic for the peasents, crafted a "destroy the castle" item, declared the whole town his covenant and rushed the other covenant with an angry mob, slaughtering the lot.

So, very effective.

Sample Character

Hermetic Magus
The Gift
Gentle Gift
Craft Magic

Disguised Casting
Life Boost
Strong Willed
Puissant Craft Wood (Bowyer etc.)
Social Contacts
Improved Characteristics


Weak Spontaneous Magic
Driven (Major-- drive off the oppressors!)
Humble (minor)
Necessary Condition: Needs tools of his trade as casting tools.
Dark Secret -- Organising a conspiracy directly opposed to Hermetic Oath

Heh heh.

Catch him if you can.

Yes, there are four applications, detailed in HoH:S, on page 131-132. Members of this group are called "Mechanicals." (for those unfamiliar)
First, there's casting through the process of creating an item-- where you could use spell mastery, and would make an AC, but you cast the spell while you make the item and need to be by the target, which could be at Sight range. (So mechanical would make an arrow, and when he was done, look at the castle, and have it fall apart if his casting roll was sufficient.)

 Second, the Mechanical could use the S&M bonuses, up to his Craft Skill. If it were Craft:Woodworking 3 (Fletcher), then he could make that arrow with a granite arrowhead (terram, 3, HoH:MC, pg137) and red gold wire (perdo, 1, TMRE, pg 33) and gain a +4 to his casting total.

 Third, the Mechanical could "make charged items in the same way as Hermetic Magi," (HoH:S, pg 131, right column, second paragraph) but he uses the crafting method used in the first method and his Casting Total as his Lab Total. For arrows, this probably wouldn't be more than about an hour or so per arrow, as long as the materials were prepared ahead of time. This generates a charged item, but that can't use the Disguised Casting Mastery ability.

 The Fourth is the same as the third, but permits a lesser enchanted device to be made if the materials being used contain vis. (These can also invest supernatural abilities.) Again, you can't use the Disguised Casting Mastery ability in the device, but we could probably make an arrow invested with a touch range [i]End of the Mighty Castle[/i] to use time and again.

But it's important to note-- you're making the items in the same way as any other Hermetic, you're just using a Casting Total for the Lab Total, and your time needed for creation is much smaller. There's no reason there would be less of an AC in these items, presuming the characters got them. They're "an item designed and made by the target." That's a +2 bonus to the mulitplier. Maybe, if the objects are only a part of craft magic casting, they could be considered just "something mundane made by the target," in which case, they're still good for Days after they've been discarded.

Disguised Casting isn't a virtue. It's a Casting Mastery, listed on page 99 of HoH:TL, where it's described as a Cult of Mercury mastery, shared "only with their apprentices, though their methods may be written down in books that anyone can read," so if the Mechanical has it as a foe, and he's not a Mercurian, then I guess I'd expect it to be a mastery the SG wanted to add to the game through the loot eventually taken from him. YMMV.

I'd agree with your other points, although the sigil would still be evident in many cases. You could give him Shroud Magic (ArM5, pg 159), at Sight range, though, which resolves a lot of the problem.

For the character, you could replace the Humble flaw with Cabal Legacy, and use it as the indication that he might have been a Mercurian, but rejected its ways-- and then replace the non-Virtue of Disguised Casting with Mastered Spells. Then he could easily know the Disguised Casting Mastery ability (and likely Fast Casting for Shroud Magic). By giving him that legacy, you also provide ways to hook the characters to him-- either by desire to eliminate the negative representative, or his conflict with them. It also provides a way to begin investigating him, as the Disguised sigil might point to the Mercurians, who provide the first clue about the lost filius.