Crystal Dart Damage Levels

How can Crystal Dart [Mu Te (Re) 10 ] have +10 damage, when it only have base 3, when any spell, including ignem need a base 5 for the same damage (To make an ignem spell with the same parameters would need a level 25 spell).

If we look at Dagger of Ice, [Cr Aq (Re) 10 ] which only have +5 damage at the same level.

Is this a typo or is there any logic why CD is so overpowered for its level?

It is a legacy spell, if that helps any. With regards to the guidelines it is consistent with the Base effect of changing dirt into something unnatural. It is more damaging than Wielding the Invisible Sling, a spell of the same level, but without a requisite, so it is easier to penetrate.

I'm not answering your question directly, except to say that's the way it is in the core rule book, and the idea that Ignem being the most efficient form for inflicting damage seems to be better developed in subsequent books, which might be why you see Dagger of Ice (really a horrible spell, IMO) do only +5 damage

This is where we get into a combination of nitty-gritty nut-and-bolts of Ars Magica, combined (sadly) with a bit of guess work.
As J.L mentions, the Crystal Dart is a legacy spell, it usd to do +8 damage. Why this was changed to +10 is beyond me, though I assume some form of normalization issue[sub]1[/sub].

The reason why it can cause damage so far beyond it's guideline though, actually makes a sort of sense.
If you look at the straight damage guidelines, these are are generally for creation (or tranformation into) substances or phenomena are damaging by their nature (Fire, Acid or the like), where it makes sense that "A stronger fire causes more damage, being hotter and all". This is not the case with the Crystal Dart, which causes damage via movement/momentum. It is more sensibly compared to an arrow than to a Pilum of Fire in this respect, and we will indeed note that an arrow from a longbow has a base damage of +8, which is what the Crystal Dart used to have.

Does this make sense?

  1. A popular but bad trend, which I seem to recall topping about the release of ArM5. I might well be wrong.
    The idea seemed to be that having values that were multiples of5 were somehow 'better' or 'superior' to using the full range allowed by whatever system was being tweeked. Or possibly easier for usersin calculations. Either way, it was a silly idea.

Is it really overpowered, let alone so overpowered, for its level? It has a requisite Art, whereas most the other damage spells don't. Consider what that does to penetration and to developing higher-level (more-damaging) versions of the same spell.

As for +5 damage per magnitude, is there any rule that says you must increase spell levels by 5 at a time? I find no problem with having a level-18 spell, for example. 18 works well when you want to double something (guarantees >35). Similarly, if you want to increase the damage by 3, how about adding 3 levels instead of 5 levels for 5 damage?

We used to have this freedom.
In 5th edition? I'm not so sure.
Could I bother you to read under the 'Magnitudes' Header, ArM5, p. 111 and 'Changing Ranges, Durations and Targets', ArM5, p. 114, col 2?
I think you may be disappointed, but I'm not sure.

Page 111 seems to support what I said and page 114 is totally neutral about it. The reason page 111 supports it is the repeated statement about rounding up. There is already a paragraph stating how levels one through five are first magnitude and different, so there is no need to say "rounded up" for them. That means the two "rounded up" statements are either superfluous or are specifically intended for spells above 5th level whose levels are not multiples of five.

Now, not all spells can be of just any level. If the base is five or lower, then making R/D/T/etc. adjustments of magnitudes will keep the level at multiples of five once it's passed five. Similarly, most bases above five are in multiples of five and will produce spells with levels that are multiples of five. But there are plenty of cases where that need not happen. For example, let's say you want to use MuAu to turn air into a gas doing +13 damage. The base is 13. You then add multiples of five to that for R/D/T/etc. You will end up with a level that is not a multiple of five. The same thing happens with any other general spell with a base above five and not a multiple of five.

So where is the problem in increasing a base of, say, Pilum of Fire by three to do +3 more damage and having the level not be a multiple of five?

Excellent! I've been wanting an extra pair of eyes going over it for a while now.

Actually, bad example, because CrIg is defined differently from essentially all other direct-damage guidelines.
Pilum of Fire woulf formally have a problem. Alchemists Revenge (CrAg, HoH: Societates) at +3 levels and damage? Have fun, knock yourself out.

