Consensus Building on Magically Created Food

Is magically created food nourishing?

  • Yes, as long as it exists. You can live off the food if its duration is long enough, with no bad aftermath.
  • No, it isn't nourishing. It can quell hunger, but won't provide sustenance.
  • Yes, but leaving you very hungry when the duration ends. Supernaturally hungry, as you must very quickly consume huge amounts of food after a long time on a magical diet.
  • Yes, but dropping you dead when the duration ends.
  • I don't know.
  • Other

0 voters

Alright, let's settle this once and for all.

This issue has been discussed at length previously. I think the best discussion is on The forgotten Spells thread. Other relevant threads are Creo cheese, and To paradigm or not to paradigm.

There are several issues here:

  • What do the RAW say?
  • What's the effect on someone that eats (only) magically created foods? Is he nourished?
  • What happens when the effect's duration ends? Does he die?
  • What about other techniques besides Creo?
    The poll is about the second and third point: how nourishing is magically created food ought to be, and what's the effect of stopping such a diet ? But don't answer until you've exhausted the discussion, and am certain of your position.

Of course, the question is only about food NOT created by a momentary Creo ritual. I assume we all agree that food created by a momentary Creo ritual is nourishing and perfectly natural. The argument is about the status of food created with some other Creo spell, or by other (Hermetic) means.

The relevant pieces of RAW seem to be

  • "...magical food created only nourishes for as long as the duration lasts, and someone who has eaten it becomes extremely hungry when the duration expires." from the Creo guidelines, and
  • "Any food created is nutritious only if the creation is a ritual" from the Creo Herbam guidelines, ArM5 p. 136.

Based on these quotes, I think the RAW simply contradicts itself on the matter. A generous interpretation is to read the second passage as "...[permanently] nutritious...", in which case the RAW says the following:

  • When someone persists on a diet of magicaly created food, he will be sustained and nourished by it for as long as the food's duration lasts.
  • Upon the end of the food's duration, the nutrience derived from such food will be lost, leaving the person extremely hungry. (Not dead.)

But others say my interpretation is wrong. For example,

The Metagame Arguments
Furion eloquently noted on the creo-cheese thread that

I think the key arguments along these lines are as follows:


I am currently ambivalent, but I must confess that I'm attracted to Furion's position (although initially I was in favor of my interpretation of the RAW). The possibilities for abuse are simply too great, as Ravenscroft's and Furion's last posts demonstrate.

Other Ideas
The issue of other costs of magical sustenance were raised. That it causes warping seems to be in wide agreement (although I don't think the RAW actually requires that). Another idea that was raised was making aging rolls after the sustenance stops.

The issue of using other techniques was also raised. What happens if you Muto a rock into an apple and eat it? What if you Muto yourself into a cow and eat grass? Can you Muto the need for food out of yourself? Can you Rego someone to provide the effects of sustenance?

I think Mutoing stuff into food works like (non-Ritual) Creo food, but Mutoing yourself into a cow to eat grass can work. Mutoing yourself into rock that doesn't need food works by RAW. Rego cannot be used to heal, provide sustenance, or age someone; probably has something to do with the Divine's monopoly on true creation and life, and with Platonic ideals.

Oh, Yair you know I love it. Food that is. Especially discussing it. And I can't help getting sidetracked every time this pops up on the board. But hey - any villain has to have a serious flaw exploitable by the protagonists. Mine would be to entice me to speak of the magical creation of food while in the midst of a Certamen or Wizard's War!

Before commenting further - it at all needed since my words are already used a couple of times above - I would like to suggest a change in the survey to meet the aims of it the better. I do no think many of us who have discussed this a fair amount of time disagree on having Ritual Creo food nourish. But the question as is might confuse this. so would it be possible to add a "non-permament" or "non-ritual" or some such to the question Is magically created food nourishing?

Iron Chef as a Certamen phantasm?

Yair - if you play it well, this thread could be the key to grandmastery for you. 8)

I can't change the poll, that's something only the board administrators can do. I did add a note in the post's text, though. In bold, too. :slight_smile:

And I'd appreciate your comments regarding the RAW, at least. We seem to have a difference of opinion there. (Not sure if I agree with your 'not nourishing at all' suggestion or not yet.)

