Confirm clarification on size ranks in spell effects

Out of the chat on Munchkinism (, there was a clarification of each spell +1 mag adding +3 size ranks.

Pre that point I created a spell to drastically increase or decrease the size of a Magus when they are transformed into an animal shape, and I'm pondering the effect on that spell now. The character has just been introduced into a pbp game here on the forums, and I've love to get feedback before I start trying to use the effect with it being incorrect.

Original spell: where I thought the guideline was +1 Mag for each +1 size

Updated spell: where I think +1 mag for +3 size

I can think of two side aspects too:
(a) that a Magus can probably cast either MuAn or MuCo in these spells to affect themselves, and therefore the spell might be made more flexible as a MuCo effect, so it can also affect the Magus in a human shape.
(b) If a dragon is Size +7, what on earth is a Size +13 creature?

I would point out two things.

The first is that, yes, +1 magnitude = +3 size (i.e. a factor 10 or so); but that's for the size of the target, not for the variation. So you need +2 magnitudes to affect a size +7 Dragon -- regardless of the size variation. You want to make a toad as large as a dragon (I guess a 10 size or greater variation)? No modifiers for you.

The second is that, if you allow variation over a range of sizes, then you may need to increase the spell level (because it's a more "flexible" and general spell). The only example we have is preternatural growth and shrinking, which provides 3 different sizes for +1 magnitude; so it's safe to say that if you want to increase size by "up to +9", 3 extra magnitudes for flexibility are certainly sufficient, though we have no data to say that you really need more than 1.

Another point brought previously (although I can't remember if it's RAW or not) is that your Muto must be able to affect both the initial and final Size of the Target. If you plan to enlarge someone to Size 2, you have to add the magnitude to affect larger than Size 1 targets even if they start smaller.

I think that is right, based upon the other forms of Muto magic. The new version does this in the spell breakdown, with "+1 mag to affect creatures of up to size +4, +3 to change the size by 9 ranks".

This is a house rule, but many troupes adopt it.

It's actually in the Muto Terram guidelines: "The amount of material you can change is limited by the guidelines for each end. Thus, you can turn a cubic pace of stone into a cubic inch of gemstone with a base Individual."

Granted, it's not in the Muto Animal guidelines, but it's really easy to see it there, something like "both the initial and final shape (size) must be within the guidelines for the Target".

Actually, the Terram case is something different, because what it tells you is that if you change lead into gold, you should "pay" at the gold level, even if your initial target is lead. So I do not think one can generalize; indeed, the fact that this is mentioned explicitly for just a single specific case, suggests that the general rule is different.

I would also point out that Preternatural Growth and Shrinking has an extra magnitude not because the target can become larger, but explicitly because it allows both growth and two levels of shrinking.

I recently browsed through the section for mundane animals in HOH: Mystery Cults, and found a table named "Size Examples" in the top of page 39. This lists the Humpbacked whale at Size +9, with a weight of 64 tons. The text also explains how to easily approximate weight for any given Size based on another Size. In this case we could use the humpbacked whale at +9 to reach +13. First we add three steps for ten times the mass and then we double the mass for one additional step. Thus +13 means a mass of 20 times that of a humpbacked whale or 1280 tons.
Actually looking at the numbers, I notice that the humpbacked whale is the only animal with a specific weight, so I assume it is listed in a more precise way to show the maximum weight for a mundane beast. This maximum weight is somewhat bigger than I expected (actually about twice the size), assuming that we are talking about what in Danish is called a 'pukkelhval', but lets leave it at that.
So using the more general guidelines we probably yield a 'better' result. Since 3 steps of Size equals 10 times the mass, lets look at Size +4, since this is 1000th of the mass (3x 3 steps = 10 x3 mass multipliers) of a +13 beast. The +4 elephant weigths 1,5 tons; your +7 dragon weights 15 tons; at +10 I'd say we find the humpbacks larger finwhale cousin; the bluewhale at 150 tons (the actual real-world maximum weight for animals); and +13 gives us 1500 tons of mass. I don't even know what to compare that to especially not for a land animal. The heaviest ever was probably the Brachiosarus weighing an estimated 80 tons; standing 16 m tall and 26 m in length - but that silly thing is no more than Size +9 :open_mouth:

Actually I'm no sure it does. The 'new spell' adds +1 mag so that the spell is able to target some animal with an initial Size of more than +1 (up to Size +4), to affect his bear shape for instance. If we invoke that (house)rule he would not be able to increase the shape of his bear to more than Size +4, which would make the additional magnitudes for up to 9 Size steps worthless (for increasing Size anyway). That is, unless he has some spell or supernatural ability to change his shape by other means, and intends to cast this size-altering spell on himself while in the form of a cuckoo or an eel (Size -5).
I we alter the spell to follow this rule, and stick with MuAn30 as I believe the design of the magus is made for, we would get something along the lines of:

Personally I would even argue that the spell above would be able to change the Size +/-7 steps since the first step is included in the Base 4 guideline, but the OP has already made a stand in that matter, and that's hardly the point of this discussion anyway.

