Elemental Magic: Transforming Air

Salvete sodales.

I was wondering about the applications of the Elemental Magi virtue and came across the spell Conjure From the Mist from Magi of Hermes page 28. It basically lets you transform large sections of air into stone, allowing multiple and complicated shapes. What do you think of this spell? Would you allow it being used to, for example, create small huts of stone or even trap a target inside a stone cage?

Transforming air into X seems like a good way to circumvent Creo (for example for a mage with a Deficiency in it) and may seem a bit cheesy and overpowered. But let’s get further with the idea of magus with Elemental Magic and a Minor Magical Focus in transforming air, what do you think of these spells?

Incineration of the Scorching Air
MuAu(Ig) 30
R: Voice, D: Mom, T: Part
For a split of a second the air around the target begins to shimmer, then transforming into fire engulfing him. This spell does +20 damage and flammable materials in the vicinity or worn by the subject will be set on fire at the story guide’s option.
(Base 4, +2 Voice, +1 Part, +3 magnitudes for +15 damage)

Base Level 4 transforms air into fire. Is it safe to assume, that the base damage of this transformation would be +5 (as in Ignem)? Each magnitude would then add +5 damage. The spell by itself is still weaker than Creo Ignem, needing three Arts and being of one higher magnitude because of the target Part.

Armor of Solid Air
MuAu(Te) 20
R: Touch, D: Con, T: Part
Makes the air around the caster solid and hard as stone, forming a protective bubble around him. The air appears to be normal to regular sight, but may be influenced by the caster’s sigil. Arrows and other weapons would bounce of and as if hitting a stone wall and may even break.
(Base 5, +1 Touch, +1 Concentration, +1 Part)

Base Level 5 transforms air into something slightly unnatural. If Level 4 can transform air into stone (as I see without an extra magnitude for affecting stone), Level 5 could make it solid and hard as stone without being stone. What do you think of it? Would Base Level 10 be more adequate?

Lungs of the Land
MuAu(Aq) 20
R: Voice, D: Diam, T: Part
Turns air into water as it enters the target lungs. If the target requires air to breath, it begins to drown. He begins to suffer deprivation due to lack of air (see ArM5, page 180), but as the spell only lasts for Diameter duration (two minutes), the character is unlikely to die unless the spell is repeatedly cast on him.
(Base 4, +2 Voice, +1 Diameter, +1 Part)

The opposite of Lungs of the Fish. A target affected would be hindered in his ability to articulate coherent words as he is drowning and taking some penalty to spellcasting and maybe to other actions as well.

I'm looking forward to your feedback :smiley:

Since it's also weaker by a magnitude than CrAu (it would do +25 damage at level 35, versus The Incantation of Lightning's +30), and you're stuck having to use two Forms to get it, seems balanced-enough for me.

I think you could fairly treat it as Base 5 given the Terram requisite, sure. If you didn't have the requisite, it would be something "wholly unnatural", impenetrable air.

The problem I have here is you're targeting a person/part thereof (target lungs), when with a MuAu spell, you need to be targeting the air. Lungs of the Fish moves with the magus because its range is touch, so it moves to whatever the magus is touching -- but where's this spell getting its ability to follow a person as he walks away from the effect?

Remember that Auram is the Form of weather and other "airy phenomena", such as smoke or odour or breath, rather than of air as a gas. So I would disallow both Incineration of the Scorching Air and Armor of Solid Air.

However, I would allow Lungs of the Land, as it's targeting the victim's breath (obviously subject to Magic Resistance).

I don't think you need the Terram requisit in the formula if you use the baseline 10, transform an amount of air into something wholly unnatural.
If you leave the Terram requisit, then you are turning air into visible, hard stone for the duration of the spell. If you are transforming purely a property of air, being evanescent into solid as stone, I would consider that as highly unnatural - I guess argument could be made to stick to "Slightly unnatural", there is room for interpretation.

So I would go with MuAu 25 (Base 10, +1 Touch, +1 Conc, +1 Part).

Due to the omnipresence of air, there is the possibility to design a whole range of utilitarian spells following these guideline, to replicate the effect of other solid form spell: bridge of wood, wall, etc.

Could you elaborate ? I don't following your logic. Auram includes air as well as weather and "airy" (odor) phenomena: "Auram spells are powerful because the element of air is ubiquitous" (core, p125). It is the first sentence under Auram paragraph, thus it rather explicitly states that the element of air is part of Auram. English being not my first language, I might misread it.

