Creo cheese...

We had a interesting question posed the other night dealing with temporary creo spells and food...

If you were to use a creo spell to make food with, say a month duration, what happens after you've eaten the food and the spell expires (ignore parma, we'll feed a grog for this experiment).
Would you have digested the food and it's now passed through your system so there is no effect? Or do you suddenly starve to death after all the nutrients provided by the food vanish?


It depends on how much was eaten. If it was just a meal or two, I doubt anything would happen, anyone can skip a meal or two. If a significant amount (a week or more) was missed they could have some unhealthy results, similar to starvation. If the whole month was spent eating magic food I'd say they'd die.

My opinion is that all the food in their stomach would disappear and they would be hungry, but all the food that had totally passed through them would be counted as having nurished them.

There was a post earlier where we discussed what happened when you "Creo'd" air to breathe and it wore off and I thought you'd simple be out of breath but able to just take a deep one and be ok.

I see this as similar to Creo healing, you return to your the state you were in when you started be supported by magic, no worse, no better.

The more these questions come up the more I think Creo has been too deneutered, making Muto and Rego spells much more desireable in almost every circumstance. Why bother with all these problems when a Muto spell will turn water to air and dirt to food with out all the fuss. Why not use Rego to accellerate healing vastly instead of worrying with cranky old Creo?

So according to angafea's proposal, food duration would only need to be a week for it to fully pass through your system, and water would probably need only a day.

I also agree with him, you can't say that the long term effects kick in as if you hadn't cast the spells at all, but more reset the counter on starving or thirst or bleeding.

Very good solution.

Consuming magically created food and drink cannot be directly compared with magical healing. With magical healing, there is not secondary ongoing effect to consider. You are simply healed until the end of the spell, and then you are un-healed.

With food and drink, however, your body will consume the food not just to satiate hunger and thirst, but to build muscle, bone, blood, and flesh. Once the spell wears off, all of that matter that has been incoporated into your body will vanish. The longer you sustain yourself on magically created food, the more detrimental the impact of it wearing off.

To alter this violates the fundamental limit of Creo... that it can create nothing permanently without expending vis. If you can eat magic food and the matter incoporated into your body remains after the end of the spell, how do you reconcile that?

There is an example in the core book that talks about magically creating a horse. If you summon it for a day, it will simply vanish at the end of the day (perhaps leaving behind a bit of partially digested food). If you summon it for a year, it will vanish at the end of the year and leave behind a corpse because of all of the real food it ate during the course of the year. Eating magically created food is a reverse analogy of that.

Fair enough, but what about the example used by angafea to magically create air to breathe while underwater or trapped in a sealed chamber. Without fresh oxygen you suffocate and die. Using your argument there would be no point bothering to create fresh air since when the time wears off, your body would act as if no oxygen had been supplied and have degraded because such magical oxygen doesn't support the cells in your body, leaving your blood poisoned and you brain damaged, or if for a long period suddenly dead.

The spell CrAu lvl 5 Chamber of Spring Breezes used in this scenario says specifically that it would work in a room which is sealed.

Well, first, there very well may be flaws of logic that can't fully be reconciled with the mechanics of the game. You just have to take the good with the bad, much as with Parma Magica.

Secondly, I am not a biologist, so I can't profess to know the ins and outs for sure, but I think that oxygen just serves to facilitate the functioning of the cells. You need oxygen to live because your cells require it to perform their other functions, like converting food to energy and tissue, but the oxygen itself may not be truly consumed. It is used, converted, and expelled.

An expiring Creo spell does not undue intermediate effects of the magic. Using a Creo Terram saw to cut down a tree doesn't make the tree become un-cut-down when the saw vanishes. Neither would air make the cells undo their previous work of converting food to energy and tissue. That work would stop as soon as available air was gone.

Third, you could say that from a medieval perspective, people know that air is breathed in, and then breathed out. They wouldn't know the difference between Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide or the biochemical mechanics behind breathing. On the other hand, they would know that food is consumed to '"grow". They would understand the physical effects of food, or lack thereof. This difference between Creo'd air and Creo'd food can be considered an imperfection of Hermetic theory due to that lack of scientific understanding. I am not a medieval scholar any more than a biologist, so I don't know what the true "in paradigm" thoughts would be.