It seems Crystal Dart is changed in 5th ed from previously +8 dam to now +10 for cosmetic reasons, to better fonform with the 'multiples of 5' otherwise seen in most spell damage and spell levels for that matter. Piercing Shaft of Wood is an exception that comes to my mind wihtout looking anything up.
Apart from General level spells most spells conform with the multiple of 5 levels, perhaps for some reason of neatness.

Some spell guidelines have non-numeric effects and these don't IMHO have effects in between. E.g. level 5 makes an unnatural change, level 10 makes a very unnatural change - examples to this guideline spell out which is which.

At the other end of the spectrum are the General spells where the guidelines are fewer but more flexible. E.g. level X spell affects Might Y creature or level Z of spell or power effects, perhaps modified up or down by a number of levels or magnitudes. Ok, here we (may) lose the neatness of levels in multiples of 5. This is also true for spells to 'create a poison doing X dam' I've never had a problem with these types of spells being levels not in multiples of 5.

Between these two we have guidelines in steps of 5 each one doing a further +5 damage. Like Creo Ignem. I havent though about it before, but now it is mentioned is is odd how these differ from the CrAq or Cr Au for poisonous liquids and gases respectively. Off hand I can't see a problem with creating a CrIg spell doing non-multiples of 5 in damage. No one seems to have done it, but why? Looking at the problem in character rather than a rules-mechanics standpoint, it could be because CrIg is more popular and developed. So magi through generations have narrowed the well-known repetoire down to fewer variations, perhaps to better share their knowledge of the spells through Spell Mastery. Instead of covering the full spectrum of all spell variations between Pilum of Fire at level 20 to Ball of Abysmal Flame at 35 - that's 16 different spells, each with a (potentially) different spell mastery to write books about - you only have 4. So each magus writing about his very favourite spell has a greater chance of finding a user of a similar enough spell to want to buy it.
Of course much depends on how the Troupes interpret what constitutes a different spell. Spells in Creo Ignem combination, at R: Voice, D: Mom and T:Ind are IMHO different if theu differ in magnitude, because they use different guidelines, and they differ at least 5 levels. Had one used Generel guidelines I'd be hard pressed to set the boundaries - is the Pilum of Fire variant at +16 damage the same as the +18? Etc. I'd rather not have to do that.
But I do risk having to do that with CrAq or Au, but these combinations are less popular and widespread then CrIg so I may never have to worry.

Except that later supplements implicitly state they are not using new guidelines and also provide +damages that do not show up on the list in ArM5, so the ArM5 line itself makes the assumption that this guideline is actually a general guideline written in a different way.

Even if it didn't, who cares? We already know there are available guidelines that exist but do not show up in the ArM5 lists. Why not an extra +3 somewhere there?

It's probably just me, but the difference between the CrIg damage guidelines and those for ... just about everything else, kicks my OCD into overdrive. To me, it really looks like there's something intentional behind it.

Just curious. If Crystal dart which is a MuTe (Re) 10 spell that makes +10 damage. Why does Dagger of Ice which is CrAq (Re) 10 only +5 damage? Would not DoI also make +10 damage as they have the same number of magnitudes?

So if I do a MuAq (Re) spell instead called Icicle dart, it would automagically do +10 damage instead?

No easy answer & I find that CD might have to include a magnitude to affect part of the dirt which brings it to a level 15. Otherwise the effect is unreliable as you don't always have loose dirt available. Especially on a rainy day...


One could always use the argument that The Crystal Dart described in the book is the result of Experimentation that yielded beneficial results (high damage for its level), which might explain why it's a go-to spell.

It could also be that Terram does more damage than Aquam. Not all the Arts are equal in this way. Examples: CrIg does more damage than PeIg. Auram is better for damage on a large scale, but not for damage to an individual.

See above why this is irrelevant.

I just read through twice. I'm not seeing anything saying that is irrelevant. The only pertinent things I see are that Mu(Re)Te is more damaging than ReTe, that Ignem tends to be more damaging than other Forms, and your comment that we should compare Crystal Dart to an arrow. The first two seem to back up my comment as opposed to making it irrelevant. Yours does as well if you consider crystal tipped arrow (could be really strong/sharp) to an icicle tip (very weak when made sharp) and you compare these to different arrows. Let me rephrase it as a question:

When we know it's already not true between other Art combinations, why would we expect Mu(Re)Te to have exactly the same damage level as Cr(Re)Aq?