Building a magical ship?


In the new campaign I'm running, the Magi wants to, as a long term goal, build a magical ship to house their covenant, so they can sail around Mythic Europe, having adventures, finding exotic places and so on. I really like that idea. But how to implement it?

The idea is to build the ship as a huge invested device, using the Mystery Virtue Hermetic Architecture.
I'm a bit confused on how this works. I know I need the object to be enchanted, which in this case is a rather big galley. I then turn to the table on page 97 in Mysteries, Revised. The Galley would have a Size Multiplier of 7, I would think, and since it's made of Wood, I get 14.
But now we get to the Compound Component Devices, and here I'm getting a bit confused. Can someone explain to me how this work? I know I need 7 items of some sort. :blush:


1 Like

You might want to push the date of your saga back for better ships. 1220 has small ships that are greatly influenced by the vikings ships ( in northern Europe). They are not very big and do not go away from land much.

I was in a saga that was based on a magic ship. I think it was 16th century. We were going to the New World. Quite a lot of fun.

Well, the galleys of the Mediterranean was used as early as 3000 BC according to wikipedia. Anyway, the campaign is set in the standard time period for Ars Magica. The idea is to have it enchanted with spells like Unseen Porter to row it, and possibly create magical doors that leads to each Magus' sanctum and lab. I believe rules for spaces like these will appear in RoP: Magic?

Anyway, after reading over the Mysteries for Hermetic Architecture again, I think I get it. Basically, anyone could enchant an object big enough if they could fit it into the lab. It is the Component items that really is the mystery, and the ability to create these in a lab and cast the ritual to meld their magic into the larger item. Am I right? :slight_smile:


Actually, I believe that initiates of the mystery of Hermetic Architecture don't need a lab to enchant a very large item.

I'm currently playing in a saga where the covenant did create a magical cog to use for trade, fast and stealthy group travel, and some vis collection. Very costly with all the enchantments done to it, but very very cool.

See and click on "enchantments". At the top of the list is the Aethranavis.


no .. they do need a lab, but they can enchant things that won't fit inside their lab!

For example, if you have a conventional covenant- based lab (eg a Wizard's Tower) but want to enchant a Boat, or a Castle... hermetic Architecture lets you enchant a stash load of (small) devices in your lab, take them to the target ship/castle and link them together, where they will function as-if the larger whole had been enchanted.

It can be costly in time and vis to use H.A., but sometimes it's the only way!

that's right - if it fits in your lab, you can enchant it.
It if won't fit, you "could" build a new lab, large enouh to fit it, or build the lab in the place where the (immovable) thing resides, but in the end you reach the point where you really cannot do it that way.

(For instance, enchanting a gate between 2 regio levels)

Hermetic Architecture lets you enchant components that will fit, and bind them together. That is the Mystery...

Any other magus that tried it would just have a collection of (eg) pillars, and an unenchanted boat/field/whatever, and nothing they could do...

I guess I didn't recall correctly!! Heh, can you tell it wasn't my magus who did the mystery?



I still like the concept of building a shipyard-sized lab.

Put it on a dock, and you can get some serious Aquam study totals.

Yes, the shipyard lab was something I planned in the future of our covenant as well. Ships are the best way to get to our covenant, and magic ships just ooze power and ambition.

If you make the whole ship your item it is broken the first time you need new sails or someone breake a single plank. :wink:

Instead just enchant some tiny item with Touch range spells that affect the ship. With this it is nearly impossible to disenchant or destroy the item easily and you wont need mysteries or a giant lab or such things.

I'm not sure that magical ships enchanted as one part are so fragile:

  1. The City and Guild rules for "damaged" items indicate that magical items can take more than a little chip before they are "destroyed," so regular sail replacement would not disenchant the ship, nor would minor damage;

  2. One would assume that an intelligent mage is not enchanting a ship so that its sails, oars, and rope are integral to the continuing enchantment - in fact, such items could be temporary Herbam creations of Sun or Moon duration generated by the ship;

  3. If you're putting in the rooks of vis to enchant a whole ship, you may also have some enchantments to enhance its sturdiness;

  4. Veriditus reforging, plus #1 above.

Conversely, your concept of a smaller item that enchants the ship is also good, and would cost somewhat less vis, but would still be an enchantment of some magnitude (as a ship is bigger than a standard Individual target) and makes a particular weakness for each ship it's installed in; if someone steals it in the middle of the night, it can be easily spirited away (making for a fun adventure).

Hermetic Architecture is defined in a manner to give considerable protection against breakage:

TMRE pp98-99 says you can remove the devices (suspending the effect) and restore them "so long as the devices and all their holding places are intact" - ie you can do so even if other parts in-between are battered and broken - quite useful in a ship (battles) castle (sieges) or glade (err... moles?)