I am of the opinion that in such matters physics and science, whether modern or historical, should take a back seat to playability and fun. It's just not fun, IMO, to have someone who has lived off magical food for ages to become dead when his raw vis runs out, or for someone that's been living on created air to suffocate. I prefer to have the person be suddenly very hungry or short of breath, but not dead.

He would of course also accrue warping.

I'm not sure how to explain that in terms of magic theory. If questioned by my players on this following such a ruling, I'd shrug my shoulders and say something like "there is a Bonisagus that's working on answering that - he doesn't have a definitive answer yet, though". I'm not that Bonisagus, the issue just doesn't trouble me. :slight_smile:

My stance is that non-ritual Creo-created food isn't nourishing beyond their duration.

I do agree with YR7 that most importat is the playability and that the scientific argument "should take a back seat to playability and fun". That being said I still relish in having paradigm-based arguments in place for what is chosen out of playability - but more as a way of keeping the setting colourful. My reason for keeping it non-nourishing is to maintain a situation of limited ressources. Being very powerful is what playing a magus is about. Being very powerful is fun. But having limitless ressources on the other hand is dull. Having limited ressources creates conflicts of interest - conflicts of interest creates amble opportunity for interesting plots, themes and scenes. One of the few limited ressources to magi is the ressource of vis.

My in-game setting based argument is that it is in contradition to the Limit of Creation (partly Limit of Energy too) to let it nourish. This might by the way be because of the divine or it might be a case of a flaw in hermetic theory - if the latter, this could inspire plotlines based on research to overcome this and/or possible intrigue on the access and control over such a breakthrough.

I agree - both on the other hand this would only happen if the magus didn't know of this, which he of course would (or someone really ought to spank his pater), or rather that the player didnt know this from the outset. The remedy for this is ensuring that the players know. Then there is the horribly cartoonic possibilty of "assasination by prolonged exposure to magical created non-permanent food" :smiling_imp: :open_mouth: :smiling_imp: , where someone would suddenly cash in his chips. I'd rather avoid that as well (except if I had a really interesting plot in the drawer based on it) and make it impossible by not postponing the lack of nourishment untill the end of magic but before that. For example by letting Creo-food taste well and give the feel of substance in the belly but then let the character become hungry again rather soon. Very soon this should lead to the char getting the ongoing effects of deprivation - and the char propably realising that something is a mis with the food... Other solutions if this isnt to ones taste, is plenty of warping and/or aging decrepitude. Sudden death by starvation isn't my thing either.

I understand why this subject of breathing gets drawn in, but I actually think it is two very distinct situations. As elsewhere noted the idea of oxygen etc isn't really neccesary a part of the paradigm. In fact the only medieval concept on breathing I can recall in a spur of a moment doesnt describe breathing as a need to inhale (air, oxygen etc) but rather to exhale. In connection to the scolastic idea of the four bodily humours the body needed to breathe to get rid of certain fumes and excess humours to remain in somewhat balance. In this light breathing doesnt really "use" the air itself - it is only a medium on which the body is dependent. Again - in agreement with YR7 - this isnt to stomp the rules by force, but simply a possible way of rationalising why you dont suffocate when the spell ends even if you are safe again (out of the water or what ever).

I don't agree with you. A human is dependent on food and water. A human isn't dependent on his wounds. By using non-permanent Creo you suspend the wounds - and thus their inherent healing as well. Thus as no one is dependent on their wounds the person is no worse, nor better, when the magic subsides. He is however, unlike wounds, dependent on his nourishment.

That is a neverending question I presume - what is more powerful. I still say that the power to create from thin air is remarkable. And quite many a destructive spell requires Creo - besides Perdo they are often amongst the most lethal spells around. Creo spells, by using Mom rituals, are also the only kind of spells that can be made permanent.

Simply because you can't! The notion that Rego can be used to accellerate healing is not in the rules. It has been discussed on the forum by some as a house roule, but I personally strongly disagree with the notion that it is possible to use Rego this way (Rego can change the state of things according to what is natural - if saying this applies to healing then all healing should be Rego and not Creo, as should aging. But this we wouldnt either - it would move too much from Creo to Rego and murk their divide - and it partly rests on a modern knowledge that the body has recuperative systems that can be adjusted "naturally" as opposed to Creo.)

As a final note the rules actually deals with this issue explicitly on p. 77... (OMG - I might have saved a lot of energy if I had looked BEFORE writing this post :cry: )

The main issue here is that there isn't a detailed or modern understanding of how nutrition works in Mythic Europe. Eating and drinking works differently in Ars Magica, and so the magical interaction doesn't work how you are thinking.