:slight_smile: Yes, my ascension is immanent.

ROFL. Certainly would out-maneuver me! But I tell you, I would be completely defenseless against the Swedish Chef (Brok! Bork! Bork!). But who really believes in the existence of the Order of Odin? (or did I perchance see something in the Ancient Magic?)

Would be well deserved with the work done by our sodalis to patch all those loose threads together.

Moreso, knowing my own addiction to (speaking of) food, I am not entirely unsure that I might not at some time attempt to mingle in the Grand Master Lounge (at least to refill the coffee-o-mat).

Let's help you transcend. :stuck_out_tongue:

FWIW, I think the RAW support option 2 "No, it isn't nourishing. It can quell hunger, but won't provide sustenance," much as I dislike it. Someone exclusively eating such food would lose weight ("Try the New Hermetic Diet now!"), weaken and ultimately die of starvation. The food might be filling, but not actually quell hunger (i.e. you're stuffed, but still hungry).

Much like the food this option describes, I don't find that very satisfying.

Now the question is ... ReAn or ReHe?

Try this, then.

Actually I'd rather we did not... I like discussing this, and I will defend my views fervently, but I really don't think that there is a definitive and autoritative "right" to be gained. But let us argue, fuss and fight (Certamen if it comes to that) but each have their own game.

I have now voted, but only after taking some time to ponder. My preference was somewhere between option 2 and 3.

Concerning the RAW I am not as certain anymore. The rules certainly contradict themselves. On one side the indtroduction on the Arts (p. 77) should be covering it, but on the other side I do believe that most of us when the guideline for one Art says something, this is also covering for similar situations with other Arts, that doesn't mention it, in case they don't explicit say otherwise. In this case p. 136 suggests that it isn't nourishing. The RAW being contradictionary I do not thing this minor subject will get a clarification forthcoming.

Nevertheless RAWs aside, for me the most important arguments - in how I chose to do this with my troupe - are the ones connected to what effects this would have for the setting and vice versa what I think is best explained within the frame of the setting. For me non-ritual magic food created by Hermetic Magic is not nourishing. Pause. But I am still very much open for suggestions on how to handle situations where people eat such food nonetheless. And in that regard - what gives the potential most interesting scenes and roleplay? The unnatural hunger-notion suggested by Fruny is appealing in that regard, but I would just have it set in earlier so as to asure that the character would know that something was horribly wrong and start to weaken, because the last thing I would want is the sudden death by the end of duration.

I am not at all opposed to other ways of surviving such as the changig to cows, stones or shrubbery or whatever suits the magus, to survive without food, but using Muto to change something uneatable into something else and eating it.. well on that I am really at loss. I really dont have a firm idea on my views on this, yet. It is a totally different situation - and it doesn't conflict with the Limits of Creation and Energy, but rather with Essential Nature. And in terms of the setting it would "threathen" the setting just as much as the Creo food would. Why else would any covenant ever procure food in any other size or shape? Why not taking to selling off food to its surroundings? But before deciding how I would prefer to run this, I would like to think of arguments within the ME setting and Hermetic Magic to make the odds and ends come together.

Bork! Bork! out!

As I see it, there's basically two types of non-permanent magical food: food created with a Duration of Sun (less than that really isn't worth it), and food created with a Duration of Moon (no one's going to waste the vis on Year when they could do it at Mom). The former would disappear before it had time to be digested, leaving the person very hungry, as if he hadn't eaten. These spells aren't a problem for me. So it's the latter that we're worried about, the spells that have enough time to be absorbed into the body. I think that while the person would feel ravenous when the spell wore off, it would not do physical damage to him.

It's like non-permanent healing spells: They seal the wound for the duration, but then it reopens afterwards, and this does not cause additional wounds to open. Likewise, I think hunger and thirst are quenched for the duration with sustenance creating spells, and their ending leaves the person the way they were before but does not cause any additional damage. Magi could heal everyone with D: Moon spells, too, but their patients are really going to suffer when the spell ends. If adventuring magi want to create all of their food with D: Moon spells, I don't really have a problem with that, and I think creating magical feasts is a nice thing for an Herbam or Animal specialist to be able to do.

