Greetings Sodalis

I'm contemplating a magus who has a focus/speciality/interest in blood. As well as doing all kinds of horrid things to people, I imagine blood to play a central role in his magic, with him shedding his own (necessary condition, special circumstances), creating it to attack people, removing it forcibly from within people and generally making a right old mess.

So my queries, blood in a body requires corpus, this we know (Ars5, p121, paragraph 1). Blood summoned in a pool, jet, geyser or in a goblet however seems like it should be aquam alone. Is this true?

Also, messing with the liquidity of blood seems like it would be aquam too. So to turn the blood in someones body to a solid would require corpus, with a terram req, while to make blood pooled on the floor solid would require aquam and terram but NOT corpus. Is this correct?

For a magus that needs to be bleeding to cast magic (necessary condition) would you allow a magus to make a small cut and NOT take a wound doing so? It seems to me that a magus is clearly not doing himself any favours, but a light wound is actually not a nice thing at all, so should a magus be able to cut himself sufficient to bleed without inflicting a wound? How about a fatigue level? If its either then it seems like necessary condition would more accurately be a major flaw for this restriction.

Natural liquids are the same difficulty as water to mess with using aquam, but what is a natural liquid? Does blood count? If not, the next two categories are slightly unnatural and unnatural. What liquids would fit these terms? Potent acids? Unfortunately the aquam guidelines and spells don't give us any examples.

A focus on blood, should be major as far as I can see, it covers multiple forms and can be quite versatile. But how abstract should we allow such a focus to go? Would spells tracing a bloodline or determining parentage count? Or is that more a semantic phrases that mystically wouldn't align itself to actual blood? What other interesting and not immediately obvious uses could one use such a focus for?

Finally has anyone got some great and gruesome ideas for blood related spells.

Since fruit juice and olive oil are both listed as Aquam when they are both directly extracted from fruits, it follows that blood outside the body would also be Aquam.

Yes, turning a liquid solid is Aq(Te), making it gaseous is Aq(Au), and so forth, at least outside the body. Inside the body, remember that you cannot target what you cannot sense, so targeting the blood itself is difficult. Frankly, I believe this is best modeled as a PeCo spell (either inflicting damage or a wound) with the blood turning solid being a cosmetic effect. Otherwise, I guess you would be looking at a MuCo(Te) with a Part target and a friendly ST to handwaive the necessity of sensing the blood itself if you can see the person.

Sure, a necessary condition can be as simple as clapping his hands, so from a game balance perspective there is no real need to inflict damage; and realistically a small cut in the right place is no hindrance at all. Until, that is, you botch that casting roll and the ST is looking for something funny to happen to you; doubly so if it's a Corpus spell you just botched.

Blood is a natural liquid, it seems to me.

I agree with a major focus for blood, it's much too large for a minor. I'd allow at least some spells tracing bloodline and parentage, but that's more of a ST or troupe call. Still, generally speaking the Major Magical Focus virtue is a bit underpowered for a Major Virtue, so I'd be generous (after all, once you realize that you have to spread your Arts among all those forms that can cover blood, you'll see that it does not stretch as far as you'd thing).

First, any PeCo spell can be rewritten to include a cosmetic effect involving blood, although that would probably not count for your magical focus (Just because your version of Clenching Grasp of the Crushed Heart has blood gushing all over the place doesn't change the fact that it uses at its heart the PeCo guideline 'kill a human'). You can try to write damaging or killing spells that directly target blood inside the body, but it's a bit iffy by the rules; at least, until the target is bleeding, at which point you can clearly see the blood. You still need a Part target, but you could have a ReCo spell that instantly drains all the blood out of a wounded person/animal, or do all kinds of damage with MuCo(Aq), while MuCo(Te) would instantly close the wound and MuCo(Ig) would cauterize it. Or you could MuCo(Ig) all the blood inside that person.

As for blood outside the body... Rain of Blood is always a good one, it will freak people out since it is a major portent of bad things to come. Covering walls in blood is also gruesome. There's a nice legend about a murdered corpse starting to bleed if its murderer touches it or comes close, that's a very situational but nice too. And then the good old Cr(Re)Aq 'create a bubble of water around someone's head so he drowns, only yours is blood...
And then you have CrAq(Te) to make solid objects out of blood. Combined with your necessary condition, you can make it appear (cosmetic effect) that the blood comes from your body (it's Creo, so it's really created, but since you're already bleeding...). Dagger (or sword, depending on your favorite weapon) of Solid Blood, Armor of blood, ...

Personally, I would give up on the magical focus and rather go for the cosmetic effects, or maybe go for a major focus on damage instead (that covers most PeCo and PeAn spells and you can go from cosmetic effects from there), but its your choice, and I guess you'll see if its worth it when you start crunching the numbers.

Whether blood can be affected under Aquam alone, without a requisite, is somewhat doubtful. Although the general Aquam Spells heading (ArM5 p.121) says "They cannot affect liquids in a body, such as blood; that requires a Corpus spell.", when you look at the CrAq guidelines, you'll notice that Level 2 says "Fill a container (or some other natural liquid, with appropriate requisites)."

To me, that means that blood, being a natural liquid, always needs a requisite to be created or manipulated. Note that this could be either Corpus for human blood, or Animal for animal blood.

A small cut without a wound would be fine, IMHO. He might require a bigger cut the more powerful the spell is, and rituals might actually require a Light Wound from blood loss.

Blood is a natural liquid. Same with water, wine, oil, etc.

Weak acids (such as vinegar) are natural, but strong acids were probably seen as the result of an alchemical process so might be considered unnatural. That would be up to the troupe to decide.

As a rule, I'd say that if the liquid can have an immediate and strong effect (such acid strong enough to cause damage in a matter of rounds), it's considered unnatural.

I would see a focus on blood being major. It covers multiple Arts (Aquam with Corpus and Animal) and is applicable to multiple techniques. And you're better off if you take it as major, since requisites are not treated as harshly under a Major focus than it is under a Minor one.

I could also see the tracing of bloodlines and such falling under it. In the medieval mind, this would not simply be semantics, but percieved as true. The ceremonial mixing of life blood between two friends could certainly have effects of mystical signification.

This could indeed be a problem, however, PeAq spell Curse of the Desert (Ars5, p123) removes almost all the liquid from a body, which clearly can't be perceived directly. It does use part target so maybe that's how I'd have to go, part target to affect the blood but don't need to actually see blood directly, since i know exactly where it is (i.e. in the body).

Failing that, would simply using existing corpus guidelines but reworking the flavour text to make it bloody qualify for the focus. i.e. instead of a spell that crushes the opponents heart (kill a human), the spell causes him to vomit forth all the blood in his system (also kill a human) count? Especially since the heart crushing itself is only flavour text, the guideline is kill a person, it isn't actually targeting the organ (or it would use part target).

I'd take this route.
Other than this, I'm in agreement with Halancar on pretty much every point he made.

On this, since I want my magus to be very good in his chosen field, would you recommend Major Magical Focus or Major Potent Magic. I've not really had much experience with either. I can see how Potent might be better in the early years but focus can get a lot stronger as your arts get higher. Has anyone run the numbers on them?