Yah, I saw that section on Creo but didn't think it really answered our question.

The sentence in question:

"...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."

I'd say you can put almost anything into that sentence, like "water" for "food" and "thirsty" for "hungry", "air" and "out of breath", "healing" and "hurt".

A strict reading of these rules says that if you lived on non-vis powered food for a 100 years, you'd be alive when the duration wore off, but I'm not sure that's exactly what is ment. What if you ate a magical apple with a duration of diameter when you were full? By this rule you'd be extremely hungry when it wore off.

And I absolutly see what you're saying Furion, about infinite resources but food just isn't that important in most cases. 5 pounds silver outfit a magi for a whole year, and a covenent makes 100 per year minimun. And if magical food warps, well there's your motivation to eat good muggle food. It's stuff like making armor and weapons for the whole turb and creating manor houses that can throw a game more out of whack, and all that stuff is still fine with Creo as written. That is no negative effect for having to cast a spell every sun or moon or whatever.

Rego doesn't explicitly say you can heal, but it does say "change the state of a thing to some other state that the thing can naturally have." From hurt to healed sounds pretty likely to me. Why can't Rego's ability to mimic craftsmen work like chirurgy? There are some creatures in Ars that heal rapildy, salamanders regrow their tales, thus Muto sounds like a good canidate for some kind of healing, too. To me, healing doesn't seem like that big of a deal to limit it so totally.

But really my Muto and Rego comment was directed at the problem of food and air. Just Muto the water into air/ dung into food or Rego the bad air into good/bare tree into fruitful. No pesky Creo wonkyness.

And just so we're straight, I love having these debates with you learned and nice people. Thanks!

I agree that this rule doesn't really settle the matter (although it is the basis for my view).

Yes, Furion makes an excellent case for "not nourishing at all".

But this issue won't come up unless it is important in the saga, so I don't think it should be brushed off. If the covenant is lacking in food (perhaps there is a famine, I don't know), it can suddenly become acute. In this case, can the magi create food out of nothing, or do they need to quickly obtain food or ritual spells (and possibly raw vis) from afar? If a magus is trapped somewhere without food, will he perish once his raw vis runs out?

I like that Creo is the art governing healing. I agree that healing seems like a natural change bodies can go through, so could be accomodated into Rego. It's also possible to mimic the chirurgeon's skill, so it might be possible to speed the healing through Rego Craft Magic too.

But I think it's nice that you need to study and learn some Creo spells to heal - it rewards generalization for non-Creo specialists (and rewards Creo specialists with a unique set of effects, but that's less important), and just adds color to the system. Craft magic can be dismissed by claiming chirurgy only helps the body heal on itself, which was certainly a concept not foreign to ancient healing practics, so it cannot be substantially speeded up. I've got no good explanation on why Rego cannot heal things, but note that Rego cannot make other "natural" changes too: it cannot age someone (that's Perdo or Creo). It seems the long-term changes of life are beyond Rego, they are movements to and from perfection - this includes both aging and healing, apparently.

Muto is interesting. Your argument is sound enough, I don't have a problem with it. But I would prefer to treat the ability of something to fast-heal as a magical ability, so tacking it into an animal would be "Give an animal a magical ability' MuAn base 25 with a Creo requisite. Tacking it onto a human would be even harder I think, perhaps base 35. Even so, Muto (albeit with a Creo requisite) seems to be capable of conferring healing - interesting.

Regarding nourishment and breathing with different arts - I think Furion's argument regarding limited resources is still a good one. But I certainly agree that to the extent that non-permament Creo can be used to furnish these needs, other arts can be used as well.

Almost every rule seems to close and open story opportunities, doesn't it?

If a magi didn't have to worry about food and air in a situation, then the problem becomes does he want to live forever trapped in a dank cave with nothing to do (except wait for his Longevity potion to fail).

If a country side is dying due to famine do the magi give up a bunch of their study time to cast enough spells for everybody or do they create resentment that their grogs grow fat while the peasants starve?

If a covenant has been living off of magical food, what happens when the magi who has been providing it goes into twilight or some other debilitation? I think there's a better story in 20 starving grogs than 20 instantly dead ones.