The food is clearly not nutritious, though. So, when living on magical food, either by creating it with non-permanent duration or changing inedible things into food and eating them, I suggest you give the character a penalty to his aging roll for that year, something like -1 for each month in which the magus survived on magical food alone. A whole year living that way would basically guarantee an Aging Point unless the character has a really powerful Longevity ritual. I suggest a similar penalty for magi who go a long time without healing their injuries naturally or without breathing normally (like spending months underwater under the effects of Lungs of the Fish.)

Wow, lots of work here! Bravo for the effort.

There's a difference here: healing spells will eventually cause warping, as would CrCo spells that directly sustain people so that they don't need food.

Warping is an alternative, with surviving on magical food counting as a being under a long-term magical effect.

Why don't we actually design some food creation spells?
Then see how much they can be abused.
As an aside , what about serving exotic treats such as ,
Polar Bear Liver.

Are there any similar nibbles we can offer guests that we may actually want to poison?

With Creo poisons , we never need to use vis to make them "nourishing".
Depending on the type of poison , we only need duration.

I voted for option 4 - that anyone who consumes magical food for a substantial length of time instantly starves to death once the spell duration ends. I agree that the RAW contradict themselves but am inclined to accept Yair's "generous interpretation" that non-ritual Creo food isn't permanently nourishing. I opt for "dead" as opposed to "supernaturally hungry" based on the discussion of the magical horse which eats mundane food (on page 77). "If a magically created horse was fed on mundane food for a year, it would leave a mundane corpse when the spell expired, as the mundane food has been converted into [a] mundane body." If mundane food persists in a magical body after the duration ends, I should think that magical food incorporated into a mundane body should disappear once the duration ends. Such a disappearance should be highly unpleasant to downright fatal.

There are a couple of objections to the "instant starvation" position which I'd like to address.

Yair, as I understand him, opts for "supernaturally hungry" due to the passage in the Creo guidelines, "becomes extremely hungry when the duration expires." If non-permanent food implies non-permanent nutrition, I think it would be odd if some residual magic hangs around after the spell ended to prevent the eater from dying from starvation. I am forced to interpret this passage to mean that the eater has only been subsisting on non-permanent food for a few weeks, but I can see how someone might legitimately disagree.

As for CrCo healing spells, healing from a non-ritual spell ends when the spell's duration does, and I think that also implies that any nutrition from non-permanent food should also instantaneously disappear. Erik has argued, rather, the effects of non-permanent healing imply that someone eating magical food shouldn't starve since non-permanent healing spells don't cause additional wounds. Again, I think that's a reasonable interpretation, but I disagree. New wounds don't naturally appear on a body; hunger does. A month or two hunger deferred should cause starvation.

Again, I should note that I don't think the RAW really give us a cut-and-dry answer to this question. Consequently, I've used a lot of words like "interpret" and "imply." I think there is quite a bit of room for reasonable and legitimate disagreement on this issue, depending on how one interprets various ambiguous sentences.

As for metagame issues, I'm not particularly bothered by a magus trying to assassinate someone via non-permanent food. That actually sounds like a neat adventure hook to me. I do think it's important to maintain limited resources of food, though. Removing such a resource limit would change the setting pretty drastically.

Now, all of this having been said, if I were the alpha SG of a new saga, I'd be extremely tempted to house rule Furion's interpretation, "No, it isn't nourishing. It can quell hunger, but won't provide sustenance." This is the simplest option to adjudicate and preserves food scarcity.

Other things:

I agree that Muto'ing a stone into bread isn't nourishing, Muto'ing yourself into a cow while eating grass is, and that Rego can't help you here.

I would, however, allow the construction of Creo Corpus rituals to allow a magus to skip eating or correct for a nutrition deficiency gained by eating non-permanent food.

Dairies of the Hidden Magi CrAn 20, Ri
R: Touch D: Mom T: Ind, Ritual

This spell fills a depression the size of a small pond with milk.