That house rule does not make sense if you use it in the spell v3 manner - it is just double-paying for the same spell effect.

As an alternative:
If the size ranks being paid for should be for the size of the target's original form, calculated from base. And then add the size of the destination creature, calculated from base; then you get:


  • To affect an original target size 1 or less = no additional cost, as it is base Individual size.
  • to affect a original target of up to size of 4 = +1 mag
  • final size up to size 2 = No cost, as it is included base spell effect 3 for humans, or base 4 for animals to increase size.
  • final size up to size 5 = +1 mag (adding 3 ranks)
  • final size up to size 8 = +2 mags (adding 6 ranks)
  • final size up to size 11 = +3 mag (adding 9 ranks)

then some flexibility

  • allow increase as well as decrease in size = +1 mag. This assumes that for each size rank that would normally be added, instead the creatures get smaller by 2 size ranks. So +1 mag reduces size by 6 ranks instead of increasing by 3.

R: Per, D: Dia, T: Ind = +1 mag

That creates a level 30 CrAn spell which can alter the Animal form of a creature up to size 4, upward to a max size 11, or downward to minimum size -19.

If you use the "house-rule" suggested then this spell becomes somewhere near level 45, and it makes Muto spells largely to difficult to be viable. ... agica.html

Here my opinon/help/translating

Whether it makes sense or not is a rather subjective matter. I do understand your fear of 'double dipping' though, so let me address that worry. You don't pay for the same thing twice, instead you add magnitudes for:

  1. Increasing the Size of the Target Individual range, to be able to affect your target.
  2. Increasing the effect/power level of the spell, which is a modification of the Guideline.

This is no different IMO from how we design other spells. As an example lets have a look at MuTe. We want to change Earth into Stone, which is Base 3, in much the same way as the spell Earth that Breaks No More. In addition to paying for categories of Range, Duration and Target, we pay +1 magnitude to affect a larger target than the standard Individual allows for - option number 1) above. Say we wanted to change said Earth into something else, metal for example. We pay additional magnitudes for increasing the base effect of the spell - option number 2) above. This is the same as going for a higher Base, like base 5 for changing into an animal, but since it is not listed in the Guidelines as such, we just make the adjustment afterwards. This makes sense right? Or would you argue that the spell to change Earth into Animal would not have to pay extra for the Size of the target as well as the increased Base? Now if we could turn a subic metre of Earth into a magnificent plate of an amazingly thin gold sheet covering the size of a thousand paces in each direction would you still just have us pay for the Size of the original lump of Earth? Or would you agree that we would have to add magnitude(s) for the increased Size of the Gold plate?

On another note; what we also do in this exercise is assume that we can increase the effects of the listed guidelines by piling on magnitudes. I'm not even sure this is possible. The current guidelines usually go all the way to the most powerful effect possible, even if it is unneccessay since the pattern is obvious. Muto Corpus keeps adding +1 Soak for every magnitude until it stops at level 25, even though a level 30 guideline is present (for some other feature). What does this tell us? That the author's were randomly lazy, or that there is a limit to how physically invulnerable you can make the human body through making the skin tough using spells. You could achieve a bigger Soak bonus offcourse, even through Muto Corpus i guess, but it would be through changing into the shape of a stone or something similarly different from GotBF. We see this in Creo Corpus and Creo Mentem guidelines as well, were we cannot increase the Characteristics to more than +5 - there is a natural limit.

The interesting question is then if we in general take the piling of magnitudes to improve power over those of the listed guidelines for granted. Some less obvious examples include CrIg damage limit of +30 and the PeIg damage limit of +10. Why would the the author (I'm guessing it's the same author) of these two guidelines stop the damage lists of the guidelines at points so different if it weren't for a reason? It makes sense to me that fire cannot do more than +30 damage in itself, though with some creativity, prolonged exposure or possible some Muto it might be made more dangerous than the +30 suggests. Using ignem to chill a body reaches its damage limit much earlier, since cold is in itself is not as inherently harmful to people as heat, giving an exposure of just a moment or two. Again prolonged exposure causing frostbite and hyperthermia can make chilling deadly though. On another note the CrCo recovery bonus limit of +18, compared to the CrAn recovery bonus limit of +21 raises a few questions though, but I guess it serves to prove that animal bodies are different from those of humans. We could also stop to wonder why CrVi has a Warping point limit of 3, but lets just leave it at that, and consider whether the guidelines were very deliberate in stopping some guidelines from being expanded further.

