I'm fairly new to the Ars Magica system, having come in for the Fifth Ed playtest and fallen in love with it. I'm quite comfortable creating new spells, having heavily hammered that, largely for fun. I'll post soon my spell for turning a suit of armor into a mass of seething, angry cats, but that's another post.
In my monkeying with the magic system, I noticed a distinct lack of guidelines for spell damage. For my current character, this isn't a big deal as she isn't the head on confrontational type, but I was wondering what sort of guidelines people use. I've mostly worked so far by looking at other spells for examples of damage, but if anyone (including my own ref, of course) has any ideas, I'd be grateful.
HELP! I'M NEW TO THE GAME AND CONFUSED BY ALL THE FREEDOM!
Well given the versatility of the game, what do you mean by 'lack of guidelines'? If your talking about Creo Ignem, the guidelines seem very clear to me.
My advice is to create a spell descriptively and then worry about what the damage should be. If you just came in on the Fifth edition playtest you might not know that the game was nine years old before spell guidlines were introduced. I still reccomend that the GM wings it for spell levels during play rather than slowing the game down for level calculations.
that being said there are a few guidlines that I've used in the past,
Ignem and aquam have damage values in the spell guidlines (perdo corpus/animal kind of does as wellbut it just creates wounds rather than doing damage).
I like to have ignem be the most effective damage per level beause it fits with my idea of the setting with flambeau focusing on the most destructive of the arts.
Spells like piercing shaft of wood, talons of the winds and crystal dart have damage values, these are good spells for comparing to your creations for relative effectiveness.
Creating a lightning bolt of a different size wheather it be larger or smaller is more difficult than the spell in the book, make the lightning bolt too small and you'll need a muto requisite because it's unnatural.
i hope that this helps
Actually, I caught the bit for Ignem magic just after having posted this. I knew that there were guidelines during 4th Ed, but had no idea before that. Thanks again. I came to Ars Magica from D&D and Champions, largely, one of which had zero guidelines and the other of which had very clear, but rigid ones. I'm still finding my way.
Still, AMAZING system, and I'm loving playing around with spell creation, though I'm not sure where my Flambeau is going to go with it. Even so, and much as in my Champions days of over a decade ago, it's fun to just create outlandish spells to see how far I can push the system while staying completely within it.