This spell is also a stabilized discovery toward breaking the Limit of Creation.
(Base 5, +1 Touch, +2 Size, Ritual)

Fields of the Hidden Magi CrHe 25, Ri
R: Touch D: Mom T: Ind, Ritual
This spell fills a space the size of a barn with plant-based foodstuffs including unprocessed barley and wheat, peas, beans, cabbage, onions, garlic, turnips, and apples.

While this spell was invented via experimentation, it shows no unusual effects.
(Base 2, +2 Voice, +1 Group, +2 Size, +2 varied plant products, Ritual)

Since these are rituals, they will (hopefully) be non-controversial. Along with a handful of retainers, the magi in our saga have actually been subsisting on the products of these two rituals for about five years now, ever since knights of the Albigensian crusade occupied the manor atop their (underground) covenant.

Is milk Animal? I get it could be considered an "animal product", but it could also be considered a "natural liquid" (the aquam guidelines).

Is the "+2 varied plant products" in a rulebook somewhere? I don't disagree with it, but I'd like to know if it's a house or official rule.

Oh, and most importantly, ACK! to ground milk.

The Pea Most Perilous

Level: 2
R: Touch, D: Diam, T: Ind

Creates a single pea that lasts about 2 minutes. Reguardless of the amount of other food digested the eater becomes extremely hungry when the duration expires (per Creo rules). This spell can be used to speed up interrogation, pad a patron's food bill, or just to be rude. In some areas of belief, the ingester dies.
(Base 1, +1 Diam)

How do you square that interpretation with "...magical food created [only] nourishes for as long as the duration lasts..." ? It seems clear to me that the Creo description states clearly and unambiguously that magically created food does nourish for as long as the food's duration lasts. Indeed I'd argue the following item could allow a magus to survive on created food at infinitum by the Raw:

Plate of Magical Meals
When placed on a horizontal surface (such as a table) and the command is given, fruits magically appear on the plate. The food is nourishing, until the plate is broken.
CrHe 14 effect as a lesser invested device.
Design: CrHe 1, +2 Group, +2 Sun, +1 Touch, +1 lvl 2 uses/day, +3 lvl environmental trigger.

Hey, contrary to some rumours in another thread, I won't unleash the Paradigm Police on you should we disagree :smiley:

Yes, well I'm having a hard time seeing that in action. Fruny's story of Gargantua (quoted above) was marvelous. How do you propose to change the story?

To be clear, I understand that in the "no nourishment" option Gargantua is sated by his first meal, but finds himself hungry again before he expected it. Eating again, he is again sated but very soon finds himself hungry again. He ends up eating all the magical food within two or three days, by the end of which he is sated by it for but a moment, eating frantically and starving between bites.

I am in favor of treating it just like Creo-created food. Most consistent, less of a headache, seems to work just fine.

While that's true, it would also be nice not to have magi Creo-ing Moon duration food in a crisis, and depending on the mundane's food (or precious vis) for their sustenance. I posit that the damage to the setting from having magi capable of sustaining people with artificial food, hunger-attacks once per month nonwithstanding, is greater than the benefit of having magi be able to provide nourishing feasts from thin air without raw vis or adventure a little more easily.

Having magically created food be not nourishing opens up new stories such as starving magi seeking out raw vis or conducting Rituals to provide sustenance in a crises, and it drives home the point of magi needing the mundane infrastructure to support them.

I do think your ideas are closer to the RAW. They are the RAW. But I think in this case an attitude leaning closer to the "non-sustaining" interpretation has more story potential and setting integrity.

I'd definitely accrue Warping. I think both Warping and aging are appropriate for food deprivation due to a diet of magical food (assuming the "nutritious while duration lasts" interpretation). For air deprivation, or lack of healing however I'd limit myself to Warping only.

Errg, I understand that's your position on the RAW. But house-rule-wise, you'd prefer


Your argument regarding the dead horse on page 77 is convincing, I can certainly accept such an interpretation (combined with your reading of the Creo guidelines). I still maintain the RAW actually says "hungry" rather than "dead", but yours is definitely a reasonable position.

A magus trying to assassinate someone by non-permanent food is an interesting situation, but a magus feeding the countryside and his covenant with non-permanent food is a problematic situation.