First of all I'm not even sure we should alter Size so drastically at all. When looking at MuCo for changing Size we see that Base 3 reads: "... change the size of a person (though they must still remain human in form)." The listed spell Preternatural Growth and Shrinking uses this Base 3 to increase size by 1 or descrease it by 2. Why? - because that's whats within the mundane human form, represented in virtues by Large, Small and Dwarf (Mythic Blood is a Supernatural Virtue for a reason). Thus, adding magnitudes will do us no good IMO. If you wish to turn into a humanoid giant of flesh with a Size greater than +1, this would surely be possible - but with a different spell. I'll not make an attempt at such a spell in this post, but MuCo(Vi) might be one way to go, I'd assume.

Looking at MuAn, things are similar, but slightly different, since the wording of the guidelines is somewhat different, it reads: "Make a major change in a beast, while leaving it recognizably the same sort of animal (for example, make a horse bigger...)". So altering the size of an animal is a major change, using MuAn Base 4. But reaching the limit of when the creature is no longer recognizably the same sort of animal is open to interpretation. Personally I would use the same rules as for Corpus above, with the consistency of the guidelines as one argument. The other argument is related to the two listed spells in the Core Rulebook, employing the Base 4 guideline to change the Size of an animal by +1, and by -2 respectively. If the guidelines allowed for say two steps in Size in either direction why not go for +2 Size with Beast of Outlandish Size? So I would assume that we have to look at the given target (be that Corpus, Animal or any other form) and figure out this 'natural limit of the targets essential nature' by ourselves. If we go to the extremes such as altering the Size of a dragon, we might be able to increase the Size of a Size +6 dragon by 2 steps to Size +8 without it breaking the 'limit of recognition'. The same seems to be true if we move to the extremely small parts of animal, where a truly huge spider would easily be recognized as a spider nevertheless. Maybe this limit also has something to do with how much the size of the given animal normally varies. This seems to go well in hand with the spell Growth of the Creeping Things, that allows for a +2 Size increase specifically for an animal of Size -9. It uses the same guideline, as the two other spells, but allows for greater change, why? - because we could all readily imagine a frog the size of a rat couldn't we? At least I find the notion more 'natural' (and less concerning) than an Aurochs the size of a killer whale...

Are you serious? A level 30 spell, without requisites or other requirements that can alter the Size of a Buck into that of a Blue Whale? Or change a Killer Whale into the size of an Adder? This is were you draw the line of whether Muto spells in general are sufficiently powerful to be viable? Wow, I'm glad you are not playing in my Troupe, cause that would be really dissappointing for you.

Allow me to borrow your spell design, to create a village-eridicating killer animal out of even the most weak creatures (combat wise), with just the use of only a magnitude 6 spell (Touch, but only allowing for growth) and your gracious guidelines.

"Hello Kitty, the cat"
Size: +6 (7½ tons)
Cun 0, Per +1, Pre -2, Com -4, Str +11, Sta +0, Dex +3, Qui -5
Reputation: Evil 2 (local) - this was before the change
Virtues, of the scary kind: Perfect Balance, Puissant Awareness, Sharp Ears, Nocturnal
Qualities, of the scary kind: Ambush Predator, Extra Natural Weapons, Good Jumper, Skilled Climber, Thick Fur
Claws: Init-5, Attack +8, Defense +1, Damage +13
Teeth: Init-4, Attack +8, Defense +1, Damage +12
Soak: +1
Wound Penalties: -1 (1-11), -3 (12-22), -5 (23-33), Incapacitated (34-44), Dead (45+)

"Droopy, the dog"
Size: +9 (like a humpback whale, up to 75 tons)
Cun 0, Per +2, Pre -4, Com +0, Str +18, Sta +2, Dex +1, Qui -7
Virtues, of the scary kind: Long Winded, Sharp Ears, Reckless
Qualities, of the scary kind: Keen Sense of Smell, Pursuit Predator, Vocal
Bite: Init-7, Attack +8, Defense -2, Damage +19
Soak: +2
Wound Penalties: -1 (1-14), -3 (15-28), -5 (29-42), Incapacitated (43-56), Dead (57+)

Do you want me to go through the potential horrors of a Size +6 Falcon? Or a Size +8 Wolf? Or what about the Size +11 Lion? Or even the Size +5 Adder? Call me a coward, but I don't dare assign that much power to a level 30 spell.