First of all thank you for the answers! :smiley:

I wouldn't target the lungs, but the air entering the target's mouth and nose. Or i could transform the air around the target's head into water. Could i add one magnitude for the air to keep transforming itself into water as the target move? Or if i change the duration to Concentration, would the air keep transforming itself while i concentrate?

I thought about not transforming air into actual stone, but to give it the solidity and hardness of stone while still being air. If the 4th magnitude is the transformation into stone, then one magnitude higher could give it the hardness and solidity of stone (both aspects of Terram). I agree that with the 10th magnitude i wouldn't need Terram, but with the Elemental Magic virtue i don't care if Terram is in the formula if it could reduce the level of the spell. :smiley:

Yeah, that's the spell in Magi of Hermes i mentioned. Is it ok to copy it here? If it isn't please tell me and i'll delete it.

Moving an effect with the person seems like a Rego requisite with an extra magnitude. That's usually how you move a Target along with a target when they're not the same.

Just ignore Fafnir's comment. Ezechiel357 is correct. Such transformation of air is perfectly valid and, as with the spell you noted, is done with canon spells.

If your target is the air at a specific point, you then would need something else to move that target point with the being you're trying to effect, given that being isn't the target of the magic of the spell, the air at a specific point is. Moving a magic's target point around strikes me as requiring a magnitude-increasing Rego requisite, and probably Concentration rolls, too.

The last sentence of the same paragraph says "Auram spells usually affect air as phenomena (winds, odors) rather than as gases (a modern concept)." Indeed, in the corebook, the five Mu Au spells affect, respectively: rain, wind, smoke, fog, and rain again.

Magi of Hermes has (like some other books, e.g. the Tremere section of HoH:TL) spells that refer to corebook guidelines, but subtly or blatantly violate them. A number have been fixed in the errata, others have not. So my troupe and I tend to take examples from Magi of Hermes with a grain of salt, and we do not allow them just because they are "canon". You will find there are several others on this forum who share the feeling.

In some cases, effects from MoH do not violate the guidelines, but are misleading in the sense that their most natural interpretation goes against the corebook guidelines (see e.g. Robed in Angelic Beauty, also from the Conscentia chapter); sometimes this is justified as being the result of experimentation, but not explicitly enough to avoid confusing people. For the specific case of "Conjure from the mists" (note it's not named "Conjure from thin air"), I assume it allows the caster to change a portion of mist, fog, smoke, steam, foetid air, a cloud etc. into stone.

Of course, other people have different opinions :slight_smile:

I have highlighted two things. The first, and strongly highlighted is in disagreement with your assertion. It's not always, just usually, and that's probably out of utility when you consider what people tend to do with Auram. As for the second, most people don't consider a concept from roughly 400 BC to be "a modern concept."

One sentence of mine that was relevant and that you have not quoted pointed to the fact that all Muto Auram spells in the corebook target "air as phenomena", rather than air as a gas. This both disproves that "air as phenomena" is "out of utility" as you say, and strongly suggests that "air as a gas" should be an exceptional case that the troupe may allow or disallow on a case by case basis. I would allow it for things like ... say, an Intellego Auram spell that detects if air at a specific location is healthy to breathe - but not for a spell that changes an arbitrary amount of air-as-a-gas into a dragon (changing a thunderstorm into a Zmey, on the other hand, would be perfectly appropriate).

I would add that an Individual of Auram is explicitly given as a phenomenon, and a Group is explicit given as "several related phenomena". While no mention is made of "Part", I think assuming it means "Part of a phenomenon" is the most reasonable stance.

You might want to have it fixed in the corebook errata then!

I left it out because it's completely irrelevant to the argument. Taking a set of examples and trying to determine the rule from them is inductive reasoning and can never prove the rule. Add to that the statement that Auram spells usually deal with a phenomenon, and you should specifically expect most examples you find to be about phenomena. So that statement essentially says that you if you look at a bunch of example spells, you will probably only find phenomena even though that is not a restriction on Auram - in essence pointing out that using just a few examples to determine the rule is faulty.

Why only look at MuAu? Why not look at other Auram examples? How about Perdo Auram? Is Room of Stale Air not a valid core spell because it targets the air as opposed to a phenomenon? It doesn't make a breeze stuffy and uncomfortable, nor rain, nor the other targets in the MuAu spells, just the regular air as a gas. Noting that there actually is an example of a core book spell that treats air as a gas while there are many more examples that treat air as a phenomenon, we can see exactly what I stated above about using just a few examples.

To make the assumption you must trash the very sentences that tell you to use the things you're referencing, so I don't consider that a vaguely reasonable stance at all, let alone the most reasonable.

Targeting a Part of the air is just like targeting a Part of the ground. This is exactly what allows you to work with parts of the ground. The normal description works, so it "can, of course, be used."

Yes, I should submit that. I have a few more elsewhere, too. Speaking of errata, your analysis of the MoH errata.. I have submitted over half the items in the errata, and that includes nearly every one of the items for MoH. None of mine for MoH and, as far as I can spot, none of the others has anything to do with violating a guideline. They're nearly all miscalculations or misquotes. I'm not saying you're wrong about some being questionable, but citing the errata to back you up on this seems questionable, too. Can you tell me which questionable use of a guideline in MoH was removed in the errata?

callen, this is getting nowhere. I stated my position.

Auram in the corebook is repeatedly presented as affecting air phenomena, to the point that Individual and Group targets refer to phenomena. It seems reasonable that Part should also be Part of a phenomenon then, but if you want to claim otherwise because it's not spelled out explicitly, then look at the general definition of Part: "The spell can affect a part of a discrete thing, such as a person’s arm or a section of the ground." I fail to see what the discrete thing would be when turning a "volume of air" into fire.

This is the general rule. I agree there may be a very few specific exceptions. There are none in the Muto Auram spells presented in the corebook. You want to look at all Auram spells in the corebook? Fine. There are 32 Auram spells, and only 2 possible exceptions: Eyes of the Bat (InAu), and Room of Stale Air (PeAu). I say "possibl"e, because it's not 100% clear to me that they are clear-cut exceptions: Room of Stale Air affects all breathing in a Room, so it can be seen as affecting a phenomenon, for example. But as I said, I agree that there may be a few specific exceptions, and I pointed out an additional one that I would allow myself: detecting if air in a certain place was safe to breathe. However, non-phenomena Auram effects are clearly exceptional cases, and I maintain that each troupe should assess whether to allow them or not on an individual basis. I would disallow turning a random volume of "thin air" into fire, or into solid armour.

As I said, others may disagree. I find it rather rude to say "ignore X's comment" when X is contributing constructively to a forum. I certainly find not constructive to continue this discussion, so do not take it as rudeness on my part if I stop posting in this thread :slight_smile:

I didn't mean to be rude. From the OP a canon spell was referenced, and he asked for how it could be used and about designing spells off of it. Your first reply was that his spells designed off of an accepted (by him at the very least, plus it's still in canon) spell shouldn't work because they don't use Auram targets properly even though they do so exactly as this canon and accepted spell does. Your opinion directly contradicts canon examples, and others can't even follow the logic even when canon examples it contradicts are ignored. You're welcome to house-rule out effects like that spell, but given that it's accepted by him he's certainly not doing so. Why bring in something directly disagreeing with the rules he's using instead of answering his question about if he's built the spells properly? In your later post you even acknowledge it's a house rule that you were using to guide him. I was trying to alleviate the confusion about this house rule being brought in as it hadn't been stated as a house rule at the time at all.

The designed spells follow the existing idea (T: Part to get some of the air near the caster) well. SEE and Ezechial357 addressed most the other design issues well. I was later and could really only add a comment about the standard use of Rego as a requisite to move an effect with a non-Target target.

Can I just point out a few things?

Lungs of the fish does not turn water into a phenomena - it turns water into air, so air itself appears to be valid.

The problem with Ars Magica affecting air is that it is very hard to perceive. You can see fog, clouds etc. But you cannot see the air around a person.
You can use T:Part to only affect part of something - but you must be able to perceive the thing you want to target part of.

T:Room spells get around this by targeting everything in the room. T:Circle can do it too.

If you use some type of spell which let you sense the air, then you would have no problem with the previously mentioned spells.
You can use Eyes of the Bat, or something like this

See the currents of the air
InAu 25
R:Personal, D:Concentration, T:Vision
You perceive the air itself as a colour of your choice. You can see how it moves in breezes, how it curls around objects. Darker colours mean the air is thicker there, such as a strong wind.
Base 4, +1 Conc, +4 Vision

After reading through several sections of A&A I think I would agree with Fafnir for how it is interpreted. But that does not mean that you could not change air into fire but I am not sure of the effect. Looking at the Consequences of Alteration (pg25) seems to say that you could not do it or it would not do anything. Easier to CrIg.

Looking at Meteorology (pg28) shows all the things you could do with air as effects that already happen.

Going further to pg41you can use Aurum to give people diseases or make them healthier.

If you want to effect weather phenomena then CrAu a large amount of fog/mist then turn it in to fire or stone.

Air is elemental matter, and while it is dealt with as phenomena (wind, cloud, vapor, smoke), those phenomena are parts of the overall substance. Among the phenomena of air is still air (by which I mean unmoving and passive air), and some reflection by a Hermetic magus may lead to an observation that creatures in air are much as creatures in water (as fish or kelp or other submarineans) or creatures in earth (as moles or worms or other subterraneans). A magus in water may transform water into an object, a magus in a mine or cavern may transform stone into some object, and a magus in air may transform air into something else.

However, it occurs to me that it may be difficult to distinguish an amount (that is, an Individual amount) of water or air or earth when surrounded by a vast undifferentiated mass of it. Here, dealing with a discrete phenomena (a wind, a current, a vein of metal or a gemstone) seems much more practical.

So, first, find the appropriate target of the element you are starting with. You want to turn some of the air in a room into armor? All right, you are turning Part of a mass of still air into metal.

I hope this has been contributory.

But how much air are you turning into armor? If we go by remotely modern physics, it takes a lot of air to equal the mass of a suit of iron. AM5 isn't always friendly to modern science though, so maybe that's the wrong approach.

I've long been wary of the approach some take of letting Muto effectively substitute for Creo with the "I turn the Air into X!" trick. Canon spells seem to support this though.

Eyes of the Bat senses air, not wind/clouds/whatever.
Room of Stale Air affects the air in the room. Despite the statement above, it's momentary and yet it still works if no one is in the room and it's sealed and then someone walks in much later and takes a breath. This doesn't work to target a breath if the magic has ended and the breath won't happen for a long time.
Conjure from the Mist works on a small section of air, not needing wind/clouds/whatever. Claiming the name means it must come from mist instead of air instead of someone just choosing a clever name would mean things like Infernal Smoke of Death should be non-Hermetic or at least tainted in some way, and you can find all sorts of things like that.

So that's two core book spells and one from MoH that I found. Definitely a minority of the spells, but with two right out of the core book plus the core book explicitly calling out air as a ubiquitous element and only saying "usually" for the phenomena instead of "always" or similar, we can see it is accepted in canon.

I found Sulfurous Membrane (Hermetic Projects p.84). This is just like the OP's Lungs of the Land but uses a Corpus requisite to deal with keeping the effect with the person. Same magnitude as adding a Rego requisite, but maybe your Corpus is better as a requisite.

Well, if we look at MuCo, Muto doesn't seem to care much about mass. Otherwise growing, turning into all sorts of animals, etc. doesn't really work. How big a clump of mist do you have a person become via Cloak of Mist?

Hermetic magic does nod toward conservation of mass, very much in a "Hi there!" kind of way.

MuAu Lvl 4: Transform an amount of air into another element, p. 127.

P 125: An amount of air is (somewhat unclearly) one cloud, one wind, one bolt of lightning, or in general a weather phenomenon affecting the area within a standard Boundary, an area one hundred paces across.

So, basically, you start with a pretty massive amount of air. I imagine people's ears will pop as the spell condenses a lot of air.

Air into Armor (because that's what sticks in my mind): Turning an amount of air into an amount of metal. Based on the Terram amount description on p. 152, I'll claim that that's roughly a one-to-one transformation, so a one hundred pace volume of air becomes roughly enough metal to make a suit of armor.*

MuAu Base 4: +2 Sun, req Te: A level 10 spell to transform air to metal.

The spell also has to work the metal into armor - that is surely worth +1 or +2 magnitudes. Armor requires great effort and is quite intricate - compare the Creo Animal guidelines for creating a leather jacket or woolen tunic (p. 116). So, at least level 20, and I may be overlooking something.

I make no claim about the validity of any published spells, pro or con. As I said, I may be overlooking something.

*this is grossly over massed - 1 cubic meter of air is about 1.2kg. If you take 100 meters as roughly the same as 100 paces (dubious) this works out to 1.2 million kg, or over 2,600,000 lbs. ArM magic does not chart to physics well. It's a game, though.