I think Furion's "It isn't nourishing. It quells hunger but you become hungry again rather soon" works best. It preserves food scarcity just like the "No, it isn't nourishing. It can quell hunger, but won't provide sustenance." you advocated, is still pretty easy to adjudicate, and it prevents the abuses of assassination by feeding.

Oh, yes, good idea.

In our game, yes. :slight_smile:

It's a house rule. I don't think it's an unreasonable one, but YMMV.

Oh, it's not that bad. We actually constructed a large stone tank to hold the milk as well as devices that would preserve our food and ward it against pests. Combine that with an oven that Perdo's smoke and baking smells and a device that creates moon-duration firewood, and we have a nice little hidden covenant. Quite handy when all of Toulouse is falling to pieces.

Yes, it does. That's actually what's prompted us to start trying to escape from the covenant - our supplies of Animal began running low.


Yes, perhaps I could have made that clearer. I think #4 is consistent with the RAW, but I like Furion's interpretation as a house rule because it's simple, consistent, and easy to explain to players. For what it's worth, the pink dot "problem" doesn't bother me either, because "parma blocks pink dot" is also simple and consistent, so you may want to take what I say with a grain of salt.

Yeah. I think that someone's position on this issue is going to depend a lot on which parts of the RAW you want to interpret away in light of the parts of the RAW you want to interpret strongly.

Just to be clear, though, I'm not advocating that anyone who eats one of angafea's Perilous Peas immediately keels over dead once the spell ends. The human body can go for over a month without food. I think the simplest way to explain my position is to say that, once the duration of the non-permanent food ends, it is as if the you had never eaten. What happens to you at that point depends entirely on how long you've been eating non-permanent food. A couple of days? You're hungry. A month? You're hungry and weak. Six months? You die of starvation.


ncl, your spells are good but as you said non-controversial. (I too am not clear on the +2 for assorted foods and whether milk is Animal...) How about the following:

Pile of Monthly Grains
CrHe 15 (day variant at level 10)
You create a pile of unprocessed grain, about 10 cubic paces in volume, enough to feed 20 people for one year once processed. The grains are magical, and will fade to nothingness after one moon.
(Base 1, +1 touch, +2 group, +3 moon. Amount fed based on old discussion, taking a somewhat lenient interpretation regarding the mass produced.)

Mountain of Daily Food
CrHe 15 (moon variant at level 20)
You create a huge stock of nourishing but somewhat unvaried vegetarian meal composed of only a single vegetable of your choice. There is enough food to fill 10 cubic paces.
(Base 1, +1 treated products, +1 touch, +2 group, +2 sun)

The Almost Nourishing Corpse
CrAn 25 (moon variant at level 30)
You create a body of a large wild boar (size +1). It can be cooked as normal, but will fade away to nothingness when the spell's duration ends.
(Base 10, +1 touch, +2 sun)

Perseverance Through Hunger
CrCo 30
You maintain your body, refusing to succumb to hunger.
(Base 20 "heal the debilitating after-effects of a disease, poison, or injury", +2 sun)

Compare these to the ritual versions:

Pile of Nourishing Grains
CrHe 20 Ritual
You create a pile of unprocessed grain, about 100 000 cubic paces in volume, enough to feed 200 000 people for one year once processed. The grains are natural.
(Base 1, +1 touch, +2 group, +4 size. Amount fed based on old discussion, taking a somewhat lenient interpretation regarding the mass produced.)

Mountain of Food
CrHe 20 Ritual
You create a huge stock of a nourishing but somewhat unvaried vegetarian meal composed of only a single vegetable of your choice. There is enough food to fill 1 000 cubic paces.
(Base 1, +1 treated products, +1 touch, +2 group, +3 size)

The Nourishing Corpse
CrAn 20 Ritual
You create a body of a stag (size +2). It can be cooked as normal.
(Base 10, +1 touch, +1 size. Not sure of the size here.)

Filling the Pit of Gluttony
CrCo 20 Ritual
You heal your body from the ravages of hunger.
(Base 20 "heal the debilitating after-effects of a disease, poison, or injury")

Oh, and
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