I disagree with you Lasse Rohde; for two main reasons.

First, I really do not think that a spell turning a dog into something gigantic is necessarily "unbalancing" even if it's fairly low level. It's certainly a very unwieldy weapon, hard to use indoors, that requires you to start with a trained dog to begin with etc. etc. Magi can already wipe out villages with relative ease, this is not D&D.

Second, I find it somewhat contradictory that, on the one hand, you adhere to the letter to the guidelines -- so that if +35 fire damage is never stated explicitly, you do not allow it; and on the other hand, you impose limitations that are not spelled out anywhere about the Muto limits to growth.

That said, I do agree that right now shapechanging into a giant seems a bit on the easy side. Turning your shield grog into a size +12 behemoth 20+paces tall, for two minutes (really enough to flatten most opposition) is, after all, only a level 5 spell (Base 3, utterly change the size of a person, +1 Touch, +1 Diameter -- but beware of Hulk-like ripping of clothes!) The old (4th edition) The Mysteries had some very sensible guidelines for shapechanging into gigantic sizes, and for things like spells allowing "constant shifting" between shapes. Unfortunately, I don't have the book with me right now.

Nope, you just need a mind control ReAn spell. Not that hard.
Or you do a Cr(Re)An(Me) spell to give the dog a hint of intelligence while locking it to obey you.

Well, you also need a dog :smiley:

But that's really what I meant.
You need a dog, and you you need some means to control the dog (ideally BEFORE you turn it into a behemoth).
Maybe not hard, but itself a) more prone to failure b) slower and/or less convenient and c) requiring more effects or a higher magnitude.

I think Cr(Re)An would be sufficient. But that's itself a level 30 spell for Diam or Conc duration (Base 15, +1 Touch, +1Diam, +1Rego).

I was going to say "sure", but thinking about it, actually you dont. CrAn or adding a Cr requisite to the size spell will do it just fine. :mrgreen:

That cant give it anything like intelligence(as that´s Mentem), my idea was to give it enough smarts to take orders from you as a thinking being, even if it´s at the level of Int -5 or even worse.

Sure it´s not a low level spell, but you also wont be needing any penetration for it to work, so to cast it you just need to reach a casting total of 20. If you can manage to have 10 in the used Arts, you can probably cast it without causing fatigue most of the time. Any character doing something like this i would expect to have more like 15+ in the relevant Arts though.

Thanks for the well thought through response Lasse Rohde,

I was pointing out that the v3 spell you wrote is paying for the source target twice because it is using +2 mags for the initial target, where only one is needed.
Remember that the original spell was targeting a size 2 creature, and making it larger. The spell's requirements are to increase the size of a creature around size rank 2-3 upward to around size rank 6-7+.

The extra spell rank is not needed, and it appeared to indicate that the starting target must be paid for as +2 mags as well as the final target size of +2 mags. That is the "double dipping".

I already included the extra mag to affect a slightly larger creature in the breakdown:

So I think our understanding actually agree.

That is to far within the realm of the Troupe's opinion.

  • Mythic Blood as a virtue is irrelevant. Second Sight is a virtue too, yet Intellego magic is far more flexible. The implication is that SGs should not allow any magical power which mimicks a virtue?
  • limiting magic to only allow powers which are explicitly stated is a saga choice. I would argue that the guidelines are "guidelines" and are there to be used and explored.
  • You've indicated a Vim requisite for Giants. I disagree. A cat changed is still a cat. I'd agree that a Chimera needs a Vim Req, as it is an inherently magical creature. A very large cat is not.
  • Your point about it being Unnatural is good though. Perhaps a degree of magnitude is needed to allow for how unnatural the form is, if it is not already present in the guidleines. So that increased the MuCo guideline up one level, which makes it identical to the MuAn guideline. As I used the MuAn guideline as a start, I think that is covered already.

Yes I am serious. The games I run are set in a high fantasy style, where creating a size +4-11 human for 2 minutes is within the bounds of magic. Gulliver's Travels is not medieval, but it is a cool story for inspiration. Its not a stretch for my players either.

Yes, in that case I'm glad too that I am not in your saga too. :smiley:

Further, a level 30 spell effect that can destroy a village is all too easy within the current strictly published Spell Guidelines. The giant creature gets affected by damage spells just like any other.

In fact you can destroy a village with level 5 (possibly level 4). The mud is only present for brief moment, but it would crush almost anything beneath it. The spell is so low that it is easy to cast even in high auras, and likely to penetrate MR if the caster has any reasonable arts.