YR7, do you think that using the Muto guideline you suggest with a Creo req gives it all the Creo wonkiness or does it stay with the base Muto effect? Shouldn't the Animal and Corpus guidelines be the same, making both effects the same level? You could also argue whether speeding up healing is "major unnatural" or "Radically unnatural" giving your 10 points easier with Muto Corpus.

Anyway, thanks for the responses. I always feel like I'm out of my depth when I disagree with Furion :smiley:

As do I, as do I. And if you got quoted a lot in my last post it was only because your post inspired me the most.

Concerning the section on Creo I mostly laughed at myself because I had written a lot without having seen it or treating it in my post - and then very late - already too precious hours to sleep before work and as I was finishing my post did I find the section. I also wondered how come it hadent been included in the thread ealier.

I agree - and the decision on this opens and closes many plot opportunities, which makes me kind of wanting to not address things like this untill when this naturally might come up in session (of course before the magi have chosen to isolate themselves on a desolate island :slight_smile: ), so as having the room for adjusting to possible future plot ideas. But I always prefer to have made all the considerations beforehand nonetheless to avoid undue randomness in a spur of a moment decisions.

A rather hypothetical example - the only way to go 100 years on duration based food without the duration expiring is by using a duration Ring spell. It is a very interesting concept but not likely to be a common phenomenon.

Ouch this is a discussed topic as well - what happens to the material changed at the end of a Muto spells duration... No matter what nasty or just harmless fun you make of it, I can't think of many distinguished magi who would willing eat dung knowing that in essence it is dung and that it'll return to its natural state at the end of the duration... :open_mouth:

And now - back to the issue at hand. Here goes:

Concerning the notion of limited resources
Two things to ponder... Think of the magus going on a difficult, hard or dangerous journey - to chose between having to transport to loads of food for a lengthy period or just to bring some easy transportable and much more un-encumbering vis. This strengthens the notion of limited ressources - no matter how rich the covenant might be in mundane riches. Secondly I disagree with Angafea's assesment of being able to make food without vis having no importance to local economy - It has immense importance! Although with the covenant rules at hand we might all be focused on building the "economy" of our covenant, this is actually crystalised and grossly simplyfied reality. Once more an understandable need of game mechanics to have to simplify complex matters. Most historic rural economies - and many in the developing countries today - exist on a ruthless balance between surplus and disaster. In times of good seasons and bountiful harvests there is surplus and the comparison to how much silver is needed to outfit a magus is valid. But most years this isn't the case. And a non-exhaustable source source of food in a rural society is to me unquestionable extremely powerful. I'll actually claim that there is much more power in being able to create food without vis than being able to create stone, fortifications, gold or precious stones! At best this would give the magi influence and power - at worst it would turn enough mundane eyes to bring destruction. Even if the magi could tend to their own covenant times of rural crisis would bring anyone able to walk there head for the covenant. If the magi were able to use non-ritual creo magic to create nourishing food - then why not sell all the are able to produce on the covenant ground, or even selling creo food, and reap the profits. Imagine the effects on the economy! Very very powerfull!!

As a sidenote, it is actually so powerful that one of our magi has set out on a utopian project to make a breakthrough to somehow make it possible to create permanent things without the need for vis. His aims are based on noble, and somewhat naive, ideals - but just image the effects of such a thing?

Concerning Creo and the other Techniques:
I maintain that no ohter form than Creo can be used to heal or affect healing. My main reason for this stance is that I think it is important that the Techniques are mutually exclusive cathegories. I do like the challenge that a magus can find many ways to reach the same goal, put I prefer the cathegories themselves to stay differentiated. In the realm of Bonisagus' hermetic theory creation is a force defining creation from thin air as well as healing, improvement and maturing. This is covered by Creo. Rego coveres control and "natural" change. The human body does heal, mature and procreate - and as thus these qualities might be argued to be natural and thus affectable with Rego. But I think that is a) a modern concept of human physiology, and b) disregards that magic is divided into cathegories - whether this is needed because of game mechanics alone or/or is setting-based (ME paradigm and hermetic megic) - and that this divide neccesitates that BOTH Creo and Rego cannot both cover healing. Possible ingame explanation of this could once more be the way Bonisagus constructed the hermetic theory, or it could be that creation in itself is a force not inherent to the body and thus not "natural" in the sense of being affected by Rego. That wouldn't be a far stretch in scholastic paradigm.

A sidenote: Concerning the talks of having Rego speed up healing - well this effect already exist with Creo bonus to recovery rolls. Although still being limited by the time phrames given under recovery, but compared to a regular persons chance of healing the bonus to recovery really is a significant speeding up of healing dramatically reducing the time it might otherwise take. This however is still in steps definded by the recovery time - this is off course a bit artificial, as game mechanics tend to be that, but on the buttom line creo bonus to recovery is a speeding up of healing.

Having argued a case pro Creo I still havent argued in terms of the setting why non-ritual Creo-created food isn't nourishing beyond their duration. Things created by Creo are drawn into the world from the platonic realm of Ideas - hence the creations flawless nature. On of the ideals of the idea of food (no matter what kind) is to nourish. The created food is however compromised when created without vis - thus the nourishement dissipates when the duration is up, and with it goes the idea of nourishment. Keeping this in mind I actually think that it is even possible to argue further, saying that with non-permanent food this happens at the time of eating it. I'm mentioning because this might be a possible road to take to avoid the silly death by instantaneous starvation after having eaten enchanted food for a prolonged period.

But then what? in practice?
Having argued me preferences - I havent really adressed how to implement it. Whereas my preferences are very clear I'm more wavering in terms of how to use it in practice. I would not allow people to live of non-permanent nourishment. I would make this clear before anyone planned to do so. I might - and this is beyond the rules as written (they are a bit vague aren't they?) - actually let people experience renewed hunger quite shortly after having eaten ones full, and before the end of duration to discourage overuse. If in a situation where this has been used nonetheless (as in the silly assassination by sudden starvation case or simply out of a desperate sitiuation) I wouldnt just kill people off if they has subsisted on such food for a longer period. I would prefer to make a "story" of it. The exhaustion, the decline, the withering away and the approach of death. If in the interest of the plot or story to have some survive i would not do it without penalising them with decrepitude, warping, flaws or story hooks/adversity. I agree with Yair that killing them of would just be boring.

Pheew - that was my 2 billion cents. I haven't been as active on the forum of late, so excuse me if the lenght of this is a bit of a frantic comprensation for my symptoms of withdrawal. And to the ones still here - I hope and look forward to your response and comments.

lol - seems we have been thinking the same thoughts in both our corners of the world at the same time!! Really brought a smile to my face to have finished up my marathon post, not having seen yours, and then post it to find amazing similarities! :smiley:

And I must relunctantly admit that my preferences might be ruled be plotlines in my saga as much as by mimicked objectivity. :blush:

Very interesting questions!!! It brilliantly goes to show how rule mechanic choices influence story potential and vice versa! Questions are so powerful an approach.

My soft answer to all the dilemmas you present would be to, no matter what rules interpretation we chose to go by, make the result meaningful. Instant death is rather drab for a story - so if it is chosen it should be dramatized. Either by bombarding the characters with the very same dilemmas. I know this would be the nightmare of the powerplayer munchkin, but to many other players, face it, this is the stuff we crave for. High stakes, seemingly insolvable dilemmas, maximum pathos. Or if not wanting to get caught in a never ending scene to prepare a jaw-drop dose of epic passive storytelling.

Well - I am to daft to be sure whether that is was compliment or comment to me being a bit spacy (of maybe faerie-touched?)..

No matter what I do enjoy this exchange of words - I have been away from the forum for to long, only lurking around the corners only to post in the Abe Bot's (Abbot?) threads; from the outset to try to answer the questions but later out of being a bit provoked. Haven't really been roused to take part in other threads for a while - but his one is a joy! Cheers! :smiley:

How about the obvious: long-term use of non-permanent food causes Warping?

Welllll, I was thinking casting a sun duration every sun, or a moon duration every moon, so it's not so totally extreme.

Ok, ok, how about gold to bread. No, wait, A to bread. Nobody can object to that and If the duration exceeds the time it takes to pass, no problem.

I can certainly see that you have some great ideas concerning Ag Magica, I guess my troupe is different. I don't ever see a time when these problems will be featured in our game, and instead they just become a hurdle to how the players think things should work.

Yah, good stuff. To my mind the jury is still out, but you've given me much (vis-fueled) to think about.

There are many ways to do things in Ars magica, and I don't see the overlap as a bad thing. I do prefer that cerain Arts are better at certain things than others, like fire does more damage than water, water pushes better than auram, etc.

So if there's a ton of ways to stop an advancing man (creo mentem, rego corpus, perdo terram to name a few) why can there only be one way to heal them.

Thanks again!