Smother the Village (CrTe5) R: Voice, D: Mom, T: Ind

  • Create 10 cubic paces of Mud = Base 1
  • Increase volume up to 1,000 cubic paces = +2 mags
  • Voice +2 mags

Worrying about a Mage who can turn himself into a size 11 Lion, using a custom level 30 spell is trivial by comparison. Limiting intelligent use of the spells, so that a Saga based sense of balance is maintained is your choice.

I'm glad you appreciated it :slight_smile:

I agree.

Well this part of my post is merely questioning that line of thinking, which I thought was pretty clear from how I wrote it. We have not been playing with these limits in my Troupe, the thought just occcured to me and I shared them. I'm not sure were my stand is as of right now, and I'm very open to good counterarguments.

  • I dont get the part about the virtues. Did you read my post to say, that one shouldn't be able to grant powers similar to virtues? I only mentioned Giant Blood as a means to explain why a basic Size-altering guideline would only allow for +1 Size, even though it could go down two steps; Size +2 is not covered within that particular guideline since its not natural.
  • I did not really suggest limiting guidelines to powers that are explicitly stated; by all means go explore and make some good assumptions or adoptions as you see fit. What I did suggest was to consider limiting the maximum strength of the powers in the guidelines; more precisely those have been defined carefully through a long series of consequtive magnitudes only to stop abruptly.
  • Well as I said I'm not sure about the Giant Spell using Vim, it was merely an example to show that one might have to move into other areas of Hermetic Magic to make this possible. What I said/meant was something like this: "MuCo can alter Size, to a point. +1 Size / -2 Size seems to be the natural limit. In order to break this limit you might need something else. Changing from small human into large human is MuCo. But changing from regular human into Giant human (+4 i.e.) is maybe not covered solely by MuCo. You are not adopting the shape of a human, but the shape of a giant - a giant which might be part of the magical realm, and thus require a Vim requisite. I'm not saying this is the right way though, but it might be. Please not that I never wanted Vim for increasing he Size of a cat. If it came out like that, it was a mistake.

Well for high fantasy those Size-changes might not seem entirely out of place. I just wouldn't like them to be part of standard Gauntled-available Hermetic magic. Our Troupe might run a story similar to Gulliver's Travels (which is a good source indeed), but I wouldn't like the players to simply react to the problem of them being terrible giants, by casting a simple MuCo spell and suddenly end the story. For me it's not about what should be possible in Mythic Europe (because those Giant-sized men are okay with me), not even what should be possible with magic (Mysteries and traditions exists for things far more obscure) or even Hermetic Magic (since it should be magical). My worries are just whether it is too easy.

:stuck_out_tongue: Maybe we should actually guest the Troupes of one another to see in which way we miss out. We could probably both learn something from that :slight_smile:

Although the Village-croaking mud spell is impressive, I would never appreciate such a spell in my saga. It has never come up, and I hope it never will :slight_smile: Anyway, creating one spell using existing guidelines that is (IMO) obviously out of line with the rest of the spells of the core rulebook, doesn't justify making up guidelines for new ones that are unbalanced.
A giant sized animal still gets affected by damage spells yes, and a spell like PoF is probably likely to do cause an impressive Medium Wound on a Canary of Doom. Not very effective IMO. And for those of you making arguments like "but then you need a trained dog" - no, you really don't. Use the spell on a random flock of sheep and watch the villagers go ballistic. Cast the spell on your own Bjornaer shape, animal companion, familiar etc. and go insanely pokemon. Also, a name like "Hello kitty, the cat" was just the names of the animals empowered by the spells - not the name of an actual spell. The spell for Gargantuan Size is not limited to any one type of animal - it can change the shape of any animal, and for a +1 magnitude both alter Size up and down. It's extemely powerful AND extremely flexible, thats the scary part.

Lol, yes it is my choice to keep the Saga power-balance. But do you really call this Size-altering 'intelligent use of the spells'? I don't find it particularly creative, intelligent or innovative - it's just scaling an existing guidelines (possibly out of porportions). A truly creative spell, or one that is very narrow in its application, is allowed to push the guidelines a bit IMO. But a spell that can greatly alter the Size of any animal of any Size, doesn't really fit my discription of a custom spell. This spell here is just too much raw power for my Saga. Your Saga is different, and that's okay. In your high fantasy Saga, my magus would pick this spell as his number 1 spell for offense... defense... travel... intimidation... strength... and well a multitude of other applications - if not for anything else, then in order to be able to survive the 'Smother the Village spell' cast by a random scorned apprentice :laughing: